Review: Oxley Spirit

At first glance, the Oxley Spirit did not seem or look enticing. It looked like a cross between an entry-level hard tail and a cyborg, with its control panel mounted next to the shifters, rear hubs the size of a biscuit tin and a battery pack on the down tube that resembled something the bomb-squad would be called in for. Not to mention the 23kg shocker that greeted me when I had to lug it up two flights of stairs.


However, beauty as they say is only skin deep, and once on the bike pedalling is relatively smooth. Also to be fair, I haven’t had much past experiences with electric bikes.


What truly surprised me was when the motor assistance kicked in shortly after pedalling commences. With e buzzing hum from the motor in-built within the rear hub, the pedal stroke is immediately lighter and significantly smoother thanks to the electric boost. It does take a bit of getting used to, but once accustomed to it hints of its physical weight suddenly slip the mind as the ease of riding promptly takes over.


A sweat was hardly broken throughout my 18km commute from office to home. There are three levels of assistance and I chose the highest throughout. The electronic system recognises each of the 7-speed gear change with a subtle but welcoming boost. The rolling speed is noticeably dropped once coasting comes into play, which is partly due to the standard 26x1.95 knobby tyres that come with the package.


That said the SR Suntour shocks, adjustable stem and inflatable saddle work together bringing the ride quality to almost that of a motorcycle. The Spirit devours bumps, cracks and gratings on the road to deliver a plush, comfortable journey. All is well until the hills come into sight. The system takes a bit longer to recognise this and kicks in with a louder buzz. The weight of the bike is also evident on climbs.


Thankfully for those of you who are willing to sacrifice that comfort with something firmer, lock-outs on the Suntour offers the option to stiffen up the ride, coupled with a pair of slick tyres and a firmer saddle, rolling resistance should be minimal.


An empty battery typically takes about six hours to charge up, so it would be wise to prep the battery well before your ride. You wouldn’t want to be stuck with a flat battery on the way to work on a Monday morning.


The Oxley Spirit is in every sense of the word a commuter. Not much of a looker. No components to mention. Definitely not a weight weenie, but this machine gets the job done well. Commuters looking to invest in one better save up, as the Oxley Spirit’s $2188 price tag shows that it means business.