I finally got my chance to try out this reasonably priced E-bike that Costco is (was?) offering. If you saw my post on the e-Moto Liberty 1.5, then you might know how hard I tried to get Costco to let me ride this bike they had on their showroom floor. I had no luck with them, but then a good friend decided to buy one. She was kind enough to let me try it out to see what I thought of it. The big-wigs at the Costco offices told me that stocking this bike was an experiment and they probably wouldn’t continue carrying it. That is ok, because Ivan Stewart’s Electric Bike Center in San Diego is a dealer and can get you any e-Moto bike you like.
This electric assist-bike is very nice for its price range. It comes well-equipped with fenders, a rear rack and a bell. It has a light-weight aluminum step-through frame and a dual-mode power system. With its 250 watt front hub motor and a 26 volt lithium battery, it tips the scales at about 55 lbs. They claim a 15-25 mile battery range and from the riding I did, that seems right. The range you get depends on your weight, terrain, and how much you pedal the bike during the ride.
The quality feels very high on this E-bike. One thing I thought was unusual, was the fact that she received the bike in the box, instead of assembled and ready to ride. I told her I would get it ready and checked over, in exchange for the access to the bike for this test. That gave me a chance to really see what this bike is made of, and get an insight to what it has to offer. The assembly was easy. Filling the tires, installing the pedals, and straightening and securing the handlebar stem covered the build. It came with the few tools you will need. I went over all the fasteners and the such, while I waited for the battery to charge. I was impressed with the pieces included and attention to detail the factory put forth on this electric-motored bike.
The e-Moto ecco 1.5 has a very simple power control system. I really liked the one on their Liberty 1.5, and this bike seems to share a similar set-up. There is a three position switch close at hand that sets the pedelec control. The middle spot is motor power off, the low mode gives about 10 mph of power when you pedal. The high position allows full power when pedaling and will take you to 16 mph. In addition to that, there is a thumb throttle on the left grip that gives proportional control of the motor-assist any time you feel the need. This is designed in a way I like, and it also has safety motor-cutoff switches in both brake levers. Good job, e-Moto.
The brakes work good, something you definitely want in an E-bike. I thought it was a little strange that the rear hub has a coaster brake. The e-Moto web site shows this bike to come equipped with a Shimano Nexus 7-speed hub with a coaster brake. The bike I tested came with a Sram S7 7-speed hub with a coaster brake. The different hub on this bike might be there because this is an older model that they cleared out through the Costco stores. I don’t know if that is the case, but the Sram geared hub works fine and is not a big draw-back. I do wish that a regular free-wheel hub was installed, because sometimes at a stop, you want to be able to turn the pedals backwards to line them up in a good place for starting off.
Other features include Kenda tires with reflective side walls. The website shows the tires to be puncture-resistant with self-healing tubes inside. They are 26 X 1.75, a good size choice for an E-bike like this. The double-walled aluminum rims with stainless steel spokes look cool. A Zoom Bravo 386 front suspension fork and a decent saddle are speced on the bike. The ABS fenders each have small mudguards and the aluminum rack has a spring-loaded hold-down clip for books and the such. The hand grips are the ergonomic style and have a great feel to them. It has a 18 inch frame, that will fit most riders.
I rode this ecco 1.5 quite a bit in the two days I had it. I am just a little taller than the riders this bike is designed for. Yet I still felt comfortable and safe. The power is more than sufficient and the motor is almost silent. On a local hill that I use to test the pulling power of the motor, it scooted right up with very little effort from me. The power system is smooth and easily controlled. I did get some thumb fade during a stage of the riding when I was holding full throttle for a long time. I prefer a twist throttle myself, but in normal riding, the pedelec nature of this E-bike doesn’t require you to hold the thumb throttle at all.
All in all, I really am impressed with this E-bike. She got a great deal on it. Buying it from someone other than a E-bike shop could turn out to be a problem. Costco has a 90 day return policy, but if the bike develops a problem during the warranty period, Costco can’t help her. I would think any e-Moto dealer would honor the warranty, but I am looking into that to see if it’s the case. Also, servicing in the long run could be touch and go, as many bike shops still refuse to repair and adjust electric-motored bikes. Those are good reasons to buy your bike at an authorized E-bike dealer with service and support.
So this morning she came over to pick it up. She and my wife mounted their E-bikes for today’s Bike to Work Day. They were both smiling as the pedals churned down our street. I hope she likes it. And the question is, will she use it enough to make the investment worthwhile? That is just one more thing I like about this bike, the initial outlay is not too steep, so the gamble you take is worth the rewards you could get.
I hope you rode your bike to work today. And better yet, get out for some good old fashioned fun, Turbo Bob.
“Don’t buy upgrades, ride up grades.”—Anonymous.
Check out San Diego’s E-bike shop