Whenever someone hears I ride eBikes, they always seem to be a disappointed when they actually see what I ride. I guess when I mention electric bikes, 9 times out of 10, they’re thinking it’s an electric motorcycle. But I guess you wouldn’t have that problem if you had one- well I should say two of these bad boys!
These are the latest models from the Byron Bay manufacturer, the Scrambler and Drifter. Inspired by vintage Café racers, these eBikes are street legal and retail at $3300 and $3800 respectively. Now you’re probably wondering, “What’s the difference?”.
There are many things that these two models share, from the 250W rear hub motor, the Dapu electronics, to the 8 speed Shimano Acera drivetrain; but what separates them is the frame size and accessories (which I touch on later). The Scrambler is essentially aimed at small to medium riders, whilst the Drifter is more for large to extra-large riders, like Jason Momoa.
But what’s interesting is that the measurements like seat tube and effective top tube are pretty much the same between the two models. The only significant
differences were the rim widths and seat-stay and chain-stay lengths.
The Scrambler uses 60mm wide rims, compared to the 75mm on the Drifter which allows an optional 4 inch tyre if you wanted more thickness for the beach rides. The Drifter is also longer by 15mm which is evident when you turn the bike cranks towards the rear. I forgot to take images of it, but if you skip to 1:40 In the video you’ll see how close it is. This would only be possible by the custom cranks which help fit the bike and also complete the look.
When I first received the bikes, I was really impressed. I mean visually, both the Drifter and Scrambler are just beautiful bikes! Both models come in
4 colour options, “Very Black”, “Planet Green”, “Silver Bullet” and “Red Caboose”. What’s even cooler is that the Vallkree allows you to pick a colour
for the tank. You can have all sorts of colour combinations for your bike like a Red Caboose frame with a Silver Bullet tank. The White Walls are also
optional for the bike, so if you’re not a fan of them you can have normal tyres.
Okay, so the bikes look amazing, but let’s get down to business! How much power does it have? What sort of brakes is it using? How does it perform? These
are the important questions, which I hopefully answer.
At the rear you’ll find a 250W motor from Dapu motors. They’re a Japanese company and make electrical components for eBikes from motors to controllers.
Now you may not have heard of this company before, but rest assured they have positive reviews and are the choice in names such as Pedego and BH Easy
motion. For the power hungry, there is an option for a 500W version which is only available for off-road use and countries where 500W is street legal.
Available to both models, the upgrade bumps up the Samsung battery from a 36V to a 48V, and 500Wh to 650Wh capacity. On average, a 500Wh juice pack
with a 250W motor can get you range around the 50km mark. However with the heavier Vallkree eBikes, you’ll probably get something closer to 40km which
Vallkree estimates as well. With a 500W motor and slight bump with the battery, you can expect less range closer to 35km. This is something to consider
if you’re thinking about the 500W option. Unfortunately, Vallkree don’t offer any other capacity options for the battery, but perhaps this is something
we can look forward to in the future.
What about the components? Well the Scrambler and Drifter are fitted with the same 8 speed Shimano Acera drivetrain; Acera cassette, shifter and derailleur.
For those who don’t know, these are entry level components and is found on a large number of bikes. They’re cost effective and get the job done. The
brakes are a 2 piston hydraulic disc brakes from Tektro which are eBike friendly. So as soon as you pull on the brake levers, the motor will cut out.
This is a safety feature, but unfortunately, that means you can’t do donuts. Bummer! And if you’re thinking about using the throttle to chuck some
skids, well you can’t because it’s limited to 6km/h to comply with Australian laws.
First thing you’ll notice when you jump on the bikes is the weight. It really does have some weight to it, which makes you feel like you’re actually riding a motorbike. The only thing missing is the motorbike sound which I could simulate with one of those bicycle exhaust toy kits. I actually wanted to purchase a kit from my local store, but they didn’t have any in stock.
This is honestly as close as I’m going to get to ride a motorbike. I seriously think Vallkree should make it an option for the Scrambler and Drifter. As I mentioned earlier, the bike is heavy. At 30kg, it’s heavy even for an eBike, with the average weight for eBikes around 25kg. This obviously affects the performance of the bike. It’s not as punchy as other 250W eBikes, and you will struggle a little more going up a hill. But let me be clear here, you will still get powered assistance, just not as much as other street legal eBikes. If you’re looking for a bike to climb hills, then this eBike may not be for you, because the purpose of this bike is to cruise and look good. Give it some nice flat paved paths or a beach, and this thing power you to 25km/h and just simply cruise. In saying that, I was fortunate enough to have tested an unrestricted version as well, and I thought it would be a good idea to show you guys a hill test between the two. Hill Test at 8:43 in the video.
From the video, you’ll see the unrestricted version does help on the hills, and obviously the flats as well maxing out around 35 to 40km/h.
Another thing you’ll notice when you hop onto the bike is the saddle. It is one of, if not the most comfy saddles I’ve sat on. It’s firmer than the Smartmotion E-City which I’ve said is the comfiest eBike I’ve ever tested, but this set up is still surprisingly comfy. The best way for me to explain is; instead of a seat which moulds to your butt, your butt moulds to the saddle on the Vallkree, and it works.
You know what else works? The custom made genuine Australian leather for the saddle and handle bar grips. The detail in these accessories are just phenomenal! When you grip the cruiser handle bars, your palms are greeted by quality leather which really completes the feel of the bike. Little things like this, and the quality swinging door that allows easy access to the battery (which is well packaged by the way) and the USB charging where the thumb controller is, all add to a polished finished product. They took the liberty to also include a headlight and taillight for both bikes. This leads me into the second point of different between the two models. The headlight, as you can see here, they are different with the Drifter equipped with a much larger design. Both are LED and do a fine job at illuminating the path in front of you. It’s not just for show and the rear taillight offers 3 modes for you to use as well. I did a few night rides these and thought they did a good job so you won’t need to fork out more for lights.
One thing I have to mention though is that the Scrambler headlight is brighter but because of the smaller spread whereas the Drifter covered a larger area.
You can see it in the comparison shots at 11:07 in the video. There is no word on the options for these headlights, but if you did want the Drifter
headlight on the Scrambler, it doesn’t hurt to ask.
From our testing, the geometry does feel a little weird and cramped for us, but not anything that makes the ride uncomfortable or un-rideable. We are 193cm, so we are a lot taller than your average rider. Combined with our long arms, we would’ve preferred wider handle bars, however the stock fitted components are still great especially if you’re a medium rider. For the extra large riders out there, don’t be discouraged because this bike will still fit you and ride nicely with a few adjustments.
One of those adjustments will be the seat height. Some will say, it doesn’t look as cool! I’d assume one of the biggest reasons in buying one of these is because of its looks. If you bought a Vallkree, you obviously bought it because you want to break necks as you cruise by. So is this compromise a deal breaker? Hell no! The bike still looks cool, not Johnny Cash Eating Cake while High as a Kite cool, but still cool!
The Scrambler and Drifter are quite frankly non identical twins. These babies share the same electronics, components and look, and only differentiate with
size and the headlight equipped. It seems that Vallkree have found a design that works and used the same recipe for the larger model. And I don’t blame
them, it does work, the eBikes are amazing. Aesthetically amazing, quality build all around and comfortable to ride around all day long. However sitting
at 30kg on the scales does affect the motor performance of these bad boys. If power is something you’re really looking for, you can consider the 500W
option, but mind you, that will class the eBike for off road use only. Considering the purpose of the bike and everything else, it’s a small compromise
that I’d be willing to make.