The Ferber is new A2B electric bike model for 2015 that comes at a more affordable price point but still delivers quality components, efficient motor systems and chic design features that the company is known for. A2B has been a pioneer in the American electric bike space since 2008 when it launched the iconic A2B Metro (Jay Leno and Leonardo DiCaprio even picked them up). By comparison, the Ferber is less powerful but much lighter and easier to mount. It uses standard sized 26″ wheels, a traditional rear rack that accommodate most bags and panniers and is available in two sizes including 17″ and 20″ to suit a wide range of users. To me, the bike looks very ordinary at first glance but upon closer inspection the Ergon ergonomic grips, slim display panel with break-out button console, hydraulic disc brakes, suspension fork with lockout, removable battery, LED lights (which run off the battery), adjustable stem and stylized chain guard leave an satisfying impression.
The motor driving the A2B Ferber is a 350 watt gearless direct drive hub located in the rear wheel. Its aluminum casing is wider than equivalent sized geared hub motors which diminishes the stealthy look that the rest of the bike maintains, but the benefit is very-quiet operation. It’s made by Ultra Motor, produces 35 Newton meters of torque and feels quite good when riding. During the video review shoot I was suprised just how good it does feel despite the average size watt rating of 350. I think the TMM4 torque sensor adds to the powerful, zippy feel it offers because it’s a higher-end responsive sensor. A downside to this whole setup is that if you get a flat tire or need to work on the rear wheel there’s no quick release system in place and the torque sensor makes re-installing the wheel a bit more delicate than a standard hub.
Also located at the rear of the bike is a removable Lithium-ion battery pack that’s sandwiched between a lower set of rack rails and an upper rack platform. it offers 36 volts of power and 8.8 amp hours of capacity which is about average in the world of ebikes. I love that the battery pack is removable, can be charged on or off the frame for convenience (or to lighten the frame during transport) and includes a keyed locking core for security. The other neat thing about the battery setup is that it powers the front and rear LED lights. That means you won’t need to waste individual AA cells or worry about charging multiple items on the bike.
Operating the Ferber and navigating through its three levels of pedal assist is intuitive and physically easy thanks to an independent button pad located on the right side of the handlebar. This pad has three buttons that let you turn the bike on, change display modes and navigate assist levels all the way down to zero which keeps the display active (like a cycle computer) but turns the motor off. The brake levers also turn the motor off whenever you pull them and this is a nice safety feature even though the system is torque activated and most people cease pedaling when they need to stop. The display panel that shows your speed, distance, battery level and assist settings is located front and center just above the adjustable stem. the size is impressive and I love how thin it and the button pad are. It swivels forward and back to help you reduce glare on sunny days and it’s backlit for evening and nighttime use. The one downside is that it’s not easily removable which means increased wear and tear.
To be completely honest, the first time I saw the Ferber I was unimpressed. It seemed kind of generic… another entry into an already crowded (and price competitive) section of the ebike market. Sure, it’s from a reputable brand but how much would it cost? Urban and city style ebikes are plentiful but the five year warranty (two year on battery and motor systems) and all of the nice features, colors and sizes convinced me that the Ferber really does offer something special. I think it’s worth paying a little bit extra to get these kinds of features and support vs. a budget model and considering that A2B is now a part of HeroEco (a larger ebike conglomerate) it’s a safe bet. There are ebikes out there that offer better climbing and wheel accessibility with mid-drive systems but most are significantly more expensive. The real benefit of this rear-hub design is just how quiet it is and how zippy it feels no matter which gear you’re riding in. I also enjoyed the comfort saddle, hybrid tires and suspension fork with lockout.
- Solid warranty with five years on the frame and two years on everything else including the battery pack
- Available in three colors including black, white and silver as well as two frame sizes including 17″ and 20″
- Uses standard sized 26″ tires (replacements and tubes are more plentiful and affordable) and comes with upgraded Kendas that feature reflective sidewalls
- Front and rear LED lights are positioned well, the headlight is aimable, and are powered off of the main battery pack for convenience
- Full length plastic fenders include mud flaps, chain guard is of higher quality, rear rack uses standard gauge tubing for widest compatibility and has little metal loops welded to the bottom bars for latching down panniers (great attention to detail)
- Battery pack is fully removable and includes a keyed lock, the pack can be charged on or off the frame for convenience
- The display panel is large, backlit, easy to read and convenient to interact with thanks to the button pad
- Overall satisfying ride, the eight speed Shimano Alivio cassette isn’t the highest end component group but it climbs well enough and provides good cadence at 20 mph
- Motor feels powerful and responsive thanks to the TMM4 torque sensor, it operates very quietly and is durable due to the gearless direct drive configuration
- The gearless direct drive motor is larger and heavier than an equally rated geared offering and this weight adds to the rear-mounted battery for an overall rear-heavy design
- The rear wheel requires wrenches and tools to remove for servicing wheels and tires, the TMM4 torque sensor is also located at the rear dropout so re-installing the wheel can be more sensitive and possibly require a shops help
- The display panel is not removable which means it is may take more damage from natural elements or vandalism depending on where you park