Electric bikes might be the hot new tech of the pandemic, but bicycles have been around for ages. That’s why I was excited about the prospect of reviewing an e-bike that brings together some of the best names in the bicycle business with modern electric bike tech in a clean package optimized for city living.
The Charge City comes from the makers of renowned bicycle brands Cannondale and Schwinn, with specific tuning to make it an ideal choice for city commuters. Right out of the box, the Charge City is efficient with the easiest installation of any electric bike I have seen. Getting the bike assembled is a simple matter of attaching the front tire, turning the handlebars straight, and flipping down the pedals. The rear tire, seat, pedals, and more are all pre-assembled in the box making it a matter of minutes to get the bike up and running.
The puncture-resistant Goodyear tires are designed to be efficient when rolling around town while keeping the weight down with a total bike weight of just 45 pounds, including the battery.
The handlebars are mounted to a quick release pivot system that lets them turn 90 degrees with a simple pull of a lever and twist of the bars. Combined with a pair of folding pedals, this enables the entire bike to be stored flat. The folding design and light weight are sure to make it a great choice for city dwellers looking for something they can store behind a door or against a wall.
For a city bike, we found the Charge City to be extremely capable around town in the flatlands. The 250 watt motor is a compact, efficient package for adding a bit of extra speed and range to the bike. A smaller motor means less weight to carry day to day, while also sipping electrons more efficiently than larger motors.
The downside is that the smaller motor can only deliver 250 watts of power, on average. That’s fine for cities, but don’t expect it to revolutionize a hilly commute or sustain high speeds over long distances. That’s simply not what it was designed for. On our test route, the City held its own for the vast majority of the ride, but understandably struggled when faced with carrying my oversized mass up the steeper sections.
In our testing, we consistently found the Charge City to deliver around 20 miles of range before it was completely exhausted, which we achieved on a number of occasions. I’d expect that to be slightly higher range along flat commutes or with lighter riders, but it’s a simple function of the smaller 418Wh battery. It was sized down to optimize the overall package for city riding and portability and that’s ok.
In city conditions and shorter distances, the bike is nearly perfectly suited to excel. Its narrow tires roll efficiently around town and the integrated front and rear lights make it perfect for supporting a daily commute.
Our review unit came in the bright blue paint that is simply stunning. Paired with the creative graphics, the City in blue stands out from the sea of black and white bikes at the racks. The City came with a set of tire pressure indicators tuned for the Goodyear tires the bike was kitted out with. These make it easy to see if the tire pressure is up to snuff without having to pull out a pump to check them. A quick look tells you if they’re above the rated pressure — in this case, 60 psi — or not.
Overall, the Charge City is a fantastic lightweight e-bike package well suited for city riders. Its ability to fold flat and ride efficiently on its high quality Goodyear puncture resistant tires is a unique feature set.
The smaller battery and motor are well suited to riding in the city where flatter elevations and shorter commutes are common. These translate to an extremely light weight, high quality bike that make it a great option for apartment dwellers. The included rear rack, fenders, and integrated lights add meaningful functionality for commuters that make it easy to just strap the groceries on back, add a cute basket for the dog, and hop on the bike and go regardless of the conditions outside.
Charge City E-bike Specs
- Range: Rated at up to 50 miles per charge (we achieved 20 miles per charge on hilly terrain)
- Motor: 250 watt rear hub motor w/45 Nm of torque
- Assist: Pedal assist & left thumb throttle
- Battery: 418 Wh battery w/Samsung cells
- Weight: 45 pounds
- Lights: Integrated front and rear LED lights
- Max Rider Weight: 300 pounds
- Color: Blue or Silver
- Price: $1,699
New Podcast: Forecasting EV Sales And EV Battery & Metal Prices — Interview with BloombergNEF’s Head of Clean Power Research