I’m an avid cyclist. It’s my favourite way to traverse the capital and I can often been seen zipping in and out between cars, on a fixie, with a courier bag, braving the British winter with just a Rapha softshell jacket. I don’t wear one of those little cycling caps but that’s only because I have too much hair. So I was pleased when Hero Eco and A2B invited me down to the National Gallery to unveil their latest and greatest in ebiking technology.
I’ve always found eBikes to be curious beasts. When I first laid eyes on them they were slow, unwieldy and ugly. They also seemed a little pointless – why not just get a scooter? And maybe I’m masochistic but half the pleasure of cycling was the sense of independence and achievement. But the folks at A2B were keen to point out the many benefits of the ebiking lifestyle for everyone who wasn’t a hardcore cyclist. I love riding to work but I’m less keen on turning up to the office a sweaty mess, then having to dive into the shower and change clothes every day. And after a long day of staring at iPhone cases, and then a longer night at a press event staring at Bluetooth speakers it would be nice to cruise home with a bit of added support. And there have been many occasions when I’ve ridden back laden with shopping bags, or over a particularly steep set of hills and wish I’d been a little less stubborn.
Of course what also makes ebike easier to swallow is when they look and feel great. A2B unveiled 6 models for the UK market – Shima, Galvani, Ferber, Entz , Ørsted and Obree. Some of these really whizz along – the Shima can reach 28 mph which is pretty much as fast as you need to go for inner city transport. Some of the models look a little bit like funky bikes from the future but some look very conventional and reassuring – the Ferber or Galvani could quite easily pass for regular bikes. And the Ørsted and Obree have front suspension and much more of a hardcore mountain bike feel. One of the standout features for me was Entz, the first ebike in the world to incorporate AEG-Centredrive – which fits a drive motor the size of the front chain wheel by the cranks.
“We are seeing a rising appetite for high quality design and good performance e-bikes in theUK market, as consumers are increasingly looking towards pedal assist bikes to complement their journeys around town.”
Fernando Küefer Hero Eco, General Manager
I spent quite a bit of time riding the Obree. It works using pedal assist rather than a throttle (so it feels more like a bicycle than a moped) and is shockingly light to ride. I even managed to pop a wheelie along the South Bank. Whilst riding, it is pretty easy to hit high speeds without even thinking about it, but at the same time you are definitely cycling. You just get the illusion that you are great of cycling without taking into account all the amazing technology that is helping you cheat passed everyone else. I imagine this is what Lance Armstrong felt like. You can toggle the level of assistance and you can even set it in the other direction for some quite heavy levels of resistance. Not only does this give your thighs a pretty spectacular workout, it also helps charge your battery (which you can also remove and charge at your desk).
Shima (£2,450 – Spring 2013)
Galvani – Male and Female (£1,450 – Spring 2013)
Ferber (£1400 – Spring 2013)
Entz (from £2699 – Autumn 2013)
Ørsted (£1899 – Autumn 2013)
Obree (£2199 – Autumn 2013)
For more information on the range head to A2B
Image courtesy of Twitter user @each1teach1