Review – E-Quella Varsity Electric Single Speed Road Bike

Quella E-Quella Varsity Singlespeed Bike Review
I have owned a Varsity Single Speed for London-based Quella Bikes for several years now. It is an undeniably beautiful road bike—with its clean single speed lines, glistening Cambridge blue paintwork, and classic silver components.

This is a bike that looks elegant coasting through Hyde Park or meandering along London's South Bank; it offers a zen-like escape from the traffic and bustle of a city—letting you spin the gear with no worry or care.

Yet, living on a hilly island off the South Coast of the UK, it has proven to be a little unforgiving…

I continue to struggle on the hills. The Isle of Wight boasts many double-digit gradient climbs, some of which are unavoidable for me even just on a trip to the shops. Despite putting a lower ratio gear set-up on the Quella Varsity, it is still often a laboured effort to get over the undulating terrain. 

You do not want every day to be Leg Day

I have searched for a solution to my single speed struggle; seeking a way that I might not turn up to every meeting, shopping trip, or dinner, soaked in sweat. I considered hub gears, but it involved unsightly and complicated cable routing; I looked into lowering the gear ratio further still, but it would mean spinning like Billy Whizz on flatter commute routes. Then, the E-Quella solution came along…

Hidden Power and Smart Features

This year, Quella Bikes launched their revolutionary new single speed e-bike. Using a completely integrated hub engine—designed and manufactured by Italian brand Zehus; the Quella E-Bikes look just like a single speed bike, but they have the hidden power to help you over challenging terrain.

The Quella Generation II Electric Hub is ground-breaking—offering the simplest and cleanest pedal-assisted engine I have seen to date. The motor and battery are both housed within the shining stainless steel rear hub body, and the control of the engine power is completely wireless—using Bluetooth technology on a smartphone app.

Fitting the hub was incredibly easy—I just slotted the new rear wheel into place. Set-up then involves selecting the level of assistance and 'boost' you require from the hub on the phone application; the unit will assist you up to 25 Kph and can be fully customised in terms of output and assistance depending on your demand.

When you get out on the road, you simply pedal backwards 2.5 times to activate the hub engine; then whenever your speed drops below 25 Kph the engine will kick in to quietly bring you back up to speed.

The really neat feature of the E-Quella hub is that in Eco-Mode it will put power back into the battery when you are coasting downhill. To activate this, you simply pedal backwards three times as you freewheel downhill; the brushless motor will then reverse itself into a dynamo function—recharging the batteries through 'regenerative braking'—a similar KERS system to that used in Formula One race cars!

The final noteworthy feature is that when you stop at a shop for a quick errand, you can 'freeze' the rear wheel on your phone app; applying an internal hub brake to the motor that will make it extremely hard for someone to walk off with your bike. Even then, if they do try, your smartphone will sound the alarm to let you know your bike has moved. That is really Smart technology.

The Quella's battery life is amazingly good too, for such a compact unit; in Eco-mode I can easily do 100 kilometres of assisted riding, over hilly terrain, without needing to plug in to charge. This could mean a week of effortless commutes, without needing to reach for the charging cable.

Quella E-Quella Varsity Singlespeed Bike Review

She's Electric...

The E-Quella Electric Hub really is a game-changer. For those days when I want to load up the front rack with shopping and head home without needing to get off and walk; or head across town without working up a sweat; the electric hub supplies the smooth assistance I need, without the complication of gears. I consider it a little like a friend placing a helping hand on your back as you ascend the final hill of a long day.

Put simply, the E-Quella rear hub has meant a bike which I had labelled impractical has suddenly become a daily workhorse—and a beautiful one at that. Retaining its classic Varsity looks and geometry, this bike has a cool and composed façade, but with a powerful helping hand 'under the bonnet'. Pure class.

Quella E-Quella Varsity Singlespeed Bike Review

Quella E-Quella Varsity Singlespeed Bike Review

Quella E-Quella Varsity Singlespeed Bike Review

Disclaimer: Quella Bikes supplied an E-Quella Electric Rear Wheel for test and review


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