After many miles of testing the Surface 604 Rook it has proven to be an easy get on and go step-thru eCommuter with a comfortable upright position.
The Rook posted impressive range and it has a smooth and powerful ride feel with the torque sensor pedal assist system.
It also has a durable ride feel from quality components from Bafang, Shimano, Tektro, and Kenda.
And a full accessory package makes it ready for the daily commute and adventure rides.
The Rook is priced at $1,999 with free shipping which is a good value considering the features, quality components, and accessories.
In this second part of the full review you will get an idea of the ride characteristics, range test results, pros, cons, and overall thoughts on this electric bike.
Make sure you check out part 1 of this review with large pictures and specifications to get a detailed look at this e-bike.
What you can expect from the Surface 604 Rook:
To get acquainted with the Surface 604 Rook, checkout this video:
Riding the Surface 604 Rook:
Overall there are some characteristics of the Surface 604 Rook that really stand out when riding this eBike. To summarize they are:
- Smooth torque sensor pedal assist & throttle
- Impressive range
- Durable ride feel from quality components
The Look & Feel of the Surface 604 Rook
The Rook is an easy get on and go step-thru eCommuter that can also be great for exploring the open road.
The low step-thru area that is about 19″ above the ground makes this an easy eBike to get on and off compared to lifting a leg over the top tube of a traditional triangle frame.
It has a very comfortable ride position that is upright which is also helpful for seeing everything around you.
The Rook comes equipped with a lot of stock accessories that makes it a good bike for daily commuting and errand running.
Adding some bags or baskets to the rear rack makes the Rook a versatile eBike for errands around town and for those longer adventure rides.
The Rook foundation is based on a mountain bike design that has been adapted to a commuter and touring style bike.
There are 2 frame sizes to fit riders in height between 5′-2″ to 6′-6″ and it is available in the black & white color (in this testing & review) as well as an all white frame.
First of all we will take a look at the hydroformed aluminum frame that has been shaped to build in features like the step-thru area, integrated battery, and welded rear rack.
The low step-thru area is created by the steeply sloped top tube that mostly parallels that down tube while still providing room for removal of the battery.
Some step-thru bikes can feel a little flexible with the low top tube design but the Rook feels very sturdy and that is most likely attributed to the large aluminum tubing and large surface area connections.
A good example of this is the top and down tube connection to the headtube that has a lot of surface area connection at this high stress connection.
The battery integration into the downtube is an ideal placement because it keeps that weight centered and low which is good for the overall balance of the bike in addition to the handling.
The battery in the downtube has a cohesive look with the top tube running above it.
Another sturdy frame detail is the rear rack that is welded directly to the frame and eliminates any concerns of attachment bolts coming loose.
The main structure is constructed of large aluminum tubing for a strong design while smaller tubing is used for the attachment of bags and baskets or panniers.
The top of the rack is built for attaching a bag or strapping objects to.
The Suntour XCT suspension fork with about 3 inches of travel (80 mm) does a nice job of smoothing out the road.
It has an active feel that absorbs a lot of the bumps and cracks in the road.
On the left side of the fork is a preload dial that adjusts the spring rate of the fork to fit your weight and riding style.
And on the right side is a lockout dial that will prevent the fork for moving for a more efficient ride on smooth roads.
If you ride on rough roads the Suntour NCX suspension seat post that Surface 604 offers is an economical way to add a bit of rear suspension to the bike.
Additionally, here is a guide to suspension seat posts.
The Rook ride position is generally upright and comfortable.
The wide handlebar has about an inch of rise and it is slightly swept back. It provides a nice bit of leverage over the front wheel for a stable ride feel.
The faux leather grips have wings on the end to provide wrist support which is a nice feature for a stable and comfortable ride feel.
The grips did rotate a bit during testing and it would be nice to have a more solid attachment to the handle bar.
A solution could be glueing the grips to the handlebar or you could opt for an upgraded grip with lock-on collars.
There is a lot of variability of the handlebar position with the adjustable stem so that you can dial-in the position for your preferred riding style.
In the lower stem positions the handlebar is further out and lower for more of a performance ride position. In the higher positions the handlebar is closer and higher up for more of a comfortable ride style.
The Selle Royal gel seat has a fairly wide profile and a central relief area for a comfortable ride feel.
Now let’s take a look at the drive system on the Surface 604 Rook.
Providing the assist is a 500 watt (750 watts peak power) Bafang geared rear hub motor with pedal assist (torque sensor) or throttle up to 20mph, which makes the Rook a Class 2 electric bike.
A big highlight of all Surface 604 eBikes is the torque sensor based pedal assist system because it blends the motor power with your pedal power to create an intuitive ride feel.
Torque sensor systems measure your pedal power and provide a proportional amount of assist based on the pedal assist level you have selected.
It follows your lead based on how hard or easy you are pedaling and provides a similar amount of assist which is amplified by the pedal assist level.
Cadence sensor systems by comparison generally add the full assist amount (based on the pedal assist level) when the cranks are turning without the sophistication of matching your pedal power proportionally like the torque sensor.
The Rook has a good spectrum of 5 pedal assist levels to choose from to vary the ride performance from easy going to fast and powerful.
The Bafang 500 watt (750 watt peak) geared rear hub motor has some kick and does a good job of providing assist up to 20 mph in the higher assist levels.
Pedal assist levels 4 & 5 are a fast and powerful ride feel for quicker acceleration and strong hill climbing.
Level 3 has a performance feel but it’s not as powerful as levels 4 & 5 which helps to extend the range.
Levels 1 & 2 have an easy going ride style for casually cruising the neighborhood or for when riding in crowded areas.
The pedal assist transitions are smooth and intuitive with the assist starting as soon as you start pedaling and stopping as soon as you stop pedaling.
There is also the thumb throttle that can add a boost of power to the lower pedal assist levels or it can be used as pure throttle without pedaling if you want.
The throttle has a wide range of power that can be easily varied to provide exactly the amount of assist that you want.
Additionally, there is a walk mode that helps with walking the bike up stairs or up a steep hill at 2mph. It is activated by holding the “-” button on the control pad for a few seconds.
There is some noise from this motor and it’s in the medium range when compared to other electric bikes.
Another quality highlight for an eBike at this price is the Shimano Alivio 9 speed drivetrain that has a light action feel that makes it easy to shift up and down the cogset and the shifts feel very concise.
The gear range consists of a 42 tooth chainring and a 11 tooth to 34 tooth cogset that covers the range of speeds up to and beyond 20 mph well. It also has low enough gearing to climb steeper hills well.
The Samox 170mm cranks feature a hollow axle design for lower weight and they are another quality touch.
Another nice feature for this eCommuter bike is the large chain guard that keeps your pant legs clean and out of the chain.
Here is a closer look at the lithium battery that is built into the downtube of the frame.
The downtube location of the battery is ideal for the balance and handling of the bike because it keeps the weight low and centered.
The Rook in this test was equipped with the optional extended range 48V 14ah (672 watt hours of capacity) lithium battery that adds $200 to the base price of $1,999. The stock battery is a 48V 10.4ah (499 Wh capacity).
Popular Samsung 18650 cells are used in the Surface 604 batteries.
In addition to powering the motor, the battery also powers the front & rear lights, along with USB charge ports for a phone or other USB chargeable device.
There are 2 USB charge ports: one on the upper right side of the battery and a port under the display on the handlebar.
The battery is easily removed by unlocking it with one of the supplied keys (2 supplied) and rotating it to the left side of the bike.
Charging times are 5-6 hours to fully charge an empty stock battery (48V 10.4ah) and 7 to 8 hours for the optional 48V 14ah battery. The battery can be charged on or off the bike.
Now let’s take a closer look at the display.
The color display adds a nice bit of style to the Rook and it’s easy to see the important info at a quick glance.
The display provides information on:
- Battery level
- Speed, average speed, max speed
- Odometer, trip distance
- Pedal assist mode
- Power the motor is providing
A quality highlight of the Rook is the use of Tektro Auriga hydraulic disc brakes with 180mm rotors front and rear.
They have the solid engagement feel and powerful braking that is typical of hydraulic disc brakes.
There is a lot of braking power range that is well modulated from just scrubbing off a little speed all the way up to full stop.
Another nice feature is the brake lever reach adjustment so that the brake levers can fit smaller hand sizes.
Each brake lever has a sensor that will stop the assist if either brake lever is engaged.
Making the Rook a great all around eBike is the stock accessory package for commuting, errand running, and longer rides.
The rear rack welded to the frame has a very sturdy feel and it is designed to work with a variety of bags, baskets, and panniers for transporting cargo on the daily ride.
Front and rear lights powered by the eBike battery eliminate worrying about charging separate batteries for the lights.
The Axendo LED front light has a nice beam to see the road as well as to be seen and the rear light helps with being seen.
Rounding out the accessory package is the bell and kickstand to make the Rook a ready to go eCommuter and eTouring bike.
Okay, let’s see how the Surface 604 Rook did out on the open road!
Surface 604 Rook Range Test Results:
Here is the real world information on how the Surface 604 Rook electric bike performed on a riding circuit that includes hills, flats, traffic, wind (when available) etc.
While testing these bikes I like to put them through the toughest conditions to see where their bottom line is in regards to range and speed. I tested the Surface 604 Rook in the highest pedal assist level (Level 5) with average pedaling on paved roads.
Range: As you can see from the GPS info that I recorded, the Surface 604 Rook traveled 36.3 miles and did a total elevation gain of over 3,000 ft. Considering that I weigh 190 lbs and I pedaled at an average pace this is good range for a 48 Volt 14 ah 672 Wh battery pack (optional high capacity battery +$200) with a 500 watt motor assisting up to 20 mph. Interpolating to the 10.4ah battery would be around 27.0 miles on this tough range test.
Watt hours are the total energy in a battery pack and it is based on the volts x amp hours of a pack. This is a way to compare the size of the “gas tank” of electric bikes.
Please keep in mind that if you pedal more, weigh less than me, ride slower and/or you use the bike in terrain that is not as hilly you will get more range. These results are from tough testing.
Speed: The Surface 604 Rook will assist up to 20 mph with pedal assist and up to 20 mph with throttle which makes this a Class 2 electric bike.
Weight: The Surface 604 Rook tips the scales at 57.1 pounds which is approaching the heavier side for an electric bike. Removing the 7.6 pound battery brings it down to 49.5 pounds which makes it a little easier to load onto a car rack.
The weight distribution of the Surface 604 Rook is pretty good because the battery is low and centered on the bike while the rear hub motor makes it just slightly back heavy.
Range: 36 miles in the tough range test is impressive and the Rook will handle daily commuting and errand running well. In this testing the higher capacity 48V 14ah battery was used but even then the stock 10.4ah hour battery should do pretty well.
Torque Sensor Pedal Assist: This provides an intuitive ride feel by blending the motor power with your pedal power proportionally and it is a nice feature for a bike in this price range.
Quality Components: The Rook has a durable feel and some of that is attributed to the quality components that includes the Bafang motor, Shimano Alivio drive train, Tektro Auriga hydraulic disc brakes, etc.
Heavier: The Surface 604 Rook tips the scales at 57.1 pounds which is approaching the heavier side for an electric bike. Removing the 7.6 pound battery brings it down to 49.5 pounds which makes it a little easier to pick up.
Motor noise: The Bafang geared rear hub motor has a whirring noise that is in the medium range compared to other electric bikes.
Grips: It would be nice to have more solid attachment of the grips to the handlebars. On possible solution would be to glue the grips to the handlebar or by upgrading to grips that have lock-on collars.
Overall the Surface 604 Rook is an easy to get on and ride eCommuter and eAdventurer bike for exploring the open road.
Impressive range with an intuitive ride feel from the torque sensor pedal assist system are highlights for a bike in this price range.
The quality components that include Bafang, Shimano, Tektro, and Kenda in addition to the full accessory package make this a well equipped turn key eBike.
The $1,999 base price (+ free shipping) is a good value considering the features, quality components, and accessories.
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 buy a Surface 604 Rook? Check with the Surface 604 website.
Do you have any questions about the Surface 604 Rook? Do you own a Surface 604 Rook? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Review Note: Each company pays a fee for a review on Electric Bike Report because of the considerable amount of time that it takes to provide an in-depth review of each eBike. A lot of time is spent on the full range test with distance & elevation profile, the wide variety of detailed pictures, in-depth video, and the write up with the specifications, ride characteristics, pros, cons, and overall thoughts. The reviews on Electric Bike Report are focused on providing you with a detailed “virtual” look at each eBike to help you determine if it is the eBike for you.
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