A Mercedes Electric Bike?
Mercedes Marketing can make anything average sound larger than life. So when the people at Mercedes-Benz offered me the chance to test one of the e-bikes the brand licenses from n+ under the name Mercedes-EQ, I was curious. They dropped off the Silver Arrows Sport eBike model, which sells for $4,950.
On paper, the bike seems to be a quality build filled with “Mercedes-EQ style and sophistication” – or so I read on the website. It also promises an amazing hand-polished, bare aluminum finish that harks back to the 1930’s Mercedes race cars – their words, not mine. The website continues to vow that the bike’s made with a worry-free carbon belt drive that’s maintenance-free for 20,000 miles, along with 500W of power to attack any hill, dual batteries, 90Nm of torque that delivers a market-leading power-to-weight ratio and a 25 mph top speed, plus a variable transmission. Enough already.
Having reviewed dozens of e-bikes, I can sort through the buzz words here and relate the real story. First of all, this bike is pricey for what you get. I feel like you’re paying to have the Mercedes-Benz logo on the frame. Mind you, it’s a sleek-looking, relatively lightweight bike at 47 pounds. But there’s no throttle. Many people who buy e-bikes want a throttle so they don’t need to pedal when they’re feeling lazy. The “variable transmission” is an enviolo stepless shifting hub that lets you twist the handlebar instead of manually shift gears, to climb hills. There’s a little icon display that lets you know essentially what kind of terrain you’re set to ride on. I’ve tested several e-bikes in the past with enviolo – even owned one – and it’s fluid. That said, I personally prefer a manual shifter – maybe because I’m just used to it.
Yes, the aluminum frame has two batteries. But I feel it was necessary to do that because the frame is so thin. There are batteries inside two of the frame tubes, which probably helps spread out weight, improve aerodynamics, keep the weight relatively low, and improve the range. That’s all fine. But in my short testing period, I don’t think I was on trajectory to get anywhere near the promised 74 miles per charge. I had the bike in my possession to ride that far, but frankly the included seat was so uncomfortable that my lower body couldn’t handle riding that many miles on it.
What I really like about the bike: its carbon belt drive means no chains – a great thing; the hydraulic disc brakes stopped quickly without making any noises; and the puncture-resistant tires are great to have on a bike. The ride was smooth and handled the steep hills in my neighborhood fairly well. Mind you, I had to max out the pedal assist level. But it worked well – at the cost of eroding the mileage range.
This bike eerily resembled two bikes that I’ve previously tested under different names – in terms of looks, feel and performance. All I know is it rode fine. But if you ever opt to buy this bike, I suggest you put on a different, well-cushioned seat immediately.