Neomouv are a French company who have been making e-bikes for almost 20 years. They are distributed in the UK by Juicy Bike who sell through a nationwide network of retailers. The Neomouv range for 2022 includes 17 models, 11 with hub motors and six with Neoassist branded mid-drives.
I was pleased to learn I'd be reviewing Neomouv's take on a trekking e-bike, the Adonis 2, as on paper it looked to feature a very powerful mid-drive - rated at 80Nm of torque, only just short of the 85Nm claim made for the latest top-of the-line Bosch Performance Line CX mid-drive. You are highly unlikely to find a new e-bike with that particular Bosch motor for much less than £3,000. So the £2,360 price tag of the Adonis certainly looks eyecatching.
To go with that powerful sounding mid-drive there is a nicely sized 522Wh battery (with a 630Wh option too, though my test bike had the smaller size) and Neomouv say the Phylion branded battery uses Samsung cells.
You also get Continental Contact city-cum-touring tyres with puncture protection, Shimano hydraulic disc brakes and nine-speed Shimano Altus derailleur gearing, all of which looks spot on for the touring hybrid style of this bike.
The frame-integrated battery drops out of the bottom of the downtube with a keylock - though this design tends to be fiddlier to operate than batteries that exit on the top of the downtube. Easiest of all are frame mounted batteries and though these are becoming unfashionable, I've always found them the most hassle-free design to get on and off the bike. The frame itself is of a nice step-through design, which should make it pretty easy for most riders to get on and off.
You also get a full, high quality 'extras' package including SKS mudguards and powerful, hardwired LED AXA lights front and rear. There's also a kickstand and a traditional style pannier rack rated at 27kg - certainly one of the higher weight ratings out there.
The small frame size (44cm) and the low stepover height were perfect for my 5ft8in frame. Slightly strangely though, for such a small sized frame, there felt to be rather a long distance from seat to handlebars. Thankfully the adjustable stem can be raked back until vertical which made things much more comfortable.
Wow, what a mid-drive!
Having said the Neoassist motor looks good on paper you'll want to know how it performed in the real world. The answer is brilliantly.
It's quiet, very powerful and also proved very efficient. Clearly, the Neoassist pushes the top assisted speed to the limit - it cruised up our regular extended hill climb test without any dramas whatsoever, on all but the steepest sections the speedo showing 16.5mph, the point at which power starts to drop off. That resulted in a record time, beating the nearest challenger by around 5 seconds and the average by some 15 seconds (and we have put a lot of e-bikes through this test so have a good idea of the average). Wow!
A quick note on the legality of this before you comment that 15.5mph is in fact the max assisted speed allowed under the law. There are several interpretations of the fact that a 10 per cent margin is allowed in the relevant EU legislation. Depending on how liberal your interpretation of this particular element of the law is, e-bikes with a top assisted speed of up to 17mph may in fact be legal.
Just as impressive as this superb hill-climbing time was the way it maintained speed at around the cut-out limit. If you have ridden a few different e-bikes you will know that the worst offenders shunt in and out of power assist quite abruptly at the max assisted speed. This gives the unpleasant and disconcerting impression that the brakes are being feathered on and off. It may not actually make a huge difference to bike speed but it's not nice and on very steep hills, where constant maximum support is important, it certainly can make a difference to maintaining a good speed. The Adonis 2 was one of the best performers we've tried for having very little noticeable 'cut-out syndrome,' meaning it's not only fast but extremely pleasant to ride.
The bike's equipped with a neat colour LCD display on the handlebars and this provided useful feedback on that excellent motor performance (in amongst the usual data fields) as it contains a watts setting to show how much power your motor is using. There are five power levels and in the lower ones you get up to about 200-300W max. In level 4/5, a steady 10% climb showed the motor maintaining just over 500W quite easily for a minute or more, until cresting the hill. In level 5, 600W plus is easily possible. (The law is that an electrically assisted pedal cycle motor must be of no more than 250W "maximum continuous rated power" which allows for higher peak power.)
So the power levels are nicely graded and if you only use the higher levels where necessary, like I did, then a range of around 40 miles, even in hilly country, seems reasonable. At around 12Wh per mile 'fuel consumption' the Neoassist motor is pretty efficient when used in this way. On my range test through hilly Pennine country I never used the top level and only occasionally level 4 and felt I got a moderate workout. The light and smooth changing of the Altus nine speed gearing, even under load, was worthy of note too.
On our other, ultra-steep hill climb test, it was a couple of seconds off the times posted by Bosch Performance Line motors, but way ahead of most of the other competition - especially the hub motor e-bikes we have tested on it. In first gear and on level 5 it cruised up a 25% gradient sedately but with absolute ease.
Is it value for money?
I do have have a short list of what I'd term niggles rather than complaints. There's that seemingly long reach on a small size frame, heavy overall weight and the LCD screen, though very useful, was pretty difficult to see in bright conditions.
These objections feel a little churlish though when you consider the Neomouv Adonis 2 is undoubtedly a practical, powerful and well-priced e-bike. One reason we marked it down slightly on value for money is the fact that this is a new motor (or at least new to Neomouv) and so it doesn't yet have a strong UK track record. Not a negative as such - just a reflection that there are more tried and tested e-bike systems out there. The Neoassist may well go on to become a classic. Neomouv say the battery is guaranteed for 600 cycles and the motor for 30 months or 20,000km (around 12,400 miles).
What other hybrid touring style e-bikes are in the same price bracket? Cube and Haibike are two of the best value ranges that use exclusively high quality mid-drives. The 500Wh option of Cube's Touring Hybrid One is £2,599 and the Haibike Trekking range starts at £2,449. Knocking all of these options into a cocked hat is Decathlon's Riverside 540E at £1,999.99 with the excellent Shimano E6100 mid-drive. Raleigh's hybrid range starts at £1,900 but they all use more basic, lower powered Bosch mid-drive options that won't zip you up the hills as quickly as the fantastic Neoassist.
These are all good e-bikes and worthy company. It will be interesting to see if more and more e-bike manufacturers come onto the market with mid-drives outside of the 'big four' of Bosch, Brose, Shimano and Yamaha. The competition can only be good for buyers.