The more I ride my Velotric T1 ST, the more I appreciate what the bike brings to someone like me, and who is someone like me? Well, someone who wants to ride a bike with minimal assistance, but needs help on hills and against the wind.
I remember at the end of one of my last rides how good it felt afterward. I felt like I just left the gym, and in a good way. It was a very satisfying workout that many ebikes can’t provide, because they are too heavy and clunky to ride without the motor. The T1 ST hasn’t forgotten that it is a bicycle first. That makes all the difference.
If you are coming from a road bike or gravel bike background, but now need some assistance, electric bikes like the Velotric T1 ST, will keep you riding longer. There are higher quality and more expensive lightweight ebikes out there, but the T1 ST is a good starting point for many.
I’m not cutting my rides short for fear of becoming too winded or overheated. It’s really given me the best of both worlds – a terrific workout, like I would get from an acoustic bike, and a welcome boost on those awful hills.
While I have already taken the bike on a few trails, I want to take it on some lengthier ones, such as some fantastic rail trails in my area. That’s why I have begun turning my T1 ST into a touring bike. What is a touring bike?
What Is a Tour Bike?
Basically, a touring bike is one that is fairly lightweight and efficient, with the ability to haul bags and other gear. The T1 ST is already set up well as a touring bike due to its relatively light weight of 36 lbs, ideal tire size, and a decent gear ratio for climbing milder hills on your own power. Velotric also sells a rear rack made specifically for the bike, which I have ordered. I’m going to give it a go, and see how I like it, but I might try to find a lighter rack in the future.
Normally, on an electric bike, a few pounds difference in cargo isn’t really a concern. You can haul whatever you want, which is wonderful, but when you plan to ride quite a bit without the motor, you’ll want to consider the weight that you are adding.
Trekking Bars (Butterfly Bars)
The upgrade that I have already made is the most important one, and that is switching the bike’s flat handlebars, to trekking bars, also called butterfly bars. I’m using the Upanbike butterfly bars, I purchased from Amazon. They fit the bike perfectly and make long rides much more comfortable due to the multiple hand positions they can accommodate.
Butterfly bars allow an upright riding position, that’s ideal for touring, but also allows you to lean forward when you’re riding against the wind, or just want to achieve a higher speed. The handlebars that came with the T1 ST were fine, but I did notice unpleasant pressure in the palms of my hands on longer rides. The butterfly bars eliminate this. They are a godsend to anyone with shoulder pain or arthritis in their hands or wrists. As someone with arthritis and a banged up shoulder, I recommend them!
Be aware that the short cables on the T1 ST limit what type of handlebars it can accommodate. I was first thinking about using Jones bars, but they require longer cables. Butterfly bars might look a little goofy, but on long rides, you’ll appreciate them.
There is also a lot of adjustability in butterfly bars by changing the angle it which they attach to the bike’s stem. You can try different angles for height, riding position and/or personal preference. The brake levers, buttons for operating the bike, and shifter fit well, and you can position them along the bars to your liking.
Front Rack Compatibility
One complaint I have of the T1 ST is that it only has one mounting point on the front fork. Its big brother, the Velotric T1, has three, which makes mounting a front rack simple. You can find tons of options for it, but with the single mounting point on the T1 ST, compatible front racks are more difficult to find. Luckily, there are still some good options.
The one I chose is the Rhinowalk bike bag (on Amazon) which attaches to the front fork of nearly any type of bicycle, using a mounting system that allows the bag to be easily attached and removed. It’s a little pricey but good quality and available in multiple color options.
Something else I might change on the T1 ST is the kickstand. It works fine, but it rattles around and a trip over it in my garage constantly. It sticks out farther than most kickstands, so I am looking for a better one, or I might just remove it. We’ll see.
Anyway, I’m looking forward to some trails this fall. One of the things I like most about the T1 ST is that it is light enough for me to pick up and put into the back of my Forester. It’s easy to take places. You will for sure be seeing it on some future trail videos on the YouTube channel.