Journalist and cycle mad Gordon Kanki-Knight casts his eye over the Corratec 28 Active Nexus 8 E-Bike.
Electric bicycles, also known as e-bikes, are a hit with clued-up commuters who don’t want to break into a sweat on the way to work, but they are yet to become really popular in Adelaide.
Industry analyst Michael Oliver of Mintel (who coined the term Mamil – middle-aged men in Lycra), says sales of e-bikes are growing rapidly from a tiny base and in the longer term could play a role in introducing many more people, particularly women, to cycling. So I saddled up on a cold and rainy day for a test ride on the Corratec 28 Active Nexus 8 to find out whether more of us should be riding one. It had been a decade since I last rode an electrically assisted bike. Would I know how to ride a bike with a motor? I needn’t have worried – the e-bike is Ebike On test: Corratec 28 Active Nexus 8 intuitive, you just switch it on and ride. A sensor knows when you push on the pedals and the motor seamlessly provides a smooth increase in power as it is needed.
Friends will say you’re “cheating” – but on this bike the power doesn’t come entirely for free. The motor stops assisting you if you stop pedalling, but in return for a bit of leg effort you get a range of up to 140km. This model has three power settings, – a handlebar-mounted visual display tells you which setting you’re in – and the highest makes pedalling up hill a cinch. I calmly cycled up Montefiore Hill and was surprised to find myself catching a road cyclist. Due to a government regulated 250W motor, you get no assistance once you pass 25kph, so if you’re a fit cyclist who whizzes about at 40km/h stick to your carbon-fibre road bike.
The rider position on the Corratec 28 is relaxed and upright – prefect for seeing and being seen in traffic. The bike is easy to handle, too, thanks in part to an excellent choice of tyre – the Continental Contact 42C. In layman’s terms, this is a large diameter tyre, so it soaks up bumps and maintains a good contact patch on the road. In fact, the tyres are so good at absorbing road vibration the suspension forks and seat post were never troubled. When Corratec, based near Munich, began making bicycles 25 years ago, e-bikes were ridden by cycling-mad types who know all sorts of recondite facts about brushless motors and peak wattages. Now, e-bikes such as the one I tested are easy to maintain.
The Corratec 28 Active Nexus 8 features the market-leading Bosch Active Line motor, mounted low for better handling, and a lithium-ion battery that charges in under three hours. The eight gears are sited inside the hub; brake and gear cables are hidden inside the frame; the lighting, rack and mudguards are integrated. This is a no-mess, no-fuss bike. The build quality is unsurpassed: French rims, a Swiss kickstand, German pannier racks, tyres and mudguards – even a German bell. You get the idea. This is the sort of quality you’d associate with a Mercedes at a decimal point of the price. E-bikes offer many of the advantages of a car or scooter without the ongoing costs or licencing requirements.
There is one downside to consider, however. Despite an aluminium frame and components, this Corratec tips the scales at 30kg, so it’s not a bike you’ll want to carry up stairs. But a setting allows the motor to be turned on when you’re pushing the bike up hill on foot. E-bikes are a global trend that Adelaide should adopt.
The Corratec 28 Active Nexus 8 is well designed, safe and reassuring to ride and offers excellent value for money. Get on it! Enter your email address here for your chance to win a Corractec 28 Active Nexus 8 e-bike valued at $3199 from Reid Cycles.
This review originally appeared in Bike SA’s 8th edition of Love Your Ride Magazine.