Velotric is back with a brand-new electric bike design, this time focusing on a lightweight city ride. The new Thunder line actually comes in two variants, the Velotric Thunder 1 and the Thunder 1 ST.
Both bikes are streamlined, efficient pedal assist e-bikes designed to be both easy on your back and easy on your wallet. At just 36 lb. (16 kg), the Thunder 1 and Thunder 1 ST are practically featherweights in the budget e-bike industry and come with very little extra heft.
But that doesn’t mean that Velotric didn’t pack in extra features.
Both bikes include hydraulic disc brakes with adjustable brake levers, torque sensors for highly responsive pedal assist, 8-speed transmissions, automatically activating LED headlights, thru-axle hubs for higher strength and ruggedness, and internally routed cables running through the triple-butted 6061 aluminum frame.
The Thunder 1 also has a few fancier features that aren’t included in the slightly smaller Thunder 1 ST. The former has built-in GPS tracking for anti-theft, which works with the Velotric app to locate a stolen or misplaced e-bike. The app enables other features too such as ride tracking, and the bike also comes with fingerprint unlocking, automatic rider recognition, and compatibility with an optional range extender battery accessory for 50% more battery range.
While the Thunder 1 ST doesn’t have the same level of built-in anti-theft features, it does include Apple’s Find My integration, which works just like a built-in AirTag to find the bike if it wanders away. It only works in areas where people have Apple products such as iPhones, but that basically covers every urban area of the world.
If you plan on getting your bike stolen in the middle of a forest, you might want to opt for the Thunder 1’s GPS tracking. For anyone that lives and rides around people though, either model should be fairly easy to track if it goes missing.
As far as the drivetrain, both models share a 350W continuous and 600W peak-rated hub motor that gets powered by a built-in 352 Wh battery.
The Thunder 1 ST has a rated range of 50 miles (80 km), while the Thunder 1 has a higher range of 70 miles (112 km). There’s no throttle, but the five different levels of pedal assist along with the torque sensor and 8-speed derailleur should give riders plenty of pedaling options.
The top speed out of the box is 20 mph (32 km/h), which keeps the bike designated as a Class 1 e-bike. There’s an unlock option that can boost the top speed to 25 mph (40 km/h), which puts riders in Class 3 territory (and probably shaves a bit off the range).
The bikes don’t come with racks or fenders, but those will apparently become available from Velotric as add-on accessories.
The Thunder 1 has 700 x 38c tires while the Thunder 1 ST inexplicably has slightly wider 700 x 40c tires.
The Thunder 1 ST is launching at $1,499 and is available in sizes S and M, while the Thunder 1 carries a slight premium putting it at $1,799 and is available in sizes M and L. The former comes in a neutral Sand color as well as a vibrant Lava orange. The latter’s color options are a bit less in your face with a soft Frozen Blue gradient and a grayscale Crystal Black.
If you aren’t a pedal assist fan, then these aren’t the bikes for you. I know a lot of American readers are “throttle or nothing, thank you very much.” But I’ve come to really appreciate pedal assist e-bikes for their lighter, more efficient designs, and so I love what I see here.
This looks like a slick frame and a nice collection of parts, including the hydraulic brakes and torque sensor. I wish the fenders and rear rack were included, but at least the bikes are built to accept them as accessories.
That GPS tracking is a HUGE deal, though even the Apple Find My integration is awesome. I’ve come to love AirTags for tracking all of my stuff, so the ability to have an AirTag’s guts essentially integrated as part of the bike is awesome.
Lastly, I’m head over heels for that Lava color. I know I went a bit overboard with my love for the bright yellow Mango color when I reviewed the Velotric Nomad 1 fat tire adventure bike, but I’m going to do it again here. The bright orange Lava is just a great look for a bike like this. Not only is it fun to have bright and expressive colors on bikes, but I also consider it a safety feature for being noticed by drivers on the road.
All in all, I’d say Velotric nailed it with the new Thunder 1 series. I’m looking forward to testing these bikes out myself, and I’ll be sure to let you know if they ride as good as they look.
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