Electric bikes are getting better and better, and this Hummingbird is one of the best. Sarah Moore reports.
It’s only a slight exaggeration to say that the very first electric bikes were as big as houses, cost hundreds of thousands of pounds and needed to be charged every 300ft, says Steve Hogarty in City AM. But since their introduction, the technology underlying electric bikes has been continually refined, and the Hummingbird Electric “is engineered to within an inch of its little life”.
Hummingbird “made waves” when it created the world’s lightest folding bike in the world – at just 6.9kg. And now the electric motor-assisted version comfortably claims the title of the world’s lightest electric folding bike at just 10.3kg, which is still lighter than some non-electric Bromptons. “It’s like riding a carbon-fibre feather,” says Hogarty. “Strap your lights to it and you’ll worry you’ve thrown it out of balance.”
The Hummingbird Electric uses a brushless hub motor that provides a “generous” 40km range, and a claimed wattage of 250 watts. “While the drive isn’t the smoothest, the general electric assist works very well, and the user interface is very nicely conceived,” says Peter Stuart on Cyclist. “When I was first told of the backpedalling system [to activate the motor], without a button or computer, I was a little baffled, but it never went wrong. I came to consider it a very elegant and intelligent system.”
The bike’s battery connects to an app, on which you can log rides and view maps, lock the rear wheel and, importantly, check battery power. Out on the road, the Hummingbird is a joy to ride, says Simon Ward on Wired. On gentle inclines the motor handled itself admirably, but when faced with the challenge of a steep, 700-metre hill climb it failed to rise to the occasion – unlike Wired’s test rider, who had to huff and puff out of the saddle for the hill’s final stretch. But “minor gripes aside, for shorter, less demanding urban rides the Hummingbird is a delight, and for a new model it’s remarkably impressive”. It’s just a couple of design tweaks away from becoming a genuine rival to Brompton’s more muscular model.
Price: £4,495; Weight: 10.3kg; Frame material: carbon fibre; Motor: brushless DC rear motor; Battery: 250W, 5.3Ah; Claimed range: 30km to 60km; Fold time: 5 seconds; Folded dimensions: 550m (h) x 850mm (l) x 200mm (w)