Leon Cycle NCM C7 eBike, $1599 – On sale $1,299
- High quality and great value for the money
- 350W Das-Kit rear hub motor with Intelligent Torque Sensor technology Motor is extremely quiet
- Top pedal-assisted speed of 20mph (for a Class I rating) and a 75-mile range
- Quality hydraulic disc brakes
- Lockable battery easily removable for remote charging
- Excellent handling and cornering even at high speeds
- A fully integrated rear rack accommodates panniers
- Thicker than the standard chain for increased durability
- Arrives virtually fully assembled, only 30 minutes from box to first ride.
- Most all tools for assembly included in the shipment
- Front and rear lights plus reflective sidewalls provide built-in visibility
- When cycling through power levels, you must select Off when going from High to Low
- Torque wrenches are required for assembly, including one that goes up to 30-35 nM
- The rear taillight is not integrated, must turn on manually.
- Saddle designed for riders with narrow sit bones
- No mounts for a water bottle cage
- It uses Schrader instead of Presta valve tubes
Assembly in under 30 minutes
The NCM C7 ebike arrived in a single box via FedEx, weighing 60 pounds, and the driver was kind enough to deliver it inside my garage. I texted my brother to come over and assist me. I was concerned about any heavy pieces—I’ve had neck surgery for herniated discs, not being a wimp.
The company did a good job packing; however, there were two issues. First, when unwrapping the battery, the LED cover for the battery level indicator stuck to the wrapping and popped off. I was able to put it back on, but it won’t work unless the battery is removed and connected to the charger. However, when the battery is on the bike, I can see the charge level on the handlebar display.
Another issue was the front rotor got bent in shipping. At first, I thought the front fender was making a clanging noise. But upon further inspection, it’s a bent rotor. (This is how you straighten a bent rotor.)
The NCM C7 ebike required minimal assembly since the rear wheel was already attached. The handlebars need to be mounted along with the front fender and wheel. Assembly took only 30 minutes, and it did help that there were two of us since the bike was heavy and my home work stand couldn’t support the weight.
The company included in the shipment all the tools necessary to assemble the NCM C7 model, except for a torque wrench. The instructions were very detailed, calling out torque specs for the stem, and weirdly for the wheels. I have a torque set, but I assume the typical customer for this bike wouldn’t. Also, the spec for the front wheel bolts is 30-35 nM, and my wrench only goes to 20 nM. So I had to trust my hand tightening for those bolts. Having attached wheels to a bike thousands of times, I felt pretty safe. I imagine the specs for both the stem and the wheels are to make sure people attach the handlebars and wheels safely and fully tightened.
Quality and performance made for a fun first ride
I’ve never ridden a Class 1 eBike before testing Leon Cycle’s NCM C7 commuter bike, and all I can say is it was fun! If I’m being honest, I was a bit nervous, thinking the torque-assist would act as a throttle, kicking in, and the bike would get away from me, but it wasn’t like that at all. Instead, the C7 uses a torque sensor and not a cadence sensor. Meaning the power assist distributes according to the watts put into the pedals rather than the number of revolutions.
With Mitch on his eFat Bike and me on the NCM C7 electric bike, we took off for a quick neighborhood ride. It was so much fun that we went on a 22-mile adventure to the local forest preserve and visited friends for Mother’s Day. The C7 handles like a regular bike, cornering and maneuvering with ease. Even on the crushed limestone trail, I felt confident and secure with the 700×38 tires.
At 6 feet tall, the company sent me a large frame. In order to fit me correctly, the seat had to be situated higher than the handlebars (refer to the initial image above), thus putting me in a more aggressive position than typical for a commuter bike.
On my second test ride, I added my Garmin Edge computer to the handlebar cockpit to monitor my speed. Then, at 20-21 mph, the motor would kick off as required by law of a Class 1 eBike. I also ran out of gears above 20 mph.
For the majority of my test rides, I kept the power level at 1 and found that sufficient. When I hit a steep hill, I’d kick it into medium or high and easily crested the hill. Also, headwinds were never a factor, and fun to say to the other riders, “what wind?”
The NCM C7 has an aluminum frame, available in three colors (matte black, matte white, or matte brick red), two sizes (M or L), and 8-speed index shifting. It’s powered by Das-Kit, 350w rear hub motor, and integrated battery: 36V14AH, 504WH. The combination enables a top pedal-assisted speed of 20mph (for a Class I rating) and a 75-mile range.
The cockpit is nicely designed with the power level button within easy reach of your left thumb without letting go of the bars. The display also shows the battery power gauge using three bars. Then there’s an 8-speed index shifter and a bell on the right side.
One feature that needs improving is how you cycle through the power levels from off to low, medium, or high. You can only toggle from low to medium, medium to high, high to off, and then off to low. I learned to use the high power level when climbing. Then, as I start my descent, toggle the power quickly from high to off to low to avoid losing momentum. It would be great to have a multi-directional button to allow the rider to go up or down in power, not cycle through the levels in one direction.
The NCM C7 has a walk mode, which some eBikes don’t offer. It lets you easily roll the bike at a walking pace. This function is also convenient if you have a hitch rack with a ramp. You don’t have to muscle the bike up the ramp. Just walk it with ease.
An eBike designed for the commuter rider
The NCM C7 is a commuter cyclist’s dream, getting you to work with minimal effort. Some key features of this bike include front and rear fenders, front and rear lights, a bell, kickstand, and an integrated rear rack for panniers. Like many eBikes, there are no water bottle mounts. I guess manufacturers assume your trips are short, or you’ll carry water in a backpack or hydration pack.
Another nice feature of the NCM C7 is the thicker than normal chain. Ebikes put a lot of torque on a chain, causing them to wear faster, a known issue. But by having a thicker chain, it can cope with the power output of an eBike motor and is more durable.
The front light is designed to turn on automatically when the power is turned on. The rear light must be manually activated. The toggle button on the rear light didn’t always work, and to me, it seemed to be on the cheap side. Both lights were not bright enough for daytime running lights and only on solid mode (no flash), so I mounted my own lights for added safety. For even more lights, I swapped out the pedals that came with the bike for the new Redshift Archlight smart pedals, which I recently reviewed.
The integrated locking battery is easily removed from the bike and taken inside a home or office for charging. However, the charging unit did get very hot when charging the battery. Therefore, I took precautions not to leave it unattended or plugged in past the time the battery was fully charged. Also, the indicator light on the charging block stayed red and never turned green, indicating the battery was fully charged.
I enjoyed riding the NCM C7 around neighborhood streets, local forest preserves, crushed limestone trails, and paved paths. The quiet rear-drive motor and torque assist combine for an almost effortless ride. The NCM C7’s many features and affordable price make it an ideal commuter bike (at the time of this review, it’s on sale for $1,299).
The NCM ebike brand by Leon Cycle is available at their stores, or you can have one shipped directly to your home. It’s straightforward to assemble. Just make sure you have a torque wrench.
Sheri Rosenbaum regularly contributes articles and reviews products for RBR. She’s an avid recreational roadie who lives in the Chicago area and a major advocate for women’s cycling, serving on the board of directors and volunteering with the Dare2tri Paratriathlon Club. Click to read Sheri’s full bio or visit her web site sunflowersandpedals.com.
Tim Evans says
If, as you say, it is powered by a hub drive motor, then none of the power is going through the chain. Therefore, the chain is only powered by your pedaling. Perhaps what you saw was a typical 8-speed chain?