New Italian brand Thok is an unknown quantity in the UK – we weigh up its big-hitting electric mountain bike called the Thok TK01.
The Thok TK01 is a long-travel 170mm electric mountain bike from Italian brand Thok, with Shimano EP8 drive unit and 630Wh internal battery.
Thok TK01 need to know
- The alloy frame boasts 170mm travel from the RockShox Deluxe Select R shock, paired with a 170mm-travel Yari suspension fork.
- SRAM Eagle drivetrain, Guide T disc brakes and a bag full of in-house components round out the build kit.
- Mismatched mullet wheels – 29in front and 27.5in rear, both fitted with Maxxis Assegai 2.6in tyres with the tougher EXO+ casing.
Thok is a relatively new Italian e-bike brand that offers just a handful of models – the 170mm-travel TK01 featured here; a 140mm-travel trail bike called the MIG and an e-hardtail that shares the same name. You may also have seen the Ducati TK-01RR e-bikes – a collaboration between both brands.
The main focus for Thok, though, is the TK01. It’s a big, burly e-bike that boasts 170mm travel from its aluminium frameset and weighs a whopping 26.1kg (57.54lb). It also has quite a distinctive front end, with a huge opening in the frame right behind the head tube. It looks a bit like a Mondraker on steroids, and Thok has dubbed the design the ‘Precise Front End.’ Now, I’m not sure if the interlocking kinked tubes add anything in terms of steering precision, but the bike does run the new 1.8in head tube standard. This alone adds a ton of stiffness and strength to the frame and combined with the 1.8in tapered steerer tube on the Yari fork, Thok can route all the cables directly in through the front of the head tube for an ultra-clean look. In fact, it’s much neater and offers a more direct line for the cables than running them through the headset like on the new 1.8in-equipped Vitus E-Sommet.
The oversized head tube is also more in keeping with the overall dimensions of a long-travel e-bike, but it does dwarf the 35mm upper tubes on the RockShox Yari in comparison to, say, a 38mm fork, like a RockShox Zeb or Fox 38. That said, the Yari is plenty strong enough for the task at hand, and even gets an e-mtb sticker on the crown to prove it. And while you might be thinking this means the fork has thicker-wall upper tubes or different damping to make it e-bike specific, all the sticker means is the Yari passes the current ISO standards for e-bike forks and is actually no different to one you’d find on a regular trail bike.
Powering the Thok TK01 is the new Shimano EP8 motor and a 630Wh battery. The battery is integrated into the down tube and there is a tumbler lock holding it in place. You can charge the bike with the battery in the frame or by un-bolting the cover you can remove the battery to charge it off the bike. There’s no charging port on the battery so you will need an extra adapter, which costs £44.99.
The on/off switch is hidden under the top tube out of harm’s way and Thok also sticks with the full-colour Shimano E8000 display, rather than the cheaper black and white E7000 option I’ve seen on other bikes recently. One major advantage of the colour display is that it lets you see when the low battery light comes on because it’s red, not something that’s an option with a monochrome display.
I’m going to gloss over the rest of this bike because it’s nothing special – the groupset is SRAM NX Eagle and all the components are in-house – although I will mention two things. The Maxxis Assegai tyres are a great call for year-round use and come with the reinforced EXO+ casing. They have a ton of braking traction, although bringing this bike to a halt was tricky because the SRAM Guide T brake levers kept pulling to the bar.
With that cleared up, let’s take a look at sizing. I had an size XL and while the Thox TK01 isn’t particularly long, it is bloody tall. At 365mm it has a way higher bottom bracket than claimed (and a shorter reach). As such, I felt really perched on the TK01. Surprisingly, it still tipped into corners pretty easily, and I think that’s where the smaller rear wheel really helps. On the plus side, I guess you could say that at least with the sky-high bottom bracket you’ll never have to worry about clipping a pedal.
My real issue with the bike, though, is that the Shimano EP8 motor just doesn’t feel that powerful. I’ve been out with mbr testers on Bosch and Yamaha bikes and they easily outpace the TK01. Those bikes are all lighter too, which no doubt helps in terms of acceleration and range. Obviously, if you mostly ride solo or your mates also have Shimano EP8 bikes, then this won’t be a big deal. If, however, they have any other motor, you’re going to be constantly playing catch-up on the Thok TK01. Yes, the travel and slack head angle make the TK01 pretty capable, but I just think it needs a bit more under the hood to make it react quicker, and ultimately that’s going to up the fun factor too.