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Velotric Packer 1 Review, 2023
Nov 13, 2023
This comfortable, high-capacity cargo-hauler rides smoothly and handles great!
With our prediction that 2023 would be the “year of the cargo e-bike,” Velotric didn’t waste any time releasing their first dedicated hauler: the Packer 1! With the brand’s signature design and two cool colors, the Packer certainly has good looks… but does its performance match its style? The reviewers at Electric Bike Report answer that question in this Velotric Packer 1 review.
With a roomy rear rack that can carry up to 176 lbs of kids, groceries, or gear, the Packer 1 is a workhorse! Velotric offers a huge spread of accessories including two bundles geared toward families. The bike has a 440-lb total payload capacity, so between the rear rack and the optional front basket, there’s plenty of room for everyone and everything!
In our experience, the Packer 1 rode like a dream with its upright riding position and comfortable contact points. The bike’s plush saddle, curved handlebars, and ergonomic rubber grips felt great even after long test rides around our local bike paths.
Despite its size, we found that the Packer 1 also had surprisingly good handling! The bike uses a 20” rear wheel to keep its center of gravity low and a 26” front wheel for smoothness and control. The combination paid off with an unexpectedly responsive ride even with added cargo weight.
Keep reading our full Velotric Packer 1 review below to see the bike’s specs and to find out how it stacked up in our series of standardized tests.
Bike Category: Cargo
Class 2 E-Bike:Throttle and pedal assist up to 20 mph (can be unlocked to a Class 3 with pedal assist up to 28)
Velotric Packer 1 Video Review
Hauls up to 440 lbs between the rider, passengers, and cargo! The rear rack has a 176-lb weight capacity and can accommodate 2 kids comfortably.
Rides comfortably with a cushy saddle, cruiser-style handlebars, and ergonomic rubber grips.
Great handling for its size due to the “mullet” wheel design (26” front and 20” rear) and resulting low center of gravity.
Comes with appreciated features including compatibility with Apple Find My™, a storage compartment with a TSA combination lock, a top board for the cargo rack, and wheel guards.
Compatible with a ton of cargo, utility, and passenger accessories including baskets, footboards, handrails, side mirrors, etc.
Both UL 2271 and UL 2849 Certified for safety.
Fits taller riders up to 6’-6” where many other cargo e-bikes max out at 6-3”.
Easy for anyone to hop on and ride with a step-thru frame and a standover height of 16.25”.
We appreciated the 750W motor’s power when tackling hills, but we’d prefer more gradual acceleration for added safety when balancing cargo/kids.
It’s a little nitpicky, but we’d like to see a more attractive color display instead of the included black-and-white LCD.
ELECTRICAL SPECS & FEATURES
Battery: 48V, 14.4Ah, 691.2Wh w/ LG 21700 cells
Display: 3.5″ Backlit LCD display with speed, trip, battery, assist Level and more
The Packer 1 handles great with a 26” front wheel and 20” rear wheel.
A 750W rear-hub motor with 1200W of peak output keeps the bike moving up to the Class 2 limit of 20 mph.
The bike’s cargo rack is compatible with optional baskets, seat pads, handrails, and more!
Velotric Packer 1 Review: Speed Test
The Packer 1 showed a respectably consistent and even distribution of speeds in our Speed Test. We rode the bike along a predetermined section of the local shared-use paths and measured our maximum speeds in each of the bike’s five pedal assist system (PAS) settings.
Weighing in at about 90 lbs, the Packer 1 is heavy – but its weight felt well-balanced, allowing us to pedal comfortably with no help from the motor at 11.4 miles per hour. Activating the lowest setting of the PAS brought no change to our speed; the motor stops providing active assistance at 10 mph in PAS 1. We measured a noticeable but slight increase to 12 mph with PAS 2, and then increasingly punch bursts of acceleration as we stepped up to 15 mph in PAS 3, 17 mph in PAS 4, and 20 mph in PAS 5.
As a Class 2 e-bike, the Packer 1 includes a throttle, and its 750W rear-hub motor is limited to 20 mph with this or the PAS. We were delighted to learn that the throttle speeds are limited to the same intervals as the pedal assist speeds by the PAS. This makes traveling at slower speeds easier (something we encourage when carrying kids or any extra weight) and maintaining speed completely effortless.
The graph shown above is skewed somewhat by the fact that our pedaling speed exceeded the motor’s output in PAS 1, but when factoring in that setting’s limit of 10 mph, the Packer 1’s maximum speeds become much more evenly distributed. We appreciate seeing this pattern, as it makes choosing your desired setting more intuitive; you are more likely to get exactly the amount of power you expect. We did notice that PAS 3 showed a slight bump, which our testing suggested was the point at which climbing hills became much easier.
It’s worth noting that the Packer 1 can be unlocked to a Class 3 e-bike with a maximum pedal-assisted speed of 25 mph (the throttle is still limited to 20). We did not test the bike in this mode as we feel it is safest to adhere to the 20 mph limit, but the option is there for more adventurous riders.
In truth, we would prefer to see more limited and gradual acceleration to promote safety and allow for better control when carrying kids. Ideally, an adjustable setting in the display would allow flexibility for different riders with different preferences and purposes – but we’d settle for a general reduction as well.
Otherwise, the Packer 1 did well in our Speed Test, with an appropriate distribution of speeds and enough power to move the bike and a loaded-up cargo rack effectively.
At over 6 feet long, the Packer 1 is big but roomy enough for kids and cargo.
The Packer uses an 8-speed Shimano Altus drivetrain with a 13-34T cassette.
The 48V, 692 Wh battery is removable but painted to match the frame.
Velotric Packer 1 Review: Range Test
After testing the Packer 1’s range using the process described above, we found ourselves quite impressed with its capabilities. Velotric advertises that the bike can travel up to 52 miles on a single charge of its 692 watt-hour (Wh) battery, and we exceeded that distance with serious potential to have traveled even longer.
Most brands base their maximum range claims on best-case scenarios; in the case of a cargo e-bike that means traveling with no added weight in PAS 1 on flat ground and in clear weather. While we experienced clear weather – par for course here in Southern Utah – our test location is a bike path with significant elevation changes. We added about 40 lbs of weight for roughly half of our low-PAS test, and in this case, we increased our PAS setting to PAS 3 as we believe most riders will be likely to want the extra speed and uphill power of that setting.
Using the maximum motor output in PAS 5, we measured a distance of 36.9 miles, which is impressive considering the Packer 1’s motor and battery specs. We usually prefer to see equal footing between the nominal output of the motor (750 watts) and the watt-hour capacity of the battery (692 Wh), but the Packer 1’s battery falls somewhat short.
Despite this, we measured almost twice the range we expected! Using the method explained in our article on calculating range on electric bikes, we anticipated that this portion of the test would result in a distance of roughly 20 miles. Our real-world result of nearly 37 miles indicates that the motor and battery pairing worked efficiently. When we reviewed the Velotric Nomad 1, we learned that Velotric’s engineers tune their motors to increase their efficiency, so this result came as no surprise.
The Packer 1’s low-PAS test results were highly impressive; we measured a distance of 58.4 miles in PAS 3. The fact that we tested the bike in what is actually its mid-range setting required more power from the battery than PAS 1 or 2 would have – as did the fact that we included additional weight for a portion of the test. With these considerations, we would have been satisfied with results below Velotric’s advertised range, but the fact that we still exceeded them shows just how much potential the Packer 1 has.
As they stand, the Packer 1’s Range Test results are on the high end when compared to the other cargo e-bikes we have tested. We likely would have measured performance above and beyond those similar bikes if we had used a lower PAS setting or not added cargo weight.
Velotric Packer 1 Review: Hill Test
As explained in the graphic above, we tested the Packer 1’s hill climbing abilities separately using its throttle and its maximum pedal assist setting (PAS 5). We were impressed with the power of its 750W motor; its peak output is 1200W and 75 Newton-meters (Nm) of torque.
With its motor doing all of the heavy lifting, we measured a time of 1 minute and 15 seconds using the throttle. During this portion of the test, the Packer 1 traveled an average of 14.5 miles per hour. With added effort from our tester (Justin), we measured an expectedly faster time and speed; the bike traveled up the path in 1 minute and 9 seconds with an average of 15.7 miles per hour.
The motor’s maximum output equates to a significant amount of force, as is appropriate for an e-bike made to effectively move a lot of weight. Comparatively speaking, the Packer 1’s throttle-only time is on the mid-to-high end when considering the other cargo haulers we’ve tested. Its max-PAS time is comparatively slower, but well within the range of expected results. Cargo bikes tend to perform better than other categories of e-bikes, so average in this case is still better-than-average in the big picture.
We perform our Hill Tests with no additional cargo weight for the purposes of apples-to-apples comparison, but we understand that most riders won’t be doing much traveling without the weight of kids or groceries taxing the motor. To gain a more complete understanding of the Packer 1’s capabilities, we tested it both with and without cargo weight at a different “unofficial” test location closer to our office.
At that location – which we call the Pilot Hill – we measured a time and speed of 1:07 / 17.9 mph using the throttle and 1:04 / 18.7 mph when pedaling in PAS 5 with no added cargo weight. For the second portion of the test, we added a sandbag weighing 45-50 lbs to the optional large basket on the rear rack before trying again. With this cargo, we measured a time and speed of 1:24 / 14.3 mph using the throttle and 1:11 / 16.9 mph in PAS 5.
These additional tests showed a 20% reduction in throttle-only speed and roughly a 10% reduction in pedal assist speed with the additional 45-50 lbs. The added weight made more of a difference when relying solely on the motor’s power, but impacted the pedal assist test far less due to the human element involved.
Our formal test location is slightly more challenging than the Pilot Hill, but based on this test, we think it’s reasonable to say that the Packer 1 would have climbed Hell Hole with the same amount of cargo. Considering that the bike climbs best with help from its rider, we suggest pedaling when hauling extremely heavy loads, but with smaller hills or lighter loads, the Packer 1’s motor showed that it can do the job on its own.
We liked that the Packer 1 maintained Velotric’s trademark down tube with its cleanly integrated battery.
The hydraulic brakes use 4-piston calipers on 180mm rotors.
A view of the Packer 1’s brake lever.
Velotric Packer 1 Review: Brake Test
After collecting three stopping distance measurements using the process above, we determined that the Packer 1’s average stopping distance was 22’-6”. Overall, this is a satisfactory result that falls well within our range of expectations, though it is slower than average when compared to the pool of similar e-bikes we have data for.
We were pleased to note that the bike includes a hydraulic brake system with 4-piston calipers and 180mm rotors. Many e-bikes that we test include 2-piston calipers which apply force to a smaller surface area on their brake pads than 4-piston systems, and are therefore less effective at modulating speed. 4-piston systems such as those on the Packer 1 are more appropriate for situations where stopping is more difficult – such as when riding off-road (think mountain bikes) or when fighting the inertia from extra cargo weight.
By feel, the Packer 1’s brakes performed well; the bike slowed effectively in an expected amount of time and distance. As is normal, the addition of weight slowed their performance – a reminder to practice braking hard when carrying a full load to get the feel for things – but the bike felt under control at all times even when descending a steep hill.
We did not experience any negative side effects like wheels locking up, skidding, fishtailing, etc.; the Packer 1 maintained excellent stability with a straight line of travel. Ultimately, we were satisfied with its braking performance both with and without cargo.
Storage compartments are great – but the Packer 1’s is even better with a TSA combination lock!
The extended chain uses a tensioner on the chain stay, which is protected by a fabric cover.
The air/oil suspension fork has 80mm of travel to absorb bumps from the road.
We appreciated the brightness of the large 130 lux headlight.
Velotric Packer 1 Review: Ride Quality
The Packer 1’s ride quality was great; as I have touched on previously, the bike was extremely comfortable, handled well, included a number of useful features, and was compatible with a host of accessories to customize and expand its functionality.
The comfort and fit of the bike was one of the largest highlights; riding was enjoyable with the Packer 1’s thickly-cushioned saddle and natural-feeling, ergonomic handlebars and grips. I appreciated the adjustable stem, which allowed me to tailor the fit and feel of the generally-upright riding position to what felt best. Velotric advertises that the bike is suitable for riders between 5’-3” and 6’-6”, which is a wider range of accommodation for taller users than many similar cargo e-bikes we tested. I also appreciated the smoothness of the ride granted by the 26” front wheel and the suspension fork with 80mm of travel.
It was clever of Velotric to include a “mullet” design with the different-sized front and rear wheels, which is most often seen in the world of mountain bikes. A larger front wheel grants improved control and makes bumps more comfortable, while the smaller 20” rear wheel helps to keep the Packer’s center of gravity low when carrying a lot of weight. This aids in keeping the bike balanced, as well as making it easier to manage when mounting and making it more maneuverable overall.
A large black-and-white display is mounted centrally on the curved, cruiser-style handlebars
The Packer 1’s controls were easy to reach from the comfortable ergonomic rubber grips.
CST street tires provided good traction on paved surfaces.
The rack-mounted taillight also functions as a brake light.
Speaking of loading up, the Packer 1 is compatible with a massive range of accessories geared toward managing kids or cargo. For groceries and gear, the bike’s optional front basket can carry up to 33 lbs, and two sizes of cargo basket can be affixed to the 176-lb-capacity rear rack for containment and organization. For carrying little ones, foot boards can be mounted to the frame and the rear rack can be topped with a seat pad, a safety balustrade, or a handrail to accommodate two children comfortably.
The bike includes a number of included extras – perhaps most notable is its compatibility with Apple Find My™. As long as the bike is paired with Apple’s app, its location can be viewed and the app can trigger the emission of sound to help you locate it in case of theft.
More relevant to daily use, the cargo rack is outfitted with a bamboo top board, its wheels are protected with wheel guards, a chain guard is included to prevent messy pants, and the bike even includes a small storage compartment with a TSA combination lock. The bike also includes front and rear fenders, a large and bright 130 lux headlight, and a wide taillight that functions as a brake light.
We found the Packer 1’s cockpit to be functional and not overcrowded. The bike’s left handlebar hosts its control panel (with access to PAS adjustment, ride data, and lights) as well as its thumb-operated throttle lever. A rapidfire under-the-bar shifter was located on the right in addition to a small but useful bell. We’d like to have seen a color display, but that’s a fairly minor point of critique; overall we were highly satisfied with everything included.
Velotric Packer 1 Review: Summary / Where to Buy
The Packer 1 clearly continues Velotric’s established trend of creating highly capable, functional, and well-priced e-bikes. It may not reinvent the wheel, but it doesn’t need to; it instead maintains its focus on doing its job well – and succeeds.
In our testing, the bike proved capable of climbing hills and hauling weight with its powerful 750W motor. Its motor and battery proved to be an efficient combination that allowed for a significant amount of range from a single charge. Its brake performance was adequate for its impressive hauling capability, and we thoroughly enjoyed the bike’s comfort and unexpected degree of maneuverability.
It was also nice to see quite a few small and uncommon details included, such as the storage compartment with an integrated combination lock, or the built-in Apple Find My™ functionality – both are appreciated features for increased security that are a step up from what we often see.
The points of critique we have are few; we’d suggest that the bike’s acceleration in its higher PAS settings be toned down in the future for improved safety and peace of mind when riding with children – though we recommend sticking with the lower/slower settings in those cases regardless. Otherwise, while it’s certainly not critical, we’d like to see a full color display to match Velotric’s trademark colorful style.
Our conclusion is that the Velotric Packer 1 would be a fantastic addition to the garage for families looking to spend more time together outdoors. It has enough space to accommodate the kids or a full load of supplies, and it feels very much like the minivan that it can sometimes substitute!
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 Packer 1.