EMotorad EMX, T-Rex And Karbon: First Ride Review
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Can these e-bikes function as replacements for your regular commuters?
Electric mobility brands have become a dime a dozen these days in India. From the top-spec Ather 450X to economical options from the likes of Hero Electric, Ampere and Okinawa, there’s something for everyone. That said, the lack of charging infrastructure has been keeping potential buyers at bay. Pune-based EMotorad believes that the solution to the subsequent range anxiety is e-bikes. But are they practical enough? We rode the EMX, T-Rex and Karbon e-bikes to find that out.
EMotorad prides itself in using aluminum 6061 for the frame in all its e-bikes. This grade of aluminum is lightweight yet highly durable. In fact, the brand is so confident about its quality that it has been giving out a lifetime warranty on the frame of its e-bikes.
It is not just the frame that reeks of quality but also the electronic components. Each e-bike comes with a small LCD display that packs information like battery charge, tripmeter, odometer, pedal assist level, voltage and a clock. EMotorad claims that the display casing is highly durable and won’t break in case of a fall.
The battery pack too has been constructed with a similar plastic casing and is IP67-certified, meaning venturing out in the rain with these EMotorad cycles won’t be an issue. The hub motor itself is IP68 certified, so pressure washing the motor after hitting some trails shouldn’t mess with the motor as well.
Hitting the trails? Yes. The EMX specifically has been built not just for daily office commute but for going off the beaten path as well. Claimed to be the first e-bike in the country with suspension at both ends, the EMX employs some heavy-duty equipment. The flagship e-bike comes with a Suntour fork and a monoshock, both adjustable for preload, and can be even locked for better stability and lower pedalling effort on the tarmac.
This is the brand’s hardtail e-bike, meant for everyday commutes. The T-Rex gets an 18-inch frame similar to the EMX, but runs on smaller, 26-inch wheels instead of the 27.5- inch ones on the EMX. It even gets a different, more economical fork but offers preload adjustability and lock-out feature like the flagship bike.
This is probably the most unique e-bike we have in the country at the moment. Once folded, this e-bike can be easily loaded into the boot of a car. It runs on smaller 12-inch wheels and only gets front suspension, again adjustable for preload. Unlike the other models, the Karbon gets a frame-integrated battery, which isn’t as convenient to remove as the one on the other bikes, but is at least neatly tucked away.
Also Read: EMotorad: All You Need To Know
To be fair, we didn’t get to spend much time with the bikes, so we’ll reserve our comments on the range claims and the comfort levels for later. But to sum up our experience with these ebikes in one word, it was addictive.
My biggest grouse with commuting on cycles is keeping up with traffic. However, with these e-bikes, you could simply open the throttle and overtake slow-moving trucks and buses. Another great feature on these bikes was the horn. Yes, unlike regular cycles these bikes had horns that would surely grab any motorist’s attention. There’s also an LED headlight if you venture out in the dark, though I am not sure about how effective it actually is.
EMotorad’s flagship e-bike was perfect on broken stretches of tarmac and even smooth roads, thanks to its 100mm and 50mm of suspension travel at the front and rear respectively. With the suspension taking up all the beating, it was hard not to go a wee faster than you would normally go. And it sure is quick. With 5 stages of pedal assist, along with a full throttle mode, the 250watt BLDC motor could propel the e-bike easily up to 25kmph.
And if you decide to pedal, the Shimano derailleur with the 21-speed gear set makes things a lot easier. In pedal assist mode, there’s enough grunt in the motor to take you by surprise. But does it stop as quickly as it accelerates?
The EMX comes with ceramic brakes, so the stopping power won’t fade even with aggressive usage. That said, the brakes weren’t as sharp as you’d expect from a disc brake-equipped cycle. The cycle did slow down reasonably quickly, but I would have preferred sharper bite.
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The T-Rex does everything that the EMX does, albeit a bit differently. With no rear suspension, you’re better off going a bit gently on the bad stretches. The fork does its job well, but doesn't feel as pliant as the Suntour unit on the EMX. With the smaller wheels, the power delivery felt a bit aggressive initially, but eventually faded. Reaching up to 20kmph was an easy affair, however, it took a little longer to reach its 25kmph top speed compared to the EMX.
Unlike the 21-speed gear set on the EMX, the T-Rex gets a 7-speed unit, which is good enough for taking on slopes. As for the braking, the T-Rex had fairly stronger brakes compared to the EMX I rode.
With the Karbon, things are very different. The smaller and fatter tyres require more force to pedal. However, with the pedal assist mode, things become much easier. While most of the bumps were taken care of by the tyre and the front fork, you would be better off treading slowly over broken stretches of tarmac. Part of the reason is the long handle stem and narrow handlebar, which make the front-end feel a bit vague.
The Karbon had decent stopping power, and provided progressive braking. Given the target audience and the useability of the Karbon, you wouldn’t be left wanting for more.
The EMotorad e-bikes are well-designed and sturdy products that could not only be great everyday commuters but even great recreational tools. At Rs 44,999, Rs 54,999 and Rs 65,000 for the T-Rex, EMX and the Karbon respectively, the e-bikes can do almost everything an electric scooter does, without causing range anxiety. That said, they cannot replace an electric scooter, which has provision to carry luggage or a pillion. However, if you are looking for a fun alternative to your mundane commutes, the EMotorad e-bikes are worth a consideration.