A2B Los Angeles Re-launch of Products—2013.
Part of the fun involved with my writings and videos are the invites to special events in the bike world. This time it was to view and ride the brand-new offerings from A2B. This company has been mostly known for their Metro E-bike that has gone mainstream in many ways. My first look at this particular bike was a bit with Jay Leno showing-off his A2B Metro in a much seen video. A2B and Fast4ward E-bikes were coming out of the Ultra Motor camp at that time.
In 2011 HERO Eco moved to purchase Ultra Motor and by the next year it was their baby. With new money and enthusiasm infused into the picture, HERO Eco has really made the move to bring their products fresh looks and performance. To introduce the new bikes, they orchestrated a series of world-wide re-launch events that have reached from London and Munich, to New York, San Francisco and last week Los Angeles. I was able to attend both days of the LA re-launch excitement. The first day they set-up at the end of the Santa Monica Pier with day two being hosted by and at Electric Bikes LA in El Segundo.
I got a full inside feel for their new mission statement, the perceived reasons potential customers will embrace these new E-bikes and a chance to ride every bike at the event as much as my heart desired. I met several of the high-rollers behind these bikes and the company. I hob-knobbed with established dealers for the A2B line and some with hopes to bring them onto their sales floors. I also got some insight to the new names emblazoned on each E-bike. See if you can figure out how these names came about.
Part of the new features they introduced revolve around torque sensor based control systems on some of the bikes. Something I call intelligent control, it is one of the best and most modern ways for an E-bike to know when and how to power up the motor. The bike can tell through a dropout mounted load sensor just how hard you are pushing on the pedals. It translates this information to a mini computer and user operated sensitivity controls to allow the bike’s power to feel seamless and smooth as you ride.
Originally the Metro, the new Octave has more going for it than just some new graphics and a name. This full-suspension powerful E-bike has been their flagship and that is one thing that hasn’t changed. This is a fairly large and heavy E-bike, and has the option of adding a second battery on the rear rack to double its range for some really long rides. It is a throttle only controlled E-bike, but a novelty European version will be offered that sports hydraulic brakes and a crank sensed pedelec control system. I am not sure if that version will come to the states, but I would think there are many that will desire it.
This is their new bike that will draw the most excitement from performance E-bike enthusiasts. Like the new Alva and Alva+, it is based on the Velociti, yet has some new lines and refinements from the old model. Touted to do 28-30 mph with its new torque sensor based control system, it has no hand throttle to operate. By using only the knowledge of how hard you are pedaling, the Shima can really move out, and still stays within California and Federal guidelines for E-bikes.
It shares a great new display / control panel with the two Alva models. It is easy to operate and make changes to the modes with a single dual function knob. I found it to be intuitive and sleek. The components on this bike are high-end to match the kind of riding and riders it is designed for. A very long range is predicted, and I wouldn’t be surprised, as torque sensor controlled E-bikes are quite efficient with the use of the battery’s stored energy.
Like the Alva and the Shima, this model has a couple cool features I haven’t seen on other E-bikes. One is the electronic key that turns on the bike’s system with a quick wave over the display unit. The battery connector from the bike has a strong magnet that holds and connects it to the battery with no effort needed. Like the Shima it has brakes that are hydraulically controlled for smooth and powerful stops. New colors are offered on this and some of the other A2B E-bikes.
The front and rear lighting package works well. I got a chance to ride the this and the Octave at night, and even though it (on the Octave) is not the same set-up as the two Alvas and the Shima, all had the juice to light-up the road for some fun sun down riding. Dual control is my preferred control system and it allows you to add power from the throttle when you feel like you need more than the pedelec feature offers at any given point of your ride, and the Alva+ has this feature.
This bike is more like the old Velociti than the Shima and Alva+. It is throttle only and many seem to like this type of control system. It does have some up-dates from the old model including refinements, graphics and colors. The one I rode was in a great shade of red and garnered many compliments as I rode the streets of LA during the re-launch event. Like the other bikes from A2B mentioned here you can get much more info on the specs and up-dates by going on the HERO Eco website.
This folding E-bike from A2B is not changed too much from the previous bike, called the Edge. It rides nicely but does have some flex in the chassis and handlebars. This is no surprise and not unlike most folding E-bikes. The available top speed under power is less than their other E-bikes, partially because it uses a 24 volt power system and also because it is more of a kick-around fun bike as opposed to their full-sized bikes. But make no mistake, you can ride this as long and hard as you like.
F4W Peak and Ride
I got a chance to experience a prototype Ride earlier in the year. You may have seen the write-up and video I posted about that day. These are E-bikes designed for riders who are a little more cost conscience, yet still have good power and dependability. I like the sleeker bike looks and lighter weight this type of E-bike has. So as you check out all the HERO Eco E-bikes, don’t discount these two bikes for a great way to have some fun while you get around in the most green way possible.
All the bikes I rode are prototypes, but the production models aren’t far behind. I was able to give my personal input right to the source on what I liked and didn’t like about these bikes. With all that I do with the reporting and the such, I do feel that my feed-back to the E-bike makers is my most important contribution to you, and the E-bike designers and builders. It does seem that HERO Eco has a good handle on making things just right. Down the road I will get more time on the production bikes and I will be sure to speak out about that experience.
Did you figure out where the new names came from? Turbo Bob.
“My idea of a good mountain bike ride is one in which speed, time and distance are forgotten. It’s supposed to be a renewing experience—one that takes you, not one that pulls you back and reminds you.”—Gary Wockner, Gold Hill and Back.
HERO Eco on the web and Facebook
I posted several videos about the event and bikes—start here and scroll around my channel to find them all.