The Koga E-light combines Koga’s hugely respected cycle manufacturing tradition with a highly sophisticated electric-assist system designed from scratch in the Netherlands. The system uses Sparta Ion technology (Koga are part of the giant Accell group, along with Sparta, Hercules and Batavus).
The men’s E-light (a women’s frame is available too) is built around a classic hand-built, 7005 aluminium, beautifully simple diamond frame (available in four sizes) and features Koga’s own adjustable stem, which offers a large rake of movement, giving the flexibility to ride the bike either in an upright ‘Dutch’ fashion or in a racier, leant-forward attitude.
Other sporty touches include a carbon/alloy fork, Shimano XT gearing and V-brakes, folding Schwalbe Marathon Racer tyres and a Shimano Hollowtech II crankset. The sportiness is mixed with practicality in a way not seen on that many bikes – the E-light comes complete with pannier rack, mudguards and kickstand and still weighs in at 23.4kg – very respectable for a fully-equipped electric bike with a quite a large capacity battery.
The rear hub motor fits into very well reinforced rear dropouts (housing the beefy 11.5mm axle and large anti-turn washers) and has the large diameter and thin width that tells you it’s gearless – and hence virtually silent. The battery sits neatly within the rear pannier rack but Koga do a frame-housed battery (which, unlike the rack battery, isn’t removable) on other models if the rack setup doesn’t appeal because of the slightly altered balance.
It’s a decently-sized 360Wh and is ‘smart’ to the extent of being state-of-the-art; the battery management system keeps a record of the exact number of charges and the level and length of each charge. This isn’t just data gathering for the sake of it – with replacement batteries costing a whopping £385, Koga can see if any mistreatment has taken place when claims are made under the two-year warranty.
Unusually, the Koga manual advises keeping the battery plugged in, even when full charge state has been reached, unless long-term storage is intended. With such a high replacement cost, Koga’s optional five-year guarantee, costing an extra £165, begins to look good value.
The pedelec system delivers motor assistance in proportion to your pressure on the pedals. It’s smooth and powerful in the top two settings and provides a useful gentle assist in the bottom ‘Eco’ mode. And the E-light is light and responsive to ride without the power too. While gearless motors haven’t traditionally been good hill climbers, the Koga is one of the new breed of relatively high torque models. It’ll fly up 10 percent hills.
Assistance levels are easily controlled by buttons next to the right-hand grip, with a small movement of the thumb sufficing to turn the power up, down or off. The light switch is there too; the hugely effective B&M IQ Cyo front light and Spanninga Air rear are powered by the battery, but if you run out of juice, the motor acts as a dynamo.
The LCD computer / display panel is one of the best of its kind and is clear, legible, backlit and removable (a good theft deterrent as the bike won’t work without it). It shows current time, temperature, trip distance, trip time, average speed, total distance and, crucially, range left at current power consumption rate. There’s a heart rate option too.
The E-light, with its flexible bar adjustment and range of power settings, could be used for hilly riding (commuting, leisure or touring over moderate daily distances), assistance for those with injuries or older and infirm riders, towing trailers full of loads or kids – in short all the things electric bikes already do so well, but with extra élan and quality.