The new Ebco Adventure 3R is a mid-drive electric bike designed to handle a mix of road riding and moderately rough terrain. It doesn’t excel at either, but it sits comfortably in the middle as a versatile option for riders who want to tackle a bit of everything. It has a decent spec for its sub-£2000 price tag, including a Bafang M200 mid-motor with a 417Wh battery and a full Tektro groupset (more on that later).
Ebco is a well-established British e-bike brand that started back in 2010. They ceased production during the COVID-19 pandemic but are now back in business with an entirely new range for 2023.
There are four models in the Adventure line-up, the 3R (tested here) and 5R, priced at £1,999 and £2,399, respectively. There are also trapeze frame equivalents, labelled the 3T and 5T. All models are available directly from the Ebco website or Halfords.
Both the 3R and 5R share the same frame and gearing but have different motor/battery configurations. The overall design suggests comfort and fun, with a slack 67-degree head angle, longish wheelbase and big 27.5” tyres. I’ve spent the last two weeks riding the 3R daily to see how it fares, with a couple of longer excursions up to Dartmoor.
My inaugural 35-mile ride took me to Dartmoor, where I tackled some moorland gravel tracks. The weather was a typical winter mix of strong, gusting wind, heavy downpours and a sprinkling of sunshine. My first impressions of the Ebco Adventure were favourable - it’s a smooth and comfortable bike to ride, with the big tyres doing a great job of soaking up road buzz.
The Bafang M200 mid-motor performed very well. It’s quiet and incredibly smooth, the torque sensor responds well to rider input, and the power delivery is subtle, even in the highest assist mode. There are five levels of assistance available - I kept in level three for most of the ride for the best balance of power and efficiency. It’s a nice motor, but it sometimes felt a little underpowered.
I was impressed with the range from the 417Wh battery. Despite over 2,400ft of elevation gain and some pretty steep climbs, I still had 30% battery remaining at the end of the ride. I did another very hilly 25-mile ride and kept it at level 5. I had around the same remaining at the end of that ride.
Regarding the rest of the components, they all worked pretty well. It’s the first time I’ve ridden a bike with the Tektro groupset - it’s a 9-speed system with a clutched rear derailleur and wide-range 11-46 cassette paired with a 38t front chainring.
Although this gives great gearing for climbing, you notice the big gaps between the gear changes on the flat.
It is quite a heavy bike at 22.4 kg, and the extra weight and rolling resistance of the big tyres are noticeable once you’re above the 15.5 mph motor cut-off point. Although the transition is relatively seamless, it takes a considerable effort to maintain 20mph on the flat.
As far as handling is concerned, the Ebco Adventure felt totally planted on the road. The mid-mounted motor and downtube battery keep the extra weight central and low. The big 2.2” Kenda tyres add another layer of confidence - the bike handled long, sweeping descents with a sense of panache.
The wide handlebars and short stem offered good control and responsive steering when riding off-road. It handled Dartmoor’s rock-strewn gravel tracks reasonably well, and I’d say with lower tyre pressures and a more aggressive tread, you’d have a very capable flat bar gravel bike.
The Ebco Adventure features an alloy frame and fork, finished in a nice bronze colour, complemented by the tan wall tyres. The internally routed cables give the bike a clean and uncluttered look.
The Bafang M200 mid-drive motor is a little gem. I was impressed by the responsive and smooth pedal assist. Plus, it’s virtually silent in operation. This motor sits at the lower tier of Bafang’s line-up and produces a claimed 65Nm of torque. When comparing this motor to the Shimano Steps E6100 or Bosch Active Line Plus, it does feel lacking. Having said that, it got me up a short 25% climb without too much fuss. The Adventure 5R features the Bafang M510, which is closer in performance to the Bosch CX motor.
I really liked the small LED display. It has all the necessary functionality and doesn’t dominate the handlebar like some displays. Instead, it’s tucked neatly away next to the left-hand grip. There’s only one external button for switching the motor on, and you toggle between power modes by pressing the top or bottom of the display.
The 417Wh battery fits into the underside of the oversized downtube. It uses premium LG cells and gives a respectable range for a battery of this size. Ebco doesn’t specify a range for the Adventure 3R, but based on my testing, I would say a realistic figure would be between 40-50 miles, depending on how hilly your ride is. I weigh 105kg, and a lighter rider, riding less hilly routes, may be able to squeeze 60 miles from a charge. The battery can be easily removed for charging indoors.
The Tektro gearing worked well throughout the testing period, although it has a somewhat agricultural feel. The big gaps between the ratios made for a very clunky gear change, and when changing to the low gears, the shifter requires a good push to complete the shift successfully. It reminded me of the similar Microshift Advent 9-speed system - not particularly refined, but it does the job.
Having a 38t chainring with 46t low gear at the back helped with some of the steeper off-road climbs. The clutched derailleur did its job, and I didn’t notice any excess chain slap when riding off-road.
The Tektro brakes, with a 180mm rotor up front and 160mm at the rear, provided predictable braking performance. Once bedded in, they worked as expected, and for the average weekend warrior or daily commuter, they will be just fine. It rained nearly every day during the two-week testing period, and the brakes never let me down once.
The wheels use dependable Shimano TX505 hubs, which have cup and cone bearings and can be easily serviced by DIY mechanics. The Ebco-branded 27.5” rims stood up to rocks, jumping off kerbs and the occasional tree root - no broken spokes to report and the wheels remained true through the testing period. The Kenda Kranium tyres worked well enough, but I’d be inclined to get something with a more aggressive tread pattern if you often venture off-road.
For comfort, there is a nice Ebco branded saddle. It has a flat profile with a pressure relief channel. Saddles are a personal choice, but I had no complaints after the 35-mile ride. The 700mm handlebars and short stem give the Adventure 3R a comfortable, upright riding position. Accessories include full-length mudguards and a kickstand.
The Adventure is available in three sizes - small, medium and large. The seat tube measures 50, 55 and 60cm, respectively.
I’m a whisker over 6ft and found the medium frame perfect for me, but I do have long arms and short legs, so I would recommend trying one out for size if in doubt.
Value and competition
With all the discounts going on at the moment, the £1,999 price for the 3R does perhaps look a little steep, although it is a thoroughly decent bike.
For a little over £350 more, you could have the Cairn BRAVe 2.0, which has a Shimano Steps E7000 motor with a 640Wh battery and weighs 4kg less.
The Cube Reaction Hybrid Performance 625, currently available for around £2,000, has a Bosch Performance Gen 3 motor with a 625Wh battery and a suspension fork.
After two weeks of riding the Ebco Adventure 3R, I’m sad to see it go. The motor is silky smooth, and it’s a relaxed, comfortable ride with handling that inspires confidence. It’s also quite capable off-road.
The only negatives are the gears take a little getting used to, and the weight is noticeable when riding above the assist level. The price looks a tad high compared to the current crop of offers available, but in the wider scheme of things, it’s about right. It’s definitely worth considering if you’re looking for a sub-£2,000 mid-drive e-bike with allroad credentials.