In addition to the pedal assist,
there’s also a thumb throttle that
allows you to add power at any time.
The bike has a cadence sensor only—
no torque sensor, which means it delivers all the power you ask for at any
assist level, in full, as long as you are
making the cranks go around. This is
great for people who want an easy ride
and less great for people trying to get
in a workout.
The Vicko is geared pretty low. It’s
easy take-off in lower gears, but if
you like pushing 20 mph, you’ll either
learn to spin your legs out or just pedal
slower in assist level 6 so you hit 20
by simply pedaling at any cadence.
This means the motor is doing all the
work. Lower gears are great on hills,
but on long flat sections of road you
can run out of gears early.
The seven-speed Shimano Acera
SIS system drives the 500-watt Dapu-geared, easy-to-use hub motor. When
the motor is off, there’s no discernible
drag. When it’s on, the motor is pretty
quiet. You hear more
sound from the tires
than the ground.
Like most bikes,
this one cuts power
at various speeds
depending on power
level. To reach 20 mph,
you’ll need level 6. Level 4 will only
get you power up through about 14
mph. A pure sine-wave controller
makes the motor run smoother and
One of our test rides was on a
windy day that was a borderline
gale-force wind. Going up a hill into a
heavy wind is nor- mally the stuff of
this up without
flinching. Talk about
a great equalizer.