E-bikes mostly use motors and battery options from a few major suppliers: Bosch, Yamaha, Shimano, and Brose. A few other brands exist, but are less reliable or powerful. Some, like the Yamaha system, have more torque and others are quieter. But generally all four make good options. Look for motor output (in watts) which will give you an idea of total power. But watt hours (Wh) is perhaps a better figure to use—it takes into account battery output and life to give a truer reflection of power.
If you’re looking for an electric bike with a sporty assist that is effective above a "pootling" speed, this is your bike. The only downsides to all that connectivity? We experienced some random light flashing and occasional beeping on the stationary bike, as well as confusion with the bike not switching on occasionally. In some ways the connectivity is just a little too clever (read complicated) for its own good.
The G-10 features a top-tube mounted on-off button and ‘set’ button for one of four power modes, all linked to a Groove Go wheel mounted motor via a removable clip-lock battery stashed under the down-tube. Kalkhoff has paired this with a mid-range Shimano Tiagra 1x10 speed drive-train and effective Shimano M396 hydraulic disc brakes. A nice touch is the anti-slip ‘grip-tape’-covered flat pedals, perfect for a bike to be ridden around town without specialist shoes.
"What? That’s an e-bike?" tended to be the first reaction we got to the Cooper. There’s very little (bar the oversized rear hub) that says e-bike on the ‘E’ at all. Cooper have taken a traditional gauge Reynolds 520 steel frame and dressed it with a practical mix of (surprisingly effective) Tektro caliper brakes, Sturmey Archer crank and chainring and topped it off with Brooks Cambium C17 All-weather saddle. They’ve then paired it with a Zehus All-in -One electric hub, so there’s no leads, no external battery, not even an on and off switch.
Unlike most e-bikes, the Brompton's battery is integrated into a bag that sits on the front of the bike. While that detracts slightly from the classic, streamlined design, it's handy as it can be unclipped for charging or riding as a regular bike – it's probably one of the easiest to ride without battery assistance thanks to its weight. The battery also powers two lights for safe commuting.
The environmental effects involved in recharging the batteries can of course be reduced. The small size of the battery pack on an e-bike, relative to the larger pack used in an electric car, makes them very good candidates for charging via solar power or other renewable energy resources. Sanyo capitalized on this benefit when it set up "solar parking lots", in which e-bike riders can charge their vehicles while parked under photovoltaic panels.
The F1-trained engineers at William Advanced Engineering assisted with the electrical parts and the result is a 250W motor that provides pedal assistance via the front hub – which is a highly unusual approach – drawing power from a 300Wh battery pack that sits in a bag and goes on the front where the Brompton luggage rack would normally sit. You can also opt for a larger bag that holds both the battery and your spare suit or laptop or whatever.
The Gazelle was made for city commutes - the riding position is relaxed yet so upright, you can look around, over car roofs and feel confident even in heavy traffic. The Orange is no fly-weight, though. With its rudimentary suspension fork, Post Moderne suspension seat-post, rack-mounted battery and "built for comfort" wheels, it’s 24.4kg weight (plus battery) excludes it from being regularly carried up-stairs or into flats for commuters who don’t have street-level entry or a bike store.
Running Errands, Getting Groceries, Replacing the mini-van: An electric cargo bicycle is a new breed of vehicle, half bicycle, half electric vehicle. The Mundo Cargo Utility Bicycle rides like a regular bike and gives you the capacity to haul at least 6 large bags of groceries. You can then save money, conserve resources, stay healthy, change your mobility, and transform your world.