Volt Alpine is a solid, rugged mountain electric bike from the British brand
Volt Alpine (2022) electric bike: 60-Second Review
The Volt Alpine looks like it can handle most obstacles off-roading can throw in its way …and that’s because it can. The 2022 refresh of the popular hardtail off-roader can power up to 70-miles on a single charge thanks to the new battery, which is now integrated within the frame for a sleek appearance. While it’s a little on the heavy side, that’s to be expected with the range and price tag of the Volt Alpine.
British brand Volt has included a number of clever additions to its off-roader, like a security tag (personalised to each individual bike) that you’ll need on your key ring to enable the motor – a nice theft deterrent. There’s also a button on the handlebars that unleashes a sudden burst of power from the 250w motor to help you pull away sharply a standing start (perfect for busy junctions) or simply walk the bike up a hill (making dirt trails more bearable).
At £2,199, the Volt Alpine is priced in-line with its closest competition. If you’re looking for a good all-rounder to cruise both roads and dirt trails, enough range for hours of arduous riding between charges, and front suspension to handle pot-holes and off-road tracks, you can’t go wrong with the Volt Alpine.
Unfortunately, if you’re not a fan of blue… Volt only offers a single colour
Volt Alpine review
The Volt Alpine certainly looks the part and, after riding this electric hardtail through woodland trails, dirt tracks and mountain paths over the last few weeks, we’re pretty confident that it’s not all mouth. The Alpine can comfortably handle just about most obstacles off-roading can throw in its way. While not usually a brand that earns rave reviews, the Suntour forks do a pretty good job of keeping everything smooth …even when the track gets a little bumpy. Alpine has fitted the Volt with 29in Maxxis Ikon anti-puncture tyres that ensure you can get over, down and round the tree roots, rocks, potholes and berms safely.
Of course, at this price point, you want more than a frame that won’t crack under the weight of a jump, 120mm of travel in the front forks, and tyres that can repel thorns and sharp stones.
The 2022 Alpine has had the torque on its 250w Spintech motor upgraded from 45nm to 65nm, the battery has been moved from the back of the downtube to be integrated into the frame and also uprated. For our money, we always prefer an integrated battery pack: it looks much cleaner and offers better weight distribution compared to strapping it onto pannier rack like an overnight bag. Volt now offers a 630Wh option which can give a range of up to 70 miles (112km) although this will depend on your weight, the amount of help from the motor, and the type of terrain you’re riding on. Nevertheless, that means you’ll be able to do the Coast-to-Coast ride with a single recharge.
Of course, that heftier battery size comes with a cost on the weight side of the balance sheet. It is a heavy bike, and larger than average.
We tested the Volt Alpine on tarmac, grass and woodland trails
Volt have put a lot of effort into keeping it as light as possible, its frame – which only comes in metallic blue – is made of reinforced aluminium but it still weighs in at a hefty 22.7kgs with the battery in and 19.5kg with it out. For comparison, Ampler Curt, a superb electric city commuter, tips the scales at just 13.5kg with its battery.
As you’d imagine, lifting the Volt Alpine in an out of the back of the car can be a careful operation, for the sake of your back …not to mention the bike. That said, the solidity of the Volt Alpine gives a feeling of security when you are barrelling down the hills with random bits of rock and root appearing round every bend. If you’re not thinking of lugging the Alpine up too many stairs on your commute, or don’t have a bad back that might protest against heaving Volt’s latest electric model into the boot …it’s not too much of an issue.
At over 3kg, the battery is heavy but with that comes range. Of course, the mileage you’re going to get depends on usage. We spent an afternoon on the hills, very conscious of not wanting to run out of juice in the wilderness. Going up hill, we stuck to the third of four power modes, coming down, to conserve that all-important battery life, we switched to low.
Despite the hefty frame, cycling downhill, there’s no need for the motor. In fact, we accidentally turned it off without realising, such is the ease of pedalling. The Super High Torque SpinTech motor has a Bafang bottom bracket torque sensor which reads how much effort you’re putting in a repays with assistance accordingly.
As with all electric bikes, you can’t just sit back and hit the throttle, you do have to keep peddling. But, for each pedal you make, the motor kicks in with equal force, giving you a forward surge, saving your lungs and thighs – in effect you’re travelling twice the distance for the same effort.
Volt’s other trick at keeping the weight down is making the Alpine as minimal as possible. The handlebars don’t carry anything superfluous. Gear levers for the 8-speed Shimano, power-cut disk brakes, which cut the power as soon as you touch them – great for navigating difficult sections through woods or rutted paths – and an LCD display showing the easy to manage four-mode system, distance and speed. Under UK law, the electric motor is limited to 15.5mph.
When you hit the cut off point the motor drops but you don’t feel a sudden loss of power which is great, and we were easily able to keep over 16mph when downhill or on the flat.
Another great feature the 2022 keeps from its predecessor is the Walk mode – a thumb lever which gives a sudden burst of power to get over a sudden upturn, pull away sharply from a standing start or simply help walk the bike up a hill.The LCD display also acts as the starter system. Another new feature for this version is electronic tag security.
The battery can be turned on at the press of a button and the display lights up, but the motor cannot be activated without a security tag, personalised for each bike. The battery also need a key to be released. Of course, that does not make the Alpine immune to theft and locks are still needed but trying to get a replacement tag will alert Volt who can then check if the bike has been stolen.
For the 2022 model, Alpine has installed the battery inside the frame
Even traditionalists who think that riding a bike should only be done under the steam of your own effort will struggle not to be won over with a ride on the Volt Alpine. This bike allows you to put in as much or as little pedal power as you want, unlocks places that might’ve been out of reach before, and with more wind in your lungs at the end of it.
Also, despite its obvious looks of a mountain bike the Alpine rides just as well on the road. In fact, its weight and grip feel pretty reassuring in traffic. And unlike riding a manual mountain bike on the roads, where most of your effort is sapped away by the suspension …leaving you huffing and puffing as electric scooters, prams, and pensioners cruise back you, the motor ensures you’re able to keep pace.
The rides on dry, dusty, rough ground proved to us that the Volt Alpine can handle just like any other normal mountain bike of that quality. It may be heavier and more expensive than the non-electric versions, but riding it has the added pleasure of a longer adventure away from the roads.
The Alpine is a proper mountain machine, that feels fine on the road – what’s not to like about that?
British brand Alpine is only stocked in a few stores nationwide
Volt Alpine electric bike review: Price And Availability
At £2,199 this is not an entry-level price tag, but then the Volt Alpine is not an entry level electric bike. Compared to some of its competitors, this 2022 version is pretty reasonable. The bike, which is made in England, was launched this year and is available to buy right now from a number of dealerships as well as direct from Volt.