Home Technology Hitting the paths with a low-priced e-mountain bike

Hitting the paths with a low-priced e-mountain bike

Hitting the paths with a low-priced e-mountain bike


Image of a brown mountain bike leaned up against a grey stone wall.
Enlarge / The Apex, SWFT’s tackle a really reasonably priced e-mountain bike.

John Timmer

The topic of this evaluation, SWFT’s new Apex mountain bike, pulls collectively threads from two bikes we have checked out beforehand. A kind of threads got here courtesy of SWFT, which launched itself to the world with the Volt, an train in attempting to get e-bike costs right down to the purpose the place they weren’t competing with a good used automotive. Whereas the Volt wasn’t an incredible bike, it was completely purposeful and supplied a good experience at a sub-$1,000 worth. Now, SWFT is attempting to work that very same magic with a mountain bike.

The second thread got here courtesy of the Specialised e-mountain bike we checked out earlier this yr. In that evaluation, I instructed that should you wished to drop lower than three or 4 thousand {dollars} on even a non-electrified mountain bike, you’ll sacrifice high quality and options.

The Apex raises the stakes of that sacrifice by retaining twin suspensions, throwing in an electrical help, and concentrating on the value under $2,200. The sacrifices concerned are fairly noticeable and are made worse by a few questionable design choices. Whereas the bike will be enjoyable to level at a path, it does not work particularly nicely as a mountain bike, although numerous its points could be straightforward to appropriate if SWFT determined to return out with a 2.0 model.

Factors of distinction

To actually perceive the types of sacrifices that wanted to be made with the intention to carry this bike in at $2,200, we will simply begin on the entrance wheel and work our means again. Most present bikes use what’s known as a through-axle, which screws instantly into the fork. So long as the hub of the wheel is not broken, this ensures that it’s going to rotate evenly and the disk hooked up to the wheel will line up exactly in the course of the brakes. Whereas street bikes usually have a deal with on one finish of the axle to screw it in, mountain bikes skip the deal with as a result of it is simply one thing else that may snag on the terrain (it is screwed in with an Allen wrench as a substitute).

The Apex has a skewer right here, which is used to clamp the axle in place. The skewer is not as exact, so it is potential to lock it in a means that leaves the wheel barely out of alignment. And it additionally requires a deal with, which may probably get caught on stuff like foliage.

On the Apex, the fork it clamps into does have shocks. However most entrance shocks now include a lever that permits you to change the firmness of the experience. On regular terrain, firming issues up helps be sure that much less of the power that you just put into pedaling will get stolen by the shocks; you possibly can then simply flip the lever to loosen issues up when the terrain will get rugged. The entrance shocks on the Apex lack this method, so what you begin the experience with is what you’ve got acquired for its entirety.



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