Harley-Davidson’s ebike spinoff company, Serial 1 began shipping its retro-modernist bikes in the last few months, with some models selling out almost immediately. Serial 1 fortunately was able to share the bike that begins its range, the Mosh/CTY, with Cycle Volta, and we had a few days to sample it. It’s not like anything else currently being produced in the ebike market.
The single-gear Mosh/CTY is the lowest-priced model in the Serial 1 line.
What Is the Serial 1 Mosh/CTY?
The Mosh/CTY is first and foremost the product of a motorcycle company doing a bicycle. So some things are a little different than with other bicycles. First, there’s more emphasis on custom design, and less on slapping brand names on various components—though most everything comes from recognizable top-level component manufacturers.
A durable, low-maintenance Gates carbon fiber belt drives a single cog paired with a gearless hub.
The Mosh/CTY, which is the least-expensive bike Serial 1 sells, uses the same welded aluminum frame as other products in the range, and uses a German Brose S-Mag mid-motor with a massive 90Nm of torque. As with a performance motorcycle, the bike was designed to keep mass low and centralized, so a custom Serial 1 battery pack fits low in front of the motor, with 529Wh in the version used on the Mosh—other, more expensive Serial 1 models offer 40 percent more capacity with a 706Wh battery. But 529Wh is more than on many ebikes, and Serial 1 claims a range of 35 to 105 miles depending on power settings and speeds. A Gates Carbon Drive belt completes the powertrain, and for the Mosh/CTY, it drives a simple rear hub with no gearing. More expensive models get an Enviolo CVT rear hub, but the Mosh makes do with just one gear ratio between rear wheel and pedals.
Serial 1 integrated LED taillights into the frame dropouts. Nice!
The most noticeable thing about the Mosh is its seamless appearance. All wires, cables, and hoses are tucked away, with just a short length of the brake hoses visible before they sneak away inside the handlebar. An unbranded Roxim headlight (custom-designed for Serial 1) unobtrusively tucks in front of the handlebar, and taillights/brake lights mount on the back of each dropout, just above axle height. Can you say clean?
Speaking of those “brake” lights, they’re actually deceleration indicators, triggered by an on-board accelerometer rather than switches at the brake levers. And when the bike is laid down on its side, those clever little beacons flash in a hazard pattern.
The Mosh/CTY wears its heritage on its sleeve—and on the frame’s elevated chainstays.
Wheels are 27.5-inch alloys, with wide 35-millimeter rims. They mount Schwalbe’s top-of-the-line fat tire, the Super Moto-X in a 2.8-inch width. The fat tires serve as the suspension for the Mosh, as it comes with a rigid aluminum fork.
The Mosh/CTY rides lighter than its 48-pound weight.
How Does the Mosh/CTY Ride?
The first thing you notice when you ride the Mosh is how light it feels. Concentrating all the battery and motor mass low and to the center makes the Mosh feel more like an unpowered cruiser than an ebike. Serial1 claims it weighs 48 pounds, but you’d never guess that riding it.
Related: Serial 1 Cycle Company: A Startup With a 118-Year-Old Mentor
The next thing that will strike you is how it turns. The combination of chassis geometry, weight distribution, and that Schwalbe Moto-X rubber makes the Mosh into a turning beast: It just feels good leaning into corners, instilling easy confidence. The fat and wide tires also provide an outstanding ride for a suspensionless bike, and easily roll over 6-inch-tall curbs and other obstacles.
The ebike’s Brose S-Mag mid-drive motor dishes out 90Nm of maximum torque.
The Brose motor accelerates the Mosh away from a start quickly, and the bike feels strong and easy to pedal. At maximum power setting, it’s almost too powerful, as it gets up to 19 to 20 mph very quickly on level ground, and here the single-gear ratio starts to bite. The pedaling cadence at 20 mph is more than any rider will want to sustain, and the bike just feels too busy there. In our riding we’d dial back the power setting a few notches along with the speed, settling into a range where the cadence felt more comfortable—there’s only so much a single gear can do. However, it’s well chosen for starting, even on reasonably steep grades. We stopped on a few hills and found that the 90Nm and single gear made starting back up an easy task. So the Mosh works well as an easy cruiser, but if you’re looking for a fast commuter you’ll probably want one of the Serial 1 Rush models with the CVT rear hub—especially the top-of-the-line Rush/CTY Speed, with Class 3 pedal assist up to 28 mph.
The brake pads on our sample bike were cooked, but we’ve come to know that Tektro’s hydraulic stoppers are rock solid when properly cared for.
The only complaint we had with our Mosh is that it came straight to Cycle Volta from another road test, and the previous users had fried the brake pads. From previous experience, we know that the Tektro hydraulic disc brakes fitted to the Mosh can work well, but the ones fitted to our bike graunched and vibrated under hard braking—almost certainly because of prior hard use before the pads had been bedded in. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to swap the pads out in the few days we had the machine, but we do trust that the brakes could work well with fresh pads.
More expensive Serial 1 models come with four-piston brake calipers and 203-millimeter-diameter, 2.3-millimeter-thick rotors, instead of the two-piston calipers and 1.8-mil rotors of the Mosh. In other applications, these have been bomb-proof.