The Harley-Davidson Serial 1 E-Bike Is Well Worth $5,000

Harley-Davidson Serial 1 E-Bike

We’ve all seen individuals riding e-bikes. And there’s even a very good likelihood you’ve taken one for a spin if you happen to dwell in a metropolis with a bike-share program. Up till the final week, that was my sole exposure to e-bikes. I hadn’t ever been on a severe e-bike, nor had I actually thought of shopping for one or understood simply how a lot they price. Assume used automotive cash.

I had a chance to spend a morning driving two new e-bike fashions from Serial 1, an organization backed by — and stuffed with expertise from — Harley-Davidson. Now, I completely perceive why somebody would pay upwards of $5,000 for a bicycle.

Tearing up metropolis streets

I began out on essentially the most reasonably priced, and easy, mannequin: The MOSH/CTY (henceforth referred to as the Mosh). It instantly caught my eye with its modern design and flat black paint. “Mosh” is an ideal title, as a result of the bike is muscular and appears able to tear up the terrain. It has no fenders or fairings, and even its energy controller is an easy set of LEDs quite than a display. It’s about simply hopping on and driving — and having blast doing so.

Ripping across the streets at 20 mph — without breaking a sweat — is addicting.

And I did. I instantly ripped across the streets of the Higher East Aspect and thru Central Park, simply sweeping by different bikes within the bike lanes at a prime pace of 20 mph. The Mosh actually goads you into driving rapidly and aggressively, as a result of it solely has one gear. And because it’s a pedal-assist bike, you solely get energy once you’re pedaling — so once you’re up above 15 mph, you actually need to pedal aggressively to maintain the motor shifting and your pace fixed.

You may have 4 energy modes — eco, tour, sport, and increase — that alter the facility supplied relative to your pedaling. An increase is sufficient to have you ever beating automobiles off the road in metropolis visitors without even standing up, however, a tour is a lot that can assist you to sustain with different bikes or handle hills without a lot of pressure. I wouldn’t be stunned if the typical Mosh rider caught to “increase” 100% of the time, although; that energy is addicting.

It’s downright enjoyable, and also you rapidly begin to benefit from the quirks of the powertrain. However, due to this, the Mosh isn’t a lot a commuter bike — it’s extra a $3,400 toy for shorter journeys and occasional bouts with the dust. It could tear up metropolis terrain, however not for lengthy rides — despite the fact that the cost varies simply reaches 75 miles. The opposite Serial 1 I rode instantly after the Mosh is the precise reverse, and I cherished it much more.

A speedy commute

The RUSH/CTY SPEED (We’ll seek advice from it as Rush Pace going ahead) is a general-purpose, errand-running, commuter-focused bike, and it presents itself and rides precisely inside these parameters. Narrower tires, full-length fenders, baggage racks, shiny paint, and a handlebar controller with a small display all level to this bike’s function.

However right here’s the factor: It has extra pace, and extra functionality, then the Mosh. You get a prime pace of 28 mph — the utmost allowed earlier than this bike turns right into a moped so far as authorities regulation is worried. There’s a 33%-larger 706Wh battery to match. And right here’s the difficult bit: There’s a CVT (continuously variable transmission) within the rear wheel hub. I detest CVTs in automobiles, however, the software is good right here.

I’ll spare you the technical particulars, however mainly, a CVT is a transmission that doesn’t have particular person “gears,” but it might nonetheless change an efficient gear ratio utilizing adjustable rollers. The Rush Pace’s CVT can present something from a 1:1 to three:1-plus ratio, and it’s managed electronically by an app on your telephone. You set the best gearing for the quantity of labor you need to do and how briskly you need to speed up, and it intelligently adjusts relying on your pace mode and pedal energy to maintain you on the proper gear ratio always.

The impact is great. From a cease, you pedal very frivolously, and the bike strikes gently, however as you decide up just a little pace, the motor help kicks in and the transmission modifications to use extra of that energy to the bottom. The result’s easy and seamless acceleration, even as much as a whopping 28 mph. And since the CVT can max out at an excessive ratio, you possibly can really cruise at 20-plus mph without a ton of pedaling, not like on the Mosh. It additionally raises the efficient energy you’re getting out of every of the identical 4 modes you’ll discover on the Mosh.

The motor and gearing pair completely to offer acceleration and pace.

I used to be cruising previous noon Manhattan automotive visitors and beating the whole lot in Central Park by a number of mph. Totally seated, with little effort, I cruised up the Queensboro Bridge at over 15 mph — and I’m not a small particular person. Turning around, and placing the 59-pound weight (10 kilos heavier than the Mosh) in movement, I used to be going 30 mph again down the span. These are loopy numbers for an e-bike, and I can see precisely how somebody might commute a good way on this bike — all without breaking a sweat.

Relying on how a lot of time you spend in “increase” mode and what your terrain is like, vary can range dramatically, from 25 to 115 miles. Actual-world varies with some spirited driving might be going to be about 70 miles, which means many individuals might get by a workweek from a cost. The battery is definitely detachable for charging if you happen to don’t need to lug the entire bike as much as a condominium. It goes from 0 to 75% in 3.5 hours and tops out at 100% in one other three hours.

Consideration to element

Irrespective of which mannequin you select, you’re getting the good thing about Serial 1’s nice design. You may instantly inform these bikes had been purpose-built from the bottom as much as to be e-bikes based mostly on the sensible consideration to element. In contrast to most inexpensive e-bikes, Serial 1s have a customized battery constructed into the lowest-possible level on the bike, down by the pedal meeting. That retains the bikes secure at excessive speeds and in corners, which you discover straight away. It’s additionally considerably distinctive that the motor is positioned in step with the pedal meeting, quite than out on the wheel hub, which once more retains weight in the appropriate place and dramatically lowers the rotating mass of the wheels.

Now I perceive why you’d spend $5,000 on an e-bike.

Along with a high-quality motor, the bikes use a carbon fiber belt drive, which is quieter, cleaner, and maintenance-free. Each little bit of cabling is routed by the body, so nothing is unfastened or cluttered. There is modern LED brake lights built-in into the again of the body, and a strong LED headlight on the entrance. (Plus, the Serial 1 badge on the prime of the fork illuminates.) Completely nothing in regards to the bikes shout “Harley-Davidson,” however you possibly can inform that the parents at Serial 1 have the identical mobility heritage and meticulous focus.

Serial 1 says that an amazing majority of its pre-orders have been for the top-spec Rush Pace mannequin, which makes full sense after driving it. The Mosh doesn’t essentially have as a lot of enchantment, regardless of being cheaper, and the Rush Pace is simply $500 greater than the bottom Rush. You need that energy and a bigger battery. The one motive to get a base Rush is to get the “step-through” model, which is less complicated to hop on and off of.

It’s not possible for many individuals to even take into account spending $3,400 on an e-bike, not to mention $5,000. However, for anybody who’s leaning towards having an e-bike as a main technique of transportation around a metropolis, it’s price trying on the appreciable advantages of selecting one which’s constructed from the bottom as much as present the most effective e-bike expertise. When you begin evaluating, specs, and options, you’ll discover the Serial 1 is definitely aggressive. Positive, it’s the worth of a used automotive, however, that doesn’t imply it’s overpriced.

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