Test Vakole CO26: the e-bike that will take you far (2024)

This test review was written by Christian D., thanks very much forthe fantastic POST of Vakole CO26.

Source: Christian D.- generation-nt.com

Vakole CO26 E-bike review by Christian D.:

TheVakole CO26 is a mountain electric bike at a very affordable price. With dual suspension, wide tires, a fairly powerful motor and a big battery, vakole co26 aims to offer a more sustained program than a mountain bike without pushing up the price.

Test Vakole CO26: the e-bike that will take you far (1)

Vakole CO26, an e-bike in 26 x 4 inches

The Vakolebrand is not the best known on the market and still has a small range focusing on the trends of Fat Bike type bicycles, with or without folding the frame, but it is nevertheless worth discovering for many reasons that we will to give detail.

If the bulk of its range is based on 20-inch tires (and 4 inches wide), the Vakole CO26 model constitutes its high-end offering by relying on 26 x 4 inch tires and ensuring a so-called program of “mountain bike”.

To do this, vakole co26 relies on a fixed frame armed with a powerful motor and a high-capacity battery in order to tackle steeper terrain than cycle paths or simple paths.

Bikes for this type of program are usually offered at several thousand euros, but Vakole co26 makes a number of concessions to bring the price down, while retaining the spirit of a bike designed for more than just riding.

Despite its mountain-bike designation, vakole co26 features a sturdy luggage rack that can carry a sizeable payload, whether for shopping or touring.

Once ordered, the Vakole CO26 bike arrives pre-assembled in just a few days. The package, weighing over 35 kg, arrived by carrier in a cardboard box with plenty of polystyrene protection and plastic fasteners to ensure that nothing moved during transport.

Everything arrived in good condition, and thevakole co26 is the type of bike that will require some time to assemble before you can enjoy it. The entire rear section of the Vakole CO26 is already assembled, and will need to be completed with the installation of the front wheel, saddle, handlebars, pedals, front mudguard and, finally, the headlight.

Unusually, the brake disc of Vakole co26on the front wheel is not fitted, so you'll need to install it with its 6 screws, taking care to use a criss-cross pattern (holes 1-3-5 then holes 2-4-6 before general tightening).

A torque screwdriver may be a plus to ensure even tightening of all screws, but as the frame is made of steel, this is less of a problem than for a frame made of materials more sensitive to this parameter.

Assembly of the Vakole co26 is not particularly complicated, but you shouldn't expect much from the very brief English instructions supplied. On the other hand, assembly videos are available on the Internet, enabling you to go step by step without forgetting anything.

It will take between 45 minutes and a little over an hour to assemble everything of vakole co26. In these cases of pre-assembled bikes, it is more than advisable to check the braking and gear settings before setting off on your adventure.

In the case of the Vakole CO26, the original settings were already almost perfect, with just a few micro-adjustments to ensure perfectly smooth shifting.

Similarly, after the first few rides on vakole co26, it's a good idea to do a quick general inspection and tighten the main components if necessary.

Test Vakole CO26: the e-bike that will take you far (5)

Test Vakole CO26: the e-bike that will take you far (6)

Service kit, smartphone holder, rear-view mirrors - a wide range of accessories

Vakole doesn't skimp on the accessories supplied. In addition to the bike's assembly tools, you'll find a kit complete with patches, Allen keys and wrenches, to be fitted to the handlebars, as well as a smartphone holder and two rear-view mirrors.

SpecificationsofVakole CO26

  • Weight: 34 kg
  • Non-folding aluminum-alloy frame, MTB / VTC style
  • 26 x 4-inch CST BFT inflatable tires
  • Rear-wheel electric motor, 750 W, torque 60 N.m
  • 48V / 15 Ah (720 Wh) battery with 4 A fast charge (4h for full charge)
  • Shimano 7-speed transmission (Tourney, SIS)
  • Dyisland hydraulic disc brakes
  • Color control screen
  • Electric horn
  • Hand throttle
  • Adjustable suspension fork
  • Non-adjustable frame suspension
  • 5 levels of electric assistance
  • Maximum speed 25 km/h (electronic clamping), up to 40 km/h (unclamped)
  • Maximum load 150 kg
  • Range: 40 km on pure electric (40-60 km advertised), up to 100 km on electric assistance (70-110 km advertised)

Vakole CO26, everything for a Long ride

Fat bikes are naturally impressive, but the Vakole CO26 is even more so. Its large, wide tires and airy frame give it a style that's sure to make a statement.

The frame of vakole co26 is fixed, so the bike can be ridden on demanding trails without fear of bending or breaking hinges, and the fender is high enough to negotiate ruts or obstacles a little more aggressively than pavements.

The vakole co26 itself has a fairly high seat height. You'll need to be at least 1.65 m to 1.70 m tall to feel comfortable on it. The seat height is adjustable, but the handlebars are not.

The battery of vakole co26 is located in the lower post of the frame. Impressive, it nevertheless remains relatively discreet by being half housed in the frame. It still overflows quite clearly, creating a clear dropout. This is not necessarily very aesthetic, but it ensures a large capacity since it is announced in 48 V and 15 Ah, which still gives a capacity of 720 Wh.

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Test Vakole CO26: the e-bike that will take you far (9)

The battery includes at the base an on/off switch and the charging socket, hidden by a simple rubber that is too soft to last very long. The frame of vakole co26 is IP54 certified allowing use in the rain, but the battery connector protection remains a little light.

There is a lock at the top of the frame for a key, but the key is only used to unlock the battery from the frame in order to charge it at home. Vakole CO26is no need for a key to start the bike. Please note, however, that it is possible to put a password on the control screen to lock the electric assistance.

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The motor of Vakole CO26 is traditionally located at the rear wheel. No name is given, but it's a powerful 750W motor with 60Nm of torque, probably from Bafang (a Vakole logo covers the indications).

The rear position of the motor on Vakole CO26and its supposed type betray an entry-level model, but also great power for climbing slopes, carrying a large payload, or towing a trailer, as desired or all together.

In 26 x 4 inches, well notched, CST's BFT (Big Fat Tire) tires are quite impressive and will help absorb the chaos of the road or track. They will not be the only ones since the bike has adjustable suspension at the fork and suspension (non-adjustable) in the central position under a very soft saddle.

Test Vakole CO26: the e-bike that will take you far (12)

All of which promises a degree of riding comfort and good shock absorption on uneven terrain. A large luggage rack is fitted to the frame on Vakole CO26, adding weight to the bike but also providing a large luggage rack (up to 50kg!). It can still be removed for purists, but you'll have to deal with mudguards mounted on a single attachment point, which tend to wobble around.

The rear mudguard has a second attachment point in the form of a simple flex clamp connected to the luggage rack on Vakole CO26, a sign that an alternative solution to this problem had to be found.

Being fairly short, the mudguards probably won't provide much protection (especially at the front), which is a shame, given that the lower part of the battery is likely to get quite smeared. This is where the charging socket is located, poorly protected by rubber that is not very watertight.

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In the same way, the big headlightof vakole co26 is held in place by a single fixing point. This means that it has to be tightened (and retightened regularly) to prevent it from pointing downwards.

The good thing of vakole co26 is that it features a bright main beam, but also two diffractors to light up just in front of the front tire, so you won't be caught out when riding at night.

As a rear light, the Vakole CO26 makes do with a fixed or flashing red tail light housed just under the seat. The activation button is not easy to find, and if the luggage rack is occupied, the tail light becomes invisible.

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We would have preferred a rear light doubling as a rack-mounted brake light, as offered by the Engwe bikes we tested previously, even if this meant running an extra cable.

Test Vakole CO26: the e-bike that will take you far (16)

A closer look at the Vakole CO26's handlebars reveals the presence of Dyisland hydraulic disc brakes, which provide firmer braking than mechanical brakes. That's what it takes to stop the beast and its 26-inch tires.

The handlebars of Vakole CO26are very wide, providing excellent stability and riding comfort, and the pedals are equally wide, ensuring good grip and a stable platform.

The 60-degree seat of vakole co26 makes for a snug, comfortable position on the bike, with a slim upper frame bar that doesn't impede movement. The very visible cables on the handlebars make the bike look a little rough, but other brands do worse.

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On the handlebars, electric assistance of Vakole co26 is controlled by two + and - buttons on the left, while the bike's gears are shifted on the right using a Shimano SIS system (push button to shift up, pull to shift down) and a classic Tourney derailleur (also Shimano) with 7 speeds.

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As a general rule, with 7 gears on 20-inch bikes, you're pedaling in the void past 30 km/h. Here, with 26" tires, the 7 speeds will come into their own on vakole co26, as we'll see later.

To the right of the SIS system, there'sathrottle handleon Vakole CO26which is very useful for launching the bike without having to pedal (at a traffic light or intersection, for example), but which can also turn the bike into a real little electric scooter.

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Under these conditions, you're more likely to find yourself in the Speed Bike category, especially as with its powerful engine, vakole co26 is technically capable of reaching speeds of 40 km/h... With this in mind, it's out of the question to use it on cycle paths. It will also need to be registered and specifically insured.

Vakole CO26 is equipped with an electric horn loud enough to be heard and a central color on-board screen will gather the necessary information: remaining battery (a dark blue not very readable in direct sunlight), speed, level of electric assistance, kilometers traveled (odo / trip), maximum and average speeds...

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It is from this screen that it will also be possible to configure the electrical assistance settings more precisely of Vakole co26.

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With its large welded frame, multiple damping systems and efficient fittings, the Vakole CO26 immediately inspires confidence and impresses with its size. If you want to keep a low profile, you've probably missed out.

But when it comes to impulsiveness, comfort and range, you've seen nothing yet.

Vakole CO26, a spirited horse with great stability

From the very first turns of the wheel, the Vakole CO26 displays a number of qualities. Stability with its wide handlebars and grippy pedals, fluidity on the flat despite weighing over 30 kg... and responsiveness of the electric assistance!

From the very first level of assistance, the Vakole co26 sends out a nice impulse that immediately propels you towards 13 km/h. It feels playful and ready to combine its pedaling power.

Be careful to keep control of the bike, as this first gear is already invigorating in an urban environment, whereas other bikes are much more progressive when it comes to acceleration.

The second gear of ofVakole CO26is just as enjoyable, taking the assistance up to around 20 to 22 km/h. The third gear will take you up to 25 km/h, depending on the official throttle setting. If it is removed, the bike will continue to accelerate and it will be possible to use the other two gears to get closer to 40 km/h (or even exceed it, depending on the user's weight), but in principle, this will only be permitted on private roads.

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Unlike some bikes equipped with a similar system, the throttleofVakole co26will not go beyond the defined assistance setting: if you are on the first level, the throttle will not allow you to accelerate beyond 13 to 15 km/h.

With its 26-inch tires, the Vakole CO26 can be ridden without electric assistance at speeds of 25 to 30 km/h on the flat, depending on your training (compared with 20 to 25 km/h for a 20-inch Fat Bike).

On the slightest false flat, the weight of Vakole co26will be felt and your pace will suffer. With electric assistance levels 1 and 2 alone, you'll be able to ride at between 20 and 25 km/h without forcing yourself on gentle to moderate gradients, with a certain impact on range, of course.

With a bit of practice, it will be child's play to modulate the electric assistance and bike speeds to get the right cruising speed and enjoy yourself according to your expectations, from a leisurely ride to more intensive use, all the while benefiting from responsive electric assistance.

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The wide tires of Vakole CO26work wonders to ensure good grip on different terrains, and you really have to push the bike to its limits (on particularly gravelly or damp ground, or on very bumpy terrain) to risk stalling.

On slightly steep inclines or when travelling at high speed, you can quickly feel the motor pulling hard on the battery of Vakole CO26, no doubt helped by a controller that allows a high current to flow through it.

Energy consumption is not linear and increases very quickly at high power. In pure electric mode, the range ofVakole co26will not exceed around forty kilometres.

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107 km on a moderate electric-assist charge

On the other hand, when used like a bike with occasional electric assistance to help out in case of difficulty, and by using assistance and gears finely (without depriving ourselves too much) on Vakole CO26, we achieved a fairly decent range of 107 kilometres before recharging (on slightly hilly terrain, cycle paths, and dirt tracks, with a rider weighing 90 kg and at an average temperature of 30 degrees Celsius, with the battery still displaying one bar out of five on the screen, but the indicator light on the battery being red).

And, good news, the charger supplied ofVakole co26with the battery provides a rapid charge that will fully recharge the battery in 4 to 5 hours. Not bad for a 720 Wh battery that usually requires 7 to 8 hours of charging.

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It's a 54.6 V / 4 A charger that's on offer, where manufacturers usually offer 54.6 V / 2 A for this category of bike. It remains to be seen, however, whether the specific plug with coding will stand up to the test of time.

In use, the Vakole CO26 is superbly comfortable to ride on roads, cycle paths and gravel paths, which it can negotiate very easily. With the massifs closed due to the risk of fire during this very hot summer in the south-east of France, we weren't able to take it out on more technical trails to check whether it deserved its mountain bike status.

Note thatVakole CO26picks up speed quite quickly when going downhill and that the hydraulic disc brakes are then more than welcome to slow down the bike and its passenger, even if this probably means that it will be necessary to check the quality of the braking ( wear of the pads and possible bleeding of the circuit) more often than on other models over time.

It is undoubtedly capable of some feats, but it will not compete with dedicated models offering high-end hardware that is more robust over time and engines with more powerful torque and specific suspensions...but also much more expensive.

Here we are more in a more general practice, but which provides great versatility. The Vakole CO26 can be used just as well for an extended ride passing on slightly steep paths or in the forest as for a simple walk by the sea, taking advantage of its great comfort absorbing the vast majority of road shocks, and with a very decent autonomy.

Vakole CO26, a change of perspective

Despite being fairly heavy and bulky, the Vakole CO26 electric assist bike is still very enjoyable to ride, whether it's for a quick ride or a more demanding route.

Its large 26-inch tires are suitable for a wide range of terrains,, and its big battery, over 700 Wh, along with its powerful motor with decent torque, will encourage you to explore off the beaten path.

Its dual suspension (fork and frame) of Vakole CO26, the small shock absorbers in the comfortable saddle and the tyres themselves greatly attenuate road bumps and offer real comfort. Only on very bumpy terrain does the fork damper show its limitations.

The Vakole CO26 can be as power-hungry in pure electric mode as it is relatively efficient in e-bike usage. The electric assistance is rather lively, and one should not be caught off guard by its quick acceleration from the first level.

The other levels quickly take you to the maximum speed in electric mode, allowing for leisurely rides or assistance on challenging sections.

The presence of a throttle can be a plus for quick accelerations and crossing obstacles or intersections. It adds to the overall comfort.

The hydraulic disc brakes of Vakole CO26 will also be appreciated for stopping this massive bike, capable of carrying up to 150 kg of payload (rider + load), and the bright front headlight provides good illumination.

The Vakole CO26 has 7 speeds, but all are fully usable thanks to its large wheels. The brand makes concessions on the entry-level fittings, but experience shows that they are functional over time, provided they are regularly maintained.

The control screen of Vakole CO26contains all the useful information, but it would have been better if it were easier to read in bright sunlight. A few small details, such as the really basic mudguards, the soft, movable rubber protection for the battery connector, the headlight held by a single attachment point or the rear light, which is barely visible when an object is placed on the luggage rack, would have deserved a little more attention in terms of overall finish.

For the rest, the Vakole CO26 is a real pleasure to ride (in moderation or wildly on private roads) and doesn't go unnoticed. Many observers think it's an e-bike costing over €3,000, when in fact it's only half that!

Summary ofVakole CO26

Advantages

  • Solid & comfortable design
  • Responsive electric assistance
  • Throttle handle
  • Dual suspension
  • Hydraulic braking
  • Long-range

Improvable

  • Heavy (30 kg) and bulky bike
  • No dedicated application
  • Exposed cables
  • Mudguards

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Test Vakole CO26: the e-bike that will take you far (2024)
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