Vvolt Proxima Electric Bike Review

May 26, 2022

Vvolt Proxima Electric Bike Review
Our Rating - 4.8/5
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The Vvolt Proxima electric bike is a powerful hybrid e-bike made for daily commutes or longer weekend rides. Premium parts include a durable and efficient Gates carbon belt, 250-watt mid-drive motor, and an internally-geared Enviolo CVT hub that gives super smooth and easy-to-use shifting. The best part is that Vvolt Proxima is virtually maintenance-free!

Vvolt Proxima In-Depth Review

If you’re looking for a high-quality commuter electric bike with all the key features, then the Vvolt Proxima electric bike might be for you.

It’s fast, has a mid-drive motor, handles pretty well, and boasts a component package that’s not only functional but it’s also high-performing and it’s of nicer quality than most e-bikes I’ve ridden in the below $3,000 price bracket.

The frame geometry, cockpit setup, and tire choice all lend themselves to commuting. Vvolt Proxima is very friendly to pedaling and is supremely balanced in corners, making this e-bike feel more efficient than many other commuter electric bikes I’ve reviewed in this price range.

You can easily ride Vvolt Proxima to work, cruise around the town and it can even handle some dirt. 

But before we start, let’s take a look at the specs of the Vvolt Proxima and then review each component of this commuter electric bike.


Key Specs

Weight

50-52 pounds (depending on size)

Frame 

Aluminum Alloy

Tire Size

27.5 x 1.6-inch

Motor

250W MPF motor

Battery

375Wh Celxpert battery with LG cells

Range

30-50 miles

Max Speed

20mph

Brakes

hydraulic disc brakes

Frame

To start off, I’ve built quite a few e-bikes and it’s notable that Vvolt had the simplest assembly compared to most e-bikes I’ve ever had to put together to this day. The bike’s handlebars were already attached to it. They were also turned sideways so they fit inside the box. 

Proxima bike

Once you pull the bike out, all you have to do is straighten the handlebars, put on the pedals, and attach the front wheel. That’s it! Along with the printed instructions, they include a video that walks you through the steps as well as a multitool to help you assemble the bike. 

Vvolt Proxima’s frame is made out of Aluminum Alloy - a standard material used for electric bikes. 

To fit all riders, the Vvolt Proxima comes in two sizes – the S/M size (recommended height is 5’5”-6’) and the L/XL size (recommended height is 5’9”-6’4”).

Rather than a chain, this electric bicycle has a high-quality Gates belt drive which means there’s nothing to rust and lube. So the drivetrain of the Vvolt Proxima is low maintenance. 

In addition, the belt drive is paired to an Enviolo CVT internal hub which is entirely sealed inside the rear hub, as opposed to a more traditional derailleur and sprocket bike drivetrain.

It’s a continuously variable transmission, so your shifting is step-less and feels more similar to adjusting resistance than changing gears. You just rotate the twist shifter to change your gear ratio which allows you to fine-tune your gearing.

The Vvolt Proxima is a stiff e-bike. From a performance and handling perspective, this is a very good characteristic. It gives the bike a very tight and responsive sports car-like handling that’s genuinely fun.

On the flip side, you feel more of the road. It’s not intensely stiff to the point of discomfort, but it’s the type of e-bike where the rider should keep an eye out for rough patches and potholes.

At the handlebars, this e-bike's slimmed-down vibe continues. The control interface is clean, and the Proxima features a display that’s small and rather basic, but functional. The buttons to alter pedal-assist levels are simple to use and the screen is clear, however, the readout itself looks a little dated.

Proxima

That’s mostly an aesthetic complaint, but the one part in which I’d truly ding the Vvolt Proxima’s display is its battery readout, which is tiny and tough to decipher.

Motor

The Vvolt Proxima comes with a 250W mid-drive motor which is sold standard as a Class 1 unit. This means its pedal assist is limited to 20 mph. 

The MPF motor on the Vvolt Proxima isn’t as sensitive as some of the higher-end mid-drive motors I’ve tested out, but it’s still miles ahead of most hub motors. The engagement is immediate - the motor starts and stops in time with your pedaling. Its ability to add power, in relation to how hard you pedal, is also very good.

Many high-end mid-drive motors boast the ability to perfectly replicate a rider’s pedaling. This provides the sensation that you’re not just riding an electric bike, but rather your legs are just really strong. 

Proxima motor

The Vvolt Proxima’s power delivery isn’t quite smooth - the bike definitely feels like an e-bike, but it’s not really the on and off sensation you get from most hub-driven electric bikes.

This motor’s power is broken into five levels of pedal assist. This offers you solid control over the e-bike’s speed and lets you decide how little or how much physical effort you want to put into the cranks. 

Battery

The thing that left us wanting a little bit more from the Vvolt Proxima was the battery, which has a lower range compared to most of its competitors.

The Vvolt Proxima is powered by a 36V, 10Ah battery. This battery is fully integrated into the frame and it can be removed. Compared to other electric bikes, this battery is on the smaller end of the spectrum. 

According to Vvolt, a smaller battery was a strategic choice that aimed at keeping the weight down and the bike focused on the commuter demographic. 

The truth is, contrary to the popular belief that a bigger range is better, most electric bike riders don’t actually need a large battery to get the job done. 

Even the Vvolt Proxima’s shortest range result on pedal assist level 5 is probably plenty for your average rider. Going for the smaller battery definitely keeps the weight of the bike down, which is one of the features I like best about this e-bike - its slimmed-down and featherweight ride feel.

But Vvolt isn’t ignorant to the fact that there are people out there who will want a greater range. Vvolt does have 36V, 14Ah batteries on the way that should be available in the future. However, the question remains when those will be in stock.

In addition, the battery locks to the bike so that nobody can take it off without a key.

You can always remove the battery and take it with you. This makes the Vvolt Proxima less appealing to steal if you lock it up outside. It also makes it easier to charge - you don’t have to bring the whole bike inside if you don’t have enough space.

Brake Type

Along with hydraulic brakes rather than mechanical, the Proxima uses 160mm rotors for powerful stopping ability. Hydraulic brakes are generally only found on significantly more expensive e-bikes, so I would say it’s impressive that Vvolt managed to include this type of brakes on the Proxima.

Rims

Vvolt Proxima features 27.5-inch rims which is a standard size for commuter e-bikes and, all in all, decent quality rims.

Tires

Proxima tire

This commuter electric bike comes with 27.5 x 1.6-inch Kenda tires that have a light thread. These tires are perfect for your daily commuting on the pavement and can even handle some dirt.


Post Test Summary: Vvolt Proxima Pros And Cons

Proxima light

From the mid-drive motor to the Gates CDX drive and Enviolo shifting, Vvolt Proxima has some high-quality components, making it one of the best commuter e-bikes in the $3000 price range.

What I Like About The Vvolt Proxima

The first thing I like about the Vvolt Proxima is its sleek appearance with its battery hidden inside the downtube.

The MPF mid-drive motor performs really well and the Gates belt drive along with the Enviolo drivetrain make this e-bike low maintenance.

PROS

  • MPF mid-drive motor
  • Gates CDX belt drive
  • Enviolo CVT rear hub

What I Don’t Like About The Vvolt Proxima

The first thing I don’t like about the Vvolt Proxima is the battery. The rather small 375Wh battery gives the e-bike a range that’s short compared to many competitors.

The stiff and rigid frame handles amazingly but can feel a bit rough on bad pavement. Another thing is the display which is a little dated and the battery readout is small and can be hard to read.

Cons

  • Small 375Wh battery
  • Rigid frame
  • Tiny display readout


Advice To Buyers

The Vvolt Proxima is a low-maintenance commuter electric bike, perfect for taking you to the work or just riding around the town.


Conclusion

The number of sub-$3,000 electric bikes on the market that feature mid-drive motors is small. Add in the Enviolo drive train and Gates belt, and I think the Vvolt Proxima may be in a league of its own.

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance, sleek-looking simple commuter e-bike, the VVolt Proxima is probably what you’ve been searching for.

About the author

Emma was born and raised in the UK, studied in Amsterdam (where she discovered her passion for biking), and is currently living in Ohio. Her main passion is cycling, that's why she is always looking for an amazing new e-bike to make her journey even more unforgettable!

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