Velotric is a relatively new e-bike company led by Adam Zhang, one of the co-founders of Lime scooters. They found success with their first e-bike, the Discover 1, a simple city commenter bike. Now, the new Nomad 1 aims to handle all your off-road adventures by offering high-quality components at a price that undercuts the competition. I tested the Nomad 1 on the streets and wintered forest trails for several weeks and was pleasantly surprised. Find out more in our hands-on review of the Velotric Nomad 1.
What you need to know about the Velotric Nomad 1
The Nomad 1 features a 750-watt rear hub motor with a 48V, 691.2Wh battery. You’ll get 55 miles of range per charge, which takes six hours to replenish when depleted. The bike has a UL 2271-certified battery, meaning it shouldn’t explode if dropped or crushed. It’s not likely you’ll find yourself in such situations, but it’s s always good to know with an exposed battery instead of one enclosed inside the frame.
At first glance, the Nomad 1 looks on par with more expensive bikes. The assembly only took around an hour, and the quick-start instructions were easy to follow. They include a complete toolkit with everything you need to assemble and maintain the bike. When fully assembled, the bike overall feels very well put together. The aluminum frame and battery look like one flush piece with very minimal gaps between where the battery is inserted.
Cheaper bikes tend to suffer with their finish, especially their welded pieces. Although the craftsmanship here is pretty good, the welding around X isn’t the prettiest. There were a few scuffs and scrapes along some metal pieces, but overall the bike was well packaged to sustain the handling of shipping couriers. Also, the wires that come out by the front create a bit of a rat’s nest, especially with the headlight. Luckily they included a mesh tube to help clean it up, but you have to install it yourself.
The Nomad 1 is available in Step-Thru and High Step options, both of which have an IPX6 rating to handle the rain. Seven colors are available, but the choice will differ depending on which frame you choose. Yellow, or what they call “Mango,” is the only color available in both frame styles. It would have been nice if all their colors were available for both.
Solid suspension: Most e-bikes on the affordable end of the spectrum tend to cheap out on suspension, but the suspension is very durable here. The front fork absorbed every bump I rode over, whether dirt, gravel, or even light snow. The knobby 26 x 4-inch tires also helped to bounce over rocks and potholes along the way.
Mighty motor: The 750W rear hub motor packs a lot of power, peaking out at 1200 watts. It offers 75 Nm of torque, which I found to add a lot of pep to my peddling, especially when climbing uphill. Surprisingly, the bike tries to cap you out at 20 mph, but I managed to surpass that with some effort, which was easier to do downhill.
However, one thing that was a bit frustrating was the peddle assist levels dictating my throttle levels. It’s only possible to go 20 mph on peddle assist level five with only the throttle, and there were times I would have liked to hit those speeds at different levels.
Spare parts: Velotric was generous with the extra parts they included in the toolkit. Most EV companies I’ve tested products from don’t include spare parts with their products, meaning if you lose something, you’ll be making a trip to the store. But Velotrix has included several additional bolts, nuts, washers, and even a bag to keep them all in, which I thank them for!
What’s not so good?
Squeaky brakes: The 180 ml hydraulic disc brakes were sharp to stop when needed, but they did sound squeaky for my first few rides. It took some adjusting and a little rubbing alcohol, but I eventually managed to eliminate the squeaky noises. If you aren’t mechanically minded, you might have some trouble with this, but it was pretty easy to fix.
Flimsy fenders: Don’t get me wrong; the placement of the front and back fenders is pretty good, offering great coverage from splashes underneath. However, they are made of plastic, so they wobble around while riding. It isn’t great that your shields from the elements aren’t entirely stable, and I wish Velotric has made the fenders out of metal or a sturdier material.
Low lights: I appreciate that the Nomad 1 comes with a front headlight; however, it could have been brighter. If you plan to ride at night, investing in a better headlight to enhance your visibility would be worthwhile.
Also, the rear tail light works off a separate battery. This means you have to remember to turn it off and on with each use, which I was very prone to forgetting. On the bright side, Velotric does say that all 2023 models will have an integrated taillight, which is good news.
Velotric Nomad 1 Specs
Should you buy the Velotric Nomad 1?
Overall, the Nomad 1 rides well and feels smooth even without using the peddle assist. The seat is comfortable, and the ergonomic handlebars are easy to grip and stable, with two lock-on grips that won’t rotate while rising. Velotric also went with a Shimano push-pull trigger shifter, which not everyone will love, but at least you don’t have to change your grip to change gears.
There are some things I would have liked this bike to do better. Besides the plastic fenders, I would have preferred if the dashboard featured a color display instead of an LCD to be more visible. Even still, the stats are presented clearly and are easy to interpret without crowding the screen with data. Still, these are minor nitpicks that I can overlook for the low price.
If you’re on a budget, don’t want a folding e-bike, and aren’t afraid to put in a little elbow grease to assemble, this is a great option. The Velotric Nomad 1 could smoothly handle the terrain, and the thumb throttle was snappy when I needed to squirt around unexpected obstacles. You won’t need to worry about the weather either, thanks to the IPX6 rating.
As far as fat-tire e-bikes go, this is one of the best bang-for-your-buck options for all outdoor conditions. If you want a fat tire e-bike that folds and is similar in price, I recommend checking out the Lectric XP 3.0. That one has a bigger motor and can go faster, up to 28 mph. However, it’s not as versatile for different terrains. You can order the Velotric Nomad 1 for $1,499 ($100 off) by hitting the button below.