Mate X electric bike review: How I broke the unbreakable ride
With its sturdy frame, huge fat wheels and powerful 250 watt motor, the Mate X electric bike looks unbreakable.
This is a bike that is rated for riders up to 150kg, an all terrain monster that can power up the steepest of hills - and have you flying down them at incredible speeds.
My teenage son is right into cycling, so when I told him we would be getting one to review, he couldn't wait. But we did.
It took some time before our review unit finally arrived but when it did, the frustrations over the delay were blown away by the huge smile on his face.
I took it for a quick spin after it was delivered by a very friendly Mitchel Lee from Redcliffe-based Ride Electric.
He was raving about the X Mate and what it had to offer people who wanted to get into electric bikes.
Fortunately, the bike was already set up for me, and charged, so it was just a matter of hitting the road.
Around our place there are lots of hills, so the Mate X was really going to get a workout moving my plus size body around the place.
To start out, it's just a matter of turning it on and then choosing the level of assistance you want - from 0 to 5.
Riding down from the top of our driveway, I was flying so no assistance required, but after turning the corner and into the first hill, I switched it on from 1 to 2 and then further as the hill became tougher.
As well as the five 'cheat' modes to work with you have an eight gear shifter.
Most of the time, I left the shifter in eight, as I flew along.
With 20 inch wheels, the bike is more like a cruiser than anything else. Super comfortable to ride, but not so easy to turn sharp corners.
After a while, however, you get used to it and as long as you plan your moves, you can literally soar along.
It wasn't long before my son was taking it for a whirl around our estate, up and down hills, with speeds of more than 60km/h.
The top motor speed is about 25km/h while the 48V battery can power you for up to 80km.
The beauty of an electric bike is that you do ride a lot further.
I found myself exploring places I would never ride to on a normal bike, conquering hills that I wouldn't even contemplate taking on.
Of course with all that speed, you want a decent braking system.
The Mate X has upgraded toTektro disc brakes, which were more than adequate to bring me to a halt, even after a steep hill.
Riding around, what you find hard to get over is the power the bike has.
It just zooms along, meaning you can effortless cruise at good speed while watching the neighbours' 'what the' expressions.
The bike I reviewed had a throttle lever as well which meant that you could simply push the lever and off you went.
I took on a couple of huge hills and didn't quite make it to the top, but even pushing the bike up a hill was made a lot easier by being able to push the lever and kick in assistance.
The Mate X features and LCD display in the middle of the handle bars which shows your speed, battery level and the level of assistance you're on. You can also see how far you have travelled.
It's not the brightest of screen so in direct sunlight it can be a little hard to read.
The bike also had and front and brake light and even indicators which made me feel a little safer as I navigated traffic through our town and negotiated plenty of roundabouts.
With the tyres so wide, you can easily go offroad whether it be zooming across the neighbourhood park or into the dirt or gravel.
I didn't get a chance to take it on the beach but with hard enough sand, I'm sure it would not have been a problem.
The bike also comes with a rear rack which means you can strap some cargo on the back after heading home from the commute to work.
The Mate X electric bike is also foldable, meaning you can put it in the back of a car or perhaps take it on the train.
But be warned, it's not the lightest bike so you might have trouble lugging it too far.
Our final testing for the Mate X came on one of the hottest weekends.
As part of my quest towards insanity, I thought to myself, let's test this thing to the limit.
I'll go for a few rides in the middle of the day. It felt like 40 degrees but it was about 36.
The first ride went fine.
I conquered a huge hill and came flying down the other side.
My next outing wasn't so great.
After riding around town, I started heading back up a hill towards home.
It wasn't long before I had lost power and looked to my display to see what was going on.
I had an error message.
At first I thought the battery or motor must have got overheated.
Given the weather, and my size, and the hills, I wasn't surprised.
So I jumped off and pushed it along, hoping that it would cool down.
I jumped back on and started going again.
But it wasn't long before it lost power again.
After some sweaty pushing up and down hills home, I jumped onto the computer to consult Doctor Google over the error.
Turns out I wasn't alone.
A Mate X forum page had 14 entries from people seeking answers on the same problem.
"We have been waiting since November 20 for this controller to fix error 21,'' one wrote, explaining that the fix to the 21h error involves opening the motor and glueing down some loose connectors."
Others complained of waiting months for a new controller.
Of course with new technology, and a relatively new company, you always take a risk.
With a price tag in Australia ranging from $2200 to about $2700, you would want to make sure you have confidence in not only the maker, but the person selling the bikes.
MATE X was launched in 2018 by MATE.BIKE, founded by two Danish siblings Julie Kronstrøm and Christian Adel Michael via a crowdfunding platform.
The brand became one of Europe's largest-grossing crowdfunding campaign in history. From their videos they seem decent enough people, though there have been plenty of complaints about delays in getting bikes or parts.
The company has sold 14,000 plus bikes worldwide and is hoping to get plenty of Australians open the latest offering in the next year. You can check out the Australian pricing here.
X Mate has teamed up with Smartmotion, a leading network of electric bike retail stores, to offer solid local support, should anything go wrong.
MATE X SPECS
- 250W high performance hub motor.
- 48V 11Ah Lithium-ion battery.
- 8-speed gear.
- 20-inch fat tires.
- Computer dashboard.
- Front and rear suspension