Kalkhoff’s Entice 5B Move is a well-specced workhorse bike with a great motor system. It’s clear that plenty of thought has gone into its design and implementation, and it’s at home carrying shopping or heading out into the wilds.
More than a decade ago Kalkhoff helped to start the modern e-bike revolution by using power-efficient mid-drive motors integrated into the bike frame, in stark and welcome contrast to the many hub motor systems around at the time, that looked as though they had been bolted on as an afterthought. Whilst there’s now almost countless manufacturers using high quality mid-drives, these days Kalkhoff e-bikes like to differentiate themselves with their sophisticated, industrially-inspired design look.
The company has a large testing and assembly plant in western Germany of which it is particularly proud, with a plethora of machines to put new designs through their paces in addition to its own paint shop and wheel building facilities.
Kalkhoff has two trekking and hybrid ranges, Entice and Endeavour. Endeavour bikes are specced rather more for gentler leisure use whilst the Entice bikes, as reviewed here, are more for off road use.
In addition models are numbered – 1,3,4,5 and 7 – with the sophistication of frame and motor system design rising along with the number. So ‘1’ models feature external batteries for example, whilst ‘7’ models have what are described as ‘premium features’ such as the latest Performance Line CX motors and high-end, extremely powerful Supernova LED lights. The 'Move' refers to the spec level in the numbered frame level. ‘Move’ is the entry level spec. ‘Advanced’ is a better spec with ‘Excite’ being another step upwards. The B tells you it uses a Bosch motor system (as opposed to S for Shimano). So as you can probably work out, there are a /lot/ of bikes in the range, and finding one specced to suit your needs and budget shouldn’t be difficult.
The Entice 5B Move, sitting one notch below the premium design ‘7’ e-bikes, features the Bosch Performance Line mid motor – with a stated 65Nm of torque – and a frame-integrated 625Wh Bosch Powertube battery at its heart. The Performance Line is one step down from the latest top end Bosch motor, the Performance Line CX, that claims it is 25% lighter and significantly smaller than its previous incarnation. However, the Entice 5B’s total weight of 25kg is reasonable, suggesting that it hasn’t suffered too much from having the slightly heavier mid motor (the CX variant is 300g lighter than the Performance Line as used in this bike).
There are some very nice touches to the frame design in particular; the handlebar stem design means cable integration is about the smoothest I’ve seen on any e-bike and the stem itself is adjustable to give a variety of riding positions from comfort to sporty.
The integrated battery design is one of the best I have seen too. It slots easily in and out of the top of the downtube – I much prefer this design to those that drop out of the bottom of the downtube as there is risk of fouling on the front wheel or forks with the latter.
The ‘Move’ component spec is functional rather than top end, so the gearing and braking is mid-range, but these components are so efficient these days that arguably you really don’t need to go any higher. A Shimano Alivio rear derailleur shifts smoothly through 9 gears and Shimano MT-200 hydraulic disk brakes with a 180mm rotor on the front and 160mm on the rear provide tons of nicely modulated stopping power.
The rear metal mudguard doubles as support for a solid looking rear rack (rated to carry 25kg) and also provides internal cable routing for the electrical power to the rear light – another neat touch. Thoughtfully, the overhang at the back of the rack gives almost complete protection to the rear LED.
The use of Bosch’s most minimal handlebar control, the Purion, also helps the overall smooth and sleek aesthetic of the bike. It shows battery capacity with ‘battery block’ indicators, headlight on/off, trip distance, odometer and estimated range. It’s backlit too.
As you would expect from the trekking moniker the bike is fully equipped, with good quality LED lights powered from the main bike battery, sturdy metal mudguards, height adjustable kickstand and chainwheel protector.
It’s nice to see that this model, like many in the Kalkhoff range, has a choice of diamond, and step-thru frames catering for those who don’t want to have to hoick a leg over the saddle; there’s also a choice of four frame sizes.
I used the Entice for a mixture of heavy duty trailer hauling (making some food deliveries during the Covid lockdown) and recreational rides on trekking style tracks for local exercise. It performed pretty faultlessly in both areas.
On such a classy looking bike you might wonder about the use of the less powerful Bosch Performance Line motor over the more modern, lighter Performance Line CX, but my tests suggested there maybe isn’t as bigger difference as you would imagine. In a timed comparison up a mile long climb there was actually no difference between the Entice and another test bike fitted with the Performance Line CX which is more powerful on paper. The only area where there was a detectable difference was in towing really heavy loads; there the Performance Line CX had the edge.
I also timed the bikes up the steepest bike path I’ve found anywhere – a 20 second burst up a one in three slope – and again the bikes came out about equal. This is not to say that the Performance Line CX isn’t more powerful, just that the difference isn’t really measurable over these relatively short distances. Anyway, the Kalkhoff wasn’t ever wanting for power, even when towing, and the bike seemed very economical too – with care I estimate I would get around a 60 mile range even with a trailer in tow.
The gear range of around 310% with a top gear of 90.5 inches of and a bottom one of 30.5 inches, whilst not as extreme as some of the mtb inspired setups on hybrid e-bikes, was still sufficient for very steep hills and heavy trailer pulling.
The SR Suntour fork with lockout was the only real disappointment on the bike for me; whilst it is in keeping with the functional rather than top end spec it just seemed to jar with the very svelte design of the rest of the bike. It’s adding weight and complexity for pretty average performance; a carbon fork and wider tyres would really suit a bike of this spec.
The 28” Schwalbe Smart Sam tyres were excellent – tons of grip off-road but free-running and nimble on tarmac. There was plenty of room in the frame to fit wider profile tyres if you want an even plusher off-road ride at the expense of a bit of on road speed.
The basic functions of the Purion display are in line with the keep it simple minimalist design of the bike itself. Just having the one small unit at the left hand side of the bars also means the bars are free to accommodate all manner of extras for a full on tour, from GPS units to multiple water bottles. The frame also has bosses to attach a water bottle cage or similar, conveniently under the top tube.
The 180 lumen Hermanns front light is particularly powerful at a point in time when LEDs have really come of age, even the most basic LED lights generally providing excellent lighting power whilst using a fraction of the energy in your bike battery. But the Hermanns excels, even by modern LED standards.
For around the same money as the Entice you can get an e-bike with the the highest level Bosch motor but you probably won’t get the lovely frame detailing of the Entice or all the thoughtful, practical features. It’s a lovely looking e-bike with some nice minimalist design backed up by great on and off-road performance with the budget forks my only real niggle.