Monthly Archives: August 2019

Revolt RV400 – First Ride Review

Electric vehicles have been in a very confusing state in the country. There was a sea of concepts which were displayed at the last Auto Expo but not one actually made it into the real life production form which you can buy and is good enough to replace your traditional ICE powered vehicles. But things may change soon.

revolt

Not long ago we were invited to get our hands on the Revolt RV400 which is pitted as India’s first fully electric motorcycle. So is this really the answer India needs? And does all the show has the go? Read below to find out.

Learn More- Top 10 Cycling Trends for 2018

The Revolt RV400 is a compact looking motorcycle packing a number of eye catching bits here and there which certainly makes it interesting to look at. At the front you get these intimidating looking LED headlamps which are used in a very compact assembly, and reminds of the aftermarket headlamps which KTM used to sell for 125 and 200 Duke, in the European market. The USDs at the front are thick and give it a muscular appeal. And that along with the nicely executed side panels does make it a decent looking motorcycle.

At the rear sits a white-dipped mono shock, and the silver finished sub-frame which has been left exposed just like some premium motorcycles do. Furthermore, it makes use of smart looking LEDs tail lamps at the back, and a sleek aluminum swing arm which looks neatly designed. In terms of overall size it really is a compact motorcycle and if you are anywhere above 5’10” with average built it may look smaller on you.

Being a beacon of innovation, the EVs are supposed to be packed with all the bells and whistles that can make the world go gaga and the RV400 does have a fair share of such features in its pocket. To start off with, it gets a fully digital instrument panel which displays all the necessary information like current speed, battery level, ODO, range, ambient temperature and ampere range. The display is plain and simple, and the fonts are large enough for easy readability even when its sunny outside. It also gets three riding modes,  keyless-start function and a dedicated phone application which syncs-in data from the motorbike and displays the same in an intelligent format on your smartphone.

For starters, it gets a 3.24KWh battery which has been placed under the compartment designed at the same place as a fuel tank in the regular bikes. It is easily accessible with a twist of a key, and the tank flap snaps opens in no time. This battery juices up 3KW motor which is claimed to return 50Nm of peak torque (that’s the territory of say a 500cc motorcycle). But stop jumping on your shoes just yet, there is more to it than just the numbers.

How does it ride?

Well, frankly, its hard to judge an electric bike from the regular standards. It is a completely different feeling that wheels are being powered by a motor and there is no fire inside which is propelling the motorcycle forward. You just twist the throttle and with an abrupt jerk you are off the start line, without a sound. To my surprise, the pull was strong throughout till the upper limit, say 65kmph which was the fastest we could do at a Go-Kart test track. The torque hits instantly as soon as you twist the throttle in the EVs, and that isn’t hard to experience even on the RV400. But in comparison it still isn’t anywhere close to the rush a 50 Nm internal combustion engine delivers.

Though the bike is undoubtedly quick on its feet when it comes to 0-60km/h runs, but there is a point of concern underneath which needs to be addressed. The on-off throttle transitions without using the brakes are totally fine, but when you are on the move and bound to pull the brake levers in stop and go situations, there is a certain power gap of milli-seconds which isn’t found on the regular bikes. So apart from controlling the throttle abruptness, even this ‘power-gap’ needs attention. There was also some discussion around its regenerative-braking, may be this has to do something with the above concern as applying the brakes deactivates the throttle which makes smooth corners impossible and thus will also prove to be tedious in bumper to bumper traffic.

Throwing light on its power modes (Sport, Normal and Eco), these can be easily selected from the button provided on the handle-bar. The Sport, as the name says, is the only exciting mode of them all. It has been rated to propel the bike up to electronically restricted 85km/h but returns the lowest range of 85-90kms. The Normal mode sits in-between, and we find not much use of the same and then comes the Eco mode which is for typical commuters who just want to squeeze out the highest range of around 155kms on a single charge.

The RV400 though isn’t completely a silent motorbike, there is a button added to the bar which turns on/off soundtrack from speakers which imitates the sound of an ICE powered bike. But at the same time, it is merely just a poor imitation and the bike doesn’t sound anything close to the real thing.

It weighs 108kgs (approximately) and it sure feels that light, nimble and compact. In terms of handling, there is nothing to complain about and it handles just like say a typical light weight motorbike does. But we still need to put it though its paces on everyday roads which sounds like a real test.

Talking about the ergonomics, it isn’t hard to see that this might be a certified daily commuter in terms of comfort at least. The handle bar is higher set, the single seat is wide and nicely designed for all kinds of riders and the foot pegs position is almost mid set. And all of this, combines to make the the RV400 an ideal motorcycle for your daily office commute.

Electric bikes still have a long way to go when it comes to convincing an average two-wheeler rider to choose them over the conventional bikes. But if you really are open to the change then the Revolt RV400 is currently your closest shot at it. With the recent revision in the GST charges and additional benefits from the FAME II subsidies, the company has priced it at INR 1,29,463 (ex-showroom) but even at this cost the RV400 is nothing but an expensive appliance to invest in and still needs some minor improvements to prove as a worthwhile product.

Top 10 Cycling Trends for 2018

Cycling Trends

We all remember our very first bikes, and think about how much has changed in the cycling world since!

Remember downtube shifters of the 70s? Those things are now in the past. The advancements in cycling over the years have made our rides smoother, faster and more comfortable, and bikes more durable and light.

Think back to last year, since then road bikes have become faster, shifting is going digital, and mountain bikes are changing their frame geometry. It’s exciting to see what changes and trends will continue into 2018 and beyond.

So whether you’re a newbie to cycling (maybe considering your first tour), or a committed cyclist takes a peek at a few of our predicted top cycling trends in 2018 before you hit the road or the trail.

1. Manufacturers Are Going Aero

Time trial/triathlon bikes are no longer the only bikes being built for speed and aerodynamics. Ever since the UCI has declared a 6.8 kg minimum race bike weight limit, many top-of-the-line road bikes can’t get much lighter, but they can continue to get faster through better aerodynamic design.

For example, Giant’s new Propel Disc aero road bikes are first of its kind for the popular bike manufacturer. First seen last year in the Tour de France, the Propel Disc is now available on the public market. Giant claims it has the highest stiffness-to-weight ratio of any bike in its class and has lower drag coefficients due to the addition of disc brakes.

The Specialized Tarmac has a new D-shaped frame and new seat tube and Seatpost design that makes it more aerodynamic. The new Orca Aero from Orbea is a beautiful aerodynamic design that pushes the boundaries of speed. You’ll start seeing many of these new bikes at all the big cycling tours in the coming racing season.

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2. Disc Brakes Are Becoming Mainstream in Road Cycling

Once the brake system just for mountain bikes, disc brakes are continuing to become more mainstream in road cycling. The pro cyclists are still trialing the disc brakes in the peloton, but they are likely to become standard in road bikes in the coming years.

German pro cyclist, Marcel Kittel, road last year on a Specialized Venge ViAS Disc on the Quick-Step Floors team. He became the first rider to win a stage of the Tour de France on a bike with disc brakes. Many of the high-end 2018 bikes come standard with disc brakes, like the Trek Emonda, Giant Propel, Scott Foil, and more.

3. Gravel Bikes Continue to Gain Popularity

We said it last year—gravel bikes are becoming more popular worldwide in 2018. Gravel bikes are a versatile bike on and off the road making it attractive to a variety of riders. Last year gravel bikes exploded in popularity across the United States and they are growing rapidly into the international market.

Gravel events are also popping up everywhere—there might just be one on a forest road near you!

4. Wheels and Tires Are Still Getting Wider for Road Bikes

Once again, we predicted this last year. The trend is still continuing into 2018. While 25mm wide tires are still the standard for road bikes, 28mm isn’t uncommon.

Unlike like traditional rim brakes, disc brakes allow manufacturers to offer more clearance for wider tires and wheels. We predict that the 27.5 x 2.6 width will become the momentary “standard” this year.

5. Power Meters For All Budgets

Power meters are no longer for just the pro cyclists and the wealthy. With new technology and new manufacturers jumping into the market, power meters are becoming more affordable. Shimano, one of the cyclist’s largest component manufacturers, has finally decided to dip their toes into the game this year.

While the jury is still out on the new Shimano Dura-Ace R9100-P power meter, Garmin has released the new Garmin Vector 3, which measures leg power independently. The budget-friendly Vector 3S, which measures one leg and doubles it for total power, will gain more attraction this year due to its price tag under $600 USD.

6. Indoor Training is Getting Smart

Smart trainers are becoming more popular, like Zwift, TrainerRoad, and other apps. The new Wahoo Kickr Climb is the first of its kind by simulating climbing. The indoor trainer adjusts the front end of your bike to simulate real-time grade changes. You can ascend hills up to a 20% grade and descend down to a -10% to mimic real road conditions.

7. Mountain Bike Frames Are Changing

Cycling Trends

Not only are road bikes getting more aerodynamic, but mountain bike frames are changing. The top tubes are getting longer and the head angles are getting slacker. With the changes in the top of the frame, offset forks are becoming shorter to adapt to the wheelbase. The Transition Sentinel is pushing the design of mountain bikes with its new steeper seat tubes.

Longer travel 29ers are becoming popular. The Orbea Rallon is an innovative design that is leading the trend of slacked-out 29ers enduro race bikes. The new geometry turns these popular cross-country and enduro racing bikes into a fun all-mountain trail bike, too.

8. Shifting to Digital Shifters

Both mountain and road shifter are continuing to go digital. While we predict that digital shifting is not going to stick for mountain bikes in 2018, it will continue to grow in the road cycling industry.

FSA just released their new K-Force WE groupset and Shimano has updated its Ultegra Di2 set this year. While we’d like to see digital electronic shifting on the lower end models of bikes, that is probably not going to happen this year.

9. Integrated Cockpits Are Coming

Once mainly reserved for TT/triathlon bikes, integrated cockpits are becoming more popular in road bikes as road bikes continue to become more aerodynamic. Integrated cockpits have their pros and cons. They can help tidy up cable routing and save weight. But, if you ever want to change the length of your stem or make any changes to your bar angle, you can’t do that without swapping out the whole assembly.

10. eBikes Will Continue to Become Popular

It doesn’t matter if you think riding an e-bike is cheating or not. They are continuing to become popular for both mountain and road bikes. The Market Urbanism Report predicts that 2018 will be the year of the e-bike.

Many bike manufacturers are making them now, like Giant, Bianchi, and Focus. Cities like San Francisco and New York City have electric bike-share programs that are a huge hit with commuters and tourists.

eBikes are not just commuter bikes either. The Focus Project Y looks just like your fancy road bike, but with a hidden motor inside. It just might be the perfect commuting or touring bicycle. Our bike partner, Orbea has a collection of road, mountain, leisure, and urban e-bikes to meet all your riding needs.

Give an eBike a try—we think everyone should love them.

Are You Ready to Ride?

With over 30 years of cycling tour experience, we’ve seen a lot of changes in the industry. If all these 2018 bike trends are making you excited to ride, why don’t you get in touch today and start planning your ultimate bicycle adventure? We’d be happy to talk shop and share a few more of our favorite new trends this year. We offer awesome bike trips around the world, and you can even try some of the latest technology with our top-of-the-line Orbea bikes.

If you’d like to find out more about how you can go about planning your ultimate cycling adventure, sign up for our free email course.