Today I took a Sanyo Eneloop electric bike out for a cruise to see why people around the shop started calling it the "smile-machine." I mean, smile-machine is a pretty serious nickname. Sure it looks cool, but could it really be the best electric bike? Our shop in Manhattan's Upper East side is near a wide variety of riding terrain, so it was an ideal place for me to put the Sanyo Eneloop electric bicycle through the paces.
With the first pedal stroke down York Avenue I noticed something different from the other electric bikes I had ridden. There was no jolt, no feeling of the motor taking over. What I mean is, some of the older style electric bicycles I had ridden would suddenly activate midway through the first or second pedal stroke. This quickly accelerated the bike and, if I wasn't ready for it, made me feel a bit out of control and uncomfortable. I'm really glad the Sanyo Eneloop electric bicycle has evolved beyond this.
As I turned the corner and headed down hill from York to 84th I decided to see how fast this Sanyo hybrid bicycle would go. I looked down at the controller which read, "Auto - Standard - Power Up." I pressed power up and noticed an immediate speed boost. As I pedaled harder it responded with more electric power, which really made me feel in control of the bike. When I stopped pedaling at the bottom of the hill the motor stopped instantly and I came to a easy stop, no fighting the motor with this bike! What a relief.
Another thing I really liked was that the Sanyo Eneloop electric bike still felt like a bicycle, not a moped. The Eneloop is a hybrid bike, merging the riders muscle power with electric motor power. This makes its range much longer and, in my opinion, made it much more fun to ride.
After waiting for the green signal I headed over to Carl Schurz Park, right on the East River to get a taste of riding my Sanyo electric hybrid bike on a bike path. The park is beautiful this time of year, sunshine filling every space in the afternoon. I rode uptown for about a mile and stopped to take a some photos. I realized after a few minutes that I wasn't focusing on the bike at all, I was just enjoying the scenery. I guess it had just faded into the back of my mind because it was so easy to ride. I knew I had to get back and write up my review, so I reluctantly turned around and headed for the shop.
The Sanyo Eneloop electric bike was a pleasure to ride, and certainly deserves the title "smile-machine." I haven't ridden another bike that felt so much like a regular bike. The smooth pedal assistance and clean acceleration were very nicely integrated, and felt natural. I would really love to take it out for a longer ride, maybe up and down the Riverside park, which runs the length of Manhattan's west side. All in all, I'd say the Sanyo Eneloop electric bike is perfect for riders that want to have the feel of a regular bike, without compromising the power of a normal electric bike.