Electric Bike Scoop / Electric Bikes / Italjet Ascot Classic

Italjet Ascot Classic


  • Voltage
    36 volt

  • Drive System
    BaFang SWX02 Geared Front Hub

  • Battery
    36v 13.2Ah (475wh)

  • Torque
    Information not available

  • Pedal Assist System
    Cadence Sensor

  • Weight
    33.9kg

Our Rating

This overall rating is based on the review by our experts

7.9
  • Appearance 9 / 10
  • Electronics and Performance 7 / 10
  • Battery and Charger 7 / 10
  • Build Quality 9 / 10
  • Comfort 8 / 10
  • Accessories 7 / 10
  • Safety 8 / 10
  • Value 8 / 10
Pros Cons
  • Attractive cafe racer design
  • High level of attention to detail – stylish leather handlebar grips, gold ascents throughout bike, Brooks leather saddle, stylish analogue clock in headtube, leather battery case
  • Beautiful and practical double arc springer forks featuring torque arms
  • Well supported Bafang electronics
  • Not appropriate for wet weather commuting
  • Battery LCD display not accurate
  • Cadence sensor cuts out at times
  • Under-powered hub motor for a heavy bike
  • Lack of LCD integrated rear light
  • Heavy

Italjet have designed the Ascot Classic with attention to detail that will be appreciated by someone considering buying it as a luxury electric bike more than an everyday commuter


Italjet Ascot Classic • <a style="font-size:0.8em;" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/ebikereviews/25023250306/in/album-72157662386429143/" target="_blank">View on Flickr</a> Italjet Ascot Classic

Introduction

Italjet was founded in 1969 by Leopoldo Tartarini, who was one of the most iconic designers of Ducati bikes

It was only a matter of time before the Italians made their way down under. Italjet, founded in Bolgna Italy, the same town that brought us the Lamborghini, is also home to a new breed of electric Café Racer bikes. Italjet was founded in 1969 by Leopoldo Tartarini, who was one of the most iconic designers of Ducati bikes, but left Ducati to start Italjet. Italjet are most known for producing Scooters and lightweight motorcycles and have so far produced over 150 different models.

They stepped into the ebike world in 2013 with early prototypes. It took them two years before their range of ebikes were released to the public, and at the end of 2015 they were on display for the world to see at the Milan Bike show in Italy. Today, we’re reviewing the Ascot Classic, a bike that keeps true to the Italjet name and offers styling we hadn’t seen till now.

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Appearance

It’s safe to say there isn’t much the design department at Italjet have missed when it came to theming the Ascot. Very high attention to detail is obvious throughout, from custom mudguards coated the same colour as the frame, to the gold chain that matches the gold highlights on the tapered fork spacer, the handlebar grip locks, the head stem, and the seatpost clamp, to the beautiful hand stitched leather battery and controller bag that matches the forever classic Brooks B17 saddle.

It’s undoubtedly gorgeous and the most striking electric bike we’ve had in review to date.

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Battery & Range

The Ascot comes with a 36V 13Ah battery that’s tucked away in the brown leather bag along with the controller. Opening the side flap reveals the battery, the charge port, and a handle for removing and carrying the rectangular pack. With the battery removed, the solid steel locking rail is revealed, along with the 5 pin connection port and controller in the rear. The battery is prevented from moving horizontally along the steel rails by a solid steel rod that’s pushed by turning the key.

The charger is fanless and outputs 42V at 3A, which in today’s market, isn’t too fast. It features 2 indicator lights, one that remains red that tells you the charger is on, and the other that goes from red to green when the charge cycle is complete. It took 5 hours and 7 minutes to charge the 13.2AH pack from full depletion.

In our range tests, we achieved 36.5km with an average speed of 18.2km/h on the highest assist level, which is pretty standard for a setup like this. With a battery battle brewing among ebike manufacturers, you may have wanted to see a bigger battery on the Ascot, but that’s what the Italjet Angel is for, with it’s hardcase 36V 17Ah pack. Plus, could you imagine how much leather you would need to house a 17ah battery and controller?

Italjet Angel • <a style="font-size:0.8em;" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/ebikereviews/25033846751/in/album-72157664794155016/" target="_blank">View on Flickr</a> Italjet Angel
Italjet Angel • <a style="font-size:0.8em;" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/ebikereviews/25033810241/in/album-72157664794155016/" target="_blank">View on Flickr</a> Italjet Angel
Italjet Angel • <a style="font-size:0.8em;" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/ebikereviews/24831627950/in/album-72157664794155016/" target="_blank">View on Flickr</a> Italjet Angel
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Comfort

The Ascot Classic comes in one size and measures 730mm from the seat tube to the floor, with a bottom bracket height of 285mm. The frame geometry has you leaning ever so slightly forward, so your back isn’t upright. The Ascot doesn’t come with a quick release for the seatpost, and we’re thinking the clamp was chosen more for aesthetics and looking minimal than for ease of use. If you’re a tall person, you’ll find you may want to raise the handlebars slightly, which isn’t really possible unless you go to an aftermarket fork steerer extender, as there’s no more room for spacers on the original steerer. Cafe Racers generally have you leaning forward anyhow, so you may not be fussed if you’re considering a bike like this.

… it will take some time for the saddle to wear in before it feels like you’re sitting in a hammock.

Taking the strain off the wrists is Italjet’s own patent designed double arc forks with 4 bearings which are beautiful and practical. Then for your backend we’ve got the Brooks Flyer leather saddle. Brooks has been making saddles and leather accessories for a very long time, and if you give the saddle enough time to wear in (somewhere between 200-400kms), it’ll likely be the most comfortable saddle you’ve ever sat on. We didn’t have that pleasure and you may not be that patient, but I do ride the Brooks B17 on my own bike, and it took roughly 400km for the saddle to mould to my sit bones. The Brooks Flyer isn’t any different, and once your tilt adjustments are corrected, it will take some time for the saddle to wear in before it feels like you’re sitting in a hammock. The springs on the flyer and the suspension seatpost also help smooth out the ride and to round things off, you have 24inch x 3inch balloon tyres that also help absorb a lot of impact.

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Build quality

When Italjet designed this bike from the ground up, it’s obvious there weren’t too many short cuts or sacrifices made in respect to the build quality and in really making this bike feel luxurious and stylish.

The designers carefully considered aesthetics and how a particular part will work with the bike as a whole. The handlebar grips are made in leather giving them a natural soft feel much nicer than your typical rubber or plastic, with gold clamp downs and polished bolts. There’s an analogue watch mounted in the top of the headtube and features backlit arms (so you can read the clock at night) and a gold surround. The old school front 15w headlight running off a single halogen is in alloy and not cheap plastic. The KMC chain is in gold and matches the rest of the accents. The brushed alloy mudguards are handmade and large enough to be as practical as they are beautiful. The brushed alloy frame simply brings everything together and all the welds are intricate and beautifully done.

Looking at the Ascot from side on, it’s not obvious it’s an electric bike, thanks to the hidden battery, silver front hub behind the brake disc, and the silver nuvinci hidden hub behind the rear brake disc. The Nuvinci removes the need for any clunky derailleurs and shifters. Even the end cap on the gear cable is in gold alloy matching the rest of the gold highlights throughout.

Nuvinci Hub • <a style="font-size:0.8em;" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/ebikereviews/24682203579/in/album-72157662386429143/" target="_blank">View on Flickr</a> Nuvinci Hub

All the leather accessories except the seat are made by A.G. Spalding & Bros. New York, giving the Ascot a touch of luxury. The saddle is by Brooks and it’s quite nice to see such a well made saddle by one of the longest standing saddle makers, as standard on an ebike instead of an entry grade Selle we’re used to seeing.

Leather by A.G. Spalding & Bros. New York • <a style="font-size:0.8em;" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/ebikereviews/24931744092/in/album-72157662386429143/" target="_blank">View on Flickr</a> Leather by A.G. Spalding & Bros. New York
All the leather accessories except the seat are made by A.G. Spalding & Bros. New York, giving the Ascot a touch of luxury.

We weighed the bike in at 33.9kg which was expected given the extra weight from the NuVinci hub, the larger than normal 24×3” bicycle tyres, the all aluminium frame and the mudguards. Take all those things away and yes you’d have a lighter bike, but it wouldn’t be what the Ascot was designed to be.

One of the nicest features we consider on the Ascot classic is the springer fork that’s used in combination with the mounting bracket for the front caliper, which also acts as a torque arm for the front mounted Bafang hub. Although you likely don’t have to worry about snapping forks from excessive torque it’s a nice feature to have. The only downside to this is from the rotation across the axle you get when you’ve applied the brakes. Because the axle is your pivot point when you brake and compress the fork as you would coming to a stop or sitting up on the saddle, there’s a slight bob from the plate pivoting slightly. It didn’t bother us, but it’s just something to be aware of.

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Electronics and Performance

Bafang plays a big part in the electronics on the Ascot. For those that know Bafang you might be familiar with the C965 display and the SWX02 front hub motor. We didn’t get the chance to open up the controller but we’re guessing it’s one of Bafangs 15Amps.

The C965 display comes with a 3 button thumb controller. The centre power button is used to turn on the bikes controller and if pressed quickly will toggle the display from average speed, max speed, speed, trip, odometer, and time. The second two buttons are used to toggle the assistance level. The standard Bafang C965 thumb controller comes with 9 assistance levels as default, but has been setup with 5 on the Ascot. This makes more sense given it’s only 250 watts of power and a 25km/h speed limit so the increments would be overkill with 9 assistance levels.

Each assistance level corresponds to a wattage and therefore a speed limit.

  • Level 5 will begin phasing out power at 25km/h till 29km/h
  • Level 4 stops at 25.8km/h
  • Level 3 stops at 21.8km/h
  • Level 2 stops at 18.1km/h
  • Level 1 stops at 11.5km/h

During our range tests the LCD battery indicator exhibited strange behaviour as the battery drained. As we hit 18km the last battery bar started flashing making us think we were about to run out of juice. But it pushed on another 18km till the battery was depleted and assistance stopped. This tells us the battery voltage parameters on the LCD need to be configured to the right values that correspond to the 5 bar battery indicator which may not have been tested and tweaked given this Ascot was the first into the country. Otherwise the LCD performed well in relaying speed and trip settings and was pleasing to look at with its leather casing!

The Bafang SWX02 has been wound for speed more than torque.

A 6km/h walk assist is available by keeping your finger on the down button. Pressing up and down together will reset your trip settings and your max and average speed. Double pressing the power button while the Ascot is powered on takes you to the settings screen where you can adjust between kilometres and miles, backlight brightness, auto off time, and wheel diameter. There’s the standard Bafang password restricted menu you can get into which unlocks the speed settings, but doing so doesn’t actually have too big of an effect on the Ascots power. You’ll get about 2-5km/h faster, but the torque feels very much the same.

Which brings us to the next point. The Bafang SWX02 has been wound for speed more than torque. There’s no doubt it’s a big bike which is why we wish it had it had been wound for torque to counter it’s weight. It still performed reasonably well in our hill climb tests over gradients of 10% over short runs upto 200m.

12 pole Cadence Sensor • <a style="font-size:0.8em;" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/ebikereviews/24682000819/in/album-72157662386429143/" target="_blank">View on Flickr</a> 12 pole Cadence Sensor

Because it uses a cadence sensor for its pedal assist system, having your cadence high enough to avoid stalling in a hill climb is important, and luckily it has the NuVinci N360 to help with smoother shifting. There were times however where the 12 pole cadence sensor cut out intermittently which may be a tuning or placement issue more than a lack of poles. Both the eZee and VelectriX electric bikes and even our own Quilbix Raptor uses a 12 pole cadence sensor which have proven to be reliable.

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Safety

While the Ascot is powered on, keeping your finger on the up button on the thumb controller for one second turns on the LCD backlight. Italjet have then chosen to run their own power button for the front headlight instead of using the C965 backlight/headlight button. It took us awhile to find the headlight button because it’s slightly hidden. It’s beautifully integrated into the front of the leather battery and controller case.

The halo headlight is beautiful and while it’s not the brightest headlight we’ve come across it does a decent job. We didn’t need to run additional lights during our testing which is always a positive with oem lights on electric bikes, that always seem to be underpowered.

The rear LED light is mounted on the left dropout and runs off its own AAA battery. Powering it on keeps the LED on without any blinking options. We would’ve loved to see a rear light integrated into the Ascots electronics with the ability to turn it on via the lcd or the front headlight switch.

Cushioning the ride are the Chao Yang Tiger Sharks in 24×3.0 inch tyres which we hadn’t come across previously. The 24 inch profile isn’t something too common on an OEM ebike in today’s market, with most companies trending towards larger diameter and more surface contact. The exception to the rules are cafe racers or DIYers looking for wide and smaller diameter tyres used for high torque applications. It’s not something that bothered us on the Ascot, and with the bigger brother Italjet Angel, you have the option of going with 26×3.0 inch.

Pulling you up are mechanical Tektro disc brakes with 203mm rotors. While the larger brake rotors may seem like overkill on the Ascot, the larger surface area allows for a better dispersion of heat which is evident in little fade with pulling up a bike that weighs over 33kg.

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Accessories

The Ascot Classic comes with a number of accessories as standard. These include gold accents, the Brooks leather saddle and handlebars, kickstand, chainguard, analogue clock in the head stem, front and rear lights, mudguards and a bell. It is missing a bike lock and USB charger. The rack mounts, leather pannier and saddle bags are not included as standard.

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Conclusion

While there are many ebike manufacturers trying to appeal to the masses, whether it’s a hybrid commuter, folding bike, or a mountain bike, Italjet have taken a very different route. The Ascot Classic won’t be for everyone, and given the amount of genuine leather on the bike, it’s not a practical electric bike for everyday commuting. Instead Italjet have stuck to their roots and stayed true to their long standing cafe racer design without trying to adopt something mainstream. They’ve designed the Ascot Classic with attention to detail that will likely be appreciated by the same person who is considering buying it as a luxury electric bike more than an everyday commuter.

Italjet Ascot Classic - Specs

Bike Specifications

  • Current Model Current Model
  • Release Year Release Date
    2015
  • Style Style
    Café Racer
  • Wheel Diameter Wheel Diameter
    20
  • Frame Frame
    Alloy
  • Frame Size Frame Size
    44cm (medium)
  • Frame Colour frame-colour
    Brushed Alloy
  • Rear Derailleur Rear Derailleur
    NuVinci N360
  • Chainring Chainring
    Information not available
  • Crank Arms Crank Arms
    Prowheel
  • Shifters Shifters
    NuVinci N360
  • Freewheel/Cassette Freewheel/Cassette
    NuVinci N360
  • Suspension Fork Suspension Fork
    Italjets patent double arc springer forks with 4 bearings
  • Rear Shock Rear Shock
    None
  • Bottom Bracket Bottom Bracket
    Information not available
  • Chain Chain
    KMC gold
  • Rim Rim
    Chao Yang Tiger Sharks in 24×3.0
  • Spokes Spokes
    13g stainless steel spoke
  • Front Hub Front hub
    BaFang SWX02
  • Brakes Brakes
    Mechanical Tektro disc brakes with 203mm rotors
  • Handlebar Handlebar
    Aloy 630mm with embossed leather grips
  • Head Set Head Set
    Italjet, integrated analogue clock
  • Stem Stem
    Information not available
  • Saddle Saddle
    Brooks Flyer
  • Seat Post Seat Post
    Alloy suspension
  • Tyres Tyres
    Chao Yang Tiger Sharks in 24×3.0
  • Bike Weight Bike Weight
    33.9kg
  • Standard Accessories Standard Accessories
    Front/rear fenders, intergrated bell, URSUS kickstand, front (intergrated) and rear lights
  • Optional Accessories from Manufacturer Optional Accessories from Manufacturer
    None
  • Warranty Warranty
    24 months on frame and battery

Bike Overview

  • Type Motor Type
    Direct Drive Front Hub
  • Manufacturer Manufacturer
    Italjet
  • Model
    Ascot Classic
  • Pedal Assist System Pedal Assist System
    Cadence Sensor
  • Nominal Power Output Nominal Power Output
    250w
  • Maximum Power Output Maximum Power Output
    Information not available
  • Maximum Torque Output Maximum Torque Output
    Information not available
  • Range (claimed) Range (claimed)
    50 - 70 km (ideal conditions)
  • Rider Weight during range test Rider weight during range test
    96kg
  • Average Speed during range test Average speed during range test
    18.2km/h
  • Range (tested) Range (tested)
    36.5km
  • LCD LCD
    Bafang C965 backlit display. LCD displays average speed, max speed, speed, trip, odometer, time, 5 bar battery level, and assistance level.
  • Thumb Controller Thumb Controller
    Yes. Toggles assistance level, modes, and settings.
  • Assistance Levels Assistance Levels
    5
  • Assistance Phase Out Begins Assistance phase out begins
    25km/h
  • Max Assisted Speed Assistance stops (max speed)
    29km/h
  • External Charge Port External Charge Port
  • Battery Capacity Battery Capacity
    36v 13.2Ah (475wh)
  • Battery Mounting Battery Mounting
    Integrated leather battery bag
  • Charger Power Output Charger Power Output
    42v 3A
  • Charge Time Charge Time
    5 hours, 7 minutes
  • Weight Weight
    33.9kg
  • Price (RRP) Price (RRP)
    $4,990AUD
  • Price (model tested) Price (model tested)
    $4,990AUD

Italjet Ascot Classic - Images


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