Wednesday, May 11, 2011 7.00am
By Cycling Plus
We were excited at the prospect of a Ducati to ride, and the City Pearl didn’t disappoint – much. With its hydroformed aluminium frame and bike-like shape, we were hoping that it would ride like a conventional bike too – with or without the promise of 250W power assistance. And it does, albeit with just the slightest lack of finesse.
The performance is good, with actual ride comfort, braking and handling decidedly normal-bike-like. There’s plenty of power delivered through the 250W front hub motor too, with good acceleration up to 15.5mph even on slight rises.
But several riders complained about the rattles and bangs, which can’t have been helped by the metal mudguards and unnecessary front monoshock. The small amount of play between the battery and its housing caused some of the noise, as did the metal chainguard.
On the plus side, the ergonomic handlebar grips were a joy to use, and the use of a sealed seven-speed Shimano Nexus hub gear means almost maintenance-free cycling. Further faff and fuss is avoided by the fitting of front and rear lights – though they do have to be switched on individually on the units themselves.
Once you get up to speed – or rather the disappointingly low legal speed limit – rolling isn't as smooth and easy as you’d hope. The Kenda tyres have a bit to answer for here, and we’d invest in some smoother, faster running 26in road tyres from the likes of Schwalbe.
Alternatively, you could go for a set of Continental’s Gatorskin puncture protected tyres. The tougher the better, because as with almost all electric bikes, removing wheels along with hub motors and their attendant wires at the roadside isn’t exactly hassle-free.
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