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That’s an e-bike? Velotric’s stealthy T1 is a city bike for skeptics

Velotric T1 parked in front of a Federal style New England town hall
Velotric T1
MSRP $1,800.00
“Velotric's T1 doesn't look, sound, or feel like a typical e-bike. It's better.”
Pros
  • Stealthy look, with few visible cables
  • Noiseless electric motor
  • High-end components
  • Smart security features
  • Easy to pedal with no power
  • Light enough to carry
Cons
  • Rear light uses a separate battery
  • No brake light
  • Fenders optional, not standard

If you are a cyclist who has resisted the impulse to buy an e-bike, the Velotric T1 e-bike may shift your thinking. Perhaps you haven’t seen the need for an e-bike, you’re not a fan of the fat tire look of many e-bikes, or you consider yourself a cycling purist. The T1 defines a new paradigm — a smart, unobtrusive e-bike that’s easy to ride with or without power assistance. From a practical perspective, Velotric’s urban e-bike can help maximize your use of two-wheeled transport and limit dependence on cars or public transportation.

The Velotric T1 rides outside the usual lanes of e-bike design. The T1 doesn’t look, sound, or even feel like an e-bike. Also, because you can comfortably ride the T1 as a conventional bicycle without power assistance, you can kiss goodbye the usual concerns about e-bike range anxiety.

Smooth, light, quiet

As approachable as it is, the Velotric T1 isn’t an e-bike for all purposes. Unlike the versatile Rad Power Bikes RadRunner 3 Plus utility e-bike, the T1 isn’t designed for weekly grocery runs or daycare drop-offs. The T1 is also the wrong choice for long-distance touring, mountain trail riding, or high-speed cycling on-road or off-road. The Velotric T1 excels most as an exercise bicycle that’s practical for traveling the streets where you live. Whether you live in an urban center, a village, or suburbia, Velotric’s T1 can serve as adaptable and convenient transportation.

Velotric T1 e-bike left side with a New England town green in the background
Bruce Brown/Digital Trends

You may not have considered e-bikes for commuting, but you can certainly use the T1 for daily transport. Just add a pair of optional fenders to avoid road splatter on your clothes, and snap a set of panniers to the standard lugs on the front forks. With those additions, the Velotric T1 transforms into a fine machine to combine exercise with your daily commute — and you don’t have to arrive sweaty.

The Velotric T1 is available in two sizes: medium and large. My medium-sized test bike weighed a mere 38 pounds, making it a lightweight compared to the typical e-bikes that tip scales at closer to 60 or 80 pounds. Hoisting it into a midsized SUV was significantly easier than with the 68-pound Engwe EP2-Pro folding e-bike. Sure, the non-folding T1 could be a bit tight in an elevator, but at this weight, slinging it over your shoulder and carrying it up stairs is an option.

Velotric T1 left side profile against a white garage door.
Bruce Brown/Digital Trends

One of the Velotric T1’s best features is easy to miss in photos. Take a close look. Do you see cables? E-bikes obviously require wires in addition to the regular bicycle cables for shifters, brakes, and lights, yet the Velotric looks even cleaner than most conventional bikes. That’s because Velotric minimizes clutter by routing all cables through the frame. Only at the base of the handlebars will you see short cables to controls mounted near the grips. This not only looks nice, but it gives you one less thing to get snagged when navigating the T1 through tight spaces.

Velotric also cuts sound with this e-bike. The proprietary Velopower E35+ drive train pairs a 350-watt continuous-power electric hub motor (600 watts peak power) with a pedal torque sensor. On my first test ride after the fast and easy assembly process, the motor was so quiet I was sure I missed connecting a power cable. I hadn’t.

Granted, I was going slow. But in subsequent rides at the fastest speed I could muster, the bike was still silent. Most e-bike motors produce a medium-pitch zinging noise under power. Some performance e-bikes, such as the Ariel Rider Grizzly with steel-geared 1,000-watt hub motors front and rear, make quite a racket. If you ride the T1 with a group of bicycle riders, there will be no telltale zinging sound.

High-quality components and a smart app

Velotric equips the T1 with high-quality components for everything from performance to safety. Beyond the whisper-quiet hub motor, you get torque sensors at the pedals, rather than less expensive cadence sensors. These respond to rider pedal pressure instead of speed, so can apply full power even from a dead stop.

Other notable T1 components include a Shimano rear derailleur, an 8-speed gear cassette, and a shift lever and Tektro hydraulic disc brakes with 160mm rotors front and rear.

Velotric T1 with smartphone control app and fingerprint-enabled control-panelon e-bike-frame.
Bruce Brown/Digital Trends

The Velotric T1 control panel is a smooth, smart interface that works with both a remote on the handlebar and a mobile app. A built-in mount makes it easy to attach your phone to the stem. Once you pair the T1 with your phone via Bluetooth, you’ll train the e-bike’s frame-mounted oval sensor to recognize your fingerprint with eight successful fingerprint image captures at different angles.

After setup, you can unlock the controls with your finger, or set it to simply auto-unlock when your phone connects and lock when you walk away. Note that the bike still rolls while the controls are locked, so it’s not a substitute for a physical lock. But if thieves strike, you’ll get a theft alert on your phone, be able to track them via the bike’s integrated GPS, and they won’t have electric assist.

I’ll freely confess I’m not an avid bicycle rider, but I was surprised how easily the Velotric T1 won me over.

The app also lets you adjust convenience settings, like having the headlights automatically come on at dark, and performance settings, like switching between riding modes (city offers the best efficiency, Adventure is for gravel and dirt roads, and Max cranks everything to, well, the max). The T1 comes limited to 20 mph by default, but you can unlock 25 mph by pressing the headlight button for 20 seconds.

Within any riding mode, you can still manually dial the assist level up and down through five different levels using the plus and minus buttons on the handlebars. A light halo around the fingerprint sensor changes colors to indicate which level you’re in, and four white LEDs below it show you your battery status.

According to Velotric, the T1 has a maximum range of 70 miles with a fully charged battery. We don’t test riding range because of the significant variables involved including speed, rider weight, and much more, but to get anything close to the maximum stated range, you’ll want to stay in the lowest pedal assistance mode and go easy on pedaling force.

Velotric T1 e-bike right side with a New England town green in the background.
Bruce Brown/Digital Trends

My only real quibbles with the Velotric T1’s components are with rear lighting. A red light to mount on the seat post comes with the bike, but it’s powered by a separate battery, not wired to the main battery, and must be turned each time you use the bike. And there is no brake light, which seems like a major omission for an urban bike. Also, fenders are optional, not standard, which limits commuting potential in stock form.

Learning curve? Nope, just get on and ride

The T1 e-bike doesn’t demand noticeable accommodations to ride, especially compared to speedy moped-style e-bikes such as the Super73-S Adventure Series or the Ariel Rider Grizzly. Those e-bikes are a ton of fun to ride if you are looking for power and speed, but before you twist the throttle on the Ariel or the Super73, you’d better be ready to hold on tight.

The Velotric T1’s battery assistance power is always on standby with extra oomph for push-offs, temporary power on long inclines, or stored energy reserves to travel further, but the power delivery is gradual and smooth. If you’re not going to use battery assistance, you can just hop on and ride.

Velotric’s T1 provides adaptable convenient transportation without the awkward weight of most e-bikes.

I kept the T1 in max mode and on the Turbo pedal assistance level during most of my testing. With those settings, there was plenty of power when I pressed hard on the pedals. The emphasis with the Velotric T1 is on smooth power delivery rather than blasting around as fast as you can go. There is no throttle on the T1, you can only summon power assistance by pedaling.

I found it easy to maintain 18 to 20 mph on paved roads. The bike has no suspension, but I found the ride was more comfortable than I expected riding over speed bumps, pavement cracks, and minor road irregularities. I never had to make an emergency stop, but I tested the brakes from full speed several times and I was impressed by the braking power. The bike halted quickly and was easy to control.

Velotric T1 e-bike parked in front of a fountain on a town green.
Bruce Brown/Digital Trends

I’ll freely confess I’m not an avid bicycle rider. I’d much rather ride a motorcycle, a powerful e-bike, or an e-scooter. Therefore, I was surprised at how easily the Velotric T1 won me over. I enjoyed riding it with and without battery power. I can easily see how bicycle-centric riders could take to the T1 with no risk of betraying their primary allegiance to leg-powered two-wheelers.

One of a kind

If you like bicycle riding for fitness, a casual jaunt, or getting around a city or town, and especially if you’re not looking for high-speed all-terrain adventures, the Velotric T1 is an excellent choice. You’ll enjoy a high-quality, extremely good-looking utilitarian bicycle that operates smoothly and can silently add power assistance when you want it. The Velotric T1 costs $1,800. If that’s a bit north of your budget, the $1,500 Velotric T1 ST model has the same motor and power delivery system without the T1’s smart features. Velotric backs its e-bikes with a two-year limited warranty, which says a lot about the company’s confidence in the bikes’ quality and durability.

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Bruce Brown
Digital Trends Contributing Editor Bruce Brown is a member of the Smart Homes and Commerce teams. Bruce uses smart devices…
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