As a man who spends most of his time in his attic, it’s nice to hit the open roads, feel a little wind in your hair, and run over crack vials as you motor through downtown Manhattan. That’s exactly what I did yesterday as when I tried to ride a Hero Eco A2B Metro electric bike from Bay Ridge to our offices on Broadway, thereby cementing my love for electric bikes and this electric bike in particular.
The Metro, made by German manufacturer Hero Eco (formerly Ultra Motor), is a brutalist electric bike with a built-in battery and maximum speed of 20 MPH. It has pedals and a 7-gear shifter so it is technically considered a moped and does not require a motorcycle license and a built-in limiter ensures you don’t go roaring down the streets on this 80 pound machine.
The company has had these bikes in the US for a few years now but they are working on a complete rebranding – although the bikes will remain the same. You can see the brand new bikes on this absolutely awful webpage they’ve made. This particular model costs about $3,000 online but the build quality is excellent and the equipment – from the fat Kenda tires to the Shimano shifter – is acceptable enough. I noticed some bad reviews on Amazon complaining of damaged motors or tires and, although I didn’t experience these issues over the past week, I cannot speak for extensive use. In my 15 mile ride I saw solid performance and no skidding or fishtailing while accelerating. I did, however, experience a low battery and riding this thing home, even for a mile, on pedal power wasn’t great.
The bike is a bit big but it’s still thin enough to ensure you don’t get entangled with other riders in tight paths. I found it worked great in tight quarters and, because it is in actuality just a bicycle with a hub motor, the other cyclists didn’t give me that much of a stink eye.
I’ve avoided looking at electric bikes of late because most of them look like motors strapped to 10-speeds. This is far different and, if I were to describe it in any way, it is the exact opposite of those foldable city bikes folks are riding. My kids, in fact, have taken to calling it Super Bike.
Hero Eco is finding its footing right now and also has sub-$2,000 models available, including their own version of the folding electric called the Kuo which retails for $1,599. The company is also now calling itself HeroEco and was formerly called Ultra Motor, so you may see a bit of confusing until their full rebranding.
What are you paying for? Well, you’re paying for a solid, welded frame, solid components, and excellent acceleration. The range isn’t too shabby and for a bit more you can add on a second battery for 20 miles of range. I could also imagine a user removing the governor – though I’m sure Ultra Motors doesn’t condone this. This isn’t a sport bike. I could really see it more as a bike for folks with a 10-15 mile commute who want to hit the open air a little and don’t want (that much) of a carbon footprint.