Where do we start with electric bikes? ” Perhaps with an open mind? “
Good, lets carry on then…
So we’ve been testing out the rather special Scott E-Genius 710 and it has many stand out features. Besides the bright colours and 140mm travel, it runs a Sram 1×11 system. It is paired with a 17 tooth front chain-ring, which is the smallest chain-ring I’ve seen on a mountain bike! The E-Genius runs plus sized tyres, 2.8 to be more accurate, seated on 40mm rims. It has a Rockshox Reverb dropper post, so great for up and downhills, even flat riding too! Lastly, the E-Genius, if you have not already guessed it, comes with a Bosch Motor and Battery.
The battery weighs 2.5 kilos, quite a hefty lump to place onto a bike. The motor sits just below this, so the centre of gravity is very low, therefore not upsetting the handling of the bike. The Bosch Motor is possibly the leading motor for E-bikes, giving a range from 45KM in it’s highest setting to 160Km in it’s lowest. The fastest speed the motor will go up to is 25KPH, so once over this speed, the motor disengages. This means the motor can last much, much longer than the quoted spec.
To control the motor, the switch is on the left hand-side of the cockpit and has four buttons. Two buttons increase or decrease the power, the third button is for the computer read-out, whilst the fourth button is pretty cool. The fourth button is a walk mode, it uses the power on a very low setting to ease with pushing the bike. Not overly useful on the flat but for those hike-a-bike sections that can go on for an hour, it’s genius…
That’s enough of the technical side, how does it ride?
Initial impressions were good. The obligatory car-park test was a great success, we all finished the ride with big grins and were positively buzzing after the ride. Obviously we set the motor to ‘Turbo’ mode and raced up and down, taking in the small kerbs and greenery that our store has on offer. You can not tell a lot from a car-park test, only if it’s not going to work for you, so the next test was a 50KM ride.
Let’s start at the end of the ride just to be different. I was worn out, I’ve never been so tired on this familiar route! So for the nay-sayers saying you don’t have to pedal, that is absolutely wrong. “ For the nay-sayers who say they’re easy, they’re not, they are only as easy or as difficult as you make them to be “. Let me explain further.
The test ride was a road ride out to a not-so-local moorland, followed by an off-road loop and finished with a road section back home. I had a slight tail-wind on the way out and kept to speeds of 29-31KPH (just over the 25KPH threshold), so at this speed, the pedalling was very much my effort. It’s hard work riding a 140MM Enduro style bike with 2.8″ tyres on the road, the motor helped with pulling away from traffic lights, but once up to speed, it did not help.
Just before the moorlands, there is a steep road section. Known locally as the Devils S’s, the climb can be done just under 8 minutes for Elite Cat roadies, whilst my humble self on the road bike will take just over 9 minutes. For the foothills of the climb, I set it to tour mode (second lowest setting) and with effort, I was flying up the hill. The steepest section peaks at 1 in 4, so I upped the power to sport mode (second highest setting) and this gave me the extra boost I needed, resulting in a time of just sub 8 minutes. Something to worry to Elite Cat racers! However, I did notice whilst going up the hill, I did not worry about my breathing, nor pacing! I was in the ‘red’ zone for longer, but I did not have to dig quite so deep. What this says for cardiac fitness I do not know but I can safely say that motors do make my hills easier in effort, just faster!
Off-road the bike was great fun. The combination of the wide tyres and motor resulted in a very capable bike. I never needed the turbo function, even on a section I normally push (then again, my regular mountain bike is a rigid forked, 34 x 12-36). The bike was great on the off-road climbs and was impressive on those tight, stalling switch backs. The motor would kick in just at the right point of coming to a dead stop. It will not turn you into a pro, but it will compliment your riding style very well. The downhills were great fun too, the bike is heavy, so would accelerate well going down. The heavy weight felt planted, rather than heavy, and the bike was nimble, enough to throw it around the corners well (even with the motor switched off!). The motor on the downhill could catch you out, but with experience, you’ll learn when to use the motor and when not to, it is easy enough to switch between on and off.
In short, the bike was ace. It was a great bike to ride and I would happily own one should the opportunity come my way. I enjoyed riding the bike and for my style of riding, riding from home to the trail head, then a big loop and then back home, it was perfect. The motor helped on the road sections, did not hinder me off-road and was excellent on the way home with tired legs. I would be more than happy to do a century ride on this bike and I would be confident in the battery lasting for the ride too, just do not ride in turbo all the time.
The E-Genius would also be a great bike for the trail-centre type of rider, most trail centres have long, dull climbs and this would be perfect to keep you fresh for the downhills, it might even let you ‘session’ sections too. If you can session sections, you’ll become a better rider!
Still not sure on the motor part of the bike? Well, think of it like an uplift day or a trip to the Alps but you actually pedal to the top! Who’s cheating now….