eral, mid-drive bikes climb very well, and
in fact, climbing is the most impressive
part of the Peak’s assist performance.
Shift it to the lowest gear, turn the assist
to max and it climbs like crazy. For a
straight climb, the assist is stronger
than many more expensive machines.
The lack of rear suspension helps since
none of your pedal power is absorbed
by rear-suspension action. The frame
design and cockpit layout offer excellent drive traction with little tendency
to wheelie. In fact, the feel of the bike
impressed every rider. It just feels right.
It pedals efficiently, the bar feels perfectly placed and the geometry is responsive
without being nervous at speed.
The 27. 5 wheels impart confidence
in turns and while climbing. We tried the
Peak with three different sets of tires—
CST, Kenda and Schwalbe—and all
worked well. The fork is soft, so it uses
up the available travel easily, but noticeably eases the amount of trail getting
through to the rider.
In all situations the Peak feels lighter
than the 50 pounds it actually weighs.
We were always ready to ride it, no matter how fancy the other machines on the
ride were. We had one area that took
some learning: the Peak has a delay
built-in to keep the bike controllable.
When you stop pedaling or brake, you
lose assist, and it doesn’t come back
instantly when you start to pedal. You
learn to start your pedaling early when
you have a sharp climb or tight switchback coming. It also helps to be in the
correct gear and ready to pedal. The
Peak has enough assist that it can make
you a little lazy about shifting. But that
doesn’t work. You must be in a gear
that lets you pedal with good strength
until the assist kicks back in. That is
only a fraction of a second, but it feels
like a long time if you are in a high gear
when you should not be.
Motor: Center-drive, 350-watt, high
Battery: Lithium-ion, 48-volt, 8.7Ah,
Battery life: 15 - 30 miles
Charge time: 6–8 hours
Controller: Currie Electro-Drive,
36-volt, with power gauge function
Top speed: 20 mph (rider weight,
rider input and terrain contingent)
Range: 15–30 miles with normal pedaling
Drive: SRAM X7 trigger and X7
derailleur, Prowheel center-drive 38T
crankset, SRAM 9-speed 11-34T cassette
Brakes: Tektro Auriga E-Sub hydraulic disc, 180/180mm rotors
Wheels: 27. 5 Alex XD-LITE double-wall, QR axles
Controls: LCD multi-function display
with power adjustment features and
battery gauge, twist throttle
Fork: RockShox XC30 TK 27. 5”
Frame: Aluminum 6061, fender, rack
and bottle mounts
Weight: 50.2 pounds (large)
Sizes: M, 17”/43cm; L, 19”/48cm
The battery can be charged on the bike
or removed with a key for charging. Many
riders remove the battery when parking
the bike as added security to assist a
The handlebar display has everything you
need, and it is easy to read while riding.
You do use it, and especially if you are
using the assist levels carefully to maximize the range.
The Rockshox fork takes the edge off of
bumps quite nicely. The brakes are plenty
strong enough for the weight of the bike.
The riding position is very natural, with nothing odd to bother
the rider. Moving your weight
around is never an issue.
This entire bike costs what some
mid-drive assist units cost without the
bicycle. The performance is muscular
and civilized compared to any, but is
most impressive at this price level. Our
test unit was no virgin, and we put a
great deal of time on it. It still felt like
new at the end. An upgraded fork would
be nice, and so would rear suspension,
but that simply will not happen at this
price point. Strong assist combined
with stellar handling and a natural riding
position at a reasonable price makes
the Peak a winner. ■