the more stylish city loving twin from powerider. with similar components and set-up as the thunder, and basic accessories for commuters at $2600 – this bike is a steal!
Heya! It has been a while but we’re back! Following our last review of the Thunder from Powerider, we’re welcomed this time around with the Targa. This is one of the latest offerings from Powerider after their company revamp, which is catered more towards the commuters and road riders.
Now I don’t know about you guys, but for a commuter I want my bike to look good, I want to ride in style. This Targa will help you with that with its step over design, featuring a sleek aluminium frame that comes in only one size of 21”. So it’s actually larger than the Thunder’s 19” but it does looks smaller to me.
The matte black finish is the only colour you can get on the Targa, but I think it’s the only colour that would look good. The red and blue ascents really pop out with the contrasting black and adds highlights the frame. I can see one issue people would have with the all black design which is that it isn’t necessarily the safest colour to ride at night. You do have reflective tyres, reflectors and a headlight but the frame is a good 70% of the physical bicycle. Thus losing all that to black may raise hesitancy for some riders. Personally I think it looks good and I don’t mind mind it because I don’t commute at night that much, if at all really.
Component wise, the Targa like many other bikes at this price point of $2600, is equipped with entry level parts. You’ll find a Shimano Acera derailleur and Tektro Auriga E-Comp brakes which are eBike friendly and have brake cut off sensors. These sensors will tell the motor to cut out when the brake levers are engaged.
Additionally, you get an Acera shifter and Alivio 9 speed cassette. I would have thought a bike like this would be fitted with internal gears such as the Shimano Nexus drivetrain, because I think people would love using that. It’s easier to use and engages gears immediately which is what you need in the city with all the stopping and starting. Unfortunately, this bike doesn’t have it, however this is something that could be added in future models.
Powerider has opted to fit this street legal Targa with a BEWO motor. This is the same crank drive system found in the Thunder, however this one is only capable of 250W motor compared to the Thunder’s 350.
The battery found on this eBike, is again, the same as the Thunder. 14Ah 36V lithium ion battery fitted with Samsung cells so you know its high quality. The battery pack itself is pleasing to the eye, and with USB charging and a level indicator, I think Powerider has done very well with the battery. If my math here is correct, the 500Wh juice pack combined with a 250W motor, should give you an average range around the 50/60km mark. This is usually the average mark for electric bikes with this capacity.
NOTE: I forgot to mention in the review, the one issue with the battery which is the same as the Thunder. The battery has a port for charging the battery whilst on the frame, however it does not work. Powerider have stated this was due to some manufacturing errors and may be solved in the future.
Being a commuter bike, you can expect large wheels. The wheels fitted to the Targa are 700c wheels combined with the CST City tyres. To assist in the comfort department, the Targa is fitted with some short travel forks, cruiser style handlebars and Velo saddle. It seems that this bike is starting to resemble the Thunder the more I look into this. The large 700c and 29” wheels, the BEWO motor used, same electrical components and suspension forks. They’re almost identical but just on a different frame. I’m not saying this as a bad thing, just wanted to point it out. It seems Powerider found the blueprint for a good eBike system and have applied it to a different frame to cater to the commuters.
At the centre of the handle bars, the LCD meter gives you your basics such battery level, speed and trip distances, among a few other things like most other LCD equipped electric bikes. It even possesses the same feature as the Thunder where you can set your Power, Normal or Eco mode.
Additional accessories include the rear rack, bell and headlight which the Thunder didn’t have. This light is powered by the bike’s battery so you don’t have to worry about the extra double A’s. It’s simply turned on with a twisting mechanism. These extra accessories are great and I’m happy it comes standard, because riders need these for basic commuting. One last thing I have to show you guys is the Powerider’s throttle, but I like to call it the boost button. This thing, like I said in the Thunder review, doesn’t engage when the bike is stationary. It requires the bike to be moving where then the motor will propel the bike at maximum assistance. This could be a good thing or bad thing, depending on your preference. If you like throttles because they help you at some awkward standstill, then I can see how this is bad. But if you like throttles that just provide small squirts of boost for tough hills or sections, you would prefer this. I guess having this style is also safer. There have been times where I have dismounted and forgot to turn off the bike and accidently throttle the bike.
BRAKE TEST at 7:58 in video
As you can see from that brake test, the Targa performed averagely, stopping around the 7m mark from 28km/h. It should be noted that I did brake a little bit late, but I guess the difference in performance compared to the Thunder is due to the thinner road tyres. The Thunder’s wider tyres would have been grippier helping with the brake test. The Auriga model are decent brakes, and is one of the better entry level brakes I’ve tested that are also eBike friendly. There aren’t many companies that are doing brake sets specific for electric bikes yet, due to the minimal demand. So there aren’t many options for companies to select from, but these Tektro’s are a solid choice. These brakes are fairly simple and cheap to maintain as well with a mineral oil set-up instead of DOT.
Setting up the bike was quite easy as well, with the only issue being the twisted brake hose at the front. This however was my fault where the exact same thing happened with the Thunder. When you do get these bikes, just turn the forks one revolution to bring the hose of the front brake to the front instead of the back, under the down tube. I suggest doing this before adding the handle bars. One extra thing you do need to fit for the Targa are the mud guards. These aren’t necessary and up to your preference. Once that’s all done, the operation panel and buttons were straight forward, and allowed me to get into it.
After getting a few kilometres in, I initially felt the bike was a little small for me, which is strange because it’s larger than the Thunder that fit me perfectly. This was slightly fixed with adjusting the cruiser handle bars. They are quite flexible and will give most riders what they’re looking for. Powerider did mention that if you prefer the straight handle bars, they’re willing to change that for free. That’s nice of them to offer that as it saves you from spending extra on parts to get the bike to fit.
This whole review, I kept mentioning the Thunder and the similarities. I’m going to have to do that again, because in terms of ride and feel the Targa felt eerily familiar. It obviously doesn’t have the punch as the Thunder due to the smaller motor, but the ride feels almost the same. It’s smooth, easy to handle and reaches high top speeds. On this bike, I got up to 38km/h on the flat where the motor did cut out at 25km/h. I guess the thinner city tyres helped with that. They also make the ride smoother and allow the Targa to glide over the road. Obviously the drawback is harsher feedback if the road is rough, but that’s what the forks are for. These forks aren’t adjustable, which is only a minor issue, but more a compromise more than anything. I was expecting at least one feature with the forks. Locking them out would definitely help with the commuting and increase the efficiency of the pedalling. This aside, they still provided comfort.
During my review, I decided to test an infamous steep hill close by. I calculated the hill having an 8-9-degree incline. With most 250W hub motors, you can get up this hill but would have to put it in first gear and put some effort in. However, this Targa with it’s 250W mid drive, cruised up this hill. I put it in first gear and rode from a stand still. I was travelling up the hill at an average speed of 9km/h but did not put no-where near as much effort as hub driven bikes I’ve reviewed. This is where mid drives are superior, and what’s even better is this Targa possess it and doesn’t break your bank.
In my opinion, I think Powerider did well with the Targa. The crossover to commuter territory was a good one because I think this bike will appeal to many people. With a bike rack, mid drive motor and 14Ah battery for $2600, it should be on the radar of anyone looking for a commuter style eBike with performance that won’t break your bank. You can find the full specifications below* and also the link to the Targa from Powerider here.
|Frame||6061 Alloy. One Size 21”|
|Fork||SR Suntour NEX|
|Rear Derailleur||Shimano Acera RD-M390|
|Rims||700cx13Gx36H. Double Wall Alloy|
|Tyres||CST City 700c|
|Brakes||Tektro Auriga E-Comp|
|Brake Levers||Tektro Auriga E-Comp|
|Motor||BEWO Brushless 250W Mid Drive|
|Battery||36V 14Ah Samsung Cell Lithium Ion|
|Range||Maximum 90km. NOTE DEPENDS ON USE|
|Additional Features||Power & Eco Mode|
Front Wheel Quick Release
|Bike Weight||24.8kg including battery|
|Warranty||12 month warranty on frame, motor, battery and electrical parts|