Inspiring’s love affair with an electric bike

By Hannah Roberts

A couple of months ago, Inspiring were contacted by the lovely 50cycles as a result of our Graduate guide to coping with the London commute blog. 50cycles, the UK’s leading quality electric bike supplier were keen for our team to experience their electric bikes as an alternative method of commuting around London. Being the energetic, fitness-mad team that we (like to think we) are, we jumped at the opportunity to give a bike a go!

Tim Snaith, director of 50cycles, dropped by our office a few weeks ago with the magnificent Kalkhoff Pro Connect Xion X27. It quickly became the talk of the team after Inspiring’s CEO mounted the bike and zoomed through the office, wowing all in his wake. One of the team who took a particular shining to the machine was one of our co-founders, Benedict. He shares his experience with the bike below…

As someone who cycles to work through London’s rush hour I was quite excited to hear we would be loaned the new Pro Connect Xion X27 for both the experience and to see how the technology has developed.

I am by no means a cycling fanatic and have fallen in to it due to the speed and low cost commute along with the added exercise I get either side of sitting at a desk all day, so I probably represent a good proportion of London’s cycling community.

My first impression of the Pro Connect Xion X27 was that it is quite a heavy bike; I’ve used Barclays Bikes for two years and this is considerably heavier, which is saying something! I thought the design was very functional, I think the bike looks good but more importantly is incredibly comfortable to ride. I’d say it’s the most comfortable I’ve experienced, with a cushioned saddle and raised handle bars making for the perfect urban cycling position when you have more than the odd bus to watch out for. The bike also includes a rear bag rack, lights and LCD display to control the settings, so you really do have everything you need for the daily commute.

However, what really matters is performance. Having never ridden an electric bike previously I wasn’t sure if I even need to peddle or whether I’d just sit there being chauffeured around exuding very little in the way of effort. In actual fact you are required to pedal and in return get an incredible torque from the bike. The first few pedals are like having the bike attached to a bungee rope which propels you into the future, and maybe that’s where this bike belongs. You can accelerate from zero to 20mph with ease, seeing off others around you (cars included) as it puts you in pole position for the next set of lights. This is felt even more on any type of incline where you can comfortably sit back and fly past everyone around. When colleagues saw the bike can hit 70Kmh their concerns were it would be dangerously fast but actually I found the added power is more of a safety feature allowing you to accelerate into the correct road position on the odd occasion you have to weave around the traffic. The general handling of the bike causes few issues either, whilst aware you’re riding a heavy vehicle not equipped for hair pin bends and obstacle courses you’re not left driving it like a two tonne lorry either. For urban use the balance is just right!

For those who think this bike defeats the point of cycling as there is little in the way of exercise will be happy to know that the 20+ gears allow you to choose when to work hard; cycling beyond 20mph still provides a healthy leg burn with the heavy frame in tow! So in many ways it is the best of both worlds; you can pick and choose your battles with this bike.

When asked to summarise the Pro Connect Xion X27 I thought of when power steering was introduced to cars. The heavy turning of pre-power steered cars was not preventing anyone from driving a car nor did it put anyone at a particular disadvantage. However every new car on the planet now has this feature and is something we couldn’t imagine life without. With the increasing rise of cycling as the urban commuters’ preferred choice, this too could be something we one day couldn’t imagine bikes without and as a result cover much greater distances on pedal power!

We’d like to say I a big thanks to Lauren, Tim and the 50cycles team for giving us the opportunity to experience this exciting piece of modern day transport!

Hannah is a Digital Marketing Executive at Inspiring. She tweets about all things golden here: @hlcroberts and pins all things pretty here: gildthelilly. You can also connect with Hannah on Google+