Thursday, 25 October 2012

Why do I want a bike with 'pedal assist' - Gazelle versus Power Ped

You may ask why bother with a bike that has battery assist? I'm a reasonably fit woman who has a Trek Hybrid and can ride 20-30 km OK provided it isn't too hilly.  (I did say reasonably fit.)

But I do a lot of short trips in the car picking up groceries, getting the mail, dropping off stuff etc.  And being basically lazy, I won't ride down on my Trek  to Woolworths to pick up a couple of items. There is a hill on the way back and with a few groceries on board, it is not enjoyable. Also now I have graduated to clip in shoes on my Trek Hybrid, it is a real hassle. I decided I needed a bike with pedal assist.

After reading a few reviews, I also decided that I wanted a pedelec. I did not want an ebike with a throttle that would work like a motorcycle. It looks weird and I want to at least convince myself that I am getting some exercise. With a pedelec you have to pedal before the bike assist kicks in.

So with Mr Aggy  in tow, I headed off to Ausbike in Melbourne. There were a number of ebikes and at least two pedelecs on show. You could also try these bikes on a short circuit out the back.

Well, from the first ride I was convinced! The battery assist is great and you feel like you could ride for hours (or at least until the battery runs out). I rode the Power Ped Legato and the Gazelle Orange Plus Innergy XT (strange name - nothing orange about it.). Both seemed really good, and on the day, I really liked the Power Ped better than the Gazelle. However, it was a short, flat circuit, so I needed to give them another try.

Fast forward a week and I have convinced my sister-in-law to come for a test ride with me at a store in Mooroolbark - about two hours from where I live. (You may wonder why I did not try the Gazelle in Geelong at the local dealer. He does not 'believe' in electric bikes.) So I ended up at this great store MySpokes where Sean could not have been more helpful. He told us to take the Power Ped and the Gazelle out for as long as we wanted and ride up and down the nearby hills.

In the end, we went out for about an hour and a half. We raced up hills and down hills, we swapped bikes and we had a really good test ride. We wished we had a picnic we were having such a great time. And although we did a lot of hills and took off our jumpers, we were not sweaty at all.

My conclusions: The Power Ped Legato is a good bike. It tends to 'surge' when you first pedal and this is a bit disconcerting at first. The motor is also quite noisy. However, it is a good ride and has some good features and plenty of grunt.

But the Gazelle was fantastic. It was smooth and quiet and seemed to have everything included (at a price - $2999). It had plenty of power and the 'boost' setting got us up the big hills. It is, however, heavy to ride without assist, so you would need to keep an eye on the battery level. The Power Ped has an extra gear and felt slightly easier to ride unassisted.

Well, long story short, I have ordered a Gazelle (size 53) and it should arrive mid December. Can't wait.

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