Let’s zoom in and take a closer look at the various parts of the bike.
Lots of photos in this post. When we were looking at what eBike to buy, we read a lot on the Electric Bike Review forum. They also have a great YouTube channel too - Court, the host, is the master of providing lots of detail about each bike he reviews. Same goes for Citrus Cycles in Canada. We liked seeing the various parts of each bike up close. So let’s pay it forward and do the same with this post.
We'll look at each area of the bike and provide a gallery of photos that highlight the quality of the components being used. In case it’s not obvious from the photo above, we went for the dual battery option. But you can take the second one off and ride with just the on-board battery.
The frame and its geometry are unusual. The R&M Culture model shares a similar design, but there’s no doubt this frame style is a head turner. It might even be the only step-through bike with full suspension. The deep sea blue colour is tricky to see. But we like it. The rack is equally unusual and helps complement the frame. Plus it’s suspended so there’s no bumping or jarring for whatever’s attached to it. We’re still getting a kick out of watching each other ride and seeing that back wheel move up and down while the rider and rack remain level.
We only have a couple of minor gripes. It would have been great to have chosen different colours, and there are no bottle holder lugs, due to the frame design. But neither are deal breakers.
Tyres and Wheels
When you first see the wheels and tyres, they’re a bit of an eyebrow raiser! They look aggressive and very capable. But why put them on this bike and not reserve them for a mountain bike? On the forums, these tyres are a hot topic. Should they be swapped for a smoother tread tyre? Are they noisy? Will they slow you down? Interestingly though, the Schwalbe Rock Razors are listed as a semi-slick. We love them so far. You feel confident on all surfaces (although we’ve not tried them on mud yet). There’s negligible road noise and rolling resistance is minimal.
Only one minor gripe. On one of the bikes we just happened to notice the rear tyre is the wrong way round - there’s a rotation direction on these kinds of tyres (pretty hard to spot). We’ll get that sorted at the first service.
We’ve not been out after dark yet, so our experience is limited to using them during the day. But we’ve decided that we’ll use them whenever we’re riding on regular roads to make ourselves more visible. Melbourne does have a great bike culture, but we’ve enough experience to know that it’s not universal. There are still plenty of drivers (and elements of the mainstream media) that have a healthy disdain for cyclists, plus some aren’t really paying attention. We always abide by the rules of the road and never cut through lights, but some bikers do and that’s what is often picked up by the media.
The best thing about the lights is that you control them via the Intuvia display. Not more stopping and fiddling with buttons. The front light has a dipped beam and main beam which is super bright - controlled via an additional button on the handlebars. The rear light is also connected to the brakes. This must be one of only a few bikes with brake lights. Which is another reason we switch the lights on when on normal roads.
The Engine and Gears
The Bosch motor is largely invisible. It makes a slight whirring noise but it’s not that noticeable. We’ll do a separate post on the different levels of assist, because we’re still getting a handle on that side of things. But… we love the E-14 Rohloff. It’s so easy to use. It changes down automatically to a lower gear when you stop so you’re not struggling to get started again. We’ve probably spent most of the time in gears 9 and 10 (there are 14) when we’re riding at speed on the flat. Because the law in this part of the world restricts pedal assist bikes to 25Km/h of assist, the higher gears are only really going to be used under full human power.
We also like the belt drive. No more grease and oil, or getting clothing caught up as you cycling.
The Suspension and Brakes
The Magura disc brakes are really nice to use. There’s a lot of control because unlike our old acoustic bikes, it’s not just no brakes, then full brakes. It’s more gradual. You can apply the pressure gradually and it feels very connected. The suspension is for us, a bit trickier. We’ve not had suspension before and this is a big difference. Both the front and the rear have two things to manage: air pressure and rebound. At this early stage, to us this is like a black art. We’ve been playing with the settings, but we’re still a little confused. We’ll do a post in the future that looks at this in more detail. The cool thing is that you get a small suspension pump with R&M.
No gripes other than being confused. But that’s our problem.
The Controls and Security
This is an area that differs the most from a regular bike. We’re still getting accustomed to it all. That being said, it’s all within easy reach and the display is excellent. Visible in full sunlight, which is just as well here in Melbourne. Plus there’s a back light for when it gets darker. It also works if you’re wearing polarised lenses. This is something we’ve noticed with our phones - the screen is almost impossible to read. But not the Intuvia.
The supplied lock is a hefty beast. We’ve not left it with the alarm on just yet. If we stop, we’ve always got the bikes in sight. One thing we do like is that you only get one key for the lock itself and the two locks for the batteries. Very convenient. One lock to rule them all!