Thok Mig-R eMTB - Review

Feb 26, 2018
by Paul Aston  



Thok Bikes appeared out of the blue in 2017 and went straight into the eMTB market, but are they just another brand jumping on the electrically powered bandwagon? That might appear to be the case on the surface, but Thok was brought to life by Stefano Migliorini, an old-school downhill racer that lined up at World Championships against the greats as far back as '93. More provenance is provided by trials motorcycle legend, and current World Champion, Toni Bou, who helped develop the bike and rides his own signature version of the Mig.

Thok offers one Mig platform with three builds kits; we opted for the middle of the range Mig-R that is specced with a range of Thok's components, RockShox suspension and a Shimano motor, battery, brakes and drivetrain. The direct-sale brand sells the Mig-R online for €5250 and can be delivered to your house, or through a 'Thok Point,' a network of local dealers that are used for setup, servicing and rental needs.



Thok Mig-R
Intended use: trail/enduro
Travel: 140mm rear / 150mm front
Wheel size: 27.5+
Frame construction: Hydroformed 6061 alloy
Suspension: RockShox Deluxe RL / Lyrik RC
Motor: Shimano STEPS E8000
Battery: Shimano external 504wh
Sizes: S, M, L, XL
Weight: 22,70kg (XL, tubeless, w/o pedals, actual)
Price: €5250
More info: thokbikes.com
bigquotesThe Thok really did cover most terrain types with ease and proved itself as a great all-rounder. Paul Aston

Contents







Thok Bike Test


Construction, Features and Motor

The frame uses a huge, hydroformed downtube which also carries the external Shimano battery on its underside, Thok's custom battery guard is there for protection from incoming elements and is available in red or black. The Mig-R uses a standard Shimano STEPS E8000 motor with 170mm crank arms. Shimano's motor is becoming increasingly prevalent and seems to continually become more intuitive and each firmware update give it more of a 'mountain bike feel'

The swingarm is a chunky affair and is mated to a massive CNC machined rocker linkage. Other features include internal cable routing throughout, and even space for a bottle cage – a rarity on an eMTB.



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Thok Bike Test
Thok Bike Test
The Mig has internal cable routing throughout.


Geometry & Sizing

Thok Mig-R Geometry
Thok Mig-R Geometry
Thok Mig-R Geometry

Thok's geometry is distinctly in the middle of the current road. Reach numbers across most brands are becoming increasingly similar after a few years of wildly ranging figures, and the Mig-R has numbers that increase between each size from 21mm, 24mm, and 29mm from S to XL. My XL test bike had a 479mm reach and a corresponding stack of 642mm and a very long 150mm headtube. The smaller two sizes in the range are specced with 40mm stems, and the larger two have a 50mm stem. The handlebars are 780mm wide on all sizes, which gives plenty of room to cut them down for smaller riders.

The rest of the figures are more middle-of-the-road numbers for a trail/enduro bike with a 66º head angle, a 74.5º eff. seat angle, 450mm chainstay and a 16mm bottom bracket drop.


Suspension Design


TPS stands for Thok Progessive System. There's nothing crazy to shout about in the suspension department – the TPS is a classic four-bar system with a yoke-driven shock. The main pivot sits above and behind the bottom bracket, the chainstay pivot is close to the rear axle and the brake is mounted on the seat stay. The seat stay is connected to the huge one-piece rocker link that drives the yoke connected to the shock.

Thok Bike Test

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Specifications

Specifications
Release Date 2017
Price $5250
Rear Shock RockShox Deluxe RL, custom tuned, 210x55 mm
Fork RockShox Lyrik RC, Boost, 150 mm
Cassette Shimano XT 11 - 46
Rear Derailleur Shimano Deore XT, 11 speed
Chain Shimano 11 speed
Shifter Pods Shimano SLX / SC-E8000 with LCD colored display 1,6" with Firebold controller
Handlebar Thok Oversize 35 mm, 780mm wide x 20mm rise
Stem Thok CNC, oversize 35 mm, 40/50mm length
Grips Thok Lock-On grip
Brakes Shimano XT, with IceTec, 203 mm
Wheelset SunRinglé Duroc 40mm Comp wheels
Tires Maxxis DHR 27,5x2.8 - Rekon 27,5x2.8 EXO TR
Seat Thok Fit Chromo
Seatpost Thok dropper post 125/150 mm

Thok Bike Test












Test Bike Setup


Coming from the Thok HQ in Turin, the Mig-R didn't need to travel far for testing in Finale Ligure, which provided a great proving ground on conditions the bike was designed around. The bike has racked up 500kms of mostly off-road riding, solely in Trail or Boost modes – this equates to around twenty 25km rides in cold temperatures. Technical climbing is becoming more and more enjoyable for me on eMTB's, especially trials-like rock sections and steep rock faces, so the bike took some extra punishment from the terrain on the way up instead spinning up asphalt or flowing uphills.

I found the Thok to perform best with around 25% sag front and rear, rebound set fast and with 2/3 of the possible volume spacers installed which were three (5x maximum) in the Lyrik and two (3x maximum) in the Deluxe. I kept the handlebar high with the tall stack height to keep the front end up and out of trouble on steep and tech trails. This also gave me a perfect 45:55% weight balance between the front and rear wheel.

I rode the XL sized bike with the 50mm stem and had no problems with the feel of any contact points and components. I did spend some time switching wheels and tires between 27.5+ and 29".

Paul Aston
Paul Aston
Location: Finale Ligure, Italy
Age: 32
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 165 lbs
Industry affiliations / sponsors: None
Instagram: @astonator
KM's ridden: ca.500

Thok Bike Test

Climbing

The main reason to bolt a motor on a mountain bike is to make it easier and more fun to climb hills. This means you are going to spend a lot more time enjoying and practicing challenging off-road climbing, so I think an e-bike's geometry and setup should be more focused on climbing than a normal bike – a quick copy and paste of the geometry from a normal mountain bike isn't going to cut it. Chainstays need a little extra length, and seat angles need sharpening to the keep the front wheel on the ground as grip and power are useless if you are looping out off the back of the bike. The bottom bracket also needs to be higher, and/or use shorter cranks for clearance. When you find yourself riding up things you would never dream of solely with human power and speeds are increased along with the need to keep the pedals turning to keep the motor engaged and driving forwards, all of these factors mean timing and pedal clearance is more important.

So did the Mig-R do any of those? The chainstay/bottom-bracket/seat area was just steep enough for me to tackle most of the steepest climbs I could find but I still needed to use plenty of body language. I would prefer this area to be more suited to pure climbing, but being at the upper range of rider sizing anybody smaller should find climbing the Mig-R easier.

The Shimano STEPS motor with the upgraded 'Trail Mode' firmware that uses torque sensors to imitate the power input from your legs makes technical climbing much easier to control and pace. If you have a Shimano motor make sure you download and connect to the free Shimano eTube app to get the most out of the updates – I found using Trail mode is good for 95% of riding situations, the other 5% being if you are about to run out of battery and drop to Eco, or you're nearly home and want to use Boost to get home because you still have plenty of charge.

I never found the need to use the climb lever; the bike has good support and doesn't wallow under power when set at 25% sag – this is less than I would normally run on a mountain bike, but with the extra stability of the heavier bike, less sag keeps things responsive, riding higher in the travel.
Thok Bike Test
The Mig has good support while climbing, and there wasn't any need to use the climb lever.

Swapping out to 29" x 2.5" wheels lifted the ride height by 13mm which gave better ground clearance, rollover and the chance to use DH casing tires with plenty of grip, accuracy and protection. After some experimenting, I found the 27.5+ rear combined with the 29" front wheel to be the best compromise – better front wheel rollover was noticeable when climbing over stepped terrain and it gave me more accuracy and more confidence in the front end. Sticking with the plus tire on the rear gives massive climbing traction, and even though the feeling is more vague, just like drifting in mud, the back wheel always follows the front. This is not a new concept and is seen on nearly every motorbike, ever, and more eMTB bikes are being designed this way.


Thok Bike Test

Descending


The bike's geometry figures tell us that this bike isn't an all-out downhill weapon. But the long wheelbase combined with the low down motor and battery weight did give enough stability and confidence at speed, more than a normal bike with similar numbers.

The high front end, short stem, and wide bar kept the front up and out of trouble and this increased with the big wheel up front. At the back, the beginning of the travel is sensitive and the big tire drowns out some small frequency bumps. There is enough support from the rear suspension to generate speed when pumping and keep the Mig-R feeling positive.

Overall the bike is quiet, thanks to the rubberized noise protection, but the cables at the front needed some tidying up to stop them from rattling on the handlebars.

The only place the Mig-R didn't shine was in mid to long corners where it was average. I put this down to the high-ish bottom bracket (for a 140mm 29er, with 25% sag) and arguably steep head angle. It was tough to drop the bike into turns quickly, and it never felt settled in the corners wanting to stand up. Trying more sag did help but took away some of the responsiveness. The 27.5+/29" combo gave the best and most secure lean angle in the corners and also made it easier to drop the bike in and keep it leaned over.

Did I care about the lack of cornering prowess? For one of the first times, not really. I have been having such a good time during the rest of the duration of the ride trying out technical climbs and trials maneuvers that I didn't mind. Possibly, the solution could be to find a 160mm crank and drop the bottom bracket by 10mm, thus keeping the clearance similar but dropping the rider a little more into the turn.




Thok Bike Test

Bergamont E-Trailster review
Bergamont's e-Trailster
Focus Jam 178
Focus's Jam2

How does it compare?


Compared to the Bergamont e-Trailster, the Mig-R is similarly specced against the dealer-bought bike. The Mig-R's chassis wins on stiffness and predictability but loses out against the great rear suspension action and high chainline of the Bergamont. The Sam2 from Focus is still one of the most refined and quiet eMTBs out there and its clean lines and attention to detail make the Mig-R look cheap. The Mig-R's suspension seems to give more drive and support, it is also a chunk cheaper than the similarly spec'd but expensive Sam2 at €6,699.


Thok Bike Test
Thok Bike Test


Technical Report

Shimano XT Brakes: The XT brakes combined with 203mm IceTec rotors and pads front and rear are incredible considering the two piston design and short brake lever. No problems with heat buildup and massive, controllable, stopping power.

Shimano XT Drivetrain: I've said this before, and I think it bears repeating – I don't think the standard XT derailleur, chain and cassette are the right tools for the eMTB job. The noise of twisting, crunching, and torquing the chain under loads makes me squeamish. SRAM's EX1 drivetrain is ahead of the game for multiple reasons, but with quality and the amount of effort Shimano have invested in their STEPS motor and Di2, they surely have something that will compete with or outdo SRAM in the works.

Thok Components: Thok's range of components are all solid and dependable and proved that you don't need something fancy with a brand name to get the job done. The handlebar, stem, grips, dropper post and saddle all got on with the job in hand with no issues.

29" Clearance: The marketing teams went to town trying to justify plus-sized bikes when they launched, saying that the outside diameter of a 27.5+ and 29" tires were the same so you could swap between wheels oin the same bike. Not entirely true, generally a 29" with anything more than a 2.1" tire is bigger than a 27.5+ x 2.8/3.0". The Lyrik at the front of the Thok had ideal clearance for the big wheel, whereas the rear wheel with a 2.35" Magic Mary had very little space left – luckily it's not very muddy around here.

Thok Bike Test
Thok Bike Test



Pros

+ Well thought out and rounded geometry
+ Shimano's reliable motor/battery and dealer support network
+ Solid and overbuilt frame
Cons

- Noisy Shimano XT drivetrain
- Not great in corners
- Rear wheel clearance for 29" tires could be better



Is this the bike for you?

For anybody considering an eMTB, a 140-160mm travel bike should cover 95% of your needs. There's little reason to have less travel for efficiency because the motor helps out here. Going over the 160mm mark also seems mostly unnecessary as the added weight of the electric system will give you more stability than you thought possible with a normal 160mm bike.

Of course, I am going to say I think it should have a longer reach, slacker HA, steeper SA etc, but the Thok really did cover most terrain types with ease and proved itself as a great all-rounder.



Pinkbike's Take
bigquotesThe Mig-R is a great all rounder that should suit the needs of the majority of eMTB riders. A solid package that can be improved with thicker tires and perhaps a 29" wheel up front. At €5250, it challenges dealer-bought bikes regarding spec but has some strong competition that's only going to increase from the direct sales brands. Paul Aston







Posted In:
eMTB



95 Comments

  • 133 2
 Just to clarify: I only came here for the comments, not for the E-Bike review!
  • 19 6
 So just to clarify, you do in fact have limits?
  • 16 3
 @sewer-rat:
E-Bikes on PB are. I made this account when E-bikes were not even a thing for commuting Frown
  • 2 2
 Me too ????
  • 3 2
 I think the best way to kill this kind of content is to ignore it completely. Don't click, don't read and don't comment. Now you're doing it wrong guys..
  • 2 0
 @hirvi: Too tempting to click. It's car crash internetting. I think the best way is to go through a VPN that places you in North America.
  • 91 14
 Sir, There is no good way of saying it, we are quite certain that your bike has a large tumor growing on its downtube. It’s bad, real bad. It’s spreading too fast and we can’t do anything
  • 2 1
 If i may intervene Sir, it looks more like an aphrodisiac... a bad one.
  • 2 1
 You mean it's got the big DC?
  • 6 1
 Wrong, there is a cure. Surgically removing the offending lump, dremmel preferred, but hammer acceptable in the situation. Then a course of hard drugs for the owner, anti psychotics probably. The Swiss would just euthanise and have done with it.
  • 7 5
 @yeti-monster: YOU HAVE TO LET HIM GO!!!
  • 3 1
 @WAKIdesigns: haha my thought as I was looking at the pics - looks like a sexy bike with a huge growth on it... Pretty much sums up e-bikes
  • 2 0
 Aladeen
  • 2 0
 Its Thokking ugly!
  • 2 0
 Anyone have any stats on e-bikes catching fire? You know when you slam a tree and the battery pack gets shorted or wet...
  • 3 0
 @headshot: all over the place, wildfires in BC and Cali were caused by large number of e-bikes exploding like incendiary bombs. Definitely an issue to consider for policy makers
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Ha ha ha, it only has to happen once you know...
  • 1 0
 @headshot: I must admit, those three times I swung a leg over an e-bike I rode it as if my arse was on fire
  • 68 20
 Can you create www.e-pinkbike.com? Because the above is irrelevant content for most readerrs
  • 20 5
 Or Pink-e-bike
  • 36 26
 speak for yourself, i want to read about both and i dont need new website
  • 21 0
 @IluvRIDING: two in the pink-e and one in the stink-e
  • 21 10
 How about Lazyc*nts.com?
  • 2 5
 @IluvRIDING: You sir, won the internet today! go and celebrate Smile
  • 4 5
 @metaam: I've been redirected there once from bbcfarm.com - Awful site.
  • 5 3
 @Asmodai: don't worry you'll have this site all to yourself soon
  • 3 4
 www.pinkmoped.com
  • 29 2
 That's a whole lot of words noone will read!
  • 32 17
 I'm fully aware here that I'll get flak for this however here I go:

As a scot with a 26" steel hardtail, I too was first sceptical of this whole e-bike malarkey! However, I'm currently in Switzerland as a part of my studies and I had the chance to take a 160mm electric Hai-bike out for a spin. Safe to say It was hilarious - I spent the hour ride buzzing round shouting "braaaaaap" at people whilst pretending to have a throttle, flying up hills and doing sketchy wheelies. Whilst I'll be sticking to my steel HT for now, a day out with the boys on e-bikes once and while would be a good laugh!

Don't knock it til' you tried it!
  • 17 6
 Hi. You must be just passing through. Let me give you a quick guided tour. E-bikes where conceived in the pits of hell itself. This way to the gift shop.
  • 59 9
 It's amazing what sort of comments you can get away with when you mention that you normally ride a 26" hardtail...
  • 18 2
 I thought that about smack, it makes life easier, no more pain, just a warm blanket of pleasure caressing me to sleep as I huddle in this doorway covered in jizz from my last customer.
  • 19 13
 @WAKIdesigns: It's amazing the sort of comments you can get away with when your username is WAKIdesigns...
  • 3 2
 @BenPea: Don't worry, the sweat will wash it off next time you go cold turkey.
  • 2 1
 @metaam: small victories
  • 16 2
 so we reached THAT point huh?
  • 9 1
 @paulaston: Somewhere in the review you state that an e-mtb requires a different geometry compared to an unassisted mtb. Now Orange has released an e-mtb that has a geometry similar to their Alpine bike and they're actually proud of having achieved that. Have you ridden that bike and if so, do you agree that the geometry of that bike is off? Just out of curiosity as I haven't ridden an e-mtb nor do I currently feel like. But that's just because I don't need it for where I ride. Orange typically does a good job with their geometry so it comes across as odd that they would have created a bike with an inadequate geometry.
  • 7 1
 This question is far too sensible, did you not get the memo?
  • 5 0
 @BenPea: That's the way to be controversial on Pinkbike. Ask sensible questions and watch them come with their pitchforks Smile .
  • 9 0
 how come trumpland don't have to suffer this??
  • 16 1
 Trail access issues are entirely due to e-bikes and definitely nothing to do with the general mentality on which their country was founded.
  • 2 3
 @BenPea: the trail access issues are not entirely down to e-bikes Rolleyes

But the situation would improve massively if people got off they’re fat lazy assess, quit whining and join in with some groups that are trying to help improve access. Sadly we know from the comments section (on every article at moment) that the majority here just want to cry at something rather than giving back to the community
  • 6 1
 @T1mb0: The sarcasm font is sadly lacking on this site. We are making the same kind of point. Mine is that living in a country with as low a population density as the US and still having to battle against all sorts of interests and lobbies to ride a bike in the countryside, while maintaining that it's the greatest country in this or any universe, is a little mental. E-bikes are the Mexicans of the American mountain biking community.
  • 1 0
 @BenPea: Agreed about the sarcasm font.

I get the comparison but e-bikes can't be compared to Mexicans. They're damn hard working and contribute to the US far more than anyone actually realises.
E-bikes on the other hand have far less worth but they do have they're place. I've seen a lot of the older generation get back into riding because of them.
  • 3 0
 @T1mb0: Exactly my point man! Scapegoating. It makes the world go around in the face of contradictory truths. We're on the same page.
  • 24 17
 Yeah great if you're into motorbikes ???? Sorry couldn't resist.
  • 20 16
 Douche comment , motor ain’t working if you don’t pedal.
  • 3 16
flag konabigshed (Feb 27, 2018 at 0:36) (Below Threshold)
 @RedBurn: If it's a douche comment how come I'm on +15 and you're on -3 ?
Anyhow I was being deliberately facetious and messin with your mind, and it worked Ha Ha
  • 6 1
 @konabigshed: f*ck me boy, do you actually get validation from that? lol

The motor also stops assisting once you reach 15mph , so anyone into motorbikes will go and buy a motorbike.

We actually had one of our customers bring his Giant Full-E in complaining that it wasn't as effective as it used to be... The simple fact is he's got stronger so the solution we gave him (the legal one anyway) was to buy a regular mtb and keep on improving
  • 1 6
flag konabigshed (Feb 27, 2018 at 6:36) (Below Threshold)
 @T1mb0: I wasn't seeking any validation just being an arse, try not to take it all too seriously. I've no doubt I'll be on an ebike within the next decade.
  • 2 2
 of course you weren’t Rolleyes
  • 13 6
 Clearly today is NOT ‘Good content Wednesday’. Pity.
  • 6 3
 Don't know what all the hate is about with ebikes. I want more people riding bikes and advocating for trails. These are not motorbikes but pedal assist bicycles. I don't have a need personally right now but I can see legit uses for these and will absolutely own and use one at some time. A couple rides ago I was stoked to come across two couples in their late 60s riding enduro e-bikes. They were active XC riders but enjoying the assistance on the steep trails. I'm seriously considering one for my girlfriend to get her out riding more with me. If you make the up hills easier I think participation will grow and be more inclusive which won't be a bad thing. Just my 2c to balance the haters
  • 10 3
 Thok-off
  • 13 8
 The first thing I do each day is log into PB and check the news. This has ruined my day :-(
  • 5 1
 Started reading the article with all the intension of getting to the bottom. 5 seconds in, lets see the comments then.
  • 6 0
 22,70kg...all said :/
  • 2 0
 As much as I would like to try one! WHO in there right mind would pay over 5 k for one?
So dont do it 3 k maybe, SO if no one buys them in a year can get it 2.5 k
Or does anyone want to give me 5 k for 10 used MTBs?
  • 19 16
 this is not a fkkn motorcycle website..open a seperate website for all the e-crap stuff
  • 18 21
 and this isn't motorcycle either
  • 4 7
 @Asmodai: you're right it's not a motorcycle, they're not even legit enough to be considered a shitty moped
  • 4 3
 Stopped reading when he said ebikes are designed to make climbing more fun. I don't mind climbing, but I don't spend all my bike money trying to make the climbing part more fun.
  • 3 2
 I don't see how it's more fun, hit a technical rocky climb and the dead weight of the bike makes its pain in the arse, most have a huge dead spot with the motor so you can't simply pedal kick to shuffle cross tricky rocks. That and most have low POE hubs that I've experienced. Even on the Rocky decent I found the weight to take what was normally my favourite track and made it laborious, motor was useless after 25kmph so I just had dead weight attached whist trying to shuffle n play. They've got their place, but that place isn't everywhere.
  • 2 0
 well currently you spend your money and about 20% of the ride time is fun downhill. If you gain an extra 80% fun time on the uphill it seems like a winner to me and good value for money
  • 8 5
 i think motor cycle news still have website and i'm sure they'd appreciate the extra content
  • 5 1
 Fuck that! I'm going to watch Abi.
  • 6 5
 I'm glad bike companies don't listen to pinkbike commenters. Every time there's something new it's resisted. until it's been around for a few years then it's forgotten.
  • 5 6
 Last year I had a phase where I actively avoided Pinkbike because of the growing ebike related shitposts. Reactivated adblock, stopped taking surveys, just visited to check if there are any major news. Then the moped related content seemingly died down, things looked like they're back to normal. Now this...

So, please, can you just bugger off with this crap?
  • 5 2
 *grabs popcorn*
  • 9 6
 Pinkmotorbike.com
  • 2 3
 Pinkmotorbikewithpedals.com
  • 3 1
 Didn't read. Just here for the comments!
  • 2 0
 Someone know the brand of that mudguard?
  • 3 0
 Mudhugger
  • 4 4
 Cute, but I like this ebike better: www.zeromotorcycles.com/zero-fxs

just waiting for the price to go down a bit Smile )
  • 2 0
 Price? But the add says " zeros fxs given" :-(
  • 9 7
 I see the crybaby’s are out in force again
  • 2 0
 1st thing I look at...
"Bottle Cage"......
  • 2 0
 Still better than capra, due bottle mount.
  • 4 2
 Looks like a session
  • 4 6
 The New movie by Mel Gibson, the Session of Christ
  • 1 0
 thok not related to THOR !
  • 6 9
 Good test. 500 Km ridden - that shows what you do on ebikes in Finale: riding instead of shuttling.

Boring anti-ebike-comments by the way. Could you please make a anti-ebike-pinbike page please?
  • 5 5
 E-bikes are a different sport. Different website please pb.
  • 3 4
 I heard the Honda Supercross team needs a new rider.
  • 1 2
 All this Thok is definitely driving me nuts
  • 3 4
 My take: FTS!
  • 2 3
 www.edentistbike.com
  • 4 7
 Thanks for the predictable comments section.
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