iGo Aspire Camillien Is a Smart Electric Bike for City Riding
The Aspire Camillien is a great, all-purpose electric bike with some exciting customization features.
Sean BookerVideo Producer
As a Video Producer at CNET, Sean has worked on more videos than he can count. He covers video games and video game hardware along with the occasional electric bike. He covers games both on and off camera, through livestreams, press events, and podcasts.
The Aspire Camillien from iGo Electric is a fantastic recreational e-bike that's perfect for any length of commute and looks just as nice as it rides. It's an all-purpose electric bike, meaning you can ride it on roads, dirt, and gravel with ease. And with its 2x9 gear range, it allows for a lot of versatility when tackling tough hills or terrain.
But what's really exciting is how you can tweak and customize the amount of power the rear electric motor will produce.
Part of what makes this bike so pretty is its aluminum alloy frame, which also gives it the added benefit of being lightweight and durable. And the smooth welds and aerodynamic flourishes are just the icing on the cake. The 36-volt battery is sleek and compact while being integrated right into the frame. You just unlock it with the key and it folds out for safekeeping or charging but you do have the option to charge it while it's connected to the bike. While plugged in, it has a battery indicator on the outside so you know when it's ready.
I'm happy to report that this is one of the smoothest bikes I've ever ridden. When the battery is off it feels identical to a typical bike so losing power should be no concern. And with the assist on, hills turn to butter, especially when paired with one of the lower gears. The Camillien has Shimano gear shifters which I'm really not used to but quickly got the hang of. And they sit right at home with the bike's alloy drop handlebars.
The Camillien features five levels of pedal assist that you can control through the display unit on the handle bars. It does not have a throttle. The display gives you a lot of information and it reads fine in bright sunlight. It shows how much voltage you're currently using while riding, your current speed and your remaining battery power -- and you can swap this between either a percentage or the remaining voltage. Under your current speed, you can cycle between an odometer, your max speed, your average speed, length of trip and distance of ride. And since iGo Electric is a Montreal-based brand (shout out to my homeland), you can switch everything to metric like the majority of the planet uses.
The bike also features a Walk Mode that, when on, pushes the bike at around 4mph and is used for when you're walking your bike up a steep hill. There's not much other use for it, since 4mph is faster than your typical walk speed, so you wouldn't use this on a flat surface. You also have to keep a button held down for it to stay in this mode and this results in an uncomfortable position for you to push it one-handed.
The Camillien features torque sensors to help assist your ride. This means the bike will push itself forward only when it detects you pedaling. You can choose between three settings for how fast you want the assistance to kick in when you begin to pedal. Economy mode takes the longest at around 4 seconds to start, but it uses the least amount of power; Sport mode kicks in right away but uses the most juice; and Standard sits right in the middle. What's very cool is if you want even more granular control, you can set your own profile for how long you want that delay to be; you can choose between 0 and 10,000 milliseconds.
Now why would you really care how fast the assist turns on? I've found that when riding an e-bike there's a level of comfort that comes with knowing when it will push itself forward. If you're riding up a lot of hills, Sports mode is ideal so that the bike won't wait to help out after stopping at a crosswalk or can't always be moving. This mode really helps get you going again from a standstill when gravity is against you. On the other hand, Economy is nice when just commuting around so that the bike doesn't jerk forward when proceeding after a red left or just slowly weaving around various traffic and other obstacles. For the most part, I left the bike on Standard mode during my rides.
Regardless of which setting you choose, the bike does a good job of smoothly assisting you. iGo estimates that the battery's max range is around 56 miles. I personally was able to ride for almost two weeks with only a single charge, using it for many short trips to and from the gym or the park.
All of these settings can also be adjusted in the iGo Connect app that the bike can link to via Bluetooth. The app shows a lot of the same information as the display unit but on a much larger screen. Keep in mind, though, that the Camillien's handlebars don't allow for much additional space if you want to mount your phone. You will probably have to secure it to the grip tape portion, so make sure your mount can support a thicker bar than usual. Apart from being able to customize and set your rider profile, you can watch a simulation of the app on the go, change your language between English and French, and access iGo's various FAQs and manuals. Lastly, from the main screen, if you swipe left you can Enable Off Road mode, which allows the bike to increase the maximum speed from 20mph to 28mph, but make sure to check your local regulations before doing this in order not to break any speed limits. One thing I wish the app had is a GPS tracker.
This brings me to the only real downside to this bike: its price. The Aspire Camillien runs for $2,500. That's a lot of money, but it's also a lot of bike. In fact, $2,500 is right in the middle of what an electric bike with these features usually costs. My usual bike only cost me $300, so I was a little uncomfortable locking this bike up and leaving it outside. With a product this expensive, it's recommended to get an AirTag or some other tracker. And take the battery with you, so no one damages your bike trying to unlock and steal one of the most expensive parts.
I would never leave this bike outside though. The Camillien is waterproof so the weather shouldn't be much of an issue, except for ensuring the battery doesn't get submerged in water. But with this price tag, I was much more comfortable storing this bike in a secure, indoor location. You'll have to make sure you have space for a full bike indoors. I live in a tiny apartment where I barely have enough room for my own bike, let alone this one I'm reviewing. If stairs are a concern then you should note that the Camillien weighs 40 pounds -- 35 for the bike and 5 for the battery -- another perk, since this is definitely on the lighter side.
iGo Electric does offer a slightly cheaper model with almost all the same features. Whereas the Camillien is designed as an all-purpose ride, its sister bike the Aspire Vendome focuses more on city riding. The Vendome is a bit cheaper at $2,200 and comes with a built-in headlight, fenders, rear rack and slimmer road tires. It also has nine gears compared to the Camillien's 18. Definitely take a look at both models if either of them are of interest to you. iGo offers a seven-day try-at-home policy, where it will cover all the return shipping costs, "no questions asked."
I really loved my time riding the Aspire Camillien and would highly recommend it for anyone looking for a good all-purpose bike. The versatility it offers between its gear range and the pedal assist customization is great and it's just so nice to look at. It's definitely become my go-to ride.