In inner city environments e-bikes are king, right? Well, British motor show Top Gear's American brother, Top Gear USA, has pitted an e-bike against an Alfa Romeo and the Los Angeles public transport system in an elaborate if questionably informative race to answer that very question.
As with all Top Gear challenges - if you're familiar with the show - taking a rather large grain of salt with any 'findings' is advised. The show's 'races' are often designed to demonstrate the prowess of cars over other modes of transport in different environments, even if the reality of the scenario does not quite match up - this most recent example is no excepiton.
If you've managed to read this far into the article without spoiling the result for yourself, now's the time to watch the race.
For those of us who have watched the show for years, that result is hardly a surprise.
As far as sustainable solutions to transport go, we're fairly sure we're backing the right horse here at ebiketips - especially in busy inner city environments - so we're prepared to now poke holes in Top Gear USA's frankly mad conclusion that sport cars are more suited to big cities than e-bikes.
First up, let's see the bike that was tasked with the arguably unfair challenge of beating the Alf through the streets of Los Angeles. The bike comes from American bike manufacturer High-Power Cycles, and the bike in question was a special edition HPC Revolution.
The Revolution series is High-Power Cycles's flagship range the and the top member of that line is the HPC Revolution X 6.0, pictured above. It comes equipped with the company's own Revolution S Motor, battery options from 1,290Wh up to 2,400Wh - which would give the X 6.0 a range of over 100 miles - Rockshox's Boxxer 203mm World Cup Air Suspension, a SRAM X0 rear derailleur and shifters, and Magura MT7 Quad Piston disc brakes.
The speed, convenience, and versatility of e-bikes make them - in our opinion at least - the perfect mode of transport for short to medium length journeys in busy inner city environments like those found in Los Angeles - it appears though, that Top Gear don't agree.
Sure, the folks over at Top Gear USA literally have their money on the car's continued dominance in the transport stakes, but we've got a feeling that those allegiences played a rather large roll in the 'competition' we witnessed above.
Sure, when we asked Google Maps about the expected time it would take for a bicycle to travel the distance from Downtown LA to the Venice Beach Pier, it predicted 1 hour and 25 minutes. The map also predicted it would take anywhere between 25 minutes and 53 minutes depending on when we asked it and what the traffic situation was.
However, according the ilovebicycling.co.uk, Google Maps predicts bicycle travel time based on a 10mph travel speed. From the video above we are made aware that the HPC Revolution Special Edition has a max speed of 20mph.
So, by our calculations, the competition ought to have been significantly closer than the smug pair of car-driving hosts celebrating on a bizarrely sunset soaked pier suggests.
If our calculations didn't leave us suspicious enough already, Top Gear's mysterious cut to the end of the competition from a shot of the Alfa before the drivers made their way onto the highway, their abandoning of the Stig's storyline, and the total lack of any real footage of the race's progression also indicated some serious subterfuge.
After all is said and done though, we didn't really expect Top Gear to be coming at us with a real informative competition that analysed the pros and cons of e-bike use, after all they're a car magazine tv show.
That said, we were a little bit upset that the show appeared to pull the wool over our eyes while indicating that e-bikes aren't the fantastic solution to many inner-city transportation issues that we genuinely believe they are.
We weren't looking for glowing e-bike reccommendations from Top Gear either, rather we'd have hoped the perpetuation of the idea that cars are a good option for inner-city travel might have stayed where it belonged: in the past.
Well, it might be struggling for ratings and staff at the moment, but at least it gave e-bikes a fair, if favourable airing.
Check out the Stig showing what an electric cargo bike can do on the streets of London. This one's got a refreshing lack of petrol bias.