Surface604 has made the Rook and the Colt, which are wonderfully balanced electric bikes. They’re reliable and stable, and you can count on them for everyday use.
The Rook has a step-through frame, and the Colt has a step-over frame. Other than that, they’re virtually identical. Both bikes come in two sizes and have two color schemes: black with white, or white with black.
Vancouver, Canada-based Surface604 (604 is Vancouver’s area code) got their start making the Boar model, and their next feat was to make the value-oriented commuter, the Rook, that we’re reviewing today.
Surface604 Rook tech specs
- Motor: 500W rear hub drive
- Battery: 48V 10Ah
- Range 35-45 miles (56-72km)
- Gearing: 9 Speed Shimano Alivio
- Frame: Aluminum
- Tires: 26×2 Kenda
- Weight: 57 lbs (25.85 kg)
- Price: $1,999
- Extras: front air-shock, fenders, welded rack, integrated lights, adjustable seat post, chain guard, upgradable $200 14Ah battery
Minimal risk, calculable reward
If I had to find one word to describe the Surface604 Rook, it would be balance. But I’m not talking about the actual way you sit on the bike; what I mean is that the bike has a great balance of mechanical parts, electrical parts, serviceability, and value. It doesn’t overextend in any way, and there’s really not a lot to criticize on this bike.
For about $2,000 you get a pretty good bike, available in over 100 stores across North America. Considering you can get service performed locally, that’s not a bad deal, really.
The gearing is alright; a Shimano Alivio is a decent set for this kind of bike. The brakes are wonderful, 180 tektro hydraulics have great stopping power, gotta love that. The bike is overall pretty comfortable with nice grips, a plush seat, and an adjustable stem to go into cruiser mode if you so desire. The Rook features a solid rear rack, fenders, and integrated lights to cover the commuting side adequately. The bike has a decent front shock for road riding, but I would consider a different bike for off-road.
Surface604 has adventure-oriented bikes, like the Shred and the Boar, made for off-road and hunting, respectively. I’ll be trying those out in the future, so stay tuned for updates on those.
The battery is on par, a 48V 10Ah pack mounted on the downtube. With this I’d commit to a 25- to 35-mile ride, no problem. The bike features a torque-based pedal assist, which is really smooth and natural. That’s a nice plus right there. The throttle is great when you want to take it easy.
Overall, the bike rides very much the way you would expect an electric bike to be: fast, fun, a bit heavy, and easy to understand.
Let’s get into some of the negatives. The bike is using a hub motor, which is often seen as out of date by some. The plastic fenders may break or bend over time, and same with the mount for the headlight. The manual states that the bike comes by default with a 25 km/h speed limit, so I didn’t bother to ride it until I changed that. Or rather, I fixed it.
I like that it is pretty comfortable from the get-go, but a few more bucks put into a suspension seat post would really make comfort a main part of the ride. Most of these complaints are not a big deal; they’re easy to resolve with a trip to the bike shop.
The Rook is a solid pick if you want this kind of bike and it fits your budget. This isn’t the bike for brand-new tech, an entry-level kids’ bike, brand-name bragging rights, or fancy colors. This is the daily driver, the reliable steed, the commuter-ready, comfortable, tried-and-true electric bike.
So if you’re ready to settle down, find a nice Rook or Colt.
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