Lots of chrome, an elegant design and loving details: the Voltaire Bellecour from France is a homage to the classic bicycle — but comes with a modern e-drive! Our review will show how well the bike manages to balance tradition and modernity.
Let’s start with the most striking, the design of the bike: Voltaire sets here everything on retro and gives the compact bike with comfort frame a wonderful vintage look! This is achieved by the numerous polished and chromed components such as mudguards or the cockpit with stem and handlebars. That attention is also paid to details, is also shown by the hub motor from MIVICE, which has been specially provided here with a silver housing and thus also fits perfectly with the same-colored rims.
The brown handlebar grips and the saddle are a perfect contrast to all the reflective components — both contribute to the classic design! Another factor is the delicate appearance of the bike: the dimensions of the bike are compact, which is also due to the small 26″ wheels. In addition, the frame tubes are nicely slim, as known from traditional bicycles.
However, there is one exception: the seat tube has turned out conspicuously thick, which has a constructive reason: namely, the removable battery is housed there, which can be easily pulled out upwards. A very unique solution that Voltaire has come up with here! This does not necessarily harm the slim appearance, as long as the equally voluminous seatpost does not have to be pushed out too far. For reference: on the photos, the seat height is set for a body height of about 170 cm.
The main components of the Voltaire Bellecour are quickly mentioned: the electric drive system of the bike includes the compact and 1.7 kg light M070 hub motor from MIVICE in the rear wheel. The torque of the motor is 35 Nm, the control of the drive is done — typical for MIVICE — via a torque sensor, which allows a particularly harmonious support while riding (but more on that in the riding impression below). The removable battery is located in the seat tube and has a capacity of 360 Wh. The drive is operated via a compact OLED display on the handlebars, which allows you to choose between three speed levels and also displays information such as speed and battery status.
Power is transmitted from the chainring to the motor via a modern belt drive from the manufacturer Toptrans instead of the classic bicycle chain. The danger of getting pants or skirt dirty on a greasy chain thus does not exist. As a singlespeed bike, the Bellecour does not need a gearshift, but it does need two brake levers on the handlebars. These operate the hydraulic disc brakes from Tektro, which also provide decent deceleration in wet conditions. The cockpit with its comfortably curved handlebars is completed by a bicycle bell from Crane, which fits perfectly with the retro look of the bike.
For everyday use in the city, the bike offers sturdy metal mudguards, in which the rear light is elegantly integrated. An unspecified headlight is installed at the front, which is supposed to offer 100 lux light intensity. Both lights are supplied with power via the e-bike battery. Practical in everyday use is the standard frame lock on the rear wheel as well as the robust double stand, which allows the bike to be jacked up stably. With the equipment shown, this stand is certainly somewhat underchallenged, however, Voltaire also offers options for front and rear racks and a child seat — then you should certainly more appreciate the stable stand!
As already mentioned, the Bellecour tested here rolls on compact 26″ wheels, which is due to the small frame size. This should fit riders between 155 and 175 cm tall. For taller people, the bike is also available in a second size, which is then equipped with 28″ wheels. The RoadCruiser tires from Schwalbe with a width of 47 mm are installed.
The electric drive is operated solely via the display on the handlebars, which is equipped with two buttons for controlling the support modes. We already know this display type from other tests and can also praise it here. The display is bright and easy to read, the buttons are easy to reach and have a clearly defined pressure point. You simply press up or down for the respective support level, a longer button press activates the illumination.
Another button can be used to show various information on the display — unfortunately, we missed precise information about the battery’s remaining capacity, for example. This is only displayed via a battery symbol with three bars; there is no display in percent or with the remaining range.
Speaking of the battery: although the concept of a battery in the seat tube is quite unusual, it is easy to use. Via a sturdy metal lever, the somewhat clunky mechanism can be unlocked and the upper part with the saddle flips forward. Then you can comfortably pull the battery out of the tube with a wrist strap and take it with you to recharge. To protect the battery from theft, it can be secured with a small lock on the bike. However, this is placed low on the bottom bracket, for which you always have to bend far down. The same applies to the charging port, which is installed in the same place and via which the battery can be charged directly in the bike.
One point we had not yet addressed: as compact and petite as the Voltaire Bellecour is, it still brings a few kilos on the scale. To be precise, the bike weighs 21.8 kg and is thus surprisingly heavy! Nevertheless, it conceals this weight quite well when riding, because it appears pleasingly agile, nimble and direct.
There are several reasons for this: on the one hand, the quite small wheels in 26″ format provide a touch of agility, and on the other hand, the electric drive from MIVICE contributes significantly to this. Thanks to the torque sensor, it reacts very directly and provides the required support precisely. In addition to the quiet operation, the surprisingly powerful performance of the motor is also noticeable: although singlespeed bikes without gears are known to have a handicap on climbs, the compact M070 performed well in the test. Even somewhat longer uphill sections could be conquered in a sitting position with the necessary input (with this curved handlebars you go out of the saddle rather reluctantly). Nevertheless, the preferred terrain of the Bellecour is on the flat — and here you have enough power at your disposal anyway!
At the limit of 25 km/h, the legally required cutoff of the electric drive occurs very harmoniously — but you will mostly stay below this limit. Because it is clear that the Voltaire Bellecour is certainly not a bike that you ride to get to your destination as quickly as possible. Due to the very upright seating position with the high and backward curved handlebars, its focus is clearly on comfort. Rather, with the Bellecour you cruise much more casually through the streets, and then pick up a fresh baguette at the bakery!
With its charming retro appearance, the Bellecour offers a welcome change from ordinary urban e-bikes. In addition to the look, the bike also surprises with special solutions such as the integration of the removable 360 Wh battery. Known and proven, however, is the electric drive from MIVICE, which also leaves an excellent impression in this bike.
With mudguards, lights, double stand and frame lock, the equipment is very extensive and meets the everyday requirements in the city. This is certainly also a reason for the surprisingly high weight of the bike, which is however well concealed during the ride. Here, the Bellecour fortunately leaves a direct and agile impression — which, in combination with the comfortable seating position and easy handling, makes it a pretty attractive city bike. And the price is also attractive, because Voltaire charges a fair 2,290 Euros for the Bellecour!