Electric bike reviews - long term reviews

We're starting a collection of e-bike user reviews who have been using their electric bicyclesfor 12 months or more. The reason behind it is simple. We know that everyone loves their e-bikes on their first ride and is evangelical about them for months to come. It's great to witness this but we're aiming for something higher - a more meaningful review from someone who has been using e-bikes in their life for a prolonged period. After all, if you can't read a review for an e-bike that you're interested in from anyone who's been riding it for more than a month, then you know very little about the bike you're considering investing in.

If you'd like to submit a review of your e-bike, please contact us.

Our first long term review is from Anna in Glebe, having ridden a Wisper Alpino 706 since she purchased it from us in September 2010.

* When did you first start riding an electric bicycle and was it this one? (and what is your bike etc)

I bought a Wisper 706 Alpino in September 2010 and have been riding it happily ever since.

* What do you like about your electric bicycle?
There's a lot to like about the Wisper:
1. It is very pretty as well as solid and substantial
2. The seat is really comfortable
3. The computer on-board, the pedal assist mechanism is easy to use and works very well
4. The chain guard means you never get greasy
5. The brakes are good, suspension is good, the rack on the back with panniers works very well for me.
6. I have very good panniers, water-proof and easy-mount (editor's note: These are Ortlieb Back Roller Classic)
7. It's perfect for an older person like myself, I'm in my 60's

* Why did you buy it and has it met its purpose? Elaborate on things you do with it and whether you had expected to do those things (eg riding to work).

I bought this bike because I had previously injured my knee and couldn't walk very much for exercise. A doctor suggested cycling. Also I knew that I might not have been able to get back into cycling on a normal bike because of my level of fitness and capability. The bike has perfectly fulfilled the purpose I bought it for - to get exercise and be able to cycle to work, about 8km, taking about 35 mins. As well as cycling to work 2-3 times per week, I use it for recreational cycling. I carry lots of gear in my panniers because I'm a school teacher. I've carried photographic equipment on it as well.
It's great to be able to sail up a hill that you might not be able to cycle up on a normal bike.

* Before you got your e-bike, did you use a non-powered bicycle? how long ago, how often etc...

I have had a lot of experience of cycling on a non-powered bike, firstly as a child and teenager for (a lot of) recreational cycling (1950's, 60's), then as a young adult for commuting and transport in the 1970's. I continued to cycle recreationally in the 1980's but worked 30 kms from home, so couldn't commute that far on a bike. I stopped cycling in the 1990's-00's because I thought erroneously that it would aggravate my knees. I gave away the bike I'd had during the 70's -80's.

* Whereabouts do you ride (eg which part of which city) and what do you like and dislike about getting around on two wheels?

I cycle between Glebe and Ashfield commuting to work and have been to other parts of the CBD and inner city to visit friends, meet people for lunch etc. I try to avoid main roads and mostly follow assigned cycle routes if possible. I sometimes ride on footpaths. I ride recreationally around Glebe Point, Pyrmont and Cooks River. I have a cycle rack and sometimes take the bicycle somewhere to cycle.
Cycling is a great way to travel, commute, get exercise, get out in the fresh air, see the world. It gives you time to think and reflect and is less stressful than driving in traffic, so long as you're not in traffic.
The worst part is handling vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
I don't like breathing in car exhaust.
Hill starts are not easy.

* Many people say their e-bike is their best purchase. Is this true of you or is this maybe something people say to be nice to us? Can you list some items that were better purchases?

I love my e-bike and would find it hard to choose the best purchase between it and my Mac computer or DSLR camera. It's up there with them in the fabulous and useful technology section.

* What do you wish was different about your e-bike? Eg faster, different colour, had a stereo, was capable of going over land and sea, shot fireballs out of its pedals...

I'm happy with my bike, but it is very heavy with its big battery. I had a smaller battery and it was heavy. I bought a bigger battery and it got heavier. I wanted more battery power. It would be good if we could have longer battery life with less weight.
I'd like it to have lights that were on all the time for safety reasons but my lights are only activated in low light conditions.
I find turning corners is sometimes difficult because it can be problematic when you pedal - you can accelerate at the wrong time during the turn.
I sometimes use the handle bar accelerator by mistake and nearly have an accident
I rarely park my bike in public because I'm worried someone might not only steal it, but damage it. That's not just a problem with an e-bike, but any bike that is expensive.

* Any advice to someone thinking about getting an e-bike?

Get the smaller battery and charge it often, just a reality - the charge may not last as long as you like
An e-bike is a great thing for anyone wanting to ease back into a fitness regime, for commuting
You'll never regret getting an e-bike, it's a lot of fun as well as useful and healthy
Get a cycle rack and panniers
Get a secure lock
Get a loud bell
Children and animals are very unpredictable

* Has your e-bike had an affect on your health?

yes, because I can gain fitness by simply cycling to work and as an older person, I don't have to over-exert myself. It gives me the opportunity for regular and moderate exercise.

* Anything else at all you'd like to say?

It'd be great if more people were on bikes, e-bikes and if there were more cycle ways. Getting into and across the CBD can be a nightmare. There are lots of great new cycleways but there could be so many more.

1 comment

  • Robin

    Great review, my wife is looking to get an E-bike due to her lack of street/fitness or get up the hills, she loves cycling but these put her off so we think this may be a good option. The issue is we don’t want a duff that will fail after a year and leave us with a massive repair bill.
    Glad I fund this site, if we do get one we’ll be sure to review for others.

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