The trend towards SUV ebikes is getting stronger and stronger, but the manufacturers’ recipe for such models usually looks the same: They like to install the largest available components on these bikes. Maximum battery capacity, most powerful motor, thickest tires, maximum suspension. Undoubtedly, with this formula you get a robust bike with which you can ride comfortably over almost any surface. However, this comes at the cost of a significant increase in weight: SUV bikes are usually very heavy and hardly pleasant to ride if the battery runs out. In addition, the heavyweight bikes also look like they weigh a lot.
Orbea is now taking a different approach with its two new SUV e-bikes, the Kemen SUV and Kemen: Here, too, the aim of the development was to build a robust and comfortable bike — but with the specification that the bikes should be as light as possible and have a slim frame shape.
The battery: less is more
A central component for such considerations is the battery and its capacity. After all, every increase in capacity is directly linked to an increase in weight and volume. Orbea asked itself how much capacity is reasonable — and came up with a value of 540 Wh. In everyday life, this capacity should be quite sufficient for most trips. However, if you are planning a long-distance tour, you can use an optional range extender battery with another 252 Wh.
The advantage of this solution is clearly that you do not have to permanently move a large battery, although you may only rarely need its full power. The main battery is permanently installed in the bike for greater frame stiffness and further weight savings. Thanks to modern cells in the 21,700 format, it also has a higher energy density, which also makes it even more compact.
An equally newly developed Smart Charger is supposed to charge the battery — depending on its condition — both quickly (up to 4 amps) and gently, thus increasing the battery life by up to 30%.
Powerful electric drive
Orbea uses the Shimano EP8 mid-drive motor as the motor on both bikes, which is not only very powerful with 85 Nm of torque, but also compact and lightweight. The drive system is combined with a derailleur, which also comes from Shimano and uses the new Link Glide technology. This is particularly adapted to the high loads of strong mid-engines and should thus combine smoother gear changes with longer durability.
It is only logical that with these electronic components, the frame of the bikes can also be built slim and light. In addition to a typical diamond frame with a high top tube, the bikes are also available in the MID version with a trapezoidal comfort frame. The hand-ground weld seams ensure a clean look.
A clean look is also achieved on the handlebar, where the electrical cables are routed inside. Only the brake lines are visible from the outside, but for a good reason: since these tend to require more frequent maintenance, preference was given here to the easier maintenance option.
In addition to typical features such as lights, mudguards and luggage racks, SUV bikes are characterized by fat tires and suspension. And this is exactly where the differences between the two models Kemen SUV and Kemen can be found:
- The Kemen is the smaller model, so to speak, with equipment that is designed more for urban terrain. The tires are 2.25 inches wide and offer plenty of grip on asphalt, the mudguards are longer and thus protect against wetness on the road. With a payload of 18 kg, the carrier is a bit slimmer.
- The Kemen SUV is designed for rougher terrain and rolls on 2.35-inch wide tires with coarse lug tread. The mudguards are more robustly designed to prevent mud and slush from collecting underneath. The luggage carrier is also reinforced and offers a load capacity of 27 kg.
Both models are also available in two equipment variants:
- The Kemen 10 models offer slightly higher-quality components with gears from Shimano’s XT series with 11 speeds, a Fox 34 Float AWL suspension fork (100 mm travel) and a lighting system from Lezyne with the new Super HB STVZO 1000 headlight, which offers up to 1,000 lumens of light output. In addition, a suspension seatpost with 100 mm travel is installed on the H10 bikes.
- The Kemen 30 models offers a somewhat simpler equipment at a lower price: Thus, Shimano’s Deore shifting with 10 gears is used here. The suspension fork comes from Marzocchi, the Bomber Z2 offers 100 mm travel. With 310 lumens, the POWER STVZO PRO E115 headlight from Lezyne is somewhat weaker, a suspension seatpost is not standard equipment here.
With the new Kemen model range, Orbea offers an attractive alternative to many other bikes in the SUV sector and scores points above all with the sleek look and a low weight. Thus, the lightest Kemen weighs only 22 kg, which is quite remarkable in view of the robust equipment and the powerful drive! The concept with a sensibly sized main battery and the option for an additional range extender battery sounds convincing. However, whether the permanently installed battery is a problem must be decided individually based on the usage scenario.
Prices start at 3,999 euros for the Kemen 30 SUV and Kemen 30, and the Kemen 10 SUV and Kemen 10 with higher-quality features cost 4,799 euros. The bikes are each available in three colors (Kemen SUV in black, mango and urban green; Kemen in black, dark red and urban green) and in up to four different frame sizes.