All in all, the T1 is proving to be a solid platform for an affordable electric gravel bike. It is surprisingly lightweight and can really stack up the mileage.
From the beginning, we knew that changing the tires were going to be the catalyst of improving the overall performance of the T1. As the eagerness to continue to stack up miles and explore gravel roads unfolded, dialing in the fitment of the T1 was our second focus. Saddle and cockpit added the comfort we were looking for and increased confidence while riding, especially on steep and loose descents.
With about $400 in on the T1, the questions start rolling in.
Has it made it better? What else would you do?
Tires, grips, saddle… these are all things we encourage people to consider first when upgrading or maintaining their own bikes. This will allow you to get the proper tires for your type of riding and optimize comfort to best fit your bike. The dropper post and suspension fork are a more costly upgrade, but one well worth the expense for those that really want to push the T1 to its max ability.
Due to the internal routing on the T1, the PNW Components Loam Dropper was really the only dropper that we were interested in using on the T1. That is largely due to the adjustable travel that the Loam dropper has to offer which makes it very easy to setup for the perfect saddle height to drop ratio. Being able to lower the seat height allows taking full advantage of the wider bars and boost in traction. whether it be charging down steep hills or maneuvering tight single track trails, when you are not limited by how well you can move around the bike for balance and control, it makes riding safer and easier.
Lastly the suspension fork. This by far has dramatically transformed the Velotric T1. Taking it from a stiff aluminum chassis to a smooth gravel road charging machine. With 40mm of travel in the front end, the SR Suntour GVX fork doesn’t affect the frame geometry by much, and I have found that the slight changes in geo have made it more capable when riding aggressively. Is it worth $549, that depends on the type of riding you want to do. If building the T1 out to be your dream gravel bike, it is really the icing on the cake. My hands and shoulder are significantly less tired on rough rides, and when you hit large holes or bumps in the ground especially while going fast the fork absorbs that impact keeping you on track. This is safer and enables riding much more difficult terrain.
With $1300 invested into the Velotric T1, its final price is right around $3000. Now you can absolutely find electric gravel bikes for close to that price, especially if you look used. We wanted to see if these upgrades would make the T1 competitive with those other bikes. With the addition of a suspension fork and a dropper post, aside from the 8 speed drivetrain, we were able to build a much more capable bike that weighs only 40 pounds (unloaded) and has over 60 mile range.
We don’t think that these upgrades are for everyone, and some of these upgrades will not work on every bike. There is a lot of referencing necessary with your specific electric bike to ensure that your bike is compatible with some of these components. Specifically the dropper post and suspension fork. The T1 fits all of these parts correctly and you don’t have to buy additional adapters to make anything fit.
If you have a T1 and you want to get the most out of it we would suggest starting with tires and then setting up your saddle and handlebar setup for the best rider fit. Talk to your local bike shop about getting the right saddle and handlebars that will fit you the right way. From there you can continue to ride your T1 and when you find yourself needing the additional components to fully unlock the T1’s abilities a new seatpost and a fork will really take you to the next level.
As opposed to throwing all your money in on one bike, you are given the chance to customize and create the ideal setup for your type of riding.
If there were any major upgrades left on the T1, we would look into our wheels next. A tubeless setup would be likely our last and final component to upgrade on the T1 that would save a little weight and make things easier when encountering flats on long rides.