Pedaling around an asphalt parking lot probably didn’t allow me to experience the Elby 9-Speed in its full glory, but it did give me a lot of room to play with this fun, comfortable, sophisticated ebike.
First things first, the Elby is a smooth operator — and I mean that in more ways than one. The pedal assist on this bike feels natural, with no delay and no surprises. That’s thanks to the BionX D-Series rear-hub motor, which is robust and very quiet. I think the sheer size of the motor is part of the reason power is so seamless, as torque is high and immediate.
The wide Continental tires (26” x 2.35”) provide a soft ride and good grip, and include reflective elements for enhanced safety. This leads me back to the “smooth” nature of the Elby; not only does it ride great, it looks and feels great, too.
The frame comes in five glossy colors, including bright blue and orange. It’s a step-thru design, but unlike some other models, it doesn’t seem awkward or unwieldy. Rather, the Elby looks like the premium ride it is. Aluminum fenders come standard, as do rear pannier racks, ergonomic grips, a comfort saddle, high-intensity light and swept-back handlebars with backlit color display. It’s a smartly conceived and built package.
Also smart is the handlebar control ring, which integrates an on/off switch, mode buttons and thumb-activated throttle. Modes include bike only, four levels of assist and four levels of regen (which can slow you when coasting down hills and/or help recharge the battery). The throttle offers variable speed response depending on how far you press it. A traditional thumb shifter moves through the SRAM X5 groupset.
The Elby is a kick to drive, especially when using the intuitive thumb throttle. Be careful, though, as this bike accelerates fast. The Tektro hydraulic disc brakes deliver solid stopping power, but only if you have time to use them.
Other highlights: The manufacturer reports a range of 80 miles on a single charge of the high capacity lithium ion battery. The same bike is also available in a single-speed version that is slightly lighter and less expesive ($3,499).
Locally, you can demo an Elby 9-Speed with Velofix St. Louis. Simply go to elbybike.com, click on “Test Ride” and fill out the appropriate information. When it comes time to buy your bike, use code “VMOSL” and have Velofix St. Louis deliver the bike to your door and size it for you. $3,699; elbybike.com
Author: Brad Kovach is the editor/publisher of Terrain magazine