There are probably far worse problems, but riding around on electric bikes has thoroughly ruined regular pushbikes for me. It now seems an insurmountable hardship to have to use my own muscles and gears to propel a bike forwards, like some sort of caveman.
Not feeling the familiar ghostly push of an electric motor as I zoom away from traffic lights is like losing a superpower. It must be how astronauts feel when they come back down to earth and can’t lift their arms. Or how Superman feels when somebody chases him around with a bit of kryptonite. Spoilt as I am by the machines, ebikes are the only sensible way to commute.
So naturally I’ve had a marvellous time blasting around London on the Volt Infinity, an ebike powered by the latest Shimano Steps groupset technology. The space-age looking battery sits where the water bottle would go and provides enough juice to assist you for around 70 miles. The near invisible hub motor provides a spooky push up to the legally mandated speed limit of 15mph, its assistance felt most at lower speeds and when pulling away from a standing start.
If you’d rather just get to your destination not looking like you’ve been dragged backwards through a bush, crank it up and let your old pal electricity do the heavy lifting
Gear shifting is controlled with buttons mounted on the handlebar, and when the bike comes to a complete stop it will automatically shift back down to a low gear to help you push off again. Disc brakes provide smooth application of stopping power too, which is useful considering just how heavy a bike this is and how fast you can push it.
The result is a near effortless cycling experience, akin to being conveyed into work on a bike-shaped angel or friendly metal horse. It’s on steep inclines that the motor really starts to chip in too, when hills that would once leave you a sweaty mess become leisurely ascents. The electric motor is giddying at first, and then nothing short of essential once you’ve become accustomed to it.
You can dial down the assistance if you want to burn some calories, but if you’d rather just get to your destination not looking like you’ve been dragged backwards through a bush, crank it up and let your old pal electricity do the heavy lifting.
There are certainly far cheaper electric bikes, but none so well made, and few with such high specifications. Try it out and you’ll struggle to ever go back to raw pedal power.
|Category||Shimano STEPS E-bike|
|LCD Display||SHIMANO LCD Display Showing Speed, Distance, Battery Power and gear|
|Frame||High Grade Reinforced Aluminium 6061 T6 Frame|
|Weight||19.5 kg without batteries / 21.65 kg with battery|
|Max Person Weight||Max 100 kg (Depending on the settings of dampers)|
|Max Weight (rider + luggage)||125 Kg|
|Frame Size||20.2 Inches|
|Rims||Aluminium Double Wall Reinforced Alex Rim DP20|
|Seat Post||EXA Form|
|Gears||Shimano 11 Speed Alfine DI2|
|Brakes, Front / Rear||Shimano S700 Alfine Hydraulic Front Disc / Rear Disc|
|Fork||Suntour NCX D-LO Coil|
|Motor||250W Shimano STEPS|
|Max Speed||Assisted Motor Speed: 15.5 mph or 25 kmh|
|Location of Motor||In the rear wheel hub|
|Battery Type||Lithium-Polymer Sony|
|Battery Weight||2.65 kg|
|Distance||70 miles under Eco PAS mode|
|Lifetime||1000 charge-discharge cycles|
|Charge Time||3 to 4 hours|