The T1 ST (formerly called Thunder 1 ST) from Velotric is a stealthy, lightweight ebike that’s easy to haul, rides much like a regular bicycle, and provides just enough assistance to help with those dreaded hills. You’ll still have to put some effort in on the bigger hills, but that’s not such a bad thing. I’ve come to appreciate what the Thunder 1 ST has to offer, especially after riding my REI Co-Op ADV 2.2 gravel bike up hills without a motor.
What the T1 ST has to offer is assistance. It doesn’t blow you away with speed or torque, but that’s the point. It’s for those riders who want to put some effort in, get a legitimate workout, and maybe prepare themselves for a bike without a motor, like how I’ve been using it.
My take might be a little different from others, because I didn’t compare the Thunder ST against other ebikes so much, as I did against my analog gravel bike. Don’t get me wrong. I love moped style ebikes and cruising with a throttle, but I also like riding for fitness, and that’s where the Thunder ST really shines.
Below is the T1 ST, a lightweight, minimalistic ebike.
Below is the REI Co-Op ADV 2.2 Gravel Bike, a nicely outfitted gravel bike, that I compared the Thunder 1 ST, too.
Weighing in at 36 lbs, the T1 ST is light for an ebike, and to me, it’s the best thing about the bike. It just feels and looks like a regular bike. The frame geometry is quite good, too. It has an unbelievable 330 lbs payload capacity, but it’s not built like a tank. It’s nimble. I didn’t notice any frame flex. It’s a stiff ride but a comfortable one. You could even put wider tires on it, up to 50 mm wide, if you’d like to ride some gravel. The 40 mm tires do good on pack, though, too.
If you want to do some bike touring, there are attachment points on the front fork for a rack or bag. I appreciate that. You can also add a rear rack, either from a third party or sold by Velotric. Fenders can be added. It’s versatile for a variety of riding purposes.
Just be aware that the front cables are quite short, so if you want to raise the handlebars, you won’t be able to raise them much. That’s one gripe I have. The other gripe is that there isn’t an integrated rear light. It comes with a battery powered rear light, but I have a habit of forgetting to turn those off. I’ll be replacing it with a rechargeable light that’s brighter and flashes for safety. Not a big deal, but worth mentioning.
It does come with a front integrated light that runs off the bike’s battery. There is no display, but I used my Wahoo Element bike computer with it. I was a bit bummed that Wahoo bike computers aren’t compatible with the attachment point on the bike, but the Thunder 1 ST does come with an attachment for your phone. It’s a 3M sticky pad that you stick on your phone’s case. I tried it out on my iPhone 12 Mini, and it worked fine, though I don’t know if I’d trust it with a heavier phone. Smartphones aren’t cheap.
Unlike the T1, the Velotric app isn’t compatible with the T1 ST, but is compatible with the Apple Find My app, which I was able to pair by Bluetooth very easily. This can help you find your bike should you forget where you left it, or if it is stolen. I haven’t seen this feature on any other bike.
As far as the performance of the T1 ST goes, it’s very quiet and minimal in a good way. I can barely hear the motor. I doubt many people on the path even knew I was riding an electric bike. There are four levels of pedal assist, but honestly I didn’t notice much difference between them. You can get up to about 20 mph on any of the levels. The only difference is in how much power they provide from a dead stop, but even then, I didn’t notice a huge difference.
It does have a torque sensor, which means that the motor will provide power based upon how much pressure you put on the pedals. It’s smarter than just a standard cadence sensor. There is a little thrust of power when the motor engages, that took a bit to get used to. All the other bikes I’ve ridden with torque sensors are very smooth when taking off. This one has a little kick when you begin pedaling and then settles down. It’s not startling, but it does take some getting used to.
The range of the T1 ST is advertised at about 40 miles. I think that is very doable. It’s difficult to say what range I’m getting out of the battery, because I often ride it without the motor turned on. That’s one of the things that I love about the bike. You can greatly extend the bike’s range if you’re willing to ride without the motor on flat stretches. Mostly, I used the motor for hills and when I got tired.
The pedaling cadence is good. I didn’t notice any ghost pedaling or hamster wheeling. It has a satisfying cadence that I enjoy, and I’m very picky about that.
The T1 ST has hydraulic disc brakes, and mine were a little on the mushy side. They stop the bike fine, but are in need of a little adjusting. The gears shifted smoothly right out of the box and are ample, considering you also have pedal assistance. I would have loved to have had even more gears to choose from, but I think Velotric did a pretty good job marrying up the components on the bike.
I love the look of the T1 ST. That bright frame color is ideal for safety, though it is also available in a more neutral color. I’m 5′ 1″ and the small frame fits me fine. It’s also available in a medium frame for riders up to 6′. If you’re taller, check out the regular T1. Mounting the bike is no big deal, and the reach is about where I want it. I am going to look into a different style handlebar, for more comfort, and I’ll report back how that goes, considering the cabling is so short. There’s nothing wrong with the handlebar. It’s just personal preference.
So, overall, I can give a thumbs up to the T1 ST. It’s priced nicely for what you’re getting. It’s great to be able to lift the bike so easily onto a car rack or up and down stairs. I even tossed it into the back of my Forester and it wasn’t a big hassle. I wouldn’t be able to do that with most ebikes.
The Velotric T1 ST has received a lot of glowing reviews from influencers, and I guess you can add me to them. It’s not top of the line in terms of components or drivetrain, but considering the price, it’s a great value. If you’re looking for a lightweight ebike that provides some welcome assistance on your rides, it’s definitely worth considering.
In comparison, my ADV 2.2 non-electric gravel bike from REI has better gearing, a carbon front fork for greater comfort, and drop bars for multiple hand positions, but boy do I miss having a motor on hills or on a hot day. It also cost more than the T1 ST. The price reflects the bike’s components, carbon fork and frame, while the price of the T1 ST reflects the fact that it has a motor and battery, yet didn’t compromise too much on bike components and good frame geometry.
The ADV 2.2 gravel bike wins on better bike components, and a better workout, but the T1 ST wins on assistance for those godawful hills! You’ll have to put in some effort going up steep hills on the T1 ST, but it’s sure nice to have some help. I compared the T1 ST against a non-electric bike, because I think a lot of people who would be interested in the Thunder models from Velotric are coming from analog bikes. They don’t want a moped, but a nicely outfitted bicycle, with a more traditional riding experience.
Many ebikes have subpar gear ratios and forget that they’re a bike. That’s not true with the T1 ST. It is as Velotric advertises it: less E and more bike! If that’s what you’re looking for, then you’ve found a good one.
The bike comes with a two-year warranty and Velotric is currently obtaining UL certification for the T1 ST, at the time of this article’s publication. Velotric’s other ebike models are certified, which is a big deal. I appreciate that Velotric is taking certification seriously, as certification of ebikes will likely be required by law in the United States soon.