Today, I received the Velotric Thunder 1 ST. I ordered it last Sunday, and it arrived on Friday. That’s not too bad, considering it came all the way from California to Illinois. The box was in practically perfect shape, and there wasn’t a single scratch on the bike inside. So, a smooth ordering and shipping process! Now, how about the Thunder ST. Is it what I thought it would be?
First off, if you’re not familiar with the Velotric Thunder ST, it is one of their newest models, launched in the spring of 2023. It’s a lightweight, Class 1 ebike, with a very streamlined look. It features a 350 watt (600 watt peak) rear hub motor and a 36 volt 9.8 Ah battery. The advertised max range is 52 miles.
The Thunder 1 ST is one of the few stealthy electric road bikes for shorter riders, like me. I’m 5’1″. The small frame accommodates riders from 5’1″ – 5’8″, while the medium is for riders 5’5″ – 6′. The payload capacity is an impressive 330 lbs.
It has 5-levels of pedal assist, Tektro hydraulic brakes, and an 8-speed Shimano cassette. It also has a torque sensor.
Instead of getting into all the specs just yet, I’ll just share my first ride impressions and my initial thoughts on the bike. A full review will be coming with range details.
Assembly was straightforward and there is a helpful video on YouTube to walk you thought all the steps. It also comes with an instruction manual. I think this is the first ebike I’ve ever bought that came with one!
Even though it came with assembly instructions, I winged it, since I’ve assembled a lot of bikes. The only time I had to refer to the instructions was to set up the Apple Find My app.
The assembly involves attaching the front wheel which has a thru-axle, the pedals, the kickstand, inserting the seat post, and adjusting the position of the handlebars, and brake levers. All of this was straightforward. I think almost anyone with a little patience could assemble the bike in less than an hour, assuming they don’t run into any issues.
Below: I love how neatly the accessories were packaged! I’ve never seen such good attention to detail in packaging for an ebike. Nice!
The bike came with no damage, at all. The wheels appear to be true and the disc brakes not bent. I’ve had some bikes come with wheels that need adjusting and damaged disc brakes from other brands. I didn’t have these issues with the Thunder ST. It was packaged well.
The front brakes do need a little adjusting, but instructions are included to do this. I’ll let you know how that turns out in the full review.
First Ride Impressions
I had some expectations of how the bike would perform based on the experiences I’ve had with similar bikes. Every bike I’ve ever reviewed or owned has its own unique behavior. There’s only so much you can tell from reading a spec list. They give you a basic idea, but you really don’t know how a bike is going to ride, especially an ebike, until you ride it.
The Thunder 1 ST does ride a lot like a regular road bike. In fact, it’s easy to ride without the motor at all on flat ground and inclines. I was expecting this. What I wasn’t expecting was the delay in the torque sensor. Every other ebike I’ve ridden with a torque sensor doesn’t have a delay. As soon as you begin pedaling, the motor engages.
That isn’t so with the Thunder ST. There is a slight delay and then a thrust of power. It’s not a startling thrust of power, and one would adapt to it, but it is its own unique quirky behavior.
Once you get pedaling along, it’s a steady flow of power from the motor, depending upon how much pressure you put on the pedals. I was able to pedal along with a satisfying pedaling cadence to go about 11-13 mph on the lowest pedal assist level, Eco, and gear 4 out of 8. That’s the speed I prefer cruising at along the bike path. It is capable of 20 mph, and that isn’t difficult to achieve in higher pedal assist levels and higher gears.
The gear ratio is good on the Thunder ST, and you know I’m picky about gears. They match up nicely to the pedal assist levels. For most ebikes, you pretty much always ride in the highest gears because you’re just hamster wheeling it on lower gears. That isn’t so with this bike. You can truly utilize all the gears. That’s refreshing and a big plus!
I tried it out on some moderately sized hills and could scoot up with some added leg power of my own on the Eco level. Personally, I like the fact that I can also contribute to hill climbing, so I can get a nice workout. I could also bump it up to higher pedal assist level and let the bike do more of the work. It’s always nice to have that option. The best thing about ebikes is how they help you on hills.
There’s no throttle, since this is a Class 1 ebike, but most people riding a bike like this wouldn’t miss it. I think people choosing the Thunder ST want it because of its simplicity. They want an ebike that hasn’t forgotten what’s great about bicycles, like being lightweight and quiet. And yes, the motor is very quiet.
The motor has some good torque to it, as well. I tested it crossing some busy roads, and it gets up to speed quickly when you put some extra pressure on the pedals. That’s one of the benefits of a torque sensor. They kind of act like throttles that you control with your feet.
The Thunder ST doesn’t have front suspension, but road bikes typically don’t. This is a city bike meant for pavement, and it does quite well on smooth pavement. I took it over some chunky gravel, and it handled it fine, but I wouldn’t want to ride over gravel like that for long. I think it would do well on crushed granite or other smoother substrates, but it’s not made for serious off-roading. It can accommodate wider tires, however.
It comes with 40cc tires, but you could change to 50cc for a more cushy ride on bumpy surfaces.
The frame geometry is very good. It’s a stiff frame that tracks well, as I would expect it to. It was relatively easy for me to get on and off the bike. With a 28″ inseam, I’m able to stand over the top bar on the small frame with about an inch or two to spare. So, it is very good for short riders. I’m also able to get proper leg extension for pedaling and still reach the ground with my feet.
Apple Find My App
The Thunder ST is also compatible with the Apple Find My App. I was able to connect my bike by Bluetooth on the first try. The feature seems to be working fine.
Well, that’s it for now. I’m going to put some more miles the Velotric Thunder 1 ST before doing a proper review. So far, it’s a thumbs-up from me.
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