A2B Alva+ Electric Bike Review

If you are looking for an e-bike that looks different than the rest with unique features like an electronic key then I suggest you check out the A2B Alva+!

The feature packed A2B Alva+  has unique styling, a solid ride feel, an electronic key, a 500 watt direct drive rear hub motor, a large 36V 13.2ah lithium ion battery, torque sensor pedal assist or throttle option, Shimano, Suntour, & Tektro components, and a bunch of accessories for $3,399 (USD).

Make sure you check out part 1 of this review with a video, large detailed pictures and specifications of the A2B Alva+ to get familiar with this e-bike.

In this second part of the full review A2B Alva+ e-bike, you will get an idea of the ride characteristics, range test, pros, cons, and overall thoughts on this e-bike.

What you can expect from the A2B Alva+ E-Bike:

Here is a video with an overview of the features of the A2B Alva+ e-bike and some riding footage:

So where did the name Alva come from?  A2B decided to pay respect to historical electrical icons.  The Alva is named after Thomas Alva Edison!

Hero Eco is the company that owns the A2B brand and they really focused on making their bikes fit the demands of the US market.  They designed the Alva+ to offer both a pedal assist and throttle option so that the rider can decide what they want to use.

One of the striking features of the A2B Alva+ is the large box section aluminum tubing that is used for the step thru frame.  It has a unique look that makes it stand apart from many other e-bikes.  The large tubing also gives the bike a solid ride feel, but more on that in a bit.

The frame is also designed well when it comes to the battery attachment.  There is a large tube that the battery slides onto and that frame tube also supports the rear rack above the battery.  Overall it is a clean design.

Internal cable routing inside the frame of the A2B Alva+ continues along the line of a clean and organized design.  Speaking of clean design, the chainguard attaches to the bottom of the chainstay tube to help keep your pant legs clean.

A powerful 500 watt direct drive rear hub motor with 35 Nm of torque helps the A2B Alva+ get up to speed pretty quick and climb moderately steep hills.

The Alva+ has 2 options for adding electric asssist: pedal assist (pedelec) or throttle.

The pedal assist is based on a TMM4 torque sensor in the rear dropout of the frame.  It senses how much pedal power you are contributing and provides proportional motor assist based on which pedal assist level (Economy, Standard, or High) you have selected (at the display).  The torque sensing pedal assist bikes generally have a very intuitive ride feel in comparison to pedal assist bikes that have a cadence sensor.

The throttle option is activated at any time, even if you are using the pedal assist mode.  Simply twist the right grip throttle (like a motorcycle or scooter throttle) and you can choose to pedal or not.

If you want to pedal without assist there is also the “0″ level.

Another very unique feature on the Alva+ is the electronic wireless key fob or “E-Key” that turns the bike on or off.  Simply wave the key in front of the display and the bike turns on or off.  High tech!

The display is literally front and center because it is attached to the industrial looking stem and it provides info on the battery level, speed, trip distance, and odometer.   In addition, pedal assist levels are changed at the display.  The display casing is aluminum and adds to the high quality feel of the bike.

A 36V 13.6ah lithium ion battery pack comes stock on the Alva+ with an option to upgrade to a 36V 17ah lithium pack if you want more range.  The stock 13.2ah is significantly larger than the typical 36V 10ah pack found on a lot of e-bikes.

A magnetic attachment at the battery for the connection to the bike cord or charger cord also sets the Alva+ apart from most other e-bikes.  It is similar to an Apple MacBook charger cord.

Charging the battery can be accomplished while the battery is on the bike or when it has been removed from the bike.  There is a lock that secures the battery to the frame and it can be unlocked with the supplied key.

A 7 speed gear selection keeps things relatively simple with enough range to help you contribute some climbing power or high speed cruising power.  A grip shifter on the left side of the handlebars shifts the Shimano Alivio rear derailleur.

Powerful Tektro Aurigia E-Comp hydraulic disc brakes slow the A2B Alva+ down.  These brakes have electronic switches that will turn off the assist when the brakes are engaged.

Another unique feature of the A2B Alva+ is the smaller 24″ wheel size with wide (2.35″) Kenda tires.  A lot of e-bikes come equipped with 26″ or 700C size wheels with narrow tires.  The smaller wheels with wider tires give the Alva+ a unique look and they provide a solid, stable ride.  Smaller wheels generally transmit more of the road roughness to the rider.

Speaking of rough roads, a SR Suntour suspension fork with 2.5″ of travel helps smooth things out.

The Alva+ does come equipped with a nice selection of accessories.  The most notable is the cool looking fenders.  They have a tough looking design and they attach to the Alva+ frame and fork with solid struts.  The front and rear LED lights run off of the battery and the rear light is attached to the rear fender in a very clean fashion.  Also included in the accessory mix is the previously mentioned chainguard, bell and kickstand.

Riding the A2B Alva+

Starting the Alva+ up with the electronic key fob is pretty fun; just swipe it front of the display and you are ready to ride!

The Alva + is a very solid feeling bike with it’s large aluminum box tubing frame, and stout 24″ x 2.35″ tires.  It feels very stable and smooth.

The 500 watt direct drive motor is powerful and remarkably quiet.  It climbs pretty well but it needs a little help on the really steep hills.

The pedal assist is very responsive thanks to the TMM4 torque sensor system.  You can definitely tell when the assist changes when transitioning from pedaling hard to pedaling lightly.

In fact, the torque sensor my be a little too responsive in some situations.  For instance when putting your foot on the pedal at a stop light the assist will engage (with a lot of power in the High assist mode) unless you are squeezing the brake lever.  It also will engage if you are walking the bike off of a curb or down stairs because the force of the rear wheel hitting the ground engages the torque sensor.  You can prevent that by lightly squeezing the brake lever or turning the bike off when you are walking the bike in those areas.

Pedaling this bike on a hill without assist is pretty tough because it is a fairly heavy e-bike (72 lbs.).

The Alva+ is a pretty comfortable bike to ride.  The wide tires and the front suspension fork take out most of the bumps and cracks in the road.  The handlebar height can be adjusted at the stem to fit your preferred riding position.

The Alva+ is a bit back heavy because of the big battery on the rack and rear hub motor. You can feel the weight when standing out of the saddle to pedal, making a hard turn, when walking the bike up stairs or loading it on a car rack.

The ride test results:

Here is the real world information on how the A2B Alva+ electric bike performed on my typical riding circuit that includes hills, flats, traffic, wind (when available) etc.

The results below are based on a paved circuit that I use for testing other electric bikes.

 

While testing these bikes I like to put them through the toughest conditions to see where their bottom line is in regards to range and speed.

Range: As you can see from the GPS info that I recorded, the A2B Alva+ traveled 26.4 miles and did a total elevation gain/loss of around 2,150 ft. Considering that I weigh 190 lbs and I pedaled very lightly this is good range for a 36 Volt 13.2 ah battery pack (475 Watt Hours) with a 500 watt motor.

Watt hours are the total energy in a battery pack and it is based on the volts x amp hours of a pack. This is a way to compare the size of the “gas tank” of electric bikes.

Please keep in mind that if you pedal more, weight less than me, ride slower and/or you use the bike in terrain that is not as hilly you will get more range. These results are from tough testing.

Speed: The A2B Alva+ can get up to around 20 mph on flat ground.  It is a little slower than that on the climbs and may need a little pedaling help on the really steep hills.

Weight: This bike tips the scales at 72 lbs.

Pros

Electronic Key Fob:  The E-key is a fun feature that also provides a bit more security than the average mechanical key.  It is certainly high tech and makes “firing up” the bike pretty easy.

Quiet Motor:  The 500 watt direct drive rear hub motor is remarkable quiet and powerful.  Riding along with very little motor noise is pretty nice.

Unique Look:  If you want an electric bike that looks different than the rest, then the A2B Alva+ is a great bike for that.  Some e-bikes try to hide the fact that they are an e-bike but the A2B bikes like to make a point that they are an e-bike.

Cons

Heavy:  The Alva+ is a pretty heavy bike at 72 lbs.  Since the battery and motor are on the back of the bike it makes it a bit back heavy.  It is noticeable when pedaling while standing out of the saddle, taking a hard corner, walking the bike up stairs, or loading it onto a bike rack.

Sensitive Torque Sensor:  Having a responsive torque sensor for riding the bike is nice but that sensitivity also led to the bike wanting to get up and go when the rear wheel hit the ground while walking the bike down stairs.  A2B recommends that the bike be turned off or set to assist level to zero when walking the bike.

Conclusion

Overall the A2B Alva+ is a fun bike to ride and it offers a unique set of features that set it apart from the rest of the e-bike crowd.  The unique look, the E-key, and a larger than average battery make this bike stand out.

No bike is perfect and it would be nice to have better weight distribution on this bike and a slightly less sensitive torque sensor.

Please keep in mind that this is a relatively short term test. This testing can’t really give you the long term review of durability and reliability. My thoughts on the quality of this bike are from previous experiences with similar bikes. If you own this bike and have some input on the long term durability, please share your comments with the Electric Bike Report community below.

The A2B Alva + retails for $3,399 (USD) at the time of this review.

Where to buy the A2B Alva+?  Check with A2B for a dealer near you: http://www.wearea2b.com/us/dealers

Do you have any questions about the A2B Alva+?  Do you own the A2B Alva+?  Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Thanks!

-Pete

P.S. Don’t forget to join the Electric Bike Report community for updates from the electric bike world, plus ebike riding and maintenance tips!


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Stores I recommend: Amazon, REI, Jenson USA, Bike Trailer Shop, Bike Bag Shop, and Bike Kid Shop.

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7 Comments

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  1. Joe Witherspoon October 3, 2013 at 3:10 pm #

    Good stuff! Our store in San Francisco is doing an all A2B demo event this Saturday. We have this bike in stock and the Shima will be on hand too, as well as the rest of the line from A2B. If you’re local, it’s a good time to try the lineup.

  2. James Scott October 5, 2013 at 10:38 am #

    $3k for an ebike is insane. You can build a great ebike at half the cost.

  3. Rob P October 7, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

    Any ebike above $3k is a rip off.

  4. Robert Wenst October 9, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

    A2B proves that “cool” still sells. But when you get down to it, this “new” A2B has many of the old bikes features. The good and the bad. The bike still has the unique look with “pedal” assist (something Americans want). But taking the battery out of the frame and insisting it sits on the back was a horrible idea. Many who own the older A2B never bought that huge back battery because it usually “bottomed out” the bike. I understand the battery in the frame was a pain in the butt for A2B, but it was part of the “cool” look that set this unique bike apart from the rest.

    Sadly, the bike was barely worth the $2999 years back. With the heavy frame, battery, and remembering pedal assist or no pedal assist, this bike was meant to be throttled, I see little to no improvements earning this bike the “Albatross of the Year” award!

    • Joe Witherspoon October 10, 2013 at 10:48 am #

      Actually- having sold the A2B bikes for a number of years- $3K is a on the low side for a reliable bike you’d want to commute on daily. The Octave/Metro is one of the nicest of them and it occupies a category all it’s own that certain customers gravitate to – who are not looking for a light weight bicycle with a motor strapped to a frame not meant for such things – but want a real integrated urban electric 2-wheel mode of transportation with a good range, great comfort and proven reliability.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. A2B Alva+ Electric Bike Video, Pictures, & Specs | Electric Bike Report | Electric Bike, Ebikes, Electric Bicycles, E Bike, Reviews - October 9, 2013

    [...] Now checkout Part 2 of the A2B Alva+ review with info on the ride characteristics, the range test, pros, cons, and overall tho…! [...]

  2. A2B Shima Electric Bike Review [VIDEO] | Electric Bike Report | Electric Bike, Ebikes, Electric Bicycles, E Bike, Reviews - October 17, 2013

    [...] Shima is pretty similar to the A2B Alva+ (recently reviewed) in its form but the function is a bit different.  The Shima is a high speed [...]

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