The Revolutionworks Whippet looks much like any workhorse commuter bike, with a skinny-tubed steel frame and unicrown fork features that wouldn’t be out of place on a get-around-town machine.
But Bristol-based Revolutionworks has integrated a 250Wh motor into the bike’s rear hub and fitted a compact 200Wh battery on the down tube bottle bosses.
The battery is more compact than on most electric bikes, which helps with its non-ebike looks.
Those aesthetics continue with its shape. It has a longer riding position than its rivals, a lower handlebar and a shorter wheelbase.
This makes it clear that the Whippet is aimed more at the regular cyclist than the newbie commuter.
How we tested
We tested four ebikes to see if the budget end of the category is now accomplished enough to encourage the commuter to forget about public transport or paying for petrol.
Are the ebikes at this price light enough to make them easy to handle, do their motors provide effective assistance in an urban environment and do their batteries provide a useful range?
In the main, the models on test instilled a sense of how far ebike technology has advanced in a short space of time. Rather than there being any discrepancies in the quality of design, the best model now comes down to how well it suits individual needs, which is by no means a bad place for the category to be in.
Other bikes on test
Factor in slim 32mm tyres and 700c wheels, and as a long-time cyclist, this is a bike I felt immediately at home on.
Add in a Brooks Cambium saddle and low-profile rounded foam grips rather than ergo grips that encourage you to sit up straight, and it’s clear the Whippet was designed by an experienced rider.
The Whippet rewards your efforts. It’s at its best when you’re putting in the work and resorting to the motor only when the road rises sharply.
That kind of riding results in the Whippet managing an impressive maximum range, in spite of having a fairly small battery.
Its 34.9 miles/56.2km with 426m/1,398ft of climbing is especially impressive when you consider its power deficit of over 100Wh compared to ebikes such as the Mycle Classic and Carrera Impel IM-2.
Some of that is down to its more efficient tyres, larger wheels and more aerodynamic riding position. But the result shows an efficient use of its electrical assistance.
The ride quality is very much like that of a non-electric road bike – the tyres roll fast, the frame is forgiving and the contact points are sporty.
It can get a bit rattly over towpaths and trails, and I wouldn’t recommend the Whippet if that’s what your whole commute involves, but it’s fine for brief excursions.
The power system is very simple. The bar-mounted controller has three LEDs, showing your riding level and five LEDs for the battery level. Battery-level accuracy is good, though when it drops to a single bar you have mere minutes before it closes down.
The Altus drivetrain is about as basic as Shimano gets, but the brand isn’t the world’s number one gear maker without reason and the seven-speed system shifts efficiently.
There was a little chain chatter in the larger sprockets but nothing undue. The Prowheel chainset is seemingly a staple on budget ebikes and it works well, with the wide Q-factor suiting non-cycling clothing, keeping trousers away from the chain.
Full-length mudguards are a big plus, and while unbranded, these are a good ‘homage’ to SKS’s Chromoplastic mudguards and come with safety quick releases in case something gets jammed between the front tyre and guard.
I appreciate the inclusion of a kickstand, but as this is a fairly light ebike and I occasionally clipped my heel on the bracket, I might be tempted to drop it.
The jewel in the Whippet’s specification is the Shimano MT200 hydraulic braking. This may be modest compared with high-end mountain bike setups but it offers smooth, controlled braking with heaps of feel, which adds confidence on descents.
Yes, we’d have liked lights, but the Whippet is aimed more at existing cyclists who are likely to own decent lights.
The other issue is that it’s one-size only. Revolutionworks says it should fit riders from 5ft 5in to 6ft, but I’m 6ft 2in and had no issues, though I would fit a longer stem.
The Whippet is a winner; the system is efficient and with a compact battery and small charger with a two-hour recharge, it’s a good-value ride that experienced cyclists will appreciate.
For a lot less money
Revolutionworks’ eBike kit powers a standard bike through a roller-motor mounted on the seat tube, driving the rear wheel through contact with the tyre. The battery and system are easy to fit to most bikes.
For a little more
You can fit Cytronex’s British e-assist system to any bike, but Cytronex also offers a few ready-converted options. This smart front-hub-driven system works well, and we liked the Quick 4 conversion we tested.
|Weight||16.05kg (One-size only)|
Colours: Black and Green, Black and Blue, Black and Yellow, Black and Red, Black and Grey
|Headset||1 1/8” alloy|
|Tyres||Schwalbe Marathon 700x32c ebike-ready|
|Saddle||Brooks Cambium C17|
|Rear derailleur||Shimano Altus rear|
|Motor||36v 250W rear hub motor with Reeintion 200Wh battery and LED control unit, three power levels|
|Handlebar||Unbranded alloy 645mm|
|Available sizes||One-size only|
|Cassette||Shimano Altus 11-32|
|Brakes||Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc|
|Bottom bracket||Prowheel square taper|
|Wheels||V-section rims, Quando front hub|