Corratec X-Vert Performance 650B Electric Bike Preview

Corratec may not be a popular name in Australia, but in Europe you would find that’s a different story. Founded in 1990 by Konrad Irlbacher, Corratec design, test and manufacture their bikes out of their headquarters in the Bavarian Alps.

In 2011, Corratec began developing their first electric bikes, one which included the E-bow, a 1200w electric bike powered by the Clean Mobiles Mid-drive system. Unfortunately because of electric bike laws in Europe and no off-road market in 2011, E-Bow production ceased, with Clean Mobiles declaring bankruptcy in 2012.

But that never stopped Corratec, who were one of the first to introduce the Bosch Classic+ system into their line up with the C-29er Cross and C-29er Power electric bikes. They also offered a front hub option called the C-29er Power Suntour powered by the Suntour HESC system though was later discontinued due to the popularity of Bosch equipped electric bikes. Year after year Corratec redesigned their electric bikes improving on frame design while adopting the latest technology Bosch had to offer.

Ohm XS750 • <a style="font-size:0.8em;" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/ebikereviews/21565281270/" target="_blank">View on Flickr</a> 2015 Corratec X-Vert Performance 650B

The 2015 Corratec X-Vert Performance 650B electric bike equipped with the Bosch Performance Line is new to Australia for 2015. It’s a hardtail 27.5” mountain bike, with the Bosch Performance Line providing up to 60Nm of torque through its mid-drive system. It features all the typical high quality Bosch components you would expect, from the well known Intuvia LCD and thumb controller to the black cased mid-drive system, and the Bosch 400 PowerPack.

The battery which sits on a recessed down tube is 36V providing 400 watt hours. Although we don’t spend as much time with our preview bikes as we do on our review bikes, we still perform a range test. On our paved test loop, using Turbo assist (the highest level of assistance), we achieved 46.3km with an average speed of 22.9km/h. On our offroad test track using Turbo assist we achieved 28.8km. The range is slightly less than what we achieved on the Gepida Reptila with Bosch Active Line and the Gepida Ruga with Bosch Classic+, both which also used a 400Wh pack. We’re assuming this is because of the extra torque on the Performance Line, which resulted in the Corratec X-Vert climbing hills faster and easier than the Bosch Active Line and Bosch Classic+.

The vast majority of Bosch equipped electric bikes do a good job at hiding electrical wires. The Corratec X-Vert has it’s cables routed through the downtube with the brake, speed sensor and gear cable exiting via the rear motor casing. We’re beginning to see some electric bike manufacturers going that extra mile and routing the brake, speed sensor, and gear cable within the chainstays, and it’s unfortunate we haven’t seen this here.

The Manitou Marvel Comp forks come with 100mm of travel with remote poplock, while the reverse arch may have you think they’re back to front. They were smooth and plush speeding through gravel to small rock beds and offered a good amount of modulation for compression damping and rebound. Overall, they’re an impressive fork for an electric bike, and probably the plushest we’ve tested so far. Unfortunately the saddle was the most uncomfortable we’ve used off road and on road, while the stock pedals are a throw away and won’t hold up to much abuse.

Pulling you up are Shimano’s M615 Hydraulic brakes and 180mm rotors. They offered plenty of bite when needed, while the short levers allowed easy one finger control.

For those of you set on a Bosch equipped bike, but can’t decide whether to go for the Active Line or Performance Line system, we got to test both systems side by side. The torque on the Corratec X-Vert on our paved test track felt very similar to the Gepida Reptila equipped with the Bosch Active Line while pedalling on the same 0-5% gradient (very small hills) at 60RPM. It’s only when the Performance Line starts spinning at a higher RPM that the difference in torque is obvious making it the clear winner. So you would have to ask yourself how many hills surround your commute, where you live, etc. for you to fork out extra for the Performance Line?

But our biggest question was, how different was the Gepida Ruga with Bosch Classic+ system going to feel compared to the Corratec X-Vert based on the mid-drives performance off-road?

There was increased responsiveness, no chain drops, improved climbing ability, and the Bosch Performance Line just felt more lively. There’s also the new built in shift sensor, so as you shift, the drive system backs off power for a split second as to eliminate damage to the internal gears. This also means you need to back off pedalling for a split moment as you shift to avoid crunching gears. Shifting of gears for the most part was precise, but at times, double shifting was quite clunky. We’ve used the Shimano Deore XT M786 and Shimano Deore M610 shifters previously on other electric bikes and were happy, which indicates this is more of a tuning issue than performance.

To get the most out of the Corratec X-Vert on the trails you really need to be in the right gear (this is the case with all mid-drive systems, not just Bosch). One advantage of the Bosch Performance Line is that it comes with an indicator on the LCD telling you when you need to shift up or down. Theoretically if it detects a high amount of strain through the pedals and with your cadence slowing down, it’ll pop a small down arrow on the Intuvia indicating to shift down. If it detects minimal strain and a high RPM, it will display an up arrow indicating to shift up. Unfortunately during our testing where quick shifting is important, we found it wasn’t very quick in indicating when to shift. We tested it by pushing our cadence close to stalling before it would indicate to shift down. We’re hoping somehow this could be resolved via Bosch’s highly customisable tuning interface.

The Corratec X-Vert is a well packaged electric mountain bike featuring components not found on other electric bikes in the same price range. As long as the Bosch system is engaged, the Corratec X-Vert will feel like a normal hardtail mountain bike even with the additional weight of the electronic components. The Bosch Performance Line demands high RPM, and it’s on the trails where the Corratec X-Vert comes to life.

To read more about the Bosch mid-drive system you can look at our drive systems overview page.

One thought on “Corratec X-Vert Performance 650B Electric Bike Preview

  1. john

    where is the cheapest place to buy a bosh electric drive bike in sydney?

    December 17, 2015 at 11:15 am

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