This bike impressed me right when I saw it. I love that Haibike offers spec-heavy options with the Yamaha PW system. I think the PW system gets a bad rep sometimes for being less powerful than the Bosch, but to be totally honest not everybody needs the power of a Bosch system. Haibike makes up for the lower torque of the PW system by offering a premium Shimano Deore XT drivetrain with 20 speeds. This is great for riders who want to stay in the action a bit more, but still not arrive sweaty and out of breath.
The way they work is pretty simple: The motor kicks in with extra assist when you pedal, and there are different levels of assistance. That's it. Just turn it on, pedal, and go! You can also turn the assist mode off and ride it like a regular bike. And e-bikes stop assisting at a certain speed (in the U.S., it's 20 mph or 28 mph depending on class) for safety, of course.
On a trip to Palo Alto last year, we had the chance to ride Specialized’s pedal-assisted Turbo Vado and the model is still our favorite ebike on the market. Utilizing a 350-watt motor and 604-watt-hour lithium-ion battery, the Turbo Vado is capable of traveling a whopping 80 miles on a single charge, which should be more than enough for any daily commute with plenty of miles left over.
Sometimes space comes at the most premium of commodities and the Tern Vektron offers a space-saving folding option. At about $3,400, the sturdy folding joints include a magnet and rubber strap to keep the bike folded. The quick-release pedals (wheels release too) help with storage of a bike that doesn’t give up power with a 20-mph speed that can range over 60 miles. But the best part is placing two in the trunk of a car.
Most consumers want an e-bike that will accommodate its motor without being too cumbersome and will remain stable in spite of its electronic components. Some consumers want only the most basic of e-bike features, including lights, a cargo rack/basket, and a water bottle holder. Others are focused more heavily on safety features, such as brake type. And still others are concerned with convenience and portability.
ELECTRONIC CONTROL The Zero-Smart-Start speed controller delivers ease of use and smooth drive control and offers a multi-function variable speed output. It is state of the art, producing consistent efficient power. The automatic Pedal Assist mode produces a power burst that dramatically assists the pedaling effort. The Zero-Smart-Start electronic throttle control allows the rider to relax and not pedal at all.
Haibike ships the HardNine with 29-inch tires, 180-millimeter hydraulic disc brakes, a 100-millimeter front suspension fork, and a nine-speed Shimano shifting system. The bike’s LCD readout is affixed to the handlebars and displays the current speed, level of charge, remaining range, and current pedal assist mode. The company says the battery can be completely recharged in just four hours, minimizing downtime between rides.
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The final thing I love about this the Riese & Müller Delite GT Touring is the plus size tires. If you’ve ever been on a bike for the majority of the day, you know that any little bit of cushioning can make all the difference. Riese & Müller have provided this extra cushion in their tires. These tires are also excellent for wet weather and some light off-roading if you want to take a shortcut.
After you decide which style of e-bike you want, consider the class. In the US, there are three classes defined by the type of assist and how fast the motor will propel you. Most electric bikes sold are class 1 or 3. Class 1 bikes have a motor (max 750w) that assists while you're pedaling, up to 20 mph. Class 3, also known as “speed pedelec” can also have up to a 750w motor, but it can assist you up to 28mph. Both of those are allowed in most states and cities without license. Class 2 have throttles that don't require you to pedal to get a boost. They're allowed on most streets, bike lanes, and paths, but less popular than the other classes and not covered much here (because we still love to pedal and the greater distances pedal assist bikes can cover).