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.
Hummingbird was already “shrouded in the mists of awe, thanks to the fact it had created the world’s lightest and, many would say, most covetable folding bike”, says Martin Love in the Guardian. To gear up the Hummingbird as an e-bike, the firm has gone back to engineers Prodrive, who create cars for the likes of Aston Martin and Subaru’s racing teams. As the motor adds just 3.5kg to the bikes total weight, it has the highest energy-to-weight ratio of any electric bike on the market.
The bike 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)