Despite the wintry weather in Europe, the new trade show season for the bicycle industry traditionally begins shortly after the turn of the year. One of the first events is the “Velofollies” at the end of January in Kortrijk, Belgium. There, Opium presented its very first speed pedelec with a low-step frame – the Model L – as a world premiere.
The Swiss brand first appeared on the market around two years ago. That is not a particularly long period of time. Nevertheless, we have already become accustomed to the decidedly sober labelling of its ebikes. The “Model S” series kicked things off with the start of series production in May 2023, followed a short time later by the “Model T” in November. This is a slightly cheaper version of the Model S. The Model L is largely the same as the Model T – except for the frame shape. Model S and Model T come with a classic diamond frame. Model L, on the other hand, is based on a frame with a low entry.
So the most obvious difference has been emphasised. We would therefore like to show you what else sets the new Model L apart from the more expensive Model S.
Lower motor power
With the Model L, power is also generated from the rear wheel. Opium installs the corresponding motor in the hub. In the case of the low-step model, it delivers 850 watts. In the top model, the Model S, we are even talking about 950 watts.
Standardised battery size
Such a powerful unit consequently requires a lot of power. Opium had this in mind right from the start. The down tube therefore contains a battery with a capacity of 1,400 watt hours. In good weather conditions, on a flat route and with an energy-saving riding style, a range of around 200 kilometres is possible.
Theoretically, there would also be the option of an even larger battery with a capacity of 1,600 watt hours. However, you don’t have this option with the Model L. Unfortunately, we do not know whether at least the range extender with 470 watt hours is approved for this bike.
Limited to nine gears
The combination of Opium’s hub motor and the Pinion gearbox is certainly one of the most exciting ones you can ride on an speed pedelec. Opium is still sticking to this concept. However, the Model L will only be available with the Pinion C1.9 gearbox with nine gears and a gear range of 568 per cent. The Model S is additionally available with the twelve-speed version, which covers a whopping 600 per cent. A carbon belt from Gates is used for power transmission in both cases.
Without additional safety when braking
Opium’s claim to offer something special continues with a look at the brakes. Those who wish can treat themselves to the luxury of an anti-lock braking system on the Model S. The Blubrake system is ready for use. Together with the 4-piston brakes from Magura, a package is available that offers maximum safety. This is where the low-step bike cannot quite keep up. Unfortunately, the ABS option is not available. And the brakes installed there are from TRP, a Tektro brand. However, with a diameter of 203 millimetres, the size of the brake discs at the front and rear remains the same as before.
Fewer options for frame size and frame colours
Low-step speed pedelecs are still much less common than models with diamond frames. Some of you may therefore be pleased that the choice is now somewhat larger again. Especially as Opium now offers a frame size that is aimed at people of a smaller height. Previously, the range always started at frame size M. However, the manufacturer now produces an S/M version of the L model. According to its specifications, this is suitable for anyone between 152 centimetres and 168 centimetres tall.
Unfortunately, the upper end of the range is already reached with size M/L. It should be suitable for those who measure between 165 centimetres and 180 centimetres. If you are taller, you should look for an XL in Model T or Model S.
The Model L shares the reduced selection of frame colours with the Model T. You have the choice between the glossy violet and aquatic green paint finishes and a matt rose colour. For comparison: the Model S comes in ten optional colours in addition to the two standard colours.
Further differences in the equipment
There is a gap of 1,200 euros in the purchase price between the cheapest Model L and the cheapest Model S. It is therefore not surprising that, in addition to the differences in the other equipment listed, other details differ. From our point of view, not all of these are to the detriment of the Model L. For example, you can swap the Fit Remote LCD Display fitted as standard for the Fit Comfort Display in combination with the Fit Remote Basic control unit. This costs 160 euros more. However, functions such as navigation using the 3.5-inch colour screen and heart rate measurement are already included. Otherwise, you would have to use your smartphone with the appropriate apps. At least Opium keeps the door wide open for you by including the Quadlock wireless charging head as standard.
In terms of lighting, it’s Supernova M99 Mini Pro instead of Supernova M99 Pro 2. So you don’t have to do without the high beam. The light output is just slightly inferior to the more expensive lamp.
Apart from that, however, much is the same as on the Model S. In addition to the standard rigid fork, you can go for a suspension fork. Mudguards, the integrated rear carrier for attaching panniers, the 60 millimetre wide tyres, the option of a suspension seatpost and a GPS tracker – all this is part of the overall package. The bottom line is that the new Model L has to accept a few compromises in terms of technical features compared to the Model S. Nevertheless, it is one of the highest quality speed pedelecs currently available on the market.
Speed pedelec Opium Model L at a glance
- Frame sizes: S/M, M/L
- Motor: Opium hub motor, 850 W, 48 Nm
- Battery: Opium Custom battery 1,400 Wh
- Control unit: FIT Remote LCD display
- Drivetrain: Pinion C1.9
- Brakes: TRP C2.3, 203 mm
- Maximum permitted total weight: 140 kg
- Colours: Aquatic Green, Rosé, Violet
- Price: from 7,990 euros
Pictures: Revolt Zycling AG; Annex Products PTY LTD; Biketec GmbH