I was intrigued but slightly sceptical at the idea of the electric bike. I love the sense of freedom that bikes give you. The feeling that your destiny is in your own hands. So, was it a cop out, a betrayal of the purity of cycling? But I also love the idea of innovative products and my curiosity always wins over my more Doubting Thomas side. So when Ultra Motor offered to lend us one of their latest Fast4ward electric bikes to try out I was only too pleased to agree.
It’s a strange feeling when you first set off on an electric bike. There is no whirring of motors and the bike looks pretty much like your road bike. You’re still peddling, you’re still in control, but you feel as though another pair of feet and another set of muscles are helping you along. The Fast4ward bike really came into its own when going uphill. I live in the southern Pennines and it’s all up and down around here. No more coughing and spluttering as you struggle up that notorious incline and you don’t have to stop and recover at the top. The other element I have to mentions is fun. It is a heck of a lot of fun powering over hill and dale on one of these bikes. This takes some of the effort out of cycling. It means you can travel longer distances and that little extra speed is great on the flat. You can control the amount of assistance you get from the bike as well which means you can adapt it to your own needs and preferences, riding it as a normal bike sometimes if you wish.
These Fast4ward bikes are very nicely designed too – as smart in the looks department as they are to ride. The idea behind the latest range is to introduce high performance bikes at more affordable prices. They start at £999 which ain’t exactly cheap but when you consider you’ll have no parking or tax and insurance to pay plus it makes commuting much easier over longer distances then you can see why these bikes will come into their own. Plus the electric bikes are great environmentally and can save you money especially when compared with the combustion engine alternative, costing around 7p in electricity (you simply plug it in to charge up like your mobile phone!) to get you over 40 miles.
In a bold move Ultra Motor are giving people a chance to try the bikes for themselves before they buy. You can have one on loan for three days and try it out for yourself. The range includes the commuter friendly ‘Edge’ fold up bike, to more powerful men’s and women’s models. The brand are also inviting riders to create their own video diary of the experience and the winning video makers will win one of the models to own.
So if you have ever thought about buying an electric bike, I would definitely go ahead and give it a try. The Ultra Motors Fast4ward was a revelation to me! Really impressive and you can add fun, nifty and stylish to that. They are just as enjoyable to ride as my road bike and mean I can seriously reconsider many train and car journeys.
Ultra Motor Fast4ward Electric Bikes are available nationwide at selected cycle retailers.
words Lee Taylor