We have two demonstration bikes (they’ve done a bit over 60 kilometres each) here in the shop that are almost chalk and cheese.
They are both E-Motion 48Volt, lithium battery powered, pedal assist electric bikes.
One is the REVO 650B mid-drive mountain bike and the other is the EVO Street hub drive.
Street bikes are designed for the urban spaces, meaning they need to carry a load, be easy to ride, and have the various safety features for good road visibility.
The EVO Street has these features of course, but is also easier to mount/dismount by being a step-through frame.
Step-through is usually considered to be a design to suit the ladies, but in reality, it is a design that means you don’t have to swing your leg over the back of your bike, something that is more difficult when you have stuff on the rear rack, or you have bad hips.
When you get on and off your bike, it is sensible to lean it toward you so you don’t have to lift your leg as high. The step-through gap means that it is even easier. If you have a heavy load on the bike rack, leaning it over can be tricky, this is where a step-through frame is even better. Then you can leave the bike vertical and still get on it. (With luck you don’t sit on your seat, then try to ride. If you can sit on your seat while stationary, your seat is probably too low. In general you should set your pedal to a bit higher than halfway on one side, then step up on the pedal which will start you moving. Once you are moving, then sit down. Now back to the bikes.)
In the urban space bikes tend to built around comfort and practicality over weight. In the case of the EVO Street, this means mudguards and lights and big soft seats.
Stopping is always quite useful on a bike, so disc brakes front and rear are becoming the standard for most decent bikes, and even more so for electric bikes because of their weight. The more your vehicle weighs, the better the brakes have to be.
All electric bikes are quite heavy compared to a similar sized non-electric bike. An ebike battery is a big lead-acid or lithium unit, living in the frame, and adds quite a few kilograms to the total weight of the bike (these days, most are lithium because they are lighter than the equivalent capacity lead-acid).
Disc brakes are very efficient, they have a consistent feel, and they are not as bothered by rain so are perfect for the task of stopping you.
An urban bike being heavy doesn’t matter from a ride comfort perspective, and if anything it helps the suspension soften the ride. You won’t notice the 22kg of this bike until you try to carry it up a set of stairs.
It has a walk assist mode on the controller that tells the motor to activate at a set speed. Usually around 4kph, which is about the pace of a medium walk (depending on how fast you walk of course).
The biggest thing about a street bike is that it is designed to try to keep you clean, and allow you to carry a load.
The mudguards help you stay clean, and interestingly, so does the motor. The motor will let you roll along at a comfortable, and safer, pace in traffic with the effort you’d use to go a lot slower.
For example the effort that rolls me along at 23kph on this bike, rolls me along at 17kph when I disable the assist.
What this means for a lot of people, men especially, is that you can arrive at work with minimal perspiration because a big chunk of the effort to get you to where you were going was supplied by the motor. If you remember to also use your gears, you can reduce the riding effort even more.
In comparison to a street bike, a mountain bike is often a bare bones affair.
Weight suddenly matters quite a bit, and carrying a load is done far less often, so rear carry racks and mudguards etcetera are left off.
Also the balance/centre-of-gravity of a mountain bike is so critical to its operation that many riders prefer to carry what they have to carry, in a backpack.
We discussed the frame design with the step-through, and you can appreciate that a mountain bike rider probably isn’t worried too much about whether they can get on and off the bike. The main consideration is that the bike frame is strong enough for the torsional strain of heading over the bumps, twists, and turns of heading down a mountain.
You’ll notice as well that on a mountain bike there are few considerations towards comfort. Mountain bikes tend to be about function.
The REVO 650B has a smaller front sprocket than the EVO Street, and it doesn’t have mudguards or a chain guard. The smaller front sprocket helps with climbing, but also increases the ground clearance.
The REVO is a mid-drive electric bike meaning the engine is in the middle. Once again this keeps the centre-of-gravity where it is best to be, but also it means the wheels at each end are bog standard alloy double wall mountain bike wheels. Since wheels are more likely to get killed on a tough trail than the frame, it is better to keep the motor out of the wheel.
E-motion, the folk that make this bike, were also sensible enough to angle the German made Brose motor so that it doesn’t become a snag point on the underside of the bike.
This bike is front suspension only. There are pros and cons to that from a mountain bike perspective.
A bike without rear suspension is often called a hard-tail. Hard-tail bikes are less complex, so they tend to be cheaper to buy and repair. They also have less metal in the back end so are often lighter than the equivalent duel suspension.
At the same time, any terrain bump is transmitted directly to the frame. This puts more strain on the frame, and guarantees that you ride entirely up on your pedals most of the time. 🙂
It doesn’t guarantee that they can’t be ridden on really tough, rocky terrain, but some people suggest rear suspension is better for this, and this article isn’t about exploring the discussion of rear suspension.
So you can see that a mountain bike is very different to a road bike.
Road bikes are heavier, more comfortable, have a greater load capacity, and tend to keep you cleaner.
Mountain bikes are lighter, less comfortable, have no load capacity, and tend to let you get as dirty as you want.
The EVO Street has its motor in the rear wheel and is fitted with lights and a rack.
The REVO 650B has its motor in the middle with the crank and has no lights or rack.
Different bikes, but both have about $700 knocked off their retail price at the moment, so make contact if you are interested in either. Woo hoo.