Volt has made a name for itself as one of the foremost electric bike sellers in London and trying to get your hands on one at the moment is tricky.
Depending on the model you’re aiming for, you might be waiting till October to get your hands on one. But that’s all part of riding the e-bike wave at the moment.
With so much choice on the website, it can be hard to know which Volt bike to try, which is where the virtual assistant comes in handy. Recently, I had the chance to try out the new Regent style, a step-through classic model with a killer battery and motor that makes cycling hills and long distances a breeze.
Here’s what it was like taking the Regent e-bike for a spin.
The Volt Regent e-bike couldn’t be easy to get set up and go with. You’ll need to charge the battery obviously which can be accessed by removing the seat and taking it off, or you can just charge the battery when it’s still connected to the bike. This should take around four hours to be fully charged.
As a step-through bike, the Regent looks akin to a Boris Bike as it is a more city-bike style. It’s comfortable to ride in that you feel like you’re sat up fairly straight without hunching over on the handlebars. It has an 18-inch frame, I felt the height of the bike was great for me at 5”6, so no need to worry that it will be too big.
It’s quite obvious you’re riding an e-bike, thanks to the battery being connected to the middle frame of the bike and the wires that connect everything together. If you’re looking for something more discreet this maybe isn’t the bike for you.
Another thing to take into account is the weight. The frame is made of high-grade reinforced aluminium and with the battery, the Regent is around 24kg so it can be quite tricky handling this thing. Trying to get it into a lift was a difficult task at first until I got used to it. This is maybe not a flat-friendly bike, but more suitable for a ground floor parking spot.
That being said, I loved the deep blue colour which is sufficiently gender-neutral as well as the bright blue flashes to mark it as a Volt bike.
When talking about actually riding the bike, we have to start with the gears. There are no automatic gears on the Regent bike, which is no great shakes, but I did feel was an issue was that the gears were the other way round compared to my normal bike.
On my normal bike, I turn the gears down to go up a gear, to make it harder, and turn the gears up to make it easier, whereas on the Volt bike this was the other way around which was pretty annoying mid-cycle. This might not be an issue for someone else but it took some getting used to.
Otherwise, riding the Regent bike is simple enough. It uses the Shimano Steps Infinity system so there’s a computer on the bike which displays how fast you’re riding, the time and what level of assistance you’re using. If you’re planning on having your phone on the front of your bike to help you navigate, this could make things a bit crowded.
A button on the left handlebar could be pressed up or down to move through the levels: nothing, eco, normal and power. I used normal most of the time, but pushed it up to power when taking off at traffic lights or going up a hill — honestly, cycling up Blackheath Hill on this thing whilst barely breaking a sweat was pretty invigorating. Not to mention I managed to get from Deptford to Peckham in about 10 minutes at 6 pm, impossible to achieve via any other form of transport.
Though this system isn’t as refined as VanMoof’s in terms of style, being able to switch easily between the speeds was helpful depending on the different road scenario. As well, the suspension on this bike definitely came in handy when on uneven London roads, something I maybe didn’t appreciate as much at the time but I certainly do now I’m back on my normal bike.
The tech involved with the Regent e-bike is the Shimano Steps Infinity system, like its Metro LS bike.
This power management system relies on a high-performance lithium-ion battery, so the battery can be charged from 0 to 100 per cent in only four hours and the bike itself can go up to 90 miles before it needs charging. This is particularly handy if you don’t want to be constantly charging the bike in between usage, and the computer screen includes information on the battery charge.
It does make the bike more expensive than other Volt models but it’s easy and smooth to get your head around — just make sure you remember to turn the battery on because otherwise cycling without that power can be a bit of a struggle.
Let’s talk about price
Volt’s bikes range in price from £1,499 for folding range, up to £2,899 for the Apex mountain bike design. The Regent is towards the top end at £2,399. As with all Volt bikes, you get a full two-year piece of mind warranty, which covers things like the frame, motor and battery along with electric components as long as you haven’t caused the damage by something such as lack of maintenance or abnormal use.
In terms of other prices on the market, this is standard pricing for an e-bike.
Volt’s Regent e-bike was lovely to ride, easy to set up and has a classical look, more like a city bike than a racing commuter bike. When you hit that power mode, it’s extremely speedy which is great when you need to get a shift on but is also lovely to ride around casually on.
The only issues with Volt’s e-bike come down to the range of more than anything, it can make it hard to decide which one to go for, as well as the fact many of them are sold out right now due to their immense popularity. But you can do a lot worse than the Regent.
Volt’s Regent e-bike is available to buy from certain retailers for £2,399