Compared with e-bikes from other, better-known and more established manufacturers, The E-Bike from Batch Bicycles fares impressively well. While it can, at first, seem like an underdog in competition with e-bikes from the likes of Specialized and Canyon, the ride, performance, price and impressive Bosch powertrain earn it a place among those giants.
On appearance, The E-Bike from Batch is less elegant than some of its competitors, but this is no sleeper. It may be too obviously an e-bike with a battery about the size of a brick and a half fitted to the downtube, and a Bosch motor that sits below the frame, but it’s hard to complain about these aesthetic gripes when you experience the ride.
It soon becomes clear that Batch decided to go for function over form. The ride is impressively good, thanks in large part to the Bosch battery and motor. The pedal-assist works well and is intuitive with the eight-speed shifting. Start in the low gear and smoothly click up with the thumb shifter as the bike gains speed.
The bike has four settings: Turbo, Sport, Tour and Eco. Top speed is around 20 mph and you lose about 2 mph with each setting down. In Turbo, the bike powers through acceleration and pedaling at top speed feels more like keeping up than pushing the bike along. In Eco, you have to pedal to get the bike up to speed and then the battery helps you maintain a much lesser 14 mph. Four modes seems superfluous—we would have settled for three. But more modes gives more choice.
The bike is heavy—a medium-size weighs 46.5 pounds (21 kilograms)—but the ride doesn’t lumber. It glides like a big sedan rather than grumbling like a truck. It isn’t exactly nimble, but it’s still easy to maneuver around obstacles and into turns. Where you do notice the weight is in speed and hill climbing. It’s almost impossible to get the bike to go any faster than the pedal-assist setting wants you to go. Pushing as hard as you can only gets you sore quads and maybe an additional one or two miles per hour. And even in Turbo mode, the bike slows down to about 12 mph on uphills, and far slower in lesser modes.
But even with this weight, the bike in Turbo mode had an impressive 40-mile range, far greater than we expected. And while that large battery isn’t pleasing to the eye, function once again comes before form. The battery can detach from the frame, a design feature whose benefits are twofold. You can take the battery off to charge it or disincentivize someone from stealing the bike. No more bringing your bike to the fifth floor to charge for the ride home; leave it downstairs and just grab the battery. And if you do leave your bike locked up outside no one else can walk off with your battery, as it only detaches with the included ABUS key.
The bike comes with a slew of handy features, including a kickstand and a rear rack ready for panniers and fenders. We especially liked the handlebar display that shows mode, speed and battery life. We do wish the bike had incorporated lights though—it seems like an easy add-on for an electric bike, especially one that could make for a great commuter. We also had trouble getting the fenders to stay where we placed them; they had a tendency to drift down and touch the tires.
These kinds of finishing touches are where we encountered our biggest hang-ups with the Batch. The gear indicator on our shifter broke almost immediately, and while the rubberized grips were great when wet they had a tendency to irritate our palms on long, dry rides. The closer you look, the more you notice that the Batch lacks the refinement of other, admittedly more expensive, e-bikes. Things like the frame’s welds, minimal and smooth on other bikes, were large and rough, more suited to a truck than a bicycle.
While these sorts of things might turn off buyers looking for a cleaner bike, the function-over-form design and price still makes the Batch a great option for riders looking to get outside more, change their commute and replace some car trips with bike rides. While there are annoyances, the saving grace is that the strengths of this bike are its impressive battery and drivetrain. We’d rather have that than pretty welds and no muscle.
Weight: 46.5 lbs (21kg)
Construction: Aluminum alloy
Battery: Bosch 400Wh with ABUS Lock
Minimum Tested Range: About 40 miles (175 lb rider, mostly flat)
Maximum Tested Range: About 80 miles (175 lb rider, mostly flat)
Charge Time: About 6.5 hours
Target Audience: Early to mid-career riders of all experiences looking to replace car trips
What We Loved: Ride feel, range, display
What Didn’t Hit: Finishing touches, Eco hill climbing, no lights
What We Tell Our Friends: Bang-for-your-buck workhorse