Ampler Axel e-bike review: this is the way

Sure, that’s an e-bike, regardless of the hidden battery and motor that’s so quiet and diminutive that no one would count on it. It’s constructed by Ampler, which isn’t a family identify — however ought to be. 

Based in 2014, the Estonia-based firm was one among the first to acknowledge that sleekly designed e-bikes are a perfect type of clear and handy city transport for younger commuters at a time when bicycles with ugly bolt-on batteries had been nonetheless the area of biking septuagenarians. Now, Ampler is again with 5 fashions of e-bikes injected with all the know-how the firm has amassed since.

I’ve been testing Ampler’s Yoda-green Axel in Amsterdam, the place the firm not too long ago opened a showroom and repair middle, its fifth in Europe. I really began this evaluate a yr in the past, however a collection of points, each out and in of Ampler’s management, created fairly a number of points and delays that I’ll go into later.

The Axel e-bike isn’t as aggressively styled as Ampler’s Curt or as relaxed as the Juna or Stellar fashions. Nor is it as sturdy as the firm’s Stout. For me, Axel sits proper at the candy spot of sporty but sensible. It’s for anybody seeking to journey lengthy distances on a well-made commuter bike that’s additionally nice for operating errands round city — as long as you reside in Europe and might afford its €2,790 (about $2,970) price ticket.


However hey, delivery is free.

Table of Contents

The Good

Seems to be nice, like a traditional bicycleDoesn’t get fancy with service upsellsSporty however usable each daySturdy broad tires

The Dangerous

Not cheapTook a yr to iron out manufacturing problemsLocation precision could be hit-and-missCan wrestle to start out on even a modest inclineHow we price and evaluate merchandise

a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin darkish:[&>a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin [&>a]:shadow-underline-black darkish:[&>a]:shadow-underline-white”>Wait, that’s an electrical bike?

Refreshingly, Ampler is an e-bike firm, not an e-bike plus companies firm that tries to tempt you with expensive upsells like European rivals VanMoof and Cowboy. Ampler additionally makes use of a number of industry-standard elements that your native bike store can procure and repair, assuming the provide chain hasn’t been upended, because it has been for a lot of the final three years.

The Ampler Axel from the summer of 2022, when this review began (click here to enlarge).The Ampler Axel from the summer season of 2022, when this evaluate started (click here to enlarge).

The very first thing you discover about the Axel is that it seems like an peculiar bike. That’s as a result of Ampler integrates the battery into the downtube because it does on each mannequin the firm sells. The tiny 250W motor (400W peak) of customized Ampler design is positioned in the hub of the rear wheel. The end result is a great-looking e-bike, although one downside is a non-removable battery (it comes out just for service), which might complicate charging for a lot of metropolis dwellers. Happily, although, ought to it’s good to maneuver it inside a constructing or hoist it up and down some stairs, the Axel is comparatively gentle at 16.3kg (nearly 36 kilos).

Axel is available in two sizes to suit riders from 172 to 200cm (5ft 8in to 6ft 7in). The rear provider on my evaluate bike is a €60 possibility (about $64), however the glorious entrance and tail lamps, fenders, and kickstand all come normal. Axel is presently solely out there in this matte-green end I slightly get pleasure from. 

Ampler has additionally carried out a greater job hiding the cables on its second-generation e-bikes. Not solely does that make this Axel e-bike look higher — it prevents something from getting snagged when making an attempt to lock the bike in crowded parking stands.

a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin darkish:[&>a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin [&>a]:shadow-underline-black darkish:[&>a]:shadow-underline-white”>Okay, however how does it journey?

Using the Axel is comfy and intuitive. The saddle felt good even after longer rides, and the grips provide an additional diploma of sponginess wanted to offset the hand-heavy ahead stance. The one-speed Gates Carbon belt drive means no shifting and no upkeep of a messy chain and derailleur. And since Axel is fitted with a torque sensor, the pedal-assisted energy is delivered in concord with the stress you exert on every downstroke. 

Nonetheless, beginning the single-speed bike on even a average slope is usually a little bit of a wrestle for the bike’s rated 45Nm of max torque, even in the strongest pedal-assist mode. If that issues you, then possibly take into account the 11-speed Ampler Curt or nine-speed Stout and Stellar fashions. The Axel’s motor does a greater job at leveling out these hills as they arrive throughout the commute, nevertheless. The throttle-less e-bike provides two pedal-assisted using modes, which could be toggled in the app or by tapping the button positioned beneath the on-bike show. It reveals the fundamentals, like cost degree and journey statistics. The button can be used to show the bike on and of, in addition to the lights, with out having to resort to the app.


The Axel’s comparatively fats Continental Contact City 50-584 tires really feel improbable on a commuter bike. They take in bumps moderately effectively and make the bike really feel secure, even whereas carrying heavy hundreds like groceries in luggage slung from the grips, a Christmas tree laid throughout the size, or perhaps a new pal perched precariously on the rear rack after an evening out. In addition they survived a direct hit to chunks of shattered glass from a smashed bottle on the road throughout my testing — rattling vacationers.

I did all my testing in max energy on largely flat roads, permitting me to take the 48V 336Wh battery from one hundred pc to empty in 54km (33.6 miles). A number of different vary exams petered out in the low 40km vary, nevertheless. That’s largely in step with Ampler’s declare of 50km to 100km on a single cost. You’ll be able to, after all, journey the Axel with none energy in any respect if you happen to run out of juice or simply on the lookout for the train. In any other case, it can recharge in rather less than 2.5 hours utilizing the included 3A charger. 

Measuring velocity on a Garmin watch, the motor normally stops offering help at round 27km/h, which Ampler says is inside the 25km/h max velocity tolerances allowed by the EU. Two-piston hydraulic brakes at the back and front deliver the Axel to a cease with confidence and management, with the added advantage of the rear nighttime operating gentle serving as a brake indicator.

The Ampler motor is basically silent, simply masked by the din of the metropolis and wind in my ears. Some early Axels I examined had a loud freewheel, however my closing evaluate mannequin sounded good when coasting. Taken along with the styling, tiny motor, and undeniable fact that the show shuts off as quickly as you rise up to hurry, no one using subsequent to an Axel will understand it’s an e-bike.

Ampler controls its personal firmware and app growth

One other way Ampler stands aside is with management over its personal firmware and app growth. The app connects to the bike over Bluetooth and opens to a customizable dashboard displaying cost, velocity, and vary remaining. It can be used to lock the motor, present the bike’s location, and monitor historic journey statistics. The app is additionally wanted to ship firmware updates to Ampler’s new bikes, permitting them to be serviced in the discipline, generally earlier than house owners even know there’s an issue. For me, the app strikes an excellent steadiness of being helpful with out making an attempt to do an excessive amount of, in contrast to many different e-bike apps on the market.

Ampler’s locking function is a bit underwhelming at the second. Locking the Axel does two issues. First, it prevents the pedal help from being turned on till the motor is unlocked in the app — however the bike can nonetheless be pedaled away. Second, it causes the entrance and tail lamps to silently flash if the bike is jostled.

The brand new location monitoring works, however its precision could be hit-and-miss. Connectivity relies upon upon the availability of LTE-M and 2G companies in the space, and Amsterdam’s slim streets that lower by block after block of six-story buildings created a problem for the Axel. For instance, as I kind this, the bike is parked outdoors my constructing (I hope!), locked to a rack with comparatively clear views of the sky. Nevertheless, the Ampler app nonetheless reveals its location from six hours in the past. Unsurprisingly, monitoring normally didn’t work on the floor ground of my home, the place even my smartphone typically fails to hook up with my community supplier. 

Ampler tells me that an upcoming March software program replace will assist the accuracy problem by pulling location data from linked telephones over Bluetooth. And it appears to be working superb elsewhere. “Now we have already loads of completely satisfied prospects reporting to us how they discovered the stolen bike because of the GPS,” mentioned Ampler co-founder and CEO Ardo Kaurit in an e mail trade.

a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin darkish:[&>a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin [&>a]:shadow-underline-black darkish:[&>a]:shadow-underline-white”>What about these delays?

Whereas the firm considers the launch of the new Ampler lineup introduced final yr successful, rising gross sales by 70 % in comparison with 2021, the firm nonetheless wasn’t capable of meet covid-induced demand because of a myriad of points.

Amsterdam’s Ampler showroom and service center opened last year just steps from Central Station (click here to enlarge).Amsterdam’s Ampler showroom and repair middle opened final yr simply steps from Central Station (click here to enlarge).

Lengthy story brief: the firm’s launch of 5 new e-bikes constructed round a brand new platform developed in-house for the first time was overly bold. Early points with quantity manufacturing and faulty elements had been exacerbated by a Russian invasion of Ampler’s Ukrainian neighbors, adopted by waves of covid lockdowns in China that turned the international provide chain the wrong way up — at the very least that’s how Ampler’s Kaurit defined it to me.

Extra particularly, the firm struggled early on with faulty shows that delayed meeting at its Estonian manufacturing unit, the place every little thing is designed and engineered. And when prospects did obtain their new e-bikes, some found a battery problem that required them to ship their costly automobiles again for guarantee repairs. The corporate additionally had points with its in-house developed connectivity answer. Happily, a few of these issues had been solved by over-the-air updates to the bike’s firmware and app.

From March to August 2022, I attempted — and returned — three completely different Ampler e-bikes all affected by quite a lot of issues. The corporate is now assured sufficient with its manufacturing that it despatched me a brand new Axel to check a number of weeks in the past. “I’m completely satisfied to say that we’ve got solved all these points,” mentioned Kaurit. And for what it’s price, I consider him. 


The minimal show is seen in all gentle and shuts off whereas using.

Kaurit has all the time been excessively clear about Ampler’s successes, failures, and blindspots. Hell, I’ve identified the man since 2016, when he drove nearly 1,500 miles from Tallinn to ship a prototype of the firm’s first business e-bike to me simply so I might take a look at it. The Axel I’ve ridden nearly every single day for the previous couple of weeks has been problem free and, other than sluggish location updates, performs like a premium e-bike ought to.

Having mentioned that, if I purchased an Ampler, I’d need to dwell near one among the firm’s nine service centers round Europe, simply to be protected. However assuring you may get straightforward service is my recommendation for anybody that drops over €2,000 for an e-bike, irrespective of the model. At that value, you’re shopping for a day by day commuter that ought to be out there each single day with out fail for years to return. Service and repairs are an inevitability for a computer-controlled machine used open air in all types of climate — so it’s greatest to be ready.

Ampler’s new vary of e-bikes is designed to attraction to each kind of rider. Body geometries assist riders each brief and tall and people who desire to cruise alongside in an upright place or bomb down hills with a ahead lean. It took some time to work out the kinks, however in 2023, Axel has confirmed to be a superb e-bike that ought to be in your shortlist if you happen to’re in the marketplace for a sporty day by day commuter that appears nearly as good because it performs.

All pictures by Thomas Ricker / The Verge

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