So you wait ages for a cheap ebike from Pure Electric and then three come around the corner at once. More or less. Because following hot on the rear wheels of the excellent, sporty Pure Flux One, here come the Pure Electric Pure Free City and Pure Free Step. One of them even has a basket on the front, which is a very underrated feature, if you ask me.
They're both electric bikes with 250W motors and a step through frame. If you don't already know what 'step through' means, you can probably work it out from the name, and the photos above: rather than having to 'step over' a traditional crossbar to mount these Pure Electric ebikes, you quite literally 'step through' the frame and plonk your butt down. It's a lot easier; more chill; more Dutch.
The differences between the two models are largely limited to one having a basket and being white – that's the Pure Free Step – and one not having a basket and being black – the Pure Free City. Ooh, which should you choose? Pure Electric adds that the Step also has 'the most relaxed' riding position of any of their bikes, but the City is hardly setup like an Olympic sprint bike, is it?
Crucially, both bikes cost under the psychologically important £1,000 mark, just like the Pure Flux One. In theory, they should also be as reliable and simple as the Pure Flux One. In fact they should be even more stress-free, thanks to the addition of useful stuff like mudguards, luggage racks and lights, and riding positions that are more like sitting down to dinner than entering the Tour de France.
- More electric rides rated: GoCycle G4i feels like the future
- Xiaomi Mi Smart is cheap and folds up
- Halfords Carrera Impel im-2 could be the best value ebike ever
The first thing to say about the Pure Electric Pure Flux One was that it had what I would call very cool styling. The first thing to say about these bikes is that they don't, but hey – beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Plain, old-timey looks are not an inherent problem with step-through bikes – Cowboy's new one looks very sharp and futuristic – but Pure Electric is going for practicality, with a bit of a retro European vibe here. Pure Free City and Pure Free Step are all about ease and laidback charm, rather than the sporty, macho looks of Flux One or something like the similarly cheapo E-Trends Trekker.
Unlike Pure Electric's debut bike, which has only one gear, these both have seven-speed gearing. The 250W motor with three assistance levels means they'll accelerate in a similar way, but because these bikes are considerably heftier – 23 kilos to the Flux One's 17kg – the battery and motor have had to be beefed up. As a result you get a slightly longer maximum range – about 28 miles instead of about 25. It also means charging time is 6 hours rather than 5. It also also means you will not want to run out of juice on these, as I guarantee that pedalling them unassisted will not be fun. So keep an eye on that handlebar-mounted battery gauge.
First up, Pure Free City is a unisex design, although all Pure Electric's promo photos have a male model riding it. I can tell just by looking at it that it's going to be comfortable to ride, with a very relaxed riding position. That position, plus the weight, also say loud and clear to me that you will not be able to go much above the UK legal, electrically-assisted maximum speed of 15.5mph (25kph). So don't even try.
The weight suggests it could struggle on really steep hills, from a standing start. There are 7 gears on these bikes, so you do have the option of gearing down and giving yourself some pedal assistance to get going. I live in London, where there are only about 3 steep hills shared between 10 million people, so I think I'll be alright anyway.
The frame is 'high quality aluminium alloy'. Designed to be something of a workhorse, the Free City has a chain guard and – yes! – built-in mudguards. Neither of these things look terribly sexy but then nor do big, muddy stripes down your front and rear, and trouser or skirt hems covered in oil and muck. There's a pannier rack on the back for your luggage too, and a kickstand and built-in front and rear lights. You're getting a lot more for your money on this bike than on the Pure Flux One.
On top of the 'relaxed position with a clear view of the environment', comfort is further boosted by a pillowy Selle Royal saddle and 'ergonomic' handlebars promising 'lots of adjustment to find the perfect fit'. As a result, this bike should be absolutely perfect for those who are new to cycling, or returning to it after many years out of the game. Finally, Pure Electric assures us that they have fitted 'high quality tyres to provide excellent grip in all weathers'. That's presumably as opposed to really shitty tyres that will cause your inevitable death as soon as there's a spot of rain. So that's good to know.
Step through bikes are great for anyone who struggles to get their leg over, so to speak, on a standard bike frame. They also make it easier to put your feet on the ground at traffic lights, assuming you are the type of cyclist who stops at such things, or anywhere else you may pause.
I am not necessarily a huge fan of the look of these bikes, but then I don't think they're aimed at me. I thought the original Pure Flux One was a very sharp looking bike, albeit undeniably rather blokey. But then I am a bloke. The more hippy-ish, curvy frames of the Pure Free City and Pure Free Step look less appealing, to my eye, but I dare say the exact opposite will be true for many people. They're aimed more at women, chilled out millennials, and, tbf, anyone who finds it annoying to have to vault over a big metal crossbar just to sit down on a damn bike.
So what of the Pure Free Step, then? It's another unisex design, but it just so happens that all Pure Electric's promo photos feature it being ridden by a woman.
That aside, at a glance, you could be forgiven for thinking it's the same bike, but in white, and with a basket nailed to the front. You would not be far wrong in this. Pure Electric says it 'looks amazing in any setting' but to the untrained eye 'looks exactly the same as Pure Free City in any setting' might be more accurate.
However, the frame geometry has apparently been tweaked a little to give 'the most relaxed position of any Pure e-bike.' Take a look at the photo below and judge for yourself on that one.
Baskets on the front of bikes can be bloody handy, so this might be the better of the two options. I don't really understand why Pure Electric hasn't done both bikes in a choice of black or white, because then you wouldn't have potential male buyers thinking 'this seems like a woman's bike' and vice versa, but there it is.
Pure Electric Pure Free City and Pure Free Step: price and availability
Both the Pure Free City and the Pure Free Step cost £999 and are available to pre-order now. Pure Electric offers a 2-year warranty on the electrics and 3 years on the frame and forks.
Look away now, readers outside the UK: these bikes are not available to you. But just so you know, the pricing equates to $1,350 in the USA and AU$1900 in Australia.
- Pre-order Pure Free City at Pure Electric for £999 (opens in new tab)
- Pre-order Pure Free Step at Pure Electric for £999 (opens in new tab)
- Buy Pure Flux One at Pure Electric for £999 (opens in new tab) – available already
- Buy Pure Flux One at Pure Electric for £999 (opens in new tab)