Mainstream Bicycle Media Warming to E-bikes

March 5, 2013
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I was looking at the April 2013 issue of the Bicycling magazine buyers guide today (25 Feb). I was pleasantly surprised to find an E-bike section that listed 4 bikes, and also a full-page review of the Stromer, and I couldn’t help but notice some positive comments by the author, Brad Ford.

“Buy it if: You’re looking to speed up your commute…and have fun along the way. 

Unlike most electric bikes, Stromers ST1 looks almost like a regular city bike. I like that. But hidden in the rear wheel is a motor that can move the bike along at speeds of up to 30-MPH. I like that even more. Powered bikes are already popular In Europe and parts of Asia. This models characteristics mean it could help e-bikes catch on here: easy to ride, the controls are simple, and it costs less than some similar models. A range of accessories also helps make the ST1 suited for many uses. To test the bike, I spun around town, but mostly used it on my hilly, 36-mile commute

I made liberal use of the motors four settings, which deliver a boost up to three times the riders power. The motor kicks in smoothly and the bikes weight feels evenly distributed. The ST1 handles comfortably, whether you’re navigating hilly ‘burbs or city traffic. The effortlessness of maintaining 30-MPH while riding with the biggest boost was intoxicating, and I made full use of it to rocket up hills. As a result, the battery, which is integrated into the down-tube, was good for only one round trip before needing a four-hour charge. Riding in a lower setting-or on flatter terrain-increases battery life up to 60 miles, Stromer says. 

As I sometimes passed cars slowed by traffic, I wondered if the Stromer is even a bike. In fact, a patchwork of federal, state, and local laws currently govern e-bikes, and many impose speed limits on electric-assist vehicles. To circumvent some of those restrictions, Stromer stipulates that this bike is meant only for off-road rides. BICYCLING’s own law expert, Bob Mionske offered another interpretation: Because the Stromers motor won’t operate if you’re not pedaling, laws defining E-bikes by their “motorized top speed” don’t apply.

That’s good enough for me to enjoy this bike’s utility worry-free…”

I was very pleased with the tone of the article, since the mainstream of the bicycle industry has ignored E-bikes for a long time. This “softening of attitude” may have something to do with the big bike manufacturers starting to carry E-bikes in their catalog, and the realization that E-bike owners spend money on accessories.

I found it odd that, although the web-version of Bicycling magazine also had a review of the Stromer ST1…it was by a different author, Andrew J. Bernstein, which can be found here.

In addition to the one-page review of the Stromer ST1, the paper-magazine had a paragraph on four other E-bikes, and oddly, the web-magazine also had short reviews of 4 additional different E-bikes (I would have preferred a paragraph on all 8 E-bikes in both). Even if the paper-magazine was short on page-space, the web-magazine could have easily included 15 E-bikes, if they wanted to be considered a “go to” reference.

Our readers here on electricbike.com may not be up to date on the wide variety of recent issues concerning Mountain bikes, recumbents, and roadies, but…I’d like to list the 8 E-bikes that were blurbed by Bicycling magazine so you will be more informed as to what the average bicyclist is being told about E-bikes.

First, here’s the four from the web-magazine. The reviews are long enough that I will not add the details here. The links to these four reviews are at the bottom of the Stromer-ST1 review link listed above. The text is not changed from the source, my edits are in [brackets].

Trek 7200+……………………….[$2300, 350W 41V, rear DD-hub]

Kettler Twin Center NX7………[$3500, 250W 26V, Panasonic pedelec BB-drive]

Izip Metro…………………………[$2500, 500W 36V rear geared hub]

eZip Trailz…………………………[$600, 450W, 24V SLA, Currie-drive]

 

These are different from the four listed in the paper-magazine:

iZip E3 Path $1,700
You can pedal or opt for the all-electric mode, but don’t stray far: Depending on terrain, one charge lasts about 22 miles. [rear geared hub]

Hebb Electroglide 1000 $2,600
This is a cruiser with a motor [actually, the battery] tucked behind the seat tube. The mid-mount style accommodates a seven-speed Shimano Nexus hub that gives you gears for any hill. [front geared hub]

Stealth Bomber $9,900
This 116-pound mini-motorcycle will rocket you across trails with a claimed 50-MPH top-speed, ten inches of suspension travel help you tame gnarly terrain. [LARGE rear DD-hub]

Trek T80+ Lowstep $2,100
Made for comfort, the lowstep features a step-through frame, suspension seatpost, adjustable [handlebar] stem, and 250W motor [rear DD-hub]

 

Grew up in Los Angeles California, US Navy submarine mechanic from 1977-81/SanDiego. Hydraulic mechanic in the 1980's/Los Angeles. Heavy equipment operator in the 1990's/traveled to various locations. Dump truck driver in the 2000's/SW Utah. Currently a water plant operator since 2010/NW Kansas


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