From Issue One of the Gear Patrol Magazine. Free shipping for new subscribers.
In New York City, bike commuting is competing. A race against time, of which there’s never enough. It’s a struggle of slipping past gridlocked cabs, dodging wayward tourists, sprinting to beat lights and avoiding the squeeze of a merging car and bus. It’s a contest of who looks the best and sweats the least. But most of all, it’s a race to put the smartass on a fixie in his place, once and for all, when he tries to pass you on the Manhattan Bridge. Can’t you see I’ve got Di2, bro?
The whole ecosystem has been upended by e-bikes, a class of two-wheeler that looks ostensibly like any other bike but for the small outboard battery and a motor integrated into the hub or drivetrain, which offer pedal assist — in some cases up to 28 mph. Once mainly the transportation de rigueur of Chinese take-out delivery men, e-bikes are turning up in bigger numbers on the city streets and as far away as mountain bike trails. They’re fast, nimble and they’ve reinvigorated the commute — because there’s nothing quite like winning the holeshot on a longtail cargo bike that weighs 60 pounds (without breaking a sweat).
But how do e-bikes perform in real-life situations? Like when you need to pull over for an emergency ice cream cone, refuel on espresso mid-ride or pick up flowers for your lover — all while making good time? To find out, we assembled an elite crew of seven riders (including two elite cyclists), six of the finest electric bikes and one of the finest electric skateboards, for the inaugural E-bike Criterium on the streets of Brooklyn. Cycling photographer Emiliano Granado of Manual for Speed, riding his own bike, captured the action.
Additional story production and contribution by AJ Powell.
Haibike XDuro Superrace
Body Position / Suggested Use: Forward Aggressive / Road, Urban
Electric Bike Class: Speed Pedalec (Class 3)
Motor Type / Nominal Output: Mid-Mounted Geared Motor / 350 watt
Total Weight / Motor Weight / Battery Weight: 40 lbs (18.14 kg) 8.8 lbs (3.99 kg) 5.5 lbs (2.49 kg) Estimated Charge Time: 3.5 hrs
Top Speed: 28 mph (45.06 kph)
*Our thanks to NYC eWheels in Manhattan and Propel Bikes in Brooklyn for loaning us the bikes for this shoot.
This story first appeared in Issue One of the Gear Patrol Magazine, 280 pages of stories, reports, interviews and original photography from seven distinct locations around the world. Subscribe now and receive free shipping on the biannual magazine. Offer expires soon.