Velotric Discover 1 Electric Bike Review 2023
Velotric Discover 1 Review: Overview
The Velotric Discover 1 is a Class 2 electric step-thru bike that walks the fine line between commuter and cruiser. During the Velotric Discover 1 review we learned it has the upright and comfortable positioning of a cruiser while sporting the looks and handling of a commuter bike, taking the best aspects from both bike styles.
The Discover 1 comes with a 500W rear hub motor, and 48V, 14.4Ah internally integrated battery. The Velotric Discover 1 review was an interesting one, as we have tested numerous bikes with similar price points, and specs — we were eager to see how the Discover 1 stacked up to competitors bikes.
Electric Bike Report conducted multiple tests to find out where the Discover 1 falls into the grand scheme of budget friendly Class 2 e-bikes, by the end of this write up you should have a good understanding of the Velotric Discover 1’s capabilities, strong suits and more.
The Velotric Discover 1 is currently a pre-production model — which is something to keep in mind throughout the Velotric Discover 1 review write up and video. As of this writing for the Discover 1 review, Velotric is currently raising funds on Indiegogo, but will fully launch on their own website soon. Let’s jump in.
- The Velotric Discover 1 is very visually appealing. The frame design and color choices add up to be very eye-catching.
- The Discover 1 comes with three pedal assist settings, which is fewer than the typical five we see on most other affordable e-bikes. This allowed our team to focus more on riding and less on the PAS levels.
- The Discover 1 is a great value. Its competitive price point relative to its performance makes the bike a sensible choice.
- The Velotric Discover 1 blurs the line between a cruiser bike and a commuter bike with its comfortable upright geometry, sporty looks and fast rolling tires .
- The Discover 1 comes with integrated lights to increase low light visibility. Not only can you see better, others can see you better too.
- The suspension fork feels a bit flimsy relative to the rest of the bike. A slightly higher-end suspension fork would tie together the performance of this bike a little better than the current fork.
- The motor feels a little weak for a 500W motor capable of 65Nm of torque.
- Velotric’s claimed range of 80 miles is far above what we received on our range test. Granted, 50+ miles is still decent range.
- Battery: 48V, 14.4Ah (692Wh)
- Display: 3.5 inch, backlit LCD display.
- Motor: 500W rear hub motor, 65 Nm of torque
- Headlight: 12VDC VELOTRIC
- Taillights: 6VDC VELOTRIC
- Peal Assist: Levels 1-3
- Range: 30 miles – 55 miles
- Throttle: Lever throttle
- Bike weight: Unpublished
- Rear rack maximum load: 55 lbs
- Maximum rider weight: Unpublished
- Unfolded Dimensions: 6’0” x 3’6” (Bike length in feet x handlebar height in feet)
- Brakes: Unbranded mechanical disc brakes, 180mm rotors
- Fenders: Included, black
- Fork: 65mm suspension fork
- Frame: 6061 aluminum alloy
- Drivetrain: Shimano Tourney 7-speed
- Grips: Ergonomic rubber
- Saddle: Ergonomic comfort saddle
- Handlebar: Ergonomic handlebar
- Kickstand: Yes
- Pedals: Standard, plastic
- Tires: Unbranded 26”x 2.4” tires, gum wall
Velotric Discover 1 Performance Review
Acceleration / Speed
The Velotric Discover 1 accelerates at a slower rate than some of the othero similarly spec’d Class 2 e-bikes we’ve reviewed. Despite the slower than average acceleration the Discover 1 shows it has some torque on hill climbs. To be exact, Velotric claims the Discover 1 can produce up to 65 Nm of torque.
The throttle accelerates a little quicker than when using pedal assistance.. While the Velotric Discover 1 isn’t the quickest accelerating e-bike we have reviewed, it still doesn’t take terribly long to reach the top Class 2 speed of 20 mph.
Between the fast rolling tires and 500W hub motor the Velotric Discover 1 is able to maintain any momentum gained for a decent amount of time. PAS levels 2 and 3 both will give riders the ability to ride around the top Class 2 speed of 20 mph.
Here at Electric Bike Report we conduct a battery range test to get a better understanding of the true real world range of the bikes we review. We do two separate range tests; one in the highest pedal assist setting, the other in a lower pedal assist setting. This gives our team, and all of you e-bike enthusiasts a ballpark idea of the true real world range of the bikes we review.
For the lower pedal assist test, we choose the lowest power level that still provides noticeable rider assistance. Sometimes this could be PAS 1, other times 2 or even PAS 3. For the Velotric Discover 1, we tested it in PAS 1 and PAS 3. This bike comes with a 48V, 14.4Ah battery which is slightly larger than the average battery size we are used to seeing on 500W e-bikes.
Velotric claims the Discover 1 can reach 80 miles on a single charge, which is extremely far when you consider the size of the 48V, 14.4Ah battery. This was one of the main “selling points” we were seeing online about the Discover 1. Velotric additionally claims the Discover 1 has a 50% longer range than the Rad Power Bikes RadRover 6, which we tested earlier this year.
When our test rider conducted the Velotric’s PAS 1 range test she reached 52.36 miles with an average speed of 12.2 mph — Just 1.87 miles further and 1.5 mph faster than the RadRover 6. We applaud the Discover 1 for its range, however it still doesn’t muster Velotric’s claimed range of 80 miles. The Discover 1’s 12.2 mph average isn’t blazing fast, however it’s a decent cruising speed — being able to hold onto that speed for 50-plus miles further confirms the Discover 1’s ability to moderate battery usage.
In the highest pedal assist setting, PAS 3, I reached 33.02 miles with an average speed of 18.8 mph. I was impressed with the bike’s ability to hover around the top Class 2 speed of 20 mph for over 30 miles.
Despite the respectable results we still weren’t able to match Veltoric’s claimed range of 80 miles. They say this result comes from controlled lab testing, however our real world test may be a better indicator of what sort of range to expect from the Discover 1.
We conduct a circuit test to get a better idea of what each pedal assist level provides on the bikes we test. The circuit is a 1-mile loop that we ride in each pedal assist setting and with the bike turned completely off. This shows us how efficient the bike is in each pedal assist setting and the relationship between them.
The Velotric Discover 1 comes with 3 pedal assist levels which was rather refreshing compared to the typical 5 or more we see on most affordable e-bikes. Pedal assist level 1 gave our test rider a 1.2 mph increase in speed over the bike turned completely off — the moderate level of assistance and speed gain seems appropriate for it being the first assist level.
PAS 2 and 3 were incredibly similar with just a 0.2 mph difference between the two. We wouldn’t mind PAS 2 being a little slower to keep the jump from level to level a little bit more consistent and predictable.
One of the main selling points of electric bikes is their ability to flatten hills and make steep grades seem not so steep. However, some bikes do a better job of this than others. To get a good understanding of how the bikes we test perform on hills, we put them to the test on one of the steepest hills in town known as Hell Hole.
It’s a quarter mile long, and has an average grade of 12%-15%. In short, Hell Hole puts even the strongest bikes to the test. We do two separate hill climbs, one using the throttle only and the other in the highest pedal assist setting. Between these results we can get an idea of how the bike performs on its own power and with rider assist.
When I scaled the test hill using throttle only, it took 1:57.00 to reach the top. I rode at an average speed of 9.3 mph and dropped as low as 5 mph on the steepest section of the hill. The bike seemed to struggle a bit, and I would be willing to bet I used all 65 Nm of available torque. While it definitely wasn’t the fastest throttle-only result, the Discover 1 made it to the top, which cant be said for every bike we’ve tested.
When I rode up the test hill in the highest pedal assist setting it took me 1:36.00 to reach the top. I had an average speed of 11.3 mph, 2 mph faster than with the throttle only. The bike reached the top at a slightly slower than average speed. However, as I mentioned before, it made i, and that isn’t the case with all of the bikes we test.
The Velotric Discover 1 may not be the most powerful bike we’ve tested, however it still has enough power to scale steep hills without requiring too much work from the rider.
Handling is a key thing; we know that anybody in search of the best electric bike for themselves wants something they feel they can manage well on the roads. The Velotric Discover 1 handles like it wants you to enjoy the ride, its upright geometry keeps you looking ahead, taking in the view and the ergonomic grips and comfort-oriented saddle are easy to use for long periods of time. The fast rolling tires and suspension fork allow for some nimble movements throughout most paved surfaces.
This is a fun bike to corner and simply ride around. The fast rolling 2.4” tires provide good traction and rolling speeds. The 65mm suspension fork takes the edge off of some rougher roads and occasional off-road stretches.
The Velotric Discover 1 is surprisingly nimble for how upright its ride positioning is, this makes for a good combination of comfort and capability. There isn’t really a learning curve that comes with this bike, regardless of your experience level it shouldn’t take long to feel at home on the Velotric Discover 1.
The Velotric Discover 1 comes with a very comfortable and upright positioning that’s great for preserving your back and neck. The handlebar is an interesting shape that has both a backsweep, and upsweep.
Between the “sweeps” my wrists and hands stayed in a neutral position that was easy to maintain for long periods of time without the need to re-adjust my hands. The grips aren’t half bad either; their softer rubber compound is not only comfortable but also grippy.
If you value comfort but don’t want a full blown cruiser-style bike, the Velotric Discover 1 walks the fine line between being sporty and comfortable — a great combo for commuting and casual riding.
Velotric Discover 1 Specs/Features Review: Electric Components
The Velotric Discover 1 comes with a 48V, 500W rear-hub motor that Velotric says is capable of producing up to 65Nm of torque. The size of this hub motor is fairly standard among Class 2 e-bikes, however it seemed a little underpowered compared to some other 500W rear hub motors we have tested. It has no issue hovering around the top Class 2 speed of 20 mph but it struggles on steeper hills.
The claimed 65 Nm of torque seems a little bit high based on the way the bike felt throughout our testing. Based on other bikes we have tested with similar amounts of torque the Discover 1 simply feels underpowered.
This motor is also fairly quiet and quick to engage. During our hill climb tests, the motor gave us everything it had and managed to reach the top of our test hill on both the throttle only test and the pedal assist test. While it wasn’t the fastest bike to the top, the Velotric still made it. This may seem like a bit of a participation trophy, but we see a surprising amount of e-bikes that can’t clear that hill without help from a rider pedaling.
The 48V, 14Ah battery is internally integrated into the frame, creating a very sleek and clean appearance. This is one of those electric bikes that doesn’t look very much like an electric bike.
While we are happy with the battery’s performance it doesn’t come anywhere close to Velotric’s claimed range of 80 miles. We were happy with the range test results we received, but the claimed 80 miles is still far above the distance we got. This is one of the reasons we do these real world tests, to confirm the accuracy of manufactures’ claims.
In the highest pedal assist level I had no issue reaching over 30 miles on a single battery charge. Combine that with my 18.8 mph average speed and it’s easy to see this battery is plenty high in capacity to ride a long distance, in a high assist level — just keep in mind you probably won’t reach 80 miles like they claim on the Discover 1’s webpage.
Pedal Assist / Throttle
I feel many e-bikes have too many pedal assist settings, so boy was it refreshing to see three pedal assist levels on the Velotric Discover 1.
Having only 3 settings keeps things straightforward and simple. We tested the Velotric Discover 1 as a Class 2 e-bike so the top speed caps out at 20 mph. PAS 2 and 3 had no problems getting our test riders around that speed. I did spend some time on the bike with the speed turned up to a Class 3 setting where PAS 3 was slightly more distinguishable from PAS 2.
The throttle’s acceleration and speed characteristics fall somewhere between PAS 2 and 3. It’s just as quick as far as average speeds go on flat ground, but tends to be a little slower on hills. It makes sense, as no help from the rider is going to stress the motor more.
The 3.5-inch LCD display sits in the middle of the handlebars and displays all the information you’ll want to see when riding. This includes speed, milage, pedal assist level and battery life. The size and placement of this display makes it easy to glance down at when riding. It’s also bright enough to see on bright, sunny days where there tends to be some glaring on displays. This display also has a night mode where the display is further illuminated.
Velotric Discover 1 Review: Components and Accessories
With the price point taken into account, the componentry on the Velotric Discover 1 is okay. While some components like the 7-speed Shimano drivetrain are solid and trustworthy, others don’t have the same feeling of quality. For example, the 65mm suspension fork feels a little flimsy, ultimately giving us the feeling that it is not on par with the rest of the bike build. I would like to see some more components from companies that me, and bike mechanics are familiar with.
The Discover 1 uses unbranded mechanical disc brakes. They are paired up with 180mm rotors front and rear and provide decent stopping power. We conducted a brake test to get a better understanding of how the bike stopped from the top Class 2 speed of 20 mph.
After 5 total tests, it took an average of 20-feet 1-inch to stop. This is not the best result we’ve had. Most bikes are able to stop below twenty feet. With that being said, the brakes stopped quick enough that I would consider them safe but they didnt stop fast enough for me to call them great. Be sure to give yourself some time to familiarize yourself with the braking characteristics of these mechanical disc brakes.
The Velotric Discover 1’s 6061 alloy low step frame ties together the bike nicely. Not only is it a sleek, good looking alloy frame it also puts riders in an upright position that’s comfortable and easy to maintain for long periods of time.
This frame also feels sturdy, I didn’t feel any flexing throughout my testing on the Velotric Discover 1. This is great to see considering its a low step frame with no top tube for additional support.
The fork never failed on us but it feels a little underbuilt and flexy compared to the rest of the bike. There was some flexing and lack of plushness coming from the fork throughout our time riding the bike.
While technically the fork did its job, a slightly higher end fork with some thicker stanchions would tie together the bike a little better than the current 65mm spring fork does. It would reduce the feeling of unwanted flexing, and be a little more plush.
The fork’s 65mm of travel is plenty for this bike’s use-case, but as I mentioned it feels a little bit flexxy and doesnt show the same level of quality that the rest of the bike does. Especially when compared to the steer-tube it’s housed in, it looks and feels too small for the rest of the bike.
Drivetrain / Shifting
The Velotric Discover 1 comes with a 7-speed Shimano Tourney drivetrain. It is always good to see Shimano componentry on the bikes we test. Reason being is Shimano is a reputable and established brand within the bike industry — their components are reliable and your local bike shop should have Shimano replacement parts in stock.
Having the 7 gear range was great, it allowed me to always spin the pedals instead of mashing them, basically the gear range aligns with the motor’s power well enough that you never have to work hard to keep the bike moving.
Contact Points / Comfortability
The Velotric Discover 1 has comfortable geometry and contact points. The handlebars comfort-oriented shape mixed with ergonomic rubber grips makes for an easy and comfortable point to hold onto for both long and short rides.
The comfort-oriented saddle does the same, it’s still somewhat sporty but wide and plush enough that I had no complaints about discomfort from the saddle. The plastic pedals are standard, and do their job well. It’s really the comfortable pedaling position that this bike has that gives some additional comfort on the pedal side of things.
The unbranded gumwall 26” x 2.4” tires are the right choice for the Velotric Discover 1. They’re wide enough that they have plenty of traction and are easy to balance on. The larger air volume also makes cracks in the sidewalk and rougher roads seem not so harsh.
We put over 100 miles on the Discover 1 throughout our review process and we didn’t experience any flat tires. Based on our experience, if you keep the tires inflated to the appropriate PSI flats shouldn’t be all too common. We kept the tires around 35 PSI front and rear.
Extras / Accessories
The Velotric Discover 1 comes with full coverage fenders front and rear, it also comes with a rear rack that’s rated for 55 lbs. It was good to see both of these accessories included with the bike as it makes it that much more useful and equipped. Right now Velotric does not offer any additional extras or accessories on their website, hopefully we will see that in the near future.
Velotric Discover 1 Review: Summary / Where to Buy
The Velotric Discover 1 ended up being a solid Class 2 e-bike that blurred the lines between casual cruiser and big-city commuter. During the Velotric Discover 1 review we were all very interested in seeing if its performance matched its looks.
Where the Discover 1 excelled the most was in its battery life, while it’s definitely not the fastest or most powerful bike we have tested it was hard to ignore how long it held onto a charge. A 50 plus-mile range test result is really solid for a bike with this size motor and battery combination, but Velotric’s lofty claim of an 80-mile range somewhat overshadows that result. Velotric is sort of shooting themselves in the foot here because the Discover 1 has a great battery range that still falls short of their claim.
Riders who don’t want the worry of their e-bike battery dying quickly will most likely find a lot of value and trust in the Discover 1’s 48V, 14.4Ah internally integrated battery. On the topic of the battery, Velotric did a wonderful job integrating it into the frame, it’s visually very sleek and easy to remove and put back into the frame.
Velotric’s Discover 1 felt a tad underpowered relative to its motor specs on paper. Its 500W rear hub motor did just fine maintaining high speeds on flat ground however it did seem to struggle a bit on the steeper hill climbs. This is where the Shimano 7-speed drivetrain really came in handy — I always had a gear I was able to spin, meaning I never had to forcefully crank on the pedals to keep the bike moving.
The price point of the Discover 1 is definitely one I’d consider very fair for what you’re receiving. However, I wouldn’t mind them adding some higher end components even if that makes the cost a little higher. Take the suspension fork for example, it seems a little lower tier than the rest of the bike, I think a higher end suspension fork would add a lot of value and performance to this bike even if it cost a little more.
If you are looking for a bike that can be a casual cruiser, or your form of transportation to and from work then the Velotric Discover 1 isn’t a bad choice at all, as you really get what you pay for. It’s a smooth riding, comfortable bike and we are hoping to see an even more refined version in the near future. Velotric is on the right track with the Discover 1.
As we mentioned before, while Velotric got their start on Indiegogo, you can now purchase a Discover 1 directly from the Velotric website at 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 Velotric Discover 1.
Velotric also told me (I asked) that their rider weight capacity is 300lb. They said the frame is a ‘flat foot’ design with full pedal extension at same seat hight as touching down to ground
Mary Luley says
on their website it has a chart that shows different models. The Discover 1 has a “payload Capacity” of 440 lbs. Does that mean the same as rider weight? What is the difference – do you know?
I wish every review would say whether the frame is flat foot/pedal/crank forward geometry
Katherine Lundy says
What is frame size, ie 24”, 26”, or ???
I am 5’4”, worried bike frame will be too long. Thanks.