With electric motorcycles increasingly becoming available on the market for competitive prices and improving ranges, I thought it was time to get muddy. What better than the Artisan ES1 PRO fitted with an off-road pack and a muddy track.
This review is based on a day’s playing in the mud on a MX track in insanely muddy conditions. Much of the track was a foot deep in mud with big puddles and very slippery. We also played on a mini MX track and on the grass areas around the track. Total 4 hours riding with rain falling for the majority of this.
Note: this was extreme conditions for the ES1 Pro and not the conditions it’s designed for…we threw it in the deep end.
The Artisan ES1 Pro is a small electric offering from the slightly less known brand of Artisan. Artisan ES1 Pro is an electric equivalent of a 125cc combustion motorcycle with a curb weight of 112kg [single battery] or 136kg [two] depending on the battery pack options. When you’re combining that electric torque and off-road you definitely shouldn’t underestimate this bike. The ES1 Pro comes as standard for road riding however, this review focuses on the Off-road pack that turns the ES1 Pro into a mud ready toy. Let’s get into the details.
If you prefer watching to reading – scroll for the video reviews!
Artisan are the UK importer of the motorcycle which is actually manufactured by Kollter. Another importer is TinBot. This means the Artisan ES1 Pro and TinBot ES1 Pro are effective the same bike.
This is where I really love the ES1 Pro offering. You buy the bike and then for a £399 you buy the off-road pack on top. This is a new set of wheels, better sized for the off-road, and some nobly tyres. You then have two sets of wheels and one bike enabling you to swap back and forth. Genius. Two riding types, one bike.
I have to clarify that this is not an off-road bike on the level of my Husqvarna TE 250i which is a full race spec hard enduro bike. But that does not mean you can’t have fun. This is design for dabbling off the beaten track. Tearing off the tarmac and enjoying some green lanes and byways.
The ES1 Pro off-road pack gives you a 21inch front and 18inch back [17inch road wheels as standard]. The suspension is set up ready as standard to give the capability for on and off. Ground clearance is 320 mm – noting that a full spec race bike offers 370 mm [KTM TPI] so I was pretty impressed with 320mm.
Swap the wheels and off you go. It’s like two bikes in one. Clever idea. It’s more flexible and versatile for someone wanting to play in the mud and have a great little commuter or first bike.
First up you have two options, single or dual cell, and this really does change the picture of how this bike performs.
The ES1 Pro comes with one or two Samsung Lithium-ion (18650 cells) 72v, 31.15ah batteries weighing 11kg each and taking 3.5 hours to charge both from flat. The key here is you have two options. You can either go for a single cell [one battery] or duel cell [two batteries]. So yes, the bike can be ridden with one or two batteries, meaning one could be being charged while the other is being used. OR you can ride with both batteries and combine their powers for a higher performance – winner.
The numbers make this easier to process the two options for the ES1 Pro battery delivery:
|Battery Type: Samsung Lithium 72v 30.15ah||Single Cell||Dual Cell|
|Motor Power Output||80Amp 3500W||110Amp 5000W|
|Range||50Km Urban Speeds||100Km Urban Speeds70mph|
|Rear Wheel Torque Max||190 newton meters (at the motor)||272 newton meters (at the motor)|
You’ve basically going to get a faster performance, more range and extra torque when running off two batteries, so this is exactly what we did for off-road!
With the dual cell set up we were able to enjoy four hours off-road riding. This was some very muddy conditions too, so lots of full throttle. I was pleasantly surprised by the range. Note that off-road riding can seriously vary so a mile range is not appropriate here. We were in a very wet and muddy MX track conditions with much of the track nearly a foot deep in mud.
Depending on whether you use the bike with one or two batteries, you will have either 3.5kw continuous power and 5kw maximum [one battery] or 5kw continuous power and 11kw maximum [two]. More battery, more power. It’s worth noting that these combined numbers, for a 125cc equivalent are pretty high in terms of max power compared to others, the Super Soco for example is 5kw max power.
Depending on your weight you’re looking at about 15 seconds to 50mph – remember this is a 125cc equivalent.
The same goes for your range. Double up the battery and you’re going to be able to go further – twice as far in fact. 1 battery 50km and double 100km. I’ve not tested this on road so I’m going with the Artisan stats here and imagine this is based on very conservative riding – so no happy throttle!
You’re probably looking at 35 miles per battery. Remember, as the bike daisy chains the batteries you are getting a combined performance with them both being utilised but you can run it with just one battery.
Same battery is used in a few of the electric bikes in this category.
Equipped with a 3-year warranty the 72V 45Ah battery is chargeable with household plugs. They are simple enough to remove and something I love is the dual element. If you opt for two you can still ride with only one. This means you could have one on charge and one running, then simply swap out when you’re after more juice. Could be ideal for a commute – keep a battery at either end and swap when you get to work and home.
Battery dimensions are 2080mm×860mm×1150mm and come with a very powerful 15W charger. This is a powerful charger for an off-board charger, you don’t get many that are that powerful yet. They charge in a link so you’re looking at 3.5 hours to charge both batteries from flat so very fast compared to segment rivals. It is possible to get a second charger so you could charge individually.
With two removal batteries, that piggy back together in a chain, weighing around 11kg each the ES1 Pro is super versatile to charge:
The bike of course comes with all the charging cables. These unfortunately do not fit on the bike, so you need to consider carrying them if you need to charge at the other end of a journey. Some of the other bikes in the category have space for them to store under the seat, but not the ES1 Pro.
No fancy electric charging point is required either, with a standard three-pin plug it takes about 3.5 hours per battery from empty, less if it’s not completely flat. There’s no option for DC fast charging at a public charge point, but with the average cost of domestic electricity at around 14p per kW, 50p should see a full charge up. You’re looking at around £1 per 100 miles with this bike.
Compare that to public transport, seasons ticket or car…
This is where the electric bike really comes into play – electric power. Yes, it’s a 125cc equivalent but with the electric torque giving instant availability it makes this a nippy and nimble little bike.
In the mud the linear power delivery means finding traction is incredible easy, similar to that of the Electric Motion. You can use throttle control to manage the power, you don’t need a clutch, finding grip and powering hard in the slippery terrain. Electric really does give a new perspective to off-road.
Given this is a 125cc equivalent with no clutch there is not enough power to pop wheelies or do pivot turns, but that’s not really what this bike if aiming at so I don’t see that as a down side. You can off course play about in other ways:
The top speed on the open roads is really the only time you’ll notice a lack of power with a 58mph top speed. But in its natural territory, a muddy track or urban environment, you’ll find you have ample power. If you’re use to electric, you’ll know it makes smiles with the nippy acceleration. You will not get the acceleration from a comparable scooter or combustion CBT alternative.
You don’t need a full motorcycle licence! Out of the box the Artisan ES1 Pro is a L3e license category bike (125cc equivalent) – so either a L3e licence or CTB with ‘L’ plates. Making the Artisan ES1 Pro an ideal learner or first motorbike – especially if you want to get muddy. It is rather nippy off the line considering its category.
You can ride the Artisan ES1 Pro on a CBT (compulsory basic training), which typically takes a day, costs between £100-£200 [UK], and is valid for two years.
This makes it an ideal bike for new riders wanting to get a little muddy and commuters!
You can have any colour you want, as long as it’s black. Currently there are no colour options. Maybe in the future, but wrapping or custom graphics is always an option – someone like Moto Shack could probably help or see how to wrap here.
It looks like a proper little off-roader. Electric is still very new and exciting which means straight away it turns heads too.
Having ridden the ES1 Pro off-road and having definitely dropped it a few times –
It can be dropped and in a single days’ playing I’m pleased to say there was no damage as a result of it not being robust enough, other than cosmetic scratches. I did have a rather hard fall breaking a foot peg, which was rather unfortunate, however I’m not sure many bikes pegs could have handled that fall. I feel going backwards on slippery mud more akin to a sheet of ice and slamming in…not many pegs handle falls going the wrong way. Opps.
Somethings that are required to be road legal to a normal MOT, such as indicators were a little sacrificial. I removed the wing mirrors, which simply untwist off. But, as with many off-road bikes these can be modified. Overall, I feel the ES1 Pro has been sensitively designed for gentle off-road use.
There aren’t many 125 cc CBT learner equivalent bikes you can jump from on and off terrain with no dramas. Awesome!
I have no qualms here. Everything feels solid and well built. It’s a very affordable bike so you can’t expect the Ferrari build, but you certainly get what you pay for. The bike feels reliable and well built. I would say it’s well worth the money to get two batteries too.
The bike did also get dropped… see this video for that action…
Getting new riders into the motorcycle world is an increasing problem but I think electric is going to take a key role in supporting acquisitions. The accessibility of electric offerings means swinging your leg over for the first time is easier than ever.
Twist and go controls, dual braking with hand brakes, no gears and pretty much no maintenance. Add being just 136kg with a seat height is 840mm and you have a really friendly, unintimidating first off-road bike.
840mm is actually high when compared to some of the other little electric bikes in the category but not when you consider taking it off-road. However, it is still a very manageable size [I’m 169cm] largely helped by the very narrow stand over height. And remember that a typical off-road bike on the enduro side can be 960mm.
The ES1 Pro doesn’t come with any fancy technology other than being the next generation of electric offering. Everything is as you would expect.
A great thing about the technology is the on and off-road change over. If you change the wheels from on to off-road, the speedo will of course become off due to the different wheel sizes. Thankfully Kollter has thought of this and gives you the option to change the wheel size. This is done through the display. Clever for Artisan to programme this in so you can swap wheels without drama.
One of the few in the category with a chain. Coming with a 51 tooth rear sprocket.
The chain does give you a little more noise than other electric bikes, something making it a little more familiar to a traditional bike. With the chain it does mean any changes on a sprocket might be more difficult. I’ve not seen anything available for those mods.
A little unique on an electric bike but a Kollter oil compartment to lubricate the gear box means a tiny bit of maintenance. This needs topping up at about 900 mile intervals.
You have a basic display with clear battery charge, range and the usual stats. You can change the display to set times, trips, battery temperature etc. It’s simple and clear. The buttons are however a little awkward, located on the back righthand side, something to get use to.
The three power modes change speed restrictions:
The modes are switchable on the move; which means you flow with the traffic, getting maximum range in level one at 28mph in town and know you’re not going to accidently whizz past a speed camera with that electric torque. Then shift up a mode or two for the country roads, green lanes or dual carriageway.
Ventilated discs with CBS enabled controls, the right lever will trigger the front and back break together for dual braking. The left lever is solely rear brakes with no ABS. However, the dual braking means the braking will support you by activating linked braking with the handlebar, bicycle style brakes. I did a couple of rather sudden stops and I was impressed with the braking power. I took a few minutes to stop pressing my foot for the brakes, but my mind quickly adapted to the handlebar scooter style braking. For more serious off road I would say a foot rear brake would be very preferable.
It’s also not possible to throttle and brake at the same time. Which sounds really obvious but a slippery hill start in the mud can requires some ninja brake and throttle control, which is limited by this cut off.
Progressive linkage rear suspension means good response both with small bumps but also larger impacts like potholes. Off-road the bike felt smooth with comfortable input from the terrain below.
Adjustable front upside-down forks give rider set up capability. With the battery weight quite low and forwards the front suspension felt firm but sometimes a little washy in slippery corners.
It has an alarm and immobiliser but as with all bikes like this it is probably best to get a DataTag, maybe a Moni Moto tracker and a screaming disc lock is always a good shout. Its own alarm is not loud.
There is a small lockable clip to attach a helmet on the rear – I didn’t test this but know it’s there.
Remember this is a little bike not a pan Africa adventurer. Storage is near non. If you run the bike on one battery you can use the space where the second battery would be as storage.
It’s also worth noting that the 15amp charging cable does not fit on the bike. This means if you’re riding somewhere where you will need to charge you will need a rucksack to carry them.
This is a small bike so certainly not design for two-up but it is totally feasible. The Artisan ES1 Pro max weight allowance is 200kg. There is a small pillion handle to hold.
I rode briefly with my 85kg husband on the back. As we had off-road set up this was not ideal as the weight meant, with the larger off-road wheels, the rear number plate holder rubbed. I think with road tyres this would be fine but not in off-road set up.
Pillions only possible with rode tyres.
I can confirm the ES1 Pro can do mud…you can drop it, you can slide sideways, you can power through the dirt, tear up some mud and have a blinking good time too. Did I expect it? Being honest…no! This guy is an electric bike, ridable without a full licence, and unique in that you can upgrade to add the off-road pack [bigger spoked wheels and knobbly tyres] and turn your urban commute into a green laning hoot. We managed a good four hours in terrifyingly deep mud, I think even Buddy would have struggled, and felt solid.
It’s not trying to be a full blown off-road bike – for which it would need upgraded suspension, better tyres and a touch more power, BUT for a nimble cross over as a first bike or to dabble off-road I think it’s ace. Massive thanks to Artisan for trusting me with it and not telling me off for dropping it in the mud at least 30 times as I played about.
It was great how easy it was to ride. I really think these new electric offerings are going to help get some new riders into motorcycles. A super low saddle height, a simple twist and go with bicycle-style dual breaks. It’s intuitive to learn. It makes for a really easy, completely un-intimidating bundle of fun!
Absolute bargain! Artisan ES1 Pro cost £4,400* AND you can have two bikes on one – urban fun and some greenlaning for an extra £399. Get £1 for 100-miles.
Consider current commuting costs and I bet it pays for it’s self rapidly!
*Inclusive of OLEV Plug-in Motorcycle Grant, which gives 20% off the price [UK grant only]
This is a cracking little urban city bike but with a twist. Two bikes in one with the off-road pack and an amazing toy for the mud too. Super low running costs, incredibly easy to ride and with a range perfectly adequate for the average commuter. With its dirt bike like styling you can ride without a full licence and enjoy the punchy electric torque. Definitely a strong contender!
|Wheel Base||1470 mm|
|Overall Size||2060*860*1140 mm|
|Front Tyre||110/70-17 or 90/90-21|
|Rear Tyre||120/70-17 or 4.10-18|
|Front Seat Height||840(S) 920(X) mm|
|Rear Seat Height||870(S) 940(X) mm|
|Front suspension length||780(S) 820(X) mm|
|Rear shock absorber length||335(S) 355(X) mm|
|Front wheel stroke||160(S) 170(X) mm|
|Rear wheel stroke||150(S) 180(X) mm|
|Rear/front Brake||Disc/disc with CBS|
|Minimum Ground Clearance||320 mm|
|curb weight||128 kg|
|Loaded Maximum Weight||278 kg|
|Highest Speed (Limited)||96 km/h|
|Rear Wheel Rotation at Highest Speed||778 r/min|
|Start Torque（Rear Wheel）||340 N.m|
|Rated Power||5 kW|
|Peak Power||8 kW|
|Start Torque （motor）||50 N.m|
|Range (Single Battery)||50km/45KPH|
|Range (Double Battery)||100km/45KPH|
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