Easy Motion Neo Jumper Review

March 8, 2013
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The Neo Jumper is the flag ship, full suspension version of the Neo line of  Easy Motion electric bikes. Recently I got the shocking news that internet friend Kepler from endless-sphere had decided to sell his hot rodded Stealth Bomber which he wrote an EB.com story on a few months back (read that article here). When asked why he decided to sell his 50-MPH super E-bike, Kepler said in part because he had test ridden an Easy Motion Jumper, and decided that he wanted to buy the $4,000 350-watt bike. This was a bomb shell to me…this guy selling his 10-kilowatt bomber and buying a 350-watt miser in its place? What is the electric bike world coming to? (to be fair, it’s worthy of note that Kepler lives in Australia, where the street power limit is 200W, and his Bomber was only used off-road)

Also fellow electric bike editor spinningmagnets did a write up on the Neo Jumper and seemed mildly impressed and even did some angry nanny state finger waving and hollering (his conclusion: great E-bike if the power was raised to the USA limit of 750W, and even then it’s too pricey).

After all this bomber dropping  hoopla I have been dying to test ride a Neo Jumper and yesterday, thanks to the good folks at Electric Bike LA, I got my chance.

Custom Battery Pack

e-motion_battery

The Neo line of bikes from E-motion are based around a high quality 36V / 9-Ah Samsung  battery that is built into the down tube, in a very elegant purpose-built frame. The Easy Motion Neo line made our list of top 10 ebikes with  purpose built frames. The tooling and per-unit cost to make such a frame and custom battery is expensive, and this is why you don’t see many electric bike companies doing it. Compare the Neo line to many other electric bike brands. Most will weld all their battery packs to the rear of the bike via a rack, a much cheaper, easier, and uglier way of doing things.

The purpose-built frame not only looks really sweet, but gives the Neo Jumper an awesome bicycle-like feel when you ride it. When you lift it, it feels perfectly balanced. It feels like you could bunny hop this baby (if you are a dreamer)…oh wait, it weighs a hefty47 pounds. (still light for an electric bike). Because of its perfect front-to-rear balance the Neo Jumper feels lighter than what it is.

The lithium-ion battery pack on the Neo Jumper is lockable, and removable. You could feasibly carry a second battery  in your backpack.

Of course this purpose-built frame does have its drawbacks. The battery pack  is proprietary and therefore more expensive to replace, and of course expensive when you want to buy a second pack. The battery pack is relatively small (36V / 9-Ah = 324 watt hours) so don’t expect to get very far (17 miles realistically  see our story on estimating range).

Easy Motion is limited on their product offerings because they are stuck using this same downtube battery in every bike. 36V / 9-Ah for many consumers (including myself) is just not enough (especially in this price range).

At this writing, an extra or replacement 36V / 9-Ah  battery pack will cost you $375. It seems reasonable but remember, this battery pack is only 324 watt hours. (compared to 480 watt hours for a 48V / 10-Ah pack).

Also, to charge the battery it must be taken out of the bike and placed in a charger. Not as convenient as most ebikes which you just plug the bike itself into a charge port.

 

Digital Dash

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The Neo Jumper has pedal assist via a torque sensor and a twist-throttle. The throttle mode only works when it’s switched to the throttle mode (no pedal assist over-ride). The slick no-nonsense digital dash also displays battery capacity and speed. Elegant, small, and simple. Unlike many production electric bikes, it does not have that made in China look. However, this type of battery meter is not as accurate as a Cycle Analyst which measures amp-hour usage to the watt hours.

High Quality Suspension Components

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The front forks alone on the Neo Jumper cost over $1,000. The forks definitely feel high-quality and have a lock out lever on  the handlebars. The rear shock also has a lock out which is easily accessible while riding. I am not sure when an electric bike rider would ever want to lock out the suspension (I guess if the battery dies and you are peddling up a hill) but you have the feature there if you want it. Pete over at electricbikereport.com said while trail riding he would lock the suspension and bunny hop over obstacles (Yeah right!). Naturally he didn’t get any “bunny hopping 50-pound bike over obstacles” video posted…but I dare him to…(post it here Pete, for $20 reward).

At any rate, the suspension on this bike feels better than any other suspension I have felt on any other production electric bike other than the $12K Optibike. It feels like the suspension would feel on a $1000+ mountain bike.  Not  bad, since most production electric bikes settle for a Wal-Mart level of quality in the suspension just so they can say that they have suspension. (think $120 mountain bike).

Hydraulic disc ebrakes

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Very few production electric bikes have hydraulic brakes, because few hydraulic brakes have E-levers which automatically shut off the power when you hit the brakes (an important safety feature if the throttle electrically shorts to the full-on position). The Neo Jumper uses Tektro E-comp hydraulic brakes, the only type of brake I know of designed for electric bikes with this feature.

Brushless geared hub motor

bpm hub motor

The Neo Jumper uses the Dapu motor, a small brushless geared motor. It’s rated for 350 watts but can handle up to 750 watts as proven by the Pedego City Commuter, which uses the same motor (read review).

 

Torque sensor

tmm4 torque sensor

The Neo Jumper utilizes one of the best torque sensors in the business, a TMM4 which is built into the rear drop out of the frame. A torque sensor is an expensive feature ($150 retail) and it brings the power on smoothly, and adds more power the harder you pedal. Cheaper bikes have a cadence sensor which just measure how fast you pedal. Read our report on torque sensors. If you ride with a torque sensor, the system will force you to pedal harder than you will with throttle-only, thus extending your range. It hard to be lazy when you ride with a torque sensor. A torque sensor has the added feature as being a back  up in case your throttle fails.

Lots and lots of gears

This bike has 30 speeds, a front and a rear derailleur.  Personally I do not see the need of so many gears in an electric bike, although I have heard it argued that in a low-powered torque-sensored bike, it somehow makes sense. Sorry, but it still doesn’t to me. I see derailleurs as a maintenance headache, and having two of them adds a lot of complexity to your riding experience. I am a big believer in 8 speeds maximum for an electric bike…and even that is usually too much until the battery dies.

Complex Ride

For such a low-power ride, you have a lot of options when riding this bike. While riding you can lock or unlock the suspension with two levers you have access to. You have two gear levers to change between the 30 gears. You have an electronic dashboard to pick the level of pedal assist. You have a  twist throttle that you can only use if you have the dashboard in the right setting. And you have the left and right brake levers. There is a lot going on on these handlebars, and that makes for a complex riding experience. Of course you can ignore almost everything and just put it in high gear and select throttle mode which is the way I recommend riding the bike…especially at first. When you want to extend your range you can flip into torque sensor mode and experiment with the 30 different gears until you find just what your happy with.

Ride Quality

There is no doubt about it, this bike is awesome to ride. It feels smooth and high quality. The motor feels snappy for only being fed 350-watts, but not as powerful as much cheaper 48V Pedego. It is not very fast (20-MPH tops) and it will not go very far. If you can live with that and just want an ultra plush, “non electric bike”-like ride, then this bike is the one you’ve been looking for. Its so light and nimble, that when you are in torque sensor mode, you can actually forget you are on an electric bike and you are just this well conditioned athlete on a slick looking (and stealthy) pedal mountain bike.

In throttle-only mode I was able to get 17-MPH top speed without pedaling on level ground, and I am a 190 pound rider. So to get over 20-MPH you will have to pedal hard. I noticed when climbing any type of hill, the bike really bogs down. Its when climbing hills you will really wish you had more than just 350 watts on hand. On a mountainous off-road hill you will wish you had 1500 watts. 350-watts is very little for a bike designed for off road use and remember, since it is a hub motor you are basically running 350-watt single speed. BH E-motion does make  some mid-drive bikes with the Panasonic drive system, which would be really clean solution for the Neo Jumper. Its disappointing that BH decided to  offer their bikes just  as hub bikes in the USA.

Comparable bikes:

stromer st1

I really can’t think of any high-quality full-suspension purpose-built E-bikes at this price range. How incredible is that? Where is the Pedego and Currie full-suspension electric bikes? It would be a crime to compare this elegant bike to the clunky A2B full-suspension. We have to go to a hard-tail bike to find anything comparable that I have ever personally ridden. In the $4,000 price range, you are looking at the top of the line Stromer bikes. The Stromer and the Neo lines are very similar.

The Stromer St1 is the best competitor to the Neo jumper that I know of.  The Stromer is pedal assist only, has a 30mph top speed, and has higher quality components but not suspension.  Read our Stromer St1 review.

A Warning On Range and Company Marketing

I received a message  from one of the managers at Easy Motion USA who took objection to my 17-mile range estimate for the Neo Jumper. As our regular readers know, we estimate each electric bike’s range based on the watt hours of the battery pack (read our story on how we estimate range). This way we can come up with a fair estimate we can apply to all electric bikes. E-motion wrote: “What are you basing your 17-mile range on? The  level of assist, rider size, topography, tire pressure and wind conditions all come into play. Our 60-mile range is based on a 170lbs rider on flat ground with no headwind in Eco mode with properly inflated tires.”

Claiming a 60-mile range on a bike like this with a 320 watt hour battery pack is the type of  ridiculous exaggeration that electric bike companies do all the time which ends up hurting themselves and the industry. The only way you will get 60 miles on a 320 watt hour battery is if the rider puts in a great majority of the effort. Its obvious that any electric bike can have a 60-mile range depending on how much the rider pedals.

For the average rider, in average conditions, you will be lucky to burn 20 watt hour per mile. Divide that by 324 and you get 16.2 miles. That is a nice real world estimate of what to expect from this bike…not the companies 60-mile claim, which is ludicrous.

A 36V /9-Ah battery is considered very small for the industry, especially at this price point.

I hate when companies claim 60-mile ranges on E-bikes like this, and it makes me question the rest of the company’s  integrity. I like that companies like Pedego and Currie are posting realistic range numbers on their marketing literature, and by the way, component wise, the Neo Jumper is very similar to both Pedego and Currie.

I know that Easy Motion has not yet developed all their marketing material. I really encourage them to be honest and forthright about range and performance data when they do.

If Easy Motion goes forward with their 60-mile range claim on this bike, I would not recommend anyone spend the $4,000 to buy it. You will be disappointed that you were misled.

For a true 60-mile range look at bikes with big lithium-ion battery packs such as the Optibike, the Stealth Bomber, or the affordable Juiced Rider ODK. But be warned…big battery packs are expensive, heavy, and bulky. As of this writing,  you do have to pay a price for real range on an electric bike no matter what some dishonest marketing brochure tells you.

Conclusion

A very nice bike. But I could not live with paying $4,000 for a bike with such a small battery pack, and only a 350-watt hub motor. But if it’s fast enough and goes far enough for you, this bike might be for you. It is among the sharpest and cleanest looking  production electric bikes I have seen. It does lack the performance and range I typically desire in an offroad bike…especially at this price.

Read our own spinningmagnet’s perception of the bike found here.

A discussion about the E-Motion jumper can be found here.

Here’s a video of the E-Motion presentation at the Interbike convention.

Battery: 36V / 9-Ah (324WH) Samsung Lithium Manganese (LiMn)

Gears: 30-speed Shimano Deore Derailleur
Shifter: Shimano Rapid-fire thumb-shift
Brakes: Tektro Auriga hydraulic disc brakes – Front and Rear
Wheels: 26″ – Quick release front
Tyres: 26 x 2.25 Schwalbe Rapid Rob
Forks: Rock Shox XC32
Rear Shock: Suntour Epicon Lord 120
Mudguards: [Optional]
Rear Rack: [Optional]
Pedals: MTB Aluminium
Saddle: E-motion Cross
Seatpost: Aluminium
Handlebar: E-motion Cross Alloy
Sidestand: Yes
Cycle Computer: Yes
Modes: Off, Eco, Normal, Sport, Boost
Range: 17-miles  (EB.com estimate) depending on mode, terrain and rider input
Weight: 22kg (49lbs) Including Battery
Max. Rider Weight: 120kg (265lbs)
Warranty: Two Years [Bike and Battery]

emotion neo jumper

Craig from Electric Bike LA….thanks Craig!

Eric has been involved in the electric bike industry since 2002 when he started a 6000 square foot brick and mortar Electric Bike store in downtown San Francisco. He is a true believer that small electric vehicles can change the way we operate and the way we think.


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