The Biktrix Kutty X will be hard for me to forget. Not only because of its bright yellow frame, but because this is the electric bike that got me to and from a Covid-19 vaccination site (twice) in Brooklyn, when I was still wary of public transit. It helped me breathe a sigh of relief after a year of uncertainty.
It also happens to be a folding fat-tire ebike that solves a few issues I had with another, very similar competitor, the Lectric XP. It’s costlier, but it’s built better, and the motor is more reliable. It shares the same shortcoming though—it’s too darn heavy.
Before cycling (ha!) through my experience with it, you should know that there are two versions of this Biktrix bike: the Kutty ($2,099) and Kutty X ($2,199). I tested the latter, which has a slightly bigger battery and uses hydraulic brakes instead of mechanical brakes. There are a few other minor differences, but the riding experience of the two should be very similar. This is important because the Kutty X is sold out and won’t be available again until later this year, so the standard Kutty is your only option for now.
Some Assembly Required
Biktrix is a Canadian company and it ships its ebikes to the US by air directly to your doorstep. The Kutty X arrived in a giant box and required some assembly. I popped on the pedals easily, but installing the front tire and handlebar were a little more perplexing, so I hunted for the instruction manual. It wasn’t there. Instead, you need to head online to check out Biktrix’s assembly guide.
This guide wasn’t available when I first set up the bike, so I followed the company’s YouTube instructions. Some advice: Unless you have your own bike stand, I strongly recommend roping in a friend to help you put on the front wheel. The first time I tried it alone, the back of the bike tipped over and crushed the front light that was sitting on the floor nearby. Eep. Thankfully, the rest of the installation went smoothly.
It’s an attractive ebike! I’m a sucker for colorful gadgets and gizmos, so the golden yellow frame is totally in my wheelhouse. You can also get the Kutty X in black, blue, and red (the standard Kutty only comes in black or blue). What stands out next is its build quality. When I tested the Lectric XP last year, I noted how parts of that fat-tire ebike felt rattly. I didn’t sense anything of the sort with the Kutty X. It feels more put together, and makes no strange creaks or sounds during rides.
There is one part of this ebike that I did mess up, but I’d like to leave at least part of the blame at Biktrix’s door. The Kutty X comes with a key you insert into the side of the frame. Insert the key, twist it, and that unlocks the ability to remove the battery (as seen at this part of this video). You need to twist a knob on the battery to pull it out. A removable battery is handy if you don’t have an outlet near your bike’s parking spot.
Leaving a key in the bike isn’t usually a problem. Sometimes they’re required to power on and run the ebike, as in the case on the Lectric XP. Also, if you’re testing a lot of ebikes (as we usually are), sometimes bike shops, or my fellow bike reviewers, simply leave the key in to avoid mixing them up. Since I didn’t have a manual to explain that this is the one bike where you shouldn’t leave the key in, I accidentally left the key in unlocked mode. At some point, I ran over a bump that knocked the knob off the battery and only realized it was missing when I came home. Without it, there’s no way to remove the battery. Lesson learned: Take the keys out before your ride.
Folding it is simple but unwieldy, due to the bike’s 60-pound weight. Undo a clamp in the middle of the frame, then lift the front half and pull it over to the back. If you don’t have good footing, it’s a dance of seeing whether the bike or you fall down first. Undo another clamp to tuck away the handlebars.
There’s no way to lock the two wheels together when it’s folded up, so the front tire awkwardly splays out. It doesn’t look very neat. I also wish there were more intuitive handholds on the frame. In the moment, the parts that are the easiest to grab are often the dirtiest parts of the bike.
Ray of Sunshine
The best part of the Kutty X is the ride. The 4-inch Kenda tires make rides feel wonderfully smooth, and the suspension helps too. The big, flat handlebars are comfortable to hold, and you can adjust the height. It feels like sitting in an upright cruiser.
On the handlebars are an easy-to-use 8-speed Shimano shifter, reliable Tektro hydraulic disc brakes, and an LCD display with ride data, like the odometer, speed (make sure to swap it from kilometers to miles), and distance traveled. With the buttons to the display’s left, you can cycle through five pedal assistance levels (or use the throttle).
With pedal assistance, levels one and two will still make you huff and puff over longer rides and steep hills, but level three strikes a good balance of effort without the sweat. Levels four and five usually felt too easy, though they didn’t leave me with the “pedaling air” sensation I felt with the Lectric XP.
Better yet, the 750-watt Shengyi rear hub motor delivers its power smoothly and stops when you aren’t pedaling. This was an issue with the Lectric XP’s 500-watt rear hub motor—it kept running for a few seconds after I stopped pedaling, which is potentially dangerous. I didn’t have such woes with the Kutty X. The motor is powerful enough to climb hills in Brooklyn with ease too. As for range, it’ll depend on a variety of factors and what level of pedal assistance you use, but I usually hovered around 20 miles before needing to charge it again.
Just like the Lectric, you get an array of accessories that are usually extras on many other ebikes, like a front light, a rear rack, and fenders. It’s IP65 as well, and I rode it in a heavy rainstorm with no problems.
I want to reiterate that the Kutty X weighs more than 60 pounds. Being able to fold it up is great considering my tiny New York apartment, but I’m more thankful I have an elevator so I don’t need to lug this thing up the stairs.
I’ve seen an uptick of these heavy, fat-tire ebikes around Brooklyn of late—many of them are Lectric XPs, which makes sense considering its attractive $1,000 price. It’s hard to say if paying a little more than double is worth the slightly upgraded experience and increased power, but I undeniably had more fun with the Kutty X. Overall, it was a much better riding experience—except for the battery key! Take it out, everyone!