You may not have heard of Velosta but they are certainly a brand to watch. To date they only have one e-bike available but it is a cracking little e-cargo bike that is unique in its combination of light weight, carrying capacity and reasonable price. It's refreshing to see a new brand (well, new to us at ebiketips) come up with such a practical, lively e-bike that's easy to carry and store and which won't break the bank.
The Velosta 1 combines a funky load-carrying frame, small rear hub motor and an ingeniously placed battery to produce a mini load carrier that proves not all e-cargo bikes have be heavy, mega-powerful behemoths. Yes, those sorts of bikes have their place if you haul big loads a lot, but they also cost a lot and the Velosta neatly steps into the gap between a regular e-bike and a monster load carrier.
So what is the Velosta 1?
The Velosta 1 is a 20” wheeled e-bike with an extra long, superstrong pannier rack welded into the rear structure, with the ability to fit various carrying accessories such as child seats. It weighs an impressively light 21.5kg, so whilst it shares some similarities with many small wheeled longtail e-bikes it is much lighter and much cheaper than a lot of the competition.
Unlike heavier mid-drive e-cargo bikes the Velosta uses a relatively modest little Bafang rear hub motor and a relatively small capacity battery (345Wh). Despite all this, it has an impressive total payload rating (rider plus cargo) of 140kg. It features rigid aluminium forks and so relies on fairly large volume tyres and comfy seats for suspension.
The large gauge aluminium tubing formed into a lattice around the rear rack area certainly looks the business in terms of weight carrying. The frame also has a sloping downtube for easy mounting. The Velosta can be stored vertically by balancing it on the rear of the frame. The handlebars are height adjustable and there is a good amount of height adjustment on the seatpost, meaning it should suit a wide range of riders.
Perhaps the most unusual feature of the Velosta V1 is the battery location; at first it looks like a mid-drive e-bike but that space around the pedal crank is in fact the battery that removes with a key-operated lock. It keeps the weight nice and low down and is a neat bit of lateral thinking.
Our test bike came fitted with standard K-Rad tyres, suitable for light off-road riding and the extra £149.99 to have Grifter slicks fitted appears very excessive - it’s easy enough to source some yourself and get them retrofitted.
The spec is pretty good for an e-bike at this price, most notably in the form of hydraulic disc brakes and extremely solidly made alloy mudguards. There’s also a budget seven-speed derailleur, front and rear lights (including brake light), a side kickstand (centre kickstand is optional but highly recommended if you are going to be hauling heavier loads or a child) and a neat little handlebar display showing all the usual metrics plus a very useful little watt meter in the corner that shows how much power the motor is consuming at any given moment.
Velosta recommend Urban Iki child seats though most models should fit. Do note though that most standard pannier fixings won’t fit on the oversize tubing used for the rack assembly by both bikes so ‘saddlebag’ type options are probably the best option. Velosta don't sell any specific add-ons for the rear rack, so you will be hunting around to find the carrying solution that suits you best. The front rack is an extremely useful carrying space should you lack rear panniers.
Using the Velosta 1
Power kicks in almost as soon as you start pedalling and despite being smooth and quiet there is plenty of assist to get you up the steepest of hills. It posted a perfectly respectable time on our extended hill climb and even made it up our ultra-steep hill climb without leaving the test rider gasping for breath. With a full load of 45kg on board, it did slow down appreciably on steeper hills but still made it to the top of some major climbs without incident. All very impressive for such a modest assist system, showing it's not just about raw power but about applying it at the right time and in the right way.
Riding with a full 45kg load on the rear does need a little more care - as on any bike with a big load. I’m a ‘middleweight’ rider at 75kg, so heavier riders may feel comfortable with even more weight on the back before the ‘tail starts to wag the dog’.
There is an optional throttle attachment that works well in town traffic in particular and especially when fully loaded when you need a quick, stable take-off from a standing start. This gives you instant full power as and when needed, even if you are in one of the lower power settings. This appeared to work as a twist and go (you don't need to be pedalling for it to work) so it's technically not a legally compliant e-bike if you choose to fit the throttle, even though we found it fantastically useful.
The 345Wh battery is relatively small and allied with that small motor might suggest the bike is suited to shorter around-town type trips in flatter country - but it proved a very capable performer over hills and on longer rides, returning a range of 32 miles over very hilly country and with plenty of off-road sections.
The watts consumed display confirmed the efficiency of the bike. In level one of three, it consumed around a meagre 50W (but that was more than enough for slight inclines), topping out at around 130W in the highest level. That's far less than many other systems consume but it really felt it punched above its weight - the test rider would have guessed it was consuming much more power than that, had he not known, suggesting it's a free-running and efficient bike, electric assist aside.
Another surprise was how at home it felt on the bumpy, off-road bridleway sections of the test rider's neck of the woods in rural West Yorks. Its lively and quick handling make it ideal for bumpy surfaces and the small wheels with chunky off-road tyres seemed more than at home and accelerated quickly up even off-road hill sections.
Everything else about the Velosta confirmed it was a well-thought out and practical machine. The 7-speed Shimano gears proved that budget-priced doesn't have to mean under-par performance. The gear range was just right for hilly terrain and topped out at about 18mph.
We only really had two quibbles. Firstly the rear loading platform was restricted to an area 60cm long as the seat rakes back to overhang a fair bit of the racktop area. Secondly the battery gauge - though it gives a readout in % points - is not proportional to the mileage you rack up. Our test rider found that two thirds of the mileage range test was achieved on the first third of battery capacity according to the battery meter. At 25% remaining, it actually cut out on steeper hills whilst using the top assist level - although the power returned after a while in lower power levels and once there was less demand on the motor. Simply put, don't rely on getting a lot of miles from the battery once it shows less than 50% on the battery gauge.
Velosta vs the rest
The Velosta stands pretty much on its own. The Ridgeback Errand competes on price but is not a longtail e-cargo bike. Most of the competition is either pricier and/or bigger (and more powerful).
If you want bigger carrying capacity and/or more oomph from the motor but want to stay in the budget category, then take a look at our review of the Mycle Cargo or a Rad Power model such as the RadWagon or its smaller cousin the RadRunner. If budget constraints are not so much of an issue and you want what we think is the best longtail out there check out the Tern GSD - massively strong with a very capable Bosch mid-drive and the product of a proven testing and certification regime when it comes to very heavy loads. The latter came top in our 2023 e-cargo bike roundup.
However, for light load hauling duties on a budget the Velosta V1 is a unique choice for all the right reasons.