The E-Trends City is an entry level city bike that’s fully kitted out for urban riding, and at £899 it’s not going to break the bank. It’ll serve you as an urban runabout if you live somewhere reasonably flat, but there are a few too many compromises in the bike as a whole to make it a particularly enjoyable ride.
What you’re getting here is a rear hub motor system built into a steel step-through frame. The City is only available in one size, 18”, but it’ll fit a decent range of riders. If you’re small (say under about 1.55m) you might struggle to get the saddle low enough, but there’s enough seatpost for taller riders up to about 1.85m.
The seatpost has a hinged bracket which allows the saddle to tilt forward, and that gives you enough space to slide the 360Wh battery in and out: it nestles behind the seat tube. The tolerances in the seatpost hinge aren’t especially tight and that, coupled with the sprung saddle, means there’s quite a lot of movement in the saddle when you ride. It’s comfortable enough but it takes some getting used to.
With big, upswept city bars the E-Trends City has a decent riding position, and it’s easy to mount and dismount. The motor system is controlled by a simple remote on the bars: there are three assistance modes, and a walk assist function, which you’ll need: at nearly 30kg this is a heavy old bike.
There’s a horn, too, as well as a button for the lights. Well, light: the front is powered from the motor system while the rear is battery-powered. Gearing is Shimano’s 6-speed Tourney system, which is pretty easy to use although the gear range is reasonably limited.
The E-Trends City comes with a front porteur rack and basket: the basket’s only plastic but it’s perfectly functional and it’s a useful thing to throw bits of shopping into. You’ll have to do some work getting the rack and the basket fitted, and while you’re fiddling with the bike straight out of the box you might want to check the brakes are properly adjusted: ours weren’t.
Out on the city streets the City rolls along just fine on its 26” wheels. The tyres are cheap but sturdy, and they have enough grip for pottering about town. The bike is a bit rattly: the battery isn’t a snug fit in its holder, and various other bits of the bike - mudguards, kickstand, basket, seatpost - have a tendency to rattle a bit too. Nothing fell off, though!
The motor is a standard 250W rear hub, and it’s good enough, especially when the battery is fully charged. I didn’t have any issues getting up my benchmark hill (1.5km at 5% average, with a 12% bit); I wasn’t going fast, and I had to put a bit of effort in, but I made it to the top just fine. The first time. The second time was noticeably harder with the battery depleted, and the bike wouldn’t have managed a third ascent, so two full laps of my commute (18km) was the limit of what I was getting between charges.
On the flat you’d expect that to double, though you’d still be some way below the 35 miles (54km) that E-Trends claim the bike will manage. You can charge the battery in situ or slide it out to bring it indoors; charging is best done overnight.
If I owned this bike I’d charge it every day, for three reasons. Firstly, like I noted above, it’s much better when the battery is full. Secondly, this is not a bike you want to be stuck pedalling under your own steam if you run the battery down to nothing. It’s almost 30kg, the motor isn’t drag-free, and the gear range is a bit limited.
Thirdly, the battery management system is poor, and you never really know how much battery you have left. Straight out of the office from a full charge, the battery indicator went down to one bar (out of four) the minute I pointed the bike up a hill. Unless you stop and take stock of things with no load on the system, it’s almost useless.
Another thing that’s almost useless is the rear brake. It’s a cheap drum brake activated by a long cable in a cheap, compressible housing, and it’s the spongiest brake I think I’ve ever used. It will slow you down. On the flat. Eventually. But that’s another reason to make sure that the front V-brake - which is okay - is well-adjusted before you head off anywhere.
The rear brake feels like a compromise to hit the £899 price point, and there are other components - the seatpost, the kickstand - that feel a bit cheap too. This isn’t a surprise: you can’t have top-end kit on an e-bike for less than a grand. But the E-Trends city feels more compromised than some. Overall it’s not as good as, say, the Cyclotricity Revolver which gets a lighter alloy frame, disc brakes and (admittedly awful) suspension fork for £100 less than this bike. You could also have Cyclotricity’s Sahara in a Shimano Nexus hub gear build for £899, which would also be a better bet.
There aren’t any really good e-bikes in this price bracket, so if that’s really as far as your budget stretches then you need to be prepared to put up with some flaws. If you can find an extra few hundred quid then things look a lot better: for £1,199, for example, the Rad Power Bikes Radrunner is a great bike, as is the Carrera Crossfire for the same money.
Overall the E-Trends City is okay. It has some positives, and it’s a decent enough ride. But it feels more compromised in its spec than other bikes at the same price or lower, and for that reason it’s difficult to recommend.