Saturday, 15 February 2020

Bike Life with the Liv Thrive E+ E-bike

I have been testing out an E-bike, the Liv Thrive E+ Pro women's bike. It's a cute little runner which has served me well getting me from A to B, and C to D and beyond - basically as far as the battery life can go.

I used it during the Rapha Festive 500 on a ride around Central and East London, and it went very well. I have since used it on other routes and had just as much fun on it.

E-bikes are very much part of the range of bikes that people can have. At one point they were poo-pooed as being a cop-out, and not for real cyclists. I wasn't sure about E-bikes either.

But having spent time using this one, my opinion has changed. It is good to get out and about on a bicycle, especially in London where cycling is definitely the quickest way to get around in the city centre.

When just cycling in your local neighbourhood, cycling is also a convenient way to get around.

Having just a little bit of motor means not worrying about working up a sweat if you want to go somewhere looking neat. That's particularly useful where I live, in Crystal Palace, as any journey going towards Central London involves a significant hill.

The very first time I put the motor on it felt great. I was on a little slope - about 7% gradient, and it was like magic, the way the bike just revved on and pulled me along effortlessly. I almost wondered if I deserved this much assistance! I wondered if I should just go the whole hog and get a motorbike.

If you're not on form or tired and not in the mood to pedal it's great. Sometimes if I've had a hard training day and I didn't want to exert myself it is handy to have that assistance.

It was useful to ride the Thrive E+ Pro when travelling to a couple of local cross country running races I was competing in. I wanted to cycle to the venues without arriving at the start-line tired.

What's worth remembering too, is that E-bikes have various settings in terms of motor assistance. The Thrive E+ Pro has six settings, and a mid-setting that allows the bike to go to the optimum motor assistance depending on the terrain.

I tend to ride the Thrive E+ Pro on the lowest setting and move it to the next setting up if I reach a medium slope. If I am on a proper hill, like Anerley Hill, or Gipsy Hill near my home, I crank it up to the third or fourth power level. I have not yet used the top setting.

Having said all that, despite the bit of motor assistance when riding an E-bike, you still do get a work-out. After doing a 40-mile loop on the Thrive E+ Pro on Christmas Day I must say that I felt slightly tired, and ready for my Christmas dinner!

It's partly because I didn't use the motor constantly during my ride. On many of the flat sections I rode the Thrive E+ Pro like any non-assisted bicycle. Given that it weighs more than 18kg you work significantly harder than other bikes when the motor is off!

With a battery that weighs around 4kg and the internal motor, plus disc brakes, the Thrive E+ Pro is more than double the weight of my Boardman road bike!

Also, even when you apply a bit of motor you have to pedal to match the revs generated, which can mean that when I crank up the motor I can easily get drawn into pedalling fast to match the power. 

So for example, going up one of the steep hills up to Crystal Palace I cranked up the power to the third setting and ended up out of breath - not because of the steepness of the hill, but the fact that as the bike winched me up the 10% ramps of Gipsy Hill at more than 20km/hour I felt quite out of breath after having spun the pedals at 90 rpm. 

So, you can get a good work-out if you wish. Of course you can just leave the motor on the whole time and it can become a more sedentary ride. Having said that, it is not a completely passive ride.

The battery on the Thrive E+ Pro lasts for roughly 120km if ridden constantly on low power. I am not sure that I would do a ride with the motor constantly on, as I guess in my nature I always like to do a bit of work on a ride! But it's good to know that if I wanted to ride all the way to Brighton with motor assistance it would be be possible.

I am due to do more rides and will chart a few of my routes. Here are a few Strava routes I have done so far.

Central and East London loop

Ride to Denbies Vineyard near Dorking, Surrey

Ride to Alexandra Palace, North London


Related posts
Rapha Festive 500: Park Life Tour - Central and East London

Liv Avail Advanced Pro review published on Cyclist website

Reviewing the Liv Avail Advanced Pro

Bike Review: Canyon Roadlite WMN CF


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