Let’s face it: E-bikes are all the rage right now. When the COVID-19 pandemic slapped the world in the face and lockdowns began, many people took to their bicycles for some much-needed physical relief. Bike sales skyrocketed and e-bikes of all shapes and sizes hit the streets. And while we’ve tested several e-bikes in the past year, our hands-down favorite is the XC from Charge.
This thing fits the bill for everything from grocery store runs, to a cruise down the beach boardwalk, to ripping a rugged trail up in the hills. While it’s definitely on par with any of the city bikes we’ve tried when it comes to urban cruising, it’s built to withstand much more. With impressive full front suspension forks and all-terrain Goodyear tires, this e-bike is no slouch on the MTB trail. Seriously.
Its 250W mid-drive motor offers an amazingly smooth pedal-assist up to 20 mph, and it boasts up to a 50-mile range on a single charge with its removable Shimano E8035 504WH batter. The result is an unparalled experience that allows the rider to fly down the roadway or trail with minimal effort and maximum enjoyment.
It has a bright LED screen for easy function and toggling between settings, it comes standard with front/rear integrated lights for rides after dark, and its seat and grips are by far the most comfy we’ve ever felt on an e-bike.
Our favorite part about the whole package is that your ride doesn’t end when the pavement ends, unlike many e-bikes on the market these days. We equipped the XC with surfboard racks and a rear basket, and have been loving trips down the beach trail to the more remote surf spots in the area where cars aren’t permitted. What used to take us a good 45-minute walk to the beach, now takes a quick five minutes of just cruising along in the brisk morning air. The XC muscles its way through soft sand, shifty mud, bumpy gravel, and everything in between with its Shimano Rapidfire Plus 8-speed shifter.
We haven’t found a road that the XC can’t handle, and doubt we ever will.
We also took the XC on some moderate MTB trails in town, and had a blast. While you shouldn’t expect top-notch MTB performance out of this bike, it most certainly can hold its own on almost any descent with its Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc brakes for optimal and dependable speed control, while giving you that extra little push when you’re pedaling back to the top. It really is a pleasure off road.
If you’ve been scratching your head over this whole e-bike revolution, but haven’t yet pulled the trigger on one, we’d highly recommend taking a good look at the XC from Charge. We haven’t ridden an e-bike this year that’s blown our hair back quite like the XC.
Bonus: Its handlebars rotate and fold 90-degrees, as well as its pedals, so storage and transport is so damn easy.
[$2499; chargebikes.com]Get it
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