Monday, August 23, 2010

First Look: The Kalkhoff Sahel

Sahel Pro Disc enjoying the Esplanade.

With the launch of their 2010 line of ebikes, Kalkhoff also announces the introduction of two new models, the Sahel Pro Disc and Sahel Comp.  Based on the same 26v 250 watt Panasonic electronics as the rest of their line, it does demonstrate a new line of thinking for them. I was lucky enough to get to test ride a pre-production sample model of the Sahel Pro Disc.
The most striking difference between the Sahel Pro Disc and the Pro Connect Sport, their top-of-the-line model, is the wider tires.  These seem to afford a smoother ride, and are more forgiving in a roughly-paved urban environment. The Sahel Pro Disc also features an 8-speed internal hub, and titular disc brakes.

Though not as aggressive as the Pro Connect Sport, the Sahel Pro Disc's riding position is still fairly aggressive. It does lack the integrated bar ends of the Pro Connect Sport; however, I didn't really miss them. Riding the Sahel Pro Disc was enjoyable - the shared electronics make it cohesive with the rest of the Kalkhoff line - the tires are a bit more comfortable. The lack of front suspension was noticeable, but also afforded better feel for the road. Integrated lights are a nice touch, and the disc brakes do ensure reliable and responsive stopping.

Sahel Comp, with Xtracycle, c. Kalkhoff USA.
In short, the Sahel is a well-designed product. It's different enough from the Pro Connect Sport, and indeed, the rest of the Kalkhoff line, to merit it's own position.  At launch, it is available in Pro Disc configuration, reviewed here, as well as the Comp edition, which is distinguished from the Pro Disc model by a step-through "Wave" frame, hydraulic rim brakes in lieu of discs, leather grips, and a Brooks leather saddle. Kalkhoff USA is experimenting with an Xtracycle-equipped version of the Sahel Comp, an interesting Teutonic take on the Japanese "mamachari" ebike.

The Sahel Pro Disc retails for $3,449; the Sahel Comp lists at $3,399.






1 comment:

  1. . The lack of front suspension was noticeable, but also afforded better feel for the road. Integrated lights are a nice touch, and the disc brakes do ensure reliable and responsive stopping.car covers

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