We've had a few EBCO bikes in for review at ebiketips and we've been impressed with them: good quality, fully-featured city bikes with decent kit. This USR-75 continues that run of form. It's a bit of a different beast; like the Raleigh Strada E we've previously tested it's one of a newer breed of stripped-down urban machines for a sleeker look and a faster ride. You don't get many bells and whistles but you do get a powerful motor, a fun ride and plenty of speed. And thatt'll go a long way with a lot of folk.
The £2,499 USR-75 boosts its performance credentials with a Bosch Performance Line motor bolted to the T6 aluminium alloy frame. Pushing out 63Nm of torque, the Performance Line is designed for higher assistance than the more commonly-used Active Line. It's still a nominal 250W but it's a bit more eager to wind you up to the 25km/h limit, or to help you up the hills. EBCO claim a maximum range of 75 miles (120km) from the 400Wh battery; that's very much a best-case scenario but the USR-75 is designed for longer rides than a more traditional city bike.
The motor is paired with a Shimano Deore 9-spd transmission which offers smooth shifting and a good range of gears for the hills. You also get powerful and dependable Shimano hydraulic disc brakes front and rear.
The USR-75 is designed with a more aggressive geometry than most city bikes; it's more of a sport hybrid in feel. There's still plenty of adjustability; the frame is a standard diamond but it has quite a low standover height for its length so there's plenty of seatpost to accommodate a range of rider sizes. The stem and bars are adjustable too to fine-tune the fit.
Controls are well laid-out; you get the normal Bosch Intuvia display and remote, and the bike uses Ergon GP2 grips that give plenty of comfort and a range of hand positions. The saddle is a Selle Royal sports design that's firm but well padded.
The bike doesn't come with mudguards, though if you want to fit them there's bosses for them on the alloy frame and fork, as well as rack mounting points at the rear if you want to carry stuff on the bike rather than on your back. You get a chainguard on the motor for clean trousers, and a kickstand for easy parking.
Dave says: It's not often that a Bosch-powered bike is much fun once you move out of the assistance range: that's down to the slightly draggy feel of the motor coupled with the fact that you're usually on board something heavy, with sturdy but slow tyres. That's not the case here though: the USR-75 is fun up to 25km/h and then carries on being fun even when you're rolling along on the flat at a decent lick.
Part of that is down to the weight, which at 20.8kg is pretty low for an e-bike. It's not super-light like the sub-19kg Simplon Sengo but light enough that it's no slouch. The Performance Line motor is really eager, and it makes getting up to speed a breeze. On the hills it's a fantastically easy job to spin up against gravity thanks to the ample torque and the wide-range Shimano Deore mountain bike gears. On my benchmark Bath hill (1.5km at 5%, with a 12% section) it took minimal effort in the bike's highest assistance mode. If anyone hald told me I was cheating at that point, I definitely would have agreed.
Partly it's down to the tyres: the Schwalbe Marathon Supremes on the USR-75 are a class above what you normally get on bikes like this, and they feel much more lively as a result. They're not the biggest, and the bike is fully rigid with an alloy frame and fork, so you can't barrel through the potholes with absolute impunity like you can on some city bikes: you have to pick your line a bit more carefully and the ride is certainly on the firm side. It's sporty firm rather than uncomfortable firm though. The saddle has enough padding to take some sting out, as do the excellent grips.
When you have to pull yourself up in a hurry the Shimano M355 hydraulic disc brakes are excellent, offering plenty of easily-applied power. The rotors aren't top spec but I had no problems with them and couldn't induce any fade on even the longer descents around here. The brake levers sit on a bar setup that includes an adjustable stem and a decent stack of spacers. The adjustability might be useful but if it was me I'd probably swap out the stock bits for just a standard stem and maybe a couple of spacers to give the bike a slightly more aggressive position. And also make it look a bit better: the USR-75 isn't the prettiest bike out there and the cockpit is the main culprit.
So what's this bike for? Well, as it's specced it's a great fast leisure bike. I've used it to nip between Bath and Bristol a few times and it's quicker than driving once you've factored in the time you spend looking for a parking spot, and walking from there to where you're going. There's plenty of range in the battery to do that 25-mile round trip with no fear of running out of juice, even if you spend a fair bit of time in the higher modes. Counter-intuitively it seems that sometimes with a bike tike this you're better off using a higher mode: the high torque of the motor easily gets you up to speed and it's not that hard to keep the bike going with minimal input from the electrics, so you don't actually use much power on the flat.
If you're planning to use the USR-75 around town then it's a very capable workhorse and if you want to add a rack and mudguards then there's all the holes you need on the frame. I did fit a pair of SKS Chromoplastic 'guards for a lot of the time I was using the bike and that made it a much better all-weather option. The EBCO has a decent kickstand and a chain guard so with the addition of mudguards it's pretty city-friendly.
Overall the EBCO USR-75 is a fun bike to ride and it's got a great motor and a good spec. It's quick and fun to ride, even if the ride is on the firm side. It'll suit riders who are a bit fitter and looking for a fast commuter that gives them a bit of help or allows them to extend their range, or cycle every day when it wouldn't otherwise be possible. At £2,499 it's decent value too considering the spec level, although like nearly every e-bike it's suffered a bit with the downturn in the currency: it used to be £300 cheaper. If you're already a seasoned cyclist but you're looking to add an e-bike to the stable, this could be just the thing.
Note: our bike had a pre-production frame and fork with V-brake mounts; the production frames don't have those.
|FRAME & FORK
||Urban sports roadster frames built in T6 high grade aluminum finished in Matt Anthracite and with Alloy Straight Rigid Forks delivering a sleek sporty ride Finished in Matt Anthracite – Size M(50cm)
||28″ wheels with Schwalbe Marathon Supreme tyres featuring a puncture resistant belt and reflective side walls.
|ELECTRIC DRIVE SYSTEM
||Bosch Performance Centre Drive motor with 4 power assist modes and incorporating the Intuvia handlebar mounted informative information Centre.
||Lithium-ion 36V 400WH Bosch frame fitting battery which locks securely and is removable for charging (charger supplied).
||Shimano Deore 9 Speed Rear Derailleur Gears teamed with Shimano`s performance enhancing rapidfire shifters
||Shimano M355 Hydraulic Disc brakes, the ultimate efficient braking system.
||Adjustable handlebar stem, comfort bars and grips, Selle Royal Saddle allowing fine tuning of your riding position.
||Reflective sidewall tyres for maximum visibility
|Weight of bike including battery