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Magnum Pilot Review, 2023
Sep 12, 2023
A Bike That Looks Classy, Gives Balanced Motor Engagement and a Comfortable Ride
Billed as a touring bike, the Magnum Pilot merges the quality ride features of a commuter e-bike with the comfort features of a cruiser e-bike. Taking a hybrid approach, Magnum blended features like fat 26” x 3” tires, comfy Selle Royal Freeway seat and upright posture, with a workhorse mid-drive motor, suspension, and a battery that can take you far.
Powered by the Ananda 500-watt mid-drive motor that generates 135 Newton meters of torque, the Pilot can take you up steep hills and down busy boulevards. It uses a torque sensor to help economize energy consumption, so you can ride further between battery charges.
The frame integrated removable lithium ion battery has a 15 amp-hour capacity and carried our test rider well beyond the 50-mile range we were anticipating. Sporting its stylish step-through design and classic white wall tires, the Pilot utilizes broad 10-speed gearing that can help you get in the right speed, whether you’re riding through town, or to the next town over. Our Magnum Pilot review will cover the key details, along with the results from our performance tests to help you find out if this bike has what you’re looking for.
Bike Category: Commuter/Cruiser
Class 2 or 3 E-Bike: Throttle and pedal assist up to 20 mph (PAS to 28mph in class 3).
Magnum Pilot Video Review
The motor dishes out balanced engagement that active pedalers can appreciate. The Ananda’s 500 watt mid-drive motor was a pleasent, predictable ride.
Surpringly good battery efficiency. We got well over the 50 mile claim in our testing (although your results may vary).
Helping you find and keep the right gear to match your pace is the AdvantX 10-speed gearing & derailleur clutch.
Smoothing the bumps along the way is the Suntour suspension fork.
Giving you more sitting comfort are the Selle Royal Freeway saddle and Promax suspension seat post.
Features a lot of great comfort cruiser elements, but is adaptable for use in commuting.
Cluttered arrangement of cables in front of the handlebar.
Advertised as suitable also for light off-roading, the cruiser tires don’t suffice. We’d like to see an optional set of tires so you can light dirt riding.
Tires: Wanda Compass 26″ x 3.0” white-side wall cruiser/chopper tires
Fenders: Plastic front and rear
Chain: KMC 10-Speed
Comfort, performance and style: mid-drive motor, 10-speed, 15Ah battery, and white wall tires to complete the picture.
Natural feeling: torque sensor enables the mid-drive motor to deliver power as needed, helping you get the most out of the 10 gears.
Bright side: LCD headlight shines bright during dark night rides, but the cables could be a little better organized.
Magnum Pilot Review: Speed Test
Pedaling the Pilot feels natural and balanced with the pedal assist system, and is one of the many benefits of having a torque sensor. The motor engagement with my pedaling was balanced and consistent when testing the pedal assist speeds on the Pilot.
Pedaling without motor assistance, I got this bike up to a speed of 9.3 mph. Clicking to ECO mode yielded a noticeable improvement, upping my speed to 15.2 mph. This was better than average for ECO mode/PAS 1 on other e-bikes. Moving on to TOUR mode, the Pilot reached 17.8 mph, which was another good speed increase. The Pilot continued delivering balanced speed increases as we continued. SPORT mode got me up to 20.2 mph, and then 23.4 mph in TURBO mode. Maxing my speed in BOOST mode, the Magnum’s pedal assist bolted me right up to 26.7 mph.
Our Pilot was set up as a Class 3 e-bike, with pedal assist up to 28 mph. Using a torque sensor to manage power output, the motor would’ve taken me faster, up to 28 mph, if I pedaled harder.
Working with the microShift Advent 10-speed gearing, the pedal assist engages lightly in the lower levels, and more significantly in the higher levels. The PAS level’s top speeds are pretty evenly spaced apart. Not only do you get a diverse speed range with the Pilot’s PAS system, but it also makes your ride safer because you easily pinpoint the average speed you’re looking for.
Getting down to business: whether commuting to work or just having fun, the Pilot lets you do both.
All geared up: whether you need a low gear for hillclimbing, or high gear for top speed, the Pilot’s 10-speed has what you need.
Just push the button: 4-switch button panel is easy-peasy. The on-off is on the underside, good for avoiding accidental shut off.
Magnum Pilot Review: Range Test
In our low power, long range minimum assist test, riding in ECO mode the whole time, the Pilot took Josh, our test rider, a whopping 83 miles, in a time of 8:09, and average speed of 12.2 mph. Mid-drive motors usually perform better than hub motors in our range test, so we expected the Pilot to do well. But this bike weighs at least 10 lbs more than most of the other mid-drive e-bikes we tested that traveled over 80 miles – and that dazzled us. We like to see over-acheivers on the range test, but just remember you might have different results depending on favtors like weight and hillier terrain.
In the maximum pedal assist test, riding the whole time in Boost mode, test rider Brenden wheeled the Pilot 28.8 miles, in a time of 1:28 and average speed of 18.4 mph. This was the second-fastest time for a 500W mid-drive motor out of all the others we’ve tested on this part of the Range Test – again, impressive! This bike comes with a charger that will fully charge the battery in about 7.5 hours.
Magnum Pilot Review: Hill Test
In the first part of the test we use the throttle only and no pedaling. This tells us what kind of raw power the motor can deliver when you need to climb a hill without pedaling. E-bikes with a mid-drive motor often don’t have a throttle because they rely on pedaling much more than hub motors. So we were chomping at the bit to see how this bike would do. Fortunately, the Pilot really showed up here, reaching the top in 1:52, and an average speed of 9.7 mph. It’s not a blazing time overall, but it’s capable of the job and nice to see a throttle on a mid-drive.
Feeling good about the motor’s raw power, we moved to the next part of the test – using the BOOST mode (PAS 5) for maximum motor output, while providing only basic pedaling. The Pilot again impressed us, reaching the top of Hell Hole in 1:23, and an average speed of 13.1 mph.
Both of those are good results given the 500W mid-drive motor. You have options for tackling a hill yourself, or letting the bike do the work.
Two for the road: the Wanda Compass tires are great for the pavement (but not for the dirt).
Seeing things straight: easy to read mono color display clearly lists your ride details.
Down under: succinctly nestled inside the frame down tube, 15Ah battery is simple to remove.
Magnum Pilot Review: Brake Test
Rider safety is our top priority here at EBR, which is why we also do a brake test on the bikes we review. This is where our test rider, Griffin, uses pedal assist to get the bike up to 20 mph before quickly stopping the bike for us to measure the stopping distance. We do this several times to calculate an average stopping distance.
The Pilot’s average stopping distance was 23’8”, not bad but not great either. Armed with the Tektro HD E-350 hydraulic brake system, and 180mm rotors, the Pilot’s result may have more to do with the bike’s weight than its brake system. Almost all of the bikes that earned better results on the brake test also weighed less than the Pilot, with many being at least 10 lbs lighter. And lighter bikes usually stop quicker.
We have found this Tektro system to work well on other e-bikes, but also they’re usually on lighter bikes. Considering the Pilot is in the $2500-$3000 e-bike range, we would like to see Magnum fit this bike with a brake set that will stop it more quickly. In the meantime, it’s still perfectly safe, just a bit on the slow side to stop.
Magnum Pilot Review: Ride Quality
There was a lot to appreciate with the ride quality on this bike. Suspension features include the Suntour forks did a great job absorbing bumps and smoothing my rides. The coil spring forks are hydraulic and feature a wheel travel of 120mm. The Promax suspension seat post is also a great feature for riding comfort. Providing 30mm of travel when hitting bumps, I really liked the way they compressed and rebounded when riding across intersections riddled with dips and potholes.
We were impressed to see this sub-$3000 bike feature a lot of components that are a step up from entry level. One example is the greater gear variety with the microShift AdventX 10-speed. Using a 11-46T cassette and 48T chainring, they help you get the most out of your pedaling. You get a good top gear for reducing incidences of ghost pedaling, and a good bottom gear for difficult uphill pedaling.
Giving you an upright riding posture, this bike comes in one size – medium-large – and in three eye-catching color schemes to choose from, including blue base with white trim, red base with black trim, and black with white trim.
To help you find the reach that works best for you, you can adjust the handlebar reach with the adjustable stem. The adjustment can be quick and requires no tools. But we recommend you be careful and make sure it’s tightened properly.
Due to my size and riding style, I needed to adjust the stem for better steering and handling. When I rode this bike with the handlebar extended forward, I found the steering to be heavy and uncomfortable. That’s because this setup put more of my weight on the front end. The Wanda Compass tires have great street tread for optimal control, but they are meant for cruiser bikes where the rider is sitting up straight, not leaning over. After I adjusted the stem vertically, and gave myself a completely upright riding position, the bike handled a lot better and in a way that made me comfortable and confident.
And one more component worth noting is the clutch on the microShift AdventX derailleur, which helps prevent chain slap when riding over speed bumps, potholes and curb steps. Normally, you don’t see these on commuter e-bikes. But their inclusion on this bike is one example of how this bike gives you some room for customizing, in case you want to pop on some knobby tires and hit the dirt.
Have a seat: great comfort sitting on the Selle Royal Freeway during our rides.
Smooth groove: the suspension forks soften the bumps, while the wide wheels keep you in control.
Not Braking Bad: the brakes stopped okay but we’d like to see better.
Rack ‘em up: rear rack enables you to carry up to 55 lbs of fun on your ride.
The motor’s pedal assist engagement is a real bright spot about this bike. As mentioned in the Speed Test, the power output levels are dished out in a balanced measure, so you’re not getting surprised by small, lifeless speed increases, nor are you facing erratic outbursts of power that seem to come from nowhere. This bike’s motor engagement is predictable, which means you can spend your time enjoying the ride, not second-guessing what the motor will do next.
Magnum Pilot Review: Summary / Where to Buy
For the most part, the Electric Bike Report team had a good experience test riding the Magnum Pilot. This bike gave us a good mix of surprises and assurances. We always like happy surprises when it comes to results on the Range Test and Hill Test – which the Pilot performed very well in each.
We appreciate Magnum’s efforts in offering an e-bike that’s part commuter and part cruiser. Afterall, those are two of the most popular e-bike categories. Another cool thing about this bike is how it gives you room to make changes – big and small – so you can have an e-bike that’s setup just how you want it.
We look forward to seeing how much riders embrace this bike, as well as what kind of modifications they make. We also look forward to seeing more examples of the Magnum team thinking outside the box. The Pilot is available in three color schemes, black or blue with white accents, and red with black accents.
Magnum sells most of their e-bikes direct-to-consumer, but the Pilot is an in-store only option. You can check current pricing from the button above.
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 Magnum Pilot.