This is the Freway Buffalo. It’s an ebike. I couldn’t say no to a free ebike to play around on, so we’re gonna have some fun with this thing for sure. It’s not a high end ebike like the Specialized Turbo Levo, but it only costs 1700 bucks whereas the Turbo Levo costs as much as a car. Although it’s marketed as a mountain bike, I’d put it in the commuter category. It’s got a big cushy seat, a really long stem, and those antler things on the handlebars. I’m not obligated to give you guys anything but the truth, so let’s put this thing together and take an objective look at it. First, let’s cruise on over to Freway’s website.
Another reason I chose the Lacuba Evo E8 is because of its overall geometry. First, check out the upright position you’ll be riding in. This positioning is ideal for bike touring because you’ll be traveling long distances. You’ll be much more comfortable in this position than you probably would be hunched over a road or hybrid bike. I also love how the Brose battery integrates completely into the downtube. Not only does this hide the fact that you’re getting a little extra help (if you’re self-conscious about that), but it also leaves you space to mount water bottle cages, a frame pump, or even a frame-mounted bag. These are sometimes crucial items during a bicycle tour, and many electric bikes cannot accommodate these due to the protrusion caused by a battery.
Another great thing about this particular electric bike is that it comes with a Nuvinci shifter and belt drive system. This replaces a traditional derailleur, chain, and cassette. This means there is no need to tune your drivetrain or fix a broken chain. Nuvinci systems are virtually maintenance free, which is great for beginning bike tourists who don’t want to spend half a day figuring out what went wrong with their drivetrain.
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.
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E-bikes are zero-emissions vehicles, as they emit no combustion by-products. However, the environmental effects of electricity generation and power distribution and of manufacturing and disposing of (limited life) high storage density batteries must be taken into account. Even with these issues considered, e-bikes are claimed to have a significantly lower environmental impact than conventional automobiles, and are generally seen as environmentally desirable in an urban environment.[65]
As far as battery life goes, e-bikes get their juice from a rechargeable battery usually located on or integrated into the frame, and many are removable, so you can power up wherever it’s convenient. The length of your ride and how often you use the bike will determine how frequently you have to charge up. “An e-bike battery can last anywhere from 15 to 60 miles depending on the terrain, how much assist you select, and the rider’s weight, among other factors,” says Jonathan Weinert, North American sales and marketing manager for Bosch eBike Systems. “With a dual battery [like the one Bosch has], you can double that range [around 20 to 120 miles], so it’s very feasible to commute for a week without charging.”
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.