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Mokwheel Asphalt ST Review, 2023
Sep 07, 2023
Hit the pavement running with this sleek and speedy step-thru commuter e-bike.
A year after entering the e-bike market, Mokwheel has expanded its lineup to include – among other things – a variety of commuter-focused options. The Asphalt ST features a sleek design with flashy color options and plenty of speed. We cover the bike’s specs, features, and performance in this Mokwheel Asphalt ST review!
As a hybrid commuter/cruiser e-bike made for extended street rides, the Asphalt ST uses a 500W rear-hub motor with a torque sensor to mimic the feel of a non-electric bike. Some similar models we’ve tested have felt jerky when pedaling, but the Asphalt ST’s motor engaged smoothly with none of the slightly jarring inertia that we’ve felt on other bikes.
The Asphalt was simply an incredibly comfortable bike to ride. Its front suspension fork soaked up bumps and smoothed out dips, its saddle was a cushy perch from which to observe our surroundings, and the bike’s upright positioning allowed others to see us better too.
We were surprised by the Asphalt’s appetite for speed; our test bike was able to exceed the Class 3 limit of 28 miles per hour. The bike’s throttle blasted beyond the standard 20 mph speed limit also, though Mokwheel advised us that the bike should ship as a Class 3 with proper limitations.
We think the Asphalt ST is a fun and comfortable means of getting around, whether riding to work on weekdays or just going for a relaxing spin. To see how the Mokwheel Asphalt ST performed in our testing, continue to our full review below!
Bike Category:Commuter / Cruiser
Unclassified E-Bike:Throttle and pedal-assisted speeds above 28 mph
Mokwheel Asphalt ST Video Review
A smooth and speedy ride! The Asphalt’s 500W rear-hub motor powered me well above 20 miles per hour quickly without any jarring or jerky bursts of speed.
A comfortable and upright riding position. With cruiser-style geometry, I sat tall and had a great view of my surroundings.
Great maneuverability! The Asphalt felt impressively responsive and demonstrated quick and agile handling.
Easy mounting and dismounting thanks to an accessible step-thru frame with a standover height of 18.5 inches.
A highly customizable user experience! The bike’s throttle speed can be adjusted, and there are options for faster or slower acceleration, 3-5 PAS settings, and more.
Includes fenders, a cargo rack, a headlight, and integrated tail/brake lights that commuters will appreciate!
It may be subjective, but we love this bike’s design and refreshing color options!
The bike pedals well at slower speeds, but we think an 8th gear on the cassette or a larger chainring (or both) would help riders to more easily contribute leg power above 23-24 mph.
Drivetrain: Shimano Tourney 7-speed w/ 44T chainring and 14-28T cassette
Grips: Leather grips
Saddle: Customized Comfort Leather Seat
Handlebar: Aluminum Alloy 31.8mm, 680mm
Kickstand: 6061 Aluminum Kickstand
Tires: 27.5″ x 2.4″ Chaoyang tires
With three color options (Denim (shown), Orange, and Khaki), the Asphalt ST is certainly a head-turner!
The Asphalt ST’s frame with an 18.5” standover height makes it easy to get on and off the bike.
Fenders, a rear rack, and tail/brake lights – all features that commuters will appreciate!
Mokwheel Asphalt ST Review: Circuit Speed Test
Our Circuit Test (explained above) allowed us to evaluate the speeds capable from the Mokwheel Asphalt ST’s 48V, 500W rear hub motor and the torque sensor that informs it when to provide assistance.
I found the bike relatively easy to pedal without motor power in my first lap in this test; the bike’s 60-lb weight was noticeable the most on the uphill segment (I had to stand for a few seconds to get more leverage) but not too inhibiting on flat ground.
When engaging the pedal-assist system (PAS), I noticed a pleasant and impactful amount of assistance in the bike’s lowest setting, PAS 1, that allowed me to approach 17 mph. As I moved up through the bike’s five PAS settings in subsequent laps, the boosts in motor power seemed to be distributed well; the differences I felt between settings felt even and expected.
In PAS 4 and 5, however, I found that the bike’s speed was limited more by its gearing than by its controller or motor; at around 23 miles per hour, an unusually rapid pedal cadence was required to contribute constant input through the drivetrain. I found it difficult to reach speeds above that through the relatively casual pace that we try to maintain throughout this test. We refer to this feeling as “ghost-pedaling,” and it is typically not much of a problem on e-bikes with torque sensors, so it was somewhat strange to experience on the Asphalt.
Our data reflects my experience; the graph above shows a flattening-out or tapering-off in speed starting in PAS 3 and progressing through the two higher settings. PAS 3 felt like the bike’s “sweet spot” for me, as it seemed to provide power and speed without resulting in much ghost pedaling.
As a commuter e-bike, the Asphalt handles great, making it feel natural on city streets.
The Asphalt’s 500W rear-hub motor can power the bike above 28 miles per hour.
A 48V, 706 Wh battery is fully integrated into the bike’s down tube – and looks awesome!
The Asphalt pedaled well at speeds within the Class 2 range (20 mph and below) but we would like to see Mokwheel make adjustments to the gearing to reduce ghost pedaling in the future. As it is currently, the bike uses a 7-speed Shimano Tourney drivetrain with a 44T chainring and a 12-28T cassette. With this, the availability of power through a 48V electrical system, and the power of the 500W rear-hub motor, the bike is capable of high speeds, but it requires a lot of legwork to get there.
An additional 8th gear or a 46-48T chainring would likely help to make pedaling above 23-24 mph more comfortable (a combination would not be out of place either), and would also allow for a more even distribution of speed across its settings using the same amount of effort.
That said, the bike’s torque sensor provided a unique ride feel with both positive aspects and some that required adjustment. Torque sensors are generally thought of as being more responsive than cadence sensors, as they provide more assistance from the motor as soon as more force (or torque) is applied. As such, the Asphalt’s speed isn’t limited so much by the motor, but by the rider’s level of effort. Riders pedaling at a more relaxed pace might experience results different from ours.
Mokwheel Asphalt ST Review: Range Test & Battery Performance
The Mokwheel Asphalt ST comes equipped with a fully integrated 48V, 14.7Ah (706 Wh) battery. We performed two Range Tests (as explained above) to measure the distance and time that the bike could travel using this battery and its 500W motor.
Mokwheel advertises a range of 60 miles for the Asphalt ST. Claims such as this are usually only achievable in the bike’s lowest pedal-assist setting and on relatively flat ground, but most riders (in our experience) tend to use higher settings with greater amounts of motor power (and therefore, speed) and travel over both hills and flat ground, which both drain the battery more rapidly.
We tested the Asphalt in PAS 1 and PAS 5, and determined that riders should expect a range of between roughly 26 and 53 miles depending on their preferred setting. There are many more factors that influence a bike’s range than we can account for in our testing, so the high end of our “ballpark” range is close enough to Mokwheel’s figure that we are satisfied with the bike’s performance in relation to its advertisements.
When compared to similar e-bikes we have tested, the Asphalt ST’s range results were relatively average in the minimum assistance portion, and somewhat below average in the maximum assistance test. This is further supported by our measurement of the time it took to complete the max-assist range test; judging by the motor and battery specs, we expected to travel in PAS 5 for close to an hour and a half, but measured just an hour. We explain more about the relationship between motor wattage and battery watt-hour ratings in our guide to e-bike batteries, but this shows that the motor/battery pairing of the Asphalt is somewhat less efficient than expected.
Regardless of efficiency and comparative performance, the Asphalt ST’s capabilities are still decent overall; a potential range of between 50 and 60 miles is solid for an e-bike with an appreciable level of power in its lowest pedal-assist setting.
Mokwheel Asphalt ST Review: Hill Test
Our Hill Test, explained above, allowed us to evaluate the Mokwheel Asphalt ST’s raw motor power, which comes into play the most on hills. Overall, the bike’s results in both portions of the test were relatively average when compared to similar commuter-style e-bikes we have tested with 500W rear-hub motors, though many of these used cadence sensors, as again, the pool of similar e-bikes with torque sensors that we have tested is small.
In the grand scheme, a 500-watt motor with 65 Nm of torque is relatively middle-of-the-road in terms of uphill capability, so with that in mind, I think the bike’s specs and resulting performance in this test are right where they need to be.
In my experience on less extreme hills, the Asphalt was aptly capable; on throttle, it was somewhat slow but did not struggle even when I attempted an intimidating slope, and when pedaling, the bike climbed confidently. This is one benefit I observed from the bike’s torque sensor; the motor responded to and reciprocated the amount of effort I contributed, which was naturally greater when traveling uphill.
Ultimately, our test showed that while the Asphalt ST is not groundbreaking – and may be unlikely to win any uphill races – it is capable of handling extreme situations with poise.
The Asphalt ST was a comfortable and fun bike to ride and review!
The bike uses a 7-speed Shimano Tourney drivetrain with a 12-28T cassette.
Hydraulic disc brakes from Star Union are mounted on 180 mm rotors.
Mokwheel Asphalt ST Review: Safety and Brake Test
The Mokwheel Asphalt ST is outfitted with hydraulic disc brakes on 180mm rotors; these are made by Star Union, which is a brand we had limited experience with prior to receiving our test bike. We performed a Brake Test to evaluate these brakes through the process explained above to insure that the system is safe and effective.
The Asphalt’s result of 23”-9” is notably longer than our average (currently 21’-2”) among similar commuter- and cruiser-style e-bikes we’ve tested, but still within our expected range. This result did not come as a surprise; I informally tested the brakes prior to seeing our brake test results and felt what seemed like slower-than-usual deceleration. However, I’m not sure that the average rider would detect much difference for two reasons. First, like the other members of the EBR team, I have the benefit of riding a new bike every couple of days, so realistically, experience is a factor. And second, while a difference of over two and a half feet may seem less-than-ideal on paper, in truth it’s a short distance when riding a bike at 20 miles per hour as we do in this test.
Overall, the Asphalt ST felt solid and stable when braking thanks to the foundation provided by its 2.4” diameter tires. In my experience, the rear wheel locked up regularly and the resulting squeal from the tires was LOUD, but aside from one instance of slight and manageable fishtailing, the bike was easy to control. With these things considered, I’m very comfortable with deeming the Asphalt’s braking system safe.
I appreciated the brightness of the bike’s dual-LED headlight, and both the visual quality and placement of the tail/brake lights on the rear seat stays fit the bike well. I found the brake lights to be plenty large and bright enough, however, on a commuter e-bike that is likely going to be traveling regularly around automobiles, I’d personally like to see turn signals included in some capacity in the future.
The Asphalt had one additional and uncommon safety feature that I appreciated; the “Safe setting that governs the bike’s throttle, which can be accessed and changed within the bike’s settings menu. In “Free Mode,” the throttle behaves as throttle-on-demand (or TOD), which allows you to activate it from a dead stop. In “Safe Mode,” the throttle acts as throttle-after-pedal (or TAP), which requires the bike to be moving before it will activate. While I personally find TOD to be more helpful and fun for my style of riding, I can appreciate that some riders may want the additional safety and security granted by TAP that ensures the bike will not run away if the throttle lever is accidentally bumped.
Mokwheel Asphalt ST Review: Ride Comfort & Handling, Cockpit, and More
As one might expect from a cruiser-style e-bike, the Asphalt ST’s upright positioning and contact points are comfortable. The bike’s saddle isn’t my favorite shape, but it’s well-padded, and fans of cruiser-style bikes expecting a wide seat should not be disappointed. The pedals were generally good; I don’t often have much to remark on and that holds true here.
The sewn leather grips, however, were a pleasant surprise! They are soft, well-textured and… well, grippy. We commonly encounter faux leather grips, and haven’t endorsed many of them due to past experiences with slipperiness when riding with gloves or sweaty hands, but this was not a problem on the Asphalt! The real leather included here made a big difference.
The Asphalt ST’s step-thru frame contributes to its overall comfort
Many of the cruiser-style e-bikes we have tested tend to go in extremes when it comes to their handlebars; they’re either too narrow for someone of my fairly broad shoulder width, or they’re massive, curved-back bars resembling bull horns that can be difficult to grip and steer (in my humble opinion). The 680 mm bars on the Asphalt were a comfortable middle ground, with a sweep that felt more ergonomic than extreme, and a width that provided a refreshing amount of control over the steering.
The bike’s color display is unique and refreshing, though it took some time to adjust to the battery readout.
An adjustable stem helps you to find the height and and reach distance that fits you best.
The bike’s saddle has a wide, padded seat that fans of cruiser-style bikes will appreciate.
The Asphalt’s handlebars are wide with a comfortable, ergonomic sweep.
As I’ve said previously in this Mokwheel Asphalt ST review, the bike has great handling! This is in large part to these handlebars, but also due to its middle-of-the-road weight and its 27.5”x2.4” wheels. I found that the bike felt nimble and cornered effectively, and it also handled bumps and dips smoothly thanks to its front suspension fork with 100mm of travel.
Before my first ride, I found that the bike’s cockpit needed some adjustment; its grips are fairly narrow, and its right-hand controls were crowded in leaving little room for my large hands. After a few quick adjustments, the cockpit felt much better. I was especially grateful for the adjustable stem, which gave me the ability to set a comfortable height and angle for the handlebars.
The bike’s controls are laid out well, with the throttle lever and control panel on the left bar, and the Shimano under-the-bar trigger shifter on the right. I struggled somewhat on my rides with the buttons on the control pad; with large hands comes large thumbs, and I had difficulty accurately pressing the tiny, smooth buttons. I would have appreciated buttons that protruded more and had a rubberized surface, but this is relatively nitpicky.
The bike’s LCD is generally good; I enjoyed that it was a full-color screen with a unique layout from many of those I’ve seen. I had some difficulty reading some of the smaller text elements (trip time and trip distance), and the battery readout caught me off guard. Instead of a battery-shaped icon with bars or a percentage shown nearby, the Asphalt ST’s charge level is displayed through two dashed arcs that wrap around the speedometer. This looks good – and I did adapt to it – but I think I’d prefer something more conventional overall.
To balance out my critique in this section, I have to say that – despite a few flaws – the Asphalt’s overall feel and handling made it one of my favorite e-bikes! I expected a lot from the bike after our review of the Mokwheel Basalt, and I was not disappointed. It keeps things simple yet effective, and feels both responsive and comfortable; a great combination.
Mokwheel Asphalt ST Review: Summary / Where to Buy
A single word entered my mind repeatedly during my testing of the Mokwheel Asphalt ST: smooth! The bike’s motor engagement and acceleration were smooth, its braking was smooth, and its general ride feel was smooth. In my opinion, these aspects make the bike an excellent commuter, or otherwise daily-use e-bike!
I had an absolute blast cruising around on the Asphalt despite our test bike’s slightly excessive speed and the rapid cadence I had to employ to reach it. It’s an exhilarating ride in its current state, though considering our experience, it may be a good idea to check the settings before taking your first ride to make sure it meets legal requirements in your area. If indeed Mokwheel has corrected this and the bike does ship as a Class 3, it is more likely to be street-legal across more locations, allowing more riders to enjoy it.
Additionally, the inclusion of an 8-speed cassette, larger chainring, or both – would likely reduce the ghost pedaling we encountered at higher speeds in the bike’s upper PAS settings. This would allow riders to more easily access the bike’s thrilling top speeds!
When looking at the numbers throughout this Mokwheel Asphalt ST review, the bike may not stand out much from its peers, but despite that, I found a lot to enjoy about the bike. It’s truly one of the more fun e-bikes I’ve had the opportunity to review, and it’s also decidedly easy on the eyes!
If you are interested in purchasing the bike, or curious to learn more about it, please follow the link above to the Asphalt ST’s page on Mokwheel’s website.
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 Mokwheel Asphalt ST.