Analog Motion’s AMX is a commuter e-bike that wants to go fast

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Design

First, a quick explanation of the AMX lineup. During its crowdfunding campaign, Analog Motion offered the bike in three basic frame shapes: Classic, a low-step alternative, and a Mini version that had smaller 20-inch wheels. Backers could then pick from a few different tiers which altered some of the basic components. Oh, and the Classic could also be bought as a sportier Road version with drop handlebars. The cheapest Mini, Classic and low-step designs could be reserved for €499 (roughly $592) at first. These “early bird” deals soon vanished, but if you live in Europe, it’s still possible to buy a limited edition (LE) version of the Classic and low-step models for £1,789 (roughly $2,351) through the company’s store.

I’ve been testing the Classic LE in a clearly Bianchi-inspired mint color. Original? No, but I don’t really care. The AMX is a good-looking bicycle that wouldn’t look out of place on the streets of Amsterdam, London or Berlin. That’s in spite of the battery, which Analog Motion has made no attempt to hide. It’s attached to the seat tube and, from a distance, looks just like a 1-liter water bottle. According to the team, that was by design. If someone is stood a few meters away, they might actually mistake it for a drink — a nice bonus if you want to keep the bike’s electrification on the down-low. But it also means you can keep a fresh battery in bag pouches that were originally meant for water bottles.

Like VanMoof’s S3, the AMX has swept-back handlebars that encourage a more upright riding position. Analog Motion’s hope is that people will spend more time looking at the traffic around them, rather than the piece of concrete that’s directly ahead of their front wheel. That will keep them safer and, if it’s quiet, give them a chance to admire their surroundings. To quote one of my best friends, the handlebar grips can feel “a little spiky” against your skin. I didn’t mind the textured rubber, though, because I’m always wearing gloves during the UK’s colder months.

Beyond the grips are two plastic levers that trigger the Tektro mechanical disc brakes. They were a little soft for my liking and squeaked occasionally in the rain. It’s possible to adjust them, though, and I suspect any bike shop could do it on your behalf in less than five minutes.

A simple bike computer is attached to the left-hand side of the handlebars. Analog Motion has upgraded this part since the pre-release bike that I rode back in October 2019. The OLED display has been switched out for an LCD panel that’s easier to read in bright sunlight. The computer has also been moved from the center of the bike — which was one of my biggest complaints with the pre-release version — so that you can hit every button without taking your paws off the handlebars.

The OLED display has been switched out for an LCD panel that’s easier to read in bright sunlight.

The AMX’s control center isn’t flashy — not like the VanMoof S3’s Matrix Display, or GoCycle’s Formula 1-inspired Cockpit LEDs — but the screen provides all the basic information you need while riding. That includes your speed, the current power level and the remaining charge. Two physical arrow buttons change the motor level, while a third ‘M’ option toggles between your current trip distance and lifetime mileage.

You’ll need to long-press an orange button on the side of the computer to turn the AMX on. But that’s it. There’s no companion app or physical key to worry about. No rear-wheel ‘stealth lock’ or morse code-inspired button sequence. You just press a single button, swing your leg over and go. It’s a trade-off between simplicity and security. Yes, the AMX is easier to start up and ride, but it does nothing to combat thieves. If you want to leave this two-wheeler in front of a store or cafe, you’ll need to bring an old-fashioned lock. Maybe two or three, depending on the location and its reputation for e-bike robbery.

Analog Motion AMX

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While the AMX is on, you can tap the orange button again to toggle the front and rear lights. They’re not part of the frame like VanMoof’s S3 and Cowboy’s third-generation e-bike. But I prefer them to the lights found on the similarly-cheap RadMission 1. The round headlamp at the front, for instance, is more stylish than the oval-shaped one supplied by Rad Power Bikes. The tiny Spanninga backlight, meanwhile, is attached to the saddle, rather than a piece of metal bolted to the frame. The components on the RadMission 1 are more functional, however. If the lights are turned off, for instance, the back one will illuminate when you tap the brake levers, just like a car or moped. At the time of writing, the AMX has no such option.

Still, I’m happy with the lights that Analog Motion chose. I’m less enthused about the wiring at the front of the bike, though. Like the RadMission 1, none of the cables are routed through the handlebars. That means they all hang over the wheel before ducking inside a hole located on the bottom of the downtube. Analog Motion has used some cable tidies to minimize the mess, but it’s an unwelcome blemish on the bike’s otherwise clean design.

Wiring aside, there’s little to complain about the AMX’s appearance. The final version has slimmer rims than the pre-release model I rode back in 2018. Some will say that thick rims are cooler on a bike designed for the city, so why make the change? “It started off being as simple as the fact that a standard U-lock could not fit through a deep rim with that massive tire on it,” Analog Motion co-founder Jack Chalkley explained. “Simple as that. And then when we got the shallow rims, we realized that they were lighter as well. So two birds, one stone.” Personally, those benefits are worth the aesthetic compromise.

Performance

My biggest complaint with the pre-release AMX was its motor. As I mentioned in my hands-on preview, It would kick in aggressively and push the bike forward with an unpleasant jolt. Then, as soon as I hit top speed, it would disengage just as quickly. The bike was clearly powerful, but the application of that power was disappointing. I would start pedaling and instantly reach a velocity where my footwork had zero impact. The second I stopped, the motor switched off and the bike slowed down. I was constantly alternating, therefore, between acceleration and deceleration. Pedal then coast, pedal then coast. It just didn’t feel natural. 

“We sympathize with that,” Chalkley said. “It’s something that we noticed as well.” Analog Motion tackled the problem with some firmware updates. The ride is generally smoother now, with a more gradual application and removal of power. Still, the AMX is undeniably aggressive. You won’t feel it straight away because the bike isn’t fast from a standing start. (The version I rode also didn’t come with the company’s optional throttle.) After a few brief seconds, however, the AMX bursts forward like a greyhound that’s suddenly been let off its leash. Even on the lowest power level, the motor tackles flat roads and gradual inclines with ease.

Analog Motion AMX

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It only slows down on hills, really. And when that happens, there’s always a higher power level to help you out. Alternatively, you can ride on the highest power setting all the time. But then you run into the same problem that the pre-release model had. As soon as the bike hits top speed — and on power level five, that happens almost instantly — your pedaling makes zero difference. The single gear is simply too low. You then have two options: apply effort intermittently, which causes the motor to stop and start, or pedal nonstop at breakneck speed, even if you can’t feel an ounce of resistance.

Other AMX owners have noticed this. “On the AMX I get minimal [or] no pedal resistance unless I catch up to the speed the motor wants to go at,” one AMX owner wrote in the official forums. Navid Gornall, one of Analog Motion’s founders, responded with: “The AMX has more power than others which is an intentional decision. I hope that you grow to love the power and security that high torque can offer, especially on less forgiving terrain and when boosting away from traffic and lycra-clad cyclists. Make sure to smile at them as you blast off into the distance.”

I was happier once I started using the power levels like traditional bicycle gears.

It’s certainly fun to dash around at the bike’s top speed, which is 25KMH (15.5MPH) in Europe and 32KMH (20MPH) in the US. (You can change the limit via the handlebar computer, so there isn’t much to stop Europeans from choosing the higher US restriction.) 

After a while, though, I craved a slower and more natural riding experience. So I rode predominantly in level one or two, then upped the power level to five whenever I approached a steep hill. I normally have a ‘set it and forget it’ approach to e-bike motors, but with the AMX, I was happier once I started using the power levels like traditional bicycle gears.

Analog Motion AMX

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Analog Motion knows that some people have issues with the motor’s tuning. If you’re really struggling, the company has released some documentation that explains how to access and change a hidden ‘P14’ setting that alters the overall level of assistance.

The motor and chainring are connected by a Gates carbon belt drive. It’s cleaner and more durable than the ordinary chain that ships with the City and Capital versions of the AMX. Analog Motion isn’t the first to embrace this kind of drivetrain, though. Plenty of rival manufacturers, including Cowboy and Gogoro, have adopted belt drives because they make their e-bikes more reliable — which reduces complaints and repairs — and attractive to commuters who want to cycle without getting oil or muck on their clothes.

Range and charging

The AMX promises 27 miles (44KM) of assisted riding on a single charge. For an e-bike, that’s low. Real low. As a comparison, VanMoof’s S3 can manage anywhere between 37 and 93 miles (60-150KM) depending on the rider, terrain and power level. Analog Motion isn’t bothered by these numbers, though. The reasons are twofold. Firstly, the company believes that few commuters travel more than 27 miles each day. Secondly, it’s easy to take the battery off the bike. You simply undo a rubber strap and lift the bottle-shaped power pack off its plastic base. That means you can charge the battery at the office or in an apartment far away from the bike.

Analog Motion AMX

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The smaller capacity also makes it faster to charge. Analog Motion’s battery takes just three hours to replenish, which is faster than VanMoof’s S3 and only 30 minutes longer than Gogoro’s carbon-fiber Eeyo 1s, which only requires a tiny battery in its rear ‘Smartwheel’ hub. A smaller battery offers weight benefits, too. The AMX LE comes in at roughly 16KG, which is 2KG lighter than Cowboy’s third-generation e-bike and 5KG better than VanMoof’s S3. You can find lighter alternatives, but most of them rely on carbon fiber frames. The AMX, therefore, is competitive in the weight department, though it’s still a chore to lift up a flight of stairs.

If you’re desperate for more range, you can always carry a backup battery. At £285 (roughly $377), they’re hardly an impulse purchase. Still, the option is there if you’re planning a cross-country cycling trip or work somewhere that’s far away from home and doesn’t have an easily-accessible power socket.

Wrap-up

The AMX is a very specific type of e-bike. Aggressive motor. Short-range. Zero ‘smart’ features. How many people are in the market for a two-wheeler like that? Plenty, apparently. Analog Motion’s Indiegogo campaign was a huge success, raising over $1.5 million from more than 1,300 backers.  The company has already proven, therefore, that many people are happy with a simpler and more restrained e-bike — provided the price is right. And clearly, the ‘early bird’ deals were enough to tempt cyclists that don’t have thousands of dollars to burn on a VanMoof S3.

“We built this company to create a product for ourselves, friends and family,” Gornall said. “All our backers are an extension of that experience.”

The LE version I’ve been riding was never €499 (roughly $592), though. It was originally sold for €884 (roughly $1,044), which is even cheaper than Rad Power Bikes’ RadMission 1. At that price point, I think the high-end AMX is a great deal. It’s more stylish than the RadMission, uses a belt drive and comes with some basic accessories including a kickstand and fenders. In that particular head-to-head, I would choose the AMX over the RadMission. 

Analog Motion AMX

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Today, however, the AMX LE costs £1,789 (roughly $2,368). That puts it in direct contention with VanMoof’s S3 and Cowboy’s third-generation e-bike. Here, Analog Motion’s sophomore effort is harder to recommend. The tuning of VanMoof and Cowboy’s motors will suit a broader range of riders. They have frames with integrated lights and all sorts of other technology features, such as GPS tracking, that Analog Motion doesn’t offer. The AMX LE only comes out ahead if weight is your top priority and you prefer a simpler, more stripped-back design.

The AMX isn’t for everyone, but neither is a Lamborghini. I’m just happy that Analog Motion followed through on its second crowdfunding campaign and now has the chance to make a successor. The UK doesn’t have many e-bike brands, and this plucky startup has already proven itself to be one of the best in the fiercely competitive commuter e-bike space.

Gallery: Analog Motion AMX review | 26 Photos

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