Electric Bike Action Bike Test: KHS Envoy 200 Commuter Bike
KHS Envoy 200
KHS Bicycles, Inc. was founded in 1974, and the brand is known for producing moderately priced bicycles and accessories. They’ve grown into a brand known for quality and value, with distribution in more than 30 countries worldwide. Their line of bikes spans all genres—from mountain, road and touring bicycles, as well as comfort tandems, cruisers, BMX, and, most recently, e-bikes.
They have five e-bikes so far, including two full-suspension mountain bikes, two commuters, and a city bike called the Easy 24, which features 24-inch and a low-step-through frame to fit smaller riders.
KHS’ Envoy 200 is a city commuter bike with a sturdy, chromoly frame and fork, and a fairly tall stem to make the riding position very comfortable. It’s available as a diamond-shaped frame or a low-step-through design. There are three sets of bottle mounts—one each on the top of the top tube, downtube and on the front of the seat tube, so getting thirsty on rides is one problem you likely won’t encounter.
The bike is set up for commuters, but also as a good all-around bike for those who want to get groceries or carry cargo or kids, with a built-in rack on the back, fenders and even a throttle to help get you going. The 8-speed Shimano Altus gears are actuated by a twist-grip shifter.
The rack is rated for up to 27 kilograms, which is a generous amount if you’re attaching bags to carry stuff to work or a kid in a kid seat. It’s pretty standard, so there will be tons of aftermarket choices to set the bike up for your every need.
The Tektro mechanical brakes rely on alloy Bengal levers with cutoff switches to instantly cut the power to the motor when actuated. We found that they were very reliable and can stop the bike pretty quickly.
“As long as you’re making the cranks go around, even if you’re barely pushing on them, it will go the full speed of that mode.”
Instead of a kickstand, it has a fold-up center stand. This makes the bike very stable when loading groceries or kids onto the bike, and also to keep the bike more stable when locked up to a bike rack or a pole.
The bike is powered by a 500-watt, 48-volt Bafang brushless rear-hub motor. It uses a cadence sensor only, so it puts out the amount of power immediately to get you to the maximum speed of each power-assist level (1–5). Level 5 gets you to 20 mph, same as pressing the throttle all the way.
The battery is housed inside the rear rack, protected from any possible impacts. It has an on/off switch that must be turned on before the system will power up. This is the only thing that missed a little in our opinion. For a 504-Wh battery, it doesn’t promise the same range as a bike with a torque sensor.
The display is a backlit monochrome Bafang display, with integrated buttons for changing power-assist level and for turning the system on and off.
WHO IT’S MADE FOR
The Envoy is a no-nonsense commuter bike that could be kitted up into a bit of a cargo bike, with great fit and finish, especially at the price. It is definitely not a touring bike, as the shorter range won’t get you very far.
Throwing a leg over, the bike feels sturdy and well-built. Powering up the Bafang system, the display springs to life. On a bright, sunny day or at night, the backlit LED is easy to read and shows mode, battery level, power output level, distance traveled and more information toggling through, including time ridden.
Taking off is pretty smooth, and you can do it either by pedaling or using the thumb throttle. The throttle is pretty easy to modulate, and it will get you up to 20 mph fairly quickly. The bike outputs full power of whatever mode level you’re in, regardless of your own input. As long as you’re making the cranks go around, even if you’re barely pushing on them, it will go the full speed of that mode.
We noticed that the cutoff in level 5, the highest pedal-assist mode, was a few miles an hour over 20. That seemed odd, so we tested it with a GPS app, showing that it properly cut off right at 20 mph. Which is interesting, because the motor is smart enough to cut off at the proper limit, even when the display isn’t calibrated correctly.
Using that GPS app, the actual speeds we got with pedal assist in various modes was level 1 gets you to 6 mph, level 2 goes to 8 mph, level 3 to 12 mph, level 4 was 15 mph, and level 5 was 20 mph—maybe a hair under 20, actually.
With all the weight of the motor and the battery in the back, the front end feels pretty light, and the steering is a bit twitchy. The Kenda Kwick 700×35 tires require 50–80 psi, offering very low rolling resistance, but also very little damping of jolts from rough streets. It would be worthwhile to look into a suspension seatpost and a suspension stem if your roads are really beat up. Those tires do, however, offer great grip when cornering.
We were riding down a rough street at speed when we went over some bumps caused by tree roots. They weren’t huge, but abrupt enough that the battery actually popped out partway, shutting the system down. It only popped out about 5mm, enough to cause the connectors to become disconnected. That took a few minutes to troubleshoot, as it was so little out of the back that it was hard to see. This is definitely a reason to keep the battery locked when using it.
It is a nice feature to be able to unlock it and remove it for indoor charging, such as if you keep the bike in your garage. The bike is so back-heavy that it can be unwieldy to carry up stairs.
We took it up some steep hills, and between the gearing and the power of the motor, we never found anything too steep for the rather small top gear. Shifting with the twist grip is very simple, clean and you’re not constantly hitting your thumbs on the shift triggers.
The 40-mile claimed range is believable if you always keep the bike in level 1 and put in a lot of legwork. Otherwise, if you’re commuting in level 5, I’d expect 15–20 miles of support.
This is a lot of bike for $1700. The fit and finish are above what you’d expect for an e-bike at this price, the type of quality you’d expect from KHS. We highly recommend trying one at a dealer if it’s your first e-bike, as they can give you a proper demo with safety information, as this is a fairly powerful bike, especially at the higher assist levels. It’s really versatile as a commuter or grocery-getter.
KHS ENVOY 200
Motor: Bafang 48V 500W, 45Nm, Class 2
Battery: Lithium-ion 48V, 504Wh
Charge time: 6 hours
Top speed: 20 mph
Range: Up to 40 miles
Drive: Shimano Altus 8-speed
Brakes: Tektro mechanical rim brakes
Fork: Chromoly unicrown with fender bosses
Frame: 4130 chromoly, double-butted with carrier bosses
Tires: Kenda Kwick Journey, 700x35c w/K-Shield anti-puncture,60 tpi
Weight: 49.4 lb.
Color choice: Matte Gray
Sizes: M for diamond frame, S or M for step-through
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