The A2B electrically aided bicycle effectively walks the line between assistance and exercise.
An unrelenting winter that blanketed half of the U.S. in a polar vortex gave way only to a stubbornly cool spring, Fortunately, as Memorial Day 2014 arrives and signals the unofficial start of summer, it should be safe to break out the bicycles across America.
Of course, some bikes are easier to ride than others. Some are more expensive than others. And, some are a hell of a lot faster than others. For all three, the electric bikes coming our way out of Califronia are a collective Exhibit A – or rather A2B.
The A2B line of electrics uses a electric motor and a Lithium Ion Battery (charged in less than four hours) built into the bike’s frame to aid the power of human pedaling. Alternatively, unassisted power is on demand for up to 20 miles at a cruising speed of about 20 mph. That second option seems less appealing as a simple electric or gas scooter can the unaided job better. It’s the electrically assisted pedaling that sets the A2B apart.
I had a shiny red test bike to try out for two weeks recently and felt a little strange climbing onto its oddly shaped frame. The battery and engine add a chunk of weight to the sculpted frame, making for a bike that checks in around 70 pounds.
The experience of riding an A2B changes while you’re pedaling. First, when you’re pushing off and kicking into your ride with those first few revolutions, the electric motor immediately punches in with some gentle assistance. No more straining and “oomphing” to get the bike rolling for those first few awkward feet. A simple forward pedal kick and, and the rider is off comfortably.
Now, once in motion, the A2B’s electrics take on a different character. The motor jumps in and begins to aid pedaling at speed. The A2Bs successfully pedal the line between too much assistance (which could take away the challenge and exercise from riding the bike) and too little (which would defeat the purpose of riding the hybrid bike in the first place).
The A2B becomes exhilarating now as now standard pedal bike can match its steady, smooth speed. The rider is still pedaling and putting effort into the ride, but that motor is adding torque to the human energy and setting up a rush of existing, but manageable speed.
If the rider ramps up the gearshift to its highest setting and set the bike’s controls for maximum electric assistance, the possible top cruising speed just south of 30 mph.
The overall ride is made smoother with the aid of electrically-assisted, handled-mounted brakes and gas tube suspension. Those shock absorbers come in especially handy when the bike is moving at full speed as many riders may not be accustomed to the feel of a pedal bike moving faster than 25 mph on level pavement.
While the A2B is effective and fun for any rider, it would seem an absolute Godsend for older riders who might have trouble getting a bike started or might fatigue earlier on a standard pedal bike.
With an MSRP around $3,500 for midrange models, these electric bikes are a legit investment. But, they’re worth it if used as more than just a weekend toy.
Unassisted power on demand for up to 20 miles at a cruising speed of 20 mph. Easily upgraded to double its range to 40 miles with the addition of a secondary battery pack and increase its carrying capacity with the addition of baskets and rear carrier bags. 500 W Motor, 36 V Lithium Ion Battery built in to frame (Fully charges in 3.5 – 4 hours.) 3" Wide thorn resistant tires Full Suspension