EUNORAU Spectre S review: legally bombed (downhill)
Aug 12, 2021
EUNORAU, the makers of electric bikes both large and larger, is blazing a new trail for both its customers and its company. The Spectre S is its new flagship electric bike, built to rocket up rough terrain and bomb down with equal grace. As the company’s first foray into a new segment of the industry, there are improvements to be had, but this solid freshman entry should catch the eye of the varsity team.
There are a wealth of off-road capable electric bikes on the market today and an even larger amount of electric bikes that check off the dual suspension box.
Some of them can get by, others are made for looks, and some of them stand out from the crowd.
The Spectre S stands out to me, with a high-quality frame, wildly powerful motor, and dual battery option.
EUNORAU Spectre S video review
EUNORAU Spectre S quick specs
- Motor: Bafang M620 1000w Mid-Drive
- Battery: 48v 14ah Internal Battery
- Top Speed: 35mph (56 kmph)
- Range: (Highly Variable) 12 to 80 miles (19 to 128 km)
- Fork: Inverted Air Suspension
- Frame: Rear Air Suspension
- Tires: 26″ x 4″ Fat Tires
- Gearing: Sram 11 Speed 11 to 42 tooth Cassette
- Brakes: Dual Piston 180mm Hydraulic
- Extras: front head-light, suspension mud-guards, kickstand, dual battery option (+$400)
It’s not cheating
The single greatest hurdle of riding downhill is going up in the first place. While the more hard-boiled riders will scamper up the mountain under their own leg power, some take a car shuttle or ski lift to the top. Surprisingly, this isn’t considered “cheating,” and with that precedent set, an ever-growing number of riders are entering the sport with an electric bike to help them up the mountain.
The Spectre S is the latter.
Uphill, no sweat
Riding the Spectre up the hill was quite comical. The bike itself weighs in at 83.61 pounds. Combined with myself, water, and camera gear, we tip the scales at around 300 pounds. The burning heat of the summer sun was blasting over 100 degrees, and the scant cover of short desert trees only gave partial respite. Despite this and the rocky terrain of the ATV trail, the Spectre S climbed like a hungry moose.
Heart of the matter
The core of the Spectre’s power is the Bafang M620 motor, which itself is the flagship of Bafang’s lineup. The M620 motor holds a royal flush of specs: mid-drive, 1000w, torque sensor, 160nm torque, and both throttle and pedal assist. In layman’s terms, the motor has great balance, power, utility, feels intuitive, and is used in high-powered cargo bikes, mountain bikes, and high-speed bikes alike.
The torque-sensing pedal assist from the motor is a standout feature for climbing use. With a press of the feet, the electric system would deliver power perfectly tailored to the pressure of the pedals. The predictability and immediacy of the torque sensor delivered the perfect amount of power in most any condition. The match of intuition and technology make this an excellent motor for rough and varied conditions, something that a cadence-based motor simply cannot do.
Combined with the powerhouse motor is a Sram NX 11 speed derailleur and an 11 to 42 tooth cassette. The Sram NX is at about the top of the enthusiast ladder when it comes to performance; any higher, and it would be in a professional grade. The comparable Shimano Deore groupset is a bit more reliable, as in my case, I had to reset the pulley arm spring during a ride. Nevertheless, the system interfaced perfectly with the motor, largely due to the shift detection that was combined with the motor.
That moose of a motor was indeed hungry, as the dual battery system was being eaten alive. Equipped with dual batteries, the Spectre I rode carried 2x 48v 14ah batteries, making for 1.3kwh of energy. After about three miles of rough terrain (4.8km), the display read 80% capacity. Continuously climbing in the harshest of conditions, I might have seen as low as 12 miles of range (19.3km). Using this estimate, the Spectre S chugged along, consuming roughly five times the battery of an average eBike used on the road. Realistically, we’re not concerned about efficiency in these conditions. However, I feel it my duty to report that the stated range on the EUNORAU website (80 miles/128km) should be understood to be a road traveling maximum.
Turning around and bombing downhill was an absolute blast! In the video, I spoke about the forward angle of the front tire, which enabled a more controlled and predictable descent. The Spectre S delivered a real hoot of a downhill, with enough thrills and chills to excite nearly anyone. A large part of the chills came from the inadequate brake pads and brakes. It’s quite normal for bikes to be equipped from the factory with a set of brake pads that are a “starter” set. Similar to cheap stock tires on a car, after wearing in the brakes, these pads are often replaced with a much more robust set. However, combined with the inadequate brakes, it made for a white-knuckle experience on the trail.
The Spectre S uses a dual-piston hydraulic disc brake with a 180mm disc. While these kinds of brakes are perfectly adequate for a hardtail mountain bike, light-duty cargo bike, or even a city commuter, they don’t cut the mustard in the demanding applications that the Spectre S is otherwise adept at. If EUNORAU had decided to use a larger disc to dissipate that build-up, opted for cooling fins, or even a quad piston caliper, I think the bloated weight of this bike could descend even higher climbs. In my experience, the brakes were about tapped out from the heat of descending about 1,500 feet over three miles.
Is this legal?
One last point of interest is the legality of the Spectre S. Since it’s rocking a 1000w mid-drive motor, 35mph tops speed, and a throttle to boot, it’s easily outside the eBike classifications established in many states and municipalities. The bike isn’t totally illegal. I took the Spectre up and down an ATV trail, where dirt-bikes, side-by-sides, and even Jeeps are legal to drive. I really don’t have much else to say other than to be cautious and be legal. Further eBike restrictions can be put in place, and our industry isn’t large enough to fight it.
Overall, I think the Spectre is a great bike for off-road adventures up some incredible hills and down some moderate ones. The price of the bike puts it into a niche category, a rider who wants to have phenomenal power to go up a hill but would want to upgrade the brakes to go down a hill of difficult incline. For a single battery price of $3,799, the Spectre S is considerably cheaper than many downhill-oriented bikes but is considerably more than other entry dual-suspension bikes that are realistically not made for any downhill at all.
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