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Velotric T1 ST E-Bike Review, 2023
Nov 07, 2023
A curiously comfortable and affordable city e-bike with cool tech and a responsive ride!
While its top tube is angled low, Velotric raised the bar with the T1 ST – a lightweight and affordable city e-bike with an uncommon technology package. We tested its real-world performance in speed, range, braking, and hill climbing in addition to reviewing its specs. We report the facts in this Velotric T1 ST review!
Bikes made for zipping around cities aren’t anything new, but the Velotric T1 ST takes a unique approach – especially for its price point between $1,000 and $1,500. The bike includes a proprietary 350W rear-hub motor with a torque sensor and a single-button interface to indicate PAS setting and charge level. It’s reminiscent of the MAHLE X35 drive system found on significantly higher-priced e-bikes, just brought down to an affordable level. Additionally, the T1 ST is compatible with Apple Find My™ for security and peace of mind.
At just 39 lbs, the T1 ST boasts a seriously lightweight frame! In addition to making it more portable, this grants the bike an impressive degree of agility, allowing it to maneuver responsively and get up to speed quickly.
It’s difficult to tell that the T1 ST is even an e-bike; with its internal battery, minimalistic interface, internal wiring, and the absence of a display, it’s super stealthy. Sure, there’s a motor – but it’s shockingly quiet, giving you the boost of an e-bike without most of the obvious visual elements.
For all the details on its components and performance, keep scrolling for our full Velotric T1 ST review!
Bike Category: City/Urban
Class 1 E-Bike:Pedal assist up to 20 mph
Velotric T1 ST Video Review
Awesome value! The T1 ST offers unique tech at its price point with a proprietary motor, minimalistic interface, phone mount, and compatibility with Apple Find My™
Great handling, portability, and acceleration with a lightweight 39-lb frame.
A huge stealth factor with an ultra-quiet motor, top-tube-mounted interface, no display, and internal wiring.
It’s super comfortable for a city bike thanks to the custom saddle and ergonomic rubber grips.
Feels much like an analog bike thanks to the subtle 350W motor and torque sensor.
Can be unlocked to a Class 3 with speeds up to 25 mph with the press of a button!
Stand out on the road with integrated lights and the bright Lava orange paint job!
The built-in Garmin Edge phone mount on the stem worked well, but a 3rd-party app is needed for navigation or tracking ride data. We suggest that Velotric include compatibility with their app or add a small LCD display.
Tektro brakes have usually done well for us, but we’d like to suggest an upgrade for better stopping power.
ELECTRICAL SPECS & FEATURES
Battery: 36V, 9.8Ah, 352.8Wh, Samsung 21700 cells
Charger: 36V, 2.0A, Operates on 100V-240V AC, 50-60Hz
Frame: 6061 Triple-Butted Aluminum Alloy Frame, Integrated Cable Routing, Internal Battery, Flat Mount Disc, Rack and Fenders Compatible
Drivetrain: 8-Speed Mixed Shimano/Prowheel w/ 42T Chainring and 11-32T Cassette
Grips: VELOTRIC Ergonomic Comfort Grips
Saddle: Velotric Comfort, Customized by SELLE ROYAL
Handlebar: 6061 Aluminum Alloy, Φ31.8mm, 680mm
Kickstand: Aluminum Alloy
Tires: 700×40c E-Bike Puncture Resistant Tires
The T1 ST accelerates and maneuvers quickly and easily with its lightweight 39-lb frame!
Instead of a display, the T1 ST uses an interface on the top tube to communicate PAS setting and battery charge.
The bike uses a proprietary 350W rear-hub motor with a torque sensor to provide power proportional to the rider’s effort.
Velotric T1 ST Review: Speed Test
The standard Electric Bike Report Speed Test was simple; we rode the T1 ST in each of its five pedal assist system (PAS) settings and measured the maximum speed we reached in every mode. The T1 ST uses a naming convention for each setting: Eco Mode, Tour Mode, Normal Mode, Sport Mode, and Turbo Mode.
Since the T1 ST includes a torque sensor that tells the motor to dispense more power when pedaling harder, we maintained a consistent level of effort to gain an accurate understanding of the differences in speed/power output between settings.
Before engaging the PAS, we measured our speed when pedaling with no assistance from the motor to establish a baseline. Since the T1 ST weighed so little, this task was simple; we measured 12.4 miles per hour for our maximum speed. The bike functioned remarkably well as a “regular” bike since we didn’t have to overcome the cumbersome bulk that often accompanies larger and heavier e-bikes.
With the PAS activated, we noted a subtle-feeling but significant boost in Eco Mode that carried us to 15.3 mph. The increases between Eco and Normal Modes were even and consistent, as we measured 17.2 mph in Tour Mode and 19.2 mph in Normal Mode. There, the power seemed to taper off, as indicated by our measurements of 20 mph in Sport Mode and 20.4 mph in Turbo Mode.
As a Class 1 e-bike, the T1 ST has a maximum motor-assisted speed of 20 mph, so the additional speed in Turbo was a result of our leg power. The bike can be unlocked (where legal) to a Class 3 max speed of 25 miles per hour, and the “tapering off” effect we experienced in Class 1 mode is characteristic of e-bikes with similar abilities. Unlocking the bike simply removes the cap and allows the full power of higher settings to be put to use. See our article explaining throttle vs pedal assist for more information about the class system of e-bikes.
Velotric plans to release a Large frame size in the near future for those on the taller end of the spectrum.
A mixed 8-speed Shimano/Prowheel drivetrain provides flexibility for flat roads or paved hills.
The charging port for the fully internal 36V, 353 Wh battery is located right above the bottom bracket on the seat tube.
In Class 3 mode, we measured consistently higher speeds in each PAS setting; PAS 1 reached 16.6 mph and PAS 2 climbed to 18.9 mph. We reached 21 mph in both Normal and Sport Modes; there did not appear to be much difference between the two settings. But Turbo mode made a significant impact as we reached a maximum speed of 23.3 miles per hour.
I appreciated the additional “breathing room” that the T1 ST had in Class 3 mode; the bike itself handled higher speeds comfortably. I was able to reach the bike’s maximum speed of 25 miles per hour, though doing so required more effort than I maintained during the test.
From this test, I learned that the bike’s torque sensor was somewhat different; there seemed to be a small degree of lag in its detection of any changes in pedal pressure. Where many torque sensors respond almost instantaneously to the application of force on the cranks (think around the 2-3 o’clock position on a clock), the T1 ST’s sensor required more follow-through with the same force (all the way around to 5-6 o’clock). This took some adjustment, but I didn’t mind the difference; it resulted in a bit of a smoother feel to the output of the motor.
Overall, we were pleased with the distribution of power and speed in both modes, though we wouldn’t mind a more noticeable difference between Normal and Sport Modes when unlocked to Class 3 speeds.
Velotric T1 ST Review: Range Test
While we didn’t quite reach the 52-mile maximum range advertised by Velotric, we found the results of our Range Test to be completely respectable. Using the process described in the graphic above, we measured between 24.9 and 45.8 miles in Turbo Mode and Eco Mode from the T1 ST’s 350W rear-hub motor and 353 watt-hour (Wh) battery.
Compared to similar city/urban e-bikes we have tested, the T1 ST gave a relatively average performance with the maximum amount of output in Turbo Mode. However, with the minimum level of pedal assistance in Eco Mode, its results were decidedly on the high end! After we reviewed other e-bikes from Velotric, we learned that they custom-tune their motors for efficiency, so this was not surprising.
Considering that a huge number of factors affect range (rider weight, terrain, pedaling intensity/speed, etc), our results were close enough to Velotric’s advertised range to say that their claims are valid. Being one of our heavier riders, my weight likely reduced our range measurably, as did the topography of our test course. I gained roughly 800 feet of elevation over the course of the Eco Mode test, which required more energy from the battery than a test on a flat course would have (brands often advertise by best-case scenario with a lightweight rider on flat ground).
Regardless of its relatively average placement in Turbo Mode, the T1 ST proved more efficient than expected. Based on the bike’s motor/battery specs and Speed Test results, we estimated the battery would expire after an hour – and around 20 miles. In actuality, we measured 42% more time (1 hour and 25 minutes) and 24.5% greater distance.
Ultimately, we were pleased with the T1 ST’s results; in addition to being average to better-than-average, the amount of time and distance we measured from a single charge is likely to accommodate a long commute across town or a series of shorter, more local trips. Additionally, if the battery should run out of juice on the way, the T1 ST proved easy to pedal without the motor, so making it to your destination should still be comfortable and easy.
Velotric T1 ST Review: Hill Test
Going by data alone, the Velotric T1 ST’s performance in our Hill Test (explained in the graphic above) may not seem all that impressive, but it met our expectations based on its style and specs. When pedaling up our test hill in Turbo Mode, we measured a time of 2 minutes and 13 seconds, and an average speed of 8.2 miles per hour.
In truth, this result is firmly on the slow end of the spectrum, but it is not abnormal; we recently tested a similar e-bike from a much more established brand that showed identical results. City e-bikes like the T1 ST tend to prioritize weight over power, and Velotric has kept to this philosophy.
The bike’s 36V, 350W rear-hub motor provides power in addition to the rider’s contribution, but its boost is relatively subtle when compared to larger, heavier, and more powerful motors. With a maximum output of 600W and just 45 Nm of torque, the motor doesn’t have the power to conquer steep hills without a significant amount of rider effort. And as part of a 36V electrical system, it can’t draw power from the battery to replace the energy it uses as quickly as a higher voltage system. This results in slower speeds and a greater dependence on the rider, but preserves more of a traditional cycling feel and experience.
While we wouldn’t mind seeing a bit more peak power and torque from the motor to aid with hill climbing, we think the T1 ST’s test results and overall feel were good and appropriate. The bike feels much like an analog bike, but makes a big difference in reducing exhaustion and extending the limits of the human body, so ultimately we believe it did its job correctly.
We liked the bright, eye-catching Lava Orange color for its uniqueness – and as a bonus, high visibility means increased safety on the road!
The T1 ST comes equipped with 700c x 40mm street tires.
The bike uses Tektro hydraulic disc brakes with 160mm rotors.
Velotric T1 ST Review: Brake Test
After gathering three sets of test data using the process above, we calculated an average stopping distance of 26’-4”. This result is unquestionably slow when compared to similar e-bikes we’ve tested, though the pool of those models is relatively small – and the numbers do not tell the complete story. The current average for similar e-bikes is 22’-1”, with the T1 ST’s results exceeding the average by over 4 feet.
If we were to discuss the performance of the bike’s Tektro hydraulic brake system (HD-R280) by feel, they would appear much more effective. In my testing of the T1 ST, the brakes felt generally good, though the slowing/stopping distance felt on the long side. I appreciated that the wheels did not lock up even when braking hard, but the bike did fishtail noticeably.
Considering these results, we suggest that the T1 ST should be equipped with a more effective braking system with larger diameter rotors to disperse heat and slow the bike down more quickly.
For current or prospective owners, we think the current setup is workable, but we suggest some practice and testing to learn the bike’s limitations so you can respond accordingly.
The bike’s cockpit is minimal for a clean look and easy use.
While the bike is marketed as the T1, its full name is displayed on the chain stays.
We found the Velotric/Selle Royal saddle to be surprisingly comfortable even after hours!
The stem includes a phone mount port and an adhesive mounting plate for your phone.
Velotric T1 ST Review: Ride Quality
We enjoyed the overall ride quality of the T1 ST; it had a relatively unique feel when compared to many of the similar city e-bikes we have tested. It also turned out to be one of the more comfortable! City bikes often sacrifice comfort for performance, but Velotric seems to have prioritized both by including a relatively thick and padded custom saddle (a joint effort with Selle Royal) as well as cushioned ergonomic rubber grips.
The T1 ST is available in two frame sizes – a Small that fits riders between 5’-1” and 5’-8” and a Medium for those between 5’-5” and 6’-0”. Our test bike was a Medium, and while I technically fit based on the aforementioned guidelines (I am 5’-11”), the sizing seemed to run somewhat on the small side. I felt generally comfortable, but a larger frame would have presumably granted me some additional leg extension, which may have made pedaling uphill easier. Our contact at Velotric advised us that they will be releasing a larger frame size in the future, but the timeline is currently unknown.
One area that I want to draw attention to is the T1 ST’s designation as a “step-thru” frame design. With a standover height from 678mm (26.7 in) on the Small frame to 687mm (27 in) on the Medium, we think this is somewhat of a misnomer. Many riders who seek out step-thru frames need lower standover heights to accommodate restrictive clothing (business attire) or physical limitations. This bike may not be the best solution in those cases, as we still found it necessary to swing a leg over the saddle in order to mount the T1 ST.
We enjoyed the benefits of the bike’s relatively short wheelbase, lightweight frame, and 700c x 40mm tires. It gave us responsive handling, a nimble feel when maneuvering, and fast acceleration when starting from a stop. The ride did feel somewhat bumpy due to the T1 ST’s rigid frame, but this is an expected element of urban e-bikes that prioritize weight reduction.
The 350W rear-hub motor provided what felt like an appropriate level of power for the bike; it was neither sluggish nor alarmingly fast. The Shimano shifter and derailleur provided quick and snappy shifting with an effective range of cogs for pedaling uphill or gaining speed on the flat.
The included ergonomic rubber grips provided plenty of squish and comfort!
Brake levers for the Tektro R280 hydraulic brake system.
The T1 ST includes a small integrated headlight and a battery-powered taillight on the seatpost.
The rapidfire shifter was easy and comfortable to use with snappy gear changes.
With the included technology package – most notably, the interface on the T1 ST’s top tube – we were reminded of the MAHLE X35 drive system that we tested previously on similar e-bikes. The T1 ST’s main interface consists of a single button surrounded by a light ring that indicates the current PAS setting. Four LEDs below the button indicate battery charge level. Operation of the system was similar – holding the main button turns the bike on and off, and pressing the button cycles through PAS modes. We liked that the interface on the T1 ST also includes a handlebar-mounted control panel to allow for PAS adjustment or activation of the headlight to be done without removing a hand from the bar.
Aside from this interface, the T1 ST has no display; instead, there is a phone mount system included on the stem. Oddly, there is no app that pairs with the bike, meaning that any ride data or navigation must be tracked using a third-party app. The absence of an LCD suits the stealthy appearance of the bike and likely helps to save on cost, but we’d prefer for it to include a compatible app – or a small LCD – to give riders the ability to monitor and track speed, mileage, and other ride data.
We tested the included Apple Find My™ feature, and found it to be useful and effective. In a game of hide-and-seek, our reviewer Griffin took the bike (after I had paired my phone with it) to a secret location I was unaware of. I used the directions feature of the Find My™ app to guide me to the general area, and then used the sound emitting feature to seek it out effectively.
While it may seem that we have quite a few points of critique in this area, our overall experience with the T1 ST was very positive. The bike felt comfortable, handled well, was generally easy to use, and was fun to ride. We feel our critique is valid, but we also enjoyed 95% of the bike as-is!
Velotric T1 ST Review: Summary / Where to Buy
Looking at the big picture, we measured generally respectable performance from the Velotric T1 ST, and we were impressed with its unique features – especially for an e-bike at its price point. It’s not perfect, but we think it’s a solid first attempt at a city bike that succeeds at standing out.
We found the T1 ST to be fun and comfortable to ride, and easy to maneuver and operate. We think budget-conscious urbanites will appreciate the bike’s responsive feel, its solid range, and its uncommon integrated technology features. Additionally, with its lightweight frame, city dwellers should find it easy to maneuver and carry when needed.
Whether you’re looking to use the T1 ST for leisure, getting to work, running errands, or something else – we think you’ll appreciate its balance of features, functionality, and cost-friendly nature.
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 T1 ST.