Aldi’s $1000 e-bike Special Buy is great value


The Urban is available in two Dutch frames: a traditional roadster design in matte black, and a step-through model with a few extra flourishes like rimmed wheels, tanned grips and saddle. The design of the frame forces you to sit upright more than a mountain or racing bike. It took a few rides to adjust but overall I felt a little safer in this position; I could see more of the traffic around me, and I was more visible to the traffic.

I was a little nervous the roadster would be too big for my tiny little legs; I’m 172cm tall, and worried I’d look like Kermit the Frog riding this thing. Thankfully the crossbar has a slant that makes it easy to step over, and while the saddle sits far back from the handlebars I was able to comfortably control the bike. But the long length of the Dutch design gives the bike a real sense of stability; you wouldn’t want to take it off road, but cruising through bike paths and city streets is incredibly comfortable. The built-in bike rack comes ready for shopping, or you could attach a pannier for more options.

The E1.0 Urban with a step-through frame.

The E1.0 Urban with a step-through frame.

Powering the bike is a massive 374Wh 36v battery. This battery can push a hefty 10.4Ah power to the bike. But ignore the numbers, just know the Ultimo Urban tackled hills far better than my current model. Also welcome is a battery that slides out of the frame very easily, allowing you to charge at your desk at work, and making the bike less attractive to thieves.

As with most entry level e-bikes, a brushless motor is built into the rear wheel. This gives the pedal assist a bit of a jolt when you first kick off, and is less pleasant to ride than bikes with central motors built into the frame. I’ve seen people complain about the kick of a rear wheel motor, but I’ve never thought it was unpleasant enough to pay the premium for a centre motor. And thanks to the long, solid frame, the jolt is smoothed out a little.

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A Shimano seven speed shifter wraps around the handlebar, and it feels great sliding between gears, although there is the standard crunch if you switch gears at a standstill. To avoid this, I kept the bike in a middle gear when on busy roads, and instead adjusted the power of the pedal assist; turning it all the way up to push off from traffic lights, then turning down again to blend in with peak hour traffic. Only on long winding bike paths did I really adjust the gears.

On the other side is a tiny little onboard speedometer that also shows how much power is left in the battery. If you’d like more details of your route, there’s a built-in USB charger and accompanying smartphone app. The frame includes bright front and rear lights, powered by the main battery, to make riding a little safer at night.

Overall this is a fantastic cruiser, ideal for shorter commutes and quick trips to the shops. Aldi is selling it as a limited Special Buy this Saturday, but I hope — like its Expressi Coffee Makers — this becomes an all year product.



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