Kalkhoff kindly invited a couple of us to spend the last weekend in February with them in Mallorca. They invite all their favourite dealers to the island every few years mainly as a “Thank you” but also as an opportunity to introduce new products and ideas.
After a pre-dawn flight and a quick taxi transfer across the island we arrived at the Robinson Cala Serena in time for lunch. The promise of sunshine was a welcome breaK from the Northern European winter, as you can see.
We soon found that Kalkhoff had taken over a large part of the resort and brought scores of their latest e-bikes with them. All we needed to bring was a helmet each (though they did have spares for those who forgot their own) and the willingness to enjoy cycling in a very relaxed and pleasant setting. So once we’d finished lunch, off we went to find the bikes.
The Kalkhoff Mallorca 2017 Test Centre
An enormous number of bikes were on hand for the delegates to ride, all sheltered beneath a solar-powered charging structure for off-grid battery pack charging. There was also fuel for the riders – copious fruit and bottled water (still and sparkling) to keep us going.
Kalkhoff brought fleets of Select Di2 and Select ES, Integrale i10s, i8s and i11 Speeds, plus a selection of their new Durban range, more of which later.
Our first ride, on a pair of Kalkhoff Integrale S10s, took us to the nearby town of Cala D’Or, a few miles along the coast. We were sitting minding our own business at one of the bars as a carnival broke out around as part of the celebrations before Lent.
The first day was all about settling in, with time for exploring the local area on bikes and later on a dinner for all the invited international dealers and Kalkhoff team.
Day Two: Introductory Presentation and Organised Rides
The second day began with an address by Ulli Weiss, Kalkhoff’s Global Sales Director, in the resort’s indoor amphitheatre. This was the company’s formal welcome and chance to thank us all for supporting the brand. We’ve been working with Ulli for many years now and it was good to see him taking centre stage from the start.
He left us with an invitation to put our names down for the guided routes and also to take out any bikes we like on shorter test rides throughout our stay. We didn’t hang about and joined the Sportive Coastal Ride on a pair of Integrale S10s and hit the road out of the resort.
Here are the bikes at the beach in Mondrago nature reserve, the best place for bathing on the whole island, we were told. No time for a dip, though, we had to speed on to Portopetro.
Our group of around 15 riders included half a dozen from the Netherlands and a smaller French group, all of us on Speed Pedelecs, so we kept up a cracking pace. In the space of a couple of hours we’d explored much of the surrounding coast, stopping to take photos and also to take the local beer, before racing home in a very loose and sometimes wayward peloton back to the resort.
We’d succeeded in booking our guided ride on the sunniest day of our stay and I can honestly say it was one of the best Sundays I’ve ever had. E-Bikes, sun & sea, beer and conversation could not be beaten.
Now this was the major discovery of our stay. It’s the 2017 Kalkhoff Durban Compact and it’s a bit of a dark horse. I say that because 50cycles overlooked it when we first saw it Germany, last August. We were grateful to have a second look at it and a longer distance and more varied terrain to test it on. Because it’s actually a willing little performer and inexpensive too, at £1495 in the UK.
The concept is no-nonsense, highly functional urban mobility. Meaning it’s extremely easy to use (one button operation), it’s small, lightweight (only 19.6kg, even with that luggage carrier on the front), but powerful and well-equipped. It has a low and high power mode, built-in lights, a large front rack that can take a Eurobox 40 sized container or anything else you wish.
The wheels have Schwalbe puncture-resistant Big Apple tyres and Magura hydraulic rim brakes. They’re wrapped in extra-long mudguards for all-weather use.
The battery is mounted behind the seat tube, nice and low for a stable centre of gravity. It’s packed with Simplo Lithium ion cells, the same very high quality cells used in Apple products. The battery’s capacity won’t get you from Lands End to John O’Groats on a single charge, but it will carry you around the city for a whole day.
We took this model out for a couple of test rides, most tellingly on up and down a very steep road down to the beach near the resort. It climbed eagerly, perhaps more so than more upmarket bikes I’ve tried. It does what an electric bike should be able to do and it does it very well. You’ll be seeing plenty of them on 50cycles.com and in our showrooms this season. A winner.
Technology & Quality Session
The Grand Finale in the amphitheatre was presented by Leo Schluter. The subject was the Kalkhoff brand, it’s current positioning and ambition. They’ve been working on some new videos, including this one which features the Kalkhoff Integrale 8 LTD with Impulse Evo RS motor, which we have in stock now.
We also had a sneak preview of Kalkhoff’s 2018 design concept – very sleek and sharp, but no photographs allowed – and a final presentation on improvements to reliability and quality, as well as an exploration of coming technologies: connected bikes, different propulsion techniques, security features and so on. More “blue skies” than anything else we’d seen and a good way to bring the event to a close.
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