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The Torker T-450E is a bicycle that some people me frown upon and some people may be curious about it. The concept of a Hybrid bike is quite an interesting one, not really an electric moped and not really a traditional bicycle, but a bike that assists you to pedal.
As a rider that has ridden most types of bikes, (yes, I even ridden a recumbent) I was quite pleased with the ergonomics, looks and comfort of this bicycle. Although I prefer more aerodynamic bikes, having had a surgery in my shoulder a little while ago I welcomed the upright position and angle of the handlebars.
As far as a bike goes, the Torker T-450 is well equipped with a rear rack, fenders, adjustable stem, 5 speed Sturmey-Archer hub and a chainguard. Yes, the bike is heavy compared to motor-less bikes, but surprisingly light to comparable electric bikes. The bike’s heft does not affect the handling of the bike, in fact, this bike is well balanced. As a previous owner of a bicycle with an electric kit, I can say that these type of bikes have come a long way in weight and handling characteristics.
The Torker T-450E is powered by a lithium polymer battery which is controlled by a trigger-like accelerator mounted on the left hand side of the handle bars. The juice is then delivered to a protanium motor in the front hub. (by the way, both hubs are NOT made out of plastic)
Riding the Torker T-450E took a little while to get used to. Once the ignition has been switched to on and the switch on the trigger accelerator is also on, the bike’s hybrid system engages as soon as you start pedaling without pressing on the trigger. The light pedaling sensation makes you shift and start pedaling a little harder, once you hit a high cruising speed, the pedal-assist disengages altogether. This took a little time to get used to, if I wanted to engage the pedal-assist system, I had to slow down for it to engage. The system will also disengage if you start pedaling, even if you are pressing on the trigger, that means no free lunch!
So how fast does it really go? I grabbed my handy GPS and tested the bike’s top speed on a flat road and I achieved 14.3 mph. Keep in mind that I weight about 178lbs and I was carrying about 7 lbs worth of cargo.
How long will the battery last? I did about 21 miles without recharging the battery and using the motor quite a bit. Charge time took about 4-5 hours (as claimed), plenty of time to charge in a 8 hour work day.
So what type of bicycle commuter would benefit from this bike? Bike commuters that don’t really like to arrive sweaty (like myself) to work, commuters who have time constraints or new commuters that don’t have the fitness level to do long or hilly commutes. Besides commuting, this bike is also nice to do long trips to the beach, imagine leaving the car at home and forget about parking hassles! The bike is also a good light grocery getter, simply attach some grocery panniers and you are ready for beer runs.
So what about cons? Well, the only con I found about this bike was its sticker price, at $1,649 the bike is pricey compared to regular bikes but competitively priced with other electric hybrid bikes. However, keep in mind that if you have a long commute and you leave the car at home, this bike will pay for itself in the long run.