A Kalkhoff Pedelec is a lot more than simply bolting a motor onto a great bike. Their electric-assist bicycles utilize a brushless DC motor system that is lightweight, precisely-controlled, efficient, low-maintenance, and reliable. The Panasonic drive system is center drive, meaning that it's designed to be in the middle of the bike for a low center of gravity, stability and an easy integration with the drivetrain. The drive unit is more than just a motor; it also has a torque sensor and controller unit as well - all in the weatherproof casing, surrounding the motor. The torque sensor and the controller senses how hard you're pedaling and adjusts how much assistance the motor gives you through the drive sprocket.
Designed for urban or suburban commutes, the A2B Octave (right picture) offers lightweight aluminum construction with full suspension. Add in its comfortable,oversized seat and you have a powerful ride that's easy to handle. When you don't feel like pedaling, the A2B offers unassisted power on demand for up to 20 miles at a cruising speed of 20mph. Plus, the A2B can be easily upgraded to double its range to 40 miles with the addition of a secondary battery pack and increase its carrying capacity with the addition of baskets and rear carrier bags.
With asthma, the commuter was just what I needed to get up these hills in the DC area without having an attack. With the 20 miles range, that gets me though my day, I can almost get about 35 miles in, since I only use the assist for hills, and I call any incline a hill. It came in two days, was very easy to install. I did it myself. It took me over an hour because I was scared, and watch the video over and over. Before I install this, I never did any work on my bike, not even changed a flat. When I do group rides, people notice that I'm no longer the last person up the hills and tell me to slow down! They are impressed that I was able to installed it myself. I brought this in Feb. 2017, had one problem with the on/off switch which customer service addressed, sent me a new switch and instructed me on how to install it myself. They actually sent two switches, other than that, I had no problems with it. Great customer service that stands behind their product, great product, equals happy customer.
All Kalkhoff bikes come with lots of extras: hub or motor powered front and rear lights, bells, fenders, chain guards and racks. Some include a built-in quick-lock or a rack-mounted pump. There are a number of features available for the discerning cyclist, whether it's the Magura hydraulic brakes, the B&M super-bright hub-powered headlight, the top-of-the-line Shimano internal hub or derailleurs or the three-layer powder-coated paint process.
EcoBike offers three e-bike models. The Vatavio fold-and-carry electric bike (pictured above) is innovative and well constructed. The Elegance (pictured below) is a classic design with step-through frame, offering an easy, comfortable ride. The AdventureÂ’s revolutionary frame design allows for true versatility, going from the pavement to mountain trails with ease.
The final thing I love about this the Riese & Müller Delite GT Touring is the plus size tires. If you’ve ever been on a bike for the majority of the day, you know that any little bit of cushioning can make all the difference. Riese & Müller have provided this extra cushion in their tires. These tires are also excellent for wet weather and some light off-roading if you want to take a shortcut.
Prices have rarely been this low, with perhaps only the Xiaomi Himo electric bike that we covered costing less, at $261. Of course that e-bike is only available in China for now, unlike the Stark Drive Mini that can ship to the US, albeit for an extra $200 shipping fee. (Spoiler alert: I was able to procure a Xiaomi Himo via a friend in China, and assuming I can get it into the country, we’ll have that review coming up.)
Another great thing about this particular electric bike is that it comes with a Nuvinci shifter and belt drive system. This replaces a traditional derailleur, chain, and cassette. This means there is no need to tune your drivetrain or fix a broken chain. Nuvinci systems are virtually maintenance free, which is great for beginning bike tourists who don’t want to spend half a day figuring out what went wrong with their drivetrain.
If the bike is in fact similar to the EB-5, then it is probably a great around-the-city or campus electric bike, but perhaps not the best long distance commuter for rough roads. Though considering the bike won’t ship for at least another 4 months and the US shipping cost will bring the total price of the Spark Drive Mini to $499, impatient riders might be better off with the equally priced and Amazon-shipped EB-5 anyways.
For many bikes, battery range is more important that total power (because they're all pretty powerful). You want a bike that delivers a range long enough for your rides at the power levels you want. Most e-bikes will have three to five levels of assist kicking in anywhere from 25 percent of you pedal power to 200 percent boost. Consider how fast the battery takes to recharge, especially if you'll be using your bike for long commutes.