If a new drivetrain manufacturer name makes you nervous, Electra bicycles are certified to the UL safety standards, which is the current gold safety standard for electric personal mobility vehicles and significantly reduces the risk that it will spontaneously alight while charging in your garage. Electra also submits its bicycles to significant in-house safety testing as well.
Another thing that helps lower the bike’s weight? It has light 700cc tires, which stand in stark contrast to the massive, heavy-duty, all-terrain tires that many ebikes have. I appreciate thinner, faster tires and not having to do a deadlift to get my bike over a curb. The 7-speed derailleur shifters (hence the 7D) were perfectly adequate for city riding and I didn’t feel unsafe stopping with mechanical disc brakes. Then again, I was not off-roading, nor was I going particularly fast.
Every tool has a purpose. You don’t use a paring knife when you’re breaking down bones in the kitchen, and you don’t need a mountain bike to tool around your neighborhood. This is not the bike I’d choose for a rigorous daily commute, because it’s not meant to go that fast. The curved handlebars are meant to keep you upright, not to steer around potholes or pass people in traffic. The thin tires are light, but you do have to steer them carefully around the streetcar rails. There’s also no suspension, so hitting a pothole at speed can rattle the handlebars right out of your hands.
On a 12-mile ride, my Garmin told me I was going about 15 mph. That felt right to me, even though the top speed is 20 mph with assist.
What it is meant to do, it does perfectly, which is to allow you to ride slowly with your hair down within a few miles of your house while cosplaying as Belly in The Summer I Turned Pretty. It fits on all standard bike racks; you don’t need a chain or an extender, and the battery is integrated so you don’t have to worry about it being conspicuous or someone stealing it off the bike. The assist feels easy and natural. The bike is light enough that I don’t worry about it falling on me, and it’s not a disaster if I have to pedal it home without electric assistance.
The seat was wide and comfortable enough to bike in a bikini on the way to a neighbor’s pool. I had my head up and waved to some friends I knew along the way! It’s a step-through, so I didn’t have to change out of my house dress to bike to my daughter’s school to water the community garden, where I ran into other parents that I knew who loved the bike. (“Mine looks just like it. Oh, yours is electric?”) It’s compatible with racks, baskets, and other accessories.
I biked to the gym, casually passing a high schooler going up the hill who looked at me in bafflement when he got off his bike to walk as I breezed past. This weekend, my husband and I went on a date. After a day spent running errands and patching up the hole under the eaves where some squirrels tried to make a nest, we hopped on bikes to go to a nearby patio that abuts both a cocktail bar and a handmade pasta pop-up.
He made his own bike, it’s faster than mine, and he also bikes much faster than I do. But with a 250-watt motor on a sit-up cruiser, I was able to keep up with no sweat, hold a conversation while riding, and keep my straw handbag tucked under my armpit. If you want to bike around the beach or your neighborhood, but you’re afraid of electric bikes—or even of bikes in general, what the hey—this is a great place to start.