Wisper electric bike review
Whether you’re planning to commute around a city, want a bike that you can fold down and pop inside a car, motorhome or caravan, or you’re the adventurous type looking to traverse slightly more rugged terrain, Wisper’s range has something for every type of cyclist.
And, if you’ve never tried out anything other than a traditional pushbike before, you’ll hopefully find this review really handy as we get to grips with two very different options in Wisper’s electric bike offering...
Watch our full Wisper electric bike video review below:
Why choose an electric bike?
First of all, why go electric? Electric bikes are a great option for a bit of extra pedal power. They tend to travel much faster than many of us are able to cycle without the assistance of a battery, therefore getting you to your destination much quicker and a little less out of breath.
Generally, electric bikes offer a battery-powered assist that comes via pedalling, or in some cases, via a throttle. When you push the pedals, the motor engages and gives you a little boost so you can cruise up hills or push off from standstill without exerting too much energy. In a nutshell, electric bikes are an energy-efficient and emission-free form of transport, which is something we should probably all be considering.
Plus, according Wisper, studies have shown that e-bikes are used three times more than non-electric bikes and typically cost under 10p per mile to run, so you should find it to be a sound investment.
Wisper 806 Folding Electric Bike
(Photo courtesy of Wisper)
Price: £1,499 to £2,499
First up, we got to grips with the Wisper 806 Folding Electric Bike, which is available in blue, black or red.
This is the brand’s flagship folding bike and, straight away, looks like an e-bike that would be a great fit for motorhome, caravan and tent owners – or if storage space is limited at home. It folds down pretty easily with a lockable hinge mechanism, it’s quite a compact size when fully unfolded, and first impressions are that it’s a sturdy little bike.
The 806 is priced from £1,499 to £2,499, depending on your chosen options. Your first option is which size of battery to go for, and there are three lithium-ion battery options available on the 806:
- standard 375Wh with a range of up to 50 miles
- long-range 575Wh with a range of up to 75 miles
- mega 700Wh with a range of up to 90 miles
It’s worth noting, however, that these are maximum ranges and will be affected by how hard the motor has to work, so things like tyre pressure, terrain, frequent stopping and starting and even how aerodynamic your clothing is, will made a difference to that maximum achievable range.
We tested the 700Wh option and, though this battery gives the e-bike its longest range, it does make the bike heavier. However, the battery can be easily removed by the twist of a key, making loading and unloading a little easier.
Next, you need to choose your power-delivery option, and there are two available: cadence sensor, which essentially turns the power on when the pedals are turned and turns it off when pedalling stops, or you can opt for the torque power pack, which recognises how much pressure is being put onto either pedal; the power will increase the harder you push. So, if you’re heading uphill or into a strong wind and putting a little more pressure on the pedals, the bike will offer more assistance – clever!
Finally, you can either opt for standard pedal assistance or specify the full throttle option (see below). The standard pedal assistance is controlled via a twist grip on the left side of the handlebar, which will power the bike up to 4mph without pedalling – only to be used for assistance when walking alongside the bike – and up to 15.5 miles per hour when pedalling.
The 806’s weight ranges from 21 to 22.5kg depending on your chosen battery, so be mindful of this when it comes to payload, or indeed space in your car, caravan or motorhome. It’s obviously not the lightest bike, but we found that it was pretty easy to fold, unfold and pick up, especially if you remove the battery beforehand, which slides out smoothly once unlocked. If you have any issues with carrying, you can also wheel it around when folded, which should help when getting from A to B.
Some of the notable features on the 806 include the backlit LCD display on the handlebar – where you can clearly keep an eye on your current speed, battery level, assistance level, average speed, trip distance, lifetime odometer, and even turn on your lights – you’ve got a 12W super-bright LED up front and a 36V light at the back, which are powered by the bike’s battery.
The 806 has got a 16in frame and a low step-over height which is great for slightly shorter riders, though the adjustable seat post and handlebar stem means the bike can be modified for even the tallest rider. So, whether you’re 4ft 6in or 6ft 6in, you should be quite comfortable with this model – so long as you’re under the maximum weight of 18 stone, and that includes any luggage you might be carrying. Speaking of which, the rear rack, which sits above the battery, can carry a maximum load of 25kg and has handy elastics to secure your baggage.
Seat comfort is paramount when it comes to bikes – as you’ll have found if you’ve ever sat on a very uncomfortable saddle for a prolonged amount of time – but we found the Wisper Comfort saddle to indeed be super comfortable, so you shouldn’t have any issues on longer journeys or if you’re not blessed with lots of natural cushioning...
The 806 also has full-length shatterproof mudguards, high puncture-resistant 20in tyres, 180mm disc brakes at the front and 160mm at the rear, and 7-speed Shimano gears. You can even buy a handy travel bag for the 806, for around £134, which makes storing it in the car, caravan, campervan or motorhome or lugging it around on public transport a whole lot easier...
Why go full throttle?
Wisper has made special arrangements with the DVSA to have its full-throttle bikes tested and type approved as 250W L1e Low Powered Mopeds, powering them up to 15.5mph without the need to pedal. You don’t need insurance or tax to ride the full-throttle version and they can be ridden in all the places you can ride a standard pushbike.
This is perhaps a great option if you have impaired movement or for those planning to cycle in warm weather, where you might need to take a bit of a breather on your journey.
Though these full-throttle versions are road legal in the UK, the rules may differ in other countries so check before you go if you plan on cycling abroad.
Powered by Wisper’s 250W hi torque brushless motor, we found the 806 to be super quiet and, actually, surprisingly nippy. We tested it on a typically British rainy day – when a bike ride is perhaps its least pleasurable – and had a great time riding into a strong headwind with a bit of battery assistance.
Being a folding bike, we perhaps expected a little wobble in the frame when cycling over lumps and bumps, but we couldn’t feel any with the 806 – it feels like a very sturdy bike. A feature we found incredibly handy was the kickstand so you won’t be searching for a space to prop up your bike when it’s time to dismount.
Wisper Tailwind Trail
(Photo courtesy of Wisper)
Price: £2,249 to £2,499
Next up, we tested the Tailwind Trail, which comes with a low or standard crossbar – we tested the standard – and is also available in a City or Comfort version.
At first look, this is a great-looking e-bike and the closer you get, the more you realise how well made it is. It’s got neat cabling, great lights and overall, a sleek matt paint job – available in black or stone – and feels like a really high-quality electric bike.
Priced from £2,249 to £2,499, this one is a little more expensive than the smaller-battery versions of the folding 806, but you’re getting a very different electric bike and riding experience for your money.
As you’ve probably gathered from its appearance, this is an electric bike that is just as comfortable off the beaten track as it is on the road. It’s been designed by mountain bikers, so if you’re planning on exploring woodland trails or heading slightly off-piste – and want a little helping hand when it comes to stamina – this one might be a better option.
(Photo courtesy of Wisper)
The Tailwind Trail has chunky 27.5in Goodyear Peak tyres with a cross-country inspired tread design for off-road grip. Together with the RockShox suspension forks with remote lockout, you’ll be able to venture onto more rugged trails with confidence.
Again, you’ve got the backlit LCD display with remote controls on the handlebar, three-finger brake lever, Wisper Comfort saddle, hydraulic disc brakes front and rear, 9-speed Shimano gears and the option to add custom-made aluminium mudguards.
Battery-wise, this Tailwind Trail has two options – the 360Wh which gives you a maximum 50-mile range or the 70-mile range 540Wh – weighing in at 19kg or 20kg respectively, so slightly lighter than the folding 806. The battery locks neatly into the bike’s 19in frame.
A full-throttle version is available, which will garner speeds of up to 15.5mph without the need to pedal. At that speed, we can only imagine how much fun you could have on the Tailwind Trail!
Unlike the folding 806, you may struggle to fit this one inside a smaller car, caravan, campervan or motorhome, but you can obviously pop it onto a bike rack – just remember to remove the battery and either replace with a dummy battery or completely cover to protect from the elements.
The Tailwind Trail allowed us to be a little braver during testing, and we found some hills to conquer – small hills mind, we are in Lincolnshire!
Using the thumb throttle, we found the 540Wh battery gave us enough pedal power to zip around with minimal effort and we can really see that this would be a great option if you’re off in search of more rugged terrain – and, thanks to that battery assistance, you’ll even save yourself a little energy for other activities when you’re back on the campsite!
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