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More Power, Range, and Almost Countless Upgrades: QuietKat Apex HD & XD Review

A serious redesign to the QuietKat Apex line brings improved performance, comfort, and a whole lot more with the new HD & XD models.

QuietKat Apex HD & XD(Photo/Rachelle Schrute)
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E-bikes are all the rage right now, and it isn’t too terribly hard to understand why. OK, maybe that’s a blanket statement. After all, it took some serious convincing to make me a fan of e-bikes. I (quite openly) hated them.

That all being said, their popularity is growing at an incredible rate. QuietKat has been at the forefront of the ever-changing and improving technology that goes into e-bikes. When the brand approached me about testing the Apex series, I was hesitant but intrigued. When approached about being one of the first to test out the Apex HD, I was stoked.

Full disclosure: This is not a long-term, put-it-through-hell test. This is a test drive and first look. Consider this a mini-review of the new HD and XD line. The bike is sitting in my driveway as we speak, so it has been tested just not with the same longevity and brutality of my normal tests. This is just my test run and first impression of the few weeks I was able to rip around on the thing.

So, did the new bikes live up to the Apex Pro bikes I fell in love with?

In short: The redesigned QuietKat Apex HD and Apex XD lineup delivers all the bang of the Apex Pro line and then some. With improved features, new options, and a greater range, the redesign was far more than a spit-shine, if you don’t mind the extra heft. She’s a dang heavy beast.

QuietKat Apex HD

Specs

  • VPO 2.0 Firmware
  • Twist Throttle
  • 118 Mounting Points
  • 1,000W VPO 2-Speed Automatic Shifting Hub-Drive Motor
  • 85 Nm Torque
  • 30Ah Battery Option Up to 90 miles on a single charge.
  • Moto-Style Chain
  • Kenda Juggernaut Fat Tires
  • Moto-Inspired Inverted Suspension Fork
  • Integrated Dropper Post to Adjust Seat Height

QuietKat Apex XD

Specs

  • VPO 2.0 Firmware
  • Twist Throttle
  • 118 Mounting Points
  • 1,000W VPO 5-Speed Automatic Shifting Mid-Drive Motor
  • 200 Nm Torque
  • 30Ah Battery Option Up to 90 miles on a single charge.
  • Moto-Style Chain
  • Kenda Juggernaut Fat Tires
  • Moto-Inspired Inverted Suspension Fork
  • Integrated Dropper Post to Adjust Seat Height

Apex HD and Apex XD: What’s the Difference?

Let me line out the differences between the two in a simple-to-understand punch list.

Apex HD

  • 2-Speed, Automatic, Hub-Drive
  • 85 Nm Torque
  • $2,999-$3,599

Apex XD

  • 5-Speed, Automatic, Mid-Drive
  • 200 Nm Torque
  • $4,499-$5,099

As you can see, the biggest differences between the HD and XD versions are drive components, power, and price.

What’s So New and Hot About the Apex Redesign?

I could tell you, or I could let the pros at QuietKat fill you in.

Mini-Testing the Apex HD

I have a very limited amount of time with the new bike, which is a bit crushing but also totally understandable. I’ve had enough time to really get it out, get the feel of its capabilities, and figure out the new little perks and nuances.

Because the original Apex Pro was the bike that completely changed my stance on e-bikes, I was keen to compare the new upgrades to the previous bikes I’ve spent so much time on.

Apex HD and Apex Pros
The new Apex HD parked in front of two of the Apex Pro models (one of which has a flat); (photo/Rachelle Schrute)

There are massive perks to having the previous versions of the Apex line to compare the new redesign to. The immediate things I noticed that I might not have otherwise were the bulky size, internal gears, and throttle redesign.

Big Ol’ Bike

This sucker is heavy. Coming in over 100 pounds (with the front rack and batters), this e-bike is not slight. Just from looking at it compared to the previous Pro versions, you can see that there is a whole lot more to it.

This is definitely something to keep in mind when it comes to moving the thing around, particularly if you’re a little tyke like me. That being said, bigger bulk brings a bigger range. That battery needs a place to live, and luckily, the heavy beast will get you further than its predecessors.

The frames themselves are bigger and bulkier with the redesign. The new frames have tons of customizability with all sorts of accessories and configurations you can mount.

Internal Gears

QuietKat Apex Internal Gears
QuietKat Apex HD internal gears as compared to the exposed gears of the Apex Pro; (photo/Rachelle Schrute)

Let me tell you, the amount of absolute BS and crap I pulled out of the gears over the past year of testing the QuietKat Apex Pro models is almost unbelievable. Because these bikes are made for hunters (and others), they are ridden in some gnarly places. That being said, the exposed gears were prone to grabbing all sorts of junk, brush, grass, and crud.

The move to seal the gears away from the rubbish outside was a brilliant one. In the application that these bikes are being used, it’s only a matter of time before exposed gears get exposed to just too much and decide to bite the dust.

Twist Throttle

Apex HD Twist Throttle
The new Apex HD twist throttle (top) compared to the Apex Pro thumb throttle (bottom); (photo/Rachelle Schrute)

The brap brap is real. The redesigned twist throttle brings serious benefits to the smoothness of acceleration. The former thumb throttle was a literal all-or-nothing gas pedal. It went from zero to floored without any in-between.

The new twist throttle allows for a bit more finesse and control over your acceleration.

To be totally honest, I don’t know how I feel about it. I do love being able to control how much pep is in my step, but the twist throttle feels undeniably motorcycle-ish. I’m on the fence, but that’s just my own personal bias.

Perks I Learned About as Testing Went Along

QuietKat Apex
(Photo/QuietKat)

Speed Settings

The previous versions of the Apex e-bikes have three speed settings: Eco, Trail, and Boost. The new Apex HD and XD offer two additional speed settings: Climb and Stealth.

Climb puts all the power in the rear wheel and keeps it locked in first gear, giving you maximum oomph to get anywhere and haul anything. Stealth quiets down the motor and only allows first and second gear, keeping you super-squirrel-secret in the field.

IOT Module

The IOT Module allows for remote tracking and alarm settings. This is one of those things I knew was coming. I live in an insanely rural area, but I still had concerns about what would happen if someone were to swoop in and lift my bike. Now, the QuietKat Apex bikes can be tracked and you can set off an alarm remotely, helping you keep your e-bike out of the wrong hands.

Other Apex HD and XD Upgrades and Options

QuietKat Apex Frame Options
Kick Through (left) and Step Over (right) frame configurations; (photo/QuietKat)

Frame Options

Both the XD and HD lines have two frame build options, Kick Through and Step Over. I was hoping to get to test the Kick Through frame after seeing it at the trade shows this year, but beggars can’t be choosers. I think it will be a favorite for backpack hunters. It’s tough to “Step Over” much of anything when you’re loaded down with a pack and gear.

Other upgrades include a thicker motorcycle-style chain, upgrades to racks, accessory options, a new screen, and on and on and on. There really are just too many new little changes to cover in their entirety without writing a dang novel.

What Could Be Better With the QuietKat Apex HD and XD E-Bikes?

QuietKat Pivot Pro Hitch
QuietKat Pivot Pro Hitch; (photo/QuietKat)

I think the flaws in these e-bikes aren’t so much actual flaws as they are just the reality of the beast. They are heavy and expensive. It’s that simple. This isn’t a ground-breaking revelation. E-bikes, in general, are heavy and expensive, and QuietKat isn’t immune to those downfalls.

There are “solutions” to those issues, though.

For the weight, the QuietKat Pivot Pro is a huge help. Watching someone try to load or unload one of these bikes without it is comical, at best.

For the price, there are financing options, but that’s the best solution to that problem there is.

Initial Thoughts on the QuietKat Apex HD & XD

QuietKat Apex HD & XD

I hate that I love the dang things. I still don’t know how I feel about the twist throttle, but as soon as I can get over my personal discomfort with the blurred lines between bike and motorcycle, I’m sure I’ll be on board. If it saves a thumbache and allows more control, what’s not to like?

The weight sucks, but it is what it is. You can’t expect this level of power and pep on something that’s lightweight. The price sucks, too but no different than any other off-road ATV, UTV, motorcycle, or car. This isn’t a purchase anyone can make, but for those who can, it’s a rad one.

In my short time with the Apex HD, you can color me impressed. If you have the coin to spare and the muscle to lift it, you’ll love it.

e-bike for hunting

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Rachelle Schrute

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