Woosh Bikes Big Bear - review after 12 month's use

c88dnf

Just Joined
Sep 2, 2017
4
1
61
Malvern
October 2017 marks 12 months since I bought a Big Bear e-bike from Woosh Bikes. It has amply fulfilled my expectations and I would definitely recommend one if its characteristics match yours. Perhaps the most telling recommendation is that I have become something of a “bike nerd”, actively discussing gear ratios and what lighting kit would be best for the dark winter evenings. My wife is underwhelmed!

To put what follows in context, in 2016 I was fifty-plus, fat (18 stone/ 250 lbs) and horribly unfit. Every road out of our parish has at least one severe gradient (10% or worse, while local road surfaces are generally poor, especially in Herefordshire where corrugations and potholes are the norm. Ordinary pedal cyclists tend to tremble.

My choice of a Big Bear came down to three factors: price, likely performance and Woosh Bikes website. The price included (and still includes) a 15 amp-hour battery AND all the necessary extras: several other suppliers prices soared when basic elements were added. Performance seemed credible, backed by openly available technical data. Lastly, but to me significantly, there was (is) Woosh Bikes’ website’s honesty about their bikes’ suitability for certain types of users. A firm that is open enough to say “this may not be for you” rather than just display marketing hype has to be worth a look.

Over the year I’ve ridden 1546 miles, all through the hilly countryside west of the Malvern Hills. The Big Bear has had some issues: most I could have avoided by acting upon the good advice in the supplied manuals or Woosh Bikes’ website. Others are intrinsic to the bike’s design, but again these are clearly outlined on the website.

Overall, using a Big Bear has been very positive. It is astonishingly rugged, well capable of coping with the local roads. Some of the welds look rather rough and ready, but around this area, that’s no bad thing. I’d rather have functionality over prettiness. The motor and battery capabilities are very good. My typical “maximum ride” is 28 miles with 1950 feet of climb en route, all at the maximum level of assistance. On more level territory or at lower assistance levels, I’ve no doubt the bike would manage 40 miles: probably more.

The Big Bear is a fun ride too, very freewheeling downhill and with good, positive gears and well laid out controls for both gears and the assistance system. That said, the gear range is narrow (14-28 teeth rear group). I suspect that this matches a profile of expected users. It’s perfect if you are happy to go not much faster than the 15.5mph motor-assistance limit and don’t want/ need to go up anything more than a 1 in 10 (10%) hills. As I’ve got fitter and more adventurous, I’ve found both ends of the gears to be slightly inadequate for my needs. A 14-34T gearset as used on Woosh Bikes’ Krieger would be better for getting up and down the local hills, but – alas – the Krieger is not intended for people of my height or weight. One of my future projects is to re-gear my bike so it gets closer to a 12-30T equivalent.

One thing I am not keen on and would ideally avoid in future is the Big Bear’s battery mounting using a rear pannier. It makes it very obvious that the bike is an e-bike, but more importantly puts a lot of weight on the pannier. The pannier itself is extra “dead weight” too. Again, for me the Krieger’s design with a frame-mounted battery seems preferable. Every bolt on the pannier has worked loose over time and one supporting bracket has fractured. The bracket was replaced under warranty by Woosh Bikes, but I have replaced the factory-fitted bolts with beefier ones and locknuts myself. I’d strongly recommend that any purchaser does likewise.

In summary….

Positives
Very rugged frame
Lights/ mudguards/ horn included in quoted price – no add-ons necessary
Simple, intuitive controls and gears
Plenty of adjustment in handlebar height/ reach
Comprehensive printed manuals supplied with bike
Superb website and support from supplier

Negatives
Narrow gear range (14-28T)
Obvious battery on rear pannier
Rear pannier weight/ securing bolts
“Agricultural” welds
 
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Martin56

Pedelecer
Feb 9, 2017
43
7
HP3
Good review, why not put a pannier on the pannier rack? It will hide the battery and you can put things in it! My Woosh Sirocco will take a full panier load of shopping on top of the weight of the battery.
 

c88dnf

Just Joined
Sep 2, 2017
4
1
61
Malvern
Good review, why not put a pannier on the pannier rack? It will hide the battery and you can put things in it! My Woosh Sirocco will take a full panier load of shopping on top of the weight of the battery.
Well, yes, I could, but my main desire is to get the dead weight of the battery off the pannier altogether. Indeed, if I could remove the pannier too, that would be good. The bike is purely a leisure facility for me. Our local shop is within walking distance, while anything more substantial is either delivered by van or a round trip by car combined with whatever else needs doing in Malvern or Worcester that week.
 
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