Electric Bike Company Model Y Review – 2021
The team at Electric Bike Report has been looking forward to reviewing the Electric Bike Company Model Y — a slightly more feminine rendition of the ever-popular Model X — that features a dropped top tube for an easy 17.25” step over height. While this classic cruiser works well for anyone, the standard front basket, chic styling and relaxed feel caters specifically to female riders looking for something powerful, fun, and customizable.
We’ve always been impressed with the Electric Bike Company models we’ve reviewed thanks to the abundant color combinations, accessories and upgrades they offer. And that’s featured here yet again on the Model Y. You can opt for the stock glossy white frame which looks striking in any setting, or upgrade to any color of your choice (if Pantone has it, they’ll match it). You can even get brown Schwalbe Fat Frank tires with white walls and a pop of rim color! How about wood fenders and/or chainguard? EBC offers those as well. The front basket is standard and a rear rack is optional, both of which can be paint matched per your aesthetic.
The powerful 1000w peak motor is tucked in the rear hub while the battery sits stealthily at the bottom of the front basket. This placement keeps the battery out of the way when you are getting on and off the bike and reduces rear weight as well. We were able to ride this bike 35+ miles on full assist and over 90 miles on level 1 pedal assist! The thumb throttle makes it easy to quickly get going and the torque sensor keeps the ride smooth and controllable.
- Classic Cruiser – Comfortable, stylish, easy to get on and off. Lots of cargo options.
Bike Class: Modifiable
- Class 2: Throttle + PAS to 20mph (this is the factory default)
- Class 3: 28mph PAS option, but throttle is disabled after 20mph
- Classic cruiser styling with limitless customization options
- Dual battery system allows for extended range
- Bikes are assembled and painted in Newport Beach, CA (not shipped directly from China)
- Impressive warranty: 5 year comprehensive, 10 years motor and frame
- Class 2 or Class 3 compatible
- Affordable starting price with many optional upgrades
- 60Nm of torque
- Front basket comes standard
- Battery tucked inside basket reduces rear weight and doesn’t impede step over height
- Perfect for a stylish jaunt down the boardwalk
- Wide turn radius – a tradeoff that comes with any cruiser bike
- Battery is difficult to remove so best charged on the bike
- Starting at 58 lbs (our test model with upgraded features totalling 75lbs) you’ll want to be aware of the bike’s weight
EBC Model Y Electrical Specs & Features
- Battery: 10.5Ah In-Basket battery w/ Lithium-Ion Samsung Cells (5 year warranty)
- Display: Colored, Compact Multi Level Display w/USB outlet
- Motor: 500W Rear Hub Motor w/1000w of peak power (10 year warranty)
- Headlight: Safety Headlight (powered by battery controlled on LCD Display)
- Taillights: Safety Tail Lights (powered by battery controlled on LCD Display)
- Pedal Assist: Levels 1-5 (up to 28mph)
- Range: 35 – 90miles
- Throttle: Thumb Throttle
EBC Model Y Components & Accessories
- Brakes: Tektro Dorado Hydraulic Disk Brakes with motor disconnect
- Fenders: Customizable Color
- Fork: 1-1/8th Rigid Steel Fork or 80mm Suspension fork with hydraulic lockout
and preload adjustment. 9mm quick release
- Frame: Extra thick alloy
- Freewheel: 18T cog (optimum for medium to hilly terrain)
- Gearing: 56T Chainring. Direct drive is standard. Optional upgrade to a 1×7 gear
system with Shimano Acera Derailleur and Shimano Thumb Shifter
- Grips and Saddle: Hand Stitched Vegan Leather Grips w/ Aluminium non slip
- Handlebar: 27” Wide, Steel
- Kickstand: Included, Alloy & Plastic
- Pedals: Wellgo Aluminium Pedals w/ comfort non slip rubber
- Tires: Schwalbe Fat Frank Tire (Available in Black or Brown w/ White Walls)
Optional upgrade to Continental puncture-resistant tires (black only)
EBC Model Y Weight & Dimensions
- Total bike weight: 58lbs
- Maximum rider weight: 300lbs
- Maximum load on rear rack: 50lbs
- Maximum load front basket: 50lbs
- Dimensions: 74.6 x 27.0 (end to end and handlebar width, height varies
on handlebar position)
Speed & Acceleration Tests
The Model Y has smooth acceleration and impressive speed. We tested it in a few different scenarios to assess the overall speed off the line and acceleration while riding.
Speed Test Parameters
To evaluate the speed capabilities on the Model Y we placed cones 100 yards apart. Beginning at the first cone, I accelerated the bike as fast as possible to see how long it took to go 100 yards and what top speed I could achieve within that span. We did the test using the throttle only and then pedal assist. We performed both tests three times and averaged the results.
- Throttle Only: 12.67 seconds, Top Speed: 20mph
- I was able to ride 100 yards in 12.67 seconds with a top speed of 20mph. However, the throttle cuts out after 20mph so that’s the top speed possible using throttle only and not pedaling. Without pedaling, the bike does not get to top speed as fast as when you are pedaling. The throttle has very responsive power though, so when starting from a full stop the throttle kicks right in. I was able to hit 16mph within just a few seconds.
- Pedal Assist level 5: 11.55 seconds, Top Speed: 27mph
- Using pedal assist level 5 and pedaling as hard as I could, I was able to ride 100 yards in 11.55 seconds with a top speed of 27 miles per hour at the finish line.
As you can see, the Model Y is a fast bike. It is quick when starting from a full stop and gets up to speed within seconds. We tested a similar ebike for comparison and that bike was almost a full second slower in 100 yards. One of the tricks to riding the Model Y is managing the speed since it is quite responsive.
Acceleration Test Parameters
On the Model Y, throttle speed is correlated with pedal assist level. This means when you are in Assist Level 1, the throttle power is limited; whereas in Level 5 you have full throttle power which will go up to 20mph. I prefer to have throttle power regulated by assist level because I find it makes the bike easier to handle. Riding on a flat road and not pedaling, I calculated the throttle speed for each assist level as follows:
Throttle Speed Breakdown:
- PAS level 1: up to 12mph
- PAS level 2: up to 14mph
- PAS level 3: up to 16mph
- PAS level 4: up to 18mph
- PAS level 5: up to 20mph
While this list is a rough estimate, you can see how the speed increases with each pedal assist level. If you are pedaling while you hold the throttle, the bike will go faster than this.
Overall, I am impressed with both the speed and acceleration on the Model Y. While this looks like a relaxed classic cruiser, EBC has outfitted it with impressive power. In addition to the 1000w peak motor, the Model Y also has a torque sensor, so the bike responds to not only how fast you are pedaling but also how hard. This creates a very fluid feel while you are riding. The bike doesn’t jerk ahead, nor does it lag when you need to pick up speed. The only time we found the Model Y to slow down was when we did our hill test and took it up a 12% hill which we’ll dive into here in a bit.
In order to test how the Model Y handles hills, we took it up a local hill called “Hell Hole” which is a 12% grade. We didn’t add any extra cargo because we wanted to see if the bike could make it on throttle power alone only carrying a rider. We also tested it using level 5 pedal assist to compare the difference. For reference, we tested another ebike on this same hill and it was unable to make it to the top on throttle power alone. When using the throttle, the rider doesn’t have to do as much, so my heart rate stayed lower. When using pedal assist, I continued to pedal the bike so I could make it to the top. My heart rate jumped a bit more because I was working harder. We were able to make it to the top of the hill on both throttle power alone and also pedal assist, but pedal assist was significantly faster.
Hill Climb using throttle only:
- 16mph starting speed
- 4.2mph lowest speed at steepest point
- 3:03min time to finish hill
- (82 heart rate to start, 92 heart rate at top of hill)
Hill Climb using PAS level 5 and pedaling:
- 16mph starting speed
- 8.5mph lowest speed at steepest point
- 1:30min time to finish hill
- (82 heart rate to start, 125 heart rate at top of hill)
Shifting / Gear Range
The Model Y comes standard with a direct drive system with a single 56 tooth chainring. This is a generous sized chainring which makes pedaling smooth and easy. However, if you live in a hilly area, are a larger rider, have sensitive knees or plan to haul cargo, we recommend upgrading to the 7-gear system. With additional gears, it is easier to get up the hills and you have more power on the flats. For those who plan to ride recreationally without too much extra weight you’ll be fine with the direct drive system. Since ebikes have supplemental power from the motor, you don’t need gears in the same way you would on an unpowered bike. But they are a nice addition and we included them on our Model Y.
Handling (cornering, slow speeds, etc.)
I would compare riding the Model Y to driving a large, luxury car. It is a heavy bike with relaxed cruiser geometry. The elongated wheelbase and sturdy frame keep you stable but it can be harder to navigate tight turns and/or small spaces on the Model Y. While filming on our local bike trail, I had to make sure I had enough room to pass pedestrians and other riders (and pass them I did! Thanks to that 1000w motor!). While the bike isn’t as nimble as a smaller-frame bike would be, the trade off is enhanced stability and a bomb-proof frame. The low step down height helps too because even if you have to slow or stop at a busy intersection, it’s easy to drop a foot. The 26” tires keep you upright and have enough height to tackle small rocks or light trail debris, but they don’t lift you up so high that it offsets your balance.
Comfort is where the Model Y excels! This bike is very comfortable thanks to the wide, padded saddle, easy step over height, and sweptback handlebars. I had to adjust the angle of the bars down a little because the sweptback design caused my wrists to flex a bit much of they were set high. A quick adjustment solved the problem and I was good to go again. The height of the handlebars can be adjusted up or down at the stem and the angle of the bars can also be adjusted via four hex bolts at the handlebar junction. This makes it so the Model Y can be customized for larger riders or those who prefer to sit upright, and for smaller riders or those who like a more relaxed riding position.
The saddle is impressively cushioned and plenty wide. The outer leather surface wipes down easily and is sweat and moisture resistant. The leather is also slick enough to allow the rider to move around a bit without creating any hot spots or friction points. There are also large spring-loaded bumpers under the saddle that cushion a bit of the jostling inherent to riding. We opted for the Suntour suspension seat post, which quite frankly makes a noticeable difference and we would highly recommend it as an add-on.
Another feature that enhances the comfort of the Model Y are the wide aluminum pedals. These aren’t anything fancy, but the surface is large enough to accommodate pretty much any shoe size and there are rubber grips around the perimeter so your foot doesn’t slide off. When pedaling, you place quite a bit of pressure on the pedals with your foot and if they are narrow, flimsy or plastic, it can be difficult to achieve the desired power — or it gets uncomfortable with repeated pedaling. The Model Y feels supportive and comfortable underfoot.
The thumb throttle makes it easy to get a quick start off the line on the Model Y. As mentioned above, throttle power is directly proportional to your pedal assist level, so you’ll get assistance up to the miles per hour limit in that assist level (PAS level 1: 12mph, PAS level 2: 14mph, etc). However, the throttle is not slower on the uptake in lower assist levels. It gives you the same kick start regardless of your PAS. It will just ease off when you reach the preset miles per hour. Since the Model Y has a torque sensor, that helps as well. The bike will respond to how hard to press on the pedals, so when starting from a full stop it will sense that more power is needed.
Bringing the Model Y to a full stop is smooth as well. We did two different brake tests on our Model Y to assess how well the brakes responded and how quickly the bike would stop.
Test #1: Throttle power brake test
We set out cones to estimate braking response time and power. Riding at max throttle speed (20mph) and not pedaling, I hit the brakes at the first cone and then we measured the distance it took for the bike to come to a complete stop. The average of three tests was 24.1 feet when riding at 20mph using throttle only.
Test #2: PAS Level 5 brake test
Using the same cones, I set the Model Y at level 5 pedal assist and rode 25mph. I hit the brakes at the first cone and we again measured the distance it took the bike to fully stop. The average of three tests using PAS 5 and going 25mph was 27.6 feet. It takes a bit longer to stop at higher speeds, but I was able to safely stop without the bike tipping, tilting or throwing me forward.
Electric Bike Company offers an alarm system with the Model Y. It is an added upgrade, but the security system includes two remotes and an alarm that is triggered whenever you lock your bike and turn off the motor. Should you lock it and then walk into a store or cafe, the alarm is loud enough to not only deter thieves but also alert you while inside.
There are also lock options that include an EBC U-lock ($59), Chain lock ($79), or Boardo Big Folding lock ($149). Any of these would be sufficient to protect your bike while you are at the beach, shopping or otherwise engaged. We highly recommend users secure the Model Y with an appropriate lock since it is a bike that attracts attention and would be inviting to just hop on and ride off! While filming and out riding our Model Y we had several people stop along the way and ask about the bike. It is a striking design and one you’ll want to secure as needed.
To evaluate the range capacity of an ebike, we perform two tests. The first is our Maximum Range Test to see how far the bike can possibly go. We do this by relying on maximum rider power and minimum motor assist. Usually this means little to no throttle power and a low pedal assist level of one or maybe two. We knew the Model Y would have extended range, so we had to break the full range test up into two days!
Our reviewer Pierce weighs 175 pounds and performed the extended range test for us. The first day he was able to take the bike over 40 miles on one battery! The second day, he tackled another 43 miles before the battery was fully depleted. Due to time and weather constraints, Pierce used a bit more throttle power the second day. We couldn’t believe how far this bike could go. From our previous range test experience, coupled with the performance of this bike, we anticipate the Model Y can easily handle 90-100 miles on the dual battery system with minimal assist.
The second test we perform is a Maximum Power Test. Using full throttle and pedal assist level five, we test how far the bike can go. Our reviewer Michael performed this test since he is 6’5” and weighs over 200 pounds. Even loaded with a bit more weight and using full motor power, the Model Y was able to go over 35 miles using both batteries.
Our estimated range is 35 miles at high motor assist and a whopping 90+ miles with low motor assist on the dual battery system.
One thing that is surprising about the Model Y is just by looking at it, you’d assume this was a casual classic cruiser. But the added battery power, comfortable saddle and relaxed geometry make it so you can ride this bike a significant distance. This isn’t limited to just quick jaunts to the beach. The Model Y would work well for a commute to work, a visit to a friend’s house or even a long recreational ride through your local bike trail system.
The Model Y comes standard with one battery, so if you opt to not add the second battery you can expect roughly half the range of our tests. For a single-battery system, we anticipate the Model Y will still take you 25 miles on full power and over 50 miles with minimal assistance.
Electric Bike Company lists this as the “best motor in the world with top quality neodymium magnets and copper windings.” Since the average rider may not know what that means, we’ll tell you: it means power. The 1000 watt motor is zippy and engages immediately. There’s no lag between when you hit the throttle and when the motor kicks in. This is a rear hub motor, so it is housed in the hub of the rear wheel which makes the bike feel like it has rear-wheel drive. The motor turns the back wheel but does not put tension on the drivetrain since the power from the motor isn’t funneled through the drive system. Rider power moves the pedals while the rear hub motor propels the back wheel. This creates a balanced feel while riding.
The motor is also surprisingly quiet. While some rear hub motors can be quite loud, this one (thanks to the neodymium magnets and copper windings listed above) emits just a subtle whirr as you ride along. Pedestrians and other cyclists on the path will not hear you coming up behind them so make sure to give a cheerful, “on your left!” as you zip by.
The Model Y battery is at the bottom of the front basket. Yes, it is tucked away securely and no, it doesn’t limit your ability to drop gear in the basket. In fact, when we inquired about basket capacity from EBC, they informed us that the front basket can easily support up to 50 pounds and possibly more than that. The battery is housed under a solid plate that keeps it protected. The Model Y comes standard with a 48 volt battery, but we upgraded to the dual system which gave us a whopping 96 volts of power between the two batteries.
Electric Bike Company uses certified, internationally approved Samsung Lithium-Ion cells that are safe, reliable and have a proven life cycle.
The dual battery system is a bit tricky and took us a ride or two to figure out. With two batteries, there are two charging ports, one on each side of the head tube. Each battery also has its own power switch. When both switches are on, the motor will draw power from each of them simultaneously. This creates a cyclical battery pattern and causes the voltage readout on the display screen to vary a bit. For example, on one of our rides the battery power readout toggled between 50% and 75% off and on for an hour. This was because the system was reading the difference between the two batteries.
An easier way to run the dual system is to just turn on the power switch for one battery at a time. The computer panel has an easier time estimating voltage and battery power of just one battery. If you run the first battery down, then turn off that switch and turn on the second one. You’ll watch the battery readout jump back up to 100%. We also found we got greater range when we ran the batteries in a subsequent order rather than simultaneously.
You have five levels of assist on the Model Y. Level one provides power up to around 12mph and level five will take you over 20mph. The factory settings for pedal assist are set at a 20mph top speed but you can go into the settings menu on the bike display and increase that to 28mph. However, throttle power can not be increased above 20mph. When set to the highest speed option, we were able to get the Model Y to 28mph using level five pedal assist.
Whenever you turn the bike on, pedal assist is automatically off. On the display screen it says “PAS off.” This is a safety feature. If you stop your bike and turn off the power to run into the cafe or library, you’ll have to turn pedal assist back on when you start to ride again. Just hold the down arrow key for a few seconds and pedal assist will turn back on. I appreciate EBC’s attention to safety here, but you’ll just need to remember to turn pedal assist back on to get going again.
Each level of assist will provide power up to a set speed. I weigh 125lbs and with the bike unloaded on a flat road, I was able to consistently achieve the following speeds at each assist level. (However, these speeds will vary depending on your weight, gear, incline, etc.)
- PAS level 1: up to 12mph
- PAS level 2: up to 14mph
- PAS level 3: up to 16mph
- PAS level 4: up to 18mph
- PAS level 5: over 20mph (depending on your pedal power and max speed setting)
The thumb throttle is on the left grip. It is easy to reach and doesn’t make my hand hurt if I hold it for an extended period of time. Throttle power is tied to assist level as we mentioned, so in level one pedal assist, you’ll get throttle power up to about 12mph, etc. The throttle is always hot though, so be careful when leaning against the handlebars. I accidentally tapped the throttle once or twice and the bike will lurch forward.
The Model Y uses Electric Bike Company’s standard color display computer. It’s easy to read and you can see it in bright or low light. It is not removable, so you can’t take it off the bike. But it won’t get stolen either. There is a USB charging port on the side. Riders can charge a device that is set in the front basket via the USB port.
The display provides a readout of metrics, but it isn’t a touchscreen. The control panel is on the left grip adjacent to the thumb throttle. The control panel has an up arrow, down arrow and power button.
Yay for integrated front and rear lights! Once again, EBC has considered what is needed on a city bike/cruiser. Since this bike will mostly be ridden in residential and city areas, lights are vital for overall safety. The dual headlights are mounted to the front of the basket. The basket is mounted to the head tube but not the handlebars. When you turn the handlebars, the lights will still point in the direction of the headtube. This takes a ride or two to get used to, but the basket is more secure when attached to the headtube and it doesn’t add weight to the handlebars.
The rear lights are mounted under the rear rack if you have one or on the back seat stays. The lights are controlled via the LCD screen.
Components and Accessories
Electric Bike Company has outfitted the Model Y with 180mm dual rotor Tektro Dorado brakes. Our Model Y has Tektro Durado brakes which are an upgrade with the 7-gear system. The brakes have motor inhibitors built in, so when you pull the brake the motor automatically shuts off. This makes it so you don’t brake against motor power. It is a safety feature and also saves battery/motor life. The brake levers are adjustable and responsive.
Fenders are an upgrade and we highly recommend them! This is a customizable feature so if you opt for fenders you can have them painted any color you want. There is also an option for wood fenders and/or a wood chainguard which really adds a chic look. The rear fender is elongated for added protection and both fenders are rust and crack resistant.
EBC includes a rigid front fork on the Model Y as a standard feature or you can upgrade to a front suspension fork. Either can be painted to match the rest of the bike frame.
The Model Y has an aluminum 6061 hydroformed frame. One feature that really makes EBC bikes stand out is the incredibly durable frame construction. Most bike frames are 1.5mm thick but Electric Bike Company manufactures their frames to be 3mm thick in weight-bearing areas for added strength. The frame is also painted using a 7 step process that includes cleaning, base primer, three coats of paint, and two coats of clear sealant. They are then heat treated for added durability. Since Electric Bike Company is located in Newport Beach, California, rust is a concern due to the high humidity. EBC has made sure the Model Y will not rust. The frame of the Model Y may look relaxed, but this bike is nearly bomb proof. It won’t warp, crack or chip easily. The wires are hidden in the frame as much as possible and the front bracket allows for added cargo in the basket without compromising navigability of the handlebars.
A single gear direct drive system is standard on the Model Y or you can upgrade to a 7-gear system. The additional gears add weight, but they help offset the challenge of pedaling up hills or when carrying extra gear. If you live in a hilly area, are a larger rider or just want the option of additional gears, the 7-gear system is a handy upgrade. If you plan to mostly ride the Model Y around town on rolling streets without too much incline you’ll be fine with the direct drive. I prefer the simplicity of a single gear system but some of our reviewers here swear it’s vital to add gears if possible. This is a personal choice and you can’t go wrong either way. I really love the customizable chainguard on the Model Y. It protects the drive system and can be painted any color of your choice!
If I had one complaint about the Model Y it would be the kickstand. While the rest of this bike is top-notch, I felt the kickstand didn’t quite measure up. It’s centrally placed right behind the pedal crank, so pedal lock is an issue. It could be a bit longer since the bike tends to lean when the kickstand is down. And it isn’t as chic as the other features on the Model Y. Certainly it’s a minor complaint and one that doesn’t affect how the bike rides or functions. But I did have to place a rock under the kickstand several times to keep the bike from leaning when it was parked.
These are 26” x 2.35″ tires. The 26” height lifts you up off the street without feeling overly tall and the 2.35” width adds comfort and durability. As with other features, the tires allow for some fun customization options too! The standard tires are Schwalbe Fat Frank in either black or brown with white walls. Or you can upgrade to black Continental puncture-resistant tires as well. I love the brown Fat Franks with the white walls. An optional pop of rim color really adds a whimsical feeling as well.
The front basket is standard and a rear rack is optional. Depending on how much gear you plan to carry, the front basket may be sufficient. It is rated up to 50 pounds although EBC stated it could hold more than that. The rear rack is a nice addition because it is mounted firmly to the bike and can be color matched as well. If you opt for the rear rack, EBC moves the tail lights to underneath the rack for added visibility.
EBC also offers other cargo accessories such as Basil saddle bags with the MIK clip in system. These fit snugly on the rear rack and securely clip on and off. We got the Poppy Red MIK double saddle bags and I was pleasantly surprised how much I could fit in there! One bag easily held my helmet plus other items. EBC also offers a trunk bag, rear rattan basket and even a dog carrier.
When designing the Model Y, I feel the engineers at EBC spent significant time not only creating a superb electric cruiser, they also went out of their way to make it ultimately customizable. You can select a paint color for the frame, fork, front basket, rear rack, chain guard, and fenders. There’s the option of different color tires with added rim color if you want as well. It took me several hours of playing around on the website to finally design my perfect bike – because there are so many options!
In addition, there are pages of accessories you can add to make your ride exactly what you need it to be. Just for fun, EBC offers several buddy carriers so your small dog can lap up the sunshine as you ride along the boardwalk. Other accessories include a front bell, extra front light, smart phone holder, rear view mirror, and even a portable Bluetooth speaker that mounts directly to your handlebars! The speaker can be removed while the mount stays in place so you can take it with you on your picnic or tuck it in your purse for security. Electric Bike Company even offers a surf board rack that will mount on the bike for those who want to ride their surf board to the beach.
A Thule T2 Pro bike hitch is also available for those who need a rack that will support the weight of an electric bike. Other options include a Burley Hurley Bee Bike trailer or flatbed cargo trailer for hauling small toddlers or your groceries. I’m impressed with everything EBC has to offer to make your Model Y fun and functional.
Summary Review / Where to Buy
Electric Bike Company has thought of all the extras on the Model Y — but the base model is impressively affordable! Starting at just $1699, we love that you can customize and upgrade as desired, but you don’t have to pay for what you don’t need.
The Model Y is available via Electric Bike Company’s website. You can visit the warehouse in Newport Beach, California, but sales are conducted online. Customization options and accessories are also found on the website.
The Model Y is a stylish and super fun classic cruiser that will make your daily jaunts more enjoyable. While many of the features appeal to women, the customization options certainly allow anyone to design a Model Y to their liking. The Model Y is fun to design and even more fun to ride.
Thanks for reading our ebike review of the Electric Bike Company Model Y. Which bike would you like to see us review next? Let us know in the comments below!
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