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All the city-style step-through bikes we tested had a rider position that made pedalling more difficult than it could be. The Avanti, however, was one of the only ones with well-balanced steering, which made it good to manoeuvre around the city. It generated confidence descending hills, but wasn’t great climbing them, despite strong assistance from the Shimano STEPS motor. The motor limit of 25km/h and only OK riding position meant we weren’t comfortable riding it fast, and we certainly wouldn’t want to tackle too many cycle trails. The price is good, it has a large rear rack, and the step-through frame makes this a decent choice for urban dwellers.
Each e-bike was taken on a test route by two riders. The 5km route in and around Wellington’s CBD included city traffic, fast flat roads, hills, kerbs, wooden bridges and a busy waterfront path shared with pedestrians.
We also put the e-bikes through a gruelling 20km route around Wellington’s Wadestown and Northland suburbs. The main challenge was climbing a 2km-long hill five times at a steady 20km/h (a kilometre of vertical ascent) and descending the same twisty narrow road between climbs. It also included a short, steep section of rough path with a narrow barrier negotiated at walking pace, an undulating 5km of suburban streets, and a steep descent requiring brakes to keep the e-bike to the 50km/h speed limit.
Our riding tests, along with a static assessment of the features and functions of each e-bike, were used to score the performance of the motor system and the bike. Overall score includes:
Motor system (50% of overall score)
Bike (50% of overall score)