Statistically speaking, this is a very good time for the makers of bicycles, and not least those of e-bikes. By the turn of the 20th century, the USA had entered an era of mad cycling popularity and one of particular appeal to women. Bicycles offered a hitherto unknown freedom of mobility and women embraced it wholeheartedly. In fact, the personal liberty provided by the bicycle may very well have furthered the drive to suffrage, with transportation being one more thing that women didn’t have to rely upon men for. Over a century later, the bicycle is again in ascendancy. According to a report from the Alliance for Biking and Walking, the last decade has seen a steady upsurge of bicycling, as much as a 71% increase in some large urban centers.
The appeal is undeniable. Car prices continue to climb while gas fluctuates wildly, repair and maintenance is prohibitively expensive and problematic, and driving in commute traffic is often more difficult than the job one commutes to. While the e-bike's initial expense is comparable to a down payment on a car, the savings can be spent on lavish lunches and seat cushions. If you’re in a hurry, a slick drop-bar e-bike like the Haibike Xduro Race will move you along at up to 28 mph with pedal-assist. The Leisger CD5 will move you at the same clip and even up to 22 mph on throttle. The crazy motorcycle wannabe Bultaco Brinco R laughs at 28 mph with its 37-mph limit.
From Motiv comes the Spark, a cruiser of some note from a company with many compelling e-bike selections. This one is suggested for urban and suburban riding with its upright, relaxed high-step frame and cushy saddle. It is driven by a 500-watt, rear-mounted, geared hub motor and powered by a 48-volt lithium-ion battery. Combined, they will provide between 35 and 45 miles of range on a 5-hour charge at up to 20 mph on throttle. The twist-throttle is simple and durable, and the over-sized handlebars keep the rider upright, reducing fatigue. The gearing is a Shimano 6-speed tourney and the Tektro Novela mechanical disc brakes come with a motor cut-off.
Thumb shifter is easy to understand and use, stays out of the way and works well. Oversized handlebars create a “head’s up” riding position reducing back and neck fatigue.
Handlebars cannot easily be moved higher or lower but can be rotated down or up...Seat shock feels nice but is more fragile than standard tube.