In a sign of the increasing harmony between ebikes and 'normal' bicycles, the London eBike Festival is this year making its debut alongside The Cycle Show, the UK's long running expo for pedal-pushing Lycra lovers. That's quite a big deal, as The Cycle Show is the country's largest and longest-running show of its kind, and even just a few years ago, was largely attended by people who viewed electric bikes in the same way that the clergy of the Middle Ages viewed witchcraft.
This year’s event is at the vast and swanky Alexandra Palace – the original home of the BBC – and offers an outdoor test track where you can have a go on a choice from the huge range of bikes on show. If you can't make it, don't worry: the organisers have helped us round up seven of the best ebikes to see. There's everything from the latest rides from the market-leading likes of Specialized, to up-and-coming challenger brands. And there is a very good choice of folding bikes in particular, so watch out, Brompton…
- What is the problem with ebikes? What are the disadvantages of electric bikes? Your questions answered
GoCycle G4 (2022 upgrade)
One of my favourite ebike brands, GoCycle manages to pull off designs that are self-consciously premium and 'futuristic', but without looking stupid or outlandish. They have a fresh update to the excellent G4, which is the slightly less plush cousin of the GoCycle G4i, which really is one of the best ebikes I've ever ridden.
The 2022 G4 replaces the old carbon fibre mid-frame with a new, injection-moulded one. GoCycle says this has the same performance benefits as the carbon but is produced using a more sustainable, automated process, which enables them to pass on a £200 saving to the consumer. Making the deal even more of a bargain, integrated mudguards and lights are now included as standard.
Using your skill and judgement, try to spot what is 'wrong' with the picture above. That's right: the Honbike, currently funding via Indegogo, has no chain. No chain, no pain, baby. Apparently that is the brand's signature, and it's a good look, if a slightly weird one.
This new, more powerful chainless Honbike follows the ethos of ‘more fun, less hassle’, and was designed with performance and reliability in mind. Built using a mere 57 core components, the bike is a minimalist marvel that looks genuinely futuristic. The usual 250W motor is powered by a 36V 6Ah battery, while an integrated gyroscope, torque and speed sensors provide instant power-assist in an intelligent way.
Specialized Turbo Vado 4.0
In contrast to Honbike, Specialized is an extremely well established brand. It's displaying and demoing the latest range of Turbo-Active eBikes, including road, mountain and hybrid options. A stand out bike from this range is the Vado, with a ride quality, range, and power that is hard to beat. Plus impressively low weight too. Built-in front and rear lights help you see and be seen, while DRYTECH fenders keep water and road spray away. Features a fully integrated Specialized 710Wh downtube battery alongside a Specialized 2.0 250W nominal motor.
Mycle Compact Bike
Mycle, a relative newcomer to the eBike market, will have a range of their bikes on show, including their popular Compact folding bike. The Mycle Compact features a lightweight aluminium frame and a 1.88kg battery making it easy to carry. Plus, with a 10 second folding time, you can be on your way in no time. The 250w 36v brushless electric motor provides a smooth, quiet ride and once you're parked up for the day you recharge by simply removing the seat post which cleverly hides the battery. At the push of a button, you can switch from manual pedalling to pedal assist riding, with five levels of power for an extra boost. The compact includes an LCD display for key riding stats and a handy USB plug that can charge your phone as you ride.
Riese und Müller Roadster
Riese und Müller continues to produce quality eBikes for everyone who loves cycling. This is especially true for the Roadster with its sporty lightness and linear design. The Roadster carries a 625Wh battery alongside a Bosch Performance Line CX motor and Shimano Deore XT 11 speed gearing to help on varied urban terrain. At 23.5kg the Roadster comes in lighter than many leisure eBikes on the market and with a sleek finish it’s definitely one worth a try at the London eBike Festival.
FLIT-16 Folding Ebike
FLIT will be bringing their compact folding bike to the show. I rode the FLIT-16 back in 2020 and the bike, then barely past its prototype phase, seemed like a genuine Brompton Electric rival.
Weighing just 15kg the Flit-16 is easy to fold down and light to carry therefore making it easy to fit into your commute and manageable around the home too. The bike features a 220W rear hub motor paired with a 230WH battery capacity which gives you an average ride distance of up to 50km between charges. But a three hour charge time you can restore battery life while at your desk before riding home again in the evening.
Kuma Bikes R1
Straight outta Dublin, Kuma Bikes a modern style of ebike to the market, all of their 250W pedal assisted electric bicycles. They will be showcasing four different bikes at the show, including their R1. Kuma Bikes designed the R1 to be an ultimate city eBike. The smooth weld frame features a sleek integrated front and rear LED lighting, plus an optional rear rack with an integrated LED too. Combined with a sleek integrated handlebar display that makes the Kuma Bike R1 stand out from the crowd. The drivechain features a Nexus 3 speed internal gearing system fitted with a Gates carbon belt drive, and is powered by a 500W Samsung battery giving an impressive range of over 100km on one charge.
Eovolt Morning 16-inch Folding Electric Bike
Yes, yet another folding ebike! Eovolt's Morning is a compact, 4-speed commuter steed which, as the name suggests, runs on 16-inch wheels – the same as Brompton, surprise surprise. As ever, tiddly wheels means a responsive, zippy feel, and a nicely compact folded form. And, indeed, a nicely compact unfolded form. The LG Lithium 36V 6.4Ah battery lives in the seatpost but can be removed for charging, and the weight is just 14kg which, for a relatively cheap ebike such as this, is bloody light.
- Find out more about the London eBike Festival in partnership with Shimano Steps. It ends today (April 24)