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Electrek review: TRB1 AM is a big softie on the trails

Riding along the trail on a soft, confident electric bike is a very liberating feeling, and the TRB1 AM delivers exactly that. As a well-equipped bicycle, it instills a lot of confidence in sticky situations, and the added weight of the large electric system actually feels nice going downhill. Where was this bike hiding?

BESV (pronounced bezz-vee) itself has some interesting designs in their lineup. A very stylish LX1 hybrid, the small PS city bikes, and even more city bikes in their CF and JS series. But the TRB off-road series is a bit more “safe” in their design approach. The TRB1 AM model I got to try out was not at all what I expected.

Unlike the spacey designs and peculiar component choice of the brand, the TRB1 AM was very soft, strong, and predictable. As an off-road adventure bike, I think this is the right choice. I love wacky new tech and experimental drive systems, but the solid choices BESV made come together very nicely. Let’s take a look at the ingredients, and what it comes together to make!

BESV TRB1 tech specs

  • Motor: 250 W Brose TF Motor
  • Top speed: 28 mph (45 km/h) with pedal assist (PAS)
  • Battery: 36 V 21 AH (762 Wh) lockable and removable battery
  • Range: 70 mi (122 km)
  • Charge time: 6 hours
  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Suspension: Rock Shox 140mm front and rear suspension
  • Weight: 42.3 lb (17.8 g)
  • Brakes: Magura 203mm hydraulic disc
  • Tires: 27.5 x 2.8 Schwalbe Knobby Nic
  • Extras: LCD display, 11-speed Shimano XT drivetrain, dropper seatpost


BESV’s comfortable electric mountain bike

My first and lasting impression of the TRB1 AM was comfort. The 140 mm travel of suspension on both ends is a huge head start in the category, but there’s a bit more to it. This bike is rocking 27.5-inch-tall tires with 2.8 inches of width. This kind of air volume is fantastic for allowing a bit of cushion between the ground and the rider. But interestingly enough, one of the drawbacks to the bike (the heavy weight) actually felt like a benefit with the suspension. Having the rider, battery, and motor all sprung on the suspension felt more stable at high speeds and during a descent. For a $4,999 MSRP mountain bike, it had better be comfortable. And it is.

Hill-climbing eMTB

The TRB1 AM employs the Brose TF motor for assist and climbing power. This motor is smooth and very quiet on the low end. When the motor gets into the high rpms and high speeds, it starts to make a bit of predictable noise. I didn’t find it distracting at all, but then again, I ride electric bikes every day. The intuitive and natural scaling of the power output is on par with other name-brand systems (Yamaha, Bosch, Shimano). The Brose TF motor boasts 90 Nm of torque, which seemed handy when lugging around the weight of myself and the bike. Despite trying, I never did find the 28 mph top speed on the bike. Riding on the road, the fastest I could get it was 25 mph.

Keeping pace

The TRB1 AM has some great mechanical components on it. The Shimano XT derailer shifts very accurately, and the wide gear range (in combination with the motor) allows for amazing climbs. I’m pretty jealous of the brakes — Magura hydraulic 203 mm rotors. The large disc is necessary for a long descent with a heavy bike. The levers and calipers have plenty of bite for short lever travel. They stop on a dime and give you 5¢ change. I’ve seen many bikes with this level of componentry opt for higher-end shocks, but in this case, the Rock Shox 140 mm was adequate. In my case I wasn’t doing aggressive off-road, so the shock selection was right at home. I think that for competitive or white-knuckle downhill, you’d opt for a different bike (one without a motor).

756 Wh elephant in the room

In terms of bike design and geometry, it’s hard to ignore the electric chassis this bike is built around. It’s big — like, really big. Among the name-brand motors, this is one of the bigger and heavier options. As you can imagine, it doesn’t seem that way nestled below the oversized downtube. Housing the 756 Wh battery pack is a railing mount that secures the main bike tubing and a plastic cover bracing the underside. Capping it all off is a lid/hatch that merges the top and bottom two together, making the front of the bike look like a gas tank of sorts. Clearly, Besv chose to embrace the large size of the motor and battery. Like all the other Besv bikes, it has its own unique look. Let me know in the comment section what you think of it. I’m still undecided.

Recipe for relaxation

The TRB1 AM feels comfortable and easy to understand. As an entry into electric mountain biking, this could be a great fit. It won’t give the bursts of power or agility of other bikes, but that itself is safe. The weight and power delivery on the TRB1 AM won’t lead you to think it will climb a telephone pole or take an icy turn. This kind of clear design will keep the rider out of trouble. For easy and medium difficulty trails, long hills, gravel, grass, and a pinch of sand, the TRB1 AM is super plush, reliable, and very pleasant to ride.

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