Batch Bicycles Step-Through E-Bike & Step-Through Plus E-Bike Reviews

RickyBikes

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USA
The Batch Bicycles Step-Through and Step-Through Plus E-Bikes are urban commuter bikes designed for those new to eBiking, retailing at $2,499.00 and $2,699.00 respectively on Batch’s website. Both bikes are Class-1 meaning pedal assist only up to 20mph (32kph). The Step-Through is available in two frame sizes (though only M/L is currently in stock on Batch’s website) and one color (white). The Step-Through Plus is available in two frame sizes (though neither is currently in stock on Batch’s website) and one color (black). The big draw for these two bikes are the Bosch mid-drive motors at reasonable prices. The only difference between these two bikes is the found in the motor and drivetrain. The Step-Through uses the Bosch Active line, a 250W motor with 40Nm of torque and the budget Shimano Altus group set (which is one step above the entry-level Tourney). The Step-Through Plus uses the slightly peppier Active Line Plus motor generating 50Nm of torque and the Shimano Alivio group set (which is two steps above the Altus). Here’s Batch Bicycles’ official website http://www.batchbicycles.com and I’d love to hear your thoughts below, especially if you own either Step-Through models or plan to buy one!






While I haven't reviewed this electric bike myself, I have covered similar E-Bikes and I wanted to provide some insights and open things up for your feedback. I hope providing several sources, with varying perspectives, allows everyone to come to their own conclusions. Sometimes short reviews and those created by shops only cover the good aspects and can come off like a commercial, so I've tried to be neutral and objective with these insights:



Pros – things that stand out as good:

  • The first and most obvious pro is the Bosch mid-drive motor. The Active Line which debuted in 2013 and was updated again in 2017 is Bosch’s entry-level and most affordable model. Batch makes bikes for those who are just being introduced to riding, so it’s fantastic that they utilize a mid-drive which is the most natural eBike motor style, and pragmatic considering this is an entry-level bike. The Bosch Active Line Plus on the Step-Through Plus is a little peppier than the Active Line, but both will climb well and work efficiently as you ride.
  • Hydraulic disc brakes are always the way to go. The Suntour suspension fork limits the brake rotor size to 180mm, so it having those hydraulic brakes will require less hand strength than mechanical disc brakes of the same rotor size. When I see a more approachable frame style like step-through it always makes more sense to use hydraulic brakes to ease the strength required to brake properly.
  • Clean, minimalist design. For a mid-market introductory bike, I appreciate the decent battery integration on the frame. It’s not necessarily stealthy looking, but it’s sharp and does a decent job of not highlighting the battery. I personally find it a necessity to be able to charge the battery pack off the bike frame if needed. Whether it’s extreme heat or cold, or due to potential security issues, having that flexibility is great.
  • Both bikes use reliable components all around. From the Bosch motor to the battery using reliable lithium-ion 18650 cells. The Step Through Plus uses a reliable Shimano Alivio group set which was updated last year to perform more similarly to the Deore. The way Shimano updates their parts always provides quality improvement to the more entry-level components as they improve their higher quality components, so even the Altus is going to be reliable.



Cons – considerations that seem like trade-offs or negatives:

  • The downside to mid-drive motors is that they are hard on the drive train. As a rider exerts force onto the chain, cassette and derailleur, the motor is also doing the same thing. Often riders shift gears when encountering hills or starting from rest, and as a result more stress is applied to the chain. If you want efficiency and a natural feel when riding an eBike, this is the style of motor to get, but they do require more frequent maintenance.
  • The Suntour SCX is a budget fork and adds weight to the bike. This is an entry-level bike, and so too is the fork, so if you want this to do some serious commuting or your path may encounter some strenuous areas, then you may want to consider upgrading this fork.
  • Batch Bicycles are sold all over the US, which is great! The thing to keep in mind is that Batch primarily makes analog bikes and so you will want to check with your local shop to see if they can work on your eBike. Most of the components are entry-level and universal, but when it comes to a Bosch motor, you’ll want to make sure they can work on it.
  • The Shimano Altus and Alivio group sets are entry-level components. If you’re new to eBikes these will be fine, but if you’re someone more seasoned who opts to purchase one of these bikes, or if you plan to ride this bike daily then you may want to consider something more substantial. Batch makes approachable, simple bikes, they’re not everyday workhorse bikes. That’s definitely not a bad thing, but something that should be understood before purchasing one.
  • Despite being commuter style bikes, I have some concerns with their lack of safety features. There are no integrated headlights or taillights – if you’re in traffic, those are necessities. The Step-Through Plus comes in black which can be hard to distinguish for drivers, particularly at night. The kenda tires don’t have reflective striping, nor are their reflectors on the wheels. You can purchase accessories to make your ride safer, and I get this isn’t an everyday bike, but it’d have been nice to see these features as standard.
  • This is a heavy bike. The website lists it as over 50lbs, and I’ve found that eBikes are often a little undersold on their weight online. I’d recommend you stay on top of how much charge you have in your battery because riding one of these home without the use of the motor would not be enjoyable.
  • If you have the Powerpack 500, I’d recommend it over the 400 because it gives a little better performance and still fits into the battery slot. Again, I’m not going to tear this bike apart for not having the PowerTube or something like that because this isn’t designed to require a battery like that, but if you can fit the better performing battery, you should.
As always, I welcome feedback and additions to these pros and cons, especially from people who have tried or own the bike. If you see other great video reviews for the Batch Bicycles Step-Through or Step-Through Plus eBikes, please share them and I may update this post ongoing so we can get the best perspectives and insights.