Populo Scout electric bike review: Versatile urban commuter

 
 

The Populo Scout electric bike is geared for extended commutes through the city and is ready to tackle whatever the road has to throw at it.

Populo has three different electric bikes to choose from; this one, the Scout, is its premiere model and comes with some quality components, including front suspension, an integrated front headlight and a advanced pedal assist sensor. This electric bike also has a throttle, which can override the pedal assist to quickly achieve max speed.

Power — 350 nominal watts, 500 peak watts

The Populo Scout electric bike has a Bafang mid-drive geared hub motor that spits out 350 nominal watts of power with the ability to crank it up to 500 peak watts, it also has 120 Newton meters of torque, which is quite a lot compared to other electric bike motor brands. The mid-drive motor excels over hub motors when it comes to electric bikes as it is capable of leveraging even more torque against the Scout’s gearing. This makes the Scout a powerful hill climber despite only having 350 nominal watts of output.

Speed — 20 mph

The Populo Scout electric bike has a top speed of 20 mph, which can be reached using the throttle or the pedal assist, making this a Class 1 electric bike. Because the Scout has a mid-drive motor, the top pedal assist speed is determinate upon which gear the rider is in, but the full 20 mph top speed can always be reached used the throttle.

Battery and Range — 36 volt 13 ah, 50 miles

The Populo Scout electric bike runs on a 36 volt system and has a 13 ah battery for an estimated max range of 50 miles. The generous max range estimate is aided by the mid-drive motor, which is efficient to begin with and also doesn’t have to work as hard compared to a hub drive motor to maintain speed when pedaling.

Pedal assist sensor — Advanced cadence sensor

The Populo Scout electric bike is equipped with an advanced cadence sensor, which measures the torque placed on the pedals and the rotation of the cranks. This makes the Scout’s pedal assist sensor extremely responsive and helps to administer and cut off power to the motor almost instantly.

Display — Bafang LCD

The Populo Scout electric bike comes with a Bafang LCD display controlled by a separate button pad on the left side of the handlebars. The display shows a fair amount of information, including speed, distance, battery level and pedal assist level.

Frame and weight — 6061 aluminum alloy, 55 pounds

The Populo Scout electric bike has two frame sizes, medium/large and large/x-large, and weighs in at nearly 55 pounds, which isn’t too bad given it has front suspension and a fairly high-capacity battery. The frame itself is constructed from 6061 aluminum alloy and is a somewhat traditional diamond design, except the top tube slopes downward slightly to help decrease the standover height — this is great for shorter riders who want to be able to place their feet flat on the ground when at a stop.

Suspension — Suntour NEX, 50 mm of travel

The Populo Scout electric bike comes standard with Suntour NEX spring suspension, which has 50 mm of travel. This helps the Scout smooth out rough pavement and absorb shocks from small potholes and curbs, and it can even be used to take the Scout on some light off-road trails.

Gearing — Shimano, 8-speed

The Populo Scout has s Shimano Tourney derailleur with an 8-speed cassette and trigger shifters on the right side of the handlebars.

Brakes — Tektro, Hydraulic disc

The Populo Scout electric bike uses Tektro hydraulic disc brakes with 180 mm rotors to quickly bring the bike to a stop. These brakes have plenty of stopping power.

Warranty — 2 year comprehensive

The Populo Scout electric bike has a 2 year comprehensive warranty that covers everything, and an extended 3 year warranty for the frame. This is more than a lot of other electric bike companies and adds some serious value to this bike.

Price - Starting at $2,199

Starting at $2,199, the Populo Scout electric bike near the middle of the road when it comes to price — it’s more than an entry-level electric bike, but not as much as some of the other premium electric bikes out there. Despite its somewhat higher price point, the Scout does provide some good value for the money, including an integrated front headlight, advanced pedal assist sensor, front suspension, mud guards, hydraulic disc brakes and a relatively light curb weight.

Who’s it for - Versatile commuters

This feels like a good choice for those looking to commute on less-than-perfect roads, or for those who want to occasionally use their commuter as a trail rider. This is also a good fit for those who want a lighter electric bike or looking for various frame sizes to more accurately suit their needs. The Scout seems like a good longterm investment, especially given the warranty, and should prove to be a solid commuter for years to come.