"But e-bikes are so ugly!" was a retort you used to hear a lot, back when the technology was in its infancy, motors were huge and batteries even more so. These days an e-bike can look just dandy though, and the Raleigh Spirit E is a fine example. Based on their classically-style Spirit city bike, Raleigh have added a TranzX motor system and improved the spec to offer a good-looking and competitive urban e-bike. "Looking good doesn't have to be hard work!", they say.
With a deliberately retro look, the Spirit E looks like a classic steel city bike. It's not though: the frame is Aluminium alloy, which helps to heep the weight down to a reasonable 22.8kg. The low-step design means it's easy to get on and off, and the frame is double braced to keep things nice and stiff. The frame is basically the same as the non-powered bike, save for a channel behind the seat tube that's used to house the cables for the electrical system.
Raleigh have opted for a Shimano Nexus 7-speeed hub gear, and that means a static chain line, and that means you can have a full chaincase. And they've gone the whole hog, with a colour-matched, pressed steel chainguard with the words 'Raleigh' and 'Classic' cut into it. It really gives the bike a classy look, as does the Heron-design chainring. Nice work.
The bike is a very pleasing mix of the old and the new. Power is applied via the new TranzX F15 motor unit. TranzX claim 40Nm of torque, which is good for a hub motor, and the gunmetal grey finish is unobtrusive.
The motor is controlled by a small bar-mounted display. That gives you control over the four assistance levels, and shows you the state of the battery. The USB port in the side can be used to charge devices; it's also used by TranzX for bike diagnostics.
Lighting is integrated into the Spirit E, and it's automatic: the lights come on when it starts to get dark. So there's no forgetting them, and no forgetting to turn them on either. On top of that, the front light is a pleasing chromed unit that matches the look of the bike perfectly.
The battery is held in the rear rack. At 400Wh it's a pretty standard size for an urban bike like this, and should give a decent range; Raleigh claim the bike's good for 50-80km, which is pretty realistic. The Spirit E is £1,400, and is available in the red we have, or a dark Mushroom brown.
Raleigh Spirit E full spec
|Frame Type||Low Step|
|Headset||Threaded 1" 1/8th silver|
|Shift Levers||Shimano Nexus 7-speed twist shift|
|Brake Levers||Alloy V-brake with cut off quick stop function.|
|Rear Derailleur||Shimano Nexus 7-speed|
|Chain||KMC Single speed|
|Pedals||Comfort Pedals with Anti Slip|
|Rims||Double Wall rim 36 hole 700c|
|Tyres||CST Zeppelin 700 x 40c with tan side wall|
|Stem||Alloy quill stem|
|Handlebars||Raleigh Comfort Handlebar Silver|
|Grips||Selle Royal soft grip|
|Saddle||Selle Royal Milo + women's brown|
|Seatpost||Alloy micro adjust|
|Mudguards||Steel colour matched|
|Chainguard||Raleigh full chain cover|
|Rear Carrier||Alloy carrier with Luggage strap|
|Fork||Raleigh Steel trekking fork for E bike|
|Crankset||Alloy forged 170mm, 42t|
|Bottom Bracket||124.5 MM Square taper|
|Front Hub||TranzX Motor hub|
|Rear Hub||Shimano 7 speed Nexus|
|Inner Tubes||700x38c presta|
|Front Wheel||Double Wall rim 36 hole 700c on TranzX F15 Motor hub|
|Rear Wheel||Double Wall rim 36 hole 700c on Cassette hub|
|Motor||New TranzX F15 36v 250w brushless Quick stop motor|
|Battery||TranzX 400wh 36V 11Ah Battery|
|Display||TranzX DP16 PST Display, 3 assist levels with Walk Function|
|Sensor||TranzX Speed Sensor|
|Wiring Loom||TranzX F15 motor cable|
|Lighting||Front and Rear Lights Powered by TranzX system|