Electric bikes come in all shapes and sizes. Ancheer’s 36V mountain bike sits at the entry level for electric bicycles, but offers a powerful 250W motor that takes the pain out of cycling up hills.
You can buy the Ancheer from Amazon. Tech Advisor readers can get £45 off by using the voucher code EF3DHP8H. This brings it down to just over £500.
At this price, it’s one of the cheapest electric mountain bikes available. Obviously the quality of components is lower than top-end bikes such as the Volt Alpine and the design isn’t as elegant.
There’s just one frame size, which is fairly small, so it should suit those from around 5ft3 up to about 6ft.
Features and design
The first thing you’ll notice is the battery which looks like an oversized drinks bottle. It makes it obvious you’re riding an electric bike, but the frame is otherwise just like a standard mountain bike.
Few electric bikes yet have their batteries and wiring hidden inside the frame, but although the Ancheer isn’t the sleekest with all its wires on display, the removable battery means you can unlock it with the key and take it indoors to charge (which takes 4-6 hours).
The bike comes partly disassembled for shipping, so you’ll have to attach the handlebars, pedals, front light, quick-release saddle and front wheel. In all, it’ll take you around 30 minutes including removing all the cable ties and packaging. The tools to do this are included, but you might prefer you use your own screwdriver and spanners as the supplied tools are poor quality.
Note that unlike the saddle, the front and rear wheels are not quick release: they require a 15mm spanner.
On the left side of the handlebars is a basic control panel with buttons for power and increasing or decreasing the assistance level. LEDs light up for low, medium and high levels, and there’s a battery gauge too. Below this is a switch for the front light and a horn button.
In the box you’ll find a twist-grip throttle which you’ll have to install yourself if you want a pure electric mode where you can power the bike without pedalling. This isn’t legal to use on the road in the UK or Europe which is why it’s not installed by the factory.
But you can use it off road, and fitting it takes around 15 minutes. The instructions are in relatively poor English and it’s easy to miss the part which explains that you have to press the ‘-‘ button on the control panel until all the assist lights have gone out. Only then will the throttle work.
To fit it, a shorter handlebar grip is supplied and you’ll have to unscrew the battery mounting plate from the down tube and the black box of wires which hangs behind the seat post. And if you fancy a bit of extra speed, you can unplug the white wire which limits the motor to the EU-regulated 15.5mph. This gives you a few extra mph that’ll let you cruise at a comfortable 20mph.
In terms of specs, the 250W motor is the most powerful you can have under current law and it’s powered by a 36V 8AH battery. This is enough for 15-30 miles depending on the temperature, wind conditions and terrain.
The bike itself has entry-level Shimano gears (21-speed) with three chainrings at the front and seven sprockets at the rear. This is in contrast with other designs we’ve seen which have just one chainring and more gears at the rear. The Ancheer’s gearing is also quite low, so it isn’t really possible to go much faster than 20-25mph.
You get disc brakes, both front and rear. They’re mechanical rather than hydraulic, but they still do a decent job of bringing you swiftly to a halt.
The front shock is unbranded and isn’t adjustable. It’s relatively hard, but that’s preferable given the lack of adjustment or lock-out.
The bike comes with a stand pre-fitted and a rear reflector but, strangely, no rear LED light.
Like the Volt Alpine, which also has a 250W motor, the Ancheer will make it easy to climb hills. The first time you try the ‘High’ assistance mode you’ll laugh out loud at how little effort is needed to pedal up even steep hills.
And if you want to make sure you save some battery power you can press the ‘-‘ button until all the assist lights are out and ride with no help from the motor at all.
The only trouble with this is that it takes more effort to ride without the motor than a standard bike as you’re carrying an extra 10kg or so of weight: the Ancheer weighs almost 23kg.
This also means it’s heavy to lift up a flight of stairs or into a car boot, but that’s a drawback with pretty much all electric bikes, not just Ancheer’s.
Although Ancheer doesn’t say anything about the electronics being waterproof, everything worked fine after leaving the bike out in the rain for a couple of hours.
We found the supplied tyres were a good balance between grip for off-roading and speed for road riding. But as they’re standard 26in wheels, you can put on whatever tyres you fancy.
Annoyingly, there is no connector in the cable which can be detached when removing the rear wheel. This is another sign of the bike’s cheap price and a problem if you need to fix a puncture or simply remove the wheel for transporting the bike in a car. There is a connector in the black plastic box, but this is really inconvenient to open.
The only other gripe is the hard-as-rock saddle. Fortunately, it uses the standard rail system for fitting so you can replace it with a more comfortable one with just an Allen key.