The stealth electric bike
At first glance, you can’t tell that the Coboc is an electric bike. The battery is hidden in the frame. There are no buttons to increase or decrease the electric motor support. The charging plug is subtly placed beneath the top tube, as is a button to switch on the power.
Once on, the battery meter lights in the frame are the only indication you are riding an electric bike. That, along with the speed you are propelled forward when the traffic light turns green.
Depending on your aesthetic preferences, the end result is a pretty stunning bicycle that breaks the mold from other electric bike offerings on the market.
Electric, but without the weight
The surprises don’t end with the looks. Pickup the Coboc and you’d be surprised how light it feels. At 13.5 kg’s, it’s perhaps just a kg over the weight of a typical hybrid bike. An impressive feat, considering the battery stored in the frame. The Coboc features an aluminium frame with carbon forks.
250kw of power
The legal limit in the UK is a 250kw motor that can power you up to just over 15mph (25kmph).
With that limit in mind and the typical use case being an urban commute, the Coboc is designed to give you the maximum boost at the traffic lights. As you reach speeds closer to the 15mph limit, you’ll receive less support.
Anything over 15mph and you are on your own.
In practise, this felt like a good combination. You could either take it slow and let the bike do the hard work or push yourself and get more of a workout.
80km of battery of life
The Coboc takes 2 hours to go from empty to full and will give you 80km at the higher end of the scale (I.e. Avoiding Highgate West Hill).
If your cycle commute is a 20 mile round trip, you’d have to charge the Coboc every other day.
After around 1000 charge cycles, the battery performance starts to degrade. Let’s say you charge the battery 200 times per year, this means you’d get around 5 years before the battery would need replacing at a cost of around £300.
The bad news
That’s the good news – what about the bad news?
First up, let’s get the obvious one out the way. The Coboc costs £3,300. This is definitely on the higher end of the pricing spectrum for electric bikes and in line with offerings such as the GoCycle – a folding electric bike which costs £2,799.
At the lower end of the spectrum, there are bikes such as the Emu, which costs £999.
There are a couple more costs to keep in mind.
Next up, the standard tyres included are fairly basic – which is a bit of a surprise at the price point.
An investment of an extra £60-£70 on a pair of puncture proof tyres such as the Schwalbe Durano will be well received – especially because fixing a rear wheel puncture on the Coboc is slightly more involved than on your everyday bicycle.
If you’d like to try one out
With the negatives out the way – what should you do if you’d still like to try one?
Justebikes in Notting Hill are stocking the Coboc, so this is your best bet to try out the bike for yourself. I’ll warn you – if you’ve not been scared off by the price and you reach the trying it out stage, it’ll be hard to say no to one. It wasn’t easy to hand my test bike back to Peter Hibbard, the director behind Evelo Ltd, who exclusively distribute the bike in the UK.
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With the Coboc in tow I found myself wanting to pedal further. North London to Tooting Bec? Sure, it’ll be a pleasure. Need to cycle up Highgate West Hill? Yep, why not. Any bike – electric or otherwise – that makes you want to ride more, gets a big thumbs up from me.
The Coboc is the first eBike I’ve tried that made me overcome my many electric bike reservations, which I know I share with fellow UK cyclists.
The big downside is the price point – at £3,300 this will only appeal to the higher end of the market. With limited production runs and manual work completed in Germany, you can see why it’s priced so highly. In future, as sales expand and with a change in production method – we may see a shift in price.
Speaking of the future, aside from the Coboc ONE eCycle that we tested, there are two new models on the way.
The Coboc ONE Soho will have brake levers more suitable to city riding, along with a Brooks saddle and beautiful brushed aluminium finish silver frame.
The Coboc Seven Vesterbro will offer the utility aspect that the Coboc ONE eCycle lacks, with integrated bike lights and pannier rack, as well as mudguards.
A big thank you to Peter Hibbard of Evelo Ltd for supplying us with the Coboc ONE eCycle for a week long test.
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.