Is there really such an eBike that hits that sweet spot of a swift on-road commuter and a trailblazer off-road? This one might just simultaneously tick those boxes. It’s built and designed within the UK by Cyclotricity and they call it the Revolver 500W eBike. Appropriately named as it can revolve between the road legal 250W and a doubled up 500W for off-road riding. We’ve been pushing the Revolver to its limits daily to see just what it’s all about?
Pushing aside any preconceptions you may have about eBikes, it’s blatant that Cyclotricity know a thing or two about bicycle design. Its polished black frame, coupled with what appear to be hybrid sports tyres, and shiny front shocks present an attractive intertwining design of ‘bilingual’ characteristics that wouldn't make the Revolver look out of place within either the off or on-road worlds. Nevertheless, riding this in rural environments around us, where traditional pushbikes make up all the biking population, we noticed that pedestrians and fellow cyclists alike were enchanted by the electrical charisma the bike possesses - particularly when we zoomed off from standstill via the throttle!
Furthermore, our fondness of the aesthetic design carries over to its British build quality. A hearty aluminium frame is configured with 26″ double alloy walled rims and ZOOM Alloy front fork suspension. This setup feels rigid and definite when riding and has been actively put through its paces by us at great speed on ridiculously bumpy, rough terrains; and we’ve even had a few crashes along the way. All said, the bike remains in one piece, and we have nothing to report coming loose or breaking. Although alloy components are helpful in reducing the overall weight of the bike, our specific model of the Revolver, with a higher capacity 36V/15Ah Lithium-ion battery, weighing some 4KG alone, is quite a solid hunk. This higher capacity model also gives the game up that it’s an eBike because the battery is so unmistakable. (Whereas the alternative 36v/9Ah Lithium-ion battery, which has less range potential, is conspicuously designed to look like a water bottle and is, of course, lighter too.) The placement of the battery at the centre of the frame gives the Revolver a manageable centre of gravity weight of 22KG. Although it is hefty to carry, the task can be made less strenuous by removing the 4KG battery. The quick release front wheel is another good feature and makes it easier to put into a car.
Battery Range & Charging
Range isn't a plain thing to calculate when considering the ‘assisted’ pedal power of electric bikes and, to be as fair as possible, we’ve ridden the Revolver eBike with the motor restricted to 250W over varied terrains using the throttle, infrequently, as a helpful start on hills and the peddle assistance on settings 4-5 for the rest of the journey; thus calculating the combined range. So, without being conservative with the amount of juice we were taking from the battery when riding, we were impressed and surprised to be able to achieve just over 40 miles of range. Interestingly, accordingly to the latest research, the average combined commute to and from work within the UK is around 38 miles. This really does position the Cyclotricity Revolver as a fun and healthy car replacement option, particularly for those who want to beat the rat race in traffic dense areas.
Once the motor was derestricted to 500W and we took on peaky off-road trails, the range, with heavy use on the throttle in particular, crept down to 17-22 miles. However, if we were to harness the peddle assist more, the Cyclotricity 25 mile range claim when derestricted seems believable. Unquestionably, we found both the restricted and derestricted range results excellent when compared with others across the eBike world. Once the battery is diminished a key unlocks it for easy disconnection from the bike and the supplied charger restores it to full in around 6 hours. So a lengthly 80 mile commute to work and back could be on the cards if you can charge the battery at work.
It surprises us that some eBikes, like the Freego Raptor, don’t sport such detailed analysis of things like the current mph and total miles travelled. We’re therefore thankful that, at a single glance of the Revolver bike’s LED control screen, we can see clearly the MPH, peddle assist speed setting, time and battery level. It’s a very informed out of the box experience and a totally integrated component of the bike. In fact, it’s where we can adjust many system settings and toggle between utilising 250W or 500W of power from the motor via input codes.
Performance & Ride
We love riding bikes in urban environments for leisure, but when it comes to commuting, truth be told, we just want to get from A to B quickly and comfortably. Legally, within the UK and EU, the motor has to be restricted to 250W so that it doesn't exceed 15.5mph. Using just half of the motor’s power via 5 levels of peddle assistance, the Cyclotricity Revolver can, according to your desire, either make cycling near effort free or an assisted challenge. If you really need to eliminate all effort just hit the throttle, which can reach speeds up to 15.5mph all on it’s own and is responsive to the degree of pressure applied. Moreover, the actual ride is great in terms of comfort; the handlebars didn't make our hands sweat and our bodies weren't fatigued from the upright position. Admirably, no allen key is required to adjust the height of the seat stem; a quick release lock allows it to be adjusted conveniently wherever you are. In addition, the PVC leather seat is generously padded and its ergonomics certainly agreed with us, as we couldn't complain of aches after 3-4 hours of cycling without intermission.
Working in complete harmony with the motor is a 6 speed Shimano derailleur gear system. Initially we presumed the small selection of gears would not be enough for our liking. But we were proved incorrect, as there is a noticeably high ratio difference between each gear which helps to optimise energy whether travelling up hills or whipping over the flat. We were continually impressed by how the Revolver darts away from obstacles hastily with pedal assist and makes urban settings its playground, calmly meeting curbs, zigzagging around stray pedestrians and securely overtaking vehicles. It climbs hills with no effort at 250W, and if you get caught out, and feel peddling, even with assistance, is too strenuous, the throttle is there to take away the effort. It’s definitely a practical ride for cities and streets.
Cyclotricity are very modest in saying that the Revolver is great for ‘occasional off-road riding’. Derestricted at it’s full 500W potential off-road, the electrical torque yields a truly unique cycling experience that we haven't so far been treated to from either a standard pushbike or eBike. Speeds of 20mph can be ramped up in no time with pedal assistance on setting 5 and most importantly the speed is easily maintained too. So when meeting naturally occurring obstacles on woodland trails at great speed, like leading up to ramps of soil to jump off with pedal assist, we could then engage the throttle on landing for an immediate boosted thrill of acceleration, a bit like giving it the feel of a motorbike. Much credit should be given to the chunky hybrid tyres, similar to those we’re accustomed to on our Boardman CX Comp, that offer immensely agile and easily manipulated steering, coupled with strong wheels and calliper brakes that automatically electronically stop the motor when operated, thus offering complete safety and control. So, tightly produced turns up verges, skidding over wet mud or dodging trees, can all be executed with dexterity. Granted the ZOOM Alloy suspension, which can be adjusted in terms of firmness, and the overall frame design, aid in taking a lot of impact away from the rider too. Bombing over textured surfaces, like hard mud trails with a plethora of dips or lanes covered in sharp stones, at well over 15mph is pretty awe-inspiring, but we haven't yet had a puncture or any knee ache to speak of.
Cyclotricity have moulded one of the most impressive and effective eBikes we’ve yet to see. One that is richly capable and spectacular fun; the attributes of which aren't lost on sprightly A to B commutes. Off-road the Revolver shows us its raw super power and a cunning display of thrill seeking is strapped on too. But being able to cross over the two worlds at any given time, with a combined range of 40 miles from our testing, confirms it an eBike fit for the masses. Yes, the Cyclotricity Revolver is quick, nimble and mountains of FUN!