Review of the highest quality beach cruiser ebike under $2000
When it comes to electric beach cruiser bikes, the Electric Bike Company’s Model E stands out for two reasons: affordability and quality. But don’t be fooled by the beach cruiser’s frame—in terms of power and comfort, the Model E has it all. Except for the recently released, Model F, it’s the most affordable ebike in the Electric Bike Company fleet. You could say the “E” in Model E is short for both economical and everyone.
The Electric Bike Company, or EBC for short, employs a large number of workers to build and customize each bike right here in the United States. Their facility includes a paint shop and design facility as well as a manufacturing arm for various parts and custom built accessories. They also have an in-house packing department. It’s both admirable and distinctive among what is becoming a crowded ebike field.
These electric bicycles are about as “American Made” as they can get, but part of the DNA of this company is recognizing its social impact on the rest of the world. In fact, founder Sean Lupton Smith hails from South Africa and the company was originally conceived as a way to provide an affordable means of transportation for some of the most impoverished areas of South Africa.
The Model E is available in a one-size-fits-all step-through frame. With an integrated battery and connection system, the Model E looks sleek and sexy. There is just one frame size available but the wheels are available in two sizes: 26 inches or 24 inches. The shorter wheels bring the frame down to a more rider-friendly height, making it suitable for riders as short as 4’8” tall. The base price of this electric bicycle is $1899, not including any additional components or extra accessories.
- MSRP: $1,899
- Class: Throttle on Demand (Class 2), Speed Pedelec (Class 3)
- Motor: MXUS XF15R (48 Volt) 1,000W peak rear geared hub motor
- Torque: 50 Nm
- Battery: 48V with either 12Ah (576 Wh) or 14Ah (672 Wh) options
- Brakes: Bengal Hydraulic Disc Brakes
- Throttle: Thumb throttles
- Tires: 26″ x 2.35″ Schwalbe Fat Frank E-Cruiser Tires
- Shifters: Optional Shimano Triggers on Right (One-Way High, Three-Shift Low)
- Range: 50 miles (80 km)
- Weight: 56 lbs (25 kg)
Why We Love the Model E
This ebike has a lots of free customization options, which is not very common among DTC ebike brands. There are three standard colors included with the base price (black, white and red) and each one of those is about as high quality a paint finish as you will ever see on an ebike. Unlike most ebike companies the color options don’t just stop at the frame. In fact you can mix and match those three standard colors between the frame, fork, and rims. So if you wanted, you could get a red frame with a black fork and white rims at no additional charge. EBC claims they can match any color under the rainbow but note that adding a custom color adds an extra $299 to the bike’s price.
One of the most notable features of the Model E is its powerful rear hub motor. This MXUS motor has a 500-watt nominal and 1,000-watt peak power rating. It generates torque of around 50-newton meters and rides well on flats and even some steep hills. With a little bit of a head start to build momentum you can climb most hills on the Model E without too much effort but if you’re on the larger side or plan on hauling extra weight on your front or rear rack then I would opt for the optional 7-speed drivetrain.
If you’re a rider who really prioritizes ride comfort then the Model E is probably for you as it comes with one of the comfiest bike saddles we’ve ever experienced on an ebike. Usually a bike seat this broad and this cushy would add costs to your purchase but in this case, EBC makes these saddles standard on all their bikes. Couple this with the bike’s bouncy Schwalbe Fat Frank tires and you hardly notice the small cracks on the road or the seams of pavement as you go about your commute.
The Model E also comes with a thumb throttle and five levels of pedal assist. Finally, the Bengal hydraulic disc brakes that come standard on the Model E are a really good buy for a bike that starts at $1900. These are some of the best hydraulic brakes available for ebikes and you don’t often see them on other comparable bikes.
EBC Bike Party
Our Test Ride
Just by looking at this ebike you can tell it’s going to ride comfortably but you can’t really appreciate how smooth this electric cruiser bike is until you spend some time with it. In keeping with the traditional upright riding style of beach cruiser bikes, its hands down one of the smoothest experiences you’ll ever get on an ebike.
For example, there’s no strain on your shoulders or arms because the handlebars are swung back, allowing your hands to rest in a natural position in front of you. The enormous saddle is made to absorb vibration as you sit positioned with your spine pointing upward. A suspension seat post can be added for an additional $99 but you certainly don’t need it to enjoy a cushy ride because the 2.35-inch wide ‘balloon’ tires do a terrific job at shock absorption. Likewise, the adjustable angle stem, padded leather grips, and sturdy front fork deliver additional opportunities for an enhanced riding experience.
Pedaling is very satisfying on this ebike and on our test rides around the hilly Santa Barbara area it became clear right away that the peak 1000 watt motor was powerful enough to tackle almost any hill we could throw at it, even being a single-speed bike. In the highest levels of pedal assist the acceleration this motor delivered was very impressive, allowing us to fight our way through bike lane traffic and sometimes car traffic where necessary. With a predicted lifespan of 18 years, according to documentation on the EBC website, this motor is built to deliver long lasting quality.
Speaking of long lasting quality, when you purchase an ebike from Electric Bike Company you receive a 5-year battery warranty and a 10-year warranty on the frame. This is virtually unheard of and most ebike manufacturers only provide a two-year guarantee, if not less.
We could talk about this bike all day but for the purposes of this review we will focus on the highlights. Maybe packaging is not the subject that’s going to get your juices flowing but we’d be doing you a disservice if we didn’t talk about how well this ebike is packaged for delivery. They are expertly packed in ginormous boxes that are wider than any package I have ever seen and there are two reasons for that. First, these electric bikes require zero assembly! All you have to do is roll them out of the box, adjust the position of the handlebars, and you’re ready to go. The second reason is to allow for extra packing materials to ensure EBC bikes arrive to their destinations in a pristine state.
We already talked a little bit about the Model E’s customizability but it doesn’t just stop at color choice or tire size, you can truly make this ebike your own. The number of permutations possible will make your head spin, from the color of the handgrips, the seat color, the rims, the tires (white wall or standard black), even the hand shaped, wood finished chain protectors-the possibilities are endless. We’re not aware of any other ebike manufacturers that are able to support this many options, which is why EBC stands out and has a large following among its customers and supporters.
One thing to consider related to optional accessories. If you really want to “trick out” your bike to make it your own, the cost can jump considerably. $1899 is just the base price of the Model E but adding fenders, a front basket and a rear rack requires a jump in price of almost $400. If you opt for a custom color on top of the aforementioned accessories the price of this bike spikes to $2575 before taxes. It’s certainly less affordable if you look at it that way but these are very high quality ebikes that are meant to last for thousands of miles so investing a little more to inject your own personality into the bike is maybe not such a bad idea.
One small and minor annoyance is the placement of the kickstand, which is center-mounted on the frame and sometimes creates “pedal lock” while backing up or walking your bike forward while it is parked. Of course this is only an issue when the kickstand is extended and I will say, it is a very sturdy kickstand, with a very broad foot that is adjustable in length.
With the Model E, the Electric Bike Company has produced an electric cruiser bike that is both affordable, reliable and of exceptional quality. At $1,899 you won’t find another beach cruiser with this kind of build quality and attention to detail. You can also take comfort in the fact that EBC assembles its electric bicycles right here in the United States and their customer service arm is also based stateside.
The trademark of all EBC ebikes is that they are hand assembled, can be built as truly one-of-a-kind bicycles and are built to last. Until now these electric cruiser bikes might have been out of reach for the average customer but with the Model E, in its purest form, that is no longer the case.