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Buying Guide Electric Bikes

E-Bikes Explained

 

E-Bikes, love them or hate them. They’re here to stay. Electronically assisted bikes are probably the most misunderstood topic within the cycling industry.

Why do people buy them? Who is buying them? How long does the battery last? Isn’t the weight an issue? How fast do they go?

Truth is there is no stereotypical E-biker. They are just like any other cyclist. Young, old. Experienced or inexperienced. Everyone can and does enjoy them which is part of their beauty!

E-bikes can broaden the horizon for you and smash your limitations to allow you to boldly go where you have never ridden before. For less experienced riders, it can allow them to go further. For more experienced riders, it also allows them to go further… Basically, you can ride further with less effort. That doesn’t mean it’s a free ride. You still have to pedal, all the E-bikes have a varying amount of assistance in which the ride can choose how much assistance they have. This can range from “off” to what some call “turbo”.

The battery life is a huge variable. Terrain, gear selection, rider effort, tyre choice and pressure, mode selection, rider weight and effort are just a few things that will effect the range of an E-Bike. Some brands like Shimano have got around this so called “range anxiety” by creating apps like their E-Tube Project which helps you fine tune what the motor is doing, much like a map for a car or motorcycle.

Another useful resource is the range Calculator on Bosch’s website. It enables you to input information regarding your weight, riding style, terrain and riding mode and gives you an idea to how long the battery will last. This of course, is only really applicable to Bosch powered bikes.

The bikes vary in weight a lot, especially when looking at various disciplines. For example a full suspension mountain bike in comparison to a hard tail city type bike. Once you are riding the bike with any kind of assistance on the weight pretty much disappears and only becomes apparent during slow tight manoeuvres or super steep technical off-road terrain. The only time the weight can become an issue is lifting the bike over fences or putting it in or on your car. Some brands such as Thule, have remedied this issue by producing mini ramps to load your bike easier. Avoiding roof type racks would be good move for most people.

So enough of the boring stuff, how fast do these bad boys go? Well in the UK they are restricted to 15.9mph. Which off-road, is plenty. E-bikes must also be pedal assist to avoid being classed as a motor vehicle. This means the motor only kicks in whilst the rider is pedalling. Now do you see how it’s not cheating? Inevitably, some riders will be able to ride faster than this off their own steam. That’s fine too, you can ride beyond the speed restriction of the bike. You just won’t receive any more assistance from the bike. This is why so many brands are bragging about “zero drag” systems. Because once the motor cuts out, it’s beneficial to have as little friction as possible to help you push harder.

Still confused? Why not drop us an email, call us or visit one of our stores in the south. Visit our store locator for contact details.

Here’s some inspo for you courtesy of Specialized and World Champ Peter Sagan.

“Jack Explains”

Jack works in our Chichester store, is a fully qualified Retul Bike Fitter and whilst he rides all disciplines, it’s safe to say his heart belongs to mountain biking.

Check out Jack’s Instagram for more inspiration to get out on your bike.

Categories
Bikes Electric Electric Bikes Mountain News

Turbo Levo – Next gen eMTB tech from Specialized.

So, here it is. The E-bike that you’ve all been waiting for. Its lighter, more efficient and looks even more like a “normal” bike.

Specialized have made some dramatic changes to the bike this year. For starters, they are now using the new Brose 2.1 motor which is a dramatic 400 grams lighter and a fair whack more powerful than the previous unit. Specialized worked very closely with Brose to help develop this new unit. So much so that other manufacturers are having to work their bikes around Specialized’s preferred bottom bracket placement.

The new motor is now the most powerful on the market. Whatever the situation. Whatever the cadence. It either betters or equals the competition. Another change for this year is the mounting method of the motor within the bike. It now bolts straight into the frame of the bike instead of into a cradle which then bolts into the bike. The most obvious benefit of this is a weight saving but it could also help eliminate unwanted creaks by reducing the amount of hardware and points of contact.

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Along with a new motor is of course a new battery, or two. The expert and S-Works models with be specced with a 700wh unit and everything else will have a 500wh version. And of course batteries are available to purchase aftermarket should you want to upgrade or just need more range. That’s not the only change to the battery, its now fully encased within the downtube of the frame giving better protection and allows for a stiffer, lighter frame design.

The brain of the bike is now situated on the top tube just behind the stem. Making quick glances at battery life and mode selection a lot easier. It now features a classy blue light system but in principal does exactly what the previous version did. This new unit also helps with updates and eliminates the need for a specific diagnostics tool as it has a port within it too.

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Although Specialized have insisted that a heads up display type computer is not essential on this type of bike. They have now brought an aftermarket screen to the line up. It provides stats including speed, cadence, power and also battery life.

The first thing that strikes you about the new Levo isn’t whats lying beneath but the aesthetics of it. It looks amazing. It incorporates the asymmetric “sidearm” of the latest Stumpjumper and reaps all the same rewards. Enabling Specialized to make the bike stiffer and lighter, thus giving a better riding and more efficient bike. The downtube diameter has also shrunk lending itself to a more traditional look. The new frame has made some huge advances in weight saving too. A massive 800 grams has been saved on the S-Works level frame and 600 grams on the alloy version.

The geometry of the new bike is also, well, new. Its now 20mm longer and 0.5 degree slacker. Making the Levo very much its own bike. Although it does borrow a lot of tech from the stumpy, Specialized have said the bike sits between the Stumpjumper and Enduro in terms of geometry.

6Fattie wheels are out and the humble 29er is in. Its hard to avoid it these days. But in most situations the wagons wheels are the best option. Most of the bikes we were able to see were running the in house Butcher tyres in a 2.6 with grid casing. A burley tyre for a burley bike. The bike is still 6fattie compatible for all you plus tyre lovers. And because the new Levo has the same flip chip as the stumpy you can adjust the bottom bracket height to help avoid pedal strikes.

Along with plenty of new hardware comes new software in the form of a new mode and app. The new mode is dubbed “Uplift mode”. As the name implies its for them boring, gruelling fire roads that give little reward. Putting the bike in uplift mode reduces the torque the motor puts out and gets it to focus on just pulling you up the hill with a very low amount of effort from the rider. The drawback is of course this drains the battery a lot quicker so its not a mode you’ll want to be using too often. The app is an updated version of mission control which is also backwards compatible with older Turbo models.

A bike is the sum of its parts. Lots of changes to the Turbo Levo, big and small have made it a completely different beast to what it was last year. This is what happens when the best gets better.

Available online now, click and collect in your nearest Hargroves store or have it delivered to your door. 

Words: Jack Ingram (Insta @jack.ingram4)