Tern Link D8 with BionX Review

Tern Link D8 With Bionx Electric Bike Review 1
Tern Link D8 With Bionx
Tern Link D8 With Bionx Motor Suntour Cassette
Tern Link D8 With Bionx Removable Battery Pack
Tern Link D8 With Bionx Display Throttle
Tern Link D8 With Bionx Portage Rack
Tern Link D8 With Bionx Rear V Brake
Tern Link D8 With Bionx Steel Fork
Tern Link D8 With Bionx Electric Bike Review 1
Tern Link D8 With Bionx
Tern Link D8 With Bionx Motor Suntour Cassette
Tern Link D8 With Bionx Removable Battery Pack
Tern Link D8 With Bionx Display Throttle
Tern Link D8 With Bionx Portage Rack
Tern Link D8 With Bionx Rear V Brake
Tern Link D8 With Bionx Steel Fork

Summary

  • High quality folding frame from Tern combined with sophisticated and quiet drive system from BionX
  • Four levels of pedal assist and regen as well as regenerative braking and variable speed trigger throttle
  • One of the most compact folding ebikes around, display panel and battery pack are removable for convenience and reduced weight

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Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

Tern

Model:

Link D8 with BionX

Price:

$2,700 USD

Body Position:

Upright

Suggested Use:

Travel, Urban

Electric Bike Class:

Throttle on Demand (Class 2)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

5 Year Frame, 2 Year Electronics and Battery

Availability:

United States

Model Year:

2015

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

42 lbs (19.05 kg)

Battery Weight:

6 lbs (2.72 kg)

Motor Weight:

9 lbs (4.08 kg)

Frame Material:

7005 Aluminum

Frame Sizes:

(Folded Size 38 cm x 79 cm x 72 cm)

Frame Types:

Folding (Patented OCL Joint, DoubleTruss Technology)

Frame Colors:

Black with Blue Accents

Frame Fork Details:

Hi-Tensile Steel

Attachment Points:

Fender Bosses, Rack Bosses, Bottle Cage Bosses

Gearing Details:

8 Speed 8x1 Suntour Neos 1.0, (12-32T)

Shifter Details:

SRAM MRX Comp Half-Twist on Right Handle Bar

Pedals:

Folding Aluminum and Plastic Platform

Headset:

Flux, Cartridge Bearings, Tri-Seal Technology

Stem:

Physis 3D, Forged Aluminum

Handlebar:

Flat (Aluminum)

Brake Details:

V-Brakes

Grips:

BioLogic Ergo

Saddle:

Velo

Seat Post:

SuperOversize, 6061 Aluminum with Micro Adjust Clamp

Rims:

Aluminum (With Brass Spoke Nipples)

Spokes:

Stainless Steel

Tire Brand:

Schwalbe Citizen with Puncture Protection, 20" x 1.6"

Wheel Sizes:

20 in (50.8cm)

Tire Details:

Reflective Sidewalls

Accessories:

Front and Rear Fenders with Mud Flaps, Rear Portage Rack with Bungee Cords

Other:

Magnetix 2.0 Folding Clasp Connector, Water Bottle Cage Bosses on Right of Main Tube

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

BionX

Motor Type:

Rear-Mounted Gearless Direct Drive Hub
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

350 watts

Motor Torque:

40 Newton meters (10 Nm Nominal)

Battery Brand:

Panasonic

Battery Voltage:

48 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

6.6 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

316.8 wh

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium Manganese Cobalt

Charge Time:

3.5 hours

Estimated Min Range:

35 miles (56 km)

Estimated Max Range:

50 miles (80 km)

Display Type:

Backlit LCD (Removable, Symmetrical Integrated Buttons for Right or Left Handed Users)

Readouts:

4 Proportional Assist and Generate Modes, Lighting Controls, Battery Voltage, Trip Distance, Odometer, Chronometer, Average Speed, Clock

Display Accessories:

Independent Button Pad (With Variable Speed Trigger Throttle) (With Variable Speed Trigger Throttle)

Drive Mode:

Torque Sensing Pedal Assist, Trigger Throttle (Throttle Will Not Activate Below 2 mph, Assist Levels 35%, 75%, 150%, 300%)

Top Speed:

20 mph (32 kph)

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Written Review

The Tern Link D8 with BionX is an ultra portable folding electric bike with a higher-end drive system from BionX. It folds perfectly with the battery attached but you can also take it off to reduce weight or charge separately. The motor offers excellent torque, multiple levels of assist and regen, regenerative braking and throttle operation and it runs extremely quiet. Both Tern and BionX are respected manufacturers, known for quality builds and good support. In my opinion they’ve created one of the most functional, well balanced and beautiful folding electric bikes around with the Link D8. Its smaller 20″ wheels enable the super small form factor (when folded) but aren’t as smooth as the larger 24″ wheels chosen for the Node D8. Depending on your needs, either bike performs well but costs a bit more than some entry level folding ebikes that lack assist and some of the nicer accessories in use here.

The motor driving the Tern Link D8 electric is a 350 watt gearless direct drive hub from BionX. It’s located in the rear wheel and painted black to match the Tern frame. Note that this motor has a larger diameter and higher weight than some equally specced gearless hubs but delivers increased toughness and quieter operation. I’m not aware of many folding electric bikes that offer regenerative braking or regen modes but the Link D8 with BionX has both. There are actually four levels of regen here to help you recapture energy while simultaneously slowing the bike and sparing your brakes when coasting down hills. This feature can also be used as a form of increased challenge if you want to raise your heart rate and don’t have any hills around to climb. While this bike does not have a rear quick release mechanism (only on the front wheel) the rear wheel remains easy to service because the motor has a built in torque sensor vs. an external dropout strain gauge.

Powering the Tern Link D8 is a BionX-made Lithium-ion battery pack containing Panasonic cells (known for being super high quality). It offers 48 volts of power which is above average. This has several benefits including increased torque, improved climbing ability and more efficient electricity transfer. In terms of overall capacity, this pack is slightly smaller than the stock BionX kits but that enables the folding feature mentioned earlier and keeps the overall weight of the bike down. At 42 pounds (with the 6 pound battery attached) this isn’t the world’s lightest folding ebike but that’s due in part to the high quality fenders and rack that add utility. You could always remove these extras to shave a bit off and reduce any rattling noise that can develop over time with use, folding and storage.

The control panel on this bike is one of my favorites because it’s slim, removable, backlit and packed with readouts but not overly complex to use. It’s a second generation display from BionX with four buttons (two on each side) that are symmetrical – designed to be usable on the left or right hand side. What I’ve found is that I usually only press the upper right hand button on the display to get the bike powered up and then rely on the stand-alone button pad and throttle which are mounted on the right handle bar. Many ebikes forego throttles but it can be useful when your legs get tired (especially on a smaller bike like this) or when trying to balance groceries or packages. The rear rack helps out with the latter experience but you get the point… imagine crossing a puddle and wanting to keep your feet raised temporarily but still needing to move forward, that’s where throttles can really shine. On this system (as well as other BionX) you have to get the bike up to 2 mph before the throttle will activate and this is a safety feature. Aside from the display and buttons I like the ergonomic grips and simple grip-shifter on the right side of the handlebar. You might consider adding a bell and lights to this setup depending on your intended use. I should mention that only the right brake lever has a motor cutoff and regen activator built in. If you brake with the left lever, regenerative braking will not activate. This is a minor gripe and again, a design feature related to all BionX kits at the time of this review.

The Tern Link D8 with BionX combines two proven platforms. The locking mechanisms and folding design from Tern are superb and I love the magnetic clasp designed to keep the bike from unfolding. The silent and durable motor from BionX feels zippy and the removable battery is very convenient. I’m a fan of pedal assist but see the value in throttles so it’s nice that this folding ebike offers both. The eight speed cassette delivers a good range for climbing or pedaling fast (which can be precarious on a smaller 20″ wheel bike like this). I like the reflective sidewalls on the wheels and am okay with the standard v-brakes and plastic folding pedals. The crank arms on this bike are actually quite long for a smaller bike and that makes pedaling feel natural. While many folding electric bikes opt for rear mounted batteries I love that this one has a more balanced weight distribution and appreciate that they even added water bottle cage bosses on the side of the downtube so you can still bring some fluids along (you could also store water in a bag on the rear rack). If you’re looking for quality but need an extremely small footprint on your boat, RV or closet then the Link D8 would be an excellent choice.

Pros:

  • Solid two year warranty on the frame, drive system and battery pack – Tern and BionX are both large, well established companies
  • Beautiful aesthetic with matching black and blue frame, custom black hub motor and black battery casing featuring co-branded Tern + BionX art
  • Just about every drive mode you could ask for including four levels of torque sensing pedal assist, four levels of energy regeneration and variable speed trigger throttle
  • Independent button pad on right side of handle bar is easy to reach (to change assist mode or use the throttle) doesn’t require that you take your hand off the grip to use
  • Battery pack can be charged on or off the bike, does not have to be removed for the frame to fold completely
  • Motor is powerful, durable (thanks to the gearless direct drive configuration) and very quiet to operate
  • Full length front and rear fenders with mud flaps, rear carry rack includes built in bungee cords for securing cargo
  • Several nice extras including reflective sidewalls on tires and backlit LCD display panel for improved safety during evening and night riding, ergonomic grips for improved comfort and magnetic clasp for secure folded position
  • Good weight distribution with the 9 pound hub motor at the rear and the 6 pound battery pack mounted forward on the downtube
  • BionX battery has a deep sleep protection feature that keeps it from discharging in a way that could hurt the battery over longer periods of storage
  • Satisfying to pedal thanks to the longer crank arms and eight speeds cassette, good for climbing or riding faster

Cons:

  • Smaller 20″ wheels allow the bike to achieve an extremely small folded footprint but don’t offer the same cushion or gap-spanning potential as larger wheels, consider the Tern Node D8 which has 24″ wheels if this is a concern
  • Only the right brake lever cuts power to the motor and activates power regeneration mode, it would be nice if both did
  • Rear wheel does not feature quick release, will have to use traditional tools during maintenance or fixing a flat

Resources:

More Tern Reviews

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Tern Vektron Review

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Franco Bujosa
3 years ago

Where can I purchase this? I have looked online, even Tern’s website and NYCEWheels and with no success. When will you review the Tern eLink?

Reply
Court Rye
3 years ago

Hi Franco! I reached out to Tern regarding availability of the Link D8 and they said “If interested in locating a Tern Link D8/Node D8 with BionX please contact north.america@ternbicycles.com so we can assist you in finding a Tern retailer in your area.” sorry I can’t be more specific… I feel like NYCeWheels should be able to special order one for you? I hope to review the eLink eventually and will post it here as soon as I do :D

Reply

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Ant
9 hours ago

I have had no problems with the spokes on my CCS... The New Zealand website says it has 13G rear spokes, so I think this is good. I have had no problems with the cutting out of power, but have had a problem with rain when the bike has been parked up and it rained on the battery (21ah). For some reason the on/off button is below the level of the rest of the battery, and water pools around it. When I turned it on, it wouldn't go. Once dried out, has been no problem. Have now put tape over it, and it now sits above the surrounding battery. Haven't had it in the rain since, but hope this works next time. No other issues! Love the bike!

ZeroPointM
12 hours ago

Something I noticed is the frame layout has changed, from the 2017 version. (Cant wait to get mine, window shopping)

I see the controller has moved from in the frame drop tube to being external, much easier to replace and repair which is nice. But also its now more open to weather and the elements of biking.

The battery is mounted lower and gives more room for removing/ accessing it. Looks like the area to used to mount a bottle cage was moved up, not a big deal unless you have a tall bottle or pump.

ZeroPointM
17 hours ago

@oltbike I would be intrested in knowing if any major changes or more of a refresh for the new year?

Something I noticed is the frame layout has changed, from the 2017 version. (Cant wait to get mine, window shopping)

I see the controller has moved from in the frame drop tube to being external, much easier to replace and repair which is nice. But also its now more open to weather and the elements of biking.

The battery is mounted lower and gives more room for removing/ accessing it. Looks like the area to used to mount a bottle cage was moved up, not a big deal unless you have a tall bottle or pump.

ADKer
20 hours ago

Hello, 1st post. I have put in order for CCS with the new 19.2 battery for delivery in March/April. I did the usual research that led me to Juiced, but then I found this forum after I placed the order. After reading the entire 14 pages of this thread, the potential problems worrying me are: 1) the broken spoke problem 2) the cut-out/ loss of power problem Those 2 issues ; Have they been resolved, so I don't have to worry with purchase of a new bike? (I did note in 11/17 that Tora himself made a post and referred to new stronger spokes, and some type of cross-pattern application to reduce breakage-has all this been implemented?) Thanks!

Scooteretti
2 days ago

@Chris Hammond nice to have input. My reason for recommending a mid drive and to answer some of the points you made are as follows:

1- While in theory this is true it really comes down to what quality of chains and sprockets are use. Certainly the first generation had these issues but as mid drives have become so popular suppliers like Connex and KMC have come out with ebike specific chains with pretty much eliminate this issue and have significantly increased wear resistance. It is not uncommon to get 3000 miles out of chain / from sprocket set up.

2- Agree that a high mileage rider should carry some spares and some basic tools. Chains like the KMC and Connex one's have the quick links so repairs out on the road will get you back up an running in just a few minutes. Truly super easy.

3- Hub motors especially geared hub systems from our experience will always have a lower overall life-cycle vs say a Bosch/Brose/Yamaha drive unit due to their inherent design and for the most part build quality. Most geared hub drive units are fairly inexpensive and mass produced in China where the quality of the internals are not as precise as the more popular high end mid drive units. Now this is not to say that they don't last a long time, they just don't typically last anywhere near as long as the high end mid drives.

In @TechMan 's case, the mileage is going to rack up pretty quickly and if the bike is to be a long term and reliable investment I firmly believe that the mid drive will outperform must rear hub systems.

4- True that if you have no chain or tools a rear hub with throttle could get you home (if there's enough remaining battery).

5- Flats (eventually will happen) will be significantly faster and easier to replace with a mid drive compared to most rear hub systems as there are no physical connectors and most bikes are typically equipped with some sort of quick release which makes things super easy.

While there are pros and cons to everything personally from our experience on selling thousands of electric bikes points more towards a higher end mid drive equipped bike as being the most cost effective and reliable for very high mileage riders.

There is certianly a place for hub motors and they do account for a good % of our business each year so I am certainly not knocking down their place in this market and they will be here for many years to come.

hope this helps,

Will
shop.scooteretti.com

bob armani
2 days ago

Surfstar-If you want to buy cheap now and wait for 2019 models, have you considered looking for demo bikes with little wear and tear? You may be able to find one at a very reasonable price and sell it later without taking a big loss...

Bruce Arnold
2 days ago

On Friday, I did a 20 mile ride in to town and back. I don't recharge after every ride, so the battery was at around 49 volts when I set out. It was down to 44 volts when I got home.

44 volts is where I start to notice a serious loss of performance BTW.

The wife wanted to go for a ride later that afternoon, so I put the battery on the charger. In 2 hours it went from 44 to 48 volts. That's from 2 tick marks on the battery indicator to 6, if anyone wants a rough-and-ready comparison.

At 48 volts, we're back to good performance. Not as good as a full charge, but as my old man used to say, "good enough is good enough."

The main takeaway for me is how quickly you can add significant juice in just a couple of hours. This is useful information IMHO so I thought I'd share it.

Over50
2 days ago

Great choice on the tape. I used some reflective bike spoke tape on my bikes ... kinda looks like the photo below of my Tern. But your selection looks way more durable. I might pick up some and add some enhancements particular to my helmets.

Over50
2 days ago

I've been receiving marketing emails from the Body Float folks (guess they go by Kinekt now) that a new release (model 2.1) is imminent. I think the 2.0 models are discounted pending arrival of 2.1. Here is the text of their latest email:

Our 2.1 Aluminum and 3.1 Carbon Fiber seatposts should be hitting shelves within the next several weeks. With that, you'll see a few changes and improvements. For starters, hopefully you’re starting to recognize the transition from BodyFloat to KINEKT. The new 2.1 and 3.1 seatposts will reflect our new branding. You'll also start to see the new branding roll out with updated packaging and other collateral.
What's New? ... A sleeker link design, seat clamp assembly with spring to make saddle swaps a breeze, 12mm offset for more fore-aft positioning options

I'll probably wait for this release before I pick something for the Tern GSD (expecting in April). I'll need something for the wife who I outweigh by about 60 pounds. So a couple of questions I'm hoping someone can weigh in on: 1). Is there a better maybe less-technical seat post suspension option for a petite female? I noticed Brooks has some saddles with springs - do these work? Just thinking that the BF might be overkill for her if she doesn't ride nearly as much as I do. 2). Does anyone know of a security quick release seat post clamp? I envision something that is still QR but which maybe takes a key (I guess it would be that quick). Yes, I could switch it for a security hex clamp but if there was a key solution I could only lock it when parking outside and would have it truly QR most of the time. Or secondarily, something like a "saddle leash" that is locked at one end on the bike frame and maybe stores on the bike frame when not in use? Yes, I can carry a cable to loop through the saddle rails and attach to my lock but I was wondering if there was a ready-made product that stores on the bike. For my commuters currently, I carry two cables in my backpack or pannier. One for securing the front wheel and one for the saddle rails. Would be nice if there was something ready-made to store away on the bike frame.

surfstar
3 days ago

Bear with me for a lengthy post:

Just got back from my mtb commute - only the second time I’ve ridden to my new job. Used Google Fit for some tracking info. (side note, I think I would put 1500-2500 mi/yr on the bike)

Route: It’s only 5.1 mi, and my ride home has a steady incline of maybe 250’ gain over 2 miles, then mostly flat. I averaged 10mph roughly. My morning commute is of course the opposite, and averages a little faster with the downhill and less traffic. The uphill section usually has the most stops and starts, also.

stop/go factor: on my afternoon commute, since I stick to the main street with a nice bike lane, it has lots of stop lights and if you hit everyone, I can currently keep up with cars. An ebike may let me branch out to other faster streets with no dedicated bike lane, but I would be flowing with traffic, so I could up my speed and still be safe, I imagine. Either way, there is enough stop and go and I only hit a top speed of 16mph currently, so I see no need to rule out 20mph limited bikes now. Realizing that I may have a more stop and go pattern than many users with dedicated bike paths, I am now wondering if a geared hub motor would offer the best performance? Additionally, I do think I would like a throttle…
...which leads me to realizing that I need to at least ride a mid-motor torque pedalec and throttle/hub for test rides, even if they are not the exact models I may be looking at. They do at least have the Haibike locally. Hopefully that will help me determine if I have a preference for either speed sensor and/or throttle.

So, of course, more models keep popping up: Surface 604 Colt - will that be the best options/compromise for me? Is it worth ~$350 more than a RadCity? I can only imagine how the 2019 models may offer even more features for the same $. Which then makes me thing, go cheap, sell and upgrade later on... lol

Just thinking out loud, but also voicing my process as the additional info may give you guys help in any recommendations…

JKitto
3 days ago

Here's my final update. I took the bike in for a checkup at 1400kms and the chain, cluster and brakes were all worn past tolerance. So after 2 and a half weeks of riding I was going to have to replace those parts plus budget to replace them every 2-3 weeks and replace the chain ring every couple of months going forward. To me that was unacceptable as it was cost prohibitive. The bike has been since been returned. It was a nice bike to ride but I couldn't have a primary commuter go through parts that fast. I was riding it like a normal bicycle meaning keeping the cadence up and using all of the gears to keep stress on the drive train low. Also it was in eco mode for 44 of the 45kms of leg of the commute. The bike was maintained every night after the commute and the chain checked, and lubed if necessary, between the morning and afternoon commutes.

As for the battery, Specialized sent me a U1-604 to replace the U1-504. I did get more range but still not enough to be comfortable with having the lights and eco mode both on for the round trip without charging in between.

What I've learned from this is that the mid-drive is very hard on the drive train components and I would likely have had better drive train life with a hub drive.

JRA
3 days ago

Di2 Alfine 11 works for me. Because I have vertical dropouts I need to use a chain tensioner which cuts into the efficiency some. A little spendy but I don't mind shifting and as far as coolness factor goes.......

Powerloss through the drivetrain adds up over time. An e bike does a good job of compensating as long as you have the proper gear range for your riding terrain and style. Not only when under power but when you stop pedaling an internal gear hub can still have parasitic drag and this it the powerloss that saps your legs when riding without power, along with the overall weight of the bike of course.

But in the end it is hard to beat a cassette/derailleur system for efficiency given that it is tune. Also a lot lighter weight, didn't weigh my Alfine but certainly the bike is heavier with it but the performance meets my needs and is still under 50lbs without any lightweight components otherwise.

nebula722
3 years ago

I like thumb throttles as they are easier to use with gloves on.   Does this bike have a cruise control?

ElectricBikeReview.com
3 years ago

+nebula722 Very interesting, this is great feedback that might help others to consider what it's like riding an ebike and how to use this feature. Definitely makes me think differently about the feature. Thanks!

nebula722
3 years ago

+ElectricBikeReview.com I set the cruise control at a speed a little lower than I want to go and then I pedal and add some speed to it.  This is really a power lock as it does not apply more power on a hill.  I leave the cruise set where it is and downshift till I can make it up the hill.  I use it as soon as I turn out of my driveway and I use it often.  With the cruise on I pedal as hard or soft as I want.  Perhaps this is a feature seniors will use more often than younger riders. 

ElectricBikeReview.com
3 years ago

+nebula722 I'm really glad you brought it up, most people don't think or talk about it but it sounds like you've found a good use for cruise control on ebikes. I'd like to hear how it comes in handy for you - when do you put it to use?

nebula722
3 years ago

+ElectricBikeReview.com IZIP has a lot of interesting products.  When I purchased my Magic Pie with throttle and pedal assist I laughed when he told me of the cruise.  I use it constantly to my surprise. 

ElectricBikeReview.com
3 years ago

Great question! No cruise control here, I actually know of very few ebikes with that feature but many of the 2015 IZIP models will have it: http://electricbikereview.com/category/izip/

wojtek1425
3 years ago

Do you really think the all four regen modes matter?
After riding the ST1 for over a year I still can't find any significance in the two modes it offers. It looks more like a gimmick than a significant feature.

visualray
1 year ago

I have a Tern Link D8 with a 250W Bionx, and I can say that I use all the regen modes. When you're going down a super steep hill, it makes it so that I hardly use my brakes plus it does put a decent amount of energy back for the short amount of time.

wojtek1425
3 years ago

I wanted to do a comprehensive review of ST1 but stumbled on the issue of two regen modes, and even the tech support could not offer a reasonable explanation other than design features (in this case the wagon is ahead of the horse). Having said that I saw some designs with more significant energy return modes (forgot where). With regen modes being presents in many electric bikes, it is time to evaluate them and see who the winner is.

ElectricBikeReview.com
3 years ago

+wojtek1425 Great question, this is something I'd like to test but I haven't had the time to focus on it. Currently doing my best just to keep up with the site and add some new sorting features and reviews from Interbike :)

wojtek1425
3 years ago

I know nothing about BionX, but wanted to know best case scenario percentage-wise. How much power can you possibly get back? I tried the ST1 but 1 bar was all I could get (long downhill coasting)

ElectricBikeReview.com
3 years ago

The four levels of assist and four levels of regen on BionX are pretty well spaced out. I could see myself using the first, second and third levels of regen when riding on flats or coasting down hills. The fourth level is pretty aggressive but I think they added it to balance out the four levels of assist. If they only had one level then it would likely feel too powerful and be less useful for actual fitness training or small hills... you'd have to pedal while going downhill vs. the very light regen level 1 that can actually still let you coast. I don't think it's a gimmick.

Marc Ariss
3 years ago

I try and I try to find something about folding bikes I like.....still no success, good review though.

markharrispt
3 years ago

Tern, like dahon, Brompton etc are a good frame to build an ebike on. More integrated battery solutions, integrated motor solutions, & disk brakes, a minimum.

hassmann2000
3 years ago

Very nice. 

Way over my budget though. 

There's a bike called the "Cyclomatic folding bike" which is similar to this but is about £500 (or less). 

It's obviously not as nice as this bike, but would you recommend it anyway?

ElectricBikeReview.com
3 years ago

Interesting... I've reviewed a very similar bike to this called the EG Vienna http://electricbikereview.com/eg/vienna-250-ex/ and thought it was decent. I liked the suspension elements but felt the body position was more squished. Could be good for a shorter rider. The battery and motor size is also significantly smaller and the bike doesn't have regen. It's a trade off but yeah, those bikes seem to work alright :)