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Ampler Stout e-bike review

6 Jul 2020
Verdict:

This stylish and practical electric commuter provides all the assistance you’ll need without screaming about it. Highly recommended

Cyclist Rating: 
For 
Urbane looks • Lightweight • Good parts • Excellent app • 14-day delivery time
Against 
Non-removable battery

Estonian brand Ampler makes a range of three electric bikes, each of them employing a subtly integrated down tube battery together with a rear hub motor.

Managing to look slimline, the appearance of each gives those you overtake little reason to suspect you’re getting extra help, yet with a 336 watt hour battery and 250 volt motor, they provide serious assistance.

First impressions

This Ampler Stout model is the brand’s standard city runaround. With integrated lights, mudguards, rack and kickstand, it comes fully kitted out for service on the daily commute. A lovely looking machine, it wears its electrical assistance lightly, both in terms of its slender looks and its reasonable 17kg weight.

Buy now from Ampler here

However, the first thing I want to talk about is cardboard. This is because the Ampler arrives in easily the best bike box I’ve ever seen.

With the bike fixed to a kind of sledge, the top pops off to reveal a machine that needs only the bars turning and the pedals popping on to get going. Included with the bike are two quality Allen keys and a large gold chocolate coin. Easily enough to put me in a good mood before I’d even turned a pedal.

 

On the road

Box recycled, the next thing you notice about the Ampler Stout is its lack of weight. Translating into a sprightly demeanour even before the motor is turned on, the Stout’s name is something of a misnomer, even if it does feel solid enough.

The upright and backswept handlebars contribute to a comfortable ride position, thouigh one still purposeful enough to be fun and efficient. With Shimano supplying gears and brakes, everything instantly feels to be of reassuring quality, and with colour-matched metal mudguards, the bike’s looks are equally slick.

 

Electric bits

An app that looks like an A-level computing project can negatively colour your experience of an otherwise mechanically sound bicycle. Luckily Ampler’s attendant app is slick in both design and functionality.

Allowing you to adjust the motor response, turn on the lights, check battery level and view key stats, it’s clean-looking main display can be customised to show only the data you’re interested in.

Connecting via Bluetooth, that the app works so well is useful because the bike’s handlebars are untroubled by any form of display.

Keeping it clean looking, if you don’t want to get out your phone, you’ll be left to rely solely on the subtle seat tube mounted on/off button, which can switch assistance levels, and the colour of which also indicates the charge remaining. Of course, you could mount your phone to the bars as a dashboard, but as I live in London, not Copenhagen, mine stays in my pocket.

 

So, on to the assistance. With a 250 watt rear hub motor, the assistance provided comes in three modes: subtle, moderate and full zoom. Reacting nicely to your pedalling input, it is controlled-feeling and more than enough to power a lazy rider and a full set of panniers through hilly terrain. Despite this, the hub is one of the quietest I've used.

While centrally-mounted motors might be associated with higher-end bikes, the rear hub drive worked well, and it was rare to ever notice the slight rearward weighting of the bike’s mass.

Powering it is a 336 watt hour battery hidden within the downtube. Held captive, this is good news when locking up the bike, but less ideal when you need to charge it, as you’ll need to bring the entire bike within range of a plug socket.

Happily charge time is a speedy two and a half hours. Imparting a claimed range of between 45 to 100km depending on terrain and assist mode, Ampler’s suggested average of about 70km felt about right. As standard for the UK, assistance is limited to 25kmh.

 

The frame

The main story here is its comparative normality. Despite hiding a sizeable battery, the Ampler looks and rides much like a normal hybrid. Its tubes are normally shaped, and in both looks and ride it’s very familiar feeling.

Owing a bit of a debt to German roadster-style bikes, its moderate wheelbase and fairly upright headtube mean it’s stable, but not dull. You can hop to the shops on it, but equally, you could comfortably drain the full 100 kilometres out of its battery and head out on a longer expedition.

Buy now from Ampler here

Keeping the weight low and the looks clean, up front you get a rigid aluminium fork with a sturdy bolt-thru axle for sharp steering. Some brands might chuck a suspension fork on this style of bike. But even on some short gravel-strewn stretches, I never felt the lack of it.

 

Components

Shimano Deore hydraulic disc brakes are both powerful and easily serviced. Ditto the matching 10-speed drivetrain. With a single ring and medium width cassette, it’s got all the gears you’ll need, plus a snazzy chain guard to stop your trousers getting mucky.

With 36 rather than the standard 32 spokes, the Ampler’s wheels are built for strength, while their cartridge bearing hubs also appear built to last.

Wrapping the rims, the broad 42c Continental Top Contact II tyres are a standout item, providing excellent puncture resistance along with enough volume to smooth the bike’s progress on mixed surfaces.

The ergonomic grips and saddle proved comfy, while small touches like the quality dome-style bell hit exactly the right note.

Pre-fitted with mudguards, the Ampler Stout’s excellent rack features an integrated bungee cord and proved capable of shifting a 50 litre bag of compost without a wobble. Factor in the sturdy kickstand and the Ampler arrives ready to roll.

The final thing worth noting is the lights. At the front, a 50 lux Busch and Müllerlamp provides a degree of forward illumination plus plenty of in-traffic visibility. However, at the rear five separate LEDs are drilled directly into the seat post. Both activated via the app on your phone, it’s a very neat system.

 

Conclusion

With great looks, superb handling, and an app that’s every bit as slick, the Ampler Stout was pretty much lined up for a five-star review. Although it still represents good value, about the only thing holding it back is the current GBP/Euro exchange rate.

That and the fact that the latest generation of electric bikes all seem about to up their game. Models like Specialized’s new Vado could soon give the Ampler a run for its money.

However, as it stands, the Stout is one of the best e-bikes I’ve ridden. It feels and looks like a normal bike. Its low weight ensures it never drags, and the motor assistance and parts list are excellent.

The ride position is comfy, yet not boring, and it arrives fully kitted out. In short, it’s a near-perfect everyday runaround for confirmed e-bike riders or those looking to switch from a conventionally powered bike.

All reviews are fully independent and no payments have been made by companies featured in reviews

Price: 
€2,490 (Approximately £2,280)

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