At Electroheads we always take a keen interest in UK companies making quality e-bikes, and that’s certainly the case with Wisper (from the company that bought you the Wayfarer M9, which can be upgraded to a trail version).
The tech under the hood is broadly the same across the line, but the Tailwind Trail adds RockShox forks and some pleasingly knobbly Goodyear tyres. It certainly looks the part - and you'll soon see why it's rated one of the best mountain bikes we've ridden.
- People who appreciate a lighter mountain bike
- Smooth and powerful ride
- Feels very light at 20kg
- Bespoke parts
- Nice and grippy
- Great looks
- Only four assist levels
I always appreciate a bike I can carry down a flight of stairs without worrying about the sheer heft of the thing taking me instead. What I immediately noticed about the Tailwind is that it’s a lot easier to handle than some of the other eMTBs I’ve tested. It’s also a remarkably handsome machine too. Wisper manufactures a lot of its own parts, and you feel that attention to detail as soon as you plonk yourself on the saddle.
You only get four assist levels, but while not as many as some bikes offer, it’s more than enough to work with, and once the motor kicks in the electric assistance is naturally applied, so you hardly even notice that it’s driving you along. And because the downtube housing the battery is so thin, I’m not sure I’d even guess this was an e-bike if I saw it in the park.
|Max rider weight||135kg|
|Frame||Wisper Tailwind 6061 alloy hand welded / 48cm|
|Wheels||Goodyear Peak 27.5 x 2.25|
|Weight||19kg (360Wh) / 20kg (540Wh)|
|Brakes||Wisper Hydraulic disc|
|Range||50 miles (360Wh) / 70 miles (540 Wh)|
|Motor||Wisper High Efficiency 250W Hi Torque|
|Battery||Standard 360Wh, Long range 540Wh|
|Speed||15.5mph (UK e-bike speed limit)|
Components and build quality
You’re going to hear about this a lot in this review, but when you’re talking about the Tailwind you have to talk about its weight. Wisper has managed to engineer its e-bike to weigh in at no more than 20kg, and compared to a lot of the other bikes in this category, it feels both wonderfully light and - just as importantly - built from strong stuff, despite the relatively slender frame. I’m not saying I’m carrying this bike on my shoulder without breaking a sweat, but getting it up and down stairs, or into the boot at the weekend, isn’t too taxing at all.
I’m also a big fan of the 27.5 x 2.25 Goodyear tyres, which take to rough terrain effortlessly and look great in what I’d probably call a black and sand colourway. The Rockshox Judy fork does a good job of absorbing shocks once you take the bike off-road, and I was grateful for the remote lockout, which means you can quickly transition to a more rigid ride on smoother flats without having to get off.
You choose between a 360Wh and 540Wh battery for longer range, which pairs with Wisper’s 250W hi torque brushless motor and gives plenty of electric power wherever you’re riding. It might be light, but I was still glad for the pedal assistance once I started taking on grassy hills on the Tailwind.
Performance and range
At first I thought four assist levels didn’t seem like a lot, but Wisper has found a good balance between each one, and I was even pretty happy riding along in third or fourth gear on level two during a lot of my testing. Of course, to really charge up towards that 15.5mph limit in quick time you’ll want it higher, but on a lot of e-bikes I only want to utilise maximum assist, so it says a lot for Wisper’s bike that the lower options still feel worthwhile. It’s also a bit less noticeable when the motor cuts out on the lower assist levels, which you might prefer. There is a thumb throttle for getting you going too, but I rarely used it myself. You’ve also got nine gears to play with.
The hydraulic brakes have good stopping power which is as important on the trail as it is on the road, while the handlebar grips have the kind of grip I’m looking for on an MTB.
Wisper reckons you’ll get about 50 miles out of the 360Wh battery and 70 if you take the 550Wh option. Where you land on that scale has a lot to do with how liberally you make use of the pedal assist, which is another reason to get acquainted with levels one and two.
Comfort and practicality
The Wisper Tailwind is the kind of bike you want to ride all the time. It’s light (did I mention that?), springy and powerful. I like the padding on the saddle (not always a given), the brakes earned my trust pretty quickly and tyres feel like they’re going to withstand a fair amount of abuse.
The battery is removable which is always preferable to the alternative, and you’ve got a fairly sizeable colour display in the middle of the handlebars which shows you information like your speed, selected assist level, trip time and distance travelled.