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Eunorau Defender S Electric Bike Review, 2023
Jan 07, 2023
The emergence of direct-to-consumer e-bike companies has shaken up just what an e-bike can or should be. When we look at the legacy bicycle companies we see a lot of very traditional thinking in traditional models like commuters, cruisers, road bikes and mountain bikes. The D2C companies have often taken that thinking and tossed it out the nearest high window. Thank heaven. That’s 100% the case with the Eunorau Defender S we reviewed – it’s an e-bike that is anything but traditional or found in a common mold.
The Eunorau Defender S is a bike that a company like Giant or Cannondale would never have made. That’s not to say it’s not a worthwhile e-bike; but it required someone thinking about what an e-bike can be in a fresh way in order to see this rig to market. In our review of the Eunorau Defender S we will look at what makes this e-bike so different from most of the bikes we see with big, knobby tires.
The first, most obvious difference between the Defender S and other e-bikes is that this uses two-wheel drive. Yes, you read that correctly. Both the front and rear wheels drive this bike. We will get into just how this works later in our review.
At root, though, this is an all-terrain e-bike with full suspension to smooth out rough roads and rocky ground. It is equipped with hydraulic disc brakes and a 9-speed Shimano Alivio drivetrain, which gives it an increased ability to take in big hills. It also comes in two sizes in order to better fit buyers.
Bike Category: All terrain
Bike Class: Class 3 with 1 motor enabled: Throttle up to 20 mph; PAS up to 28 mph | Unclassified with both motors enabled
Eunorau Defender S Video Review
The Eunorau Defender S comes with two Bafang hub motors, which is just a blast once you get the feel for its handling
Comes in two sizes to better fit a broader range of riders (5-feet-3 to 6-feet-4)
Thanks to two motors it accelerates and climbs hills like few e-bikes can
9-speed Shimano Alivio drivetrain is a step up compared to most e-bikes in this price range
The 4″-wide tires handle various terrain quite well, and we didn’t encounter any flats despite primarily off-roading for our testing
With a 440 lbs payload capacity, and two motors to boost the rider, this is a worthy look for larger riders
Not so much a con as just stating a fact: dual motors and 1500W means you won’t be able to operate this everywhere class-conforming e-bikes are allowed
Two motors and one battery leads to exhilarating, but short, rides. Fortunately you can upgrade the capacity, or add a second battery at checkout for additional cost
It might not be a universal experience, but we had a few instances of the battery cover dropping out which is why you’ll notice duct tape in some of the photos
The collection of wires, hoses and cables at the front end of the bike needs some cleanup
Drivetrain: SHIMANO ALIVIO 9 speed gear shift system
Grips: rubber, lock-on
Pedals: Nylon pedal with reflectors
Tires: KENDA Sport Tires 26 x 4.0
Eunorau DEFENDER S Review: Bike Overview
With the Eunorau Defender S review we have an e-bike of a different feather. The main draw of this bike is its two-wheel drive; that is, it features hub motors in both its front and rear wheels. This gives the Defender S unusual power, though it’s most noticeable when going uphill.
All that power isn’t for everybody. I would say the Defender S is best suited for more experienced e-bikers. Those used to speed, offroading, or those with motorcycle or dirtbike backgrounds.
The motor, whether hub or mid-drive, is one of the most expensive components found in an e-bike; only the battery is more expensive. Putting two motors in an e-bike and keeping that e-bike’s cost less than $3000 is no small achievement, especially when the fact that in the case of the Eunorau Defender S, the bike features both front and rear suspension and a 9-speed drivetrain.
So the Eunorau Defender S is a feature-rich e-bike that can go places many similarly priced e-bikes can’t handle.
We consider the Defender S an all-terrain e-bike as opposed to an eMTB. This isn’t a question of rugged. A Toyota Tundra is a very rugged pickup, but it’s not what is raced at the Baja 1000. Similarly, the Eurnorau Defender S is a very rugged e-bike, but you won’t see it at Redbull events. Considering a good eMTB can run more than $6000, the Defender S is value-priced at less than $3000.
In addition to its two motors, 9-speed drivetrain and hydraulic disc brakes, its combination of full suspension and 4-in.-wide Kenda tires make this a very comfortable rig that can go most anywhere.
Let’s take a look at how it performed in our testing.
This e-bike’s trust element is found off the paved areas and hitting OHV areas or wherever you think of when you think of dirtbike trails
Rear suspension not only makes a rider more comfortable, it makes the bike easier to control.
The 4-in.-wide Kenda tires give terrific traction on unpaved surfaces.
Eunorau DEFENDER S Review: Motor Performance, Speed and Acceleration
In terms of overall performance, there is little difference between riding with the front hub motor or the rear hub motor. What does change slightly is how the bike handles. With the front hub powering the e-bike, it becomes just a bit slower to turn. When riding in a straight line the increased stability feels nice at speed.
We did our testing cycling through the various configurations of front, rear, and both motors operational. Hitting its top speed of 28 mph wasn’t hard in any of them, but what was really noticeable was how much acceleration improved with both motors powering the e-bike. It reached top speed in a notably shorter distance and held it there no matter what would-be hill came across the bike’s way.
The motors can be a little head-snapping until you grow accustomed to them. Your first ride and tenth ride are wildly different though – you’d be surprised how quickly you adjust, but it is worth pointing out that there will be some sort of adjustment versus a e-bike riding experience on just one motor.
When we conducted our circuit test we were quite happy to see a well-distributed speed profile across each PAS level. Riders will be able to dial in the amount of motor they want.
The dual motors of the Eunorau Defender S help you climb up and over just about any hill
We were pleased and surprised to find a 9-speed Shimano Alivio drivetrain.
The Bafang hub motor in the front wheel changes the handling some, but increases the e-bike’s capabilities.
Eunorau DEFENDER S Review: Range Test & Battery Performance
The Eunorau Defender S review earned a distinction from its peers amongst other electric bikes we’ve reviewed; this bike had one of the greatest differences in our maximum and minimum range tests with the long range being greater than 4X the high powered result. It’s not entirely surprising though considering the max PAS test was using both motors, and the minimum was using just one to try to conserve the battery.
With both motors we went a little over eight miles, but what was really telling was the speed at which we traveled in those eight miles. The Defender S kept up with all traffic including up some pretty steep hills. An impressive feat which I honestly hoped for given the two motors.
There was a noticeable downside to the max PAS range test though. The battery indicator seemed to move its prediction of battery life around all over the place. 20% dropped away with seemingly every turn of the pedals, then it held at 80% for the majority of the ride until another rapid drop just under 50% – and then it died.
At first I thought I may have overheated something due to power consumption of making me ride so fast, but once I got back to charge up the battery it charged up just fine. In other words, test out the battery close to home so you can get a sense of how far it will take you lest you be caught eight miles away from where you started and find yourself needing to pedal a heavy bike back on just manual power – it’s a heavy e-bike at over 80 lbs. afterall.
While the max test had some quirks, the minimum PAS test was a pleasant surprise. PAS 1 gives enough power to help you move a heavy bike with wide tires, but you can still get your heart rate going and enjoy a bit of exercise in the effort. That it went more than 40 miles was a display of some surprising efficiency given the amount of help it gave me.
Eunorau DEFENDER S Review: Hill Test
On our hill test, the Eunorau Defender S conquered. This is one of the more powerful e-bikes we’ve ever encountered. How powerful is it? On throttle alone, it climbed Hell Hole in less than a minute. At a time of just 55 seconds, its average speed works out to a rather impatient 19.7 mph. That’s not just a fine result, it’s the fastest result we’ve seen in months of testing, almost 3 mph faster than the next fastest bike we’ve tested recently.
Here’s a better way to frame its performance: Hell Hole is supposed to test the bike, to show where the motor’s weakness is or might be. The bike isn’t supposed to test the hill. If this bike could talk, at the top of the hill it might have said, “Yo, what else ya got?”
With our tester actually pedaling, the Eunorau Defender S turned in another very impressive performance. It ascended, once again, in just 55 seconds, for an average of 19.7 mph. No, that’s not a typo. It went up at exactly the same pace in PAS 5 as it did on throttle.
Rather than see that as an inability to go any faster, it’s a testament to just how commanding the throttle is.
Because our hill test is meant to reveal just what an e-bike’s capabilities are, our tester went up the hill in two-wheel drive for both the throttle and the PAS 5 ascents. Apparently, motors are like heads—two are better than one.
Equipped with front and rear suspension that’s a tad on the springy side, the Eunorau Defender S provides you with shock absorbing capabilities to match the trails its designed for
The Eunorau-branded hydraulic disc brakes seemed to have good power, but because we were unfamiliar with them, we wondered if Shimano or Tektro might offer more power.
We loved the snake-skin finish of the bike.
Eunorau DEFENDER S Review: Brakes and the Brake Test
The Eunorau Defender S is not a light e-bike. At a claimed weight of 84 lbs., this thing is a beast. Most dogs don’t weigh as much as this e-bike. That’s a way to frame this e-bike’s so-so performance in our brake test. Also important to note is that we no longer execute full panic stops in our brake test. We don’t believe that accurately reflects what the average rider’s experience would be.
Our protocol now is to remain seated and brake as hard as possible, but without skidding. We think this reflects the real-world results that most riders would experience.
The Eunorau Defender S came to a stop in 24 feet 1 inch – a bit further back than most hydraulic brakes normally get. Again, we refer to the bike’s notable weight. Considering just how powerful this e-bike is, we were glad to see that the brakes feature an electronic motor cutoff switch; fighting against two motors would make for a difficult stop.
The brakes are Eunorau’s own, likely sourced from a smaller Asian manufacturer. While they seem to work well enough, more power would be welcome and we can’t help but wonder if brakes from a brand like Shimano or Tektro would have shortened the stopping distance.
So in conclusion: the brakes stop, just a little on the longer side.
Eunorau DEFENDER S Review: Ride Comfort, Handling and Cockpit
Full-suspension, all-terrain bikes typically stock well in the comfort department. With a suspension fork, a rear shock, a big saddle 4-in-wide tires the Eunorau Defender S is essentially a foam pit on wheels. Riding this during an earthquake would likely increase someone’s chances for survival. Kidding, mostly.
The combination of front and rear suspension plus the fat tires has a fundamental influence on the bike’s handling in that control depends on keeping the wheels in contact with the ground and not sliding. Its particular combination of weight; fat, knobby tires and suspension makes breaking these tires loose won’t be easy. So rider confidence in turns should run high.
The Eunorau Defender S comes in two sizes—17 in. and 19 in. We’re pleased to see this bike offered in multiple sizes, however, the 17-in. frame has a standover height of 30.7 that few people shorter than 5 feet 9 inches will likely be able to fit. We would have some concerns about a rider controlling an 84-lb. e-bike if they can’t get both feet flat on the ground.
The two-wheel drive aspect of this bike takes some getting used to. The heavier a wheel is, the more gyroscopic effect it generates. A heavy wheel spinning at high rpms will be fairly resistant to changing direction. Practically speaking, what that means for the rider is that the Eunorau Defender S loves going in a straight line. Initiating a turn is a different matter.
As a reviewer, I can say that the front wheel on the Defender S is among the heaviest front wheels I have ever ridden. This bike required a little bit of muscle to enter a turn and I was able to feel a certain amount of steering momentum; that is, once the front wheel started to turn, it wanted to keep turning. That could result in oversteering for some riders. This is why I keep envisioning this bike as something more suited towards folks a bit more comfortable on bikes as opposed to those new to the game.
With the two-wheel drive engaged, the Eunorau Defender S was perceptibly more resistant to turning; once the motor started turning in a given direction, the front wheel became rather partial to that direction.
This isn’t to say that the Eunorau Defender S handles poorly. The bike handles fine, but this is a ride that will take some adjustment in the rider’s expectations for how a e-bike handles. It’s just different, but certainly not wrong.
The color LCD display is bright and easy to read and the buttons are reasonably easy to reach. It shows four data points at once with speed, odometer, pas level and battery readout. Worth noting: the battery readout wasn’t always accurate in our testing so get to know the batteries limits while riding close to home.
The selector switch that chooses between the rear motor, the front motor and both motors is a red, three-position switch that sits below the display. It is easy enough to see when off the bike, but when riding the display obscures it from view, so it’s necessary to develop a feel for where the switch is located, by muscle memory; it’s no harder than discerning between the gas pedal and the brake pedal.
One note regarding the various hoses, cables and wires: most bikes need a bit of attention to keep everything looking neat in the front of the bike. The leads that run to the fork to power the front wheel would benefit from a more elegant routing.
The color LCD display was easy to ride and the buttons were a short reach from the bar.
Mounting the front light on the fork was a nice idea for beam consistency. The big cable leading to the front motor needed guides to keep it from swinging free.
The rear suspension design seemed to work well, but we would have liked some guidance on how to set the shock up.
Between the brake levers, the shift levers, the display’s three buttons, the motor selector switch and the throttle (and even a bell!), this e-bike has more buttons/levers than most.
Eunorau DEFENDER S Review: Summary / Where to Buy
In the end, my biggest takeaway from reviewing the Eunorau Defender S is how it seems to have appeal to several different use cases but it isn’t necessarily a universal fit. Riders with experience under their belt and a hunger for more intense, dirtbike-like experiences will find some thrills with the Defender S. I also think larger riders who have been left wanting by some e-bikes’ motor capabilities will be happy to see what a dual motor experience brings to the table.
We classify this e-bike as an all-terrain machine. It’s great for the person who lives 10 mi. up a dirt road or for the hunter who doesn’t want to spend half the day walking to a blind. And it’s got the horsepower necessary to haul out a deer.
The headliner for most people looking at Eunorau’s Defender S will be the dual motors, and believe me they are fun. However, e-bikes with this much wattage require knowing where to legally ride them so just make sure to use them in appropriate areas and get a feel for the bike first before turning it loose.
The rest of the package offered here is pretty feature-rich even if most of the features are at the more budget-end of the spectrum. The suspension and 4″ tires will make for a less jarring ride experience, but it will be a bit springy of one. The 9-speed Shimano Alivio drivetrain is the right call for the offroading you’ll be doing on the Defender S and we always love trigger shifters.
There are a few areas of needed improvement with the cable routing, and we experienced dropouts with our battery cover over the course of testing which we hope was unique to our experience. I wouldn’t say no to some slightly better brakes even thought the Eunorau branded ones get the job done. Also, I can still feel the burn of riding the 84 lbs. of bike back when the battery readout mislead me to thinking I had plenty of juice left to go that wasn’t actually there on my range test.
But once we figured out our workaround to keep the cover in place and learned the battery lessons of riding two motors, it was great to appreciate what the Defender S did well. The bike is a blast in OHV areas and could make light work of even the steepest of hills.
As long as a rider sticks to jeep roads, fire roads, forestry roads and the like, the Eunorau Defender S won’t take no for an answer. With its two-wheel drive engaged and its big, knobby tires, neither sand nor mud is likely to stop it.
That this bike sits in the $2000-$3000 price tier is quite an achievement. Again, considering all it is equipped with, Eunorau has unleashed an e-bike worth taking a look at. We’ve rarely seen so much on a bike for this kind of money.
‘Happy Riding, make sure to let us know if you have any questions down in our comments section or if you think we left anything out in this review of the Eunorau Defender S.