I’ve ridden a bunch of lower power torque sensing ebikes from the likes of Bosch and Yamaha over the last several years. I’ve always found the power wanting, as most are designed for the Euro 250W market. Some of the newer torque-sensing electric mountain bikes brag about 750W peak power, but with only 450W continuous. Bafang has released a new drive unit called the M600 which is designed for the US 750 Watt continuous market and the drive can get 1000W peak. Lunacycle took that drive and shunted the controller effectively almost doubling the peak power to 2000W for their new X-1 bike. I plunked down a huge chunk of my own hardly earned cash when this bike first went on pre-sale almost 4 months ago because I knew it was the bike I had been waiting for Lunacycle to build. I got my first ride on it today, and it did not disappoint.
It’s hard for me to get bikes in my size as I am 6′ 9″ tall. The X-1 came in a 21″ size so that is what I ordered and it fits me perfectly. The front wheel is connected to a Rock Shox Debonair fork with 160mm of travel. I really love this fork, my only complaint is that is doesn’t ship with a QR through axle system. You need a wrench to get the front wheel on and off. The axle is 110×15 which is an unusual size (it’s the new-ish Boost axle system) and the only QR axles I could find for it anywhere were about $60. For that price I’ll just keep using a wrench, thank you very much.
The rear shock is a Monarch 200mm which seems to deliver close to 6″ of travel. I’ve had a lot of problems with the old versions (think like 10 years ago) of the Monarch shock leaking at the pivot for the air valve, but they fixed the newer Monarchs and made it so the Schrader valve does not swing in and out and is just a molded part of the shock body, which is what they should have done all along. If I have issues with this shock leaking I’ll update this article.
So when riding the X-1 my overwhelming thought is ‘damn this is a nice bike’. I would estimate if you pulled off the motor and battery the bike would be worth over $3000 just for the carbon frame and the components alone. The sizes seem to run a bit large, which I like. The 21″ I bought felt more like a 22″ or 23″.
I was super pleased when I realized that the X-1 came a dropper post with internal cable routing. My good friend Eric (I do have at least one friend) has been pressuring me to get a dropper post on my 21lb all carbon non-electric trail bike but I have been resistant, mostly due to the extra weight it would add. It’s a nice addition to the X-1 and I will likely decide in the future that I just can’t live without it (kind of like kittens, you don’t know how much you need them until you get them).
The Maxxis Minion 27.5″ x 2.8″ tires were awesome, even over extremely wet logs. It was my first time riding the Minion and I have to say it’s really an amazing tire, it’s obvious why it is so popular. I’ve fallen in love with 29 plus, but it’s nigh impossible to get 6″ of travel out of a 29 plus full suspension bike, there just isn’t enough room even on an oversized frame.
The X-1 has a pretty steep rake angle on the front fork, and the bike really shines on downhill sections. It wants to get off the ground and the landings were smooth and controller. I never jumped it more than a foot high, but it could easily go much higher than that. This bike really shines when barreling downhill at high speeds.
The display on the X-1 is incredible in it’s simplicity. It’s designed to hang below the handlebars so people can’t tell it’s an ebike. It’s about the same size as the 500c display, but it’s far more spartan. It shows the speed of the bike, the battery charge percentage and the power level. In very small txt it shows a small trip meter in km. That’s about it. I wish more displays were like this instead of cramming way too much stuff into a very small space. The display is also black and white, but it works well in sunlight and it is easy to read.
The 32T front chainring on this ebike is tiny, as it should be. The top speed on this bike on the level is only about 25mph, but that’s not what it is designed for. It’s designed for trail riding, and to that end I feel like the gearing is perfect. The derailleur is an Sram GX 12 speed with a monster 50T steel granny gear (if you wail on the granny it will taco). This means that if your battery dies then you can still pedal up incredibly steep inclines without having to get off and walk your bike. You can easily replace your front chainring with a larger one if you want to make the X-1 into a commuter, but in doing so I feel like you’d be doing a heinous crime against humanity. This bike wants to ride windy, downhill single track and that is what it’s designed for. If you want a 40mph full suspension commuter then buy an Apex or an Apollo. Be aware that if you put on a larger chainring you will be creating more stress on the tiny 7.5lb M600 motor system as well.
The brakes were a little on the squishy side, but they stopped well and did not lock up. The rotors are insanely large and the bike seemed to stop on a dime. I was very pleased that there was not ebike motor cutoff on the brakes, because I hate ebike cutoffs even more than I hate evil clowns.
Be aware that the front wheel hub has two spacers, one on either side that fall out pretty easily when removing and remounting the front wheel. If you mount the wheel without the spacers the front fork will pull together and the brake will rub against the rotor. It’s the most serious design flaw I could find on this bike. When unboxing the bike the plastic disc protector for the front wheel will pull out with the spacer and you’ll have to remove it from the disposable disc brake shield and put it back on the front axle.
I’m not sure if the ‘Boost’ spacing is here to stay or if it is just a fad. I hope that it will stick around long enough that I can get a decent selection of parts when I blow out the rear hub, but time will tell. It seems like the bike industry absolutely loves to come out with new standards all the time forcing people to buy their products. I kind of hate that, but it’s the best way to milk bikers for more cash.
My single biggest complaint about the X-1 was the noise. Lunacycle replaced the gears in the M600 with steel gears and they are quite a bit louder than the nylon gears that most other lower power torque sensing mid drives come with. In all fairness there is no way that a nylon gear is going to stand up to 2000W of power, but it would be nice if they could. If you have the bike in anything other than power level 0 when riding past other bikers they are going to know you are on an ebike. My advice in the woods is when you see other rider, just crank the power level down to 0 while you pass them, and then put it back on again after they are gone. The X-1 is incredibly stealthy and you should have no problem riding at your favorite spots and not getting harassed unless you stop and talk to people on the trail. I will also say that the bike seemed noisier when I first took it out of the box, and after some riding it seemed to be quite a bit less noisy, but that may have been my imagination.
The noise was not a high pitched noise like you get from the electric motors, but a much lower pitched noise from the steel gears. I didn’t find the noise that annoying, but it was different from riding the nearly silent BBS02 & BBSHD. I felt like if someone was 20 feet away they probably would not hear the bike, but if you pass someone on the trail with the motor running, they would have to be deaf to not hear it. I have ridden by people with the BBSHD in powerlevel 2 and they didn’t actually know I had an ebike which is pretty cool.
In power level 1 the motor just doesn’t seem to activate unless you are pressing down really hard on the pedals. Power level 3 was my favorite level, it felt like I was a lot stronger than I actually am, and didn’t go so fast that I felt out of control. Sometimes I would bump up to power level 4 on the hills and power level 5 just felt like a total overkill. I didn’t use the throttle much, I really liked the torque sensing and pedaling along with the bike. It display had a new kind of connector so you cannot program the M600 with the standard programming cable that you use for the Ultra Max, BBSHD and BBS02. I didn’t feel like the controller needed to be programmed, except maybe for power level 1 which felt as useless as a 250W hub motor (what’s the point? Really).
The power of the Ludicrous M600 lay somewhere between the BBS02 and the stock BBSHD. I felt like it was closer to the stock BBSHD, but it lacked the pure wheelie insanity of the BBSHD Ludicrous edition. The motor seemed quite a bit smaller, seemed to spin much faster and did not have anywhere near as much thermal mass to dissipate heat. There is no question that the Ludicrous Ultra Max also produces more power than the M600, but that is to be expected.
The battery was about 7lbs which is what you would expect for a 13.5Ah 13S4P GA pack. It was packaged very nicely in an aluminum case with an on/off button and a LED power gauge. I liked that the charge port is facing upside down so water will not leach into it. If the bike stops working, the first thing to check would be the on/off switch for the battery which you will likely forget about and might accidentally hit. The battery seemed stable and did not rattle even when jumping and riding over rough terrain. Everything about the bike seemed incredibly solid and the build quality was higher than I expected in a bike that was this cheap.
The carbon frame was very stiff and I liked the geometry. My shock pump failed so I could not get the front and rear shocks up to the right pressure with my air compressor so I had a lot of pedal strikes, but I have a new shock pump on order and once my shocks are pumped up that should go away.
- Feels like a heavy downhill bike, not really like an ebike at all
- Lots of travel, soft landings, good shocks
- Carbon frame is stiff with good geometry and the 21″ frame is over the top big
- Came with a couple free bike lights and a bike toolkit for repairs
- I liked the handle grips, saddle and pedals which usually I swap out on any bike I buy
- The dropper post was totally awesome and was quite adjustable
- Display is great and very discrete, easy to read in daylight
- Can pass as an ebike on most trails as long as you don’t pedal with the motor on past people on the trail
- Has a good warranty 2 years on frame, 1 year on battery and 6 months on the motor and components
- Very thick spokes and dual walled alloy rims
- All bikes bought from Lunacycle come with a bike repair toolkit for free
- Was able to get it out of the box and completely set up in just 25 minutes
- Chinese rating for the stock M600 is only 500W but it actually does 20 Amps peak and with the steel gear it can do 750W continuous without issues
- The custom Ludicrous controller (extra $300) is “shunted” effectively doubling the power (but not actually quite doubling the Watts because you hit limitations with solder, copper and continuous battery output)
- No QR axles on the front, the rear has an axle handle you can screw it off with, the front you need a wrench to remove
- Too loud, the noise is not super annoying, but it’s the least stealthy thing about the X-1
- Pretty heavy for a bike, pretty light for a 2000W ebike, 21″ size was 55.5 lbs
- Shipped Fed Ex Freight not Fed Ex ground (probably cheaper) my bike arrived with a some pretty big scratches on the pretty carbon fiber frame
- If you peg the throttle up a long uphill section you risk overheating the motor
- 2000W of power is only peak, you cannot sustain that for any real period of time
- 11T cog is adjusted out on the derailleur, spend 30 seconds backing out the H adjustment screw on the derailleur to get it back
- Spacers on the front hub fall out way too easily when wheel is not mounted
- First Lunacycle complete ebike that is not ‘put together’ in the US
I was on the fence on whether I should get the X-1 and almost cancelled my order in the 4 months I had to wait. In the end I’m glad I didn’t, this ebike is everything I’ve ever wanted in an enduro trail bike and more. The weight feels right, the ride is incredible and I can go out and ride for an hour on power level 3 and only use up about half of the battery. I’m glad I didn’t break down and buy one of the lower power Bosch units which can cost upwards of twice what the X-1 costs with much lower power. This ebike is what all other torque sensing, lower power ebikes want to be when they grow up. The X-1 is available for preorder (the bikes should arrive in Oct) right here for $3700 (they do sell out fast). If there is anything out there that has this level of performance at a lower price, I certainly haven’t heard of it. If you’ve had experience with the X-1 or found something better, post about it below in the comments so others can share in your infinite wisdom.
Ride on … and on and on and on … till the break of dawn.