May 28, 2023


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Equal e-Bike Aims to Be the Great Equalizer: Affordable but High-End

In terms of pricing and the specs offered for e-bikes, there’s a great divide: the very cheap stuff that has neither the power nor the looks to get you across town without having people point fingers as you (slowly) roll by; the affordable mid-range products; and the premium e-bikes that are outside the budget limits of a regular cyclist, so we can only dream about getting them one day when we’re all millionaires.

Assuming few daily commuters would ever touch the very cheap stuff for obvious reasons (number one being that no one in their right mind would buy an unreliable product in this economy), Helsinki-based startup Urban Cycles Oy noticed a huge gap between the second and third category. Its first offering, the Equal bike, is meant as the great equalizer, bridging that gap.

Equal is a city e-bike that aims to be a premium product without the cost usually associated with one. It is, if you will, a unicorn for daily commuters, the kind of e-bike that will not fail you when you need it the most, that’s both top quality and elegant, while also connected and packed with just the right stuff to make each ride a pleasure in and of itself. Most importantly, it aims to offer all this at the starting price of a mid-range bike.

Color us impressed.

“There are many brands that make or try to make premium e-bikes,” co-founder and CEO Andriy Sytnyk tells the New Atlas in a statement. “You can also find cheap options, mostly flooded by rebranded ODM bikes. Both segments are highly saturated, but there’s a huge gap in between. At Equal, we want to bring an elegant design and advanced tech to a modern-day commuter. Our bike looks beautiful, it rides like a dream, and comes fully equipped for safe urban trips.”

Sytnyk says the time has come for people to stop comparing the cost of a premium bike to that of a used car (good point there), and Equal will usher it in.

Equal is powered by a rear hub motor making a 250 W and 40 Nm (29.5 lb-ft), and hides the battery in the top tube for the sleekest design and convenience of use, since it’s completely protected from the elements. The 225 Wh Li-ion battery is removable, but you can also charge it as-is, as long as you don’t mind waiting 3.5 hours to achieve that full charge.

It is sleek, with an aluminum alloy frame in gray and minimal frills. Though it’s a smart bike, it doesn’t come with a display: the maker says it wanted to keep the overall look as clean as possible, so stats can be accessed through the mobile app. Adaptive motor assistance means you don’t have to set pedal-assist models, opt for riding modes, or change gears since the motor will sense your effort (through a torque sensor) and match it when you need more thrust.

Range is estimated at about 50 km (31 miles), while top speed is set at the EU standard of 25 kph (15.5 mph). An on and off button on the top tube turns the bike on and serves to activate the lights and check charge status, assuming you don’t want to use your smartphone app for that last one.

The Equal weighs just 14.7 kg (32.4 pounds), which makes it ideal for city use, where most people use a secondary means of transport or have to carry their bicycles up one or several flights of stairs. It has a total payload of 110 kg (242.5 pounds).

The standard model comes with KMC chain, upgradable to a Gates CDX Carbon drive for €250 ($301), and hydraulic disc brakes. You get lights and front and rear fenders as part of the package but have to buy the kickstand as an extra option. The Equal can be ridden through rain and in freezing temperatures, and the motor is IP65-rated.

Urban Cycles Oy estimates deliveries for the summer of 2021, so yes, there is a “but” to this long list of impressive features and promises. Pricing will start at €1,490 ($1,800), to which you can add extras like the kickstand and a rear rack, plus shipping – but you’ll still get an elegant and solid e-bike for half the price you’d currently pay for a premium one.