- A solid around-town platform with good climbing ability and decent range thanks to the extra large battery and mid-drive BBS02 motor from 8Fun
- Suspension fork, seat post shock, oversized saddle and ergonomic grips improve ride quality significantly
- Integrated LED light is a nice idea but gets blocked by the rear fender, would be nice to have quick release on the rear wheel, the cockpit is crowded and the drivetrain is low quality
- Only one color (gloss black) and one frame size available but the adjustable stem, mid-step top tube and lower seat tube accommodate a wide range of body types (tall and short)
Energie Cycles launched in the US around 2013, it’s an ebike line created by a battery manufacturer based out of Las Vegas. This company makes batteries for electric fork lifts and other large machines but has been able to leverage this expertise to fit a lot of high quality cells into traditionally sized packs (read more on this here). With the 2.6tm you get a solid drive system, extra large battery, two year warranty and a unique mid-step frame that performs great around town. It’s touted as a mountain electric bike but the frame isn’t super stiff and at ~61 lbs it’s not very nimble. On the one hand, you get oversized hydraulic disc brakes and a suspension fork with remote lockout and on the other you get an extremely low end drivetrain (Shimano Tourney) with only seven speeds and a flimsy adjustable stem. Real mountain bikes don’t offer stems like this because they rattle loose easily and become sloppy as the teeth inside wear down. I saw that the price was recently lowered to ~$1,750 which is a solid deal given the 8Fun BBS02 middrive motor. Originally these were priced at ~$2,400 and that felt like way too much for me. I enjoyed test riding the Energie 2.6tm and could see it performing well as a packed trail bike or urban adventurer. It lacks a water bottle cage and rear rack so commuting might not be ideal (consider removing the cheapy rear fender and adding a beam rack).
Powering this electric bike is a well respected mid-drive motor system from 8Fun (Bafang). The BBS02 offers 500 watts of nominal power and can perform in assist or throttle mode. It uses an internal cadence sensor to activate in one of nine assist modes but isn’t smart enough to do shift sensing. This means it could wear your chain and cassette rings out more quickly (especially if you don’t shift carefully). The Shimano Tourney drivetrain is pretty low end to begin with so that’s one concern I have. It might amount to more tuneups and chain replacements. I’ve had to replace the chain on a Bosch centerdrive system a couple of times (over the course of daily riding for two years) and it does have shift sensing. These drive systems alone can cost ~$800 so getting a whole bike with suspension and hydraulic disc brakes for just ~$1,000 more isn’t bad here…
As mentioned earlier, the battery pack is a real highlight here. It’s mounted mid-frame in a standard rectangular block that slides down just behind the seat tube. Not only is it large (offering 36 volts of power and 16 amp hours of capacity) it’s also feature rich. Normally the pack would match the frame (which only comes in one size and one color, gloss black) but I was testing a demo unit. Built right into the pack is a plastic handle for easier transport (the pack can be charged on or off of the bike) and at the top edge you get a red LED light for safer night riding. Additionally, this pack also features a USB charging port which could help power your portable electronic devices while riding. Pretty cool stuff and with two years of protection and the knowledge that Energie Cycles is a subsidiary of the battery manufacturer it feels like you’re in good hands. Note that the battery alone weighs ~9.3 lbs and removing it could make transporting the bike easier.
The control system on this bike is made by Bafang, just like the mid drive motor. With a nice big backlit LCD display and remote button pad ring (mounted near the left grip) it’s easy to use and read while riding. The display itself is not removable or easy to swivel while riding but it does seem fairly well sealed. You get the basic readouts like speed, odometer and trip meter along with nine levels of assist and a zero level which lets you use the throttle! The unit I tried came with a trigger throttle which is great for off-road use because it doesn’t compromise your grip. The curious thing about the cockpit on this bike however is that your grip may be compromised somewhat by the half-length right grip and the extra large thumb shifter and remote lockout trigger on the right. It just feels cluttered and cheap at times, the grips don’t lock (so you could twist them while bearing down hard) and the remote lockout just seems unnecessary to me. I’d actually prefer a variable setting twist lock on the fork itself.
Energie Cycles was early to the electric bike scene but it feels like they’ve tried to fit a bike to their batteries instead of the other way around. Having tried other bikes that use this same frame such as the Jetson Electric Mountain Bike which actually integrates packs into the downtube… I can say that I prefer the Energy Cycles 2.6tm build more. It feels stiffer and still has good balance while costing less (given the lowered price recently). I’ve heard that some of these bikes are being used as rentals and the mid-step frame pairs nicely with the adjustable stem for a good all around rider fit. I think they could offer a quick release on the rear wheel to make transporting easier and swap out the fork to bring the cost down more. I do like the suspension seat post and optional cushy saddle. It’s a decent bike for some applications but the marketing as a true mountain bike is a bit off.
- Integrated USB charging port at the top of the battery lets you charge portable electronics while riding and acts as a backup power source at home
- Solid two year comprehensive warranty, the battery is packed by Energie Cycles and features a larger capacity and higher quality cells
- Motor and battery weight are kept low and centered on the frame, unique mid-step top tube should make mounting the bike and standing over it on trails or at stop lights much easier
- The ergonomic grips, larger studded tires, suspension fork, seat post shock and oversized saddle create a comfortable ride for light trail riding
- Mid-drive motor is powerful and efficient, good for climbing if you shift to a lower gear or for extending your range using pedal assist mode
- Battery pack is removable for convenient charging on or off the bike and features an integrated LED rear light, taking the pack off significantly lightens the bike for easier transport
- At level zero, the throttle will activate so you get a throttle only mode, you can also override any of the 9 levels of assist by activating the throttle
- The Shimano Tourney derailleur and cogset are lower quality entry level parts which only offer seven speeds (more would be nice for true off-road use) and may be vulnerable to wear given the high power 8Fun mid-drive which lacks shift detection, expect to replace the chain more frequently and get regular tuneups
- Long “beam” style frame isn’t as light weight or stiff as traditional triangles, this particular model isn’t quite as flexy as some other beam ebikes I’ve tried and weight is well centered but it’s not ideal
- Only available on one larger frame size, this might not be the ideal bike for a shorter rider though the mid-step frame does help
- The rear light is mostly obstructed from directly behind by the plastic mudguard, you could probably remove it to expose more of the light, it works alright from the sides
- No bottle cage bosses on the downtube and limited mounting points at the rear for adding a rear carry rack (if you wanted to use this for commuting), consider and aftermarket accessory for the saddle rails or grab a CamelBak
- One of the big benefits of using a mid-drive motor is the ability to offer quick release on both front and rear wheels but that is not offered here, only the front wheel has quick release
- The key must be left in the battery pack while operating the bike, if you have a keychain attached there might be more jingling and vulnerability to snags
- The cockpit is a bit more crowded because of the remote lockout (makes for a longer reach to the button pad) and the trigger throttle and oversized thumb shifter (the right grip is cut in half to fit everything)