Review: Electric Bike? I’m right thanks MATE!
With the EV and PHEV world of cars and trucks exploding in popularity, they are playing catch up to the equally hot market of eBikes.
During COVID-19 lockdowns across the world, riders for all the major delivery platforms took to the streets with their hybrid bicycles covering kilometre after kilometre bringing everything from snacks to drinks to dry-cleaning to our doors.
A Copenhagen-based company called Mate.Bike founded by a brother and sister team has launched a range of the sleekest, fastest, most versatile, foldable eBikes on the market. We recently tried the MATE X which is an amped-up more multi-purpose version of the more urban MATE bike called the ICON.
With a top speed of 25km/h in all electric mode and a range of up to 80km, the MATE X is an extremely good everyday, around the city cruiser. What makes the MATE X even more exciting is how it augments any effort you are prepared to put in to make any journey effortless and fun!
Using a smart rear-hub assembly, the MATE X will push out up to 250W of energy generation (maximum legal amount for public road use) to supplement your pedalling power from the 48W battery, so you can ride farther and easily conquer steep gradients without breaking too much of a sweat. To put that into perspective, a Tour de France rider will generate up to 400W of energy (power) in an hour of a ride whilst a typical gentle ride on flat ground will generate about 30W of power – so I’m happy to report that the MATE X can get you along a quite a fast clip.
In order to generate this power, an eBike needs plenty of energy to call upon – stored in the form of a battery. The MATE X has both an 11 Ah or 17.5 Ah battery system which will deliver the maximum 50km or 80km range in all-electric mode.
Putting that power to the road is an 8-speed Shimano Altus mountain bike gearing system to perfectly match your terrain and riding style. Brakes are hydraulic discs front and rear from Tektro and are extremely good considering the speeds this bike is capable of reaching.
The feature formula for a bicycle is pretty standard and the MATE X sticks to that formula for the most part. The most distinguishable visual deviations that jump out are the super-chunky all-terrain wheels and tyres. Built to take on almost any surface these chunky tyres keep rolling resistance down to a minimum.
The MATE X has a 4-inch LCD display that allows the user to control the key features on the bike via a 3-way thumb-control on the left-hand side of the handlebars. Speed, battery condition, and the amount of battery assistance the rider would like can all be configured on-the-go.
What’s It Like to Ride?
Whilst the MATE X looks somewhat ungainly it’s surprisingly easy to ride. The power assistance for the pedal power is incredibly efficient and lets you almost effortlessly glide up very steep gradients.
In all-electric mode, the instantaneousness of the power and torque is even more acute than a Tesla in mad mode given the relative lightness of the MATE X.
Suspension is independent front and rear with 18-30mm travel on the front-forks for maximum rider control. A powerful LED light system at the front provides great visibility at night with the high-beam setting. At the rear, there’s a proper brake light system including turn indicators that are operated on the left-hand side of the handlebars and there’s even a horn!
As with all battery powered forms of transport, there’s a price to pay for calling on all the battery power at once. I was able to drain the battery in a matter of minutes using maximum power on any form of gradient. However, if you’re prepared to put a but of effort in, then the MATE X manages its power extremely well and 70-80km would be a reality.
The MATE X folds down in three simple movements but that is where the convenience does take a dive. It’s not the lightest eBike on the market (29kg with battery) so it can be a bit of a challenge to get the MATE X into the back of your car. Below is a shot of the MATE X in the back of a KIA Sorento which is a medium-large SUV.
The MATE X is available in Australia for $3,199 in burnt orange, subdued black, white ice, and shocking pink.