For the past few months, I’ve been preparing for a trip through Scotland and England. If you’ve read any of my other lifestyle posts, then you know that I think the absolute best way to explore an area is by bicycle. So, when I was planning my trip, of course I decided to do an electric bike tour. I’ll be doing a John O’ Groats to Land’s End ride, approximately 900 miles. Let’s talk about the best electric bikes for bike touring.
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.
Thanks to clever engineering, the Electric Brompton folds up identically to the non-powered variety. It is heavier than a standard Brompton of course, but quite light by e-bike standards. It has small , suitcase-style additional wheels that come into play once folded up, and the way the weight is balanced means it is quite straightforward to trundle along in that state.
Back to the bike. I’ve gotta be honest, it doesn’t look half bad. The battery fits into the downtube, which is way better than those crazy brackets you see on cheap ebikes. The welds are also smoothed over, like an old Aluminum Cannondale. The drivetrain is a mix of parts, with Shimano Altus in the rear. Altus is a mountain bike groupset, but on the very low end.
E-bike usage worldwide has experienced rapid growth since 1998. In 2016 there were 210 million electric bikes worldwide used daily. It is estimated that there were roughly 120 million e-bikes in China in early 2010, and sales are expanding rapidly in India, the United States of America, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. A total of 700,000 e-bikes were sold in Europe in 2010, up from 200,000 in 2007 and 500,000 units in 2009.
All three road bikes receive their power from Yamaha’s PWSeries SE motor that comes with four levels of support: ECO+, ECO, STANDARD, and HIGH. The mid-drive motor supplies a maximum of 70 Nm (52 ft-lbs) of torque and cadence support up to 110 rpm. The motors are designed to provide assistance up to 20 mph (32 km/h). Any faster, and it’s all you providing the power.
Because they’re electrically powered, e-bikes sit in a bit of a gray area between bicycles and motorcycles. While some states have enacted specific legislation to state where electric bikes can and can’t be ridden, in other states outdated laws mean they’re regulated as a moped or motor vehicle which can cause confusion over registration requirements, access to cycling infrastructure and how old you have to be before you can ride one.
Others questioned the weight. The Indiegogo campaign claims the steel-framed e-bike weighs just 45 pounds complete, but that’s highly unlikely, says Court Rye, owner of the Electric Bike Review website. He’s posted an 18-minute YouTube video of his thoughts about the Storm eBike that he says tries to strike a balance of appreciation for the low price point and realistic expectations.
1. Eligibility: Sweepstakes (the "Sweepstakes") is open only to those who sign up at the online sweepstakes page and who are at least 18+ years old at the time of entry. The sweepstakes is open to the legal residents of the Contiguous USA and Canada and is void where prohibited by law. Employees of Electric Bike Technologies LLC (the "Sponsor") their respective affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, suppliers and their immediate family members and/or those living in the same household of each are not eligible to participate in the Sweepstakes. The Sweepstakes is subject to all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations. Void where prohibited.
Pedelecs are much like conventional bicycles in use and function — the electric motor only provides assistance, for example, when the rider is climbing or struggling against a headwind. Pedelecs are therefore especially useful for people in hilly areas where riding a bike would prove too strenuous for many to consider taking up cycling as a daily means of transport. They are also useful for riders who more generally need some assistance, e.g. for people with heart, leg muscle or knee joint issues.
What we especially love is how quiet this e bicycle is. If you’re riding down the street or through the park, the gentle hum of the motor is unnoticeable. This is because it’s hidden by the sound of your smooth pedaling. If you’re not into flashy gadgets, any ordinary person would assume you’re riding a conventional peddle bike. This is a great commuter bike.
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Of course the specs are nuts. Shimano Deore XT Shadow+ drivetrain, Magura MT4 hydraulic disc brakes, Mach 1 rims, and Schwalbe G-One tires make this not only an incredible commuter, but really a solid racing bike if you want to challenge another ebiker. The G-One tires I just love. They’re slick enough to keep you up to speed, but have a good amount of knobiness so that you can handle bad weather.
An anti-theft radio GPS that mounts to standard bottle cage bosses and can locate within 9 feet, it runs on the Verizon network and costs $5/mo in addition to the hardware. Integrated vibration sensing alarm sends an automated text message alerting you anytime the bike has been "locked" using the companion smartphone application (Android or iOS)...
4. How to Enter: The Sweepstakes must be entered by submitting an entry using the online form provided on this site. The entry must fulfill all sweepstakes requirements, as specified, to be eligible to win a prize. Entries that are not complete or do not adhere to the rules or specifications may be disqualified at the sole discretion of Electric Bike Technologies LLC. You may enter only once daily and you must fill in the information requested. You may not enter more times than indicated by using multiple e-mail addresses, identities or devices in an attempt to circumvent the rules. If you use fraudulent methods or otherwise attempt to circumvent the rules your submission may be removed from eligibility at the sole discretion of Electric Bike Technologies LLC.
As with all these bikes, the assisted speed is capped at 15mph, but unlike some of them, the Gtech eBike City or its identical (spec-wise) sibling the eBike Sport (this just has a standard frame rather than a step-through one) is light and agile enough for you to be able pedal harder without feeling like the weight is fighting you back down to 15mph. You can even, at a push, use it without the motor on flatter roads.
The F1-trained engineers at William Advanced Engineering assisted with the electrical parts and the result is a 250W motor that provides pedal assistance via the front hub – which is a highly unusual approach – drawing power from a 300Wh battery pack that sits in a bag and goes on the front where the Brompton luggage rack would normally sit. You can also opt for a larger bag that holds both the battery and your spare suit or laptop or whatever.
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.