Electric mountain bikes were the big new thing for most of the last decade. Haibike’s xDuro series set the pace back in 2010, with a full-suspension Bosch-powered bike, followed by hundreds of models from all the big brands. But now all the action has moved elsewhere… to road electric bikes.
Lightweight ebikes with drop handlebars, racing spec gears, razor-thin tyres and aerodynamic styling is where manufacturers are putting their money and marketing clout in 2020.
Battery technology, styling and motors all needed to improve before good electric road bikes could emerge.
Some road ebikes jumped the gun a little and made major compromises both range and power to create a road bike that at least looked the part.
In the past couple of years, electric road bikes have made their mark, with models from Giant, Cube, Focus, Orbea and many more.
In most cases, you could have either a clunky frame (as with the Giant Road-E, below) or a small battery and motor (Focus, Cube and Orbea), but not both.
Weedy motors are fine if you want the occasional power boost, and the tiny Fazua system found its fans.
But it’s only in 2020 that useful levels of assistance, acceptable range AND an authentic road bike look have become possible.
Perhaps the most credible of all these new eRoad bikes are BH’s Core range
They bring a respectable 540Wh of carefully-concealed battery and ultra-compact yet powerful motors (with the option to remove speed restriction), combined within an attractive, lightweight and exceedingly rideable package.
BH designed the Core system with the aim of creating a range of e-bikes with long ranges that preserve the essence, geometry and traditional shapes of road and gravel bikes.
100 MILES OF FREEDOM
One of the most important features of BH Core electric road bikes is their 165km (102 miles) range. This is possible thanks to the large capacity of their 540 Wh hidden battery. It has a remarkably high energy density of more than 234 Wh/kg.
(That’s quite a bit better than any other battery we’ve offered. For example, the new Bosch Powertube 650 has an energy density of only around 180Wh/kg)
The charging port is located on the side of the down tube, enabling fast charging. In fact, it’s possible to charge the battery to 80% in 1.5 hours.
LIGHTWEIGHT, COMPACT, POWERFUL AND VERY VERY QUIET
The motor of Core e-bikes is extremely quiet. It’s also compact, lightweight and powerful. It’s integrated into the frame with minimal visual impact. It gives the bike a low centre of gravity and is protected by two side housings to ensure an insulated and hermetic seal.
The motor delivers 250 Watts of power and generates a maximum torque of 65 Nm. A big plus: it only weighs 2.5 kg and enables the use of conventional double-plate groupsets.
One thing it doesn’t do is generate any friction in non-assistance mode, allowing the user to use it at speeds above 25 km/h without any additional effort.
A welcome feature when making up time on fast downhill stretches or when cycling without power.
The restriction on the maximum assisted speed can be removed if required and permitted in your territory.
Q-FACTOR ONLY 163 MM
The Core range motor was designed to be as small and compact in size as possible. It has also been designed with users of road and gravel bikes in mind.
With a Q-Factor of only 163 mm it optimises the rider’s performance, efficiency and ergonomics. The designers have included extremely short rear chainstays for a very quick and reactive geometry.
The road and gravel bike range features the ACR system, thus ensuring 100% internal cabling. This makes for a cleaner look and reduced aerodynamic drag. It also further conceals each bike’s electrical pedigree.
The BH Core display is fully-integrated into the stem and features a button that allows you to increase or reduce the assistance level, through an LED colour system.
The display also indicates the remaining battery charge level at a glance and features LED colour lights for the different modes.
BH has developed the Core App (IOS and Android) that allows you to connect your smartphone to the bike’s Core system via Bluetooth. Among other options, the Core App allows the user to switch between the motor’s assistance modes whenever they like.
The level of assistance and acceleration can be customised via the Core App.
Your dealer can also remove the speed limitation on assistance, upon request and on the condition a disclaimer is signed by the owner.
BEYOND YOUR LIMITS
The Core’s frame lines maximise the visual sensation of a bike with minimalist lines and a refined and stylish aesthetic appearance. Core’s Carbon frames allow total weights as low as 15.7kg, including battery pack.
The result: the simple and minimalist integration of the electrical components with the elements you would expect to find on conventional road and gravel bikes.