John's E-Bike Testing Time in the Dales
A touring test on an electrical bike: Giant Road E Plus 2 2017
Over the years I have done many enjoyable hostel to hostel rides in the Yorkshire Dales. Unfortunately the last one I did a couple of years ago I rapidly realised that age had kick in and by the time that I had climbed to Tan Hill from Dufton I was all in and even a pint in the pub only did a little to help. However it turns out that technology was at hand in the guise of an electric pedal assist road bike. This is not a mountain bike although the frame gives more than a nod to one. Having tried a mountain bike the difference seems to be the power delivery, the mountain bike I tried gave an immediately powerful push right from the off whilst the road bike is more subdue although when it was needed the assistance is there especially in Power mode. There are three modes Eco, Normal and Power
My ride started in Askrigg and went through Castle Bolton and turned right near Hardrow to go up Buttertubs Pass. This was the test and decided the route that I was going to take the next day. I had a saddle bag with over night clothes, tools, inner tubes etc. But one of the main draw backs with electric bike touring is that a battery charger has to be carried and what with plug and leads must add about 2lbs All the small climbs were easily managed in Normal mode as was most of a 17% climb, only flicking into Power mode for the last 50yds. Success. Turning round at the summit I descended to the YHA at Hawes for the night.
The next day it was up and over Buttertubs again and into Thwaite. Obviously free wheel descending no power is used and cycling at over 15.7 mph it is all human power. Whether it is because of the mountain bike frame similarities and fat tyres (700×32) the ride felt very solid and comfortable. Turning left at the junction and just using the Eco and Normal modes I went past the old Keld hostel and turned right on to the Tan Hill road. This was going to be the real test. Within a few yards of the junction there is a 25% sign, a bridge and straight after that three sharp bend in quick succession. So sever are the bends in fact is that there is ample evidence of where unprepared motorist have scraped their vehicles on the inside of the bends. Luckily having descended (but never ascended) and camped near this road I knew what to expect. Into the right gear, not too low, and in Power mode I just flew through the bends. I had to pedal hard but not gut busting so. It was then plain sailing to Tan Hill, the weather was ideal, sunny with hardly any wind.
I got to Dufton with about 15 miles left of battery having done 40 or so. Locally I’ve never used as much because I very rarely use more than Eco mode and can turn the assist off all together on our flatter roads and after 60 miles have about 30 miles left in the tank so to speak.
The next day I travelled to Kirby Stephen and through the Mallerstang mostly using the Normal mode because there was a head wind and I fancied an easy ride. Then from the Moorcock Inn to Appelsett reaching 36 mph on the down hills and back to Askrigg.
People were very interested in the bike and keen to ask about it. 2 at Tan Hill, e-mountain bike shop owner at Hartley, 1 at Dufton, 2 at Kirby Stephen and 3 at Pendragon Castle including the local postman!
I hope to do more of the same next Spring.
Specifications: Frame – ALUXX SL-Grade Aluminium
- Fork – ALUXX SL-Grade Aluminium
- Drivetrain – 20 speed Shimano Tiagra drivetrain 34-50, 11-32
- Brakes – TRP SPYRE Alloy arm mechanical disc brakes
- Motor – Giant SyncDrive Sport, 80Nm, 250W central motor
- Battery – Giant EnergyPak 400, 36V Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery
- Cost – Just under £1900 reduced from £2700
Cafe at Askrigg
Tan Hill Pub