ARTISAN ES1-PRO Kollter (2020 - on) Review

Highlights

  • Less than £4500 on the road
  • Two removable batteries
  • Optional off-road wheels and tyres

At a glance

Power: 15 bhp
Seat height: Medium (32.3 in / 820 mm)
Weight: Low (276 lbs / 125 kg)

Prices

New £4,471
Used N/A

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
3 out of 5 (3/5)

Electric bikes all weigh a ton and cost a fortune, right? Not this one. Lighter and less-expensive than a Yamaha MT-125, meet the Artisan Kollter ES1-Pro. Artisan are the UK importers, while Kollter is the German-sounding name on the motor. Though, confusingly, in Germany these are sold under the ‘Tinbot’ brand. Whatever you want to call it, the bike isn’t actually made in Germany but China.

As a slim, silent, sporty-looking way of getting around town, the ES1-Pro ticks plenty of boxes. Having a charger as a standalone unit (ie not built into the bike) might sound a bit scary at first, but if you know you’re always coming home to recharge then it makes sense to not carry its extra bulk around.

However, its 54mph top speed and 30-to-60-mile range mean this is primarily a town bike. And if that’s what you’re after, then there’s no shortage of traditional 125s costing a lot less that go both faster and further.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
3 out of 5 (3/5)

The styling might have a hint of 2007 KTM 690 Supermoto, but this is a long way from a towering, razor-sharp, ultra-aggressive jackhammer. The ES1-Pro is extremely light, weighing a claimed 125kg. It’s slim between your legs too, but not especially tall. With an 820mm seat height, it has the same overall size as a typical 125.

Suspension offers a little adjustment, with rebound damping screws on top of the upside-down forks, plus a few millimetres of preload adjustment on the monoshock. The action feels quite basic at a standstill – the shock has so much rebound damping that when you bounce down on the back end, it seems to expand in slow-motion – but the ride quality is reasonable enough on the move. Steering is light and quick, which you’d expect given the minimal weight, short wheelbase and ultra-skinny 17-inch Kenda tyres (110 front, 120 rear).

The back brake is operated by the left-hand lever, scooter-style. There’s no ABS but, as the brakes are linked, squeezing the back brake also operates one of the front caliper’s three pistons. There’s plentiful stopping power, especially with little weight to haul up. When you touch the brakes you can feel the motor’s regen effect too, where your deceleration is turned into a trickle of energy that’s fed back into the battery.

Engine

Next up: Reliability
3 out of 5 (3/5)

The air-cooled electric motor boasts a claimed 15bhp, putting it broadly on a par with a 125 petrol machine – at least, up to a point. From a standstill it’s quite brisk off the line, pulling away with smooth, persistent force. There’s no clutch or gearbox, making it a pure twist-and-go, which is ideal in town. But the ‘220Nm of torque at the rear wheel’ claimed on Artisan’s website gives a misleading impression of gruntiness. That figure – over 160lb·ft, or roughly what a Triumph Rocket 3 R makes – is after the motor’s torque has been multiplied by both primary and final-drive gearing, not the output of the motor itself produces. In fact, the Kollter’s electric motor is good for a claimed 40Nm (30lb·ft).

There are Eco, Drive and Sport riding modes, but in practice you leave it in Sport the entire time. Top speed is an indicated 60mph, which turns out to be a true 54mph as measured by a GPS datalogger. That’s plenty for cities and their restricted ring roads, but just a touch too slow for A-roads and dual carriageways.

Ride flat-out everywhere and the batteries (plural: there are two removable Samsung 2.17kWh units running together in parallel) will have dropped to their final 10% charge by 30 miles. Stick to 30mph and range doubles to more than 60 miles. That’s the bike’s round-trip operating window, because topping up while you’re out and about isn’t really an option. There isn’t an onboard built-in charger: instead it’s a standalone unit you leave behind in your garage or shed. If you can ride to work and back on one charge, it makes sense to not have to lug the charger around with you. If you want to go further afield, this probably isn’t the right electric for you. A flat-to-full recharge of both batteries together takes 3.5 hours.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
3 out of 5 (3/5)

As Kollter is a relatively new and niche brand so far, it’s way too soon to have any idea how the ES1-Pro will hold up to long-term use. Importers Artisan offer a two-year warranty on the bike, and a three-year warranty on the batteries. To our eyes build quality generally looks alright given the bike’s price, though some of the welds where the engine mount, footpegs and subframe meet the main frame spars definitely looks a bit rough and blotchy.

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
3 out of 5 (3/5)

For an electric bike offering this level of performance, the price is pretty good – £4471 on the road, after the government’s OLEV grant, makes the Artisan Kollter ES1-Pro less expensive than a Horwin CR6 or a Super Soco CPx. It’s less than half the price of a Zero FXS, another fellow electric supermoto, though the Zero is considerably quicker. And the ES1-Pro is generally competitive with premium-priced 125s too: less than Yamaha’s MT-125, and little more than Aprilia’s Tuono 125 or Honda’s CB125R. But if it’s a supermoto-style commuter you’re after, Aprilia’s SX125 is at least a grand cheaper (2020 prices).

Running costs are low. Road tax is free and there isn’t a lot to service, though the primary drive contains 350ml of gear oil which the manual says should be changed every six months. Each full charge of the 4.34kWh batteries would typically cost around 65p, so electricity works out between 1p and 2p per mile, depending on how quick you ride.

Equipment

3 out of 5 (3/5)

The dash is a decent-size LCD with a big digital speedo and a clear battery state-of-charge display, though the indicator lights are dim. The bike can be switched on keylessly, using a big blue backlit button near the headstock, but the regular steering lock means it’s actually easier to just use the key. Otherwise, it’s all pretty simple and straightforward – there’s no ABS or natty rider aids.

Removeable batteries is probably the ES1-Pro’s most useful feature. At just over 12kg per battery they’re light enough to lift out and lug around without doing yourself a mischief. They’re not just useful if you want to charge them indoors, they also help future-proof the bike – any problem with them means you can easily and quickly replace just one pack, rather than the entire battery unit.

Oh, and one other thing: if you want to turn this supermoto into a silent enduro, Artisan offer a second set of spoked wheels in 21/18in sizes, complete with knobblies, for just £399.

Specs

Engine size -
Engine type Air-cooled electric motor
Frame type Steel twin-spar
Fuel capacity -
Seat height 820mm
Bike weight 125kg
Front suspension Upside-down telescopic forks, adjustable rebound
Rear suspension Monoshock, adjustable preload
Front brake 300mm disc with linked three-piston caliper. No ABS
Rear brake 220mm disc with single-piston caliper. No ABS
Front tyre size 110/70-17
Rear tyre size 120/70-17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption -
Annual road tax -
Annual service cost -
New price £4,471
Used price -
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term -

Top speed & performance

Max power 15 bhp
Max torque 30 ft-lb
Top speed 54 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range -

Model history & versions

Model history

  • 2020: Artisan Kollter ES1-Pro introduced. Lightweight supermoto-style electric commuter offering brisk acceleration, a 54mph top speed and a real-world range of 30 to 60 miles. Removable batteries and standalone charger are ideal if you don’t have a powered garage. Off-road wheels and tyres are a £399 optional extra.

Other versions

None. 

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