2020 Surface 604 Colt Ebike Review

A worthy commuter that doesn’t break the bank.

2020 Surface 604 Colt Ebike
The Surface 604 is designed for urban transport.Jeff Allen

Surface 604 hails from Vancouver, British Columbia, a mountain bike hotbed and home to the 604 area code. Specializing in ebikes from the beginning, Surface 604 offers two paths to ownership: traditional dealers or consumer direct online. Free shipping to Canada and the US along with a money-back guarantee alleviates much of the anxiety associated with the second option.

2020 Surface 604 Colt Ebike Profile
The Colt has five levels of pedal assist plus a throttle.Jeff Allen

What Is a Surface 604 Colt?

The Colt’s features are curated for convenient inner-city transportation. Drive comes from a Bafang 500W rear hub motor that can peak at 750W if needed, and is rated at 65Nm. The semi-integrated downtube battery comes in two sizes: 500Wh or, for $200 more, you can bump up to 720Wh—both 48V. While not as seamless as fully integrated designs, the partial integration means the housing has room to grow without being hindered by the frame. So it is conceivable that the future may permit an even larger battery option to fit existing frames. Power can be routed through five levels of pedal assist, plus an on-demand throttle at your thumb.

Shimano’s Alivio nine-speed shifter and derailleur yield clean, crisp shifts. Slowing and stopping were never an issue thanks to Tektro hydraulic disc brakes clamping 180-millimeter rotors front and rear. Suntour’s NCX fork handles bump duty, with 80 millimeters of travel. It’s a workhorse choice of the category. While the fork offers lockout, there is never really a need. The whole package tips our scale at 57 pounds.

2020 Surface 604 Colt Ebike Lifestyle
We appreciated the Colt’s comfortable, upright riding position.Jeff Allen

How Does the Surface 604 Colt Ride?

The riding position is comfortable and as upright as you like thanks to an adjustable stem, so it’s ideal for riding in casual clothes and keeping an eye on your surroundings. The stem did have some play in the more aggressive positions, even after checking the torque on both bolts. This was not present at the 30-degree mark and higher.

2020 Surface 604 Colt Ebike
We’d prefer lock-on grips so they can be rotated easily when moving the Colt’s adjustable stem.Jeff Allen

The ergonomic grips are comfortable, but a lock-on-style grip would be a better choice as it offers easier adjustability to change position in conjunction with the adjustable stem. When the stem angle is changed, the bars have to rotate to maintain their correct position. This means rotating everything attached to the bars as well. Selle Royal Freeway saddle offers all the comfort you’d expect from a large gel seat.

The Colt’s 26 x 2.1-inch Kenda Kranium tires provide additional comfort and help make the Colt nimble. Missing is the reflective sidewall strip found on many commuter-oriented bikes. The chain guard does have a large reflective strip that’s only visible from the drive side of the bike, but the non-drive side of any bike more often faces traffic. The Kraniums are wrapped in fenders—a plus even in dry conditions.

2020 Surface 604 Colt Ebike
At the highest level of pedal assist, we got more than 33 miles of range out of the Colt.Jeff Allen

Power delivery on the Colt was smooth, and while torque numbers may not be as high as some center-drive units, grunt was plentiful with the one caveat of being slightly slow to kick in from a standstill. The upshot of this delay is that unintended power engagement is never a problem.

The five assist levels provide well-defined steps in power. We squeezed 33.6 miles out of a full charge on level five with no throttle use (720Wh battery). Lowering the assist level did make marked improvements in mileage. Meanwhile, the thumb throttle is easy to use, less prone to accidental engagement than twist types, and leaves more grip real estate. But generous use of the throttle will drastically shorten range.

When charge drops to 15 percent or less, there is a drop in max speed by 1 to 1.5 mph. It’s mildly annoying, but on the upside, if you aren’t paying attention to the battery display it will let you know you’re close to running out of juice.

2020 Surface 604 Colt Ebike Display
The display is easy to read unless the bike’s lights were on, which had a dimming effect on the readout.Jeff Allen

The display is a large center-mounted unit with intuitive graphics that are easy to read until you engage the Colt’s lights. Activating the integrated lights automatically dims the display, making daytime viewing of the display difficult (and almost impossible when wearing polarized sunglasses). Even at night, modern car lights coupled with street lights can keep your pupils from opening up enough to read the display easily.

2020 Surface 604 Colt Ebike Rack
The integrated rear rack with taillight is a nice touch.Jeff Allen

The integrated rear carrier is well executed, with clean integration of the taillight and provisions for panniers without requiring special clips. The chainstay-mounted kickstand is nice as it doesn’t get in the way of the crankarm when rolling the bike backward. But the central location—instead of at the dropout—makes hitting the brake rotor with your foot fairly easy to do, possibly bending it enough to rub the caliper. The lack of water bottle braze-ons is a bit of a bummer as well.

2020 Surface 604 Colt Ebike standing shot
The Colt retails for $1,999 with a 500Wh battery—or $2,199 with a 720Wh unit. The upgrade is well worth the added cost.Jeff Allen

How Much Does the Surface 604 Colt Cost?

At $1,999, this pony is priced to party. It’s a capable commuter that won’t break the bank, leaving some coin left over for things like a helmet, bags, locks, and other accoutrements to fully outfit it for commuting use. If you can make the stretch, the $2,199 option with the 720Wh battery (as tested) is worth it. It will let you run at the highest assist level more often, and permit more liberal throttle application without range anxiety.

If price is a major buying factor and you want an ebike to get you and your gear around town, the Colt is worth a look. It may not be the most stylish commuter out there, and it doesn’t squeeze as much out of a watt-hour as a center-drive bike, but it should make your short list for consideration.