Addmotor Motan M-560 P7 Review

CloneWerks

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NOTE: I have added/updated some information. Look for the EDIT: sections below.

A bit of background to set the stage for this review. I was a long-time, pretty serious, distance biker who got older, had several very involved surgeries, and was out-of-commission for roughly 8 years. During that time I put on a significant amount of weight due to limited capability for activity and steroids used to help me heal. Currently I’m a 6’ tall guy who weighs in at 292lb <dramatic sigh> with almost no damn cardio capability so a big, sturdy, eBike is what I wanted to get me back into the game.

Research led me to consider the Addmotor Motan M-560 P7 which is the same frame and most of the same parts as the earlier M-560, the P7 version just has a bigger motor (750 watt) and battery pack (840 Wh).

With that in mind let’s get the literal “elephant in the room” out of the way first. The Addmotor Motan M-560 P7 is a BIG bike. It has a BIG frame and BIG tires. It has BIG weight (74 LB) and it’s intended for BIG people. If you are under 5ft10in or your leg inseam is less than 31” this is NOT the bike for you. Within hours of placing my order Addmotor contacted me to double check my height and leg lengths to make sure I knew what I was ordering because they’ve had multiple returns by people who simply were not physically large enough to ride this bike. I’ll be blunt here, I’m 6’ with a 31” inseam and this bike is right at my limits for a comfortable mount/dismount.

Even knowing all of this, when I first opened the box and was confronted with the end of the frame and the front “fatty” tire I paused for a moment and said “woah!” and seriously wondered what I’d gotten myself into. I had test ridden some other eBikes including a Specialized Turbo Vado (cruiser) and a Trek Rail. This bike dwarfs them physically. I’ve had it for a week now and I still can’t shake the impression that this is the “Harley Davidson Dyna Low rider” of eBikes.

But you know what, that is not a complaint! I love the somewhat art-nouveau design and the whole thing just looks like you should sit back, relax, and cruuuuuise along.

Once the usual adjust-seat-and-handlebars dance was concluded the ride was very comfortable and consistent and over both smooth and bumpy terrain the bike is rock solid; nothing flexes or squeaks or complains even with all of my weight onboard. The big battery pack and 750 watt Bafang motor sit low and are well balanced into the design and together they more than offset the 74lb of curb weight resulting in a bike that is a lot more responsive than you might expect. Is it quick? No. Is it agile? Hell no. Is it comfortable, solid, consistent and predictable in its behavior? Absolutely!

Weather/waterproofness; Well this one is really the big question now isn’t it. It’s also one I really can’t answer but what I did do first thing was put Di-electric grease on all the terminal connections and then took my favorite protection stuff Corrosion-X and I absolutely HOSED the controller and treated other exposed electrical leaving it all to drip-dry overnight with towels underneath to catch the runoff. Given the things I do to my high end R/C cars and trucks that get treated this way I have a pretty high degree of confidence that the electronics will now be proof against pretty much anything short of actual submergence in water. I also put some gallon Ziploc bags and rubber bands in my carry pouch and plan to enclose the display screen if I get caught in the rain. The bike has TWO USB-A ports (one off the display and one on the battery) which makes things like recharging my tail-light extremely convenient. The ports are covered by a good quality rubber cover.

Because I’m primarily a street rider I quickly decided to lock the front shocks out but even so the gigantic 4” fatty tires absorb a lot of the impacts and just happily “moosh” over everything even if inflated to their 30psi max. The tires that come with it are mildly knobby and although they work fine on street I suspect I’ll actually get smooth road versions when replacement time rolls around. The bike also comes with a brute of a rear rack, fenders, and a headlight. EDIT: after a couple of weeks I unlocked the front shocks and fiddled with the pre-load some. I also dropped the tire pressure to 25psi. The ride is even better now.

So back to the weight for a minute. Big frame, Big tires, Big battery, Big cargo rack, Big rider. Total rolling weight with me onboard and the basic accessories is probably pushing 375lb. The 180mm Tektro mechanical disc brakes do a pretty good job of stopping what could be up to 16,000 Joules of kinetic energy (at 20mph) but you definitely have to put the squeeze on the brake levers and you really have to factor a significant stopping distance. While the stock mechanicals are adequate, I can tell you right now that the first major upgrade for this bike is going to be hydraulic brakes. EDIT: So after a few months I've decided to leave the mechanicals alone, however since I start out at the top of a 16% grade right into a "T" intersection I've been eating up the stock "organic resin" brake pads and I doubt they will make 400 miles. The replacement pads will be of the "sintered" variety and hopefully will last longer.

Another note is that I’m a little short in the torso and because of that I’m really going to have to raise the handlebars just a bit for full comfort. Fortunately a raised post is available for minor cost. [EDIT: I bought and installed the riser post from Addmotor. Easy install and it solved my discomfort with the handlebar height]

The shifter (rear only) is a 7 speed Shimano Altus. I consider it a perfectly serviceable though mine was a bit “fiddly” to get tuned in for smooth shifting on all gears. EDIT: It took some tweaking but the Altus derailleurs are working fine now. The 750 watt motor moves things right along and that leads to my only real drivetrain complaint which is that at higher assist settings you can quickly find yourself either freewheeling and letting the motor do all the work, or pedaling like a maniac. But again, this is a cruiser/mountain design not a racer. In practice this isn’t much of an issue for me, I don’t like going more than about 15mph on a bike anyway and given where I ride most of the time I’m slower than that. EDIT: Yup, if you want to participate in moving then this is a 15-16mph bike. More than that and it's all motor 'cause the gearing isn't tall enough.

The BIG frame parts and lack of lugs creates challenges with mounting some accessories. For the first time in my life my water bottle is handlebar mounted. Not really a problem, just not what I’m used to. I bought a really nice lighted/flashing tail-light with a “brake light” function but I had to custom design and 3D print a mount before I could put it where I wanted it.

After spending a touch more than $1,700.00 on a bike, security was on my mind. Admittedly having 74 lb of curb weight provides a measure of security all by itself but with this bike if the battery is installed the bike can be turned on. I will probably install a hidden kill switch at some point to mitigate this. The battery itself is very compactly designed and locks very securely into the frame so nobody is going to casually walk away with it. I think the best tactic is to say “hang the weight” and get a massive lock for the bike.

And finally, customer service.

So the bike they sent me had the wrong rims. I ordered Orange rims for added visibility and was sent a bike that was in all other respects just fine but had black rims. I have heard some very mixed comments about dealing with Addmotor’s customer service but I went ahead and contacted them anyway.

Knowing that there was a potential language issue I kept my communication short and to the point, basically “you sent the wrong rims, I’m not returning the bike but here’s what would make it right”. I received a reply within 24 hours that could, potentially, have seemed rude to a native English speaker but I parsed it out as them asking for a few details with some poor grammar. I clarified the details and waited. Approximately 30 hours later I received a reply apologizing for the mix-up and confirming my proposed solution which I confirmed. Approximately 24 hours after that I received a shipping confirmation and am now awaiting arrival of our agreed upon compensation (the reflector sets for both wheels to give me more visibility). Honestly, aside from not making a mistake in the first place I really don’t know what more I could ask for.

In summary, a Big Brute of a bike that makes you feel ready to go out and do stuff, haul stuff, go places but absolutely not the bike for those of a smaller stature. Will benefit greatly from a brake upgrade.
 

CloneWerks

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Two weeks with the M-560 P7.

In the first two weeks of owning this bike I've had an absolute ball tinkering and tuning and customizing, not because anything was inherently wrong with the bike, but because I can never leave well-enough alone. The "Mountain-Bike" design philosophy has worked extremely well so far for my intended use which includes being gateway back into cycling, a low-speed commuter bike, and a grocery hauler.

The first charge on the battery pack gave me 41 miles before the voltage dropped. I suspect I could have "limped along" for another 5-6 miles before things would have cut-off. Good enough, that is right within the expected range and I'm very pleased. From here on out I have no intention of running things that low again but I wanted to test.

Because I'm coming back to cycling after a long absence, and in lousy physical condition, I'm having to re-learn a host of physical skills and talents that have expired over time. Because I'm not as stable or smooth (yet) as I was in regular cycling days I'm glad that this bike seems to be somewhat forgiving. Young, fit, folks might be annoyed at the slightly-sluggish response you get with a 72 lb bike with fat tires but I'm really glad the bike doesn't surprise me with sudden, unexpected power or the kind of maneuvering response that would, right now, result in over-correction and a crash. Mounts and Dismounts are awkward and probably will remain so because that center bar is awfully high up. Looks cool but it's a serious pain in the (unmentionable body part) for getting on/off.

It has PAS 0-5 giving assists up to 0mph, 9mph, 11mph, 14mph, 16mph, and 21mph respectively. The 7 speed gear-train is definitely set up for lower speed "MTB" style use and favors low speed torque over speed. If I go above PAS 4 the bike over-runs my ability to contribute power with my legs unless I want to pedal like an absolute maniac. If you want to share the load between bike and rider this rig is happiest at PAS3 (14mph) with the gearing allowing me to comfortably maintain 15mph for long stretches on flat straightaways. For commuter use I find myself wishing I had a second ring on the front so that I could contribute more leg power at higher PAS so a different crank may be a future project.

I LOVED the handgrips that came with the bike, they felt good. Unfortunately I could not get them to stay put even after trying a few different methods (rubbing alcohol, soapy water, etc) so I had to pull them and get some grips that locked on. My new grips are excellent but a bit thinner so I've taken to riding with padded gloves to "fatten" things back up.

This bike EXCELLS as a "Grocery Getter" (a 4 mile round trip for me). With a combined weight of about 386 lb [74 lb (bike and accessories), 292 lb (me) and 20 lb (groceries)] nothing creaked or groaned or complained at all on the return ride home. The fat tires ate up the pavement and bumps and basically ignored the load. Things felt extremely stable even when I hit some sandy soil that had collected on part of the curb. As a test I had the 750 watt hub motor carry me part way back up a 200 yard 7% grade which it did with assurance and when I did start pedaling it was mostly like riding on a flat surface with a slight headwind in terms of effort.

The rear derailleur continues to be a bit "fiddly" and I had to fine tune it even more when I got home because 4'th and 5'th gear wanted to "click" more or less constantly. I think this 7 speed Shimano Altus may be the fussiest derailleur I've ever had but only in the middle gears. I suppose it doesn't matter because I seem to only really use 1, 2, 6, and 7.

The grocery run brought me up to 50 miles so I gave the bike a close once-over. Everything remains tight and in good shape including the rear spokes which I was cautioned to monitor closely by experienced eBike riders.

Overall I am extremely pleased with this bike and glad it has enabled me to return to biking. The practical aspect of doing a little grocery shopping and other errands is a huge bonus.

Bike_005_annotated.jpg
 

CloneWerks

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Final Follow Up;
On the whole I'm very pleased with this bike especially considering that I took a chance on something I'd never even sat on (ordered online).

I am now a huge fan of "fat tires". With experimentation I found that putting my 30psi max tires at 25psi gives me an amazing ride without creating an unacceptable amount of rolling resistance. I like the way they sort-of "mooosh" over obstacles and I like how the wide contact patch handles the sort of sand and gravel that accumulates on the edges of roadside bike lanes. We'll see what I think of them when I actually have to change one.

The center bar is too damn tall and will be an annoyance every time I dismount for the rest of the time I own this bike. I'm just going to have to live with it.

I apparently want a more upright "comfort" riding position these days. Fortunately the optional head tube extension brought the handlebars up enough to suit me without any great hassle or expense. Initially I still felt a lot of stress in my forearms and wrists, but my arms have strengthened up quickly and it no longer bothers me so that was a "conditioning me" issue, not really the bike.

Because the bike is so heavy, the lag of having a cadence sensor vs a torque sensor would be more of a problem without the throttle. As it is I usually bip the throttle to overcome starting inertia and then take over from there. Also regarding the drivetrain I wish I had one more "hi-gear" or a double ring up front. The cadence for "cruising" is not terrible but it's higher than I prefer and the motor is powerful enough to run you up to cruising speed pretty quickly.

Because of weight, it's been a challenge to get this bike into some places like at work where I have 3 narrow steps and a 90 degree turn to negotiate to get to the storage spot.

As a brute-force cargo hauler this bike is unsurpassed by anything else I've ever owned. Grocery Getting is fun.

I still have absolutely no idea how to transport this bike anyplace. My car does not have the capability to add a hitch and there is no way I'd lash a trunk or roof mount due to weight.

So overall I'm very pleased and I do really enjoy -riding- the bike. I HATE dismounting and I wish I had a bike trailer so I could take it more places but that's kinda on me.
 
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