We put the Speedmaster e-bike to the test on a windy Wellington commute.
Carbon frames are usually reserved for high-end mountain and road bikes. These frames are lighter and stronger than their alloy counterparts, but usually come with a high price – just a few years ago you’d be lucky to get change from 10 grand.
However, Hybrid Bikes, a Nelson-based company, has thrown a carbon cat among the aluminium-framed pigeons by producing three e-bikes all priced below $5000. I trialled one of its offerings: the Speedmaster.
It’s set up for commuting with a rear rack, mudguards and lights that turn on automatically when it gets dark. It has 100mm suspension up front, which was more than enough to soak up the usual bumps as well as some gnarly off-road stuff.
The Speedmaster lives up to its name – it’s easily the fastest e-bike I’ve ridden. On the homeward leg of my 32km return commute, I was cruising at 51km/h with a Wellington southerly at my back and the assistance turned up to the max. It put a huge smile on my face and it felt like I wasn’t putting in any effort at all. Riding that fast, combined with the return ride into the wind, really taxed the battery and it ran out of juice after 30km – two kilometres shy of the office, leaving me pedalling under my own steam. If I were using this for my daily commute, I’d need to go easy on the assistance levels to make the battery last, or have a charger at home and in the office.
My only gripe was with the grips, I found them a bit hard. Some softer, ergonomic ones would’ve made riding more comfortable but that’ll only cost about $30 to swap out. Other than that, it’s a quick, agile commuter that’s also at home exploring a rail trail at the weekend.
We’ve been busy testing new e-bikes for our online database, including Hybrid Bikes’ step-through Cruiser model. The results will be available online from mid-May.