The National Institute for Transportation and Communities believes ebikes remove barriers to cycling, such as physical limitations and challenging topography. The results of a recent survey “indicate that, by reducing the physical demands on the rider, e-bikes are encouraging more people to replace car trips with bike trips,” it says. The survey found that 37 percent of frequent cyclists and 27 percent of non- or seldom-cyclists who bought an ebike now primarily use their ebike to commute to work, an encouraging sign for transportation officials who want to increase bicycle commuting. (May 18 is National Bike to Work Day.)
Like the Currie, the Rayos has a lot of torque, independent human and electric drive systems, and a drive system that freewheels when not in use. The electronics shut the motor off at 80% battery discharge to avoid a full discharge (which really shortens the life of lead-acid batteries). The Rayos is an 8-speed bike that uses standard bike parts. Seats, handlebars, brakes and other non-electric parts can be found at a supercenter or bike store. Electric parts can be obtained from Rayos dealers.
But this bike isn’t just about the accessories. The powerful 48V 13Ah battery will allow you to pedal for longer, with some riders getting over 100 miles from one charge. The bike can be ridden as pedal-assist or throttle only and it’s equipped with full suspension and puncture-free Kenda tires. It folds up neatly to fit into the boot of a car or for commuting, though at 57 pounds, it’s heavy to cart around. A great value-for-money commuting bike with lots of features.
Simplicity powers the Gtech model, available in either a 20-inch “sports” crossbar frame or a 17-inch “city” step-through option. From using a carbon belt drive to a gearless system that allows a computer to adjust speed while pedaling, not only has Gtech streamlined the e-bike process, but they’ve also dropped the price to just north of $1,000. At a range of about 30 miles, this 35-pound bike offers a humble introduction to e-bikes.