We’ve introduced a lot of new bikes for 2016 from great brands such as Avanti, BH E-motion, Gepida and XDS but the all-new Yunbikes are perhaps the most eye-catching of our new releases. These small, urban bikes represent a thoroughly re-imagined way to deliver the benefits of electric assistance with practicality and simplicity key to their design.
On the face of it, the formula is quite straightforward: a compact and minimalist frame designed around smaller 20″ wheels with a single-speed drive train and a comfort oriented finishing kit featuring wraparound bars. The use of smaller wheels has become common design trend in purpose built urban bikes, taking lead from older folding models such as Bromptons and Dahons. The benefits of smaller wheels are manifold, with faster, more direct handling, better acceleration and the shorter wheelbase making for an overall lighter bike. Also, as a general rule, 20″ wheels are typically stronger and more resilient than their larger counterparts.
In addition to this well conceived design, the Yunbikes feature a street legal rear-drive motor, 36v 5.5Ah SAMSUNG battery and an intuitive pedal assist system that seemlessly provides power assistance up to speeds of 28km/h with an inbuilt inclinometer providing a power boost in the hills. This setup should provide around 20km of street cycling between charges, making it ideal for short haul urban use.
We tested this bike over a 4km round trip commute on a mixture of cycleway and roads, which will probably be main type of use these bikes will see. Initial impressions were positive, with the upright riding position being comfortable and providing good all round vision- something that becomes important if you’re likely to be riding in traffic. To that end, the 20″ wheels provided good acceleration up to the top speed of around 28 km/h, making it easy to handle on busy streets.
The handling of the Yunbike took some getting used to, in much the same way as the transition between regular bikes and smaller wheeled folding bikes. The shorter wheelbase lends itself to tighter cornering in a more upright position, the trade-off being that along straight stretches it may feel a little twitchy. Moreover, smaller diameter wheels are typically more susceptible to bumps, potholes and kerbs, and the Yunbike is no different. Fortunately however, the bike’s frame layout does afford some dampening, largely ironing out small bumps and cracks, indeed, this is one of the more comfortable 20″ wheel bikes we’ve ridden. Handling wise, the direct steering feel can be adjusted to after a number of rides, and is unlikely to compromise the riding experience in the long term.
On the test ride, the electrics were given a good runthrough in all of the 3 available pedal assist levels. As with most cadence based systems, there is a bit of a lag in engaging the assistance, though it is little more than 2 revolutions and the motor quickly accelerates giving a noticeable boost in torque. At lower assistance levels, the pedal assistance provides a nice cruising speed, though for assistance on hills, the higher power levels are needed to feel any assistance. Broadly speaking, this is standard performance with most systems of this kind; expect to use the maximum level of assistance if you’re likely to be tackling hills on a regular basis.
What sets the Yun Bike’s pedal assist system apart is it’s throttle, which operates differently to most e-bikes on the market. Instead of providing instant motor assistance, this throttle engages a cruise mode once the pedal assist system is up and running. The major benefit of this is in preserving battery life- electric motors tend to draw the most power under acceleration so pedaling during this phase will noticeably reduce the load on the motor. It’s not the most intuitive throttle system but it was easy enough to adapt to it on the test ride.
Also worth mentioning is the appearance of the Yunbikes. Available in a men’s and women’s style each with three colour options, the Yunbikes are eye catching bicycles. They combine the classic appeal of slender tubed frames with the clean integration of the electrics- the days of cumbersome and ill-proportioned electric bikes are well and truly in the past!
If you’re in the market for a small, simple and stylish electric bike for short journeys and general recreational use, the all-new Yunbikes may well be a perfect fit. Drop in at Perth Electric Bicycles to arrange a 1 week free trial!