Pedal Easy Electric Bikes are Versatile, Lightweight Commuter Bikes
Ron Wensel is a Canadian engineer who has spent years testing and developing bike frames, batteries and motors, and has successfully developed a range of hand-assembled, lightweight, strong, easy-to-ride commuter electric bikes at an affordable price (around $1,500). I have been test riding one of his Pedal Easy bikes for a few months now, and believe that he has done an excellent job.
Ron has always been a cyclist, but a series of heart attacks almost ended his cycling days. He was warned by his doctor that he had to keep his heart rate low. Instead of giving up cycling, Ron used his decades of engineering experience to develop a range of lightweight, long-range electric bikes. He pairs these lightweight bikes with small, high-efficiency batteries and discreet but powerful motors. These are not just any old batteries and motors. Ron described to me how he put all of the components through their paces, testing and dissecting them (literally) until he was sure he had top-rate components.
The first thing I noticed about my test bike is that it did not look like an electric bike. The battery is concealed in a saddlebag. The rear hub motor is so small and discreet that most people simply would not realize this is an electric bike.
I saw one of my fellow bike commuters in our bike parking the first time I rode it, and he said, “Oh, you’re not on an electric bike” (because usually I do my long work commute on an electric bike). Now bear in mind that this guy is a serious cyclist, and he knows bikes. I said, “Actually it IS an electric bike,” and he was quite shocked. I pointed out the engine in the almost-normal looking rear wheel hub and the battery hidden in the saddlebag. He said, “Wow, that’s really discreet.” He was even more impressed when I told him the price. And impressed again when I invited him to lift it up and see how light it was. With battery, the bike weighs in at just 28 pounds.
I can lift this bike onto my bike rack as easily as any regular bike. The Pedal Easy bike is a cinch to lift onto our Thule bike rack (reviewed here).
The Pedal Easy Electric Bike is Versatile
The great thing about these bikes is that you can pedal them like regular bikes when you don’t need the electric assist. Ron tells me that some people have bought his bikes to use as regular bikes, because each one is a light, well-specced, extremely strong aluminium bike, well worth it’s $1,500 price sticker, even if you don’t need the engine.
What it Feels like to ride a Pedal Easy Electric Bike
The basic feeling you get on a Pedal Easy bike is SPORTY. You feel like you are on a high performance bike, cycling along with the strength of an Olympian.
I used the Pedal Easy to bike to work. I have a 22 km commute, with extreme and intermediate hills for the first 4 km. I live by the river in New West, and work in downtown Vancouver. That means that I have to cycle uphill for miles just to get out of New West. Coming home again, it is a long uphill slog to Metrotown. Basically, massive hills both ways, and a lot of them.
The bike I tested had only 3 speeds (there are other models with many more gears). Even so, the hills were pretty much a breeze. The bike weighs about 28 pounds, and I weigh about 170 pounds, for a grand total of around 200 pounds. So it’s no mean feat to get us up the steep hills of New West.
I am happy to report that getting up those hills is easy with a Pedal Easy electric bike.
The bike works entirely on a throttle basis. The throttle turns away from you, which took me a while to get used to (I have ridden motor cycles, which have throttles that turn the other way). I have to say that I love the throttle action. It’s just so easy to pull off from a stop sign without putting pressure on my knees. And it’s so much fun to use the throttle to manoeuvre through obstacles. It’s very responsive and well calibrated, so you have a lot of manoeuvring ability. More so than on a regular bike, definitely.
The most fun part is simply zooming along without having to pedal at all. It’s a great alternative for days when my knees are hurting. It even made me think about buying a motorcycle again, but I won’t do that.
Pedal Easy Bikes Help you to Get Fit
A really good thing about the Pedal Easy is that you have to actually use the throttle for the engine to work. This is different from a Pedelec-type electric bike, where the engine kicks in as soon as you start pedalling, and is always there, matching your power output. This is good because you have to consciously engage the engine, so I find that very often I simply don’t use the engine. I pretty much use the throttle when I need it, which means that I do a lot of regular cycling on the Pedal Easy. In fact, I substantially increased my fitness level while using it. Without it, I don’t think I would have been fit enough to do the 30 kilometre MS Bike Tour recently.
I never thought I would ever be able to regularly tackle my difficult commute on a regular bike, but thanks to a couple of months of using the Pedal Easy, I have become so fit that I have now started doing this tough commute on a regular bike. I am very proud of this. It’s one heck of a commute, and I could not have done it without months of getting fitter on a Pedal Easy electric bike.
This is what I love about electric bikes. You can use them to get fitter, you can use them on days when you are exhausted, or when your knees are hurting. You can use them to get over impossible hills. They take the angst out of long commutes, and flatten out really daunting hills. And of course, you can just plain have a whole lot of fun on them.
Pedal Easy bikes are nicely specced with reasonably high end Shimano components. They also come with good, practical wrap around fenders – essential for any bike commuter. And they look good!
The lightweight 320 W.h lithium-ion battery gets me about 35 km when I use it very heavily – basically, all the time. Charging takes a few hours. I recommend carrying a spare battery. That way, you always have a backup.
The engine is situated in the front hub. With the battery in the saddlebag, the balance of the bike is excellent.
Here are the complete specs of the 3 speed Pedal Easy Electric Bike:
- Frame & fork material: Double butted, 6061 aluminum, heat treated to T6
- Gearing: Shimano Nexus 3 speed
- Shifter: Shimano Revo-shifter
- Front/rear chain ring ratio: 48/18
- Tires: Kenda Kwest 700 x 35c touring/commuting
- Ergonomic handlebar grips
- Motor: 36V, 350W output power planetary-geared front hub
- Battery: Lithium-ion (Panasonic’s latest NCR chemistry), 320 W.h capacity
- E-bike weight with battery16 kg (35 lbs)
- Cycle Analyst power meter and bio-responsive control system optional
- Styles: Standard (diamond-shaped) & step-through (sloped top bar)
- Sizes: 54cm (standard frame), 45 cm (step-through)
Bottom Line on the Pedal Easy Electric Bike
The Pedal Easy electric bikes rate a Gold Bike Star.
I recommend Pedal Easy electric bikes to anyone who wants a great bike with plenty of electric assist available with just a flip of the wrist. They are excellent for commuting, and would also be an excellent choice for long bike tours. Pedal Easy also offers a range of Cycle Analyst power meters for precise display of e-bike parameter. They have some of the most cutting edge technology available in the world of electric bikes.
Ron Wensel and his son Claudio make Pedal Easy electric bikes. Check out their website if you want a quality electric bike, at an affordable price, assembled in Canada.