(Pocket-lint) – While many of us are still very much locked indoors for the foreseeable, working from home, the spectre of a potential commute is beginning to rear its head for plenty of people. Now more than ever, an electric bike is an attractive prospect.
Avoiding public transport, getting fresh air, but without the risk of exhaustion, what’s not to love? The main downside is that many of the most well-known options are prohibitively expensive.
That provides an opportunity for the likes of FuroSystems, a smaller manufacturer who can attract people with cost-saving as well as features. Its Aventa is a prime example – a great e-bike that doesn’t reinvent the wheel by any stretch, but offers a great experience at a very sensible price.
Sleek and disguised
- Weight: 16.5kg
- Aluminium frame
- Central LCD display
- Tektro HD-E290 Hydraulic Disk Brakes
Turning first to the look and feel of the Aventa, the good news is that it falls safely into the “you wouldn’t know it” category of electric bikes. This is a bike that at first glance doesn’t look electrified, which we consider to be a good thing.
Only one chunky part of its frame and the motor on the rear wheel give the game away, but the matte paintwork and FuroSystems logo do a good job of disguising this.
An integrated front light keeps things sleek up front, athough there’s no back light for some reason – and you’ll need a reflector/light to ride on UK roads legally – while a fairly narrow set of handlebars and a sleek saddle makes for a racing-style fit. It’s not the most laid-back e-bike we’ve ridden – that honor belongs to VanMoof – but when you get the Aventa’s saddle adjusted right it’s entirely comfortable and feels nice and nimble.
The Aventa’s other big clue as to its electrification is a little dashboard that’s located between the handlebars – a small digital display that acts as a speedometer when its turned on, as well as indicating the battery level and what amount of pedal assist you’re currently getting.
We’re a bit torn on this. On the one hand, it gives you a bunch of useful information if you want it, with the pedal assist level particularly good to keep track of. Equally, however, it’s fairly ugly and has a tendency to make you look like you’ve got a GPS or phone strapped to your bike and are in the process of getting lost. If we could remove it easily, we probably would – indeed we think that’d be a good thing to stop it looking like a fancy e-bike.
On the left handlebar, nicely nestled where your thumb rests, is the main control point for this e-bike, comprising a power button (holding it down switches it on and off), and a button each to either raise or lower the level of pedal assist. These are smartly placed and easy to use while riding, letting you adjust on the fly. The right handlebar houses a traditional gear switcher to let you control the bike’s nine standard gears.
Overall we’re impressed by how premium the Aventa looks and feels. It’s not quite at the level of VanMoof and Cowboy’s bikes – particularly when it comes to cable tidying, with most of the cabling on the bike’s exterior – but it’s also a big chunk less expensive than those options. And sometimes that can be what matters most.
- 6 levels of pedal assist, 25kmph/15.5mph top speed
- Integrated Lithium-Ion battery
- 60km/37m range per charge
An e-bike’s design is important, but how it feels to ride is the key variable, and FuroSystems does well on that front. The newest version of the Aventa is easy to switch on and has six different levels of pedal assist to pick from – which help you to get up to a speed of 25kmph/15.5mph before letting you put in the work to go faster. That speed cap is the UK legal limit for an e-bike, it varies in other territories.
Between the first and second levels of assist you won’t even notice a huge difference, with acceleration just feeling a bit easier than it otherwise would. Putting things up to level three or four on the power scale gets you a more appreciable boost as you kick off from a standstill, and makes getting up to speed feel really easy. On strenghts five and six, meanwhile, things feel really zippy – just after you start turning your pedals you’ll get a nice push of extra power.
Getting the system right on pedal assist is a little harder than it seems, while making sure that you feel in full control of your acceleration is something other e-bikes we’ve tested haven’t quite managed, but the Aventa strikes a great balance. You’ll find it super easy to get going at traffic lights; hills also won’t pose much of a challenge as far as maintaining your speed. All this is achieved without a particularly loud motor noise – just a very low-level whirr that wind-noise cancels out.
With a standard nine-gear shifter also available, if you run out of battery then you’re far from stranded, and using normal gears in conjunction with the pedal assist levels lets you get to a pretty precise level of work as you cycle, which makes the Aventa good if you’re keen on having plenty of control.
A sizeable 80km/50m range means you can get plenty of cycling done on a single charge too, which is for the best since the Aventa’s battery isn’t easily removable – a typical shortcoming of e-bikes’ designs at the moment. Getting it out requires you to lie the bike on its side and slide it out of the bottom, which isn’t the most practical option.
A four-hour charge should juice it back up, but you might find that you just lug the bike to one instead, and at 16.5kg you’ll find that a slightly tiresome task. Still, heaviness is also far from unique to the Aventa, it’s part and parcel of an e-bike, so it’s not a great sin. For context: a carbon road bike, all in, is about 8kg; a London ‘Santander Cycle’ is around 24kg, so this sits somewhere in the middle – not bad considering it’s the only electrified option.
Apart from that pedal assist things are extremely simple to operate – there’s no companion app or smart features to speak of here, which means an ease of use that’s almost refreshing at times.
On the flip side, it does make for a lack of security features that competitors can offer, like bike tracking or even integrated locking. Still, provided you gear yourself up with a proper bike lock you’ll be able to lend it to mates and ride it without your smartphone, both options that can be surprisingly tricky on some so-called ‘smarter’ bikes.
FuroSystem’s pitch is pretty clear when it comes to the Aventa: you can get a lot of the same feeling while riding it that you’ll find from the Cowboy or VanMoof S3, but you’ll have spent hundreds less on the bike.
That’s a surprisingly accurate summary of how it feels to use too. No, the Aventa might not have a ‘killer feature’, but it doesn’t put many feet (or wheels) wrong at all. You get really solid pedal assist, impressive range, and a design that manages to look as sleek as you could reasonably hope – and discreet too.
While a more easily removable battery, smarter features, and better cable integration would be nice, the savings you make on the up-front cost more than explains their absence. So, if your budget doesn’t stretch to one of the more chic names in the market, the Aventa is an option that’s well worth considering.
VanMoof doesn’t have a removable battery at all, but its smoothness of ride and comfort are unrivalled, making its S3 or X3 brilliant options to ride. Either model is pricier than the Aventa, but you get a lot of app-based smart features like auto-unlocking and bike tracking, plus a design that’s a little more unique and modern.
If your budget can go even further, the Cowboy is a superb option that has perfect pedal assist and probably the best app integration of any e-bike we’ve tried, making for a superb package that is just a bit of an upgrade on the Aventa in most areas. The biggest fillip it lands over other bikes, though, is that easily removable battery – making it miles more convenient than many competitors. Still, you’ll be paying for those privileges.
Writing by Max Freeman-Mills.