It’s only good news when a large automotive manufacturer is investing in the development of electric bikes. It should drive the price down in the market – because quite frankly many ebikes are over-priced; it shows they realise it’s a growth market; they’ve invested in development of technology to produce the bikes; they’ve encouraged and supported their suppliers to improve efficiency and standards of components, and potentially invest in their own R&D; and electric bikes will gain some much-needed media attention.
BMW describes it as a visual masterpiece, but I beg to differ. There are better-looking ebikes around, but in my opinion, there are cars more aesthetically-pleasing than BMW’s as well. What BMW do well though is compact, efficient, masculine, quality. There’s no excess here. Look at the mudguards, they’re barely visible. Take a look at the frame welds, beautiful seams of engineering. If you want a well-built e-bike look no further.
So what have BMW brought to the table in terms of technology?
A 504 Wh Li-ion battery delivering up to 60 miles (100km) range per charge. That’s pretty efficient because most manufacturers would be scared to boast about over 50 miles from a similar capacity battery – and you can guarantee BMW have tested that figure inside and out before publishing it.
The motor is impressive too, producing 90 Nm peak torque from this 250 W Brose powerhouse. To put this into perspective, 90 Nm torque gets you an entry-level car such as the Nissan Pixo with a 1-litre petrol engine.
What?!? Yes. Compare it to most 1-litre petrol cars and you’ll see that 90-100 Nm torque is pretty standard. So what does that mean for the BMW Active Hybrid E-bike? The motor shouldn’t have much trouble getting you and the bike up a hill at 15mph. The motor is controlled by a Pedal Assistance module with 4 settings, the lowest being Eco at 50% of standard output, which may help you achieve closer to 100 miles per charge on flat terrain.
As you can see the battery is ‘integrated’ into the frame, but of course, the frame is much wider than a standard frame to accommodate it. Combine that with the crank-located motor housing and the Active Hybrid doesn’t look like a standard push bike with a battery strapped to it.
BMW has opted for a hybrid style electric bike because frankly, they’ll sell more. With the integrated lights, mudguards, and front suspension most eventualities are covered. As long as you’re not planning on going off-road too far this ebike should do everything you want it too comfortably. Talking of comfort BMW have also designed their own seat, which has three padded zones with 3D Skingel and Royal Gel.
Here’s what the rest of the spec looks like:
- Frame size: S (appr. body height 160–175 cm), M (appr. body height 175–185 cm), L (appr. body height 185 cm or taller)
- Weight: 22.5 kg
- Tyres: 28ʺ × 2.0 Continental CruiseCONTACT and Safety System
- Motor: Brose electric motor at 250 W and 90 Nm
- Battery: 504 Wh up to 100 km Range, rechargeable and removable, incl. charging cable
- Brakes: Shimano BR-M315, 180 mm front, 160 mm rear
- Gears: Shimano Deore/XT, 10 gears
- Rims: Rodi Airline Plus, 28ʺ
- Fork: Suntour NCX, 28ʺ suspension fork in frame colour
BMW has priced the Active Hybrid fairly at £2,500, providing competition for some of the premium hybrid ebike brands such as Haibike, Volt and Raleigh. There is better value for money to be had with other hybrid models, but I suspect someone who wants a BMW is willing to pay BMW prices.
The BMW enthusiast can complete their hybrid cycling package with a £64 folding bike lock, and £96.50 BMW helmet.
If your budget is open to a BMW then you might also consider the Gtech eScent at £1,900, the HaiBike Sduro Trekking RC for £2674, links to our reviews below.