There is a lot going around in the space of electric vehicles these days, but I never thought that the technology would also make inroads into non-polluting bicycles so soon. At first, I was confused about the concept of an e-cycle – why would anyone need it when there are e-scooters available to cater to the same audience. However, after using the EZephyr (e-cycle) from the stable of India’s most popular bicycle brand Hero, I understood the possible thought process behind making such a product in the first place.
Before we get into judgement on the usefulness of this e-cycle as a commute-ready vehicle, let’s take a look at what the product has to offer:
The Hero EZephyr has a frame of a bicycle with an integrated battery and a throttle. The e-cycle boasts Hero’s Pedallac feature, which is a pedal-assist technology that gives assistance in catching up the speed quickly.
This feature also has a walk assistance mode, which reduces the cycle speed to around 6 kmph for easy manoeuvrability. For first-timers the pedal-assist technology would come as a surprise as it generates a force to push the cycle ahead just when a person starts pedalling.
The e-cycle has 7-speed Shimano click shift (Tourney) gear, which works like a charm and shifts from one to another without any trouble. The cycle is equipped with a Panasonic 5.8AH lithium-ion battery neatly integrated in the front downtube that powers the 250W brushless direct current (BLDC) motor on the rear. The battery takes around 2-3 hours to fully charge. On a single charge, you can cover around 20-25 kms using a mix of different modes.
The cycle has a neat look, as most of the wiring is kept inside the frame, helping the cycle escape from a clutter of wires all over it.
On the handlebar, there is a control panel on the left with an on-off button, mode switch button, and pedal-assist button that also doubles up as a button to turn on the LED headlight.
The control panel also has a battery charge indicator with four dotted red lights that show battery capacity.
On the front, the Ezephyr has a disk brake while on the back there is an alloy V-brake. The disk brake is soft and does not lock the wheel unnecessarily.
It works well to bring down the speed, even when the bicycle is moving at a good speed.
Hero has done well to keep the weight low, despite a battery and motor at the back.
The e-cycle weighs around 15 kg, which makes it one of the lightest in its category, thanks to an alloy frame that is light but strong.
The cycle does not have a suspension which makes it a tiring and difficult ride in uneven terrains. Though the wheels’ rigid forks help maintain momentum, and some cyclists prefer it, the suspension could have added more value to the cycle while also making it comfortable. Another thing worth mentioning is the battery charging port. It is placed just near the pedals, which makes it difficult to reach and prone to accidental damage.
The Hero Ezephyr finds its closest rival in Being Human's e-cycle but has an advantage in terms of price and weight.
This e-cycle costs Rs 26,999, while the Being Human e-cycle costs around Rs 55,000. The cycle scores well on major parameters and boasts all features an electric cycle can offer — and that too in a price category in which modern hybrids are available.
This cycle can be a good companion for those who want to shift to a healthier lifestyle without compromising too much on the convenience side.
It is, indeed, a good option for leisure cycling and can replace e-scooters and scooters for short-distance commute. Also, maintenance is not a big issue here.