E-bike, try before you buyl

Blog: November 2017

Fit, test and try out

The last step in choosing an e-bike is to try it out.

  • Make sure that you can really drive a long way on the electric bicycle.
  • Test it out without support. Can you cycle on it if the battery dies?
  • Can you adjust the gear to your needs?
  • How easily can you turn the steering wheel?
  • How does the bicycle brake?
  • Test the degree of support in both light and heavy mode.
  • How does the bike sound when you turn on the assistance?
  • How does the balance of the bike feel when getting on and off?
  • Can you walk with a bicycle? (walk-assist / push function)
  • How is the balance when you drive very fast (downwind down a mountain)

Each bike I take on an extensive round for about an hour. This of course in consultation with the bike shop where I borrowed it. With google maps and with the junctions you can easily map out cycling routes around the store or test center. I try to have a bridge, railway crossing, viaduct or hill on the route to test those situations. 

While cycling I tried what the effect is of completely turning of the electrical assistance. On some bicycles, the pedaling is corrected by the motor when the mechanism is on, even if you have no electrical assistance. If you switch off the entire mechanism, it can sometimes feel heavy to pedal through the motor.

I also stop a few times along the way, to step completely off the bike to test how it is to start again with both no support and the highest level of support.

Then I ride for a while without support, with support and with the highest support. I also check how fast I can go on the bike and whether the balance remains good (some bikes, especially those with motor and battery in the rear wheel, can start to sway a bit).

Do you always test the brakes? How hard can you brake if you have to make an emergency stop and don't you fly over the front wheel of your bike? You can usually have the brakes adjusted.

Are you sure you have found the right bike? Then discuss your goals, which battery fits best (if in doubt, take the largest/heaviest). Never forget to ask for a discount and negotiate any accessories such as bicycle bags, bicycle locks, special lighting, different saddle etc. Whatever you like.

Lots of cycling fun!

The end of my quest

And which bike I have chosen? Not the Sparta M8 Emotion or Ion. Not even the Koga de Luxe which seems to be the bike of the year. This one seemed like the best option at first (especially since the other electric bikes were falling off one by one).

When cycling a longer distance on the Koga de Luxe, I started to get irritated by the pushes that started to occur at the higher supports. In the lower position I was able to correct this by raising the gear a step, but that was no longer possible with the higher supports. I also found the engine to make a lot of noise.

Because I saw so many televisionadvertisements of the Stella brand, I decided to try the Stella as well. One Stella bike had the revolutions system (just like Sparta Emotion), but with the engine in the front wheel. I absolutely do not want that, because it makes the handlebars heavy and cumbersome. I also had insufficient heavy gears in this. So I was recommended a bike with a new system: the NuVinci – Hub. This is a kind of variomatic on the bicycle. No gears, no steps, but a continuous sliding system that can engage at any moment. So you can decide for yourself how light or heavy you ride. If the mountain is high, you cycle very lightly, if the line is flat, you cycle heavily.

Despite the fact that this bike had a combination of the revolutions and pressure system, I didn't notice a push feeling. At the very highest supports (which is huge) I did notice it a bit, but when I turned the NuVinci up slightly it disappeared again. I can play very well on this bike between the electric assistance and the heaviness of pedaling. This can be done in such small steps that I can always find the moment that they are in balance with me. Awesome! If I decided that day, I also got a discount, and a bicycle bag, and a chain lock. I didn't have to think long. Called the shop to see if they could deliver this specific Stella, but unfortunately they couldn't so I had to order it via internet. 

The bicycle has one drawback: the saddle. Unfortunately, there is not a single Stella saddle that I like. But hey, a saddle is replaceable.

Last weekend I rode my new Stella Novara for the first time. It was great! For me, the most important thing is that Imke can cycle at his own pace and that I can keep up with him now using a little support. Without support he has to really slow down for me and that is very tiring. Our standard round (16 km) went well with a little support. I also cycled a 30 km round trip. The latter with high support and that was quite appropriate. But a good start for a fun bike workout.

What is your experience with an e-bike? Leave your comment below.


bike, e-bike, electric bike

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