Surface 604 is expanding its lineup of e-bikes for 2021 and we’re getting a first look at all of them as they come out of the factory. Its impressive line of bikes includes premium components that set the bikes apart from the masses at very reasonable prices for what you get.
The Surface 604 Rook takes the efficient Surface 604 electric powertrain and optimizes it for a slick, efficient commuter e-bike. Disclaimer: Surface 604 provided the Rook free of charge for us to use for the purposes of this review.
The Rook started with a 6061 aluminum mid-step frame that makes it easy to mount and dismount. This is especially nice when the bike is loaded up with cargo or a few bags of groceries on the rear rack. A set of smooth rolling Kenda Kwick 27.5″ X 2.4″ tires are efficient while also packing enough air volume to take the edge off bumps in the road.
Up top, a plush Selle Royale gel saddle makes for comfortable rides regardless of the distance. On rides of 15 or 50 miles, the saddle made it easy to balance aggressive pedaling and cruising. For those looking for a bit of extra comfort, a suspension seat post is a nice option. I personally picked up a Suntour NCX suspension seat post on ebay, but Surface 604 sells the same post for a very reasonable price.
The Rook is purpose-built for commuting and that goes more than skin deep. The included, color-matched rear rack includes pannier rails that make it easy to clip a back to or strap a basket or rack bag onto. We love how easy it was to clip a basket onto to haul our little pup around town in. The two-tone matte white paint on our review bike brings a touch of sophistication you just don’t see on many bikes.
The chain guard keeps the chain covered, making it easy to take the Rook to the office or social events without having to worry about picking up any chain grease. Up front and out back, a pair of SKS fenders prevent road grime and water from spraying up on the rider. Here in California, that’s rarely a concern, but it’s definitely nice to have in other parts of the world.
A removable 14Ah battery has been integrated into the middle of the frame and provides an impressive amount of range per charge. I continue to be impressed with the amount of range I can squeeze out of a single charge on all of Surface 604’s e-bikes, and the Rook is no exception. In fact, the street-friendly tires raised the bar even farther, easily delivering 50 miles of range per charge on a test ride, including more than 1900 feet of elevation gain.
That range by itself is class leading, but Surface 604 took it even farther with an even larger battery option. It’s an extra $300, but the massive 20Ah battery adds nearly 50% more range per charge, for a manufacturer rating of up to 65 miles / 105 kilometers of range per charge. On the Rook, I would personally expect more range than that and have asked to try the larger battery out on a future e-bike review.
As with the other Surface 604 e-bikes, the Rook packs a host of quality components that make it a great option for riders looking to put some serious miles on it on a regular basis. Hydraulic Tektro Auriga disc brakes paired with a set of 180mm rotors are well-equipped to shut down the party when it’s time to slow down.
Overall, the Rook is an impressive commuter e-bike designed with features and range that set it apart from the masses of value e-bikes on the market today. It is easy to imagine commuting to work or school on a value e-bike at a lower price point only to quickly realize the components are not up to the task. The Rook raises the bar with quality components that will last and range that supports almost any imaginable commute.
As mentioned, upgrading to a suspension seat post seems like a logical addition for those looking for more comfort. I would personally replace the stock pedals with something more robust, but that’s more of a personal preference than anything.
Surface 604 Rook e-bike Tech Specs
- Top Speed (as shipped): Class 2 — 20 mph / 32 kmh
- Top Speed (unlocked): Class 3 — 28 mph / 45 kmh
- Motor: Bafang Geared Hub Brushless Motor
- Motor Power: 500 watt average, 750 watt peak power
- Motor Torque: 65 Nm
- Standard Battery: 48 V 14 Ah / 672 Wh using Samsung 18650 cells
- Extended Range Battery: 48 V 20 Ah / 960 Wh using Samsung 2170 cells
- Range (Standard Battery): up to 45 mi / 72 km
- Range (Extended Range Battery): up to 65 mi / 105 km
- Assistance: Pedal assist via torque sensor or thumb throttle
- Seat: Selle Royale ergonomic gel saddle
- Drivetrain: Shimano Alivio 9 speed rear derailleur w/12-34T cassette
- Brakes: Tektro Auriga Hydraulic Disc Brakes w/180mm rotors
- Lights: Integrated front and rear Büchel lights
- Tires: Kenda Kwick 27.5″ X 2.4″ with Reflective Trim
- Weight: 58-61 lbs, depending on bike size
- Weight Capacity: 285 lbs / 130 kg
- Standover Height: Small-Medium: 28.5” (724mm), Medium-Large: 30” (762mm)
- Frame Size: Frame sizes: S/M – 17.5″, M/L – 19.5″ for riders: S/M 5’2”-5’7”, M/L 5’8” – 8’8”
- Colors: Two tone matte black or two tone matte white
All images credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica