Rumour has it, the Gazelle is Europe’s most popular electric bike. We can see why. Right from the off, the bike oozes comfort. Its classic Dutch sit-up-and-beg geometry combined with pedal assist makes it a smooth, comfortable, almost effortless ride. The Bosch mid-mounted motor (in the bottom bracket shell) delivers impressive, even power with four settings selectable via the left-hand handlebar mounted button and displayed on the central Intuvia LCD display.
The Dash is an excellent, low-cost option for those looking for an intro to e-bikes kind of ride. The TranzX motor will take you up to 28mph for about 16-35 miles per charge–more if you’re conservative with the assist. The components aren’t too shabby either. Shimano M365 hydraulic disc brakes keep you safe, the Shimano Deore SGS drivetrain, and RockShox Paragon fork with 65mm of travel make it a great entry level option.
The eZeeBike has been a successful and sought-after line of e-bikes in Europe that are now available in the United States. Range of 30 miles and top assisted speed of 20 mph is possible with the three standard (non-folding) models. With well-crafted aluminum alloy frames and lithium batteries, these bikes are lighter than other electric bikes. Equipped with 250- and 350-watt silent (gearless) hub motors, eZee bikes come with many accessories as standard equipment. Different models may include: fenders, front shocks, suspension seat tube, Velo cycle computer , integrated front and rear lights, rear luggage rack with spring-loaded bar and integrated bungy chords, chain guard, and foldability.
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.
Those buyers aren’t likely to get a major workout. Researchers from the University of Tennessee found in a study of walkers, ebike riders and traditional bike riders that those who completed a 4.43-kilometer hilly route on an ebike used 22 percent less energy than traditional bikers and 64 percent less than walkers, most likely because the ebikers got to the finish line faster than the others. But perks included higher levels of enjoyment and no need for a shower when they were done.
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BATTERY POWER The Lithium-Ion Manganese battery power pack is lightweight, technologically advanced, and safe. EcoBike battery packs are UL and CE approved, exceeding safety and quality standards in the U.S. and E.U. EcoBike batteries are specially designed and manufactured for the EcoBike by a subsidiary of Lenovo / IBM ThinkPad. These batteries deliver the maximum consistent output and longevity. EcoBike batteries have been tested and proven, with over 100,000 units manufactured and a failure rate of less than 1%.
The Stromer is tailored for riders of all types and skill levels. The patented "dual power system" allows for power-on-demand riding (limited to no pedaling), with a top speed of 20 mph and a range of up to 20 miles. Feel like pedaling? Just switch to pedal-assist mode and let the state-of-the-art torque sensor augment your pedaling efforts with motor assistance. Pedal-assist mode allows for 45+ mile range. Charging is easy with their patented removable battery system. Simply unlock the internal battery storage case on the frame, remove the battery, and charge up with any 115V power outlet (onboard charging is also available).
This bike is named the GSD because with it you can Get Stuff Done. Twenty-inch wheels keep the center of gravity low so heavy payloads—it's rated up to 400lbs—are easy to balance and a short (for a cargo bike) 70-inch wheelbase, similar to a standard single bike, make the GSD easy to maneuver. Designed with the urban commuter in mind, the bike can easily break down to 60 percent of its original size to fit into the back of a car and the rear rack doubles as a stand that allows it to stand upright to minimize space inside tight apartments. Put two child seats on the back and take the family along, or drop the seat and let you kid take the bike out himself—anyone from 4'10" to 6'5" can ride this bike. Last but not least, the GSD gives you the option of adding a second battery to extend your range up to about 150 miles on a single charge.
In a friction drive motor, a small, solid wheel rotates against the side of the tire in order to drive it. The first motorcycles used the same concept, with a motor mounted above the front wheel. The problem is that the drive rubs at the side of the tire. It's inefficient, and it quickly wears the sidewall away. Tires need to be replaced every couple hundred miles. For this reason, you'll seldom see electric bikes with this type of drive anymore.
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).