E Movement Thor Review, 2021
E Movement Thor Review: Summary
The E Movement Thor is a sporty hardtail e-mtb with a solidly performing rear Bafang hub motor and frame-integrated and non-removable batteries. The relatively small 360Wh battery and rear hub motor design mean it’s best suited for sporty leisure riding rather than full on mountain biking.
The current discounted IndiegGoGo price of £1200 means it’s an affordable entry level type price point for those looking to tackle both tarmac and less challenging trails.
There are some nice extra touches though that take it above the ultra low budget price level, namely the Bafang DPC-18 full colour display with customisable settings and the hardwired Spanninga front LED light that can be turned on and off manually and that also turns on automatically in low light conditions.
Overall the Thor looks a solid purchase with a couple of luxury touches for those wanting to get out and about on the trails and don’t need the hill-climbing oomph of a mid-drive.
- Great for easy trail riding
- Equipped with mudguards, lights and kickstand
- Great display showing a wide variety of customisable data
- Smooth, quiet motor
- Automatic front light turns itself on in low light
- Front fork performs well for one with budget credentials
- Not the most powerful hill climber out there, though it will climb all but the severest of hills OK
- Gearing too high for those who live in very hilly areas
- Battery not removable which will disappoint those who want to charge indoors
- Battery: 360Wh, non-removable and frame-integrated with Samsung cells
- Display: Bafang full colour LCD DP-C18 with IP65 dust and water protection
- Motor: Bafang rear hub motor RM G020.250 rated at 45Nm torque
- Headlight: Integrated front LED powered from main battery
- Taillights: Attachable rear LED
- Pedal Assist: Pedal movement sensor (PAS) and throttle
- Throttle: Trigger control, twist and go style
- Battery Weight: Not known
- Total Bike Weight: 23.4kg / 51.6lbs
- Maximum rider and luggage weight: 150kg
- Maximum load on rear rack: N/A
- Unfolded Dimensions: 1050mm x 1775mm
- Folded dimensions: N/A
- Brakes: Logan hydraulic disk brakes with 160mm rotors front and rear
- Fenders: Metal, unbranded
- Fork: Steel sprung front suspension with lockout
- Frame: Aluminium alloy 6061
- Gearing: 48 tooth chainwheel, SRAM X-4, 8 speed derailleur gears
- Grips: Unbranded, rubber, friction fit
- Handlebar: Alloy riser bars, 633mm wide
- Kickstand: Yes
- Pedals: Neco alloy platform pedals
- Tires: Maxxis 27.5×2.35” knobblies with puncture resistance
E Movement Thor Review: Performance
The Thor gives nice steady acceleration up to around the UK/EU permitted max assisted speed of 16mph and it’s very easy to maintain that speed – there is no obvious cut out point when the motor stops and the bike noticeably slows, giving a very bike like ride. It’s a nice quiet motor too, adding to the feeling of a very bike-like and sporty ride with both you and the motor adding equally to you forward momentum.
Whilst it’s not the most powerful hillclimber out there, once you get the hang of the customisable power settings (see the full video explanation of this) the hillclimbing certainly lives up to what you would expect of a 250W, 45Nm rated rear hub motor. In short put it in the top power level and also apply the throttle whilst you are pedaling and most hills become a pleasant experience rather than lung busting escapades.
Its Achilles’ heal of poorer performance on very steep climbs was perhaps as much to do with its high gearing (especially given its mtb styling and off-road tires) and it would have been nice to see how the motor performed on much, much steeper hills but unfortunately the
The throttle alone proved most useful for hill starts where pedal assist alone took a second or two to kick in (the Thor is not equipped with a torque sensor which is the best system for providing immediate pedal and motor power on hill starts). You won’t be able to sit idly back and use the throttle alone – there’s just not enough power there for that.
The Thor achieved 36.65 miles with 2255ft of climbing at an average speed of 14.3mph. The test circuit was composed of around 50% unsealed tracks and 50% paved paths and roads.
That’s a decent range for an off-road model with knobbly tires on a mix of tracks given the 360Wh isn’t the biggest out there.
Handling (cornering, slow speeds, safety on bike, etc.)
The Thor handled well at low and high speed and always felt safe, on and off road. It’s conventional diamond frame geometry and 27.5 inch wheels made for a stable feeling ride. Ride
The Thor provided a sporty ride rather than one designed for out and out comfort. I found myself adopting a slightly leant forward ride position on the 17”frame – the only size available and I am 5’ 8”. So larger riders with a longer reach would have a more upright ‘comfort’ posture and shorter riders may be straining a little to adopt a comfortable position. But for a wide range of middling size riders it looks about the right size frame for a sporty yet fairly comfortable ride.
Despite the forks being a budget brand they provided good cushioning on off-road tracks and trails. The Velo branded seat had minimal padding is designed fro light weight rather than to give any cushioning effect, though of course that’s easily swapped out if needed.
SPEC REVIEW: Electrical Components
The Bafang rear hub motor RM G020.250 rated at 45Nm torque is quite a big and heavy motor at 3.3kg / 7.3lbs, at least by the standard of leisure use hub motors (as opposed to cargo bike motors and most mid-drives).
The power it delivered was only slightly disappointing given it seemed more in line with the power you might expect from a smaller and lighter motor (the lightest hub motors are now creeping down below 2kg / 4.4lbs).
Still, hub motors from Bafang are some of the best of their kind in the e-bike world – that is to budget-priced, reliable and increasingly efficient. I certainly was impressed with the quietness and efficiency of this particular motor.
It’s hard to say too much about the frame integrated, non-removable 360Wh battery with Samsung cells as it couldn’t be removed for us to weigh it or have a good look at it. I achieved a virtually full charge in about 4 hours from the 2amp charger with the extra 1% slow top off charge taking quite a while longer – about par for the course.
Pedal Assist / Throttle
The pedal assist uses a ring of magnets around one of the pedal cranks that activate the motor on turning the pedals. This takes a little while to kick in and stop on starting and stopping pedaling, but we are only talking very brief intervals. Nevertheless it makes for smoother power delivery if you can keep the pedals turning all the time on a steady climb.
There is also a separate throttle and this is best used to complement pedalling power rather than as a straight substitute – on test rides it was found especially useful when a small blib of instant power was required, such as on a hill start or to get over a small rock step. It’s certainly not a motorbike-style throttle that is effective enough to power bike and rider at any kind of high speed or up hills without calling upon some pedal power – but it certainly does have its uses.
The Thor has an attractive and useful Bafang DPC 18 full colour display. It has a speedo type dial that also shows the power output of the motor on an opposing gauge – useful if you like to see just when and how the motor is delivering peak power.
It’s easy to get access to an extensive settings menu which certainly helped me set up things to be much easier to use than the default settings the bike came with. Most importantly I switched
Components and Accessories
I’ll admit to never having heard of Logan hydraulic disk brakes before but I was really impressed with the way they performed giving well modulated power and plenty of ability to stop on a dime if needed. They run on 160mm rotors front and rear which is perfectly adequate for stopping a combined weight of 95kg / 210lbs of bike and rider.
A nice feature was the grubber screw adjustment on the levers that increased or decreased how quickly the brakes acted, so you can fine tune them for your braking needs.
The aluminium 6061 frame has very strong looking welds where the very large downtube that houses the battery meets the headtube and the bottom bracket shell with a reinforcing gusset at the latter joint.
The RST front suspension fork has both lockout and preload adjustment and 100mm of travel. Despite its budget credentials it performed pretty well during test rides, smoothing out moderately rough off-road trails and the lockout feature proving useful for harder exertions on the road, effectively stopping ‘fork bob’. Backing the preload off gave a noticeably smoother ride on off-road tracks we I liked.
It’s certainly amongst the better budget suspension forks I’ve tried; some cheaper suspension forks can prove rattly and feel rather heavy and clunky, which this model avoided doing.
In the main the SRAM X4 8 speed derailleur gears worked well and changed effectively. For the steeper hill sections of my test ride I felt lower gearing would have been appropriate and would consider swapping out the front chainring for a smaller one so that I wasn’t constantly in first gear and wishing I had even easier gears.
I had an occasional problem with the chain dropping off the inside of the chainwheel which I could fix by using any of the screw adjustments on the rear derrailleur – but no doubt a visit to a local bike shop would cure this.
The budget rubber grips, Velo sport seat and Neco alloy platform pedals were all pretty adequate for the purpose and allowed for strong pedalling with hands or feet sleeping off the bars.
The Maxxis Forekaster 27.5×2.35” knobbly tires knobblies gave plenty of grip on the dry but slightly loose off road trails I used them on and combined that with good road speed without too much noise from the knobbly tread pattern. Impressive performance all round.
Extras / Accessories
I removed the metal fenders for my test riding as I found them rather a rattly distraction riding off road and if wanted mudguards on this particular bike would replace them with a different. Although the kickstand rattled a little riding off-road it was very useful (rattly kickstands are a perennial problem if you ride off-road with them anyway, so that’s not really a criticism. There are also handy bottle cage attachment points. I couldn’t see attachment points for a rear rack but a good local bike shop should be able fit one using ‘P clips’ and the like.
Summary Review / Where to Buy
For the IndieGoGo price of £1200 this looks a decent value e-bike and one that will give a nice fast sporty ride in on and off-road conditions alike.
The motor is quiet and efficient though not the most powerful hill climber – but for true off-road climbing ability I’d recommend looking at pricier mid-drive models if it’s that kind of performance you are really after. But for mixing moderate trail riding and road riding it proved an effective and efficient ride with touches like the customisable colour display and automatic front light providing the icing on the cake.
E Movement are selling direct to consumer and at the time of writing were offering the Thor on IndieGoGo at the discounted price above – the full RRP £2600 quoted there puts it up against quality mid-drive e-bikes and I’d hesitate to recommend it at that price. The E movement warranty is one year on electronics and battery and 4 years on ‘body parts’ – it would be nice to see a 2 year warranty on the electronics, especially as Bafang (motor) and Samsung (battery cells) are recognised for their quality and reliability.
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