China's experience, as the leading e-bike world market, has raised concerns about road traffic safety and several cities have considered banning them from bicycle lanes. As the number of e-bikes increased and more powerful motors are used, capable of reaching up to 30 miles per hour (48 km/h), the number of traffic accidents have risen significantly in China. E-bike riders are more likely than a car driver to be killed or injured in a collision, and because e-bikers use conventional bicycle lanes they mix with slower-moving bicycles and pedestrians, increasing the risk of traffic collisions.
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!"
We rode the Vado through the gauntlet, including some of the steepest hills in Palo Alto, and it easily handled everything we threw at it, maintaining a steady 20 miles per hour even on the most daunting of ascents. The bike also handles well on downhills and is both nimble and quick on city streets and paved trails. It’s even comfortable to ride for extended distances, which is vitally important for any bike built for urban settings.
The motor on the Patriot DreamE drives the chain and utilizes the gearing of the bike for remarkable power and speed. If you want more speed or hill climbing power, simply change the rear cassette. The motor is lightweight and mounted low on the frame for better balance. Unlike hub motors, this frame mounted motor allows you to remove wheels (e.g. to fix a flat) like a traditional bicycle - without any wires to disconnect and reconnect.
Ironically, not only would a US e-bike manufacturer need to import the raw materials for their frames, but they could still be subject to import tariffs that the Trump administration has placed on imported steel and aluminum from China. Thus, the e-bikes could end up even more expensive than just US-built e-bikes, as customers would also have to pay for the higher cost of the imported raw materials.
As electric bike options continue to expand, more brands are integrating the battery more seamlessly. That makes them look sleeker (and more like a real bike). Batteries are expensive, so make sure there's a good way lock the battery to your bike if you'll be keeping it outside. Overall weight is important. Some battery and motors can add 15 pounds or more to the bike. With assist, you won't feel that much when you're riding, but you will if you have to carry your bike up stairs or lift it onto a bike rack.