Bianchi Impulso E-Allroad TRK review

The Impulso E-Allroad is Bianchi’s electric commuter bike that’s built to carry you to work every day and get you out into the wilds too.

To achieve all of this, Bianchi has borrowed a chassis from the E-Impulso gravel bike and added a set of quality SKS full-length mudguards, an SKS Infinity GT3 rear rack, and front and rear Lezyne lights powered by the e-motor system.

You’ll also be sitting in a more upright position than the drop-bar gravel version, thanks to a different cockpit design.

What gives the £2749.00 Impulso its zip is its X35 Plus rear-hub motor and internal 250Wh battery from Mahle SmartBike (Ebikemotion was taken over by electrical-equipment giant Mahle).

You’ll also get a new version of the brand’s impressive app (now called My SmartBike), which gives you three standard settings (Eco/Low, Urban/Medium, Sport/Full) plus a custom mode that enables you to tune the percentage of power that’s available for each setting.

The oversized rear hub contains the standard 250W motor that puts out 40Nm of torque. That’s less than you’d find on mid-mounted systems from brands such as Bosch or Shimano, but it’s significantly lighter too.

You operate it using the iWoc controller that’s built into the bike’s down tube, which seems an odd place to put it. Most brands fit this control into the top tube for easy access.

With the positioning on the down tube, you end up looking and reaching down, across and around when switching between settings, which isn’t exactly practical when it comes to riding in traffic.

If any design deserves the optional smart display (Mahle’s Pulsar ONE, RRP £100) mounted on its handlebars, this bike does.

With this feature, as well as having your remaining battery capacity and ride info displayed clearly, you can change the assist level or turn the lights on by barely moving your hands. Or you could simply add a phone mount and use the app to control the power settings.

If you do choose to stick with using the iWoc button, it’s simple to navigate. The ring around the down-tube button lights up in different colours to show either the current motor setting or power reserves.

When not being switched between these modes, the iWoc light shines to show available battery reserves: white is 75-100 per cent, green 75-50 per cent, orange 50-25 per cent, red 25 per cent and flashing red less than 10 per cent.

To turn on the lights, you navigate to medium (orange) mode, press and hold the iWoc button for a second and the lights will fire up. Alternatively, you can set the lights to auto through the app and they’ll illuminate when the ambient light falls.

On the road, the Impulso is a fine riding machine. The handling is quick without being twitchy and the contact points of the mushroom-style Herrmans grips and Velomann saddle are supremely comfortable. The wide 680mm bar, plus short stem, sets you up in a great riding position.

The X35 motor provides a subtle level of assistance and works at its best when you’re also putting in the effort. Combining the extra motor assistance with the 1×11 drivetrain gives the Impulso plenty of performance.

The gearing’s top end easily keeps you above the set 15.5mph the assistance is limited to and, at the easier end, a 40/42 combined with the power means you’ll ascend the steepest suburban slopes without breaking too much of a sweat.

The Deore gearing’s simple trigger shifting is positive, accurate and smooth-running. The hydraulic disc brakes work well in all weathers, but the feel at the lever is a little mushy compared to higher-spec Shimano offerings.

The bike feels a little compromised on the road with its gravel-focused tyres. Compared to the likes of LeMond’s similarly powered Prolog, it doesn’t have the same zip, but then I wouldn’t feel as comfortable taking the Prolog on some of the bridleways and towpath excursions I encountered with the Impulso, so it depends what you’re looking for.

The range is enough for most commutes. On average, I was getting 45 to 55 miles per charge with around 2,250ft (685m) to 3,000ft (915m) of elevation.

That’s not quite at the level of some X35-equipped lightweight road bikes (or the Prolog), but on a par with the impressive Ribble Hybrid AL e.

I was, however, testing the Bianchi in low temperatures in the depths of winter, which probably had a detrimental effect on battery life.

Overall, the Impulso is a great commuter option that comes fully loaded with everything you’ll need (and quality stuff at that). It’s also a great weekend rambler.