Juicy Bike have been making electric bikes up in the Peak District for a number of years and they call the Roller their “most refined bike ever”. And refined it most certainly is: the motor is as near to silent as you're likely to get, the overall look is clean and classy and the spec is good for the money.
We actually rode the transmission of this bike on one of Juicy's earlier frames back in May, and we were impressed with the Aikema hub motor. It's a 250W, 40Nm unit that weighs in at just 2.1kgs, which contributes to the bike's overall claimed weight of 19.5kg. Most impressive is the noise level: there really isn't one. For the most part it's functionally silent, certainly producing no more noise than the tyres on the tarmac. Boost the assistance up to maximum – there are five assistance modes – and you can just discern a bit of hum but really, that's it. By yourself in quiet country lanes you might notice that, but in the city it's soon drowned out by... well, by pretty much anything.
At maximum boost the motor feels more pokey than the 40Nm torque might suggest. That's not high in the grand scheme of 250W motors but the Roller never felt under-powered and it's eager away from a standstill. The bike uses a bottom-bracket-mounted torque sensor and Juicy have worked on their own custom power profile for the bike. The result is a very smooth-feeling assistance, but with plenty of help there when you need it. On a lower power mode you could easily forget that you're being helped along. Unitl you switch it off, of course.
Changing between gears means hitting the slightly fiddly buttons on the bar-mounted display; they're not as easy to use as the likes of a Bosch remote but as a whole the display is good, with a clear readout of all the information you need.
That motor has now been built into a new frame, which is a semi-step-through design. The battery is half-integrated into the lower of the two down tubes. The default option is a 374Wh for which Juicy claim a pretty realistic 33-mile range; of course it'll depend on rider size (max rider weight is 100kg), terrain and assistance mode. You can upgrade to a 468Wh battery for another £150 if you think you'll be going on longer journeys; Juicy reckon that's good for 50 miles.
The bike is one size, and the size is fairly big. I'm 1.89m and one-size bikes sometimes feel a bit cramped but the Roller fitted me really well; good news if you're tall but it might mean that smaller riders find the reach a bit of a stretch. There's a good-quality quick-release stem that you can use to bring the bars in a bit. I found the position very comfortable, upright enough for good vision without losing the slightly sportier feel. The shorter you are, the more upright the bike will be as you lower the seatpost and pull the bars back, which also makes them higher.
Juicy have used an RST fork with the shock unit sitting between the fork crown and the steerer, instead of the more usual telescopic suspension fork. They're generally better, and this one is no exception: it takes the sting out of bigger hits and doesn't suffer from the braking and steering flex that's inherent in cheaper telescopic units. Talking of brakes, you get excellent Tektro hydraulic discs that make short work of stopping you.
Overall the handling of the bike is pleasingly neutral. The fork tracks well, the frame is stiff and the ride position effective and comfortable. It's not the fastest-handling city bike out there but for the most part you'll be cruising around on this, not darting in and out of traffic, and for leisurely but purposeful riding the handling is spot on.
Gearing is taken care of by a Shimano Acera 8-speed transmission; it's not the widest range of gears you'll find but functionally it was fine, with the RapidFire shifter easy to use. The faux-leather grips and matching saddle are a nice touch, and give the bike an upmarket look
The front light is controlled from the display and is okay for getting seen during city riding; the rear is battery-powered; Juicy say that's “just in case the main battery gets all used up during the day” but probably it's just a simpler and cheaper option. Anyway, it's a decent light. And anyway, it's good news that you get lights, and mudguards, and a kickstand. A chainguard would have been nice.
The rear rack is a solid unit that bolts straight on to the seatstays at two points; it looks like it'll take a decent load.
At just under £1,500 the Roller is in the middle of the market: mid-motor bikes tend to be at least a few hundred quid more expensive and there's a good choice of hub motor bikes below it, including others from the Juicy range. As a whole, though it looks like a good value choice. The motor system is very good and practically silent, the frame and finish is classy and the bike rides very well. Looks-wise it's a step up from the previous Juicy bikes and they've upped their game on the motor hardware too.