Premium e-bike for adventurers
Hero Lectro F2i has an impressive build quality and it is India’s first connected e-MTB aimed primarily at adventure riders. The use of electric technology on the F2i makes it a fantastic buy, even for novice cyclists.
Electric mobility is accelerating in the Indian market and includes not only battery-powered cars, bicycles or rickshaws, but also cycles. It was only recently that Hero Lectro, the E-Cycles brand of Hero Cycles, announced the launch of the new F2i e-bike in India, which bills itself as the country’s first connected e-MTB primarily aimed at adventure riders.
And I also had the chance to swing my leg on the new e-bike to see if it’s really worthy of its almost ₹price tag of 40,000.
On the outside, the F2i has a quirky look. There is a flat, straight handlebar up front with quality rubberized grips on the tips. On the right the handle also has throttle assist just like a regular scooter or motorcycle and I’ll be honest it looks a bit fancy for a bike. The lower side of the alloy frame that connects the front handlebar to the paddle assembly and is branded “Hero Lectro” houses a 36V, 6.4Ah Li-Ion battery that powers the mounted 36V/250W BLDC motor on the rear hub.
The F2i is available in two color options – blue and yellow. In which the base of the model is completely black and there are different color highlights depending on the option you use. Both models look equally good to look at, but that’s more for the F2i than the outward appearance.
The test model arrived in a typical large TV-sized box just like when you order something from Amazon or elsewhere and with it came the assembly guy who took about 30 minutes to start the cycle. With a few nuts and bolts here and there, the bike was ready to hit the road. The company primarily targets adventure riders with the F2i line. But that’s not it, the bike has everything a regular rider like you and I would want in a bike that can easily be ridden on a regular basis.
Shortly after stepping on the model, it was easy to see that the F2i has quite a robust ride quality. Using slightly larger tires helps make the ride balanced, and the meaty tread was designed to fight dirt.
Near the right side handle there is a button to switch between gears. It gets a 7-speed drivetrain from Shimano that works flawlessly despite how and when you try to shift (up or down). While I’ll admit I haven’t ridden the bike long enough to really see how the drivetrain reacts to different terrain or weather conditions, on regular dry city riding it was no problem and up or down gears was smooth.
Now the highlight of the F2i is its engine which has been mounted on the rear wheel. By using the throttle grip on the bar, the bike instantly receives torque assist, something quite similar to an electric vehicle. On the left side of the handlebar there is a small unit that displays the power modes and an RFID key switch that is used to turn motor operations on and off. This device also has a light switch and displays the overall charge remaining in the battery. The right side of the bar features the throttle grip as well as a switch for the Shimano 7-speed drivetrain. Additionally, there is also a button to turn the engine off or on, just like the ignition switch found on regular ICE two-wheelers.
The bike rolls on huge 27.5-inch spoked wheels and also gets disc brakes at both ends. The wheels are shod with larger tires that allow the bike to be used on less traveled roads. Although these tires require the rider to use more force on regular roads due to their larger size/more traction, they also perfectly complement adventure bike riding in case you want to hit the dirt. Besides the wheels, its sturdy MTB Geometry 6061 alloy frame also helps deliver a balanced ride even when the bike is pushed hard. Most importantly, the adjustable front telescopic forks with 100mm of travel provide more leverage, especially when navigating dirt trails. These forks are preload-adjustable, giving them an edge over the non-adjustable setup of competing brands.
The overall quality of the F2i impressed me as the company clearly aimed for a premium product with the F2i and managed to achieve it as well. Things like the handles, paint finishes, high specification transmission, IP67 protection on the battery only add to the sense of confidence in the product.
Final Words: The Hero Lectro F2i is designed for adventurous riders who want to pedal to the edge of the map. And more interestingly, the use of electric technology on the F2i also makes it a fantastic buy, even for entry-level cyclists who have yet to explore their pedal potential. Motor assist on the cycle is the key USP that really makes this a worthwhile purchase, but the slightly higher price of ₹39,999 is what makes it out of reach for many potential customers looking to ride the EV wave.
Date of first publication: 01 Feb 2022, 2:00 PM IST