The eProdigy Jasper is a well rounded, efficient and relatively affordable city style electric bike. This thing would work well for commuting or just cruising around the neighborhood thanks to the rear carry rack, fenders and suspension. It’s comfortable to ride and puts your back and neck in a more upright position which reduces fatigue and is great for spotting traffic and pedestrians. While it’s only available in one size at 19″ the adjustable stem and quick release seat post help to accommodate a wide range of riders and eProdigy offers a very similar model with a smaller frame design called the Banff if you’re more petite. Both the Jasper and Banff are built around a step-thru frame that’s easy to mount and stabilize at rest. The Jasper may appeal to guys since they tend to be taller and you’ve got three colors to choose from including black, white and red.
The motor on this ebike comes in two flavors but both are geared mid-drive configurations that pull the same chain that you do as the rider. This setup keeps weight low and center on the bike frame and leverages the eight speed cassette in the rear so the motor can operate more efficiently when climbing or riding at higher speeds. One downside of this setup is that the chain and rear sprockets endure higher stress and thus, increased wear but the system actually shifted very smoothly during my test ride. That was surprising given the lack of a shift-sensor on this ebike. It does feature motor cutoff switches in the brake levers however which can be useful for shifting when climbing (a quick tap of the brake and then a shift will keep the motor from straining the gears). The two motor sizes available for the Jasper include 350 or 450 and if you weigh a bit more or plan on carrying large loads up hills the 450 is noticeably stronger.
Powering this bike is a Lithium-ion battery pack that is also available in two sizes. in the past, eProdigy has used lower end cells but for 2015 models they have been switching over to Samsung and Sony. This is great because it ensures a better energy balance which helps to prolong use and speed up charging. Ultimately, the Lithium-ion chemistry is know for being light weight and long lasting. The two sizes available include a 36 volt 9 amp hour or 11 amp hour setup and the higher amp hour basically just helps you go further while adding ~2 pounds of weight. it might get you an additional 10 miles of range depending on which level of pedal assist you’re using. The battery pack slides into the rear rack and is protected by the aluminum tubing on all sides which also helps it blend in. Being removable, it’s also rechargeable on or off the frame which is very convenient for commuting or if you have to move the frame. The wheels are also easily removable which aids in maintenance (if you have to change a flat for example) as well as transport. The only downside of the battery pack is that it’s positioned at the rear and fairly high up. This reduces balance but given the mid-mounted motor, it’s not as bad as it could have been and doesn’t add too much flex to the frame while some other low-step ebikes that have all of the drive weight at the rear definitely flex more.
Once the battery is charged and mounted, this bike is pretty easy to operate. A large backlit LCD display sits at the top of the stem and is easy to view when riding (day or night). One downside is that the display is not easily removable (which would be nice for parking long term) or pivotable (which would be nice when trying to reduce glare). You could bring along a small tool to adjust the display angle or not tighten it down so hard before riding and then maybe it would swivel? Not the end of the world, but a minor gripe. On the up side, rather than having to press buttons directly on the display to activate or adjust the bike modes you get to use an independent button pad that’s positioned near the left grip. This is also where a trigger throttle resides and both come in handy for riding. There are five levels of assist and they activate using a rear-mounted cadence sensor. This type of pedal assist isn’t quite as responsive as torque sensing but it is relatively smooth and doesn’t require as much pedaling force. I tend to ride the Jasper by pressing the throttle to get started and then pedal naturally with assist at 2 in the background (there are five levels total). It’s a good setup.
In conclusion, the 2015 eProdigy Jasper builds on previous models by offering an upgrade path for the motor and battery. This is great if you want more power or range. One other option they’ve got is a NuVinci CVT that replaces the standard eight speed rear cassette. I didn’t get the chance to test this option (and it adds weight and cost) but you benefit from a smoother shifting mechanism that won’t be exposed to dirt and water the same way a chain and cassette would be. For mid-drive ebikes, the NuVinci system can work quite well and is shiftable at stand still (which is great when you have to stop the bike while climbing a hill). The price on this bike is solid and I love the quality accessories ranging from Wellgo platform pedals (super stiff, wide and grippy) to the Velo seat post suspension. The headlight and reflective tires are nice but a rear light would be great to see as well. The standard tubing on the rear rack makes it very easy to work with (can accommodate most clip-on panniers) and the 5 year frame and 2 year motor/battery warranty are solid… just remember to register the bike to activate them. While this isn’t the quietest electric bike around due to the geared mid-drive motor, it is one of the higher torque ones that I’ve tested and you can see it climbing quite well in the video. The mechanical disc brakes offer good stopping power and all around, the bike really holds its own.
- Step-thru frame is very easy to mount and stabilize when the bike is paused at lights or stop signs, fairly rigid compared with other low-step ebikes I’ve tested
- Great accessories including sturdy kickstand, chain guard, fenders and headlight powered by the main battery pack
- Comfortable to ride thanks to the swept-back handlebars, adjustable angle stem, ergonomic grips, seat post suspension and regular suspension fork which also has lockout for improved riding efficiency!
- two options on the motor and battery combination for a lower price point or higher power (if you weigh more or want to increase range)
- Optional NuVinci continuously variable transmission (CVT) adds to the price and weight but requires less maintenance, is very quiet and can be shifted at standstill, reduces wear from the mid-drive system vs. standard cassette and chain
- Available in three colors but only one frame size at 19″ if you want something smaller, consider the eProdigy Banff
- Battery pack is removable for convenient charging or to make the bike lighter during transport, front and rear wheels have quick release which makes maintenance or changing flats easier
- Increased frame flex and rear heaviness due to the battery pack which is mounted high and back on the bolt-on carry rack
- Mid-drive motor may wear the chain and rear sprockets more quickly than a hub motor system, not smart enough to sense when you’re shifting so may mash gears more than a high-end system like Bosch
- No rear light, will have to buy your own to add and use separate batteries… there are several threaded eyelets on the rear rack for mounting lights, license plate or other bits which is handy