What is an Electric Bike? My Scott E-sub Tour Lady Bike (2017) Review
Cycling has always been a popular sport and hobby for all ages. Following Team Sky inspiring an explosion of road cycling in the UK, I predict the next big gear shift in the sport is going to be electric bikes (or "ebikes" as they are often called). Indeed, it's already happening. Take a look around at the number of bikes you can spot with batteries. Once you know to look for them, you'll see so many.
"So, is it life changing? I'm always interested in life-changing"
...my friend asked me.
I suppose it depends on how much you cycled beforehand and what impact it has on your family interests. My husband is bike and cycling obsessed. I thought he would be a bit rude about electric bikes, but to my surprise he was extremely enthusiastic. Until I got my bike, we weren't really able to have fun cycling as a family, because in reality he got bored and I got tired! However, the first time we went out together I overtook him on a hill, whilst towing the children, and without having to break a sweat - that moment made every penny spent worth it.
But is it life changing? Keep reading to find out...
What is an electric bike?
An electric bike is a normal bicycle with a battery and a motor. It will offer you various degrees of pedal assist up to 15mph/25kmph (then it cuts out), so it's NOT like a moped allowing you to ride along without any effort. It's a bit like when someone puts their hand on your back/back of the seat and gives you a push along whilst you're riding. You've really got to try it!
The Pros and Cons of Electric Bikes
The Cons: Heavier, louder and more expensive than a non-electric bike.
The Pros: Efficiency in climbing hills, ability to cycle to places without perspiring so much, and ability to cycle for further than you otherwise perhaps would. Useful when towing a trailer containing children, which otherwise would be limiting or exhausting. Fitness benefits for everyone. Getting riders outdoors more, and more environmentally friendly than car use.
They have so many uses in their different designs: cruising, commuting, transporting (children, groceries or cargo), trail, downhill, mountain, road, sand and snow (fat bike), tandem, touring and travelling (folding); as well as for the purpose of fitness, leisure and enjoyment.
Which Electric Bike to buy?
I first researched the best type of battery system. After all, it is this which makes an electric bike different to a regular one. I learnt quickly that there are only really a few with excellent reputations; and after much research I decided to look for bikes carrying the Bosch battery system due to the most impressive reviews, and it seemed to be on the better bikes.
I knew I wanted a hybrid bike. It needed to transport 2 toddlers so I considered carefully whether a Cargo bike fitted my needs (like Alison has got, and loves - check out her Cargo Bike review here). Whilst these are undoubtedly very chic and funky, I wanted a bike that I could also ride without the "cargo".
I made pros and cons lists with a few bikes, and went to a few shops to check them out. In a couple of weeks of looking I found I kept comparing other bikes to the Scott e-sub Tour bike. I even spent a couple of evenings watching You Tube review videos of it. I love research! It was my husband's clear favourite as it is the most prestigious of the brands I was considering. For what I wanted, specification wise and aesthetically, the Scott e-sub Tour became the clear winner.
It's useful to know that The Evans bike shop website has a specifications comparison tool for all bikes they sell, which includes the Scott E-sub Tour Lady. It's a great starting point, at least.
I decided to have the "Lady" model over the Unisex step through design. I was persuaded against the step through by my engineer, cycling obsessed, husband. He explained that the design of a step through frame on a heavy electric-bike, under load (mostly I would be towing the children), would probably be a more wobbly ride (as the frame has more flex). Whereas the triangle shape of the ladies/mens frame is stiffer.
I sourced my Scott E-sub Tour Lady bike online, to get the best deal, and had it delivered. It came partially assembled and my husband was able to finish putting it all together for me. Without his skills I would have bought directly from a shop for them to assemble and fit.
So what do I think of my Scott E-sub Tour Lady bike?
I have owned my Scott e-sub Tour Lady bike for 6 months now and I am passionate about it.
- I love how it looks - the 2017 model is grey with electric blue flashes. Everything appears and feels high quality, and robust, yet it is sufficiently feminine for this girlie girl too!
- I love how it rides. It is smooth and very comfortable. It comes in 3 frame sizes, useful for me as I needed the smallest possible adult frame. Reviews about the frame's apparently long and uncomfortable reach have not borne true even for little me. The bike saddle is extremely comfortable.
- You can hear the electric motor when it is running, but I understand this to be true of all electric bikes. One of my reasons for choosing Bosch is that it has one of the quietest motors.
- It is heavy. Advertised as being 24 kg. As electric bikes go this is pretty standard, but a normal bike is maybe 12-15 kg. When riding with the electric motor, you simply don't notice it, even when towing the trailer. We have "turbo'ed" up some pretty impressive hills. The weight is an issue sometimes though. I would not be able to get it on or off the roof of the car on my own, nor easily push it up the stairs from our underground basement, and it can be a bit clumsy to manoeuvre on foot. When you do need to push it, the Bosch system does have a walk assist function.
- The Bosch ebike computer system, which operates the 400wh battery, is not only intuitive but is also extremely easy to operate whilst riding. You have 4 settings for assistance: Eco, Tour, Sport and Turbo. You can monitor your speed and see how much assistance it is giving you relative to how much effort you are putting into pedalling. You can also monitor how much is remaining of the battery life on your current charge, and adapt for efficiency, depending on which mode you are travelling in. It charges quickly, in a few hours from a wall socket, and you can remove the battery, or charge it directly on the bike. The advertised range from each charge is an estimated minimum of 30 miles (48km) in "Turbo", and an estimated maximum of 70 miles (113km) in "Eco. In between you'll get about 35-40 miles in "Sport" and 50 miles in "Tour". The battery and motor placement is located at a sensible point, centrally on the frame, from a balance and handling perspective. It is clear Scott and Bosch have closely collaborated as the design is seamless.
- The E-sub Tour bike comes with 10 speed Shimano gear set. They are very easy to operate, and the display showing you what gear you are in is really useful. The brakes are sharp and reliable. I haven't had a puncture yet, and maybe have been lucky, but the Continental tyres have so far proven to be good. I carry a pump and spares with me always though (and must take my husband up on a lesson to learn how to change them!).
- Another really neat feature is that all of the integrated lights (which are fantastic) are operated by the Bosch battery system. So when you turn off the computer, everything is off. Not all electric bikes have this convenience.
- Practical items are included: the rear pannier with bungee cords, mud guards, quick release wheels, stand and a bell.
- I do lock my bike up with a separate D-lock when out and about, but it has its own integral security too: you can lock the rear wheel, you need a key to remove the battery, and you can remove the computer display screen (this was initially a little stiff, but it eased).
So what does the scott e-sub tour lady bike cost?
You are looking at around £2,000 / €2,400. This is not a bike that most people would purchase lightly, but for the quality, specification and design, I believe it is good value for money.
Many large and small retailers stock the Scott e-sub Tour Lady bike, so a quick Google will bring up many options for buying.
I am cycling more than I ever have in my adult life before. Whenever the weather is good I do the school run with it and the trailer (which is from Decathlon), and there are other occasions when I have hopped on the bike rather than in the car. We even did a family bike ride on Boxing Day 2016. The novelty is showing no signs of fading. And probably best of all, it is enthusing our toddlers to become proficient on two wheels. They are as bike and cycling mad as their daddy....and now mummy too!
It is the best bike I have ever owned.
Yes, it's life changing.
P.S. Specification of the scott e-sub tour ladies bike 2017
Frame: E-SUB 6061 Alloy
Drive System: Bosch Active 250w System w/ 400wh battery pack / Intuvia display
Fork: Suntour NEX HLO, w/ Lockout
Headset: VP semi integrated
Rear derailleur: Shimano Deore RD-T610-SGS 10 Speed
Shifters: Shimano Deore SL-T610
Brakes: Shimano BR-M315 Disc
Cranckset: FSA Metropolis 18T
Handlebar: NR AL 196 BT
Stem: JD-ST103 Adjustable angle
Pedals: VP 573
Seatpost: SP 297 N
Seat: Syncros Urban Commuter 2.5
Hub (front): Formula CL51
Hub (rear): Shimano FH-RM35 Disc
Chain: KMC X10
Cassette: Shimano CS-HG50-10 11-36 T
Spokes: Sapim double butted
Tyres: Continental Cruise Contact 700x47c
Lights: Front: AXA Blueline; Rear: B&M Jr Integrated
Rack and fenders: Racktime w/ spring clamp, Curana wide fenders Ursus Mooi kickstand
Extras: Abus Pro Tectic Frame / Battery Lock
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