Top critical review
25 people found this helpful
OK for it's price
on 25 June 2010
First of all, delivery was fine. It was everything that I expected from Amazon, usual efficient service However, I have since sent the bike back.
My main problem with the bike was that one of the pads for the front disc brake were missing. I've never had disc brakes before so it took me a while to work out why the disc brake didn't function as it should. Anyway, I phoned up the number in the manual, told them about it and they said they'd send me a replacement pad. A week passed, no post. I decided to grit my teeth and go out to buy new pads. All my local bike shops and Halfords had never seen a pad like this one before and never heard of the manufacturer. After a lot of internet trawling, I found the Taiwanese company who made the brakes but their site was only half built and seemed very unconvincing.
My curiosity got the better of me and I took it out on some quiet roads round the area relying on the back brake. Before I list what bothered me, I should say that the bike did feel well constructed and the gear block had a nice ratio. The bike is actually a metallic red rather than the orange that the picture implies which gives it an attractive look. The suspension was just right, the assembly was very easy. BUT...
- Most Electric bikes come with Lithium ion batteries. This bike comes with a lead acid battery (the same type that car batteries are made from). This makes the battery absurdly heavy. It's also mounted on one side of the pannier rack which made the whole bike feel both top heavy and lop sided (especially when going round corners or over bumps).
- a 19 inch frame is a little too small for me but I can ride 19 inch frames quite comfortably. Whilst this frame had the height, it didn't have the length. My size 8 feet either clipped the front mud guard, or the pannier rack at the back depending on which part of my foot I used to pedal with.
- This bike is not a unisex bike, it's a female bike, and a bit of a sit-up-and-beg style one. It looks very strange with a man riding it, I felt like I should have a wicker basket hanging from the handlebars. The motor also isn't very quiet. It's hard to describe the noise but to me it sounds a bit like the noise a cat makes shortly before it coughs up a hairball (a sort of funny deep whiney growl) but it's enough for people to turn and look to see what the funny noise is!
- The motor seemed sadly lacking. Don't get me wrong, it was there and I could feel it helping me along, but when it came to hills, everything started to unravel. For some reason pedal assist only worked part of the time. To get continuous assistance, I had to put it in `moped mode' (sorry, I can't remember the proper name for it) and twist the throttle to full power AND pedal hard. Comparing it to riding my normal mountain bike, I didn't feel like I was putting in much less effort in. I suppose the motor was mainly compensating for lugging that lead acid battery around, which to me defeats the purpose. On the flat, things were considerably better although when I reached about 10 mph, the bike wouldn't help me go any faster. I'd be pedalling and I could feel the motor cut out and then it felt like I was pedalling AGAINST the motor. Downhill was scary. The motor loves the bike going downhill and started accelerating me as much as it could. Naturally I didn't want to go that fast without having a front brake and ended up having to stop and turn the motor off just to go downhill.
- The gears bothered me. The bike has a twist style shifter (gripshift?). On most grip shifters for the back gears (shifter on the right end of the handlebar) you pull the top towards you to go down gears and away to go up. Unfortunately, the throttle is also a twist style control and this is mounted on the right. This means that the gear shifter has to go on the left and as a result has to be mounted upside down (so you twist in the opposite direction to the way you'd expect). I was ok with this if I stopped and thought about it but in the heat of dealing with a road junction, I twisted the controller in the same way that I've done for the last 15 years and ended up in completely the wrong gear half way through pulling out onto a main road.
Amazon give you 14 days to return a `large' item. By day 13, there was still no sign of the brake pads. I had to make a decision either to gamble on this bike company eventually sending me the brake pads OR send it back to Amazon. Based on the above and the fact that if a company can't send a brake pad out in a fortnight then they're unlikely ever to send one out (and I clearly couldn't get the pads from anywhere else), I returned the bike.
The pads arrived in the post on day 15.
Whilst my review seems quite negative, this is just how the bike was for me. If you are smaller than me (I'm 6'3), have smaller feet and want to go up or down less than an 8% hill then this bike may well be the bike for you, especially at this price! However, be prepared for an exceptionally heavy bike and as much street credibility as open-toed sandals with socks (especially if you're a bloke)