E-ROAD BIKES COMPARISONS
Have you ever tried comparing road bikes from different manufacturers and found that they each provide different metrics to assess their bikes. You can spend hours trying to work out if brand x is better or worse than the opposition or meets your personal requirements.
It seems to be even worse with e-road bikes. The manufacturers seem to have made an art form of presenting their bike metrics so that it can seem almost impossible to compare one brand with another. Some of the questions that potential owners will ask include how heavy is the bike in running form, how long will the battery last before needing to be recharged, how long does it take for a full recharge, where is the electric motor located, etc.
I decided to put together a table of e-road bike specifications to plug into this website to provide readers with simple points of comparison.
The bikes that I have compared tend to be the top of the line models in order to better compare like with like. Some brands have even more expensive models with specifications that make the bikes much closer to racing models. Accordingly, I have reviewed the Specialized Creo rather than the S-Works ebike as the latter is very expensive and would not necessarily be sought after by the regular e-road bike purchaser. Likewise, most brands have cheaper options than the bikes that I have compared. However, by providing a common basis for comparison, I believe that the reader can quickly see how brands compare and if they want to they can start the process of looking at cheaper options from a manufacturer too find the bike for them. I have started with a comparison of five e road bikes and over the coming weeks and months I will add in further bikes and, if appropriate I will also update details as manufacturers release newer models.
There are many e-road bikes out there and seemingly more are entering the market each week. If you see an e-road bike not covered by my comparison chart please send me the details and I will try to find the specifications and add them to the chart. Likewise, if you find that the data I have provided is incorrect, please send me the correct data and I will fix the chart.
CAVEAT: This chart has been prepared using data provided for Australian e-road bikes. Its my understanding that most of the specifications are consistent across Australasia, North America and Europe/the UK, with the exception of motor sizes and top speeds. The comparison data are metric rather than imperial, but this makes comparison easier and the reader can easily convert metrics to imperial if required. Likewise I have had regard to Australian Road Design Rules which limit electric bike motors to 250Kw and a top speed of 25 kph. The USA and NZ allow greater power and speeds but this is treated as a given rather than outlined in the chart. Finally, each of the following comparisons conclude with the date that I sourced the data. As I did so I also found that websites are regularly unclear about whether the bikes are available in the Australian market, so its possible that the manufacturer is yet to release it here. This could equally apply to other markets so please check with local dealers before setting your heart on a particular brand/model.
In addition. as I have researched the comparisons page a few things have popped up that you should consider when you are considering which e-road bike is for you. First, there were three primary sources for the data I reported. Manufacturers and dealers were the big two, so when you are reading the data just remember that they have a vested interest in providing figures that will help sell a bike. The third source was online bike magazine reviews. Often these reviews are written by relatively young, fit and lightweight persons who were or still are riding at the pro or neo pro level and who therefore are making assessments that won't necessarily reflect the needs of older, less fit and heavier riders.
Second, the comparison data includes things that can't be measured in black and white terms. The prime example is the distance that a bike can travel using its battery. There are many factors that will impact on the distance outcome, some of which are technical and some of which relate to use. E-road bikes are aimed at the active road rider and as such they need to be closer in weight to a normal road bike. The latter will often weight in between 7 and 10 kgs, so manufacturers are looking to deliver e-road bikes around 11-14 kgs to attract riders who will accept the additional weight in trade off for e support when climbing or facing stiff head winds. Hybrid e bikes come in closer to 20 kgs. while city e bikes are closer to 30 kgs - why? because riders are looking to travel much longer distances per charge and are usually not concerned with travel speed. So, the lighter the battery the more an e-road bike rides like a normal road bike, but the trade off is that the lighter the battery the less distance that can be travelled. This is a fairly black and white measurement.
What is less black and white is the impact that the rider has on the performance of the bike and this is where comparisons become difficult. The reviewer weighing 65 kgs will get longer distances from any e bike compared to someone weighing 100 kgs. Also, all e bikes have different e-modes with each step up making it easier to ride the bike. Most e-road bikes have three modes with the starting mode providing the least assistance and the third really boosting the bike. My Creo has eco, sport and turbo and says it has a range of 120kms. I find that if I ride in eco for 98% of my riding and I am predominantly riding on flatish roads I can get almost 200kms from my battery. If however, I use sport for 50% of my ride I get much closer to the 120kms and if that ride involves lots of big climbs then then even the 120kms is in doubt. So take battery range figures as a rough guide and take bikes for test rides and see how you go. Whichever one you choose, however, will be a lot better than if you opted for a e-hybrid or e-city bike. I have been looking into these type of bikes for a 10 day ride in Tasmania and in all instances the e-bikes I can rent only have a range of between 40-60 kms thereby limiting the types of tours I can join without taking my own bike.