Out on the road the Soho is easy to fire up, just press the button hidden under the top tube (a nice discreet touch), you’ll then get a set of five top-tube mounted LED’s light up to give you a charge indication. First impressions were that the engagement of the motor is a little jerky in tight traffic (tested in central London) and you could find yourself pulled toward the cars you’re weaving though at slow speeds - unless you’re feathering the brakes.
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.
If the bike is in fact similar to the EB-5, then it is probably a great around-the-city or campus electric bike, but perhaps not the best long distance commuter for rough roads. Though considering the bike won’t ship for at least another 4 months and the US shipping cost will bring the total price of the Spark Drive Mini to $499, impatient riders might be better off with the equally priced and Amazon-shipped EB-5 anyways.
Designed for riding around town, this pedal-assist bike has four levels of electric assistance – Eco, Tour, Sport and Turbo – and a maximum assisted speed of 20 miles per hour. This is a well designed and engineered bike, with Shimano Nexus components and a Bosch Performance electric-assist mid-drive system. Front and rear lights are included, and you can even use the battery to charge your smartphone. The integrated ring-lock will help deter would-be thieves, but it’s always best to back this up with a dedicated bike lock.
The Focus comes with lots of extras: front and rear lights, bell, fenders, chain guard and rack. The Panasonic drive system that powers it is the same unit that was on the Kalkhoff bike that climbed to the top of the Pikes Peak bicycle race, one of only 3 types of bikes to survive this 8000 foot 20-mile climb in 2012. The Panasonic drive system is a well built piece of E-bike engineering which drives the bottom bracket and powers the rear wheel through the same drive chain as the rider. It is only available on OEM bikes which have been-purpose built using it. It stands as one of the most refined mid-drive systems ever built.
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.