Sponsor

Patrick Brady

E-bike Writer & Reviewer

Patrick got his start as a bike reviewer back in the 1990s before e-bikes were a thing. In more than 30 years of writing about cycling, he has written about every angle of the sport—bike reviews, travel features, essays, race coverage, how-tos, personality profiles and more. His work has appeared everywhere from Bicycling Magazine to Mountain Flyer. He’s the former publisher of the cycling blog Red Kite Prayer and Asphalt Magazine. He served as chief judge for the North American Handmade Bicycle Show for seven years. On the weekends he helps coach his son’s mountain bike team and tries to remember not to catch air in front of impressionable kids.

Get to Know Patrick Brady

Certifications

  • MFA University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • BPS University of Memphis
  • SBCU graduate
  • Fit Kit Certified
  • Lowell Thomas Award for travel writing

Favorite Style of E-Bike

Mountain, Gravel and Road

Favorite E-Bikes Reviewed

Yuba Spicy Curry

Current Bikes You Ride/Own

Mark DiNucci custom gravel, Chris Bishop custom road, No. 22 Drifter custom gravel bike, Allied Cycle Works Echo gravel bike, Ibis Ripley mountain bike, Ibis Exie mountain bike, Co-Motion tandem, Yuba Spicy Curry, the one and only Brady custom cyclocross bike

Favorite New E-bike Tested

Globe Haul ST

Hobbies

Regular bikes, writing fiction, playing music (reformed rock drummer), wine tasting (Pinot Noir, anyone?)

Santa Cruz Skitch First Look

Santa Cruz Skitch Review: First Look at Gravel/Commuter E-Bike

Santa Cruz, California-based Santa Cruz Bicycles introduced their first e-bike models, the Heckler and the Bullit in 2020, just as the pandemic turned the e-bike industry upside down. They’ve now added another e-bike to their lineup, the Skitch, which straddles two worlds.

The Skitch is pitched as an e-bike that can be set up as either a gravel e-bike or a commuter. In truth, it’s more versatile than that, but marketing an e-bike as either appropriate to paved roads or dirt roads is a good way to say it’s made for all roads, and that’s where the genius of this e-bike blossoms.

What sets the Skitch apart from the Heckler and the Bullit goes to the heart of this e-bike’s identity. It’s made for 700C wheels, features no suspension—front or rear—and can be set up with either a flat bar or a drop bar.

Overview

Santa Cruz Skitch Overview

Santa Cruz suggests in their marketing materials an either/or identity for the Santa Cruz Skitch. Is it a gravel e-bike or is it a commuter e-bike? It’s both! It’s neither!

The backbone, literally and figuratively, for the Skitch is the Fazua Ride60 system that integrates both the motor and the battery in the frame’s down tube. This is a 250W mid-drive motor that is easily missed due to its size.

The Ride60 motor is powered by a 430Wh battery which is estimated to give riders 60 mi. or more of range per charge.

Most high-end e-bikes are eMTBs, which are produced as Class 1 machines with a maximum speed of 20 mph and do not include a throttle. This is because not all trail systems allow e-bikes and the ones that do almost always specific only Class 1 e-bikes with a maximum speed or 20 mph. The legacy bike brands, knowing that many trail systems don’t permit e-bikes yet, choose not to poke the bear with an e-bike that breaks all the local trail rules, not just some of them.

The Skitch, because it isn’t an eMTB, takes a different approach. Because it’s aimed at roads, they’ve made this a Class 3 e-bike with a maximum pedal-assist speed of 28 mph. It does not include a throttle.

[Read more…] about Santa Cruz Skitch First Look

Himiway Rambler Review: a Look at the Recently Released Specs

Himiway Rambler Review: a Look at the Recently Released Specs

Himiway has announced their new models for 2023 and there are a few surprises in there for this popular maker of fat-tire e-bikes. For the first time, Himiway has introduced an e-bike with tires narrower than 4 in. The Rambler is a city/commuter e-bike that comes in three different versions, two with a hub motor and another version with a mid-drive motor.

The Rambler ships ready for commutes; it includes front and rear lights, fenders and a rear rack. And because the Rambler is meant to stay on paved surfaces, Himiway gave it a different wheel size.

Will Himiway be able to nail the commuter model as they did with so many other Himiway e-bikes we’ve reviewed? Let’s take a deeper look at the Rambler and find out.

*Himiway is sharing some savings with the EBR audience! When you click the button above and use the discount code ELECTRICBIKEREPORT you will save $50 at checkout!.

[Read more…] about Himiway Rambler Review: a Look at the Recently Released Specs

10 Ideas for Modding Your E-Bike

10 Ideas for Modding Your E-Bike

The ideal e-bike is the one that fits a rider’s needs. Simple enough, huh? But riders’ needs can vary just as much as people vary. An e-bike must fulfill its function in two different ways. The first priority is rider comfort. Being able to pedal an e-bike comfortably is one of the big factors in just how much someone will ride their e-bike.

For anyone who wonders how important fit is, consider how much adjusting we have to do after someone has moved the seat in our car. And if they moved the steering wheel as well, we may be fussing with seat placement for the rest of that trip.

Whether someone is tall or small, slight or beefy or whether they choose skinny jeans or have a trunk full of junk, each of those differences and where we fall on the spectrum will make a difference in how comfortable we are on our e-bike.

The second way an e-bike fits a rider’s needs is functional. Can someone with a family carry a kid? Can they make a run to the grocery store? Are they riding at dawn, dusk or in the dark? If they are commuting to work, can the e-bike be stored conveniently and safely?

Even after we’re done testing an e-bike in it’s shipped condition, you better believe we have certain things we like to swap out. Everybody wants to get the most out of their bike and have a comfortable ride.

We’ve compiled a list of 10 ideas for modding your e-bike that range between simple upgrades a rider can do at home to ones that will require a shop’s experienced mechanics and a few that sit in between the two, depending on how handy the rider is.
[Read more…] about 10 Ideas for Modding Your E-Bike

Himiway Rhino Review: a Look at the Recently Released Specs

Himiway Rhino Review: A Look at the Recently Released Specs

E-bike maker Himiway is known for its fat-tire e-bikes. Among their new models for 2023 is an approach to range anxiety that’s new to us. The Himiway Rhino is a dual-battery fat-tire e-bike. That is, it comes with two batteries as standard equipment, rather than an option.

The Himiway Rhino isn’t the first e-bike to be sold with dual batteries, but what does make it different is that both batteries are integrated into the frame, one in the down tube and the other in the top tube. Range anxiety won’t have a chance to rear its head with the Himiway Rhino. Himiway’s announcement for the Rhino says that it will offer riders up to 100 mi. on a single charge.

*Himiway is sharing some savings with the EBR audience! When you click the button above and use the discount code ELECTRICBIKEREPORT you will save $50 at checkout!.

Himiway’s claim that the Rhino will cover 100 mi. on a single charge is impressive on its own, but it becomes far more impressive considering how powerful the motor is. Himiway built the Rhino with a 1000W motor. Each battery carries a 720Wh capacity, for a total charge of 1440Wh.

According to Himiway, the number one issue e-bike buyers worry about is range. The Rhino is meant to banish concerns about where a rider can go.

Himiway Rhino Spec Review: Bike Overview

Himiway Rhino hub motor

[Read more…] about Himiway Rhino Review: a Look at the Recently Released Specs

What Are IP Ratings and Why Do They Matter for E-Bikes

What Are IP Ratings and Why Do They Matter for E-Bikes

There are few things where water and dirt make things better. Mud pies, yes. Mountain bike trails, yes. Coffee makers? Not so much. It’s the same for e-bikes; dust and water are bad news for the electrical components of an electric bike.

It used to be that when it came to protection from moisture, like with a wristwatch, we had two rather loose ratings: water-resistant and waterproof. These days those terms have been replaced by a two number system referred to as Ingress Protection (or IP) rating.

What the IP rating system offers e-bike riders is a better understanding of the level of protection we can count on when riding in circumstances that aren’t sunny and dry. It’s a relatively easy system to understand, as you’ll see.

What The IP Number System Means

The IP rating system uses two numbers to rate the protection level a product has been tested to. The first number indicates the product’s ability to safeguard against ingress from dust and dirt. The second number indicates the degree of defense the product enjoys against moisture.

[Read more…] about What Are IP Ratings and Why Do They Matter for E-Bikes

Bosch Performance Line SX Motor

Bosch Performance SX Motor

German e-bike system manufacturer Bosch has unveiled a new addition to its Performance Line of motor and battery systems, just in time for the Eurobike trade show. The Performance Line SX now ranks as Bosch’s lightest drive system.

The Performance Line SX is aimed at higher-performance e-bikes, particularly eMTBs, road e-bikes and gravel e-bikes. The entire system, including controller weighs just a bit more than 4kg total. We will dig more into the weight in a bit, but because so many lightweight systems give up performance to save weight, we will first look at the impressive output of this system.

Surprising power

The Performance Line SX motor produces up to 600W. That’s the number they lead with because it’s the number that most impresses on paper, but it doesn’t really sell this motor the way it deserves. It also produces 55Nm of torque. What they don’t say up front is that like other Bosch mid-drive motors, the Performance Line SX runs at 250W nominally, which is the same as other Bosch mid-drive motors.

A 250W mid-drive motor that produces 55Nm of torque and maxes out power at 600W would be a snooze-a-rama if this were a hub-drive motor, but for a mid-drive motor, these are very solid stats. Mid-drive motors are able to multiply their output with the aid of the e-bike’s drivetrain. Just as gears help a rider get up a hill and back down, those same gears can help a mid-drive motor’s output translate into what is effectively more than 1500W thanks to the 600W max output of the Performance Line SX motor.

People often wonder why Bosch’s motors are limited to a nominal rating of just 250W. There are two answers to this question. The first is simple: EU regulations don’t permit them to make a mid-drive motor that produces 750W and 100Nm of torque. The second answer is more existential: Once someone has had a chance to ride an e-bike with a Bosch motor, they are unlikely to declare it underpowered.

[Read more…] about Bosch Performance Line SX Motor

Specialized Levo SL Kids Review: First Look at a Kids EMTB

Specialized Levo SL Kids

It’s a problem as old as kids’s bikes: How can a child hope to keep up with mom or dad on a bike ride? The deck, as we say, is stacked against even the most athletic aspiring ripper: Kids aren’t as strong as adults. Their lungs are smaller. Their bikes are heavier in proportion to their bodies. The wheels are smaller, which makes them slower. And that’s really just grazing the surface.

Specialized has introduced their solution: The Levo SL Kids. This eMTB is what happens when you turn a ray gun set to “shrink” on the Turbo Levo SL, Specialized’s lightweight eMTB which features their SL 1.2 motor, which produces 250W (nominal) and 45Nm of torque. It’s powered by a 320Wh battery, and features high-end componentry, including an 11-speed drivetrain and hydraulic disc brakes, air-spring shock and dropper post.

All this is assembled around an aluminum, hard-tail frame that comes in one size and a couple of colors.

Specialized has a long history of hiring some of the best writers in cycling and in recent years their copy has sometimes favored poetry over reality. However, in their press kit announcing the Levo SL Kids they nail the challenge of introducing kids to mountain biking. They write: “Discovering the true benefits of mountain biking has a physical barrier of entry, no question. As adults, we understand the grit it takes to appreciate a deep section of trail that took some serious effort to get to. Our kids haven’t seen the views we have, had the experiences (yet), and built the inner motivation to push through for that satisfying mountain overlook. But that’s changing. What kids lack in pedal power they make up with endless wonder and the desire to explore. Levo SL Kids levels the playing field so their imagination to experience the outdoors won’t be limited by their pedal abilities.”

Amen, brother.

In our Specialized Turbo Levo SL Kids review, we break down our first impressions, thoughts on the spec, and what this can mean for moms and dads looking to hit the trails with the kids.


[Read more…] about Specialized Levo SL Kids Review: First Look at a Kids EMTB

(e)revolution E-Bike Show

(e)revolution Show 2023 Day 1

The (e)revolution Show is a new e-bike show at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. It is being presented alongside The Big Gear Show, which is an outdoor gear/clothing/nutrition show. There’s also an e-bike test track and the e-bike brands in attendance have most of their models available for test rides.

Opening day of the show was attended largely by retailers, suppliers and journalists. We at Electric Bike Report were stoked to get an early glimpse of the new offerings!

Special Edition Yamaha YDX Moro 07

Special Edition Yamaha YDX Moro 07

The first e-bike we saw upon walking in the hall was a brilliant silver Yamaha YDX Moro 07, the flagship of their eMTB line. The special edition of 300 eMTBs feature a polished aluminum finish to celebrate the brand’s 30th anniversary making e-bikes. Yes, 30 years! While the standard YDX Moro 07 goes for $6399, the commemorative edition only goes for $100 more—$6499.
[Read more…] about (e)revolution E-Bike Show