Boost Bikes Apache E-Bike REVIEW
E-bikes have never been more popular, and PAT PILCHER was so taken by the Boost Bikes Apache that he bought it.
Back in the day, all the cool kids rode choppers. They were the pedal-powered equivalent of something out of easy-rider thanks to ape-hanger handlebars, banana seats and a cool stick shift gear selector.
Since then, bikes have improved massively. They’re lighter, stronger, and now thanks to the Apache, more stylish too. Adding a battery and high torque electric motor gives you all the ingredients needed for your own slice of pedal-powered paradise.
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Looks-wise, the Apache sports a striking retro-cool design. The review unit I was sent was in what Boost Bikes calls “gloss orange”. It’s a cool colour with the added bonus of being sufficiently vivid that car drivers would have to be blind to miss it. It also adds a cool ’70s muscle car vibe to its sturdy Hydroformed Alloy, TIG-welded frame. The Apache’s frame is best described as resembling a mini-motorbike. Adding to its good looks are 4-inch wide, 20-inch fat tyres (which are great for off-road and beach riding) and a longish moulded seat with ample padding (much like what you’d find on a mini-motorbike). All told, the Apache is a real head-turner.
The padded seat, front suspension, and fat tyres delivered a super relaxed ride. Further helping things along, the Apache also comes with Shimano 7 speed gears. For peddling about town, dropping into a low gear for climbing gentle hills and a higher gear for flat surfaces makes all the difference.
A big problem with cycling in Wellington is the many hills littered about. Most of these are not gentle slopes but steep vertical monsters that punish anyone foolhardy enough to peddle up them. Adding to these woes are Wellington’s winds. A strong head-wind in concert with a steep hill peddle is as fun as DIY root canal surgery using sharpened knitting needles.
Well, that used to be the case. The Apache comes with a 48V 14.5 mAh Samsung Lithium-Ion Removable battery and a 500W Bafang rear-mounted geared hub motor. Add in 5-levels of electric assist plus a super intuitive twisty throttle, and hills cease to be a major issue. An integrated cycle computer handily tells you how fast you’re going, how far you’ve travelled, and which assist mode you’re using.
Riding the Apache home, I rode along Oriental Bay and cycled up Roseneath hill. With a pedal-powered bike, it’s a tough climb, but with seven gears and an electric motor, I barely broke a sweat while I cruised up the hill.
The other advantage of an electric motor is the sheer speed available. I could hit 42kph without peddling. I’d love to tell you that I felt the wind rush through my thinning thatch as I hooned along singing “booorrrn too beeee wiiiild”. Alas, I was wearing a bike helmet, so there was no wind on my noggin (always wear a bike helmet kids!). Either way, the sheer speed and minimal effort needed to hit said speeds make the Apache an exciting ride. Best of all, cycling in Wellington is practical again!
As nice as it is to blast along at 40+kph, stopping has its uses. It is also where the Apache acquitted itself well. This is thanks to the front and rear Tektro Disc brakes, which consist of 180mm rotors, both of which have an auto cut out to help prevent skidding out at speed. I found the brakes surprisingly effective at stopping. This and the comfy ride made the Apache feel super safe to ride.
Riding at night is also a doddle as there are front and rear button-activated lights. The rear light also acts as a brake light which illuminates when you hit the brakes, which struck me as a sensible addition that all bikes should have.
Last but by no means least is range and charging. For riding about Wellington, the range was never an issue. For longer treks, the Apache has a 25–50 km range (depending on what assist modes you choose and how often you use them). You can also add a second battery and double its range. Charging was quick too. It took just over five hours to go from zero to 100%. In short, the Apache has pretty much all the staying power most people will ever need. It isn’t too shabby when it comes to charging either.
If all that good stuff wasn’t enough to impress, my inner cheap bastard was impressed at how much e-bike you get for your money with the Apache. Where most e-bikes in New Zealand are priced from $4000 to $8000, the Apache comes in at a wallet pleasing $3290, which isn’t bad at all considering the features you get for your money.
If you’re thinking I’m taken with the Apache by now, you’d be 110% right. In fact, I liked it so much that I bought it, and it’s now my daily ride. Good looks, a solid build and a super-comfy ride combine to make the Apache a no-brainer. Suppose you coveted a chopper back in the day and wanted an easy, environmentally friendly way of getting around town. In that case, the Apache is worth a look. Given the sheer number of boxes it ticks, the Apache effortlessly scores a 10/10.