EVALUATION

Eskute Voyager: Powerful Budget e-Mountain Bike Goes Anywhere

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eSkute Voyager

8.00 / 10

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The Eskute Voyager is not a refined ride for the city dweller; it's a brutish beast for those living out of town. If you need something lightweight and portable that you can carry down from your apartment, fold up, and put on the metro, this isn't it. Sure, it'll handle a bit of asphalt, but it's much happier riding mountain tops, hillside trails, and country paths.

Specifications

  • Brand: Eskute
  • Battery: 36V 12.5Ah 450W
  • Weight: 25kg (55lbs)
  • Maximum Speed: 25km/h (15mph)
  • Brake Style: Disc brake
  • Frame Material: Aluminium alloy
  • Wheel Size: 2.1 inch wide, 27.5 diameter, trail-style grip texture
  • Suspension: Adjustable front suspension
  • Motor (W): 250W Bafang rear hub motor
Pros

  • Great value, beginner eMTB
  • Adjustable front suspension
  • Powerful motor makes offroad riding accessible to anyone
Cons

  • Cheap mudguards
  • No Pannier rack
  • Motor is unrefined due to cadence sensor
  • Heavy
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eSkute Voyager
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If your idea of an affordable e-bike is some dainty foldable thing suitable only for flat city terrain, then think again. The Eskute Voyager mountain e-bike (EMTB) will take you anywhere, with all the power you need for rough terrain. I took it out to the rugged Cornish countryside to find out if this very reasonably priced £1000 mountain e-bike is worth it. It's available in the UK and Europe now, and should be launching in the US in early 2022.

Use the coupon code MUO50 to get an extra £50 off at checkout!

Unboxing The Eskute Voyager

The Voyager comes in one massive, unwieldy box that weighs just 30kg. We opted to build it in place where it was delivered to the kitchen, rather than attempt to move it upstairs to the garage (the joys on living on a hillside).

eskute voyager - overview 2

The main body of the bike was surprisingly easy to put together, with comprehensive instructions and everything you need for the build except for a pair of scissors to cut away the various packaging bits and cable ties. We did initially fit the front fork backward but quickly realized the error.

It's the included extras where things got more fiddly.

For European customers, an accelerator modification is included. Legally this should only be fitted if you plan to ride on private grounds only, but it's also not an obvious modification so it's not like you'll be pulled over for it. Fitting this requires you to simply slide off the existing grip, replace it with the modified one, then plug in the cable that is helpfully already fitted to the bike and hidden within the cable bundle. In theory, at least. In practice the replacement grip is longer than the one you remove, which means I had to loosen up the gear shifter and brake, and move them along the handlebar, to make room for the accelerator. This isn't too complex but requires a decent flathead screwdriver and smaller hex key than the one supplied.

eskute voyager - closeup mudguard

Also included in our box was a third-party front and rear mudguard, along with a tiny rear safety light that clips onto the mudguard. Since this was designed for any model of bike, the fitting instructions weren't specific to the Eskute Voyager, and it took me a while to figure out which of the fixings to use. On my first journey out, the rear mudguard fell off entirely, the nut having been shaken out by the vibrations of the rough terrain. I tightened this for the next journey, but even when properly fitted, the concertina design means they rattle annoyingly. It's the weakest part of this package, and it's a shame Eskute didn't integrate their own custom design.

eskute voyager - closeup pedals

The Eskute Voyager otherwise feels very well built and rugged, which is honestly not what I was expecting from a £999 e-bike. What it isn't though is lightweight—by any definition—at around 25kg (55lbs). Those of smaller stature or living in an apartment will struggle to get this up the stairs.

eskute voyager - from rear

There are two features to help mitigate this weight problem. First, you'll find an easily accessible walk assist function by holding down a single button. This runs the motor slowly forwards without needing you to pedal. That's great for stairs with a bike rail on the side, or for walking up hills.

Second, the battery can be easily removed with the included set of keys, so you can lock up the main part of the bike outside or in the parking garage, then take the battery inside to charge.

Eskute Voyager Motor and Specs

The electronic part of this budget eMTB is provided by a 250W Bafang motor fitted to the rear hub, capable of a maximum of 15.5MPH (25km/h). The battery supplied is a standard 36V 12.5Ah, for 450W peak output. An IP65 rating means you needn't worry about taking it out in light right or shallow puddles and mud, but you shouldn't submerge it completely or try to clean it with a strong water jet.

eskute voyager - outdoor puddle

The pedal-assist feature works in conjunction with a cadence sensor, which kicks about a second or so after it detects pedal movement. This is compared to a torque sensor found on more expensive models, which adds power as soon as it detects the pedals being pushed. In practical terms, the use of a cadence sensor instead of a torque sensor means two things.

eskute voyager - closeup disc brake

Firstly, hill starts can be tricky, particularly on difficult terrain, because you need to actually start riding before the motor will kick in. When I had to stop halfway up a hill because of rocks, that involved getting off and walking a while until I could find somewhere flat to restart.

Secondly, while you do have full control of the added power using the control panel (five levels), it's very unrefined. Once it kicks in, you'll rocket away, regardless of how much force you were putting into the pedals. At the very least, it takes some getting used to. For that reason, I'd strongly recommend deliberately switching to zero power when not needed, such as tight cornering. You'll need to micromanage the PAS level a fair bit if you've been leaning heavily into it coming up a hill, or you may find yourself careening off the edge when that power level is no longer needed.

eskute voyager - closeup front

As for the rest of the bike, there's a smooth Shimano 7-speed Tourney derailleur gearing with a traditional chain drive—nothing fancy, but it gets the job done. The tires are 2.1-inch wide, 27.5-inch diameter trail-style with grippy pattern. There's an adjustable suspension on the front fork, so you can turn lock it off for city streets, and tweak the compression level off-road. This ensures a relatively smooth ride no matter what surface you're on. Relative to a bike without a suspension at all that is: your bum is still going to hurt after an hour of bumping over rocky terrain. Both the front wheel and saddle feature quick-release clamps.

eskute voyager - close up control panel

Separate to the main control panel is a physical light switch and a button for the abnormally loud electric horn.

Battery Life and Range

The sales page for the Eskute Voyager states "44 miles and more" (around 70km) with pedal assist. In my experience it was a lot less—around 12.5 miles (20km). However, I don't think Eskute are deliberately being deceptive—there are many factors that contribute to e-bike battery life, such as:

  • How much work you're doing. I haven't ridden a pedal bike in a decade, so my leg muscles aren't what they used to be. I was relying on battery power more than average.
  • Cruising vs stop-start. The type of terrain I was riding on resulted in lots of obstacles that I had to navigate slowly through, or stop entirely. It's the acceleration that uses most of the energy; cruising over the same distance at a constant speed would consume significantly less battery life.
  • Load. The maximum weight is 120kg, including luggage. At 105kg, I'm at the upper bounds. More weight uses more battery.
  • Cold weather. Battery life is better when it's warmer.

44 miles is probably optimistic, if you used the pedal-assist at level one, conservatively, on relatively flat and easy-going terrain. While I only achieved a third of that, it was in less than ideal conditions for every contributing factor; consider that the lower bounds of what you might expect to get.

eskute voyager - outdoor 1

Eskute Voyager: The Perfect Beginner eMTB?

The Eskute Voyager is not a refined ride for the city dweller; it's a brutish beast for those living out of town. If you need something lightweight and portable that you can carry down from your apartment, fold up, and put on the metro, this isn't it. Sure, it'll handle a bit of asphalt, but it's much happier riding mountain tops, hillside trails, and country paths.

eskute voyager - outdoor hillside

If you have some experience already under your belt, you might find some aspects of the Eskute Voyager disappointing. The cadence sensor is unrefined and makes hill starts tricky. The frame is heavy and unwieldy. You might want a full suspension for harder terrain. Some components are decidedly budget-grade (though most are decent). There's no pannier rack to carry your gear, either.

eskute voyager - outdoor horse attack

But it's ridiculously good value for an e-bike, let alone an e-mountain bike, and for that reason, it's perfect for someone like me who is at the start of their e-bike journey. The only reason not to buy is that as with most budget e-bikes purchased direct from China, you won't have the same level of support as you would buying from your local high street retailers. Still, if you're happy to sacrifice that, you'll pay a lot less.

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