Avadar C3-City Electric Bike – CleanTechnica Review
The Avadar C3-City e-bike is a great “drop-in” replacement for an MTB-style ride for those looking to get a bit more oompf when hiking, running or commuting, as it doesn’t doesn’t really handle or feel any different than a regular old analog bike. However, thanks to its mid-drive e-motor and 16-speed combinations, the C3-City e-bike lets you ride it like you’ve stolen it, but without all the heavy breathing and thigh cramps.
After the past few years of riding a number of powerful (but heavy) e-bikes, my first impression of the Avadar C3-City was rather lukewarm, simply falling short of the spec of the bike itself. In fact, you might have heard me mumbling, “The engine is alone 250 watts! What will it do for me? But once assembled and on the trail, I found my expectations were pleasantly shattered by this e-bike, as it seemed to have more in common with my trusty old (non-electric) mountain bike than my other everyday
driver ride, a longtail cargo e-bike – which I love, but is also kind of a heavy beast to carry around when not powered up.
Disclosure: Avadar provided the C3-City e-bike for the purposes of this review.
At first glance, it’s not very obvious that the C3 is an e-bike, other than perhaps the size of the downtube, where the battery is. It has a fairly simple hybrid mountain bike style, with standard tires and wheels (27.5″ x 2.1″) instead of the ubiquitous fat tires so important on e-bikes these days, a suspension fork front end and a decent range of gears in its Shimano components (2 front chainrings and 8 rear sprockets). The C3-City model also comes with full fenders on both wheels, as well as a rear rack, and the integrated headlight, which runs off the bike’s battery, is a nice touch.
Once the C3 is turned on, however, the differences between it and my old Kona mountain bike are immediately apparent, as the mid-drive motor, while rated at alone 250 watts (compared to my other e-bike’s 750 watt hub motor), engages seamlessly as you pedal, giving you an invisible boost that isn’t “pushy” like some rear hub motors can feel it. Honestly, I felt like I instantly got stronger and had more stamina, even though I knew it was electrons doing the work and not some newly discovered superpower within me.
Worth taking a minute to talk about mid drive motors compared to rear hub motors, because there is a clear difference. While a rear (or front) hub motor spins the wheel itself, a mid-drive motor spins the crank, which I think gives the rider an edge in picking the right gear for the terrain . One of the learning curves on an e-bike, as opposed to a non-e-bike, is becoming familiar with choosing the right level of pedal assistance and gear combination for whatever the trail or the road has to offer, and sometimes it’s a tricky dance – too high or too low a level of pedal assist, and riding, especially up or down a hill, can be tricky, and a gear of too high gear ratio can make it just as difficult when navigating hills or sharp turns or bumpy sections.
With a mid-drive motor, the weight is better distributed on the bike itself because the battery and motor are in or near the center of the bike, whereas a rear hub motor adds unsprung weight to the rear wheel and may, when using the thumb throttle, cause loss of traction in sandy or muddy conditions. Also, changing tires on a mid-drive e-bike is very easy, while changing a tire on a rear hub motor is a bit more involved, and a rear hub motor takes up a lot of space in the frame, what kind limit your options for gears and/or wheels. However, a rear hub motor can be retrofitted into a non-electric bike frame with minimal modifications, whereas a mid-drive motor isn’t as easy to add to an existing frame. That being said, both engine options have their pros and cons, so it’s up to the rider and the chosen terrain to decide what suits them best.
Because the C3-City weighs a little less than a number of other e-bikes I’ve ridden, I found I could ride it like I do my other mountain bike, that is- i.e. quite aggressively and always on the lookout for all the little level changes and bumps that allow me to fly briefly, as well as roll hard through turns and down hills. This aspect of the C3 was pleasantly surprising and made me reconsider my first impression of the bike, because while I enjoy riding some of the more powerful e-bikes with fat tires and a thumb throttle, it’s also a different experience – closer to riding a motorcycle rather than pedaling a bicycle – and I know I’m not alone in this. Diehard cyclists generally don’t want a motorcycle-like riding experience from a bike, as they tend to like the feel of the trail below and the smooth feel of the pedaling cadence, so I think this e-bike would be a great “drop-in” replacement for those types of riders.
As for the other features of the Avadar C3-City, the LCD display/controller offers 5 levels of pedal assist (or no pedal assist, if desired), and displays the current speed, assistance level and mileage, all in an easy-to-read format. The bike also includes torque and cadence sensors, which is a step above many other entry-level e-bikes with just a cadence sensor, and the motor starts and stops smoothly, without any jerks or jerks than some e-bikes. have (which may be surprising or confusing to a novice cyclist, and may be the cause of some e-bike crashes, especially at higher power levels). The aluminum frame is sturdy, without any of the wobble that some of the cheaper, heavier e-bikes can have, and its nice low-rise standard handlebar is comfortable to ride (assuming you like that style of bar, not the high-mount the city bike or cruiser-style bars).
Another cool thing about the C3 is that, because it’s lighter than many newer e-bikes (about 57 pounds), it can easily fit on a standard rear rack – and be easily lifted onto the rack, which can’t be said for heavy e-bikes – and while it’s still heavier than an analogue bike of the same size, getting it up stairs isn’t a problem.
The Avadar C3-City electric bike currently sells for $2180, although the company is currently offering a good discount when ordering two bikes.
– Pedal: 36V/250W mid-drive motor
– Derailleur: 6 forward speeds and speed
– Brake: hydraulic disc brake
-Display: color LCD, backlit
-Electric assistance: 5 levels
-Integrated lights: front LED; rear reflector
-Battery: 36V/10Ah, 2500mAh
-Maximum speed: 45 km/h 28 mph
– Rim size: 27.5 inches
– Tire size: 27.5 x 2.1 inches
This article is supported by Avadar. All images by Derek Markham / CleanTechnica.
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