- A unique chopper style electric bike with relaxed cruiser bars, comfort saddle and oversized double crown suspension
- Powerful 500 watt geared hub motor and 48 volt Lithium-ion battery pack feel zippy in throttle mode but also perform well in five levels of pedal assist for improved range
- Basic seven speed drivetrain with oversized shifter, low stable frame with smaller 24" rear wheel for improved torque, heavier than most ebikes at ~66 lbs due to longer frame and extras like fenders, rack and lights
The Monte Carlo 500 EX from EG (EverGreen Electric Bikes) is a unique chopper style cruiser that offers more than just style. The powerful geared motor is larger than average and paired with a smaller diameter rear wheel for improved torque and climbing ability. The battery pack is mounted low and fairly centered on the frame for improved stability and handling and the frame “flare” including matching fenders, chain guard and rear carry rack are highly functional and rugged. I was very impressed with the build quality and thoughtfulness of things like standard-gauge mounting brackets welded onto the rear rack (which is otherwise too thick for some clip-on panniers). The fact that this ebike comes with front and rear LED lights, an oversized double crown suspension fork and hydraulic disc brakes is just icing on the cake. The closest thing I’ve seen to this style is the Ford Supercruiser (made by Pedego Electric Bikes) that offers a slightly larger motor but lacks some of the accessories, frame balance and pricing value delivered by the Monte Carlo.
The motor powering this bad boy is a capable 500 watt geared hub located in the rear wheel. As mentioned earlier, it benefits from the smaller 24″ size of the rear wheel (as compared to the standard sized 26″ front wheel) gaining leverage as it turns. Another advantage of this smaller wheel is a lower mounting point for the rear carry rack which will improve balance when hauling gear. I could imagine a pair of nice black leather panniers here adding utility and rounding out the aesthetic, note that the rack has welded-on nubs for using clip on bags like this. For some this will be a nice handy feature but for those using an “over the top” style pannier, the extruded metal nubs might wear into the sides or top of the fabric. There is some humming and zinging while riding at high power with this motor (possibly due in part to the disc brake rotor rubbing during my ride test) but overall, it’s what one would expect in terms of noise. The hub motor itself is black which blends nicely with the matte black frame color and is made by 8Fun, one of the largest Asian manufacturers of electric bike motors (and considered high quality in China). While most electric bikes weigh ~55 lbs and offer 350 watt motors, the Monte Carlo 500 EX weighs closer to 65 pounds and accommodates with the upgraded 500 watt motor.
Powering the motor and front headlight is a vertically mounted Lithium-ion battery pack mounted just behind the seat tube. It locks to the frame for security but is removable (and the saddle even has a flip-up swivel feature to make that an easy process). Considering the ~65 lb weight of the Monte Carlo, and lack of quick release wheels, it’s nice that at least the battery can be easily removed to reduce weight during transport. The battery offers 48 volts of power and 10 amp hours of capacity which should offer upwards of 15 miles of range using throttle-only mode. Mostly what it offers is increased power output to support the larger motor. For heavier riders, this setup should work well but it might not carry you up medium sized hills without a bit of pedal input and some speed on approach. I like that the battery pack has an integrated LED power level indicator because I could see myself storing this bike in a garage and simply bringing the pack inside to charge (which is a good idea to avoid subjecting it to extreme heat or cold which will degrade the cells more quickly). My only real complaint with the battery is that it requires you to leave the key in while riding in order to keep the system powered on. This might sound normal as compared to an automobile or some motorcycles but I’ve found it to be annoying as the key (and associated keys on keychain) can jingle around and scratch the paint. Still, the key stays mostly out of the way and adds a bit of tamper-proofing.
Operating the Monte Carlo ebike is fairly straight forward. Charge the battery, insert and twist the key then press the “mode” button for a few seconds (the center button on the rubberized pad near the left grip). Once these steps are complete, the LCD display panel comes to life and shows your speed, battery charge level, odometer, watt usage and assist level. There are five assist levels to choose from and you can arrow between them using the same rubberized button pad that activates the bike, it’s easy to reach without taking your hand off the grip while riding which is convenient and safe. Honestly, during my ride test the five levels felt similar and the highest wasn’t overly impressive. Once I activated the trigger throttle (near the right grip) the bike took off. The throttle is setup to override pedal assist at any time which is perfect for taking on a hill or passing someone on the bike path without overthinking things. Given the seven speed cassette, there are plenty of gears for climbing, relaxed cruising or higher speed riding and I could see myself riding comfortably in assist level two with an occasional throttle burst as needed. Riding like this will increase range and offer some exercise to the rider.
While one of the advantages offered by the EG Monte Carlo is comfort, this does take a toll on more active pedal movements. The oversized saddle could begin to chaff your inner thighs and the the upright position might not promote full leg extension depending on how you set it up. All things considered, I really enjoyed testing this ebike and its charm grew on me. It comes with a really well matched set of accessories and offers something totally unique in the world of electric bikes. Know that if you buy the EG Monte Carlo 500 EX, you’ll be getting a solid bike and not just a showpiece. I love the aluminum alloy platform pedals, smooth hydraulic disc brakes and oversized tires. It is heavier than some but it would be difficult to achieve the style and functionality demonstrated here without those extra pounds. Given the comprehensive year long warranty and multiple years that I’ve seen EG electric bikes at shops around the country, they have earned my trust.
- Smaller diameter rear wheel is 24″ vs. the front 26″ which provides a mechanical advantage to the hub motor allowing it to start from rest and climb more easily
- Sturdy build with double-barrel suspension fork, thru-axle to keep the front wheel aligned and responsive hydraulic disc brakes
- Unique and comfortable ride, relaxed body position thanks to the oversized swept-back cruiser bars, large padded saddle, ergonomic grips and solid aluminum platform pedals
- Great utilitarian extras including matching fenders, extended chain guard, rear carry rack with pannier blockers, LED lights and bell
- Large backlit display is front and center, easy to operate without taking your hands off the grips thanks to an independent button pad on the left bar
- Extra wide rims and tires provide strength and added comfort due to the higher volume of air in each tube
- Rear rack is oversized to add strength and match the frame but has standard-gauge tube extenders for use with a wide range of panniers, excellent attention to detail
- The key has to remain inserted on the battery pack in order to operate the display and electric drive modes, may jingle around and knick the frame as a result
- Heavier than most electric bikes given the rear rack, fenders, oversized chain guard and extended chopper handlebars (though the weight is kept low on the frame)
- No quick release system on either wheel, this keeps the bike sturdier but means you will have to bring tools along to fix flats or remove wheels for easier transport
- While pedal assist can override throttle mode for convenience, I didn’t figure out how to completely disable pedal assist – there doesn’t appear to be a throttle only mode
- Official Site: http://www.egbike.com/EGUSA/index_files/Page511.htm
- More Pictures: https://goo.gl/photos/VuQQL2ENokittQXv8