"What? That’s an e-bike?" tended to be the first reaction we got to the Cooper. There’s very little (bar the oversized rear hub) that says e-bike on the ‘E’ at all. Cooper have taken a traditional gauge Reynolds 520 steel frame and dressed it with a practical mix of (surprisingly effective) Tektro caliper brakes, Sturmey Archer crank and chainring and topped it off with Brooks Cambium C17 All-weather saddle. They’ve then paired it with a Zehus All-in -One electric hub, so there’s no leads, no external battery, not even an on and off switch.
Torque sensors and power controls were developed in the late 1990s. For example, Takada Yutky of Japan filed a patent in 1997 for such a device. In 1992 Vector Services Limited offered and sold an e-bike dubbed Zike.[9] The bicycle included NiCd batteries that were built into a frame member and included an 850 g permanent-magnet motor. Despite the Zike, in 1992 hardly any commercial e-bikes were available.
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.
Electric bikes are categorized by classes: Class 1 ebikes are pedal-assist cycles with a top speed of 20 mph. (Some localities have banned Class 2 and Class 3 ebikes, which are throttle on demand.) The trick to using a Class 1 bike is to, well, pedal. “If the pedals stop, the bike doesn’t go,” says Saltvold, who describes using an ebike as akin to running on a moving walkway in an airport terminal. Whitaker notes that customers say they switch off the pedal-assist to get more exercise, then turn it back on when going up a hill or wanting to increase their speed.
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!"
The Netherlands has a fleet of 18 million bicycles.[77] E-bikes have reached a market share of 10% by 2009, as e-bikes sales quadrupled from 40,000 units to 153,000 between 2006 and 2009,[78] and the electric-powered models represented 25% of the total bicycle sales revenue in that year.[77] By early 2010 one in every eight bicycles sold in the country is electric-powered despite the fact that on average an e-bike is three times more expensive than a regular bicycle.[73][78]
E-bikes can also provide a source of exercise for individuals who have trouble exercising for an extended time (due to injury or excessive weight, for example) as the bike can allow the rider to take short breaks from pedaling and also provide confidence to the rider that they'll be able to complete the selected path without becoming too fatigued[58] or without having forced their knee joints too hard (people who need to use their knee joints without wearing them out unnecessarily may in some electric bikes adjust the level of motor assistance according to the terrain). A University of Tennessee study provides evidence that energy expenditure (EE) and oxygen consumption (VO2) for e-bikes are 24% lower than that for conventional bicycles, and 64% lower than for walking. Further, the study notes that the difference between e-bikes and bicycles are most pronounced on the uphill segments.[59] Reaching VO2 Max, can really help your body as a whole[60]. Professor Janet Lord of Birmingham University in the UK published a study that looked at older cyclists, ““The study looked at muscle mass, blood cholesterol, their VO2 Max, lung function, and in many of those measures we found they didn’t age! No loss of muscle, their bones were a little thin (but nothing like the general population), their blood pressure didn’t go up.[61]
“Yamaha e-Bikes are in shops, and we’re hearing some great feedback from our first retailers and customers, coast-to-coast, from California to Maryland. From casual commuters to series cyclists, more people are seeing the advantages of incorporating an e-Bike into their daily lives. Yamaha has been the global leader in Power Assist Bicycle manufacturing for more than two decades, and it’s exciting to now rollout the first ever Yamaha e-Bikes in the U.S.”
The entire drive system is neatly incorporated into the bike's design for optimal weight distribution and the ultimate in sexy design, while users control torque and power output, which peaks at a surprisingly punchy 530W, via a cool Mission Control App that can also be programmed to a time or distance parameter to ensure there's enough power to get you home.

Is it worth $1700? I’ll let you be the judge. I don’t have a lot of experience with commuter ebikes so I don’t know how it compares. I do know that most of the ebike conversions I’ve seen look like science experiments. The Buffalo could pass for a normal bike, and look a little more accessible to a first time ebike user. So, although I’m not planning on riding this, I am planning on using it. So I’ll keep it around for a while and let you guys know what I think long term.
Riding position: You also may wish to check out an e-bike’s riding position before investing in it. For short trips, the riding position might not make much difference, but for long journeys, the upright "Dutch" style with pulled-back handlebars is very comfortable – particularly for tall riders. The same goes for mountain bike styles, though these bikes are not often designed to actually go off-road.
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!
Designed for the same maneuverability as a non-electric bike, this roughly $3,000 model designed for the city can handle hills and distance. Using a Bosch motor for 100-mile cycling on flat or hilly terrain and a lightweight aluminum frame, the Dutch-made Gazelle model aims for a “sporty posture” and “precise cycling performance” in a robust offering.

"Bargain Buys" Most electric bikes priced less than $600 at big box retailers and on-line are aimed at the kid/teen/toy market. They generally lack the performance and durability that people want and expect. Also, parts and service can be problematic with both big box retailers and on-line vendors. We urge you to invest in a quality e-bike, preferably from a local dealer, that will serve you (and others) for many years. Remember, if it's poorly constructed and you can't get repair parts, it will likely become land-fill material. Save, beg, or borrow the money to get a quality bike or kit.
E-bikes allow more people to ride more. We know e-bike users who now get to ride with faster friends and don't have to worry about keeping up, or who live in a hilly area, or who've gifted one to their parents so they can ride a charity ride together at the same pace. And of course, commuters who no longer need to use their cars every day, as well as beginners who want to build their fitness. "The e-bike offers more confidence. You can go further, and it’s easier to go over hills than on a pedal bike,” Lalonde adds.

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.

Range is a key consideration with e-bikes, and is affected by factors such as motor efficiency, battery capacity, efficiency of the driving electronics, aerodynamics, hills and weight of the bike and rider.[36][37] Some manufacturers, such as the Canadian BionX or American Vintage Electric Bikes,[38] have the option of using regenerative braking, the motor acts as a generator to slow the bike down prior to the brake pads engaging.[39] This is useful for extending the range and the life of brake pads and wheel rims. There are also experiments using fuel cells. e.g. the PHB. Some experiments have also been undertaken with super capacitors to supplement or replace batteries for cars and some SUVS. E-bikes developed in Switzerland in the late 1980s for the Tour de Sol solar vehicle race came with solar charging stations but these were later fixed on roofs and connected so as to feed into the electric mains.[40] The bicycles were then charged from the mains, as is common today. While ebike batteries were produced mainly by bigger companies in past, many small to medium companies have started using innovative new methods for creating more durable batteries. State of the art, custom built automated precision CNC spot welding machines[41] created 18650 battery packs[42] are commonly used among Do-it-yourself ebike makers.


Commuting by bicycle, though laudable, can be hard work. So it makes sense to supplement your human pedal power with a little electrical help, especially if you have a hilly route to the office or no desire to arrive to a meeting in any kind of a sweat. This is where the ever-growing market of electric bikes comes in. Fortunately, gone are the days of the hugely expensive, unreliable first versions, which were never taken seriously anyway. Now the choice is vast, the prices are reasonable (on the whole) and performance and range has in general been greatly increased. Here, we takes a look at six of the best e-bikes available right now, each being the ideal option for a specific kind of commute. You may also be interested in our guide to the best folding bikes.
Folding Electric Bikes- These are mostly used when people need to combine different modes of transport. For example, if you need first to take the train or bus, a folding e-bike can be useful to carry along. Also, very short trips are more convenient with these electric bikes since you don’t need to bother tying them up. Typically, these are very light, even with the motor and battery.
Designed for urban or suburban commutes, the A2B Octave (right picture) offers lightweight aluminum construction with full suspension. Add in its comfortable,oversized seat and you have a powerful ride that's easy to handle. When you don't feel like pedaling, the A2B offers unassisted power on demand for up to 20 miles at a cruising speed of 20mph. Plus, the A2B can be easily upgraded to double its range to 40 miles with the addition of a secondary battery pack and increase its carrying capacity with the addition of baskets and rear carrier bags.
The Netherlands has a fleet of 18 million bicycles.[77] E-bikes have reached a market share of 10% by 2009, as e-bikes sales quadrupled from 40,000 units to 153,000 between 2006 and 2009,[78] and the electric-powered models represented 25% of the total bicycle sales revenue in that year.[77] By early 2010 one in every eight bicycles sold in the country is electric-powered despite the fact that on average an e-bike is three times more expensive than a regular bicycle.[73][78]

The body is made from light and durable aluminum. The handlebar comes with simple controls to let you accelerate, brake, monitor battery life, operate headlights and of course…sound the horn. There’s even an USB point that will let you charge your iPhone or Android on the go. The bike can reach a top speed of 10mph. Feel the wind in your hair as you zoom up and down hills and past all that city traffic…
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Folding Electric Bikes- These are mostly used when people need to combine different modes of transport. For example, if you need first to take the train or bus, a folding e-bike can be useful to carry along. Also, very short trips are more convenient with these electric bikes since you don’t need to bother tying them up. Typically, these are very light, even with the motor and battery.
Probably the most important thing to consider when researching the best electric touring bike for you is how far you need your bike to take you every day. Be realistic about this. If you purchase a lower end electric bike, don’t be surprised when it only takes you half as far as you want to go. Think about whether or not there are going to be opportunities to charge your battery in the middle of your daily riding. If not, it might be a good idea to buy an extra battery.
I wanted to include an electric bike that would be ideal for off-road and trail bike touring, and I think the Bulls E-Stream Evo 3 27.5 Plus is it. This hardtail mountain bike would be perfect for bike tourists going out on the trails for a few days. You could conceivably go for a few days without needing to recharge the Brose 650 watt hour battery, so even if your camping in the wilderness with nowhere to recharge for 60-100 miles you would likely be fine on battery life.

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.

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.
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.
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