Eli who blogs over at Eliapplebydonald borrowed a Kalkhoff Image 5.S Belt electric bike for a couple of days. She’s a regular cyclist but had never tried an electric bike before. But first, let’s take a look at the bike she took for a demo:
Kalkhoff Image 5.S Belt 2020 Electric Bike Reveiw
This is a very practical and low maintenance bike:
This electric bike uses a belt rather than a standard chain. The belt will last about twice as long as a steel chain and it requires much less maintenance. The absence of oil also means the belt doesn’t attract dirt the way that even a well-maintained steel chain might.
The Shimano Steps drive system is arguably the smoothest drive system within e-bikes! And with the battery enclosed within the downtube system, it makes for a very ‘normal’ looking bike.
Another practical aspect of this bike is that it comes fitted with kickstand, mudguards, pannier rack and lights so it’s ready to ride from day one.
Eli’s Blog: e-Bikes are not cheating and here’s why…
This blog is an abridged version, read her full blog here.
My local bike shop asked if I’d like to try an e-bike so of course, I jumped at the chance. Now you guys know me, I cycle every day, rain or shine and yes I will confess there have been a couple of times when someone on an e-bike has passed me on a particularly tough hill and it was infuriating. But that’s more to do with my frustration at my abilities (and it doesn’t help if they giggle as they pass). See, recently, I’ve been struggling because I’m not getting to go to the gym and I’m doing very little other than cycling and so my fitness has really dropped. That means the cycle to work is getting harder and harder and poor Kate is stuck behind me. So I thought why not have a go and have some fun.
And boy did it put the fun back.
I borrowed a Kalkhoff Image 5.S Belt (2020) for a couple of days and used it as my main bike for both my daily commute and for nipping around campus. I’m not going to write an in-depth review specific to this bike here. What I want to do is just talk about what it’s like to ride an e-bike.
What is it like to ride an e-bike?
Well, to be honest, a lot of fun. I rode the bike for two days, in that time I did 4 commutes which involved hills. Two of them involved REALLY big hills. And I enjoyed those hills – I so wouldn’t normally. I hate the hills, but I do it ’cause it’s my commute, but there are days where the thought of it just about puts me off and sends me for the train or the car.
Now here is the thing, the e-bike has an engine, obviously, but it doesn’t actually propel you all by itself, you need to do some of that yourself, you need to pedal. What the engine does is give you a little bit of a boost while you pedal. If you stop pedalling, the engine cuts out. So on the flat, it was a little easier than my normal bike ride, but the hills were where it really came into its own. On the hills, I really noticed the assist. Like Kate was running along beside me giving me a push.
It felt like this…
And that’s the thing I want to talk about. This gave me two days this week where I absolutely wanted to cycle, regardless of that horrible cold snap, I wanted to cycle. I gave the bike back today and I’m already considering getting the train tomorrow because cycling has become so difficult.
What can I expect?
Well, I think that depends on the bike.
The one I was riding has a belt drive instead of a chain. That meant I didn’t have to worry about getting oil on my jeans. Which I think should be standard these days.
It also has disc brakes which mean the stopping power on it was really good. I felt very in control.
The best bit for me was that it was a very upright, step-through frame. I have never cycled one of these before and I loved it. It was so comfortable. I REALLY loved it.
Now here is the techie bit (cause some folk like that stuff). This one had a 540kw battery, which meant it can get up to 180 kilometres on a charge. That’s loads. Granted, it does take 6 and a half hours to charge though. But it meant I wasn’t worried about it running out of battery on me.
Now that’s a thing. Even if it does run out of battery, you are not stranded. You can still pedal and treat it as a normal bike. Ok, a really heavy bike, but still you can pedal it. I know, I did it. But… this is where my one complaint lies. The lights (which are awesome) work from the battery, so no battery, no lights.
So that’s my overall adventure on an e-bike this week. I have nothing but good things to say, so much so… look at this smile when I was talking about it on youtube.
Find out more about the Kalkhoff Image 5.S Belt 2020 here >