Would you ever ride a bicycle with a throttle? – Bike Magazine Australia

During my half-a-year test period, all kinds of people asked to ride the Elby, an electric, pedal-assist bike with unique styling that manages to look non-intimidating while also promising fun. (And the ride delivers). Everyone who tried the Elby loved it. I loved the Elby, too. I love it so much I like saying the words the Elby. Just saying the Elby makes me a happier person. I have extensive time on the Specialized Turbo, the Stromer, the Faraday and other pedal-assist e-bikes, and the Elby is by far my favorite non-cargo option.

Who It’s For
Anyone who wants to make it a little simpler, easier, less sweaty, quicker, or more convenient to get to work or into town, do errands, or just enjoy a recreational spin.

What We Liked
The Elby is the first e-bike that fully is what it is—it’s not trying to look moto souped-up and hard-ass, doesn’t masquerade as just an elegant bicycle by hiding the motor and battery in a traditional-looking frame, but also doesn’t awkwardly and visibly graft its battery and drive system onto a stock frame like some kind of goiter or parasitic abomination. By embodying its purpose – to help you ride around town comfortably, safely, and quickly – it achieves an admirable kind of coolness.

Most likely as a result of its pure-purpose design, the Elby is snappy but secure in corners, stable at all speeds (neither floppy at low or wobbly at high), good with heavy loads, and brakes smartly and predictably.

Its 500-watt BionX D-Series rear hub, handlebar control unit and display, and down-tube-integrated battery rival the Bosch Performance Line for torque, smooth power delivery, and range. (I routinely exceeded 80km on a charge when I carefully modulated between power levels.) Top speed is a touch over 30km/h, and there’s an IOS & Android app to monitor and control stuff like setup, display, charging and navigation.

Lots of details take the bike to another level: Superbright integrated LED lights front and back; a USB charging port; hydraulic disc brakes (paired with a 9-speed SRAM drivetrain); the ability to legitimately fit riders, with seatpost and stem adjustments, from 5-feet-nothing to 6-foot-5; a foolproof kickstand; and an integrated rear rack (and pannier mounts) and fenders.

One of the more interesting – and controversial – inclusions is the throttle lever, which lets you accelerate without pedalling. In one sense, this is a real departure from the idea of what a bicycle is; one ought to pedal. But two things… First, I learned that I only really used it in one scenario, and it was a common situation that made riding feel much safer: to get up to speed after stopping at intersections. And second, every non-cyclist who tried the Elby said the throttle option gave them much more confidence and made the idea of riding more enjoyable and appealing.

Watch Out For
Weight is the only real drawback. The Elby weighs nearly 26kg, which isn’t unreasonable, and is spread so well that it never detracts from the handling or the ease of kickstanding the bike. Yet, it is enough that make the bike impractical for anyone who deals with stairs at home or work, or will need to manouever in tight spaces that require lifting the bike or pivoting it around. And if you do run out of battery power, the Elby is a lot to pedal.

The Takeaway
The Elby is a great choice for anyone interested in electric power, and one of the first to really integrate power into a complete, well-styled, and inspiring package.

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