On our weekly stroll through Costco, my normal check of the bicycle isle brought an interesting discovery. Amongst the bikes on the floor, was an electric-motored offering. With a price tag that was in the three-figure range, there sat several e-Moto ecco 1.5 bikes. This is a brand I was unfamiliar with, so a little investigation was in order. I am still working with Costco to ride one of their floor models for a test.
An online check uncovered much information about this line of bikes. It also showed that my favorite local E-bike shop is a dealer. I rode the pedelec I am giving an extended test right now (lots more on this soon), the 10 miles from my house to Ivan Stewart’s Electric Bike Center in Little Italy. Sure enough, they offer the e-Moto line, along with any needed service support. Before I could think twice, I was riding the streets of downtown San Diego on an e-Moto Liberty 1.5.
Gary over at Ivan’s E-bike shop, told me they don’t carry the full line of e-Motos at the moment, but they can make sure to get you any one you like. This Liberty 1.5 is designed for a smaller rider than me. With 24″ wheels and a small frame, it is the perfect size for many people and the tight confines of a crowded household. I have to admit, I really fell for this bike before I had pedaled the first block. At a lower price point than almost every electric bike on the market, I was very pleased with its feel and performance.
This compact E-bike has a step-through aluminum frame. This and other alloy pieces add up to a bike with 44 lbs. of easy-to-lift weight. The frame does have some flex, but it is not uncommon for this type of frame. I weigh close to double of the intended rider, but the flexing was not noticeable as I rode this little gem. The maneuverability and light feel was a pleasant change from the full-size electric motored bikes I normally ride and test.
The 26 volt power system helps to keep the bike light, but does not affect the power it delivers. It is also part of what keeps this bike priced so reasonably. With a 9 ah capacity, it is rated at 25 miles between charges. The ecco 1.5 shares this power train, but many of the e-Moto line use the more common 37 volt battery and the associated electronics. All seem to share the use of Panasonic lithium-ion battery technology. Lithium-ion is the industry standard when it comes to powerful, light-weight, and safe batteries.
With no throttle to deal with, this bike automatically feeds the power as you pedal. The handlebar mounted control has a single switch to choose from standard power-assist, or high. You can feel the difference between settings. The control has four lights to keep you abreast of the amount of power left in the battery. They seemed more responsive and accurate than most E-bikes I’ve tested. Also on this panel was a simple on-off switch.
The power of the 250 watt hub motor was smooth and torquey. The hills I climbed were easily conquered with light pedaling. The power came on when needed and allowed easy movement on the city streets. The six-speed Shimano gear set was shifted nicely with a thumb-activated handlebar mounted shifter. A pleasant and comfortable combination. This bike is designed for riders of all ages and skill levels.
It comes well-equipped with fenders, kick-stand, front basket, and a bell. A large rear rack is included. The Kenda puncture-resistant tires and complementing Kenda self-sealing tubes are a great standard feature. I can’t say enough about having these to avoid the displeasure of flat tires. Kudos to e-Moto for this big plus. Add to that a built-in rear wheel lock, and you have almost every accessory that your bike will need. What a great package!
E-Moto touts this as a beach cruiser styled bike. I see it having so many uses. Perfect for campouts and campgrounds, it will easily fit on most motor homes and trailers. Trips to the market and errands with this bike will save you money and help keep pollution down. Fun rides around town or at the coast will be a common daily experience. This is just a simple and pleasant bike to use for most any reason. Bike riding is a freeing experience, and this bike is a perfect candidate to get you on two wheels.
One big excitement for me, was the knowledge that many people who haven’t yet decided if a E-bike is right for them, can give it a try without a major cash outlay. Face it, most E-bikes are so costly, that a lot of people won’t risk getting one, if they are not sure how much it will get used. And with this Liberty 1.5, I see it getting used a lot. This is a great addition to the electric-motored bike world.
The e-Moto line comes with a great warranty. They seem to back their bikes well. From my time with this e-Moto Liberty 1.5, I feel the quality is quite high. Well designed and executed, it looks like the perfect first E-bike for the masses. I suggest you give one a try. Bring your plastic, because this bike is hard to resist.
Thanks again to Ivan Steward’s Electric Bike Center for letting me have such full access to their bikes. They offer free test rides. They rent bikes to tour San Diego. They are considering organizing E-bike tours of our great city. Let them know if you would be interested. And of course, top-notch sales and service are their number one priority.
Now, if I can only get Costco to let me try out that ecco 1.5. Thanks for checking out my blog. Lots more on the way, Turbo Bob.
“The Fire Islands and the Mackinac Islands, where bicycles call the tune and automobiles pay the piper, are as rare as a broken spoke on the side of the rear wheel opposite the freewheel.”—James E. Starrs, The Noiseless Tenor.
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