The bicycle has served as my best friend at many points in my life. A trusted companion for those weekly trips to the club while in school to never letting me down during my daily commute at university, it hasn’t received much attention lately. Till I got hold of the Hero Lectro EZephyr.
But for a control switch on the left handlebar, there’s not much to set it apart as an electric-powered bicycle. The frame, tyres, and suspension cry out loud that it’s a city bike. As someone who’s ridden mountain bikes all his life, I started out sceptically.
The moment I pedalled away, I felt exhilaration—of being free. The seven-speed Shimano gears are smooth and a joy to use. With the proper air pressure, and judicious use of gears, I was tearing down the asphalt roads, without breaking into a sweat.
Then I switched on the battery-powered motor. I’d charged it overnight. This involved carrying the EZephyr up three floors—thankfully, it fitted elevator when I held it vertically. With a prayer on my lips, I pedalled up an incline—and was I pleasantly surprised. Even at the first level of the four-level power mode, I could feel the motor kicking in, giving me the much-needed boost in pedalling power. Likewise, while pedalling down a road, the motor was handy when you needed sudden acceleration. If only this was available during my school days—I would have won every speed challenge then. There’s also a mode where you can amble along at 6 kmph, which is a boon if you’ve ever had flat tyres. And the seat is also comfortable to sit on for at least a couple of hours.
Next, I set the motor to full power and twisted the throttle, present on the right handlebar. I deliberately didn’t pick up too much speed, but the feeling was like those TVS Champs of yore. Of course, I kept reminding myself that it was a bicycle, and so I shouldn’t open the throttle fully. That said, I preferred using the EZephyr as an ordinary geared bike, with a motor on tap, and I feel that’s the best way of using it. And the best bit is that you can cycle back when the battery is exhausted.
But there are a few things I noticed. One, the EZephyr’s tyres are suspension are made for city roads and aren’t off-road friendly, which might be a difficult for metro residents. If you stay in any metro city, with the traffic and the construction activity, you’re bound to be forced off the road, and the EZephyr won’t take too it kindly. Second, it isn’t practical to buy a second battery pack and slip in the charged one in lieu of the exhausted one, even on a weekly basis. Third, the position of the charging socket near the pedals could be something of a deal-breaker if you don’t have an AC outlet at the proper height.
The EZephyr, at ₹26,999, can be a great introduction to an electric bike, and it brought back the joy of riding to me. At that price, there aren’t too many options for electric bicycles. And even without the motor, the EZephyr itself is a great bicycle, even with its quirks.