Sponsored by Mokwheel
Mokwheel Basalt Electric Bike Offers “Wow Factor” At Every Turn
I was recently afforded an opportunity to test the Mokwheel Basalt electric bike from start to finish, including delivery and assembly to various test drive scenarios. This was my first chance to really dig into the ebike world. I had only ridden an electric bike once before, at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, and it was only for a minute or two.
RVers have toted bicycles with them for decades. They provide an easy and practical way to get around large campgrounds, explore a trail, and get a little exercise. With the advent of the electric bike, however, RVers now have a plausible alternative to pulling a tow vehicle as a means for alternate transportation.
Being able to ride into that small town that’s only 10 minutes away by car is not quite so daunting with an electric bike. In fact, I found my first ebike experience to be almost moped-esque, and I can recall a dozen times where having one would have been a game changer when we first started RVing and did not have a tow vehicle at the time.
FedEx showed up with the Mokwheel electric bike just a couple of days after I confirmed that I was available to review it. Their website advertises they will ship within 48 business hours after ordering, and that seemed to be the case. Fortunately I was home, and available to receive it! Lesson learned, when Mokwheel says it’s on the way…it’s on the way.
The box was clearly labeled and quite large. Having assembled and built bicycles professionally in a previous life, I noted that the box was almost as thick as two standard bike boxes, a tad bit longer, and of course, significantly heavier. While the Basalt weighs in at a hefty 79 lbs, the carefully constructed packing system and cardboard easily accounted for another 20 lbs.
A couple of important notes about the unpacking process. Save any and all of the foam pieces used for packing; they will be very handy during assembly. I initially used one piece to go under the front forks during the beginning steps and later to protect the electric bike when flipping it over to install the front fender and front wheel.
Despite my history of extensive bike assembly, I made sure to go slow, take my time, and read the instructions carefully. The instructions are pretty good, not great. They have good pictures and seem well written.
Don’t be in a rush. Give yourself about an hour to unpack and assemble the Mokwheel Basalt electric bike. The tips here will help, and there is simply no need to hurry.
Find a clean, dry area where you can spread out. Take your time cutting the big zip ties and pulling away the cardboard. The only zip ties you need to clip are the heavy white ones. Do not get overzealous and start nipping at the carefully placed black zip ties that might be wrangling a brake or derailleur cable.
RVers are handy, so this should not be an overly daunting task. I do recommend having a second person around to steady the bike if you are at all nervous about how much weight you can lift and manage. Who can pull the largest muscle is not a game you need to play right now. If you are reasonably handy and patient, you will be fine.
Mokwheel provides some really decent tools to help you with assembly, which will be your first glimpse at the overall quality of the product you have in front of you. A couple of nice 15mm and 18mm open end/box wrenches are included, as are a pretty decent set of allen wrenches. A serviceable 10mm wrench-like item is included as well, which I only needed once, fortunately.
For this assembly, you will not need your power tools. Don’t be tempted to help make things easier or faster by adding more power (queue Tim Allen). You need the tactile feedback to make sure you don’t overtighten and potentially strip any threads, especially where any aluminum is concerned.
About the only substitute I would make, if so inclined, would be adding allen head bits to a screwdriver-like hand tool to simply get away from those L-shaped allen wrenches. Here again, however, you must exercise restraint when tightening.
Note that this is true with any bicycle assembly–and frankly any type of assembly for that matter. The tool should match the materials and the torque needed.
Assembly tips for the Mokwheel Basalt Electric Bike
A couple of assembly tips that will save you time:
First, when installing the front wheel, there is a plastic shim/spacer between the front disk pads that will need to be removed before installing the front wheel.
With regard to the handlebar stem, which seems to angle up and down quite liberally, the bolt to secure that at the desired angle is under the front of the stem itself.
You can ignore the 6mm hex holes on either side of the rotating portion. Neither of these two items are addressed sufficiently in the manual.
The overall quality of the Mokwheel Basalt electric bike is pretty obvious everywhere you look. The welding on the frame looks exceptional, and the Shimano gearing speaks for itself. My test Basalt came with the fender kit and rear rack, both seemingly engineered properly for the purpose. The rear rack looks especially nice.
Having seen all levels of quality in bicycle construction during my years, the build quality here was definitely on the higher end of the spectrum. Other nods to quality can be seen in the hand grips, the way the wires are bundled together, and the detail given to fittings and wire termination.
Once I got this electric bike fully assembled and took a long hard look at it overall, it almost didn’t feel like a bicycle anymore. It was more like a machine. From the sturdy looking electric motor assembly near the crank to the massive downtube that holds the battery, the Basalt invoked images of those early motorcycles from the 1920s or 1930s.
It’s essentially a motorized machine in a bicycle skin. Lightweight and strong, aluminum is used throughout the Mokwheel Basalt’s construction. Both the frame and kickstand are a 6061 aluminum alloy, which help support aluminum wheels, stem, crankset, and handlebars.
Electric bike initial test drive
While I generally like to charge electronic things up all the way before I do anything, I was dying to try this ebike out. The set of keys that come with this electric bike are NOT for starting it, but rather releasing the battery. After doing so, you can then press a button on the battery to check its charge level.
Fortunately, the battery was full, so I didn’t have to wait. I didn’t plan on doing anything beyond riding it to the end of the block and back, but I wanted to at least try it.
Press and HOLD
Note to the impatient: When the manual says to press and HOLD the power button down, give it several seconds. In my impatience, I was holding maybe two seconds and that wasn’t cutting it. Give it five seconds or so. When the computer on the handlebars says “Welcome”, you are ready to go.
Note that at this point I had only just completed the rudimentary by-the-book assembly of the Mokwheel electric bike. I didn’t give it my typical check every bolt before you do anything analysis. I planned to, but I wanted to just see what it could do. Getting started, I didn’t even bother with the pedals, other than for a place to put my feet. I just hit the throttle and off I went, and it was amazing.
I’ll cover more in the Long Term section below, but essentially the throttle is controlled with the left thumb. The buttons on the Power / Up / Down / Headlight stalk are to set the pedal-assist cadence. I just hit the throttle and didn’t even go full speed before bailing.
Suffice to say that between the bike and myself, we had 300 lbs of mass moving faster than I was comfortable with without a helmet or a double-check of all systems. Finding out what it will really do comes next!
Before we dive into the specifications of the Basalt electric bike, we should note that this model’s twin is the Basalt ST, which is essentially the same ebike but with the step-through frame.
In the old days, we would call this a “girl” bike, but it is suitable for anyone needing the convenience of being able to step through the frame to get on the bicycle, or perhaps for a couple that wants to share one bike. As I mentioned, this is a good size bike, so any advantage is welcome.
The wheelbase is stated at 46 inches. I measured the same and then compared this to my standard mountain bike, which measured out at a 40-inch wheelbase.
As in almost anything from cars to skateboards, the longer wheelbase gives you a smoother ride and easier steering. With the available seat and handlebar adjustments and the Normal and Large frame options, the official human accommodation range is 5’6” to 6’4”. Pay attention to frame size when purchasing.
For additional comparison, I found the seat height from the ground to be comparable at roughly 36 inches when adjusted for my ride, while the handlebars on the Mokwheel were a full 12-inches higher, settling in at 48 inches versus the 36 inches of my standard mountain bike.
As mentioned, this bike is a fat-tire cruiser, so those dimensions are not unusual. Putting the two side-by-side, the electric bike was clearly larger than its power-free cousin.
As mentioned, the stated weight of the Basalt was 79 lbs. This puts it at the higher end of the typical 40-80 lb range of an electric bike.
With the monstrous 26×4 tires on this ebike, it’s definitely a cruiser, and that extra heft means the payload capacity is a whopping 450 lbs.
The 48V 960Wh lithium-ion battery will give you a range of 60-80 miles at speeds up to 28 mph, depending on the terrain and how much you assist the massive 750W brushless motor with your pedaling.
Throttle-only speed with no pedal-assist is rated at 20 mph. Charging it back up from an empty state will take five to six hours with the included charger. The integrated headlight and taillight will get you safely to the campground showers at night.
The Basalt features a flexible and adaptive hydraulic front fork that helps smooth bumps and improves off-road performance. In addition, the fork has a lockout lever to allow for quick adjustments while riding to stiffen or soften the fork, depending on your weight and riding style.
The good sized, comfortable seat features a quick-release lever to easily raise and lower to suit your needs. The 7-speed Shimano derailleur gives you enough adjustment and variation when pedaling. If you get going too fast, stopping is handled by hydraulic disc brakes, front and rear. No rubber pads chattering on the edge of the rim for this electric bike.
I mentioned that this was my first real, long-term experience testing an ebike. I was curious to see the interaction between the electronic power-assist functionality and the standard seven-speed bicycle gearing.
On a non-electric bike, you change gears to keep a steady cadence. You switch to lower gears when the going is hard to keep your cadence up, and you switch to higher gears when the going is easy to keep your cadence down. The mechanical gearing on this electric bike is no different.
The variable comes into play when you add the electronic pedal assist. Between the Power and Headlight buttons on the control stalk (on the left handlebar) are the Up & Down buttons to control at what point the electronic assist kicks in. Increase it, and the electronic power-assist will kick in to help you at slower pedal revolutions. Decrease it, and the Mokwheel Basalt feels more like a regular bike, with the electric bike mode assisting at higher pedal revolutions.
Finally, when all else fails and you run out of steam, hit a big hill, or just want to have fun, you only need to press down on the throttle with your left thumb and the ride really begins. Mokwheel upgraded the Basalt to a thumb throttle versus a twist grip, which is more comfortable and safer than the half-twist throttle, and it can reduce wrist strain and eliminate the fatigue brought by long-time riding.
The LCD Odometer Display
All of this information is clearly tracked with the large bike computer on the handlebars that Mokwheel modestly calls their LCD Odometer Display. In addition to your speed, you’ll find battery levels, power-assist levels, a trip odometer, ride time and more.
Riding the electric bike
Watch any cyclist and within minutes you can see if they understand how to use gears on a multispeed bicycle. The objective with any bike is to enjoy a consistent, comfortable pedal cadence regardless of terrain. It should not look or feel like you are holding a spinning class out on the trail, nor should it seem like you are trying to cycle up Mount Everest.
For decades, the typical derailleur gear system has been an incredibly functional and reliable way to achieve those goals. It should be no different with the electric bike.
For general cruising on pavement and other smooth surfaces, I found that second or third gear allowed for a nice, easy pedaling cadence. Rather than changing gears when going up a slight incline, adding a touch of power-assist kept me from having to change gears or my pedal cadence. For very long, flat rides, you could dial in the power-assist a tad more as you begin to tire.
When changing terrain or the distance of your journey, choosing the right gear and the right amount of power-assist means you can comfortably travel farther and faster than you ever dreamed with the same amount of effort. You can also throw all that to the wind and hit the throttle for some serious “Weeee” time.
What is the speed of an ebike?
Without pedaling at all, the Mokwheel Basalt easily reached the 20 mph throttle-only speed that it claims. Even more impressive, all 300 lbs of bike and rider hit a sturdy 17 mph going uphill, against the wind, at a spot near my home where I consistently see folks hop off their bikes and walk the rest of the way up.
Speed at full pedaling can vary greatly of course, depending on your ability, stamina, and the gear you choose, but suffice it to say, you can get going very fast. I did not attempt to reach the full 28 mph on the Basalt.
I also turned off the power completely to see how the electric bike performed just being a “regular” bicycle. My concern is that it would feel like a car that lost its power steering. This was not the case. It felt very normal, like a typical Cruiser-style bike would feel, albeit an 80 lb version of that Cruiser. If you lost power on a ride, suffice to say you could get home. You would just want to hope it wasn’t uphill.
Braking was exceptional, with the dual disc brakes doing their part properly. The ride was as good as advertised. With the overall heft, long wheelbase, big tires, comfortable seat, and upright handlebars, the ride is every bit as good as you might imagine.
The seemingly infinite speed adjustments don’t take long to get used to and can be tailored for any rider. It’s also just plain fun to ride. One of my sons happed to come by the house briefly, and he gave it a quick try, efficiently summarizing his thoughts with, “Wow….that’s fun!”
There are several accessories available for the Mokwheel Basalt electric bike. A couple that I already mentioned, the fender set and the rear rack, were included with this build, but they are also sold separately. You’ll also find other standard bicycle accessories, such as a top bag for the aforementioned rack, a front basket, a rear basket, phone mount, bike lock, and other such accessories.
Other accessories more unique to this electric bike include an inverter that plugs into a special port built into the Basalt. The 1000W modified sine wave inverter with no less than six built-in protection mechanisms features USB-A, USB-C, and AC output ports to give you power on the road. Mokwheel bills the Basalt as the world’s first all-terrain electric bike with integrated power station technology that allows you to charge your devices whenever you want.
“What really sets the Mokwheel Basalt apart is its massive 940Wh battery that can power a 100W power inverter that has the ability to run such essentials as phone chargers, coffee makers, electric grills and laptops. Planning to be gone more than a day or two? Mokwheel also offers a solar charger to keep the juice running to those essentials.”Electric Bike Report – Mokwheel Basalt voted The Best Camping Electric Bike, 2023
A spare battery is available, as well as solar panels that deliver a charge directly to the ebike and any handy devices you might be carrying such as a phone or tablet. You’ll also find a strong selection of spare parts available, should you ever need them.
The Mokwheel Basalt electric bike comes with a comforting two-year warranty. You can read those details in their entirety on their warranty page.
Why buy an electric bike?
There are plenty of reasons for a person to own an electric bike. The primary reason of course is to take advantage of the portability of a bicycle, while increasing the available range. Others may simply use it as a way to get out and keep up with others if they are physically unable to meet the demands of their bike-mates.
As we mentioned, RVers might opt to use electric bikes in lieu of a toad or simply as an easier way to get around large campgrounds. An ebike is a lot easier to bring along than a golf cart. Like a regular bicycle, an electric bike is a great way to get out in the fresh air and see the sights. The ebike just makes it a little easier or gives you more range…or both.
RVers looking to make the most of light trails and beach sand in or near their campgrounds will appreciate the MokWheel’s fat tires. RVing mecca’s like Quartzite or Burning Man are just begging for an electric bike like this. The fact that you can charge it with folding solar panels that you can store on the rear rack makes it hard to pass up.
Hauling your electric bike
Remember, in order to take your ebike with you, you’ll need a back rack of some kind. There are several designed specifically for ebikes, in that they can accept the additional weight and often have some sort of ramp to make getting those heavy ebikes loaded.
Find a rack that fits your motorhome, travel trailer, or fifth wheel, or one that can mount on the back of your tow vehicle. I like this rack from Thule that folds and has a small loading ramp.
Priced around $2,000, depending on the size, model, and accessories, the Mokwheel Basalt sits squarely in the right price range for a fat-tire Class 3 ebike capable of going anywhere. Quality construction, insane battery power, and power storage capability should be of interest to any camping enthusiast.
In a world with a lot of ebike choices, campers and RVers just got one designed exclusively for them. Visit Mokwheel.com for more information.