V-Source Hybrid—Extended Test

This sharp-looking E-bike made the riding easy.

With all of the electric-assist bikes that I ride, I try to envision myself as the owner.   I contemplate the features, performance, comfort, and price.   Not that many fill all the needs on my list.   And even though this V-Source Hybrid isn’t perfect, it might be the closest E-bike yet that I can see myself riding everyday.

This E-bike was lent to me for two weeks by CEBC Inc (California Electric Bike Company).   They are the same firm that set me up with the two matching folding E-bikes I reported on earlier in the month.   They are still deciding on the exact name of the bike and some other details.   I understand the bike I rode is a pre-production model and the final version may be a little different.   I hope this write-up helps them to tailor the bike in a way that will make all their customers happy.

I just love the white color and basic styling this electric-motored bike offers.   The sizing, seating position, and frame geometry are to my liking.   The power system, motor control, and control layout are well thought out.   The shifting, braking, and quality kept a smile on my face.

What we have here is a E-bike with some great features and specs.   At its lower price point, a few pieces that could have made it really shine had to be passed over, but could easily be added by the end user (me or you).   I will go into those in a minute, for now let’s concentrate on the high points.

The medium powered front hub motor (250 watts) (geared) was quiet and smooth.   In the pedelec mode it has a soft-start programmed in the electronic control unit that gives a nice feel.   Close to your right thumb is a switch that selects the pedelec mode or twist throttle mode.   Just like the shifter, you don’t have to look to find it, they are activated with barely a thought.

The controls of this bike are laid-out well and convenient to operate.

I sometimes started out (from a stop) in the throttle mode and just flipped the switch to pedelec mode to maintain the electric-assist as I pedaled.   This way I didn’t have to wait for the motor power to start and could let off the twist throttle as I rode.   This became a easy routine that became second nature with the well placed controls.   Most of the time I just left it in pedelec mode and enjoyed the smooth power the motor offered.

It had enough grunt to attack all (but one), of the very steep hills I rode up.   It is also very efficient as I was able to clock over 30 miles on one ride with only one of the power indicator lights going out.   The lithium battery is mounted inside the rear rack in a protected way that allows full use of the rack.   I made good use of the rack many times and liked the fact that is was there.   The power key has a folding hinge built-in that tucks it out of the way of possible damage.   Most of the wires are routed inside the frame to protect them as well.   Speaking of the frame, I liked that too.

With a disc brake up front and a V brake on the rear, I never once felt a strong stop wasn’t possible.   The rims and tires are of high quality and the tires have the familiar reflective sidewalls.   I am not sure about installed flat protection but a pair of thorn-resistant tubes and green goop would be easy to install.   The 700c size tires are a good complement to the solid feel of this E-bike.

The bike comes with a two-legged center-mount kickstand.   It worked well, but was a little unstable on un-even ground.   The fenders have mud flaps, which I like, but were kind of flimsy like most modern plastic fenders nowadays.   The front and rear LED lights were bright and convenient.   It has a bell on the handlebars, but no bike computer.   The computer is not a necessity, although nice to have and easily added.

The Shimano 7-speed rear geared hub has good ratio spacing.   It shifted well and was never a problem.   Its shifter was close at hand and required minimum effort to operate.   It made riding pleasant and natural.   The well-matched combination of the motor-assist and the gearing was just one of the features that put this bike on my list of E-bikes I could imagine owning.

There were a couple things that needed up-grading.   The front fork is just too stiff and has no adjustments to change it.   A medium priced replacement would make a world of difference.   The hand grips are too hard.   These two things worked against the bike on my longer rides.   The battery rattled some on the slide-in rails.   I stuffed some closed-cell Styrofoam between it and the rack to quiet it down.   Last, every now and then, the motor had a momentary power lapse (hiccup, if you will), but always came back on.   More of an attention getter that a problem.

Barbara and I rode this bike a lot.   We took it on a few long rides and many shorter ones.   I got a chance to let others try it and never a bad word was said about it, (other than mine—see the last paragraph).   She had a little trouble throwing a leg over the top frame tube to climb on, but was fine once she was seated.   Fun to ride and easy to like, I can almost envision a pair of these hybrids finding a place in my bike stable.

Keep E-biking, you know we will, Turbo Bob.

“The bicycle ran with special ease at dusk, the tire emitting a kind of whisper as it palpated each rise and dip in the hard earth along the edge of the road.”—Vladimir Nabokov, Mary.

Get info on this and other E-bikes offered by CEBC Inc at—

http://www.californiaelectricbikecompany.com

Of course you know of my other favorite E-bike shops—

http://www.nycewheels.com

And—

http://www.iselectricbikecenter.com

And my favorite local bike shop—

http://www.qualitybmx.com/

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About Turbo Bob's Bicycle Blog

E-bike Enthusiast Vintage Bike Enthusiast
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