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.
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.
And let’s not forget the economic advantages of owning an e-bike. The annual cost of running a new family car is, on average, about $9,000 per year. Running an electric bike costs around $400 per year. And while filling a gas tank costs around $30, recharging an electric bike battery costs only about 50 cents. A tank of gas may get you further, but not 60 times further!
Should an e-bike actually look like an e-bike? Vanmoof think so. With a design and engineering sensibility that’s more Silicon Valley startup than heritage bike brand, Vanmoof is probably the most WIRED of the bikes on test. And the Electrified S has a host of features to prove it. The Bluetooth/proximity activated e-lock (with tamper sensor) that’s built into the frame is a clever innovation, although we're not sure this would be enough theft protection for inner city areas, (where the Vanmoof’s striking design stands out like a jewel on the bike rack). However, for €7 a month, if your bike is stolen, Vanmoof will track down your bike – or replace your bike with a model of the same age if they can’t retrieve it.
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.)
Because e-bikes are capable of greater speeds for longer periods of time than standard bikes, you want extra control. Wider tires provide traction and some bump absorption with little penalty. You also want strong brakes to slow you (and all that extra weight) easily. It's worth looking at the quality of the brakes and investing in bikes with better ones if you can.