Bike test: ARCC Moulton TSR
Bike test: ARCC Moulton TSR
Unlike many retrofit e-bike kits, ARCC’s e-pod assist system is also available ready fitted to brand new bikes. The Cambridge-based company sells a couple of e-pod belt-drive town bikes, the Abington and Rosemont, an e-pod Brompton, and a number of e-pod Moultons, such as this TSR model.
The Moulton’s unique ‘space frame’ is designed for lightness and strength. I particularly liked its suspension: the rear elastomer and leading link fork iron out the worst that UK roads can offer and enable you to corner confidently at speed. The bike would make a great tourer or commuter, and will even venture onto smoother off-road trails. It splits into two halves in a couple of minutes, so it’s easy to pack down for storage or transport.
The Bafang front hub motor gives fairly powerful, torque-sensor smooth assist up hills, and it compares well to other motors of the same size. (Don’t expect top-end mid-motor power.) A wireless Bluetooth handlebar-mounted control unit lets you switch between levels, though I found it a little fiddly. The Bluetooth unit doubles as an electronic key, disabling the system.
The Bosch power tool batteries mount on the e-pod control unit on the head tube, which precludes using a Moulton front rack. These Bosch batteries are widely available and you can buy as few or as many as you need. I found the system so efficient I would probably get a full day’s riding out of two 216Wh batteries (or three at most). Larger or smaller capacities are available.
ARCC can also retrofit their system to any current Moulton that doesn’t feature a double pylon fork. There’s a five-year warranty on the electrical system, while Bosch batteries are warranted for two years.
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Orbea Vibe H10 EQ £3,099
Lightweight hybrid with an eBikemotion X35 Plus hub motor. EQ version comes with lights, rack, guards, and kickstand.
This off-the-peg electric-assist Moulton TSR feels rather front heavy and awkward to manhandle when you’re on foot, but when you’re riding it’s fast, comfortable, and super manoeuvrable.
Price: £3,774.80 (as tested, 216Wh battery). From £3,294.
Sizes: Unisex onesize frame.
Frame and fork: Spaceframe with Columbus Spirit and Reynolds 525 CrMo steels, fillet brazed. Moulton leading link suspension fork with adjustable damping and compression.
Wheels: Double wall alloy semi-aero Black/CNC with Schwalbe Marathon Racer 40-406 tyres.
Transmission: 54-tooth chainset, Shimano Alfine 8 speed hub with 18t sprocket, Alfine shifter. 8 ratios, 30-91in
Braking: Tektro M710 V-brakes
Steering & seating: Choice of Kalloy flat bar or drop bar. Selle Royal Viper seat.
Battery: 36V, 216Wh Bosch power-tool battery as tested. Other options include 144Wh and a 324Wh (latter from third-party sellers only). ARCC make an alloy frame holder for a spare battery.
Equipment: Front e²-pod unit acts as wireless Bluetooth hub and has electronic locking. SKS mudguards (optional extra).