Is Mercedes' Formula E Team eBike Worth $5,100? Here's What You Need to Know - Men's Health Magazine Australia

Is Mercedes’ Formula E Team eBike Worth $5,100? Here’s What You Need to Know

And what you should be looking for in a quality ebike.

Odds are, after a whole bunch of time stuck inside, you’ve probably already got that indoor exercise bike on lock for your home gym. But perhaps you’re finding it’s time to take your cycling skills to the streets, and enjoy all that fredoom we finally have post-lockdown.

Now, we can’t all be professional cyclists (or really, unabashed bicycle enthusiasts)—and while we love the idea of riding a two-wheeler to work on a regular basis, in reality, it can feel like a lot. No worries, that’s where an e-bike comes in (and for those who are wondering, yes- you can still get a solid workout with one of these bad boys).

Mercedes e-Bike

Revealed by the brand almost 12-months ago, Mercedes-Benz’s collection of high-performance electric bikes have become pretty hot property since landing Down Under. The four options – the classic Formula E Team eBike, the Silver Arrows eBike and sport edition, as well as the Championship Edition eBike – are not only the most stylish bikes you will ever see, but have the tech to match.

These new models will add some extra push to your daily rides, but do so in an exceptionally smooth, seamless, and quiet way—in other words, you don’t find any buzzy motors here. Top speeds clock in at 28 mph (45k/h), which is certainly nothing to scoff at (plus, who doesn’t enjoy riding fast?). But what might be the most enticing aspect of these new e-bikes might be the software that makes them, well, electronic.

The bikes include sleekly framed batteries and drive units, as well as high-tech digital dashboards with a “password-activated security immobilizer”, helping to prevent theft.

They also employ mid-drive motors for better dynamics and “constantly-variable” technology — meaning no discrete gears to switch between — and use carbon belt drives which are known for being silent, durable, and expensive options for transferring power from the motors and pedals to the wheels.

The Formula E Team eBike, which we tried, would be your entry-level option at $5,100.00 AUD. I know, I know! But knowing that it’ll only get better with time and software updates, this may be the commuter bike for you. You may even want to swap your car for one of these.

And plus, it’s a Mercedes after all.

Specifications

Weight: 20.5 kg (45lbs) total weight, including single battery

Riders height: Optimized for riders between 165-200 cm tall

Gearing: Enviolo constant variable transmission

Power: 80 Nm / 250 W mid drive motor

Top Speed: 25 km/h (15.5 mph)

Range: 70km (43 miles)

Battery: Single 36v/7ah

Charging Time: 100% recharged in 3.5 hours

Types of electric bike

E-bikes come in all shapes and sizes, just like ‘ordinary’ cycles, so it should be easy to find something that suits your needs.

There are simple hybrid designs (much like racing bikes but with straight handlebars), classic step-through designs, folders, e-mountain bikes and full-on racers, should you feel the need for speed.

What to look for when buying an e-bike

Weight

Even the most modern motors and batteries are still fairly hefty, so an e-bike will always be heavier than the equivalent non-electric model. The average weight is around 20kg, but some are almost three times the weight of a standard hybrid. ‘Dutch-style’ step-through designs, for example, can come in at 25kg or more.

If you regularly need to take your bike up steps or lift it into the back of a car, consider a lighter folding model. Some racer-style e-bikes weigh around 12kg, but these can cost a fortune.

Battery

Use your e-bike regularly to get the best performance out of its battery – they don’t take kindly to being left to run flat for weeks or months on end – and make sure you can remove it for recharging indoors if you have nowhere secure to plug it in outside. Most batteries will recharge from flat in just a few hours.

The size of the battery can dictate the range of the e-bike, so if you only need it for local trips, don’t spend more money on a model that can last for ages between fuel-ups.

Range

Most riders will find 30 to 50 miles of range plenty, but some batteries can transport e-bike and rides up to 100 miles if used sparingly.

Bear in mind that zooming about on the highest power setting can burn through even a bigger, fully-charged battery in as little as 20 miles – and it’s no fun trying to coax a heavy e-bike home on leg power alone.

Costs

Even with today’s soaring electricity prices, it costs barely anything to charge an e-bike’s battery – less than boiling a kettle. However many miles you rack up over a year, you’re still likely to make huge savings over the cost of running a car.

Just don’t forget to factor in the cost of a yearly service – a heavy e-bike will go through brake pads and tyres faster than a manual cycle.

E-bike AU rules

The laws for e-bikes in Australia are quite simple. To be ridden on public roads, e-bikes must:

1. Have a motor that is 250 watts or less.

2. If it has a throttle (that powers the bike without pedalling), have a motor that is 200 watts or less.

3. Be speed limited to 25km/h

Throttles are allowed on 250w motors if limited to 6km/h (to assist with walking the bike).

It is possible to purchase e-bikes with much higher than 250w power in Australia. There’s nothing stopping these being sold, but they just cannot be ridden on public roads. Most sellers of these bikes have in really tiny fine print on their website something like: *to be ridden on private property only.

By Nikolina Ilic

Nikolina is the former Digital Editor at Men's Health Australia, responsible for all things social media and .com. A lover of boxing, she has written for Women's Health, esquire, GQ and Vogue magazine.

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