Not familiar with HOVSCO? Eh, it’s not really your fault. Even if you spend all day wrist-deep in the e-bike industry like me, there’s a thousand and one e-bike companies out there. I’ve only followed HOVSCO for a few months now through some rather run-of-the-mill e-bike launches, but the company’s latest two models have actually gotten me interested. Meet the new HOVSCO HovWagon and HovScout.
If the HovWagon sounds like the RadWagon from Rad Power Bikes, that’s probably not an accident. Rad has been copied up and down the e-bike block for years, from its designs to its product names.
But the HovWagon, despite borrowing the same naming and coloring scheme, brings some interesting bits and pieces to the table.
It’s a smaller format cargo bike, bordering on utility bike territory, and uses 20″ fat tires to keep the ride fairly low on a compact cargo bike. The wheels are small enough in diameter to prevent the bike’s center of gravity from climbing higher, yet still offers a nicer ride on big fat air-cushion tires. For anyone who takes occasional detours off-road, it will likely make a big difference.
The 750W Class 2 e-bike ships with a 20 mph (32 km/h) speed limit on throttle and pedal assist, but can be unlocked via the company’s app to reach 28 mph (45 km/h).
Those that plan to make use of that pedal assist will be happy to hear that the bike includes a torque sensor to offer a higher quality pedaling experience. As the company explained:
The torque sensor pedal assist systems measure the amount of power you are putting into the pedals and it will increase or decrease the electric assist based on your pedaling power. The torque sensor systems have a very intuitive ride feel because they emulate your pedal power very well.
The frame-integrated yet still removable 720 Wh LG battery is said to offer up to 60 miles (96 km) of range on pedal assist, though I’d estimate that riders will get around half of that range if they’re heavy on the throttle and don’t pedal very much. Even so, that’s a nice big battery and some decent range, to boot.
The real star of the show for any cargo bike though is its cargo capacity. With a long rear rack that be converted into a bench seat, the HovWagon claims a maximum capacity of 450 lb (205 kg). That’s one of the highest weight ratings we’ve ever seen in the e-bike industry. There’s almost no way to verify that claim, and since Tern’s heavy hauling e-bikes are rated for similar or slightly less weight yet routinely break the test equipment used to certify them, there might be a bit of a guesstimate going into those HOVSCO weight capacity numbers.
But with hydraulic disc brakes, a 7-speed Shimano transmission, a 2-year warranty and a whole host of cargo-related accessories that bolt onto the front and rear of the HovWagon, this still seems like a more than capable e-bike for most families, and the $1,999 price tag feels fair compared to several other similarly-spec’d cargo e-bikes on the market. If you find the bike on Amazon, though, there seems to be a $100 coupon that makes the price even more attractive.
For those that want to step things up a notch with their adventure level, the HovScout is a bit more appropriate.
This full-suspension e-bike features larger diameter fat tires that are better for dedicated off-road riding, as opposed to the smaller dual-purpose fat tires on the HovWagon.
The HovScout is thus a more purpose-built trail bike for adventurous riding.
Despite the different geometry and design, the tech specs are actually quite similar between the two. The HovScout shares the HovWagon’s 750W power rating and 20 mph (32 km/h) top speed out of the box, but can also be unlocked for Class 3 28 mph (45 km/h) riding.
Other parts that appear to be shared by the two models are the 720Wh battery, torque-sensor pedal assist, hydraulic disc brakes, Shimano 7-speed transmission, and massive weight rating.
You’ll have to fork over an extra five hundred bucks, though, as the HovScout is priced at $2,499.
Color me interested. Of course it’s hard for any cargo e-bike to compete with the Lectric XPedition these days, but HovWagon looks like it has a place to stand on its own. The $1,399 XPedition can save you some cash, but it’s got a smaller battery and no torque sensor, plus the integrated battery on the HovScout looks better than the ol’ behind-the-seat-tube battery on the XPedition.
For the HovScout, again it’s the torque sensor that has me really interested. A full-suspension fat tire e-bike isn’t cheap, but a torque sensor generally adds significantly to the price by putting it in a higher quality e-bike class. $2,499 isn’t nothing, but it’s not bad for a full-suspension e-bike with this loadout.
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