It is no secret that electric bikes have surged ahead in the past few years, defying bike purists. And truth be told, we too were a bit skeptical at first. Yet as time marched on, we found ourselves more open-minded to the whole idea. Perhaps it is the compelling marketing, the increasing demand, or maybe we just got off our high horse and actually tried it out ourselves.
And boy, this bike is FUN! There is nothing out there that better demonstrates the value, performance, and quality that ebikes these days offer than Aventon’s new eMTB–the Ramblas. With the Ramblas, the possibilities of adventure are endless; it will take you farther, conquer any hill, and completely transform your riding experience. It will change the way you think of biking. If you can dream it, the Ramblas will take you there!
Aventon, a California based ebike brand, has consistently delivered an impressive lineup in recent years, including models like the Pace and Aventure. For the dollar, these ebikes outperform everything else on the market. While many brands have rushed to capitalize on the ebike buzz, Aventon has stood above the rest with superior warranty coverage and customer service.
During our first test ride of the Ramblas, we were stoked to see it do everything and more that Aventon had hoped. It charged up hills without any complaints and it was beyond effortless to handle. The Ramblas responded to every whim and desire, making sharp turns with an ease and control we were honestly not anticipating.
Let's talk bike:
Featuring a hard tail, dropper post, wide rims, and Maxxis 29x2.4 tires, the Ramblas is designed for high performance. This bike is built to rip! Its wider rims and tires inspire confidence; the Ramblas can corner and descend with the best of the trail mountain bikes. The front suspension, a RockShox with 130mm of travel, let us glide over features with comfort and ease. For casual mountain bikers looking to weave through the woods all day long, effortlessly rolling over gnarly roots, the Ramblas is the perfect choice.
We can tell Aventon really did their research with the MTB community, as the build kit here does not cut corners. From the sleek KS dropper post to the reliable SRAM disc brakes and the precise SRAM NX Eagle 1x drivetrain (no budget Tektro components here), every detail has been meticulously chosen. At 52lbs, the Ramblas remains nimble while being durable too–not an easy thing. The frame itself is a beauty to behold–sleek, streamlined, and equipped with an integrated battery that discreetly conceals its electric nature. No one will even know you are an e-convert until you effortlessly soar past them on a treacherous uphill.
Let's talk motor:
At an easy $2699 the Ramblas boasts one of the most competitive offerings out there right now. Despite its reasonable price tag, it features an Aventon-designed motor, the A100, which rivals the performance of more expensive alternatives. We were stunned by the quality of the A100–basically indistinguishable to a Shimano motor. Could it really just be a Shimano motor with an Aventon sticker over their name? Maybe. That is a mystery you will have to unravel by experiencing it first hand.
The A100 boasts over 100Nm of torque, resulting in a steady and effortless climb. No jolts. No weird power surges. It is smooth, as smooth as those eMTB’s double the Ramblas’ price. Check out the specs on other eMTB bikes: the Bosch Performance SX Motor only puts out 55 Nm of torque and the Shimano STEPS EP8 only puts out 85 Nm of torque. So the Ramblas A100 motor truly packs the punch to help you climb any hill. On our first ride, we pushed it to its limits by tackling a steep ski hill–a tall order indeed. The Ramblas did not sputter or complain, instead it seriously ripped without hesitation. Not going to lie, it really took us by surprise.
Similar to Aventon’s Pace, Aventure, and other models, the Ramblas offers up to a 60-mile range and top assisting speeds of 20mph. The A100 is a Class 1 ebike motor with only pedal assist, which is different from the rest of Aventon’s lineup which come with a throttle. The major perk of Class 1 means the Ramblas complies with all mountain bike trail ebike rules. Whether you are cruising around town or tackling a climb to send that flowy downhill, the Ramblas will provide the range you need to have the best time riding.
Overall, the Ramblas stands out as the best eMTB in its weight class– rigorously trail-tested, and mountain ready. Simply put, you won’t find a better eMTB for less.
Join us as we test ride and review Cervelo’s groundbreaking addition to their lineup.
It has been a knockout year for cycling company Cervelo. Once a humble college project, they rocketed into the spotlight in 2023 when all three pro tours were won on their bikes. And Cervelo is not stopping there, not even close.
Meet Cervelo’s groundbreaking e-bike–the Rouvida. Sitting at 27 pounds, the Rouvida is sleek, sexy, and utterly unlike anything on the market right now. Both road and gravel capable, it is a carbon chameleon thanks to Cervelo’s proprietary swappable frame inserts (more on that later). A fully integrated battery/motor means the bike looks as aero as it rides, and does not so much as whisper e-bike until you leave the group ride in the dust.
The Rouvida packs a whopping 450W of max power, 250W sustained–all thanks to Fazua’s lightweight Ride 60 drive unit. This silent, powerful, and compact system exceeds expectations, and is the gold standard of e-bike motors. An A+ in our book–money could not buy you anything better than this.
We love the ease of use with the Rouvida’s control center. Again–think slim and trim here, hidden and subtle. To engage the assist, press buttons hidden under the handlebars. Three levels (Breeze, River, and Rocket) will help you from a little to a lot. And if it is a lot a lot you want, just press both buttons and the Rouvida will go full send at 450W for a full 12 seconds. Because of the bikes’ max speed of 28mph, that is enough force to kick you up and out of the pack at a pro level.
Optimal performance on this bike is not bound by terrain either, thanks to geometry inserts at the fork and rear dropouts. Rotate one way–the bike is a Caledonia copy for the road warriors out there. And the other? A gravel grinder Aspero. This tech is something special, and a massive value. Two bikes for the price of one!
It is pure freedom. “Am I feeling 50 miles today?” That is a question of the past–the Rouvida will get you places you have never been. Running out of battery is no cause for concern either, thanks to Cervelo’s focus on aerodynamic design. Four watts is all the power you sacrifice in the event of losing charge. To us–that is impressive to the point of near impossibility.
Our Overall Impressions:
Does the Torrent FS conquer gnarly root sections, float over rock gardens and claw up steep, loose technical climbs with ease? Read on to find out.Review from: By AMB Magazine Jan 11 2017 5:05AM Words: Sebastian Jayne Photos: Robert Conroy
Norco Bicycles have been exploring mountain trails and smashing backyard skid sessions for over 50 years. The Canadian company’s latest creations are certainly turning heads thanks to dialled colour palettes and riding experiences. Photos and videos of riding that come out of Norco’s home country all seem to end up in one place – Dreamland. The towering trees and loamy soils of Canada provide the grounding for the rough singletrack filled with rock drops and root chutes that most of us dream about. Even the climbs hold technical challenges waiting to be conquered. But conquered by what? Norco hopes their newest mountain bike will be that which will prevail. Big and burly, the Torrent FS+ 27.5 inch A7.1 is the higher end model of two and is touted as an aggressive all-mountain bike and looks to put Norco’s hand into the plus size, full suspension cookie jar that seems to be the industry’s next big thing. But can a plus size, all-mountain bike really conquer a whole mountain? Let’s see!
Out of the box and built up, my first thought was that this is a big bike. Aesthetically, the Torrent’s frame matches its use and is big and burly. Just sitting there, the 2.8 inch Maxxis Minion DHF and DHR tyres looked menacing. The subdued colour really makes the splashes of green on the frame and the DVO suspension and SDG saddle ‘pop’. The external cable routing, while easy for maintenance, does make the downtube appear cluttered. The aluminium frames welds are a little chunky and the bottom bracket has an ‘industrial’ look. But as a whole, I like the look. It’s that ‘throw me into anything and I’ll make sure we get out the other side’ tough look that inspires you to ride hard before you’re even on it.
On the suspension front, unfortunately I wasn’t able to use the stock 130mm DVO Topaz T3 Air rear shock but the RockShox Deluxe was more than enough for the test. This bike was pre-production and stock models will come with the DVO unit. Up front is the Boost version of DVO’s Diamond enduro fork. Its adjustable travel from 130–170mm, via internal spacers, makes the fork versatile, and the stock setting at 140mm suits the Plus-size wheels. Initial setup of the Diamond was easy thanks to DVO’s instructional support website and videos. With one of the coolest features being the ‘OTT’, or ‘Off The Top’, system that gives you easy control over the initial portion of the stroke. This means your air setting can control your mid stroke support and bottom out, while the OTT can control the traction and small bump compliance, negating any need for a compromise. Out of all the components on the Torrent, the Diamond was certainly a standout. While other parts may be at the cheaper end of the spectrum, I’m glad Norco spent the money on the suspension, which really adds to the riding experience more so than, I feel, any other component.
The rest of the componentry is still solid with a mix between SRAM and, Canadian company, RaceFace. The SRAM GX rear derailleur moves the SRAM chain up through the wide range of the 10–42 XG cassette, with the RaceFace Aeffect series crank set and 28t chain ring handling business at the front. RaceFace also supplies the dropper post with the hybrid mechanical/hydraulic, remote lever-actuated Turbine. Stopping power came from SRAM‘s R level Guide brakes and were paired with 180mm rotors front and back. What were they stopping? All up, with pedals, the Torrent weighed in at 15.8kg. Pretty heavy compared to a normal trail bike, but the Torrent isn’t touted as a normal trail bike and it really shouldn’t be compared to one.
On the trail
Rolling out the door my first thought was how comfortable I felt on the Torrent. Its Plus wheels may have felt foreign but the geometry made my 175cm body feel at home on the medium-sized frame and everything was where it was supposed to be. Norco employ a Gravity Tune system to all their bikes’ individual sizes that fixes the front-centre/rear-centre ratio which means the rider’s weight is always optimally distributed regardless of frame size. This makes a big difference out on the trail, as does the seemingly less concerned feature of bottle cage position. The ample room in the main triangle means the bottle is perfectly placed which may seem odd, but optimising the little things is how you get a bike to ‘feel’ right.
To me, an all-mountain class of bike should be able to conquer anything you throw at it and this means its climbing should be equally as competent as its descending. At 15.8kg the Torrent is no mountain goat and over long climbs this becomes painfully apparent. Norco’s A.R.T suspension system does provide a balanced pedalling platform, and the low speed, on-the-fly compression adjustment on the Diamond fork means the suspension feels good to pedal. The central position created by the Gravity Tune also adds to comfort and the 35mm stem paired with 760mm bars felt perfect for me.
Where this bike really excelled though, and where you forgot about the weight, was technical climbing – up pretty much anything. Rock gardens, steep loose climbs and muddy trails were where the Torrent’s 130mm suspension and Plus-size wheels really shone with an almost endless amount of grip on offer. Whether you were in the seat or over the front of the bike the grip was there and it seemed there was a lot more margin for error if you got your body position wrong on a slippery climb. The 28t front ring may sound small but it perfectly matched the plus-size wheels and allowed both a comfortable cadence and torque to be held over technical climbs. The Maxxis Minions also added to the grip, and while they felt heavy and sluggish on the road and hard-packed singletrack, they were in their element digging into loamy, mushy ground. When both the comfort and grip combined, they worked well to alleviate concerns about the overall weight of the Torrent. An 8kg bike may be great on a road but if you need to push it up a technical climb, is it the best thing for an all-mountain adventure?
So we’ve climbed up, a little slower than normal, although we did clear that technical climb for the first time, now it’s time for the descent. It took me a few runs to really understand the Torrent and its big wheels. Some tweaking to the OTT system was in order after the first run to make the fork suppler across the smaller roots and rocks as was a tyre pressure change from 15psi up to 17–18psi to stop the big tyres squirming in the corners especially on the faster downhill tracks. It also took some time to learn how to handle the big bike as it was a bit of a change from my normal XC rig. The large tyres and weight of the Torrent meant changing direction or lines through slower technical sections was a bit more of a mission but when it came to faster, rougher tracks the plus–size wheels really came into their own. All manner of lumps and bumps were swallowed up which really helped on blind tracks when questionable line choices were made. Room for error offered by the big wheels on the way up meant you could hold your line, but on the way down it meant you didn’t have to worry about your line, you just charge through.
Apart from large repeat compressions and drops that used up most of the 140mm of suspension, the Torrent could handle just about anything. Along with helping charge rough sections, the traction on offer by the Plus-size tyres meant muddy corners through to loose-over-hard packed dirt could be leant into with full confidence. The plus version of Spank’s Oozy rims performed well on the trail and helped create a stiff platform to tackle rough sections. The SRAM Guide brakes seemed to be a bit overwhelmed by the weight of the bike on super steep sections but the great modulation and grip on offer meant tyre traction could almost always be maintained. The Maxxis Minions certainly helped in the traction department, but I found them a little too aggressive for the smoother trails and I’d probably switch to a smoother tread like the Maxxis Rekon+ to decrease rolling resistance and open the scope of the bike up a bit more. As far as the rest of componentry was concerned, they all performed flawlessly with the RaceFace Turbine dropper post getting a big thumbs-up as does the RaceFace wide/narrow chain ring that kept the chain on throughout the test. Billed as such an aggressive all-mountain bike it was peculiar the Torrent did not come stock with a chain device but there are ISCG mounts if you wish to add one.
Any prior misgivings about Plus-size bikes or shortcomings from the Torrent FS itself were quickly forgotten after the second and third rides, and instead it was all about the fun. Does a Plus-size bike dumb down a trail? Yep, especially a full suspension version. Is that a bad thing? With the amount of fun I’ve had charging around the tracks not caring if I was a millimetre too far left or right of a root, I say no it’s not a bad thing. It’s just really fun! If you’re going to make a bike for riding and not racing shouldn’t that be your ultimate goal?
Norco’s aims for the Torrent FS+ are “Conquer gnarly root sections, float over rock gardens and claw up steep, loose technical climbs with ease.” Did Norco achieve this? I say yes. The small bump compliance of the DVO fork mixed with the large contact patch of the tyres and stable geometry means gnarly root sections are handled with ease. Rock gardens are literally floated over, as the 2.8 inch tyres provide plenty of cushioning and the planted feel of the Torrent inspires confidence. And the up? Well a key word in their description is ‘claw’ up, and you really do claw. You don’t claw fast, the bike is close to 16kg, but if you have the power, the Plus-size tyres and comfortable geometry lets you climb up just about anything. So as Edwin Starr said, ‘What is it good for?’ I think exactly what it is marketed as, an aggressive all mountain bike you can ride anywhere and do anything on.
Model Torrent FS+ A7.1
Weight15.8kg (as tested)
Ride large and in charge, anywhere you want to go, on the F@R - SE Bikes
During recent weeks at Suttons Bay Bikes we received our fat bike fleet! The new models for the year we received included bikes from Surly, Cogburn, LaMere, and Fuji. Perhaps the most impressive bike found in this lineup came from Fuji's BMX brand SE Bikes. The F@R (pronounced "fatter") is the first delve SE Bikes has made into the rapidly growing fat bike market. With the recent boom in fat bike popularity, we have seen a transition from steel frames to both aluminum and carbon, saving weight and enhancing ride quality. The F@R is no exception to this trend as it is built around a double butted alloy frameset. Designed with a front hub spacing of 135mm and a rear spacing of 190mm the F@R comes stock with 4.7" Vee Bulldozer tires (72 tpi) on 93mm rims, a similar setup to that of the Specialized Fatboy models. With rims this wide and a set of 5" tires this bike begs to float over fresh powder. In fact these tires were among the lightest 5" tires we have seen to date weighing in at 1339 grams, undercutting that of the much praised Dillinger 5 by over 150 grams. Complimenting the frame, the bike comes with a mix of Shimano Deore and SRAM X-7 components stopped only by a pair of Shimano hydraulic disc brakes. This is where the bike shines in comparison to the similarly priced offering from Specialized and even Trek's Farley. However, one can talk specs and components all day, the real proof is in a test ride.
When first hopping on the bike the larger footprint of the 5" tire is immediately noticeable. The tires allowed me to cover snowy terrain a standard 4" tire would never allow such as nearly foot deep powder. However, the tire did leave me wanting something with a little more bite as the rear tire did begin to spin a bit as soon as the torque was laid down. As an all around tire, the Vee Bulldozer is a fantastic option for those looking to upgrade. I was also quite surprised at how quick and crisp the shifting given by both the front and rear mechs was. Even under pressure and cold weather, the shifting stayed reliable thanks to the fully housed externally routed cabling. Similarly, the bike performed very reliablely and predictiblely under various braking conditions due to the Shimano hydrualic brakes. On this subject one thing to note it that this bike comes standard with Shimano's M445 brake levers which are slightly longer than normal and much appreciated when reaching for the levers with gloved hands.
However, one downfall to this bike was immediately noticed when things turned uphill. The weight of the wheelset seemed to hold back this bike from its true potential. Clocking in at a whopping 1685 grams for the front wheel, these wheels may not be your first choice if you decide to line up at a local race, although the complete bike did come in at an impressive 34 pounds 10 ounces. For a stock bike rocking 5" tires and >90mm rims this is great especially when compared to some of Surly's popular 4" tire offerings which at the lightest come in around 35 pounds. Although this may be a deal breaker for the racing crowd, something everyone can appreciate is the F@R's use of a rear thru-axle. This was feature was much appreciated as it made the 190mm rear spacing feel no different than that of a 170mm spaced fat bike.
Overall, this bike is fantastic for someone looking to get into fat biking who wants both a quality build and a bike that can handle most everything thrown at it. Racing may not be the F@R's forte, despite this fact it will shine on the trails and as an adventure bike. Coming in at a $1449, this bike is unbelievable for the price!
Stay tuned for next weeks review of the F@R's not-so-little brother the F@E!