Review: Daum Ergo-Bike TrekkingH Premium (Summer 2011)
The Ergo-Bike from Daum Electronic brings a fresh design approach from Germany, with its own crank-drive system, distinctive battery case and GPS-equipped display. How does it perform? Read the review in full.
Posted by Peter Eland on Thursday 6 Oct 2011
This review appeared in Electric Bike magazine Issue 3. Click the viewer below to read the review with the original print layout - or scroll down for the full text and images online!
Daum Ergo-Bike TrekkingH Premium
The Ergo-Bike from Daum Electronic brings a fresh design approach from Germany, with its own crank-drive system, distinctive battery case and GPS-equipped display. How does it perform?
Daum are a well-established fitness and gym equipment manufacturer based in Germany, and the machine we tested is one of a range of three ‘Ergo-Bike’ electric bikes. Ours was the ‘TrekkingH’ model; a mixte frame (semi-low step-through) is also available as the ‘TrekkingD’, while the ‘Comfort’ has a very low step-through frame. Two frame sizes are available for each design, and colour choice is silver or black for each.
‘Classic’ or ‘Premium’ versions of each are offered, the main difference being the addition of GPS and mobile phone functionality to the display of the Premium models. Our test bike was a black ‘Premium’ with a smaller (48 cm) frame.
Daum are represented in the UK by Velospeed, based in a quiet village between Reading and Oxford, with lovely riding to hand on and around the ancient Ridgeway, which is close by. Their showroom also holds bikes from E-Motion, Batribike and Gocycle. The Daum bikes are also sold by Onbike in Kidderminster.
All of the Daum models sell for the same prices: £1950 for the Classic and £2350 for Premium versions. All come with a two-year guarantee including the battery.
Daum-specific optional extras are limited to the heart-rate monitor chest belt (£67.99). Spare batteries cost £399, and a spare charger is £169. A number of standard bike accessories such as baskets can of course also be fitted.
» ON THE BIKE
I picked up the Daum fully-assembled from Velospeed, so there was no assembly to contend with.
The battery case dominates the bike visually – although arguably the huge display console gives it some competition! Otherwise, the bike’s a fairly normally-proportioned diamond-framed machine.
First impressions were of a very sleekly finished bike: the matt black finish on the frame, smooth welding at the joints and all-black components combine for a classy, but not showy, look. The alloy frame is pretty much a standard diamond frame shape, with just one extra tube above the motor. Bike parts are all of a good quality, with branded suspension forks and seatpost, a good set of mudguards and kickstand thrown in. A plastic chaincase conceals the motor, and also offers plenty of protection to keep your trousers free from chain dirt.
The transmission is via an 8-speed Shimano hub gear, and there’s a separate chain tensioner at the back to keep the chain tight as it wears. The V-brakes fitted may be less fashionable than disk brakes right now, but they’re dependable, simple and powerful enough.
It would all look very normal and ‘non e-bike’ were it not for the massive battery box which sits above the rear carrier – a very solid rear rack, incidentally, with a handy set of extra rails to support panniers. Initially I’d assumed that this box was in fact the battery, but no, there’s a separate, noticeably smaller 36V, 9.5Ah battery inside it which you can simply pull out for charging (having used the key to unlock it of course). It looks very much like a generic Chinese battery pack, in an extruded aluminium case, but Velospeed say it’s equipped with extra battery monitoring circuitry, and that it uses higher grade cells than most. The big battery box is equipped with rubber straps so that you can easily attach loads to the top of it, and it will certainly protect the battery itself from knocks.
As mentioned, the motor is concealed around the bottom bracket – it’s a 250W brushless motor system with, says the manual, a two-speed gearbox built in (though I never felt or heard it operate). And it apparently not only has torque sensors built in but also tilt sensors, and there are cut-out contacts on the brake levers too.
It’s all controlled by the substantial display console. No flimsy plastic here – it feels like you could lift the bike by it! I’ve described some of the functions on offer separately above. A smaller switch unit with four buttons by your left hand lets you set power assist level as you ride, cycle through the display models (‘scan’) or activate the ‘push assist’ – a low-speed motor assist mode to help you push the bike when walking with it, up a ramp out of a cellar for example.
There’s a lighting system running off a hub dynamo in the front wheel, so it’s completely separate from the electric assist system, and both front and rear lights are excellent LED type units.
Finally, a kickstand is fitted to a purpose-made mount point on the frame near the rear axle.
It’s hard to sum up in a few words all that the display console on the Daum can do. Indeed, it’s hard to get your head around it on the bike unless you have a real need: I, like most riders I suspect, just settled for the very clear display of speed, charge level and distance remaining. Time, temperature and distance covered are also given, all displayed very legibly via the LCD screen, with a backlight for when it’s dark.
Delve into the menus, however, and there’s a fair bit more to discover. You can record your heartrate, speed and distance against time on an SD memory card, which slots into the display, and then later analyse it on computer. The SD card also handles software updates.
Our ‘Premium’ version adds in a GPS system, allowing the bike to determine its location by satellite and to record your route with even more accuracy. With an altimeter also built in (working on the air pressure principle, to complement the GPS altitude determination) height and gradients can also be recorded. It’s possible to get the system to adjust assist levels according to gradient, and it’ll even recommend which gear you should be in!
The final extra for the ‘Premium’ is the GSM module, which effectively means that the console has its own built-in mobile phone, complete with SIM card. This means that the bike can send its position to a remote operator – perhaps a hire company – so that it can be kept track of at all times. If it’s stolen, a ‘theft’ function can be set up remotely via the Daum website so that the bike sends a text message (with its GPS location) to the owner next time it’s switched on.
It’s all exceedingly clever, and Daum also provide software for your computer to import the route data and to convert it to KML format for display via Google Earth, or to GPX for other route-sharing applications. Pre-prepared routes can also be downloaded to the console, and they’re displayed as a rudimentary but zoomable line map for you to follow. This would be ideal for hire operators, who might send bikes off pre-programmed with a scenic route for their customers to follow.
If the preceding two paragraphs make sense to you, you may well enjoy the extra functions offered by the ‘Premium’. If not, the simpler and cheaper Classic console is probably the one to choose!
» ON THE ROAD
The first impression of the bike is one of solidity – everything is rigid, rattle-free and secure. There’s little flex in the bars, and the front suspension travel is modest enough to keep dive under braking to a minimum. But it is also responsive enough to take the harshness out of the ride.
Wheeling the bike around, I occasionally felt the weight of that high-up battery, but on the road never. It certainly didn’t seem to affect handing at speed, which was solid and stable, levels of control helped doubtless by the relatively wide handlebars. The brakes also functioned fine with good levels of stopping power.
So to the electric assist element. As a crank-drive pedelec system, the motor kicks in when you put pressure on the pedals, matching your efforts with electric ‘boost’. The level of assistance is set by the ‘Mode’ buttons near you left hand, easily accessible as you ride.
The assistance is smooth and quiet – not quite silent – and it’s very well-behaved. Standing at the lights ready to set off, there’s none of the occasional ‘kickback’ you get with some crank drives. Then setting off, it adds in power with a gentle buzz, and with a quick cut-out as you stop. The transition to pure pedal power at the legal limit of 15 mph is well handled; it cuts in and out smoothly as you transition around the critical speed.
The 8-speed Shimano hub gearing system worked well with the crank drive: shifting was drama-free, and if you didn’t manage to ease off the pedalling before shifting, it would cope with some shifting under load. With the electric assist to help, low gear was fine even on fairly steep hills.
As well as our usual testing around York (fairly flat) I took the bike to the Tour de Presteigne and rode it on the hilly 60-mile day ride which had been organised for the Saturday, taking us to Hay-on-Wye and back despite the rain. Many thanks to Velospeed for being so understanding about its mucky state when I handed it back.
Good quality SR Suntour forks, complete with preload adjustment to match rider weight. Also note the tidy guide for the hub dynamo cable.
The Daum acquitted itself very well on this ride, making it to within a few hundred metres of the finish before the battery finally cut out. I’d been putting in a fair bit of pedal effort, and turning the power off or down to minimum on the flats and downhills, but it’s worth noting that every other bike on the ride with similar battery capacity had swapped to a fresh pack en route. I suspect I was just pedalling a lot more than the others, but it does also show that the Daum’s convenient controls and power level system can really help you eke out its capacity when necessary.
It’s hard to fault the build quality or the comfort and solidity of the Daum. I do have some aesthetic reservations about the rather strange design choice that is the huge battery box, but that’s a minor matter with no real consequences for the ride.
With prices from £1950, it’s not exactly cheap, but the bike parts and component quality are in line, and all I can see points to the drive and battery being of really good quality too.
The elaborate display system was good to use, and reassuringly solid and waterproof. For private users, however, the advanced GPS and SIM-card features of the ‘Premium’ version seem like pure overkill. But for hire applications or geeks they could be fantastic, and if you’re a pessimist, the theft prevention aspect could be attractive too. Anyway, if you don’t want these bells and whistles, just go for the Classic version instead.
Overall, the Daum we tested was a high-quality, durable bike ideal for hire services who want little hassle and can employ its advanced features to good effect. For private users, you’re paying for industrial-style quality which should provide good, dependable cycling performance, and if there are a few features left unused, so what? It’ll still be a pleasure to ride.
SpecificationWeight overall (inc batteries): 25.6 kg
Battery weight: 3.6 kg
Bike only weight: 22 kg
Charger weight: 1.09 kg
Battery type: Li-Ion
Battery capacity: 342 Watt hours (9.5Ah 36V)
Gearing: 8-speed Shimano Nexus hub gear. 38T ring, 21T sprocket. Ratios 26-80".
Lighting: front LED, rear LED
Other accessories fitted: bell, mudguards, carrier rack, stand.
Price: £2350 (note mechanically identical Classic is £1950)
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