- An ultra-affordable full suspension electric bike that's most comfortable on-road or gentle trails due to limited suspension and vulnerable plastic "frog" battery design
- Minimal 200 watt motor and 240 watt hour battery pack aren't especially powerful or enduring, expect limited climbing ability and range depending on throttle or assist mode
- Fairly heavy given the smaller frame size and limited drive power, lights are not integrated, decent one year warranty
The EG Barcelona offers a lot for ~$1,000 but you still basically get what you pay for. The aluminum alloy frame comes in two colors (white or brown) but just one size, which I’d call small/medium. It felt a little tight for me (I’m ~5’9″) but I loved the mid-step layout which makes mounting and standing over the bike comfortable and easy. Honestly, this this electric bike is more of a neighborhood cruiser than a trail or mountain machine. Somewhat surprisingly it’s not very light even though it features a small motor and battery pack. You do get 21 speeds to pedal with but the oversized thumb shifters are a bit clunky and the cockpit is crowded. There’s a toggle switch on the left for two levels of pedal assist and an on/off button on the right for activating the throttle… the throttle itself is a full-grip twist which feels unstable to me vs. a half-grip twist. Still, the brake levers have integrated motor cutoff switches, the wires are all run through the frame, you get two independent lights, ergonomic grips and the front suspension fork does a decent job.
Driving this ebike is an efficient 200 watt rear-mounted hub motor. I think it’s a gearless design because it starts slowly and produces more zinging noises at low speed. The gearless design would be a big contributor to the heavier weight of the bike because the magnets inside would be larger than if it were geared. One advantage to this type of motor however is fewer moving parts. Gearless motors are often called “bulletproof” by shop owners I’ve spoken with and given the lower power of this bike, I wouldn’t expect many problems with magnet glue melting (which is the only real issue I’ve heard about with gearless motors). As shown in the video review, this motor starts very slowly and would not be ideal for larger heavier riders or those who want real help ascending hills. For someone who is mostly going to stay on flat paved surfaces however, it will definitely help with wind and extend the range that you might get with pedal-power alone. On throttle mode the bike might get 10 to 15 miles depending on the terrain but in pedal assist you could likely get over 25.
The battery pack on the EG Barcelona is a small plastic box that connects just under the saddle, behind the seat post. Unlike some larger rack style battery designs, this one stays closer to the center of the frame which will improve balance. At ~6.4 pounds it’s not super heavy but definitely not as light as something like the Bosch Powerpack 400 which offers 36 volts of power and 11 amp hours of capacity weighing in at just ~5.5 lbs. Basically, even though you’re getting Lithium-ion cells in the Barcelona battery, they aren’t as energy dense. A big negative about the battery design is that if you do take the bike off-road or even off larger curbs I’ve been told the plastic connection arm can crack off. This may be true of all “frog” style battery mounts but I want to call it out here especially since the EG Barcelona is a full suspension design that seems to communicate that it would be capable of going on bumpy trails. I do like that the battery can be removed for charging or storage off the bike frame (keep it topped off and store in a cool, dry place to prolong life) but am not a huge fan of the key design which requires you to leave the key in the pack in order to turn the bike on. I like taking keys out because they can jingle and get snagged.
Operating the bike can be a little overwhelming at first pass. Once the battery is charged, mounted and locked to the frame you need to twist the key all the way to “on” and then the LED display panel lights up. This panel really only shows your charge level using an integrated voltmeter and since it only has four light levels you don’t get a very precise estimate. From here you either decide on using pedal assist which has an E and S mode (maybe for Easy and Sport?) or throttle (which offers variable power output). The pedal assist isn’t super responsive because the cadence sensor relies on a five magnet disc verses 12 magnets with more modern designs. The twist throttle works as expected but isn’t very satisfying, again based on having such a small gearless motor. The overwhelming part of the cockpit for me is the oversized thumb shifters on the left and right (I would prefer triggers or maybe just fewer gears in general) and the toggle switch and on/off for throttle. There are just a lot of buttons for such a simple basic bike. That means there is more to break if the bike tips or if it gets left out in the rain. I do like that they included a bell and the brake levers are solid (they include a motor inhibitor).
All things considered, this is a pretty solid offering given the low price tag. I admire the attention to detail with integrated cables, derailleur guard and lights. I do feel like the design is a bit misleading because it wouldn’t last long off-road but if you are someone like me who gets a sore back and neck (even around town) then the extra bumper shock at the rear and basic suspension fork at the front can really be nice. This bike might fit riders who are under 6″ tall best (maybe even under 5’10”) and it’s no longer being sold new. If you see it at a garage sale, consider the costs of replacing the battery and double check that the mounting arm is in good shape before proceeding.
- Very affordable at just under $1k, feature rich with 21 speeds, independent lights and a kickstand
- Knobby tires, comfort saddle and full suspension features are more generic and of lower quality but do smooth out the ride
- The plastic chain ring guard will help to keep your pants from snagging and the rear derailleur guard will reduce bumps that might take the drivetrain out of true
- Mid-step frame style is a bit easier to mount because the top tube angles down, it’s available in two colors for a “his and her” look
- Solid drive mode options, low and high pedal assist (or off) and twist throttle which can be turned off as well
- Purpose-built frame lets the power cables and other wires run through the downtube which keeps them out of the way and makes the bike look nicer
- Stiff alloy pedals, improved stopping power due to the front disc brake (rear is a V-brake), front quick release is nice for making the bike smaller to transport, kickstand comes in handy and offers adjustable height
- Fairly weak compared to other ebikes available in the United States, motor offers 200 watts of power and battery is 24 volt so it might not climb as well or feel satisfying to heavier riders
- Twist throttle is a full-grip design which I don’t like as much as half-grip because it doesn’t feel as solid or stable when riding over rough terrain (could accidentally twist)
- The rear suspension “bumper” element offers very little travel, I’m not sure it’s worth having given the added weight of the four point swing arm
- The plastic “frog” style battery pack is more delicate than some other designs and may break off while riding over rough terrain, this really isn’t a great bike for heavy off-roading
- The key must be left in the battery pack and switched to “on” for the bike to operate which means the battery could jingle around if you’ve got it hooked onto a keychain
- The basic LED display does not show your range, speed, odometer, assist level or other information that could be useful… just a basic charge level estimate, the LED readout on the battery pack only has three levels and is also kind of basic
- Noticeable delay in motor activation while using pedal assist because it uses a five magnet pedelec ring vs. newer systems that use 10 or 12
- Rear heavy design with the battery mounted high over the rear wheel, this impacts handling a bit and makes the bike more difficult to lift onto racks etc.
- No bottle cage mounting point due to the rear suspension bumper, consider a saddle mount or a CamelBak
- Because there is no quick release setup on the rear wheel it takes tools and a bit more time/energy to service
- Official Site: http://www.egbike.com/EGUSA/index_files/Page1860.htm
- More Pictures: https://goo.gl/photos/qsvYFpdJNMLQsvEj6