Electric bikes haven’t been there for very long so it’s most likely that you are reading this before buying your first e-bike. To be honest, this was my first e-bike ride too and we are glad Smartron sent it to us for review. Hopefully, this review will help you decide if this electric bike is right for you.
Before we start the review, I’d like to clear a few things about e-bikes. Electric bikes aren’t here to replace regular bikes or motorbikes. They sit right in the middle filling the void between a regular cycle and a motorcycle. Though they are at a very nascent stage in India, these e-bikes are really popular in Europe. In fact, almost 40% of bike sales in Germany are electric bikes and the trend is catching up really fast all over the world.
The best part about TronX One is that it is just like a regular bike with a battery on it. It’s not daunting with a massive frame or tires. It looks, feels and handles like a regular bike. You can pedal it if you don’t want the motor support or if you run out of battery(which is unlikely to happen).
So, before we start the review have a look at the specs of the bike to suffice your geeky side.
* Approximate values based on test conditions
The Unbiased Review
PSA: We aren’t dividing this review into different sections (Design, Performance, etc) like we usually do. To keep it short and simple we will mention all the elements under this review header.
TronX One has an aero-grade aluminium build and a mid-step-through frame design allows easy mounting and dismounting. The 19″ Aluminium Alloy frame also safely holds the battery pack and internal cable routing. The bike comes in two dual tone colours – Red & Black and a Blue & Black option. We had the Red & Black option for review.
In terms of features, we will talk about the regular bike features and then the smart e-bike features.
The bike without the battery weighs 25 kilos and can be pedalled without the battery power. It has got 6 Speed Shimano Tourney gears that you control with your right thumb to make the ride easier. Other components on the TronX One include Zoom MASERA 80 mm Travel in the front, which make the bike more comfortable. And as our roads are rougher than mountain tracks due to potholes the shock absorbing suspension is a must have.
It has crossroad-style 26″ 2″ semi-slick tires that are best suited to road surfaces, rather than off-road.
For braking, you get Front & Rear Electronic Brakes. As standard, you get Front V brake and Disc Brakes on the Rear. But, users can upgrade to Disc Brakes on both the Front and the Back. The fact that electric bikes have great torque and can go to much higher speeds, I believe disc brakes are essential on electric bikes.
The fact that this bike has known and hi-quality parts such as Shimano components and Zoom shocks. It means that you are unlikely to face any issues. But, if by any chance you do manage to damage something then you will be able to have the bike serviced at any regular bike store.
Moving on to the smart and electric parts that power the TronX One –
You control TronX One with a small remote device next to your left thumb, and the system gives you information with a backlit Smart TFT Display console. The smart Bluetooth display features an inbuilt calorie tracker and cycling history backup. The TRONX ONE allows you to sync the ride data with the companion app and switch ride modes from the integrated display button pad.
With this bike, you have a top speed of 30 km/hr (20 mph). This is controlled by software, as the government has set guidelines for vehicles that can be used without the need for a driving licence.
On the TronX One, you get to use the following Ride Modes –
- use no power at all and just pedal – this self-explanatory, when you use only the pedals and no electric power. It is unlikely to happen but if you run out of battery or if you are enthusiastic about riding it with your muscle power then this mode comes in handy.
- use just throttle power – Throttle mode works similar to any powered vehicle, where you use the throttle to accelerate. The only difference is that on the TronX it is not like what you see on other two-wheelers. The throttle on this one is more like a gear lever which needs to pressed downwards to accelerate. It’s easy and convenient but for longer rides it gets uncomfortable. There should be a way to keep it pressed or lock the speed to give a handsfree throttling experience on longer routes. Also, as soon as you press the brakes the throttle disconnects so it’s safe and automatic.
- use one of the 3 levels of Ride Assist while pedalling – Ride assist system give you assistance only when you are pedalling, and the amount of assistance is linked to your pedalling. The minute you stop pedalling, the motor stops assisting. Depending on how much assistance you need, you can choose between 3 Ride Assist modes on the TronX One.
- lastly, one of the most innovative ride modes is Walk Assist – At first I wondered what Walk Assist mode would on a bike? I mean think about it, you sit and ride a bike and not walk. But when I learnt to use this mode, I became a fan of it. Imagine a situation where you are riding on your Tronx One bike and you meet a group of friends and you are the only with a bike. Now to accompany them you have three options, 1) you either park your bike and go with your friends, 2) you tell your friends to meet you at the spot directly, 3) you tow your cycle whilst you walk with them. Yes, it’s is the 3rd instance where the Walk Assist mode comes in handy. Thanks to the walk-assist mode you can walk with your e-bike without the hassle of pushing or pulling the weight.
Now to the most important part – the battery and motor which is in a way the heart and soul of an electric bike.
The 250 W rear hub motor is powered by a 36 V 13.4 Ah Lithium 500 W lithium battery pack that is powered by Samsung cells. It is designed considering Indian climatic conditions and features an overcharging protection. The lightweight battery pack is easy to remove and toss into your backpack and charge the bike.
To power up the battery, you use a key to remove it from the frame of the bike and then charge it with a dedicated charger. As with all-electric bikes, a full charge takes several hours.
The battery is concealed in the sloping crossbar. I have always liked batteries in the crossbar, as I think they keep the weight nicely centred and balanced. I am sure that the central placement of the battery contributes to the very well-balanced feel of this bike. There is a handle on the battery, which you use when you remove the battery to charge it.
The compact rear hub motor is surprisingly zippy and delivers instant torque. Navigate various speeds with the motor output managed by a pedal sensor for maintaining an ideal blend of pedal use and battery usage for an efficient ride.
What Needs Improvement?
Even though the bike comes loaded with features and gadgetry, we still cannot say that it is fully loaded. I often missed a rack on the rear wheel to store stuff (the integrated open utility space on the front is negligible); No smartphone stand if you need to use maps for your commute; buzzer to let people know I’m riding a fast bike and need way; a rear light as a reflector isn’t enough for a bike that can go up to 30 Km/hr. And the placement of the side stand needs to be changed as it gets stuck with the pedals very often.
The Unbiased Verdict
As electric bikes are still to pick up in India, the TronX One is surely a head turner every time zip pass through someone. I rode it around the city of Delhi a few times and almost daily in my neighbourhood and there was never a day when people didn’t ask me about it. Be it the looks, the build quality or the ease of use, the TronX One has everything going for it.
Since it is my first e-bike review, I wouldn’t be able to compare it with another electric bike to give you all a reference point. But as far as this bike is concerned, TronX Motors have a done a fabulous job. We also hope this falls into the connected Tron ecosystem that Smartron envisioned since its first device launch. I’d like the idea of my bike switching on/off the garage lights when I enter or leave 😉
So, if you always wanted to own an electric vehicle and still waiting for Tesla to launch then make TronX One your first EV. But for that, you will need to have an invite to buy and INR ₹49,999. I still don’t get it why is it invite only? If I have to spend 50K on an e-bike, I would definitely test ride it before I can take the decision. But here I’m being asked to wait for an invite to even buy one.
Here is the link to register your interest and get an invitation to buy the Smartron TronX One bike — https://invites.smartron.com/register/BxocZkhMX#utm_source=smartron&utm_medium=smartron_tstore&utm_campaign=tronx_one_registration
Finally, do let us know in the comments section below if you are keen to get an e-bike for yourself? Alternatively, you can tweet to us @theunbiasedblog or @nikhilchawla.