Merida eBig Tour 400 EQ electrical bike evaluate
(Pocket-lint) – Electrical bikes are having fun with a growth, not simply because biking is rising in recognition, however as a result of the addition of onboard energy can open up a variety of alternatives and experiences extra effortlessly.
Bicycles are terrifically various, with many suited to specific kinds of using. That is as true of electrical bikes as it’s standard bikes.
The Merida eBig Tour 400 EQ, then, matches right into a class that is all about touring.
Design and construct
With a front-end that is near a mountain bike and a hardtail that is nearer to a metropolis bike, the eBig Tour has been designed to deal with the form of situations you will expertise when bike trekking.
It is a class of motorcycle that lends itself to electrification, as with the added weight and doubtlessly lengthy distances to cowl on a loaded bike, having some motor help may be the distinction between a tough slog and an gratifying experience.
The body is predicated on Merida’s eBig 9 mountain bike, with the Tour model having a steeper angle on the highest tube for extra of a step-through design. Which means you do not have to consider swinging your leg over a loaded rear panier, which is additional handy for drained legs, and it is easy to slide out of the saddle at site visitors lights in metropolis using.
This can be a massive bike, weighing just below 25kg, though the situation of the battery within the down tube places it towards the centre of the bike so the burden distribution is fairly good.
However with a 1204mm wheel base on the big body and 29-inch wheels, it is lengthy too – so lengthy we discovered ourselves backing it up like a bike at instances to show it round in narrower areas. For comparability: our giant body highway bike has a 1030mm wheel base and smaller wheels.
However there is a feeling of solidity to the eBig Tour. The system weight for the bike is 140kg (that is bike weight, plus rider weight, plus cargo) so for a mean weight rider, that provides loads of scope to hold your in a single day gear on the highway.
The MIK HD rack on the again – which you may as well match a childseat onto if you want – is strong with massive metallic mudguards to scale back spray on each the entrance and rear wheels. The rear rack will take as much as 27kg, with the kickstand on the rear wheel so that you stand a greater likelihood of it staying upright when loaded.
Built-in Abus wheel locks and a Lezyne entrance gentle and Spanninga rear gentle imply you do not have to consider mounting lights. These will draw from the bike’s battery, too, with management from the Shimano controller on the handlebars.
The body is aluminium and properly completed, with internally routed cables to maintain issues tidy heading to the again wheel.
Shimano Steps energy
The Merida eBig Tour 400 EQ is supplied with the Shimano Steps system. This sees the 630Wh battery built-in into the down tube and coated so it is out of sight, with a Shimano EP8 motor built-in into the body the place you’d usually have the underside bracket.
That makes for an excellent seamless end. Some electrical bikes seem like mules, lugging the ugly battery like an additional appendage on the body, however right here you get an excellent end. The benefit that the Shimano Steps system provides is which you can have a full set of gearing too.
The EP8 motor is Shimano’s strongest, shedding weight and growing the torque over earlier motors, as fitted to this 2021 model of the eBig Tour. It’ll supply 85Nm most torque and can take you as much as the restricted 15.5mph/25kmh pace (this may increasingly differ in some territories).
As soon as charged and switched on – charging to full will take about 6 hours, however 50 per cent charging takes about 2.5 hours – you may choose from 4 ranges of help: off, then three steps. Every step impacts on how a lot energy the motor provides to your pedalling and, in flip, that impacts the vary you will get.
The vary will depend upon how a lot work the motor is doing and that can fluctuate based mostly on the rider weight, the load weight, the terrain, and the way a lot effort you place in with your personal legs. That would see you get 80 miles (129km) of help on the bottom setting or 30 miles (48km) within the highest setting.
That is going to imply you may realistically commute each methods to work with out eager about charging, and most will get a day of tour using with out having to consider charging the bike.
To regulate the help, the Shimano SC-E5003 show is mounted on the handlebars. This integrates the button for the lights, but additionally permits you to transfer the help up or down. The small show will present the cost, the pace you are travelling at, in addition to letting you turn between vary, odometer and distance.
This implies it is very easy to manage the ability: you actually simply must faucet the button to shift the help up or down and this additionally performs into the way you experience the bike. You’ll be able to experience with none energy simply sufficient, however you will quickly really feel the burden of this bike as quickly as you get off the flat.
There is not any extra connectivity right here, all of the stats are contained on that display and there is no choice to combine it into a special bike pc, or have it feed a smartphone app, which some would possibly see as a missed alternative.
On the highway or path
With these 29-inch wheels and Kenda Booster 2.2-inch tyres the eBig Tour 400 EQ is prepared for touring in all situations. The Suntour XCM34-Enhance fork provides as much as 100mm of journey, with an easy-to-reach lockout lever so you can also make it extra inflexible, very best for hitting clean roads, or giving somewhat extra cushioning on damaged surfaces.
Broad handlebars give a snug place, with Merida’s Knowledgeable TK saddle. We’re not enormous followers of this saddle, but it surely sits on standard rails so is straightforward to change to whichever saddle matches you greatest. The using place is fairly upright, which you will need for touring and usually every part is sweet and cozy.
We spoke about energy earlier than and the gearing setup on the eBig Tour is designed that can assist you experience up absolutely anything with a loaded bike. Due to the motor you solely get a single chainring, a Shimano CRE70-B with 34 enamel. That is fairly small.
It is a 10-speed system, with the rear providing 11-46 (sure, 46 enamel) which suggests some fairly massive steps – and that vast granny gear appears to be like extra like one thing you’d discover on a round noticed. The thought, after all, is that you can preserve pedalling, no matter comes your method.
That is fairly a departure for these used to unpowered gearing, but it surely’s pretty typical of electrical bikes and would not pose any actual issues, with the Shimano Deore deraileur completely satisfied to shift throughout this vary. On regular highway using, you will end up largely utilizing the best gears, however that is no drawback, until you actually what to hurry downhill – at which level you would possibly discover you run out of pedal energy.
One of many attention-grabbing issues about having the Shimano Steps system is which you can be actually lazy and never shift gears a lot, adjusting the motor as an alternative. Which means you may persist with a excessive gear and use motor energy that can assist you get again in control after stopping at site visitors lights, for instance, which does make for a simple experience. The entire thing is basically clean, with close to prompt supply of the ability as quickly as you begin pedalling and it is extraordinarily quiet, only a gentle whirr from the motor – you are extra prone to discover the sounds from the mechanical drivetrain than you’re the motor.
There are Shimano hydraulic brakes to deliver you to a fast halt, however extra importantly, to be sure to cease when heading downhill with a loaded bike.
There is not any avoiding this bike’s weight, however there is a very actual feeling that you simply’re getting one thing that can stand as much as the rigours you wish to put it by way of. Do not look at that entrance finish and take into consideration throwing it down trails at any pace, this can be a trekking bike at coronary heart, designed for extra smart using.
It is costly, however you are additionally getting high quality elements designed for a selected job. For metropolis commuters, you would possibly discover it is just a bit too massive for the job, however for these eager to cycle the shoreline over a sequence of weekends, this could possibly be simply the e-bike for you.
The Merida eBig Tour 400 EG is an enormous bike, but it surely’s additionally a enjoyable bike.
Writing by Chris Corridor. Enhancing by Mike Lowe.