The downside to this mountain-bike build and specification is obviously the weight, at 24.5kg the Trekking feels heavier than the other bikes on test, and rightly bills itself as suitable for heavier riders, too. As with the other bikes here, this is only really a problem for smaller riders, or riders needing to take the bike up or down steps regularly. With its bomb-proof build, full guards and heavy-duty rack, the Haibike is the perfect choice for a burly rider or for doomsday preppers, ready to out ride the apocalypse.
You turn it on by pressing the green button on the battery once for low power and twice for high, although to be honest, there is not a lot of difference between them. After that, you just pedal. There are no gears, no chain to muck up your trousers (a motorbike-style carbon fibre belt is used instead) and not that much difference in feeling compared to riding a normal bike.
James LaLonde, senior brand manager for Cannondale, agrees. He says their entry-level (read: good for beginners and more affordable) e-bike—the Quick Neo—has a battery life that lasts up to 70 miles. “If you ride for a full day, you may want to recharge it before you go to bed. But if you’re just commuting [a few miles], you could use it for a full week before you need to plug in. Then it’s a four-hour recharge when it’s completely dead.” (Of course, you don’t have to wait for it to get to zero if you want a shorter charge time.)
The body is made from light and durable aluminum. The handlebar comes with simple controls to let you accelerate, brake, monitor battery life, operate headlights and of course…sound the horn. There’s even an USB point that will let you charge your iPhone or Android on the go. The bike can reach a top speed of 10mph. Feel the wind in your hair as you zoom up and down hills and past all that city traffic…
At speed the E proved a stable and neutral ride, the motor engaged in good time and there was a reasonable amount of assist (the amount of motor assist is adjustable via a Bluetooth app up to 25kmph or 15.5mph). Charging of the in-hub battery is possible via a neat hollow charging bolt on the drive-side of the rear wheel. The Cooper E is one for retro-futurists and people who want others to say, "No way that’s an electric bike!"
After you decide which style of e-bike you want, consider the class. In the US, there are three classes defined by the type of assist and how fast the motor will propel you. Most electric bikes sold are class 1 or 3. Class 1 bikes have a motor (max 750w) that assists while you're pedaling, up to 20 mph. Class 3, also known as “speed pedelec” can also have up to a 750w motor, but it can assist you up to 28mph. Both of those are allowed in most states and cities without license. Class 2 have throttles that don't require you to pedal to get a boost. They're allowed on most streets, bike lanes, and paths, but less popular than the other classes and not covered much here (because we still love to pedal and the greater distances pedal assist bikes can cover).