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Vitesse Signal Electric Bike Review

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The Vitesse Signal Electric Hybrid Bike – Is it worth the money?

As electric bikes become increasingly popular, some buyers want the look and feel of a regular bike, with just a little assist every now and then.

A few years back, you could tell an ebike a mile off. Chunky frames, with large battery packs and big hub motors. As the technology has improved, electric bikes have evolved to look more like their conventional counterparts. One such ebike is the Vitesse Signal Hybrid. At a first glance you’d be forgiven for thinking it was an ordinary bike. In my review, I will have a look under the subtle exterior to see how it stands up as an ebike.

vitesse signal electric bike

Summary

Ebikes that look like regular bikes are becoming more commonplace. As battery and motor technology improves, integration becomes a lot easier.

This new generation of electric bikes, aren’t focused on performance or battery range. They are about saving weight, and keeping the general look and feel of a normal bike.

The Vitesse Signal definitely succeeds in a number of areas. For starters, the claimed weight of just 16.5kg, is not much heavier than a regular unassisted hybrid bike. As a comparison the Carrera Crossfire E weighs in at 22.5kg – a whole 6kg heavier!

There is a small 36v 6.8ah (245Wh) battery neatly integrated into the frame, and a compact 250w rear hub motor.

The rest of the bike is fairly unremarkable, but maybe that’s the idea. A minimalist ebike, that doesn’t have ‘steal me’ written all over it. Let’s have a closer look at the specification.

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Electric Components

250w Compact rear hub motor

The Vitesse Signal uses a compact, high-torque 250w rear hub motor. The particular motor used is of a fairly generic design. This design has been in use for a few years now, and its success is in its reliability and simplicity.

One of the great design features of this bike, is the manufacturer has managed to hide the motor control unit in the downtube along with the battery.

rear hub motor on the vitesse signal

Another great feature of the Vitesse signal, is the torque-sensing pedal assist. This means the motor will only give you power in proportion to the amount of force you apply to the pedals. In effect, the harder you pedal, the more assist you will get.

What this does is make the small motor very efficient in using battery energy, which is just as well, as the battery only has a measly 245 watt hours of energy capacity.

This e-assist set-up allows for 5 power levels, which is really useful, as you can fine-tune the assist as and when you need it.

One more thing worthy of note, is you can easily ride the Vitesse with the electric motor switched off. There is not drag from the motor, as it disengages when not in use. It feels no different to pedalling a normal bicycle.

Display

The neat LCD display is mounted on the left hand side of the handlebar, next to the grip. You can easily change assist levels and monitor your speed, battery range, power level and trip function.

vitesse signal lcd display

Although it’s not particularly fancy, it does everything you would expect of an ebike display. And it fits in with the general look of the bike. There is also a useful 500mAh USB port, which is suitable for maintaining a charge on a smartphone (but not charging it fully).

Battery

A frame integrated 36v 6.8ah battery is concealed within the normal looking downtube. Usually with frame concealed ebike batteries, the downtube is noticeably larger, but not on the Vitesse Signal.

They have done a great job of integrating the battery, with the only tale, tale sign being a small charging port located at the top right hand side of the downtube.

battery charging port on the vitesse signal ebike

As far as battery range is concerned, I feel that the manufactures claimed range of up to 60 miles is a bit optimistic. In real-world riding conditions, with a few hills thrown in, I would say 25-35 miles seems more realistic.

You could probably squeeze 60 miles out of a single charge if you stayed in the lowest power setting.

Bike Components

In keeping with the minimalist design of the bike, the Vitesse Signal uses fairly basic, but dependable Shimano components. My only real complaint in this department is the choice of V-brakes.

BrandVitesse
TypeElectric Hybrid Bikes
Frame Material6061 Aluminium
SuspensionFront Suspension
Wheel Size700c
Number of GearsSimano Altus 8-Speed
Brake TypeV-Brakes
Maximum SpeedAssistance up to 15.5mph
Maximum Rangeup to 60 miles
Recharge Time5-6 hours
Pedals IncludedYes
Approximate Weight16.5kg
GenderMens

Gearing

With a 44t front chainring and an 11-32 8-speed rear cassette, the gearing is more than suitable for pottering around town, and even okay for a bit of exploring the countryside.

shimano altus 8 speed gearing on the vitesse signal ebike

The Vitesse Signal uses the dependable Shimano Altus rear derailleur, which is not only reliable, but provides crisp, precise gear changes.

Brakes

This is one area, I really think could be improved. I’m not saying decent V-brakes, set up properly aren’t any good. On the contrary, they can work very well if adjusted correctly.

v-brakes fitted to the vitesse signal electric bike

The main issue is when there is muck and water on the road. Braking performance is substantially diminished. At this price, it would have been nice to have hydraulic brakes fitted.

Front Suspension

I personally would have fitted rigid forks to this bike, the suspension fitted is unbranded and doesn’t feel like it could handle much abuse.

vitesse signal front forks

It’s fine at soaking up road bumps and coping with canal towpaths or even light forest trails.But I wouldn’t trust it to cope with anything like a large pot hole or a rock.

Wheels and Tyres

The 700c double-walled alloy rims with alloy hubs and 14g spokes should make for fairly tough wheels. The tyres used are unspecified  700 x 35c hybrid tyres, that have a reflective sidewall and I would imagine some degree of puncture protection.

Finishing Kit

The seat post, stem and handlebars are all Vitesse  branded items and look to be of decent quality. The seat is a Velo trekking saddle, that should be comfortable enough for most riders.

velo saddle fitted to the vitesse signal ebike

Frame

The 6061 alloy frame has the classic hybrid-style geometry, making for a very relaxed, upright riding position. This is certainly a bike that has been designed with the commuter or leisure rider in mind.

All the cables are internally routed, which finishes off, what is a very tidy looking package.

Who is the Vitesse Signal best suited for?

If you fit a set of mudguards and a rack, this would be an ideal commuter bike. Even using the higher power setting, you should still be able to do a 20 mile a day round commute, with a bit of battery to spare.

It has a nice ‘sit up and beg’ riding position, making it comfortable for longer rides. Another plus factor, is the Vitesse is relatively light for an ebike. If you live in a flat, carrying the bike up stairs shouldn’t be too much of  problem.

vitesse signal electric bike review

When it comes to weekend leisure riding, this bike will easily fit on a car mounted bike rack, and the weight shouldn’t cause too much of a problem (unlike some Bosch powered ebikes that weigh 25kg).

The Vitesse Signal is only currently available in a 52cm frame, and although there is a fair amount of adjustment available in the seat post, taller riders (6ft plus) may find it a little on the small side.

Where to buy the Vitesse Signal Electric Bike

vitesse signal electric bike review
Buy from Amazon UK
Buy from eBay UK
Buy from Halfords
Buy from Very
Buy from JD Williams
Buy from Pure Electric
Buy from Littlewoods

Conclusion

I quite like the Vitesse Signal. It’s lightweight, it has torque-sensing pedal assist and it has a nice traditional bicycle look about it.

It is a pleasant bike to ride, and the small hub motor provides a surprising turn of power when needed. It is also very easy to ride with the assist switched off – you wouldn’t even realise you were riding an ebike.

The only downside with this bike (and it is a big one) is the price. At an RRP of around £1499 it is, in my opinion considerably overpriced, especially when you look at the competition. It is available for less on eBay and Amazon.

 

Decathlon Riverside 500 electric bike review

Take for example the Decathlon Riverside 500 hybrid ebike – this has hydraulic brakes, nearly double the battery power and decent quality Suntour suspension forks for £500 less. And for around a £100 less you can buy the B’TWIN Elops 920e, with a Brose mid-drive, mudguards, pannier rack and integrated lights.

It’s a shame really, because I think the Vitesse Signal is a great little electric bike. Where this bike wins hands down is the fact that it looks like a regular bike and rides like a regular bike. Most people wouldn’t even realise it was an electric bike unless you told them.

The Vitesse Signal is currently available at the reduced price of £1349

If you’re looking for a lightweight, no-frills ebike, that you can use as a regular bike, and only use the assist occasionally, then this would do the job.

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Vitesse Signal Electric Bike

£1349.00
6.3

Value for Money

6.0/10

Performance

7.0/10

Battery Range

6.0/10

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Minimalist Design
  • Ideal for commuting

Cons

  • V-Brakes have poor wet weather braking
  • Low Battery range
  • Needs to be cheaper to be competitive

21 thoughts on “Vitesse Signal Electric Bike Review

  • October 16, 2020 at 8:39 pm
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    Hi, how do you charge the bike? There is no mention of this… if you can’t take the battery out, then you need to take the bike indoors or be rich enough to buy a house with a garage. You couldn’t leave the bike chained up outside and take the battery into the office to recharge?? So not suitable as a commuter bike or am I mistaken?

    Reply
    • October 17, 2020 at 9:23 am
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      Hi,

      The battery needs to be charged on the bike, so the bike would need to be taken indoors near a mains power socket to charge. The battery range would only be adequate for a 20-30 miles round trip between charging if the higher level of assist was used. In my opinion, there are much better e-bikes available at the price for the purpose of commuting. The only advantage the Vitesse Signal has is its relatively lighter weight (when compared with other similarly priced e-bikes).

      Reply
  • April 25, 2020 at 10:57 pm
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    Hi Tony, Boardman came today. Like you said, excellent bike, feels like a road bike. Really nimble and quick. Gears are really nice, change easily and even with a limited number there’s enough there I think to do everything I’d need. Bikes really light and sleek, everything appears very well made. As for the motor, I spent a lot of the time with it off until I was tired on my way home. The motor is really subtle like you said, you can feel it kick in, but it does it in such a smooth way. The boost isn’t massive but it really takes the edge off and can help power you up a hill. Wouldn’t go so far as to say propel, but it gives you enough to take that burn away from your leg muscles!
    Even in breeze mode there’s enough of a difference.
    If I had anything bad to say about it, perhaps I’d like the seat position to have slightly higher handle bars, I feel a bit too stooped over, but I’m used to mountain bikes, and this has more of a road bike feel. It’s also very much a personal preference.
    Thanks for your advice, would Definitely recommend this bike to anyone.
    Took 9 days from order to delivery from cycle republic. Came almost fully built, had to adjust a few things straighten the handle bars outs put on the pedals, charge the battery, oil the chain, pump the tires up a bit more. But that was it.
    Very happy! Cheers

    Reply
    • April 25, 2020 at 11:33 pm
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      Hi Ross,

      Thanks for letting me know. Glad you’re pleased with the Boardman, it’s a great bike for the money. When you’ve ridden it for a bit feel free to go over to the review page and leave your own review in the comments section. Regarding the stem, I would buy one of those 3T 17 degree riser stems. I’ve got one on my road bike and it makes all the difference.

      Enjoy your bike and ride safe!

      Cheers,
      Tony

      Reply
    • May 2, 2020 at 3:57 pm
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      Hi Tony, I decided to buy the Vitesse Signal after reading your review and seeing it for sale on Amazon for £800. Had a bit of a wait for it to be delivered (4 weeks) but it arrived today and now I have a concern.
      Looking at other reviews for the bike on Amazon there is mention of battery/charger issues which I believe I might be experiencing too. When plugged in the charger flashes red, is this correct? Other reviews say it should be solid red when charging and green when charged.
      I do like the look of the bike and after waiting for so long would hate to have to return it as defective.

      Reply
      • May 2, 2020 at 7:51 pm
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        Hi Mike,

        The charger on the one I tested was a solid red LED when plugged into the mains and switched on, then turned green after a couple of hours charging. In my experience a flashing red LED usually indicates a fault with the charger – I would contact their customer support to see if they can send you out another one.

        I hope they’re quick to sort the issue out. Please let me know the outcome.

        Regards,
        Tony

        Reply
  • April 14, 2020 at 12:09 am
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    Ah awesome, I thought there must be some sort fo way to adjust these things, I knew the seat would be to some extent.
    How doe sthe electric motor fair vs the Fazua? Anywhere else I look for comparisons, or reviews etc they are looking at 4 grand + bikes where I just dont think that compares to what i’m looking at.
    Any idea when you might have the Orbea review up to read? I will likely be buying the bike on Wednesday this week I think. Its a toss up still between the Boardman, Vitesse and Orbea.
    Viesse saves me a lot of money, Orbea gets me a good deal with the extra accessories over the Boardman at Cyclerepublic, but the Boardman does have that motor you mentioned and the ability to remove the battery etc. Plus its a sleek looking bike. I just wish I could test them out.
    You ranked the Vitesee at 6.3, vs the Boardman at 8.0. I presume some of the difference is the cost. Where would you position the Orbea? These seem to be the only bikes out there other than the Gtech you mentioned that looks like a standard bike rather than electric. I saw the ‘Babymaker’ advertised but I dont think they are available just yet and are American so may be more difficult to get across here.
    My biggest concerns are it standing out like a sore thumb to potential thieves, is it comfortable to ride a lot, does it have a bit of extra oomf for hills as i’m not as fit as I used to be, will it feel fairly like a normal bike without the power on, and reliability. I will pay for whatever is going to suit me best, saving money is just an added bonus.

    Reply
    • April 14, 2020 at 8:39 am
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      Hi Ross,

      The assist on both the Fazua and ebikemotion is very subtle and doesn’t provide the ‘kick’ you’ll get from something like a Bosch CX or Shimano Steps E7000. I like both motors but if I had to choose, I would personally go with the Fazua system simply because it offers the flexibility of choosing whether or not you have the system fitted. Both motors don’t give any discernible resistance when the assist is switched off.

      If I had to rate the Gain F40 based on my recent ride, I would rate it comparable to the Boardman. I’m a bit biased towards road bikes though. What I liked about the Gain is the fact it feels so light and nimble, you really wouldn’t think you were riding an ebike (until you activate the motor). Having said that the Boardman also felt the same. It depends on your current fitness level, and how many steep hills there are where you ride.

      Both systems are generally reliable, but as with anything electric, there are isolated problems reported from time to time. Here is my article comparing the two drive systems.

      All the best,
      Tony

      Reply
      • June 10, 2020 at 7:15 pm
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        Hello,

        I have been finding your reviews very helpful. I am deciding between an Orbea F40 gain and Boardman electric bike. I personally prefer the look of the Orbea, but the major selling point would be which provides better assistance on hills. I have had an injury in the past so my fitness is not as good and would prefer to go for the one with the extra boost. I have read the torque on the Orbea is less-does this make a huge difference when cycling?

        Reply
        • June 10, 2020 at 10:39 pm
          Permalink

          Hi Danya,

          Having ridden both bikes, there’s not really a lot in it. I would say the Boardman has the edge, which is more down to the efficient power-transfer of a mid-drive motor (through the bikes gearing). Torque is a measurement of rotational force and the Orbea produces about 10-20Nm (Newton metres) less than the Boardman, but weighs nearly 2kg less which may help offset the torque difference when riding.

          If it’s at all possible, I would see if there are any bike shops open that can let you test ride each bike so you can make the right decision.

          I hope this information helps. If you need any more advice, please let me know.

          Regards,
          Tony

          Reply
  • April 12, 2020 at 10:53 pm
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    Sorry to bother you again Tony, the Orbea, seems to have quite a high riding position? Is that adjustable? Or is the picture just set that way? It doesn’t look like it would be very comfortable?
    Unfortunately with the Covid 19 situation going and testing the bike isn’t going to be doable hence all the research online. I noticed there are two other version too, the F20 and F30, only changes I can see are number of gears? Besides the price of course.

    Reply
    • April 12, 2020 at 11:29 pm
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      Hi Ross,

      The saddle can be adjusted to suit your riding style, I usually ride road bikes so I’m used to riding with the saddle high and bars low. It looks like they have the saddle very high on the photo, as a rule of thumb the saddle should about 3 inches above the top of the bars and with the pedal crank a 6 O’clock with your heel on the pedal your leg should be straight (for maximum pedalling efficiency). You will need to get the right size frame for your build, their sizing guide is fairly accurate. If you need the stem raised you can buy a 17 degree riser stem like this one from Wiggle.

      The F30 uses Shimano Claris which has a 50/34 double front crankset with an 11-32 rear cassette, which would be better for climbing hills. The F20 uses Shimano 105 which is more performance orientated and much higher up the spec list with 22 gears.

      If you want to use the bike in all weathers and a spot of day touring the F25 version has lights, mudguards, kickstand and pannier rack fitted.

      Let me know if you need any more advice.

      Cheers,
      Tony

      Reply
  • April 11, 2020 at 12:45 am
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    That is a great bike, and there is a deal on Cycle Republic on the Orbea to get £180 worth of free accessories at the moment so thank you for that spot, I’d never have noticed otherwise. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
    • April 11, 2020 at 5:38 am
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      Let me know how things go, and glad to have been of assistance.

      All the best,
      Tony

      Reply
  • April 10, 2020 at 2:50 pm
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    Awesome Tony thanks, some really good pointers. The only other bike i’m really considering now is the Boardman HYB 8.9E. You did a really good review on that one as well, I quite like howthe battery sits on that bike, rather than it being this huge protruding lump, its nicely fitted under the bar the full length. Very nice looking bike. A bit more expensive but a good deal at cycle republic again there at £2049 I think. Also quite a light bike by the looks of it, even lighter than the Vitesse.

    Reply
    • April 10, 2020 at 4:55 pm
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      Hi Ross,

      If your budget stretches to the Boardman, then I would seriously consider it. It’s on a whole different level spec-wise and it weighs just under a kilo less than the Vitesse. I could have quite happily ridden the HYB 8.9e all day, and only used the assist a handful of times. The Fazua motor is incredibly smooth, and the fact it can be quickly removed is a bonus.

      The only issues I have heard about are the torx bolts securing the motor gearbox can come loose (reported occasionally), and I have heard of a couple of instances when the battery hasn’t been fully ‘clicked-in’ to place and fallen out when being ridden.

      My friend has now put over 2000 miles on his without any problems, and having ridden it, I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending one. It’s the cheapest Fazua Evation-powered ebike currently available.

      Another option worth considering is the Orbea Gain F40, I had a ride on one of these last month, but haven’t gotten round to writing a review yet. It costs £1799 and is available from Cycle Republic. It is a bit lighter than the Boardman and uses the X35 ebikemotion hub motor with internal battery. From my perspective it felt like riding a regular flat bar road bike, really lightweight and nimble with good brakes and nice gear ratios. Definitely worth considering.

      All the best,
      Tony

      Reply
  • April 9, 2020 at 2:36 pm
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    Hi Tony, I really like the look of this bike, the fact it doesnt look like an E bike to me helps, makes it less noticeable to potential thieves. If the bike was at a more reasonable price how would you grade it? I have seen them available for £1149 right now. I notice the guy above was posting regarding cheaper prices. You stated you think its a little overpriced, but by how much? I checked the Amazon link you posted, the bikes currently unavailable.
    Also I assume if I really wanted to change the brakes this bike could be adapted by buying new wheels that can support the disc brakes and some mounts for the fork?
    I’m really looking at this vs the Declathalon and Carrera crossfire E Bikes you reviewed. Its really the look of the bike I like more.
    I’m going to use it for some commuting and pleasure riding. Likely turn the power off if I can for some more exercise. I doubt I would go off-road much, you said the suspension doesnt look like it could take much abuse. But then again I might go on the odd hill path here or there.
    Would you suggest one fo the other two bikes is a much better option even at the reduced price?

    Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks in advance and keep up the good work on the reviews

    Reply
    • April 9, 2020 at 10:57 pm
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      Hi Ross,
      I personally enjoyed riding the Vitesse Signal, I just felt that the price (at the time of review) was a bit on the steep side. Where is wins hands down over the Crossfire E and Riverside 500 is weight. It feels much more like riding a regular bicycle with the assist switched off.

      Regarding the brakes, the bike I tested had the provision to mount a brake caliper on the front fork, so it would be fairly straightforward to purchase right hand side Shimano or Tekro hydraulic brake. You would also need to buy a 700c front wheel with mounting for a disc rotor (you can buy a decent disc-specific front wheel from eBay for less than £50). Although I like the bite and modulation of hydraulic brakes, the rim brakes fitted to the Vitesse felt more than adequate for everyday riding.

      I think at the current price of £1149 in Cycle Republic it’s a much more tempting proposition. As you rightly pointed out, it has a very stealth look to it, most people wouldn’t even think it was an electric bike, whereas the other two bikes are very obviously ebikes with their external battery packs.

      If you need greater battery range and expect to rely on the electric assist more often, then I would say go for the Riverside or Crossfire. But if you’re after a lighter, more traditional looking hybrid bike that isn’t going to draw much attention, then the Vitesse is ideal. It’s also the bike I would personally choose if I was only looking to use the assist on hills. The Gtech Sport Hybrid is cheaper, and a bit lighter, but it only has one gear and no suspension.

      If you need any more advice before making a purchase, please let me know.

      All the best,
      Tony

      Reply
  • April 3, 2020 at 12:54 pm
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    hi there… this bike is currently on sale on various sites, so was considering it because of the price drop. Quick question though, some of the reviews have indicated that the battery is removable. Is this true? How would you remove / replace the battery (after a few years) if it’s built into the the pipe-frame? Also, I’m guessing when charging, you must have the entire bike near a socket if you can’t extract the battery easily?
    many thanks.

    Reply
    • April 3, 2020 at 1:07 pm
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      Hi Warren,

      Removing the battery is possible, but a little time consuming. If you look on the photo, there is a shiny alloy plate on the head tube, you need to remove the front forks completely and then remove this plate to access the battery. As far as I know you can only charge the battery with it in place. The battery itself should be fairly cheap to replace in the long-term as it is of low energy capacity. If you ever needed to replace the battery ebikebatteries.co.uk are very good, and they are based in Bounds Green.

      I have just checked and the cheapest I could find this bike was on Amazon UK for £799 – here is the link.

      All the best,
      Tony

      Reply
      • April 3, 2020 at 2:27 pm
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        Thanks Tony… that’s even cheaper than Halfords. I’ll see if they price match.
        cheers,
        Warren

        Reply

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