E-bike Reviews

Dillenger Vermillion Dual Use Electric Bike Review

the vermillion is the best of both worlds, but compromises need to be made

With the eMTB community and market growing, Dillenger have added a new full suspension model called the Vermillion, but with a little twist! It’s a dual use hybrid for street and off road riding much like their Dillenger Hunter. While the Vermillion is not the successor to the Hunter, it kind of like its cooler cousin. Let’s just see how cool this cousin is!

The Bike

The eBike comes in a two tone gloss finish of white and grey with hints of red on the battery, wheels and downtube to compliment the Vermillion name. However with such a name, I was expecting more red on this bike, like this.

Lurking under the down tube is the Vermillion decal alongside the controller. This is a fairly visible controller that does affect the “stealthy-ness” of the eBike. If you’re looking for a stealthy eBike, you might want to check it out in real life and see if the controller bothers you. Moving on, the alloy frame is only offered in a large with a 50cm seat tube length. The frame itself presents the usual XC geometry with a steeper head angle and a single pivot linkage for the full suspension set up.

Component wise, the Vermillion is fitted with entry level mountain bike components. In similar fashion to the Hunter, it’s equipped with rear and front derailleurs, shifters and crankset from the Shimano Deore group. I’m unsure of the cassette and chain, but I’m guessing that they’re from the same group. What separates the Vermillion to the Hunter though, is the 3 speed front crankset giving a 3×10 drivetrain. The cassette is 11-34t whilst the chain rings are 24-32-42t. Hydraulic brakes are supplied by the Tektro Dorado line, specifically the E710 model, which I’ve tested many times before. They get the job done with the 180mm rotors, and perform decently considering the market they’re aiming for. Plus they’re eBike friendly with motor cut off sensors!

BRAKE TEST at 1:52min in the video

The lithium ion battery is 48V with a capacity of 11Ah. It’s a semi-inbuilt juice pack that shares half of its physical dimensions outside of the downtube. 11Ah is a little below the average for electric bikes around this price range. I’m seeing more companies push for 12-14Ah. In saying that, most other bikes in this price range are using a 36V battery. What’s interesting is that it’s claimed the Vermillion can reach a maximum range of 100km. This is quite a figure, but could be explained by their custom sinusoidal wave controller. Dillenger must have conducted some research and tuning for amazing battery saving during use as most bikes with this capacity can only achieve a maximum range around 80km. But like always with anything to do with range surrounding electric bikes, it should be taken with a grain of salt. The average range of 40km seems to be more appropriate and on par with the typical figures, which I recommend going with.

On the rear wheel, you’ll find a capable 1,500W Bafang geared hub motor. It’s from the BF-RM series and can be tuned by the Switcharoonie to only output a maximum 250W. According to Dillenger, by limiting the motor to 250W the bike is compliant for street use. Any issues with the law and you can show them by plugging in the Switcharoonie that it’s 250W. This add on is handy as it allows you to commute during the weekdays and ride with a 1,000W tune on the weekend. You can add the Switcharoonie to your vermillion for an extra $149.

See 6:24m for tutorial on how to use the Switcharoonie

The wheels are OEM customs from Dillenger that are wrapped in Maxxis Ardents front and rear. 27.5×2.25 is what you’ll find which is the typical width for XC style and commuter style mountain bikes, however I am surprised they didn’t opt for 29ers since the Hunter Off Road is a 26er. I thought they would’ve added something different for more range, and I think the 29ers would benefit the bike more. Nevertheless the 650b wheel option is a popular one, which many riders are comfortable with regardless of experience.

On the handlebars, the same LCD and thumb controller found on the Hunter is used on the Vermillion. This combination worked for the Hunter, and hasn’t changed for the Vermillion so it’s I’ll say the same thing – it works. You can’t really go wrong with a simple LCD and thumb controller, however with brands now, they are utilising smartphone apps to get more data out of the systems and add more versatility and settings to cater to a rider. This bike does not offer that function.

The forks and shock are from DNM. The rear featuring the AOY-36RC with rebound adjustments and lockout. Whilst the front boasts the DNM RC-32 Burner with rebound adjustments and lockout as well. Travel for the front is 100mm while it’s unknown for the rear. I’m guessing somewhere between 80 and 100mm. If that travel isn’t enough for you, the suspension featuring seatpost can help cushion your rides a bit too if you sit.

The Ride On Road

This is a dual use bike, so I think it’d be great to elaborate on my experiences of the bike in both circumstances off road and on road riding. On road the bike does feel a little too plush, but the lock out rear shock and forks do help. The bike handles well, with the 2.25 tyres providing plenty of grip. I reached speeds of up to 32km/h, however this is where I wish the Vermillion was a 29er.

Although riding on the asphalt is great, a more serious commuter would love the 29ers for more speed. One issue that I found with riding the Vermillion both off road and on road is the occasional interference with the bike stand while pedalling. If you have big feet, I’d say size 10 or above, you’re going to have issues with clipping the bike stand as you pedal. I only see two options to fix this solution, which is to either remove it or change it for a more slimline design.

The brakes were also good, and like I’ve mentioned in many of the bike reviews where a Tektro Dorado is involved, it works. It’s eBike friendly and consistent with its hydraulic performance. I will say though, that these are more of a two finger grip design. I personally prefer one finger, which I tried to do on these, but they feel a little funny.

From my rides, one thing I gathered from the bike is that it’s very smooth! Much like the Aklo A-Kit, which also used a sinusoidal controller. Changing the PAS level had an even acceleration to speed. Even from stand still and when on maximum pedal assistance which the bike has 9 of.

Using the bike was easy, and just like any other Dillenger bike, you have the thumb controller which allows you to select pedal assistance level, turn on and off the bike, and also activate take off assistance. The LCD display meter shows you the speed, trip and odometer, and is backlit which is turned on by holding the plus button on the thumb controller. The Switcharoonie was simple to use as well. Although a little bulky, the tuning device can easily fit in your backpack and tune your device on the fly.

The Ride Off Road

My testing of the bike off road was done on a gravel surface with a bit of sand here and there. We can all agree that the brake test on the gravel was worse than on road as expected because of the tyres; which leads me into the issues I had with this bike. Although 2.25” wide tyres are the usual size for XC bikes, I feel as if it wasn’t adequate enough for this eBike, or just eMTB’s in general regardless if it’s a trail or cross country. I found myself losing grip some times where the bike ran wide, kind of like understeering. I would love to change the tyres to something a little more aggressive like Schwalbe Hans Dampf or Nobby Nics at a 2.35” size, but that would adhere the commuting experience.

With that being said, the centre of gravity was low and the bike felt nimbler that front hub drive motors. I think a rear hub motor with the same power but smaller footprint would’ve greatly improved the handling and reduce the understeer of the bike.

The Conclusion

In conclusion, the Vermillion attempts to blend two worlds together and kill two birds with one stone, and it does achieve that, however with some compromises on both ends. The Dillenger Hunter is a more powerful model that also featured the Dual Use function, however felt more like an off road machine. The vermillion is a more civilized version that is more in the middle of the off road and commuter categories. While on road it performs well, the smaller 650b wheels hold it back a bit and the tyres are not as rolling friendly. On the other hand, the tyres aren’t aggressive enough on trails to grip which leads to some understeering. Aside from those issues and the aesthetics of the controller, the bike is good. The motor is plentiful and the control truly regulates the output to be smooth as tinder pick up lines. It’s just that there are compromises you have to be well aware when you own a “hybrid”. It’s difficult for any company to make the perfect dual use bike, but for Dillenger to offer such an option, is a blessing as some people don’t want to spend $2k on each bike for different purposes. You can find the full specifications below*

*Specifications and pricing are subject to change

STREET LEGAL Yes but not out of the box. Requires speed limiter on LCD and power restriction with Switcharoonie.
FRAME Single Pivot Linkage Aluminium Frame. 50cm
FORK DNM RC-32 Burner with Rebound and Lockout
REAR SHOCK DNM AOY-36RC with Rebound and Lockout
TYRES Maxxis Ardent 27.5” x 2.25”
BRAKES Tektro Dorado E710 with 180mm Rotors
MOTOR Bafang BF-RM 1500W
BATTERY 48V 11Ah Samsung Cell Battery
CONTROLLER Dillenger OEM 30A Sinusoidal
MAXIMUM SPEED 32km/h (50km/h unrestricted through LCD Panel)
RANGE 40km AVG, 100km MAX, 35km Throttle Only
ADDITIONAL FEATURES Dual Use with Switcharoonie
WEIGHT 25kg with battery, 21kg without
WARRANTY Lifetime on Frame. 3 Years on Motor, Display and Controller. 2 Years on Battery. 1 Year or 5,000km on Wearing Parts.

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