Mountain Biking

Review: 1.5 kW FREY CC full suspension electric commuter bike – Electrek

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It’s not every day that you see a full suspension electric commuter bike. Especially not one with the components and build quality of the FREY CC electric commuter bike.

But the FREY CC isn’t your average e-bike.

FREY is best known for its high-performance electric mountain bikes that rival the best $6,000 European electric mountain bikes, yet at half the price. So while FREY has earned its respected reputation in the mountain bike world, it came as a surprise when FREY recently unveiled its first commuter bike.

Even more surprising was how much the FREY CC inherited from its mountain bike brothers, which helps turn it into an electric commuter bike that can tackle any commute.

I recently had the opportunity to visit FREY’s headquarters in Jinhua, China, where I spent a few days testing out the FREY CC. And I came away majorly impressed.

FREY CC e-bike video review

Check out the video below of my time riding the FREY CC e-bike, then read on for the rest of my review.

FREY CC tech specs

  • Motor: 1.5 kW peak rated Bafang Ultra mid-drive motor
  • Top speed: 59 km/h (36 mph)
  • Battery: 48V 17.5Ah (840 Wh)
  • Frame: 6061 aluminum
  • Front suspension: RockShox RECON RC Boost 130-150 mm travel
  • Rear Suspension: RockShox Monarch 110mm travel
  • Shifter: Shimano Deore
  • Brakes: Magura MT5-e hydraulic disc brakes with 203 mm rotors
  • Extras: Color LCD display, side stand, mounting for rear rack, water bottle mount, step-through design, Maxxis/Schwalbe moto tires

What makes this bike special?

The FREY CC is a commuter bike in form and function, but it is loaded with high-end electric mountain bike parts. Top-shelf suspension, brakes, wheels, rims, tires, shifters, etc. You name it, the CC has it.

That means that the bike is overbuilt for a typical city commute and comes closer to motorbike quality than standard e-bike quality. Nothing on this bike is going to rattle loose or wear out over time like a budget e-bike. It’s simply built to such a high standard that an average urban commute is almost laughable for it. FREY is used to building e-bikes that can go flying meters in the air day after day. So when they set out to build a commuter bike, they put the same level of robust design and engineering into it.

Next, check out that motor. The Bafang Ultra motor is simply a beast. It is commonly rated at 1,000 W, but this is a continuous figure and is likely underrated for legal reasons. The motor pulls an honest 1,500 W or more during peak power output such as hill climbing or accelerating, if you have it in highest power mode.

And of course you don’t have to go into high power mode. But if you have hills on your commute or you want to be able to blow past cars when the light turns green, this bike can do it. The power is so strong that it will bring a smile to your face every time you turn the pedals or twist the throttle. In the lowest gear and highest power setting, the bike can wheelie itself quite easily, though you won’t do this unless you’re playing around.

The other great thing about the FREY CC electric commuter bike is how much battery capacity it manages to hide inside the frame. A removable 840 Wh battery means you’ll get some serious range from this bike. FREY doesn’t advertise an exact range, likely because it can vary wildly depending on your riding style and how much power you want to use. But assuming a realistic 25 Wh/mi efficiency on throttle-only, you’re looking at a minimum of 30 miles (50 km) of no-effort riding. If you were to use the torque-sensing pedal assist granted by the Bafang Ultra motor, you could more than double that range to a true 60 miles (100 km). These are street numbers we’re talking here, but the FREY CC is very much meant as a street bike first.

I say “street bike first” because that’s not all it can do. With that dual suspension, the FREY CC isn’t just great at handling potholes — you can legitimately hit the trail with this bike and have a seriously fun time. Which is kind of weird to consider, considering it’s a commuter e-bike. Most e-bikes are designed primarily for street or off-roading, but not both. The FREY CC, on the other hand, can legitimately handle just about anything thrown at it. It has the ruggedness and high-end suspension needed for serious mountain biking, it has a powerful motor to climb mountains, it has the best e-bike brakes in the industry for flying back down the other side of the mountain, and it has a comfortable step-through design for a lazy everyday commuter e-bike. It really might be the best of both worlds.

So how much does a bike like this cost? Probably not as much as you’d think. With a starting price of $2,980, the FREY CC is priced similarly to other e-bikes with barely a fraction of its battery capacity or motor power — not to mention the high-end parts found on the bike.

The bummer for pricing is that FREY doesn’t have very many local dealers around the world, meaning that outside of parts of Europe, you’ll likely have to order your bike directly shipped from the company’s Jinhua factory. That can be only moderately painful (around $300) if using sea mail, or crazy expensive (around $800) if using air mail. FREY is hard at work increasing its global dealer network, but it’s also organizing group buys that can help reduce shipping costs. That way, customers in a country can all use slower sea shipping to send a container of bikes at once that are then mailed the rest of the way to customers’ doors. FREY currently has one of these group buys open for US customers, and is looking into other options as well.

So while it’s not the easiest electric bike to obtain, it’s honestly one of the best commuters I’ve ever ridden. The bike is a tank that is designed to last a lifetime — certainly longer than today’s lithium-ion batteries could ever last. So while many e-bikes reach their end of life well before long-life components like batteries finally bite the dust, I could see FREY CC e-bikes needing battery swaps later in the decade to keep them going as strong as the day they arrived.

What do you think of the FREY CC electric commuter bike? Let us know in the comments below!

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