We’ll admit the notion of using an electric bicycle grates, if you’ve cycled all your life and pedal-powered your way to and from work for ten years. While we’re fervent tech advocate,s bicycles with motors are defeatist, unhealthy and for the lazy. Bikes with motors are, by definition, called motorbikes and they don’t wash with velocipedists.
However, after being coerced into swapping our carbon-fibre racer for an ebike for a week, our view has shifted; electric bikes aren’t aimed at militant cycle enthusiasts, they’re for those who want to enjoy cycling but without the worry of personal bests, overtaking grown men in Lycra, or how fast they can bolt up a hill.
Eagle LSR-50: Performance
The best thing about the Eagle LSR-50 is how it gets you from stationary to 25kph in a few seconds, without much effort. Start pedalling and the TRANZX PST motor kicks into action. The torque is impressive, giving you a head-start against cars at traffic lights. The more you pedal, the more electrical assistance will be given. Encounter an incline and the motor kicks in again, intelligently measuring how fast you’re pedalling and balancing your speed so that you don’t have to pedal faster. In essence, it means you don’t have to exert any more effort when gobbling up a hill than when you’re pedalling on flat ground. It’s very clever, very effective and very good at keeping sweaty pours at bay. We could ride the ten-mile stretch to T3 Towers in my work clothes, without fear of spoiling the sweet office aroma, useful if you don't have shower facilities.
Eagle LSR-50: Comfort
This ebike has front suspension, which helps improve comfort, However, as it weighs 27kg any bump gives the bike – and your innards – a good rattle. The weight also makes hauling this chunky chopper up or down stairs a bit of a killer. The collapsible pedals – great for parking it in a hallway – are a neat idea though.
The pedals are quite close to the ground and while gaily flying around one corner – leaning into the bend – the tarmac snagged the pedal resulting in some extremely un-fabulous steering compensation.
Our main complaint was how hard it is to go faster. Once you’re up to around 30kph (18mph) it’s like battling with a 1980s exercise bike in the top gear setting. Unless you’ve got thighs like Sir Chris Hoy the LDR-5’s too heavy to build up serious speed. The most we managed was 40kph (our average speed on a road bike) and that was downhill.
Eagle LSR-50: Verdict
While we’re impressed with battery performance - we got one full recharge every 40 miles – two days commuting – we’re not sure the Eagle LSR-50 is right for us. Feedback from our fair-weather cycling friends was positive: many said they would seriously consider swapping their travel card for a two-wheeler like this. Elsewhere you only have to look to Taiwan and Japan to know that ebikes are hugely beneficial for the senior generation who want to join in with family bike rides and there’s no reason why that can’t be the same in the UK. Although prices are coming down, at £1750 for this model and £1100 for the Urban Commuter UCL-30, it's still a little pricey for the majority of people.
Eagle LSR-50 launch date: Out now from EBCO
Eagle LSR-50 price: £1750