This is the best e
The Amsterdam GT from Lekker has all kinds of clever features, including a battery which has five levels of assistance and can be charged on your desk at work.
What is it? The Lekker Amsterdam GT is an e-bike, which is to say a bicycle with a battery and an electric motor to boost pedalling output. The e-bike is arguably the world's best-selling electric vehicle, though the e-kick scooter is also doing well. Lekker's stated aim is to bring Dutch cycling culture to our market. Founder Meindert Wolfraad tells us he thought up the idea of producing "a comfortable, everyday commuter bike" when he moved to Bondi from Amsterdam in 2009 and noticed most Sydneysiders on mountain or racing bikes. The company now has stores in Holland and Germany and is setting up a US operation. The bikes themselves are made in China, like most such machines.
Lekker's big-frame e-bike is ideal for taller riders.
What does it cost? As tested, with the biggest frame and extended range battery (claimed as good for 120 kilometres in ideal conditions), it's $4648. There are cheaper Lekker bikes too.
What makes it go? A mid-mounted Bafang electric motor with 250 watts (the legal maximum) and 80 Nm. An infinitely variable Enviolo transmission, controlled by a twist grip, is built into the rear hub. There are five levels of battery assistance, depending on how energetic you feel and whether you need to arrive sweat-free. In my email exchange with Wolfraad, he said Lekker was working on an automatic gearbox, with a high and low range, and the ability to adapt autonomously to the gradient.
Among the bike's features is a removable battery – to prevent theft and so you can recharge it at your desk.
Why would you want it? I’ve ridden quite a few e-bikes of late, and this is my favourite so far. The big frame is ideal for taller riders, while the carbon belt "chain" and internal gears means there's no oil to stain anything. The drivetrain works seamlessly and, unlike a derailleur set-up, you can switch back to a lower gear when stopped at traffic lights. One of several clever features: the bike can power itself slowly when, for example, you have to walk it up the ramp to cross the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The bridge's bike lane, by the way, is great fun, and the lanes through the city are improving, although still not as good as Melbourne's (or, I’m told, Brisbane's).
Lastly, the battery can be removed for security reasons, and also for recharging on your office desk. I achieved a range of close to 60km in hilly terrain on the mid (and very occasionally highest) assistance setting. You’d probably need dead flat terrain and the lowest level of assistance to break the 100km mark.
The bike gives you the ability to switch back to a lower gear when you come to a stop.
Why wouldn't you? Good design doesn't get you around the usual cycling problems of weather, exhaust fumes and distracted (and occasionally vindictive) motorists. There's no room for a passenger or much luggage, and there's the cost: you could buy a motor scooter for this sort of money (though that would involve annual registration and insurance fees, and much more money for maintenance).
And in conclusion The Lekker is a small and affordable – if minimal – electric vehicle with much to commend it.
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