The Cost XC is a well-rounded ebike that folds flat for storage
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it once more: there’s no purpose why bikes, even full-sized ones, must take up a lot house. Bikes are largely super-thin units — aside from these pesky handlebars.
Cost, a revered bike firm that sarcastically solely started promoting electrical bikes a number of months in the past, appears to really feel the identical method. The corporate’s svelte lineup of three quite-different ebikes maintains one essential characteristic: the handlebars and pedals fold, permitting the bikes to occupy a footprint only a few inches huge.
For instance, right here’s how a lot house the bike takes up usually:
And right here is in ‘folded’ mode:
I don’t know why extra bike firms don’t do that, but it surely’s simply one of many methods Cost tries to deal with its objectives of creating biking extra accessible and getting extra folks using.
I’ve been capable of check drive the Cost XC, the corporate’s most costly (however nonetheless moderately priced) mannequin, over the previous couple of months. With knobby tires and comparatively beefy suspension, the bike is constructed to deal with “gravel roads and dusty trails all day lengthy.”
As a substitute, I opted to overview the XC in regular metropolis streets as a result of, at $2,299, it’s really one of many most cost-effective bikes you should buy with a high-end mid-drive motor and a decently massive battery — on this case, a Shimano Steps E5000 with a 504 Wh of lithium juice. The Shimano Steps particularly system is understood to offer a number of the most effective energy supply on ebikes, and getting a motor from any of the large 4 — Bosch, Shimano, Yamaha, and Brose — usually means spending upwards of $3,000, particularly if you’d like a good set of equipment and elements.
And but a good set of equipment and elements is what you get. Brilliant lights, full fenders, a beefy rear rack, hydraulic disk brakes, and Goodyear tires with puncture safety are included. The 100mm Suntour coil suspension is nothing fancy, but it surely has a good bit extra journey than typical suspension forks on ebikes. Maybe extra importantly, it gives each preload adjustment and lockout choices to let you tweak consolation to your desire.
Talking of snug, the XC’s inventory saddle is superb. Bike seats could be very similar to sneakers, however this one’s the primary I haven’t swapped for my trusty Brooks Cambium. And in one other considerate contact, the corporate even throws in some strain indicator caps to your tires to let you recognize when it’s good to high up. It’s a small freebie that may add a number of peace of thoughts for first-time ebike consumers.
After all, the primary promoting level is these folding handlebars once more. The 2-step course of is intuitive whereas feeling utterly sturdy; I by no means felt like my journey high quality suffered for the folding handlebars. The folding pedals are the plasticky sort you may discover on folding bikes, however they get the job finished whereas chopping down the scale much more. The bike isn’t the lightest round at 55 lb, however I’ve seen equally outfitted bikes cross 65lbs.
The XC is a bundle that feels rigorously thought-about each step to reduce the ache level first-time ebike consumers may need, a lot of them who could also be shopping for their first bike ever. In truth, top-of-the-line issues in regards to the bike may really be the packaging. I imply, simply watch the peppy assembly video.
Cost goes out of its solution to make meeting ridiculously straightforward, even when you have no expertise. Due to the pre-assembled folding handlebars and pedals, you solely want a single instrument for meeting — an included 5mm torque wrench — and the method actually took me lower than 10 minutes to finish. Higher but, the packaging is totally recyclable and concerned no annoying styrofoam or zip ties. Even opening the field is made straightforward, because of a few pull-tabs that slice open the field somewhat than forcing you to cope with the standard copious quantities of glue and staples.
That stated, if this is your first bike, you may nonetheless need to ask your native bike store to provide the bike a examine. My first unit arrived with the pedals assembled incorrectly, although Cost assured me this was a pre-release error that gained’t occur once more. My overview unit, having been shipped to me early, didn’t undergo the intensive checks manufacturing items undergo. Unsurprisingly, my second bike arrived with no hitch.
All this thoughtfulness wouldn’t imply a lot if the bike rode poorly, however the XC is a blast– as long as you’re not anticipating a motorcycle-with-pedals expertise.
Not like Cost’s different two fashions, which have Bafang hub motors, the XC doesn’t supply a throttle (few mid-drive bikes do). As a substitute, that is an ebike for individuals who desire a journey akin to an everyday bike — besides one that provides you tremendous legs. Shimano claims the 40 Nm of torque can present as much as 200% help, and being a mid-drive motor, it could possibly leverage your gears for extra environment friendly energy supply.
One of many issues that make the XC a pleasure to journey is that Shimano Steps E5000 is probably probably the most discrete-feeling motor I’ve ridden but. Whereas it’s maybe a contact much less responsive than Specialised’s customized motor within the Vado SL, the Shimano is even quieter when working at its max. One hardly even notices the motor apart from the additional energy.
As soon as I regulate the pre-load of the suspension fork, the suspension ate up NYC’s velocity bumps and potholes. The comparatively beefy fork could also be a little bit of overkill, however mixed with the snug saddle, it made for a comfortable journey by means of metropolis streets — made even higher when paired with Redshift’s glorious suspension seatpost.
Granted, the XC is nowhere close to as highly effective because the torquey Ariel Rider M-Class I just lately reviewed, or maybe even the hub motor within the Juiced CCX, however I used to be rewarded with one of many smoothest, most pure feeling ebike rides I’ve tried.
One other nice shock is the vary. Cost claims 50 miles on a, ahem, cost, however this determine is, refreshingly, fairly conservative. I weigh over 250 lb, and I used to be capable of obtain over 50 miles on single cost using largely within the ‘regular’ mode; I’m used to ebikes and scooters yielding about half their claimed vary, not exceeding them.
In truth, the Shimano show claims that one might recover from 100 miles on a single cost in eco mode. You’ll must put within the work, however I’ve little question lighter riders might obtain such mileage. It’s additionally value noting you may customise the motors energy and battery efficiency additional by way of Shimano’s E-Tube app, although I didn’t get to do this.
I do have nitpicks right here and there:
- The Shimano Altus shifter is tried and trusted, however not the smoothest round. I obtained my pants soiled as soon as, so a chainguard could be good.
- I want the bike have been set to a 28mph restrict somewhat than 20mph — the additional little bit of velocity helps me really feel safer in metropolis streets.
- Given the emphasis on out-of-the-box practicality, I’m a bit stunned the bike doesn’t include a bell (although that’s a possibility to expertise the heavenly chime of a Spurcycle).
- Charging the battery off the bike requires an unnecessarily cumbersome adapter. And a few may complain in regards to the small Shimano show, although I personally choose the having much less crowded handlebars.
However these are really nitpicking. The Cost XC is a thoughtfully designed, handsome, and cheap ebike. For riders on the lookout for a snug, sensible journey at a worth that’s simpler to swallow than different ebikes with comparable mid-drive setups, there may be nothing else fairly prefer it. And did I point out it folds flat?
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Printed August 24, 2020 — 21:49 UTC