Volt Pulse review | TechRadar
New Pulse Volt is a great blend of classic style bike design and battery powered technology. The British bicycle maker has tweaked the formula for its best-selling electric bike to create a two-wheeler that looks a treat and delivers performance to match.
The bike is wonderfully easy to use, has the perfect blend of conventional gears and motorized assistance as well as great brakes. The best part about this electric bike, however, is how easy it is to ride, with a super comfortable saddle, thick tires and front suspension that all work together to nibble away the miles.
Expect great runtime from the combination of the Bafang hub motor and Panasonic battery, along with quick, hassle-free gear changes thanks to manual gears and electronic assist options.
As is the case with most e-bikes, is a heavy machine, but its design and electric assistance never make it heavy.
The Volt Pulse also comes with everything you need to get started, including full fenders, LED lighting and a rear wheel rack for loading up to 25kg. It’s a great bike with a price that seems quite reasonable to us.
Price and release date
At the time of writing (May 2021), the Volt Pulse is available for pre-order. The price is $ 2,746 / £ 1,949 (around AU $ 3,500) for the standard 36V 400Wh battery, or $ 3,042 / £ 2,149 (around AU $ 4,000) for the 36V X-Large 621Wh model.
British bicycle maker Volt has made a lot of progress in a relatively short period of time, especially when it comes to the design of its e-bikes. We tried out its Infinity model about a year ago and the difference between that and the revitalized Volt Pulse is obvious.
The biggest improvement is that the new bike feels well designed, rather than being a compendium of components as this model looks much more aesthetically pleasing. While the new Volt Pulse is still quite bulky, the battery now clips into the frame, so it looks almost full but can be easily removed to charge the bike. The general “look” is just a lot more complete.
The styling of this updated bestseller is fairly conventional, and although our model was finished in an attractive dark metallic color, the bike delivers, rather than dazzles.
We’re pretty impressed with the overall design and build, with a solid list of components on offer. There is this frame for beginners, available in 18 or 20.2 inch variants and made from lightweight aluminum. It also helps to reduce the overall weight, which is 24.7kg with the battery installed, so it’s still quite bulky, although that means it’s also suitable for riders up to 120kg.
The reinforced double wall Alexrim DP21 wheels measure 27.5 or 18 inches and are fitted with puncture resistant Schwalbe tires. The saddle is a Velo Sport Comfort affair, so overall it’s a bike that offers very decent comfort when riding. These SR Suntour NCX Tapered front forks also absorb a decent amount of shock on the road.
We also liked the Zoom adjustable handlebars, with grips perfect for long runs. Gears are provided by Shimano and its eight-speed Alivio setup, while disc brake functions are handled competently by Tektro hydraulics.
Rounding it off is, of course, the power side of things. In that case, you get a 250-watt SpinTech rear hub motor from Bafang, which can get you up to the 15.5mph / 25km / h limit quite easily.
You can also choose from two battery options; a standard 36V 400Wh unit or, for a few hundred more, a 36V XL edition, which is good for 621Wh. Keep in mind the difference in weight if you go for the bigger one, which weighs 4.4kg instead of 3.2.
There is a four-speed Spin Tech computer screen on the handlebars, which can be used to control the modes (low, normal, high, power) as well as watch speed and distance. It feels well made, although the screen can be difficult to see in direct sunlight, but it’s a common feature with most bike computers. A rear rack that can support up to 25kg, full front and rear mudguards, kickstand, full lock and Spanninga LED lights complete the package perfectly.
Before going anywhere on the Volt Infinity Pulse, you will need to press the power button on the bottom of the battery and scan the computer key or immobilizer to unlock your screen and gain access to the controls. . This is a good thing.
It’s a shame the bike didn’t have a quick release lever on the seat post either, as our model had to be adjusted before we could ride it, which meant a trip to the toolbox. The built-in Dutch-style Abus lock on the rear wheel is practical, however, which, combined with the overall weight of this two-wheeler, makes the bike difficult to move.
All of the above are useful anti-theft measures, if nothing else. Little hassle out of the way and the bike is ready to go.
The Volt Infinity Pulse delivers a quality ride from the start, all the more enhanced by the seat and tire combination described above. This is an upright bike that offers an unobstructed view of the road, while all the controls are easy to reach and even easier to use. Shimano shifting is invariably straightforward and works particularly well on this e-bike.
Used without any power, the Volt Infinity Pulse is excellent as it is on the flat, but power can be called up from the controls on the left side quickly and easily. Power delivery is smooth, consistent, and benefits from the thrust you get from a rear mounted hub motor.
You can move up and down the four pedal assisted speed modes using the plus and minus symbols on the computer unit, while also showing the speed and distance traveled. We found Normal to be a great fit for our daily forays and naturally the battery delivered better mileage.
Volt states that the Standard version is good for around 60 miles, while the XL version provides 20 more miles. Since it costs a lot more, we’d be inclined to stick to the norm, save some money, and exercise a little more as the long journeys demand it.
Meanwhile, the Bafang hub motor is a common sight on other e-bikes, and so far at least these units seem pretty reliable. It seems perfectly placed here and we still find them reliable in reducing the current.
Incidentally, there is a small walking aid lever that can be used for occasional help and is useful if you have the bike loaded with a week’s worth of groceries.
Everything else is largely just as perfect, with excellent Tektro hydraulic disc brakes and a set of LED lights to get you home after dark with no hassle. Computer screen can be difficult to read in bright light, but this is a common problem for most displays in outdoor conditions.
Charging the Panasonic battery off the bike is definitely a handy touch and the charging time has dropped to under four hours from nearly empty, which is Volt’s estimate of three to four hours.
First review in May 2021
Buy it if
Looking for value
The Volt Infinity Pulse feels well built and comes with very decent specs, although the larger battery option is pricey for the extra range you get.
It’s a great cruising bike, with the hybrid design providing the perfect blend of battery and pedal power with a comfortable saddle, spongy tires and a great handlebar combination.
You prefer practicality
The Volt Infinity Pulse is very sensible, with an understated look and the benefit of full mudguards, integrated LED lights and a rear wheel rack.
Don’t buy it though
A light bike is essential
Electric bikes can be heavy, and this one is no exception. It goes well and handles a treat, but you’ll find that weight annoying if you don’t live or work downstairs.
You are opposed to rear wheel hub motors
We think the Bafang hub motor works a treat, but you might prefer a crank motor that is found on some competitive machines.
Looking to turn heads
The Volt Infinity Pulse now sports a much more solid design, but it’s still a conventional styled e-bike, especially with the understated color scheme seen here.