The PVY Z20 PLUS is a genuine Chinese e-bike. Why are we introducing it? The PVY impressively shows that you can get a good e-bike with some special features for around 1000 euros. What's special here is the compact shape and the ability to fold the bike to save space. A folding frame is more complex and actually leads to higher prices.
The frame of the Z20 PLUS itself is not particularly short; the compact shape is created by the tires with a diameter of only 20 inches. They have off-road tires and are extremely thick. Small tires always make a bike more manageable, whether you're parking it, pushing it or taking a tight curve. Because small and thick tires require more power, they are not the first choice for a muscle-powered bike. But when the engine is pushing, fat tires are a good alternative. You drive more safely, you don't end up in ruts and thanks to all the rubber, a stone edge will never hit the rim. By the way, air pressure plays a crucial role in the driving experience. The tighter the tires are, the more “sporty” the bike feels. Less air pressure leads to more comfort and better grip. When you sit down on the PVY for the first time, you'll be amazed at how big the bike is. The handlebars are relatively high, which is good if you are tall, but short people may find the position uncomfortable or at least noticeable. The foldable handlebar bar cannot be adjusted in height.
PVY advertises the bike with the addition “All Terrain” – what can you imagine by that? Thanks to the wide tires and the suspension at the front and rear, the bike is able to ride on uneven ground, on forest and field paths, on gravel, meadows and through mud. The tires smooth out many bumps, so the driver doesn't have to move his front wheel sensitively between stones and furrows, he can simply roll over them. Great then. But “all terrain” doesn’t mean mountain bike. The entire geometry of the bike is not designed for steep trails and sensitive steering maneuvers.
How can the bike be folded? The bike actually folds up in 20 seconds. To do this, two latches must be released, one in the middle of the frame, the other on the handlebars. Both have a lock so they don't accidentally come loose while driving. First you fold the frame, then you put the handlebars down. This turns the wheel into a handy “cube”. Due to its massive construction and weight, the PVY does not become a mobile companion that you can tuck under your arm, but it is much easier to store. It becomes interesting for campers or if the bike is stored in a small apartment. Transport is also much easier. You can put two of these wheels in the trunk of every five-door car. If you want it to be even more compact, you can retrofit folding pedals.
The battery can be charged through a socket in the frame even when installed. To remove it, you have to fold the wheel in half. This works quite well, but is an additional effort. We would therefore only recommend the bike if the battery can usually be charged internally. When we folded it, the gear shift cable tended to come loose from its holder. This can be easily solved with a cable tie.
The bike looks good and the workmanship is of high quality. I like the massive luggage rack. There are also gimmicks like a horn and indicators at the rear. The lighting is good. In general, you shouldn't forget the low price of the bike. The brakes, gears and seat are okay - but they're not in the top league. Instead of hydraulic disc brakes with four chambers, simple mechanical brakes do the job here. This also applies to the motor and controller. Technically speaking, they can't compete with the "premium brands". The response behavior, the fine tuning of the support, the sensitive sensors of Boch, Yamaha and Brose are not available in the hub motor. This means the bike is out of the running for anyone who wants an e-bike that provides a largely “natural” and sporty riding experience. Those looking for a solid bike with significant support need not worry.
Even with the “legal” settings, the PVY purrs well and gets you safely to your destination. With full support, the bike feels like a “moped with a little pedaling”. It's not a sensitive racer, more of a workhorse that rolls along stoically. The range is given as 100 kilometers. This may be true with minimal support, but it is not practical. The comfortable position invites you to let the engine do most of its work. With high support and top speed, 50 kilometers is more realistic. However, if you drive comfortably at 18 to 20 km/h, the battery should last longer.
The location of the lock that locks the engine and the frame is less nice; the key sticks out of the bottom of the frame. To insert it you have to kneel down and then fumble if you don't want to lie on the floor. Our solution: Leave the key in.
Now come the tricky parts: the controller and the display. In order for the engine to start working, the pedals must first move. This is typical of the simple Chinese drives. In the original setting, the motor only starts after a noticeable moment. So you have to start without engine power. It's not that bad on flat land, but on a slope it's not nice at all. However, you can change the parameters of these controllers. The delay also protects you from the bike rushing away unintentionally and impetuously just because the pedals have been tapped.
Interventions in the setup are usually used to increase the top speed. You can also drive the bike like a moped using just the throttle. This can also be done with the controller, but these two interventions are not legal in road traffic. By the way, you don't have to worry that the Chinese drives are no good. We have been using a bike with a Bafang motor for five years and so far we have had no problems with it.
Who is the bike recommended for? Anyone who doesn't want to spend too much money. 1099 euros is a bargain. In return, you get a solid bike that takes you everywhere comfortably and comfortably and can even ride through mud. The advertising promises the "ultimate all-terrain bike", which is certainly an exaggeration. It is true that the bike also finds a secure hold on unpaved surfaces.
In addition, PVY Z20 PLUS 500 looks significantly more expensive than it actually is. There is also the option of folding the bike. The PLUS 500 costs 1,099 euros, the PLUS 1000 version costs 1,290 euros. For the small additional charge there is a better motor, hydraulic brakes and a more powerful battery. PLUS 1000 would therefore be our tip. Of course, the PVY bike cannot compete with an electric fully for 5,000 euros. But in its price range and beyond, the PVY Z20 PLUS 500 is absolutely convincing.