Most of the e-bikes we’ve tested at TNW have futuristic designs, extensive smart features, or minimal aesthetics. But sometimes you just want something a little more classic, and for that, Electric Bike Company’s Model Y it exactly fits the bill.
Made in the USA
Electric bicycle company is a relatively rare breed of an electric bike brand, as their bikes are designed and manufactured in the U.S. Virtually all of the company’s bikes are a beach cruiser variety, and while some components come from outside of the In the USA, the company makes custom frames in California. This includes optional custom paint jobs and wood trim on various parts of the bike, offering much more customization than any electric bike you’ve ever tried.
That extra attention to detail also allows EBC to be confident enough to offer an extremely rare 10-year warranty on both the frame and motor, as well as a 5-year warranty on the battery. Most inexpensive electric bikes offer a one-year warranty, and while more expensive bike companies can guarantee the frame for that long, even the most expensive ones tend to exceed two to three years when it comes to crucial components like the motor and battery. The company even says that each cell is individually inspected by experts before assembling the battery, and says the motors are rated to last 18 years.
I mention all of this because the first thing that struck me about the Model Y upon unpacking was the polish and attention to detail. It looks and feels like a bike built to last. The bike retails for $ 1,949 in its base configuration (+ $ 200 shipping within the continental US, though free local pickup is available in Newport Beach, CA), and it looks like you’re getting a lot for your money.
The bike comes almost fully assembled and very well packed. Paint job is clean and welds are smooth. There are stylish component options everywhere, like all-metal fenders (a $ 79 option) and chain guard, corrosion-resistant stainless steel components, and bright integrated lighting. Vegan leather grips and saddle look stylish and feel great; the oversized seat is the bicycle equivalent of an armchair. I normally want to change these two details immediately after receiving a new bike to test, but not on the Model Y.
Even the basket is prettier than usual, with both rods to hook the elastics and a mesh lining to keep items from falling. That basket houses the battery, by the way, a really nice touch that helps evenly distribute the weight of the bike with the motor on the rear hub; I wish more companies would take this approach.
Some other specs and highlights:
- 504 Wh battery (48 V / 10.5 Ah), upgradeable to 1008 Wh (+ $ 799)
- A refreshingly fast 3.5A charger (3-4 hours for a full charge from empty)
- Tektro hydraulic disc brakes automatically cut off engine power
- 500W rear hub motor (1000W max)
- 12-magnet cadence sensor
- Thumb throttle
- 27 ″ wide cruiser handlebar
- 25 mph top speed (comes set to 20 mph)
- Single Speed Powertrain (+ $ 189)
- Sturdy kickstand
- 58 pounds with battery
- Large color LCD screen with USB for powering accessories
- Balloon tires available in 26 and 24 inch sizes (tested on 24 inches)
- Optional suspension fork (+ $ 189)
- Optional GPS tracker (+ $ 499)
- Optional burglar alarm with remote control (+ $ 129 upgrade)
- Optional rear grill (+129 or more, depending on color)
I tested the basic specs with just the addition of fenders.
As you can see, the bike offers a lot of customization options, but that’s even before we get to the myriad ways you can customize your paint job. There are dozens of color options for the frame, fork, fenders, chain guard, basket, components, rims, and luggage rack. Each can be customized separately, literally leading to thousands of millions of possible color combinations. EBC even allows for some options that are not in place if you communicate with your team separately, including matte finishes and 24 ″ wheels.
Painting the frame costs an additional $ 300, while other components will cost you $ 79- $ 209. If you customize each component, the paint job will bring the base spec setting closer to $ 3,000.
But don’t get me wrong, I’m happy these options exist. The base model already feels like it’s built beyond the standard of most bikes at its price point. But if you are shopping for an electric bike that is built to last, it is wonderful to have the option to make it look the way you really want it. It means you can have a bike that is truly unique to your personal style, and for many people, it is well worth the price of admission.
There is pretty much one thing I don’t like about this bike, and it’s the lack of a torque sensor. These pedal assist sensors detect not only how fast you are pedaling (like the standard cadence sensor), but also how Lasted you’re pedaling, which can help the engine know when to give more assistance from a stop or when you’re struggling uphill. I understand the omission in the price, as torque sensors are usually expensive components, but given EBC’s penchant for customization, I wish the company at least provided a torque sensor as an optional upgrade. It’s the only thing that spoils the bike’s “premium” vibe (and I wouldn’t mind some bottle cage bosses either).
Nonetheless, the Model Y offers a carefully tuned cadence sensor that doesn’t speed it up, and the throttle helps make up for the lack of a torque sensor. The motor provides smooth assistance and lots of power in my single speed drive. Unless you have something Really twisted hills, want to extend the range, or plan to do a lot of driving without assistance, I would consider the 7-speed upgrade unnecessary.
However, it’s worth noting that the engine gets noisy at higher assist levels. Other than that, the Model Y is an excellent ‘stealth’ ebike as the battery is almost impossible to see tucked into the basket.
The relaxed geometry and plush seat create a luxurious driving experience. Despite the pedigree of a beach cruiser, I found the bike to be equally suitable for Brooklyn’s rough roads. The fully vertical geometry gives you a clear view of traffic and your surroundings, while making it more visible to motorists, as well as being nice to the back and wrists. Meanwhile, the balloon tires easily absorbed bumps and small bumps despite the small wheels in my test setup.
The relaxed geometry also means that it’s relatively easy to get full leg extension while still being able to put your feet on the ground at a stop, while the step frame makes it easy to get on and off the bike, both points. welcome for those with mobility problems and general comfort. I also think most people should be fine without the optional suspension fork or seat post, considering the plush spring saddle and balloon tires, but it’s nice that the options are there for comfort.
The range was also solid in my tests; I’m a burly rider and was able to pedal nearly 20 miles on pedal assist level 1 with minimal use of the throttle and the battery gauge still shows three-quarters remaining. Higher assist levels will obviously drain the battery faster (this bike actually slides into assist level 5), but personally I prefer to use a lower assist level and supplement it with the throttle when I need a quick boost. speed, such as accelerating from a red light. Your mileage can literally vary.
Lastly, I wanted to compliment the LCD screen, which is much better than what is normally found in this price range. It’s a large, high-resolution color panel that provides lots of information, including assistance level, speed, battery level, voltage, trip information, and even room temperature, all in one clear view. The display also allows you to customize a large number of riding parameters, including the maximum speed and the pedal assist setting.
An electric bike that seems built to last
I am lucky enough to be able to test many electric bikes for work, but when it comes time to recommend an electric bike to someone else, especially someone who is not handy with electronics, I always worry about longevity. Sure, an electric bike can be nice to ride for the first month or two, but given the limited time to review, I can’t be sure it will last 1, 5, or 10 years into the future.
Electric Bike Company goes further than just about any, umm, electric bike company I have made it my goal to make you feel like you are buying an electric bike that will truly stand the test of time.
The longevity proof is in the pudding, of course, but even without taking into account the company’s durability claims, there’s luckily little to complain about the EBC Model Y. A stealthy and comfortable design, a ridiculous amount of customization, a powerful pedaling assistance and one of the best warranties in the industry make an electric bike easy to recommend.