The Bavarian Corratec is a familiar brand in Hungary, primarily known for their mountain bikes. In the last few years we heard less from the German bike maker due to lack of local distribution, however Corratec bikes are back again as of this year thanks to Smile Ebike, a specialist shop located in the heart Budapest. From the wide range of Corratec bikes the first to enter the Hungarian market is the Life S city e-bike model, which can be purchased through the governement’s new city mobility development scheme (ITM) earning a HUF 150,000 subsidy towards the purchase of a bike with modern torque sensing e-bike technology.
Both feet on the ground
This is undoubtedly the main feature of the Corratec Life S, which has won a Design & Innovation Award for its innovative construction. Just as the so-called “chopper” in the world of motorbikes, a cruise type of bicycle allows the rider to sit further to the rear with feet projecting forward while pedaling. This is facilitated by the shallow angle of the seat tube resulting in a lower center of gravity, hence allowing to place both feet on the ground when coming to a stop. Novice cyclist tend to appreciate this feature when the bike is stationary: there is no need to get off the bike then remount to start riding. The convenience offered by the Life S doesn’t hinder actual riding, since the forward position of the pedals allows the usual leg extension when turning the pedals. Once you get used to the altered pedaling position, the added security is surely to compensate for any issues the design may bring about.
The different saddle placement has also the advantage of the extreme low stepover, hence the rider is not required to raise the leg high to mount the Life S. Paired with a bent back handlebar design this bike offers a distinctly riding style with a comfortable body position and a stable ride character. The relatively long wheelbase also plays a part in the enhanced stability, allowing the rider to ride up curbs, over potholes or manhole covers. At the same time the bike has a tight turning circle, it can be ridden around in a circle if the rider wishes to. These characteristics lend the bike to navigation narrow, crowded city streets.
A small rain lays great dust,
likewise the small wheel of the Corratec Life S is able to smooth out the irregular surface of busy urban roads. You may have a déjà vu feeling since this bike features similar 20” wheels as found on kids’ bikes, with the caveat that the hoops on the Life S are full 3” wide. The wheels may seem small especially if one is user to riding 29” mountain bikes, but the additional air volume compared to the 1,5” wide trekking bikes of the typically 2” wide MTB makes a huge difference when it comes to smoothing the bumps found on our badly maintained streets. The wheels are not only wide, but thanks to the thru axle attachment and the 36 spokes they are extremely stable and virtually bombproof. This bike was clearly designed to withstand abuse, to be ridden over tram or railway tracks, sidewalk curbs and related obstacles found in cities worldwide. The tires have a smooth tread, the lack of protruding knobs make them ideal on pavement. These wheels are more reminiscent of motor motorcycles than pushbikes, and also makes active wheel suspension more or less unnecessary. The Life S is enough comfortable without the complex springs associated with many mountain bikes.
Fine German design: the devil is in the details
The spring loaded saddle by Corratec’s own in-house ZZYZX brand results in a very smooth, comfortable ride. This retro style component harmonizes well with the “laid back” image of the Life S, complemented by the comfort grips on the bar permitting full contact by the palm of the hand and the wide platform of the Ergotec pedals. The latter offers a large surface for even riding in boots, but virtually any size of footwear will have a stable platform to push against.
All the components on the bike are well-designed chosen purposefully for this type of bike and the associated riding style. The parts are plenty robust, like the massive kickstand or the integrated rack which can carry a whopping 50 pounds. The latter can also be used as a handle when the bike needs to be lifted. The racks hold the AXA Compact Line rear LED light complemented by the fork-mounted front unit boasting 20 Lux power. So the lights are always on hand, and they operate from the main e-bike battery, so there is no scarcity of power when it comes the night riding.
A good motor unit is key to success when it comes to e-bikes, and Corratec didn’t leave anything to chance in this regard. The Life S is powered by the Bosch Active Line Plus drive system, which offers torque-based pedal assistance, making it one the mast advanced unit in its price segment. It represents the third generation of e-bike motors by the German specialist, the motor unit is light, efficient and economic, When paired with a chain derailleur gear system, the Active Line Plus offers 270% maximum assistance with a huge 50Nm torque. Such power can easily accelerate the Life S in the city environment to the 25 km per hour allowed by pedelec regulation. This new Bosch motor is much quieter than previous iterations and has noticeably less resistance when it’s not operating. The latter facilitates riding the bike without motor assist, as in the case when the battery is completely discharged. Provided the user pays attention to level of charge, the risk of the battery going dead is miniscule thanks to the large capacity 500Wh included in the Life S.
The Shimano Acera 8-speed derailleur system may seem rudimentary for such an advanced e-bike, but in practice it provides smooth shifting, when paired with the powerful electric motor, it allows the rider to tackle even the steepest city streets. The hydraulic brakes are also from the Shimano range, 180mm front and 160mm rear discs provide efficient deceleration for even heavier cyclists.
One size and unique design
The Corratec Life S is manufactured in a single frame size as the small wheels and the low stepover allows riders of shorter stature to ride the bike with confidence and the rearward projecting saddle, the unique frame geometry and the adjustable handlebar places taller cyclist in a not overly crunched body position. The overall design is not only distinctive but customizable, since the black or white frame color can be complemented by no less than 6 fender color options: red, yellow, green, blue, black and white. It’s up to customer to kit out the Life as a white swan or a black devil, or a chosen duotone design!
It will fit everybody
If you are looking for a city e-bike for all kinds of riding that can be used by the whole family from kids to adults, the Life S provides an ideal solution. It’s also the perfect e-bike for rental purposes as no frame sizes have to be dealt with. As mentioned in the introduction, the Life S is the first model to arrive from the Corratec range of bikes, and you can expect to see more from March 2021, including trekking and MTB types.
Test ride it if you’re interested!
If you wish to try the Life S, give it a test ride on the steep slopes of Gellért Hill and enjoy the view of our capital from a bird’s eye view! You can scrutinize Corratec bikes at the Smile E-bike specialist, where the staff can answer all your related questions. You can also take the bike for longer test ride at the Fertőd Bike rental location in West Hungary, where you can also purchase the Life S. If you are a dealer and wish to stock and rent Corratec bikes, try them out and consult with the distributor!
Frame: Corratec Life S
Fork: Corratec Life S
Brakes: Shimano MT 200
Brake Disc: 180 mm front, 160 mm rear
Stem: Ergotec Vorbau Cobra
Handle bar: Ergotec Bügel EWG
Saddle: Corratec Trekking
Seat post: ZZYZX Alloy
Crankset: ZZYZX E-Power Crank
Cassette: Shimano HG31 8s
Rear derailleur: Shimano Acera 8S
Shift levers: Shimano Acera 8S
Wheelset: ZYZX Trekking
Tire: Innova 20 x 3.0″
Cassette Ratio: 8s; 11-13-15-18-21-24-28-32
Motor: BOSCH Active Line Plus
Battery: BOSCH PowerPack 500 Performance
Lights: Axa Compactline 20 powered from the main battery
Weight: 23,5 kg
For more information please visit the Smile Ebike page by clicking here!