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CNET First Look
This electric bicycle peps up your pedal powerThe commuter-friendly A2B Alva+ gets cyclists from point A to B sweat-free with 500W of electric assistance.
What's up, guys? This is Antoine Goodwin with CNET.com and today we're taking a look at an electric bicycle. This is the A2B Alva plus, and it is a dual mode, electric assist, electrically motivated bicycle. Now, what are we talking about here? There are two different kinds of electric bike. There are just electric bike that have a throttle control where you twist the throttle and it takes off kind of like an electric scooter. This does that. But it also has an electric assist mode. So when you turn the cranks with your feet, it'll actually kick in a little bit of electric assist, to help you go just a little faster. It makes you feel a little bit stronger than you really are and helps you to get around in using your own energy, getting a little bit of fitness but without getting to work when you're sweaty. So, what we're working with here is a 500-watt electric hub motor on the rear axle that's gonna be providing the motivation when you're under pure electric power or also helping you along when you're pedaling. We've also got a seven-speed Shimano Derailleur back here with a seven-forward gears that you'll control with a little twist gear shifter. Now the power that's going to be supplied to that electric motor is gonna come from this big ole blocks right here. This is your 13.2 amp-hour electric battery and that's going to basically be where you're juice is charged and you're gonna plug this up every night. It's gonna take about 3 to 4 hours to charge and that's gonna get you about 40 miles of range. As it is equipped, this is a hefty bike with a lot of the weight centered over the rear end. Their website states that the Alva Plus has a 66-pound battery, I weight it on my bathroom scale, it's about 72 according to that, but it's-- maybe not the most accurate. We've also got integrated bike lights from the front and on the rear that are gonna automatically come on when you turn the bike on and get ready to go. So, you don't have to worry about when you're driving at night. And the battery also makes a really nice personal shelf on the back. So if you wanna hang your laptop bag off of that or strap your groceries to it, it's a good place to put it. Keep it off of your back. It actually comes with this neat little NFC tag that goes on your key chain and when you want to turn it on, you just tap the trip computer right here and the whole thing kind of fires up and calibrates itself. When you do that, those lights that I told you about are gonna come on and then you'll be able to take advantage of the electric assist or the electric drive. And when you lock your bike up, you can also lock the battery onto the back with an included key, so that nobody grabs it and runs off with it. Now, the Alva Plus is gonna roll on 24-inch wheel. That's a little bit smaller than your standard road bike and that's gonna give you a little bit of maneuverability. And it's also got this really big midi, like 2.35-inch wide tires. That's gonna give you a lot of traction and it's gonna allow you to roll really smoothly over cracked up sidewalks or sewer drains or anything like that without worrying about your tire getting stuck, and if you need to go off-road every now and then, they've got you covered. Now once you get going, you're gonna need to bring it to the stop and the Alva Plus is equipped with hydraulic disc brakes on the front and on the rear. Top speed on this thing is gonna stated in about 24-miles per hour. That's the legal limit of what an electric bike can do. Now, if you've got really strong legs, you can keep on pedaling past that and push past that electronic speed limiter. But HB states that the actual top speed and the actual range of the Alva Plus is gonna be very limited to what you're personal weight is. If you weighed less, you'll get more range. If you weigh more, then you'll probably get less. Okay, so the A2B Alva Plus is a little heavy. And I wouldn't wanna carry it up a flight of stairs, but if you're on the road and you're on top of it, it's more than carrying its own weight. And if you've got about a 20 or 10 mile commute, you can get to work and back on this thing without breaking a sweat and without having to sit through traffic. But how much is this gonna cost you? Now this Alva Plus is gonna run you $3,299. That's the MSRP and that's a lot of money that you can spend on a bicycle if you're a casual rider. But if you're in a bike-friendly city where you conceivably ride this thing to work everyday, it'll definitely pay for itself in less than a couple of year. But the thing that I like the most about the Alva Plus is that it's a flexible electric bike that lets you ride it however you wanna ride it. If you want a little bit of assist or a lot, you can dell that in. If you don't want any of it at all, you can turn it off. And if you're feeling lazy, you can just turn the crank and let the bike do it for you. I've been Antoine Goodwin and we've been taking a look at the A2B Alva Plus.