An electric bike is a big investment and before I was going to part with my hard earned money I was going to go and try a few electric bikes to see which one was best for me. Before going to Electrifying Bikes in Cromer I had virtually made up my mind I wanted the Wisper 905, but I didn’t know whether the base SE model or the higher end Torque model was best for my needs.
The higher end Torque is obviously superior (it has better components and also the torque and cadence sensors) but it costs several times more and I needed to work out whether I needed the higher spec and justify parting with several hundred pounds more to buy one.
Prior to the visit to the bike shop I had been in contact with a bloke at the shop however I didn’t know if it was the shop owner, a manager, a technician a salesman or what, but whoever the bloke was he was exceptionally helpful in our email exchange and seemed intent on me getting over to test ride some electric bikes before making my decision.
Finding the shop was easy, it was located just off the main road, and as I pulled in to the car park my first impressions were positive. It looked like a professional outfit and not some “dodgy looking backstreet set up” I was fearing.
The bloke who I had been emailing the previous day soon came through to the show room and from that point we had his un-divided attention right up to the time we got back in the car to leave. The customer service was exceptional, and whilst you may be reading this thinking “he was trying to get you to part with several hundred pounds so it should be great service” I have to say that at no time did I feel any pressure to make a decision and get out the credit card.
The only electric bikes I was interested in was the Wisper 905 and this was the only bike I wanted to take for a test ride. There was a 905 Torque model available to test ride however there wasn’t a 905 SE model available. The bloke dealing with me offered to get one in with a “no obligation to buy” test ride however since the Wisper 705 is effectively a Wisper 905 with a step through frame I decided to test ride the Wisper 705SE to compare the two different types of motor.
A few hundred yards from the shop is housing estate which was the advised test ride route. The housing estate was not only quiet and clear of cars (every house had its own off street parking) but also hilly so I could get to test out how an electric bike deals with hills.
The first electric bike I tested was the 905 Torque and out on the road it felt like I was riding a normal bike and very natural. Getting up to 15.5mph was quick and easy, maintaining that speed was easy and the hills were super easy. To appreciate the full effect of the hill climbing ability of the 905 Torque I turned the assistance down to zero and re-rode the route. The 905 Torque was okay to ride with no assistance at all and far easier than I was expecting. The 905 Torque weighs 24kg, so it is a beast but despite this I could still ride it totally un-assisted. Sure, I wasn’t going as fast but my legs were doing all the work. When I hit the hills my speed went through the floor, my heart rate went through the roof and I started sweating. At this point I realized just how effective the electric motor was, upped the assistance level and pushed hard on the pedals to get the motor to kick in. To say I was impressed is an understatement and at that point I knew I wanted (and needed) an electric bike.
After the test ride it was time to take the 705 SE out and see what that could do. Right off the bat the 705 didn’t feel as good as the 905 and I can only put this down to the electric motor. The 905 was quick and nimble and whilst the 705 got up to speed quickly it didn’t get there as quickly as the 905. Hill climbing on the 705 was more of an effort than the 905 and getting the motor to kick required dropping down several gears, whereas I left the 905 in the same gear throughout the entire test ride. I also noticed going down hills the 705’s motor continued to supply power as I was spinning down the hill whereas the 905’s motor cut out and only kicked in again when I needed it too. Obviously this is the beauty of a torque motor. After a few short minutes’ hill climbing on the 705 SE I knew the SE motor wasn’t for me and returned to the shop.
On my return to the shop I was offered other bikes, all I had to do was choose but there really was no point as my mind was made up. Sure, I could have taken out other electric bikes, including the top end models (way out of my budget) but I didn’t want to waste anyone’s time.
In addition to the Wisper 905 bikes I had arranged to test ride a Volt pulse from Mandarin Cycles in Norwich the following day, however since the Volt Pulse doesn’t have a torque sensor I didn’t see the point. The other thing about the Volt pulse is that it uses lower grade components (i.e. the Pulse uses gears whereas the Wisper uses gears) yet it is virtually the same price. The Volt Pulse may be “prettier” than the Wisper 905 but it isn’t such good value for money, and I openly admit I like a bargain.
Electric bike video playlist that may be of interest
A relatively new eBike owner and loving the experience – I really wish I had bought an electric bike before