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Our testers had a love/hate relationship with the SmartMotion Pacer GT. As a high-speed, long-distance commuter, it was brilliant. It felt solid and stable at speed, the motor-assisted pedalling up to 40km/h and the ride position made it comfortable to pedal, the 522Wh battery was bigger than average, and we generally liked the continuously variable manual gears. However, climbing hills was a different story, where it felt underpowered, heavy and sluggish. Testers also thought the overdetailed display was poorly positioned on the frame top tube, and the harsh-feeling suspension fork with uncontrolled rebound did more harm to the ride than good.
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)