Electric Bike Review: BH Emotion Max 700 Road Bike

The Emotion Max 700 is ready for the road!

Are you looking for a road style electric bike that can zip you around your town or let you fly on the open road?  The Emotion Max 700 electric bike may be the e-bike you have been looking for.

First of all this is a bike that is somewhere between a road bike, touring bike and urban street machine.  It has the narrow tires like a road/touring bike and the flat handlebars like an urban street bike with the addition of a suspension fork to smooth things out.

Oh and it can go fast!  This bike has been modified so that it can go up to 25 mph with pedal electric assistance (compared to the normal 20 mph in the US).

The Emotion Max 700 uses the Panasonic 250 watt mid drive motor with the 36 volt 12 ah battery pack with pedal assist only (no throttle).  This bike works well for someone who likes the feeling that they are doing some work with the electric assist making them feel like a Tour de France rider!

Make sure you checkout this post with video, pictures and specifications of the Emotion Max 700 electric bike.

What you can expect from this electric road bike:

Here is the real world information on how this bike performed on my typical riding circuit that includes a lot of hills, wind, etc.

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

Emotion Max 700 Distance and Elevation Results

While testing these bikes I like to put them through the toughest conditions (highest assist setting with little pedaling) to see where their bottom line is in regards to range and speed.

Range:  From the GPS info that I recorded, the bike traveled 25 miles and did a total elevation gain/loss of around 2000 ft. Considering that I weight 190 lbs and I pedaled very lightly this is pretty good range for a 36 Volt 12 ah battery pack (432 Watt Hours).

Speed:  The Max 700 had no problems maintaining 25 mph on the open road.  This bike climbs well because of it’s mid drive motor that allows you to shift the gears and make it easier for you and the motor to climb the hills.

Weight:  This bike tips the scales at 47 lbs. which is good for an electric road bike.  The weight distribution on this electric bike is great because both the motor and the battery are located in the center of the bike and low to the ground.  This creates a low center of gravity which is good for handling.

With that, let’s jump into the Pros and Cons of this electric road bike.

PROS

The Panasonic 250 watt mid drive motor: ready to make you feel like a pro!

Speed:  This bike likes to go fast!  The relatively skinny tires and the electric assist modified to go 25 mph makes this bike an urban rocket that can get you places quickly.  I enjoyed riding this bike because it makes you feel super human and you can cover a lot of distance in a short amount of time.

A bike like this works well around town but it also is a lot of fun when you open it up on the country roads.  I found that once you have it up to speed it glides along hilly roads with ease.  Being able to shift the motor and your pedal effort through the gears of the bike enable you to keep your speed up on the hills.

A note of caution:  When navigating in car traffic you need to be extra careful on an electric bike like this because people are not expecting you to go this fast on a “bicycle”.  Make sure you are on the defensive when riding a bike like this.  Also remember that it will take you longer to stop a bike moving this fast compared to a normal bike.

Range:  I liked the fact that this bike has a little extra battery capacity compared to other e-bikes.  The 36 volt 12 ah Panasonic lithium ion battery provides more “juice” than your typical 36 volt 10 ah battery pack.  Plus, the mid drive motors tend to be more efficient because they can run in their optimum rpm range using the different gear ratios of the bike.

In my conservative test the bike traveled 25 miles, but if you put in some consistent pedaling effort and use a lower assist setting I think you could get a bit more range and still have a lot of fun.  With this in mind, you could use this bike on nice road/touring loop near your town or for a long commute to and from work.

By the way, here are 10 tips to increase the range of your electric bike.

Climbs well: Mid drive motors are nice for climbing steep hills because you can shift the gears to make it easier for you and the motor to climb the hill.  Even though the motor output is relatively small (250 watts) the ability to shift gears helps this bike climb steeper grades.  But remember that this is a pedal assist bike, so you will still need to do some work!

Good Component Mix: The Emotion Max 700 comes with a nice selection of quality components.   The Shimano Alivio and XT drivetrain mix makes for crisp and accurate shifting.  Shimano is a well known quality bike component manufacturer.

36 Volt Panasonic Electric Bike Kit:  The Panasonic electric kit has a very good reputation and has been used in Europe for many years.  The 36 volt system is different from their normal 26 volt system and provides a little more punch.

The Emotion Max 700 comes with the SR Suntour Swing suspension fork to take the edge off bumps and cracks in the road.

Suspension Fork:  The addition of the SR Suntour Swing Shock is a nice way to smooth out the rough spots in the road.  The fork has 30 mm (1-1/8”) of travel which helps take the edge off of cracks and small potholes in the road.  This can be good especially when you are traveling at 25+ mph consistently.

Hydraulic Disc Brakes:  The Shimano M505 hydraulic disc brakes are a nice touch on a bike like this.  They provide very good stopping power to slow you down as quickly as possible.  Hydraulic disc brakes also add a quality feel to a bike like this.

CONS

Not a Comfortable Cruiser:  This is pretty obvious but I do want to make a note of it.  This bike is built for speed so it is not like a laid back comfortable cruiser.  If you like the feel of a road/touring/urban bike then you will be right at home on this bike.  If you are looking for something with a little more cush then you should look elsewhere.

Slow Acceleration:  Compared to some other bikes (like the Emotion Neo Xtrem) this bike is not super quick from a complete stop.  Once you get it rolling it can accelerate quicker through the gears, but it is not super peppy off the line.

No Brake Sensors:  This electric bike does not have sensors that stop the electric assist when using the brakes.  Some e-bikes have sensors on the brake levers that will shut down the electric assistance when you activate the brake lever.  On the Max 700, the system will only stop assisting when you stop pedaling.

This is most noticeable when you are at a stop light and you have the brakes on and your foot is on the pedal in preparation to start riding.  The bike wants to go!  It would be nice to have the brake sensors on this bike to prevent the bike from activating the assist in a situation like this.

I have noticed this with other bikes that use the Panasonic electric bike system too.

A Little Noise:  The Panasonic electric bike system does make a little noise when you are riding.  It is not too noticeable when you are up to speed but if you are sensitive to noise you should be aware of this.

Conclusion

The Emotion Max 700 is a quick and nimble electric road bike.

Overall I would recommend this bike to someone who wants to have a quick and nimble road style electric bike.  It is an e-bike that can get you places quickly and it makes you feel like a Tour de France rider (without all the required training!).

Just remember that it is built for speed, not necessarily comfort.

I think the value is there with a quality mix of components for a price point of $2950 (36V 12ah battery) or $2750 (36V 8ah battery).

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.

Where to get the Emotion Max 700?  In the US Pete’s Electric Bikes (not my company, they just choose a cool name!) and The New Wheel.  Otherwise I would check with BH Emotion for a store in your location.

Do you have any questions about the Emotion Max 700?  Please leave them 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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14 Comments

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  1. Case March 7, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

    Hi Pete
    As this Bike exceeds legal Speed limit , it needs to licensed as a Moped, unless Bike is Used Off Road ?
    All fine & dandy until an accident happens & liability issues pop up ! 

  2. Dr. G. Fairchild March 11, 2012 at 1:55 pm #

    According to the exact wording of the federal and many state laws,  “on motor power alone cannot exceed 20 mph on a flat surface with 180 lbs. rider……”   if a bike is being pedaled then the speed requirements are simply the posted speed limits of the road you are on.   e-bikes are allowed to not be registered as a moped as long as they cannot go beyond 20 mph motor only power on a flat surface.   Also,  once you start pedaling then these regulations do not apply and for higher power bikes you are allowed to have a toggle switch between street legal and “off road”  as long as your switch is in the legal position on public roads then you just need that switch position to be at 750 watts or less and not able to run over 20 mph on motor only power.  For off road conditions you can switch back to a mode that has more power.     Thanks, Dr. G

  3. Dr. G. Fairchild March 11, 2012 at 2:05 pm #

    I have been riding a Busettii Big 50 Mile e-bike for 8 months.   3 of my friends also have Busettii brand bikes and we ride together often.   None of us have had any big problems with our bikes But they do climb hills much faster than most other brands and the long range of 50—70 miles per charge has been great for long rides.   Just remember,  Most companies test their bikes at 15 mph steady speed to get the miles per charge rating.  If I ride faster like 22 mph on my Busettii then I only get about  33—43 miles on one charge.   The added wind resistance above 15 mph will really have a big affect on any e-bike !   At 22 mph getting 33–43 miles per charge is really great on any e-bike.  Most companies do not tell you how far a bike will go at these higher speeds.    Thanks,  Dr. G

  4. Chuck March 13, 2012 at 7:57 am #

    In Europe, there are two classifications for Pedelec (pedal assist) bikes, one is plain old Pedelec which limits speed to 25 kph (15.5 mph) and the other is Fast Pedalec which has a higher 45 kph limit (essentially considered a Moped).  Several bike models imported to the US and manufactured by either Kalkhoff or BH (Easy Motion) fall under this Fast Pedalec category.  The only difference is the specific gear that is mounted on the motor shaft.  In the case of the simple pedalec a 9 tooth gear is fitted.  In the case of the fast pedalec, either an 11 tooth or 12 tooth gear is fitted.  The swap is simple and takes just a minute or two.  One advantage of the larger motor gear is that it also increases the cadence that the rider can have while still receiving assistance from the motor.  Riders with higher natural cadence will prefer the larger motor gear while those that like a low cadence will probably not.

    As for the Busetti Big 50, they take the old American approach – there ain’t no substitution for cubic inches – in this case watts and watt hours.  It’s a big, heavy cruiser with gobs of torque.  Just don’t ask me to lift it into your trunk, or replace spokes on the rear wheel (which will be breaking soon if they haven’t already…)

  5. Michael K. July 8, 2012 at 8:14 am #

    I am one who likes comfort when riding so I will not be looking at this bike if my current one comes to an untimely demise for some reason. I will in the future replace the front fork to accommodate a disc brake. I think all ebikes should have disc brakes especially in hilly country.

  6. KDX August 19, 2012 at 10:06 am #

    what is modified on this bike, that can make it go from 20 to 25mph?

    • Pete August 30, 2012 at 11:33 am #

      HI KDX,

      Please see Chuck’s comment above.

  7. Deanna C. August 30, 2012 at 7:22 am #

    Hi, Pete:

    I had one question re this bike. I know it’s not a “comfort bike” but are the handlebars and stem adjustable to any degree? I have been looking at the specs on this bike but can’t find any indication of whether they are or not. Any info. would be helpful.

    Thanks.

    • Pete August 30, 2012 at 11:16 am #

      Hi Deanna,

      The bike that I tested did not have an adjustable stem but that is something your local shop can install for you. Or they could change out the handlebars with some “riser” bars that would put you in a more upright position. If you raise the handlebars a lot, the brake and shifter cables may have to be replaced with longer cables and housing. That is also something your local shop can help you with.

  8. Ed April 29, 2013 at 9:19 am #

    Great written report, Pete! You mentioned motor noise. Do you happen to have a video of this bike riding past a camcorder on a tripod so we can hear it?

    • Pete April 29, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

      Thanks Ed! I don’t have that included in the video. It is hard to replicate that on the video because what you hear when you are riding the bike is different when compared to what the video recorder picks up. When you are riding at speed the wind noise changes how much motor sound you can hear. I mainly noticed the noise on the eFlow when accelerating from a stop and not so much once I was up to speed.

      I hope that helps.

      • Ed April 29, 2013 at 4:21 pm #

        My bad. I was wondering how loud the motor noise is to a pedestrian. I have a BionX PL-350, and as you know, they are silent.

        I have a friend with an older style motor with lead acid batteries and his bike is LOUD! When we ride by people at the park, they give us a dirty look thinking that we’re riding mopeds or something.

        I noticed the same looks from people at the beach when I was test riding a bike with a geared hub motor.

        I figure if a bike is going to be “green,” it ought to be “green” in terms of noise level too.

        Keep up the great reporting!

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