Find the right e-bike to get you zooming from A to B.
This step-through Giant looks and rides like a bike costing much more than its modest price.
The Syncdrive Life motor is smooth and responsive up to 32km/h, with lots of torque available for hill climbing – though the rear rack-mounted battery means the steering gets a bit light on steeper climbs. There’s no controller display, just LEDs on the thumb shifter to show battery life and assistance setting. Some testers enjoyed being cut free from data, particularly when using the neat “auto” power mode that selects assistance to suit speed and rider effort. Others missed having the speed and distance information, though.
There’s no suspension fork, but the big-volume tyres absorb road “chatter”, and the wide but firm saddle and backswept bars were very comfortable. The Giant comes with hydraulic disc brakes, a rear rack and a full set of mud and chain guards (but you’ll need to pay extra to get built-in lights fitted).
Overall, the LaFree+ isn’t perfect, but it’s a great-value urban e-bike.
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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)
S / M / L
8 / Trigger