With e-bikes increasing in popularity year-on-year, no longer are they reserved for super-commuters and the well-heeled. With battery and motor technology continually evolving, commuter e-bikes, in particular, are trickling down to increasingly affordable price points. With the Lekker X, Dutch-inspired Australian outfit Lekker offer consumers a bold, fun and stylish way to commute or get around on two-wheels.
So with that in mind, we made the most of the one-size-fits-all sizing, passing a demo Lekker X e-bike around several team members to collate our thoughts on this stylish steed.
Who's It For?: The first-time e-bike buyer, commuter or leisure cyclist looking for a comfortable, affordable and durable electrically assisted ride.
What We Liked: Affordable price tag, simple drivetrain, better than expected battery range.
What We Didn't: Integrated lights not bright enough as a stand-alone option, finicky battery mount and charge times.
A Solid Foundation
It's said that the heart of a bike is its frame. And with the Lekker X (AU$2,232 as tested), its heart comes in the form of a sleek hydroformed 6061 aluminium step-thru chassis complete with smoothed over welds. The frame neatly integrates much of the battery bulk into the downtube, cleaning up the aesthetics, while the minimal yet thoughtful decals give the bike an air of effortless urban style.
The frame is slated as "one size fits most" with Lekker explaining the 28" frame is suited for riders ranging in height from 150cms through to 205cms tall. Additionally, the X' also features mounting points for a front and rear racks, front and rear mudguards, and a kickstand, with all of these components included on our tester.
We weighed out test steed in at 22kg, a full kilogram under the claimed weight. The Lekker X is available in three different colour options; The Onyx (tested), The Celeste, and Onyx Gumwall (AU$2,148)
Battery and Motor Specifics
Priced from just AU$1,998, the Lekker X is firmly ensconced at the affordable end of the e-bike market. However, just because of its affordable price tag, it doesn't mean that the battery and drive system is compromised. The Lekker X makes use of a Bafang hub drive motor mounted to the front wheel and a Samsung semi-integrated battery system. Both battery and drive system are proven performers at this price point, helping to keep both the weight and the price down.
The hub-mounted drive unit is rated at 250watts and offers users five levels of assistance, and is paired with an easy to read handlebar-mounted LCD screen. With a maximum torque output of 42Nm, the power delivery is linear and more than capable of effortlessly wafting riders along. The 36v / 11.6Ah battery unit has a quoted range of 60-80km per battery cycle with a full charge said to take just three hours.
Fuss Free Drivetrain and Extra's
The Lekker X makes use of a quality and dependable Shimano Nexus 3-speed internal geared hub mated to a single 42T chainring upfront. The three-speed unit is an excellent match for the drive unit and provides an ample gear range for the relatively flat urban sprawl. However, riders looking to tackle a hilly commute may be left wanting by the lack of additional gearing.
Brakes come courtesy of Tektro, in the form of a hydraulic E-350 brakeset complete with electric cut-off. This e-brake features a sensor mounted to the front brake that disengages the drive unit when pulling the brake lever. This safety feature is particularly useful when navigating shared bike paths, or bike lanes with heavy traffic.
Onto the extra's and as mentioned above, our tester was fully loaded with all the trimmings including a rear rack (AU$78) a fender set (AU$78) and integrating LED lighting (AU$78) front and rear.
After taking delivery of the Lekker X, the process for this review was a little different than usual, rather than one sole reviewer giving their thoughts and impressions of the ride. We opted to hand the bike off to several staff members around the office that had little to no experience with e-bikes. The reviewers ranged from our chief tester, a dyed in the wool road bike rider, and a complete commuting newbie. Initially, we'd hoped that this cross-section would provide adequate feedback on what is an impressive bike, the end result was a win for bikes, on the whole, but more on that later.
Upon taking delivery of the Lekker X, the first thing that catches the eye is the sleek aesthetics of the bike. Lekker has some serious form in this area. We've previously complimented the Dutch-Australian outfit on this in our previous reviews of the E-Amsterdam and Amsterdam Elite. The matte black paint job with hints of gold is a treat for the eyes and is finished to a high standard. The same can be said for the frame itself, with all welds finished off cleanly and smoothed over from the factory. The bike comes complete with an aluminium fork, which did a commendable job at dampening vibrations.
The wheelset on our steed was bombproof in operation, handling the changeable terrain encountered during our differing commutes with ease. The Kenda tyres maintained a constant pressure throughout the test period and provided ample visibility at intersections in low light conditions thanks to the reflective sidewalls. On the subject of visibility, while the integrated lighting system was a welcome addition, it lacks the lumen output to serve as a dedicated light source. Additionally, the mounting location of the front light atop the front fender blocked much of the light directly in front of the bike, making a second handlebar-mounted light essential. The rear light is located on the right-hand side of the bike, which is handy given that this is the road-facing side. However, this also meant that the light wasn't visible from the non-drive side of the bike. We'd like to see the light mounted to the rear rack for added visibility.
The other included extras on the bike performed as expected, with the fenders shielding the riders' legs from water spray in wet conditions while the kickstand was a welcome addition when storing the bike. The rear rack, with its 10kg load-carrying capacity and mounting point for panniers, was adequate for our commuting purposes. However, those seeking to load up the bike with additional cargo may want to invest in a sturdier rack option.
The one-size-fits-most size was a blessing on the Lekker X, especially considering the 20cm height difference between all three testers. All that was required when handing the bike over was a quick saddle height adjustment, and that was it. The geometry while upright was comfortable for our hour-long commute, with the touchpoints and saddle providing ample cushioning.
Moving to the drivetrain and the three-speed Shimano unit was faultless in its operation, flawlessly shifting between its three gears regardless of whether we rode with our without assistance. The Tektro brakes were also fantastic in action, providing plenty of braking power and modulation, without ever feeling overpowered for the bike.
The drive unit and battery system were near faultless in operation. The drive system provided a smooth and linear power delivery, while the battery range was better than expected. This was despite two out of three testers running the bike exclusively in the highest assistance level. We averaged 80km per charge on the highest assistance level, with this figure extending out to over 100km when used at a more reasonable assistance level. One area that was beyond manufacturers specifications was the charge time, with a full charge from near on empty taking around five hours, well beyond the quoted three hours claimed. This could partially be due to the battery mount itself, which had a habit of only half engaging the battery after it was removed from the bike. This didn't affect battery range, but it did have an impact on charging times when we left the battery on the bike.
We mentioned earlier that this test proved to be a win for bikes in general, with two out of three testers purchasing an e-bike after the review period. More people on bikes and fewer cars on the road is a win as far as we're concerned. Likewise, if you're on the fence when it comes to e-bikes, we implore you to head down to your local bike shop and test one out, it just might spark the lifestyle change you didn't know you've been seeking.
So if you're in the market for an affordable commuter slash stylish e-bike that's just as capable of daily work duties as it is weekend rides with friends, you'll be hard-pressed to find better value at this price point.
Thanks to Lekker Australia for providing the product for this test. Our main testers measured in at 168cm, 175cm and 186cm and all rode a size medium frame.
Looking for more information on assisted bikes? Check out our Ultimate E-Bike Buyer's Guide for all you need to know.