KALKHOFF ENTICE 3B MOVE

 25.4 kg £2349

The Entice 3B Move sits towards the lower-priced end of the Kalkhoff’s trekking range. In fact Kalkhoff have two trekking / hybrid ranges, Entice and Endeavour. Endeavour are specced rather more for gentler leisure use whilst the Entice range, as reviewed here, are specced more for off road use. Review by Richard Peace.

The Company

 

Decades ago Kalkhoff pioneered power-efficient so-called mid-drive motors – those that drive through the pedal cranks - in stark and welcome contrast to the many hub motor systems around at the time which were often less efficient and lower quality in terms of wiring and batteries. 

 

Today there is a plethora of manufacturers using high quality mid-drives so manufacturers have to differentiate themselves in ways that don’t involve having a new and better motor system than competitors. Kalkhoff e-bikes adopt a sophisticated, industrially-inspired design look and they offer a huge choice of frame designs and specs across a range of trekking and city e-bikes. Kalkhoff themselves don’t offer e-mtbs but their sister company Focus does. 

 

The company boasts a large testing and assembly plant in western Germany where new designs are put through their paces and they also have their own paint shop and wheel building facilities there.

The Bike

Although at the lower end of Kalkhoff price range for this type of bike, there's plenty to shout about. As I said above, it is specced more for off-road use than their Endeavour range. You can get another hint at its place in Kalkhoff's pecking order from the suffix. So, a little suffix explanation is needed; increasing numbers -1,3,4,5 and 7 – indicate increasing sophistication of design. So ‘1’ models feature external batteries for example, whilst ‘7’ models have a more integrated design of frame and what are described as ‘premium features’ such as the latest Performance Line CX motors and high-end, extremely powerful Supernova LED lights. Within each frame number there are also increasing levels of spec, starting with Move and heading through Advance to Excite at the top.

At the heart of my test model is the Bosch Performance Drive with a stated 65Nm of torque and a frame-integrated 400Wh Bosch Powertube battery. The Performance Drive is one step down from the latest top end Bosch motor, the Performance Line CX that claims it is 25% lighter and significantly smaller than its predecessor. However, the Entice 3B’s total weight of 24.5kg is pretty reasonable for a well-equipped electric trekking model, suggesting that it hasn’t suffered too much from having the heavier mid motor.   

 

If you are starting to get on in years a bit like me, then you might well be familiar with, say, budget racing bikes from the 70s and early 80s with their (by today’s standards) thin steel frame tubes making up a conventional diamond frame – something like this would be your choice if you were a reasonably sporty youngster.

The new breed of battery-integrated bike frames are a world away from this – typified by the hugely chunky downtube of the Kalkhoff designed not just to fully encapsulate the battery but to give the significant extra strength required to handle the forces on 24kg e-bike with powerful electric drive. It is also used to internally route the rear brake and gear cables as well as the wired connection between the Purion display and the motor / controller unit.

The integrated battery design is one of the best I have seen. The battery slots easily in and out of the top of the downtube – I much prefer this design to those that drop out of the bottom of the downtube as there is risk of fouling on the front wheel or forks with the latter.

 

Some older riders might find external batteries easier all round for putting on and off an e-bike as they are generally easier to locate in place, though they appear to be rapidly going out of fashion, on, well, fashion grounds! There is one Kalkhoff model with a frame-external battery, the Endeavour 1B Move and if battery removal and refitting is an area of concern you are best checking out both designs.

 

Gearing and brakes are functional mid-range rather than top end - but these components are so efficient these days that arguably you really don’t need to go any for anything more; the Entice Move 3B features a Shimano Altus rear 8 speed derailleur and Shimano MT-200 hydraulic disk brakes.

The rear rack also provides internal cable routing for the electrical power to the rear light – another neat touch. Thoughtfully, the overhang at the back of the rack gives almost complete protection to the rear LED and the metal support between rack and seat stays is nicely hidden underneath the rear plastic mudguard. Again all these touches contribute to the sleek looking design of the e-bike.

Bosch’s Purion display sits next to your left thumb and means all the controls you need on the fly are there at the touch of the large + and – buttons. Functions include toggling between four power levels (including the semi-automatic emtb mode), trip distance, odometer, estimated range and LED lighting on/off.

 

Using the power button in conjunction with the power button allows you to change from km to miles at will. All very simple with no confusing sub menus. Unlike other displays it also means the central area of your handlebars are kept clear for other items should you want, like a bar bag or extra water bottles.   

 

Like any self-respecting trekking e-bike the Entice 3B Move is fully equipped with good quality LED lights powered from the main bike battery, mudguards, height adjustable kickstand and chainwheel protector. 

It’s also nice to see that this model, like many in the Kalkhoff range, has a choice of diamond, sloping top tube and step-thru frames catering for those who don’t want to have to hoick a leg over the saddle and there’s also a choice of four frame sizes. 

 

The Ride

 

If you haven’t ridden an e-bike much before you might be amazed once you get it on a really steep hill and get just the right gear, set the power to full and feel the bike eat its way up the hill (of course if you want more exercise you can just drop the power levels). 

 

This is the kind of performance you can expect on the Entice 3B Move with its Performance Line motor – whilst this is the name of a motor from 2014 it has actually been totally upgraded in 2020 to be quieter, smoother and easier to pedal when there is no motor assist. It sits one level down from the top-performing Bosch Performance Line CX but I felt I didn’t really need any more performance on a trekking bike than the Performance Line. However, if you are looking for a full-suspension emtb for more extreme riding or want to tow heavy loads then the CX variant should at least appear on your list of possibles. But for trekking, leisure and touring the Performance Line is an ideal and generally slightly cheaper choice (all other spec being equal).

The combination of Smart Sam tyres and steel sprung front suspension fork gave excellent grip on damp summer tracks through woodland and farmland and the riding position felt comfortable too with some fore and aft adjustment on the saddle and riser style bars to make the ‘cockpit’ area longer or shorter as required. The forks have a lockout function that makes them almost completely movement free for road riding whilst and the Smart Sam tyres feel nice and nimble on the tarmac too, despite their aggressive off road tread.   

 

There are two battery capacity options, 400Wh and 500Wh and I found if ridden carefully I consumed around 10Wh a mile or better – ie 40 plus or 50 plus miles range depending on battery option. As always this depends on many factors; terrain, power level chosen, weather and extra weight on the bike to name a few, so you may be able to achieve quite a bit more – or less! 

 

The matching of power to your pedal input is better than ever on all the Bosch 2020 motors, making for a very natural feeling ride – when you pedal hard the power ramps up and spinning the cranks freely and with little pressure means smooth application of just a moderate amount of power. Add the smooth yet very powerful brake power of the Shimano hydraulic disk brakes and you get a silky smooth electric ride, on and off road.

If you don’t want a larger display screen for help with navigation then the Purion display, as featured on this e-bike, is the one to go for in my book. It’s minimalist, leaves your bars clear and is really easy to use using only your left thumb. Adding the current time and a % figure for remaining battery capacity (both of which it lacks) would make it perfect. 

 

Prices

Both battery spec prices look to hit about the right price mark given you are getting a powerful motor and frame integrated batteries (you will fine cheaper ‘Bosch bikes’ but it’s quite likely they will feature the less powerful Active Line motors and are less likely to have frame integrated batteries). 

400Wh battery £2349    500Wh battery £2599.

https://www.kalkhoff-bikes.com/en

PUBLISHED AUGUST 2020

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