A few months ago, before the COVID-19 shutdown took hold, I ordered a couple of electric bikes on Amazon. I decided to go for 26 inch wheels on a folding frame, and a 250Watt motor with a handlebar mounted battery.
This was by no means the highest spec available, but the price was low enough that I felt it would be a good entry into the field of augmented bike.
It may have been the best purchase I’ve ever made, and I tend to buy a lot of tech.
Since the purchase I have ridden almost every day. We go for a lap of central park, or a loop of Manhattan, or a trip to one of the outer boroughs or over the GW bridge into New Jersey. These are all trips I never took on my previous standard bike. And it hasn’t hurt that the traffic volume is significantly down due to the pandemic, and the number of bike lanes seems to increase on a daily basis.
We did make a few mods to the standard bike. Comfy seats, rear bags on racks and maybe most importantly we bought Sena R1 helmets with built in intercoms, so we can chat while riding, which makes the whole thing much more social.
I also added a tow hook to the car and got an incredible bike rack, meaning we can take the bikes away for weekends easily. We spent a few weeks in Virginia and rode every day on the lovely country lanes to little towns.
Our bikes are not powerful but hills no longer exist. Cycling up an incline is as easy as being on the flat, and it is quite nice to pass a full body condom wearing pro on a racing bike, struggling, while I’m on a fat wheeled low-end mountain bike and not even taking deep breaths. The range has also been more impressive than expected, we can easily cover 30 miles without worrying about battery life. And while the bike does offer a throttle (so you can ride without pedaling), I’ve only used this to aid starting from a dead stop on hills, most of the time only using the first and second power levels, and no the highest level (three dots), so getting some workout.
I know these kinds of bikes are now harder to find with longer delivery times and slightly higher prices. But my experience has been so positive, that I have to recommend them to anyone who would like to ride and finds the idea of sweating to be a turn-off.
Here’s the stuff we bought, and love: