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If you are on a tight budget and looking for a cheap electric bike, this might just do the trick. The Cyclamatic Power Plus CX1 seems like a bargain, but would it be money well spent? Read my review to find out what I think of this bike.
Are cheap e-bikes any good?
When I was doing my research for this article, I had to trawl through a lot of customer reviews, and the answer to the above question seems to be quite varied. On the whole I would say that most customers who brought this bike are satisfied with their purchase. The Cyclamatic CX1 has generally favourable reviews. A lot of the poor customer reviews are a few years old and it seems that Cyclamatic have sorted a lot of the early reliability issues.
At the end of the day, these bikes are built down to a price and the general quality of the bike and electric components is not going to be as good as something like a Cube Hybrid electric bike. But then you will pay three times the price for the aforementioned bike.
Ultimately, you get what you pay for. I have ridden one of these and I will give you my personal opinion based on my knowledge and experience with e-bikes and bicycles in general.
The bike itself has a fairly standard steel frame and is only available in a 19″ frame. The frame size should give it a fairly broad appeal, and should be suitable for most riders. I am 6’1″ and have ridden one of these without feeling uncomfortable.
The components on this bike are low-end Shimano fayre, but at least these parts are cheap to replace if they break. For example a rear derailleur for this bike costs about £12 / $15. The brakes are unbranded mechanical disk brakes, and there has been some concerns raised about the availability of replacement brake pads and the effectiveness of the braking performance (more on that later!).
The Shimano 21-speed gears work through a triple front chainring and 7-speed rear freewheel. The gears work well-enough, as long as they are periodically adjusted.
The suspension forks are very basic, and are the kind you would usually find on a £150 / $200 bike.
The seat is comfortable enough and the overall finish of the bike frame is actually quite good. There is also a useful kickstand fitted.
The 250w rear electric hub motor is a generic unbranded model. This type of motor uses nylon planetary gears, which are generally reliable, but can sometimes fail if the motor is subjected to constant heavy load. Under everyday riding conditions this shouldn’t be an issue.
The motor speed controller is located in a plastic box on the underside of the downtube, this may make it somewhat vulnerable to water ingress. These controllers are usually water-resistant to a degree, but whether they can handle the prolonged wet spells is another matter.
There have been some customer reports of the motor cutting out after heavy rain, although this was on earlier models and the supplier have now stated this problem has been remedied.
The controller is again, a generic 36v 250w controller and should be easy to source and replace in the event of failure (at a cost of approximately £35 / $50).
Power is provided by a frame-mounted 36v 8.8ah Lithium battery pack that uses unbranded Chinese cells. There have been some complaints regarding this battery’s longevity. Samsung or Panasonic Lithium battery cells usually have a service life of 20-30k miles, but with the cheaper generic cells this can be greatly reduced. Thankfully, e-bike batteries have come down in price substantially and a direct replacement battery for this bike would cost around £170 / $250.
Battery range: The total energy capacity of this battery is 317wh (watt hours), so using the 20wh per mile energy consumption calculation, would mean a range of 15 miles. In real-world terms that could increase to around 25-30 miles, if pedal assist is only used occasionally.
I was offered one of these second hand, early last year and had a little go on it. Unfortunately the bike had obviously been exposed to the elements and a lot of the allen bolts were rusting, and there was pitting on the suspension fork stanchions. The brake disks also had some surface rust.
as far as riding the bike was concerned, it performed as expected. The motor didn’t feel as willing and strong as other 250w hub motors I have used, but it did the job. The general feel of the bike was okay. It is worth noting that Cyclamatic have fitted a better motor to the 2018/19 model.
I can relate to some of the negative reviews about the brakes. They weren’t particularly good and felt vague at best. I can put this down to the condition and use of the bike, and i’m sure with some adjustment they could have been improved.
The forks seemed okay at soaking up road bumps, but remember, this is marketed as an electric mountain bike – I certainly wouldn’t want to be taking it off-road on anything too severe!
In fairness, the bike I tested was a couple of years old at the time, so it would have been a 2016 model. The owner said that he had covered quite a lot of miles on his daily commute and had never experienced any issues with either the battery or motor.
Features and Specifications:
- 19″ steel frame
- 26″ wheels
- More powerful 250w brushless motor
- Upgraded 36V 8.8AH lithium battery
- 4-6 hours for full recharge
- Max distance: 25-31 miles
- Max speed: 15 mph
- Fully sealed battery
- Padded saddle
- Disc brakes
- Kenda tyres
- 21 Speed Shimano gears
- Quick release battery
- Quick release front wheel
- Bell and reflectors
- Suitable for rider height up to 162cm / age 14 upwards
- Maximum rider weight: 100KG
- Weight of bike: 20Kgs
For the price the Cyclamatic CX1 is okay. Personally, I would rather save up a bit more money and go for something like the NCM Prague – it might be more expensive, but the build quality and general feel of the bike puts it on another level.
Having said that, the Cyclamatic is an decent enough starter e-bike. If you are just after something to get you to the shops or a short commute to work, then there’s no reason why it shouldn’t meet your needs.
My only riding experience with this bike was on an older model, so I can only go by recent customer reviews as to the quality and performance of the latest incarnation.
If you are on a tight budget and don’t need anything too fancy, then the CX1 should do the job.