E-bike Reviews

Caliber Carbon Wraith: Dual Suspension Electric Bike Review

Fast and fun, but isn’t quite sure what it is yet. The Wraith experiences an identity crisis.

The Bike

People are always pushing the boundaries of anything. Whether it’s how deep into space we can travel, or how many hot dogs we can eat in one minute. Humans are always striving to push it one step further. So how does a company push an e-bike further? Well how does a carbon fibre frame, carbon fibre wheels, carbon fibre handlebars, dual crown forks, rear shock and Michelin grip’r tyres sound? Pretty good right? Well ladies and gentlemen I want to welcome the Caliber Carbon Wraith.

This high end machine is no joke. Priced around the $7000 mark, the Shimano XT fitted e-bike is for the serious – and of course the wealthy. The carbon frame is blacked out in a matte finish featuring a single pivot linkage for the rear shock alongside some cross country All-Mountain style geometry. Aesthetically, this is a beautiful bike with no decals or branding whatsoever. It’s simply black and ready for Batman to ride it!

The Wraith is kitted with some Shimano XT components. These include the brakes, cassette, derailleurs and shifters. The crankset is an in house e-bike specific component to the motor and the pedals are from Shimano Saint. These are popular flats from Shimano’s downhill flagship groupset and with raving reviews, I can agree these are a pleasure to use! Most high end bikes don’t offer you pedals, however Caliber did. I was surprised by this, but more so impressed by the pedals they chose to offer.

The wraith is equipped with XT brakes which most people already know perform outstandingly. Refer to the two minute mark in the video to see how they performed in the brake test. Just a disclaimer to take this with a grain of salt because the surface and tyres I’m riding on differ from each bike and review.

At the heart of the Wraith is a Caliber tuned Bafang mid drive which is capable of providing a continuous 750 watts at a flick of your thumb, or push of the cranks with its cadence sensor. The motor is quoted to peak at 1200W that will surge through the 27.5” carbon wheelset. These wheels are wrapped in 2.35” Michelin Grip’r tyres and will handle most of everything you throw at it. From my test in dry conditions, they did well and are fast rolling tyres. I’ve read online that they don’t perform too well in muddy or thick conditions. Just a heads up for those wanting to ride in those environments.

Powering the motor is a 10.4Ah battery fitted with Panasonic cells. This is a 48V juice pack that can charge up in 4 hours which is the average time for most e-bikes. With this battery, Caliber claims that the Wraith has a maximum range of 65km, and average of 40km. Obviously it depends on how you use it. Full throttle would most likely see only achieve 20-25km.

To control all this comes a Caliber C965 meter. This is a LCD meter with a backlight and basic functions that show the battery level, speed and pedal assistance level which there are 5 of. To the left is the control box that allows you to turn on and off the bike, set the PAS, turn on the backlight and also enable cruise control.

As you may have noticed, the Wraith is armored with some serious suspension – 203mm at the front. That right, you read that correct, 203! This is thanks to the DNM USD-8s at the front whilst at the rear you’ll find a DNM AOY-36RC rear shock with lock out and rebound settings. I personally think this set up is a bit overkill. The 203mm at the front is some downhill stuff, but I can’t imagine many people using this downhill. More of an all mountain cross country trail bike, where 150mm would be more than enough. To me, the set-up kind of doesn’t make sense. You have 203mm at the front but only approximately 100mm at the rear. It hasn’t been given but I measured somewhere around those numbers, but we’ll ride it and see how it goes. One thing I forgot to mention is that the bike comes with a dropper post, this one is also from DNM and equipped with a WTB Pure saddle.

The Ride

Let’s begin with the performance, its outstanding, hands down. Amazing and really fun to ride on the trails, especially if you ride those cross country type or fast flowy trails. The caliber is a joy to use with that 1200W peak propelling you at 40/45km/h, where you can climb those dreadful hills with ease. It gets your heart racing like you were a grom again. When you’re in first gear and throttle it, it’ll give you enough torque for the rest of the month! You can see in the video review, I can nearly wheelie just from throttling. It’s ridiculously powerful.

The brakes as expected from anything Shimano XT are top performers and really stop the bike. It’s not just that but the modulation it provided was perfect. You can really feel the brakes and fine control the braking power. The Caliber e-bike was easy to use and the saddle was comfortable with the awesome dropper post as well. Truly, the Carbon Wraith was blistering fun to ride, but it has it set-backs. There’s something a little off.

Like I mentioned before with the suspension set up, the relatively short travel at the rear doesn’t compliment the long travel forks. You can feel this when you ride it where the front is so plush compared to the rear. You have the front end feeling like a downhill bike, but the rear like a cross country. As a rider your body and mind gets a bit confused with this.

In my opinion, I would like to see this more of a cross country all mountain bike with shorter travel forks. The USD-8s are just bit too much and quite heavy. Weighing in at 3.7kg, it makes an already heavy bike (relative to push bikes) into a heavier one. Other competitor forks with 150mm travel are usually 2kg. Thus you’re saving a fair bit there which is important, hence the choice of carbon frameset and wheels to save weight.

The Conclusion

I think the best way to put it is the Caliber Wraith is like a teenager. It’s young, full of energy and power, but isn’t quite sure who they are yet. Am I a downhill bike or a cross country bike? These are some of the questions the Wraith would be asking. It is hands down the most exhilarating bike I’ve tested, but could be even better for the enthusiasts with some attention to the ergonomics and how the bike rides. Value wise, it’s decent. For those who don’t know, a Shimano XT groupset costs almost $800. A full suspension carbon frame would set you back another $1000, as well as the carbon wheelset, the electronics, suspension, and other components combined. So for $7000 it’s quite fair relative to other high end electric bikes which are upwards of that mark. Bottom line is if you’re looking for some young loving fun, then this could be the bike for you, but for those enthusiasts out there who take riding seriously and invest into how a bike feel, this may not be your cup of tea. You can find the full specifications below*

*Specifications may differ from supplier

FrameCarbon Single Pivot Linkage Dual Suspension
Sizes: 18”
ForkDNM USD-8s
Front DerailleurN/A
Rear DerailleurShimano XT RD-M772
Rims27.5” Carbon
TyresMichelin Wild Grip’R Advance
BrakesShimano XT M785
MotorBafang 750W Mid Drive
Battery48V 10.4Ah Panasonic Cell Lithium Ion
ControllerCaliber Tuned Bafang
ChargerSANS 48V 2A
4 Hours from empty
Maximum Speed50km/h
RangeMaximum: 65km
Average: 40km
Additional FeaturesDNM Dropper Post
Bike Weight23kg including battery

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