Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Vvolt Alpha II Electric Bike with Gates CDS- Simplicity Redefined

Are you tired of the daily grind and looking for an eco-friendly, hassle-free way to enjoy yourself and get around town? Imagine gliding through the city streets on a bike that’s not only lightweight and stylish but also incredibly low maintenance. The Vvolt Alpha II, with its revolutionary Gates Carbon Drive system (Gates CDS), might be what you’ve been waiting for. Get on the saddle, because we’re about to uncover whether this e-bike lives up to its simplicity and if it’s the perfect fit for your lifestyle.

In this review of the Alpha II electric bike, featuring the innovative Gates Sidetrack belt, we’ll explore the pros and cons, share essential details you need to know before making a purchase, and help you determine who this sleek, efficient ebike is best suited for. Plus, discover what makes the Gates CDS a standout choice for urban riders and beyond!

I’m Lisa from E-Biking Today and I’m excited to share what I’ve learned about the VVolt Alpha II electric bike from my review and ride experience.

Woman standing over the Vvolt Alpha II Electric Bike

Pros of the Alpha II

The Gates CDS Belt

With a Gates SideTrack Belt, The Alpha was a fun, smooth ride! But this belt drive offered so much more…. For starters, it was super quiet! Keep watching to find out why a Gates CDS, or Carbon Drive System, is so desirable.

Belt Drive with Motor
Belt Drive with Motor

Lightweight

The Alpha II weighs only 44 lbs, so it was easy to pick up, nimble, and amazing to ride (watch the video to see in action). 

20-45 Mile Range

Although this is a typical range for a 375-watt battery, it’s even better on this bike. You will get more miles on a single charge on the Alpha II simply because it weighs less than the average e-bike. In general, the range will depend on terrain, the level of assistance used, and more.

Shimano Hydraulic Disc Brakes

Easy to maintain, the Shimano 160mm hydraulic brakes made it easy to stop. I’d expect these disc brakes to be reliable in most weather and road conditions.

Shimano Hydraulic Disk Brakes
Shimano Hydraulic Disk Brakes

Throttle

The addition of a thumb throttle is definitely an upgrade to the original Vvolt Alpha. And it’s on-demand. So, I was thrilled to pick up speed quickly and smoothly to 19mph. Additionally, the throttle can be removed, making it a Class 1 ebike when needed.

The throttle is also important as a power option since this is a single-gear bike. So, when I needed assistance getting up a hill, the throttle provided it.

Swept-back Handlebars and Ergonomic Grips

I loved the easy-to-reach handlebars and soft grips. They added to the already natural feel of the ride and helped me sit upright since they were closer to my body.

Swept-back Handlebars & Ergonomic Grips
Swept-back Handlebars & Ergonomic Grips make the ride more comfortable.

Step-Through Frame

I got on and off the bike quickly. However, the step-through height of 25 to 26.5 inches, depending on the frame size, is higher than some. So, if you have a disability or injury, make sure it’s not too high for you.

Puncture-Resistant Tires with Reflective Sidewall

The tires were nimble and provided a smooth ride. The reflective stripe kept me more visible.

Integrated Lighting

Putting safety first, Vvolt added a large front light and rear light for better visibility.

Integrated Front Light
Integrated Front and Rear Lights help you stay safe!

UL Certified

The Alpha II is UL Certified 2849, so it meets important safety standards. The battery also meets UL certification 2271.

Simple Functions

There’s not a lot to get caught up on. The display is simple and you can reach all important functions with your left hand. And there are no gears to mess with.

Potential Cons of the Alpha II

The Saddle

Four different riders tested the saddle and we all agreed it might not be comfortable enough for long rides. This isn’t a deal breaker and it could be a perfect fit for you. If it’s not, there are a ton of bike seat options, so it shouldn’t be a big deal to find the best saddle for your new e-bike.

Next,  It Doesn’t Fit Riders Under 5 Feet

I wish this nimble e-bike fit shorter riders. With 3 frame sizes, it’s not unreasonable to expect it to fit riders 4’10” and up. 

Single Gear

This could be a concern for some. But, the Alpha II is lightweight, nimble, and plenty fast with 5 pedal assist levels and a capable throttle. So, I didn’t miss gears AT all.

Last, although the screen is easy to understand, it’s hard to see in sunlight. 

Grey Gates Carbon Belt Drive Electric Bike
Gates Carbon Belt Drive Electric Bike

What to Know Before You Buy

Motor & Pedal Assist

I was surprised the Alpha II went uphill quickly, being only a 350-watt hub motor ebike. Its lightweight frame and slender battery helped account for this. But the 5 pedal assist levels made it surprisingly easy to hill climb. I efficiently went up a steep hill on Level 4, riding up to 19.5 miles per hour and only pushing it to Level 5 at the top of the hill. I was pleased to discover how much power and speed this e-bike accomplished.

Unboxing & Assembly

This was super easy and quick… I assembled the bike in about 20 minutes. Take a look…

Use this link to help with assembly. Use the manual and video together to make the assembly snappy.

Size & Fit

I like that this electric bike fits almost everyone. At 5’1” I just made the cut for the recommended 5-foot minimum… and there’s an XL frame for riders 5’ 10” to 6’3”. Always check your inseam and reach measurements to help determine which size is best. If you’re on the very top of one size range, you should consider sizing up.

5'1" woman standing over step-through frame
As a 5’1″ rider, I had a modest amount of room when standing over the step-through frame.

Colors

Vvolt E-Bikes offers two colors… Reef, a brilliant coral, and Black Pearl.

Vvolt Alpha II Reef Color
The Vvolt Alpha II in the stunning color of Reef!

Price

At $1799, I’d say the Alpha II price is fair and expected, due to the more expensive belt drive and lightweight frame. 

What’s Special About the Gates Carbon Belt Drive?

One of the standout benefits of a belt drive is its cleanliness. Unlike traditional chain systems that require lubrication and tend to gather greasy dirt, the belt drive remains clean, keeping your hands, clothes, and surroundings free from grime.

The smoothness of the Carbon Drive system is another key advantage. By eliminating the metal-to-metal contact that chains rely on, The Gates belt drive delivers an exceptionally smooth riding experience that needs to be felt to be fully appreciated. It certainly made my test ride easy.

Riding with the Gates Sidetrack belt is a quiet experience. This lack of noise added to the overall enjoyment and serenity of my ride.

In terms of weight, the belt drive system is impressively light. Comprising just two sprockets and a belt, it weighs less than a typical chain alone, contributing to the bike’s overall lightweight feel.

Durability is another strong suit of the Carbon Drive belt. Unlike chains, which stretch over time and require re-tensioning, this belt does not stretch, eliminating the need for adjustments.

CDX Belt Drive
Carbon Belt Drive Layers

Plus, it’s engineered to shed mud, dirt, snow, and other debris. This means a more reliable ride in all conditions.

When it comes to longevity, belt drives outshine chains significantly. Tests have shown that belts can last more than four times longer than chains.

It’s also comforting to know that the Gates Carbon Drive System meets or surpasses the EN 14766 industry standard, which is the same rigorous benchmark set for chain drive systems.

Finally, Carbon belt drives maintain efficiency throughout their lifespan. So, you’ll get a reliable and smooth performance on every ride.

Is The Vvolt Alpha II the Best Electric Bike for You?

What impressed me the most about the Alpha II was the smooth, efficient ride. And I believe this is so because of its efficient electrical and belt drive system. Plus, being lightweight and easy to step through and get on or off, this hybrid electric bike makes good sense for most urban and recreational riders. It’s a perfect entry-level electric bike for first-time e-bike owners and for riders who appreciate simplicity. It’s also a good fit for riders over 50 or those with minor physical limitations.

Wrap Up

The Vvolt Alpha II electric bike is a standout choice for urban commuters and recreational riders seeking a lightweight, efficient, and low-maintenance ride. Riders will appreciate the unparalleled smoothness and virtual silence of the Gates Carbon Drive system.

Further, the belt drive contributes to the bike’s overall lightweight design, enhancing its portability and ease of use. 

I feel confident that you’ll enjoy your ride on the reliable, simple-to-use, and beautiful Vvolt Alpha II.

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