An electric bicycle that tops 55mph! Or is it a motorcycle?
Electric bicycles can be a useful alternative to mopeds for short trips, but being legally limited to 15.5mph and 250 watts (about 0.3bhp) they don’t exactly set the tarmac on fire. You can buy fruitier ones, claiming up to 1000 watts and moped-beating speeds, but they’re not road legal. So the Pagan Equaliser is big news – it looks like the first super-fast e-bike to be offered fully road legal and registered – it might have pedals, but as far as officialdom is concerned this is an A1 class motorcycle. Insurer Adrian Flux, which specialises in more unusual vehicles, is happy to cover it, 3rd party or fully comp.
There’s a growing sub-culture of pepped-up e-bikes, so the Pagan uses mostly off the shelf bits, though the bike is assembled in the UK. Power comes from a 4500 watt (6bhp, so midway between a moped and a 125) motor in the rear wheel, supplied by a set of ten batteries hidden away inside the panelling. The frame is of box section steel, an off the shelf item for high powered e-bikes, the DNM front forks and rear shock are from the world of downhill mountain biking – customer bikes will have Rockshox, and Tektro disc brakes.
ON THE ROAD
If you’re used to a 125 or 250, 6.5bhp and that 55mph top speed don’t sound much to get excited about, but the Pagan looks and feels more like a bicycle, so anything over 25mph feels like 70+ on a 125. The pedals do work, and you can put in a bit of useful effort to get going, but with only a single-speed gear, they’re redundant at anything over 20mph. In a flat battery emergency, you could pedal home, but it would be hard work.
The truth is, the Pagan is an electric motorcycle, and twisting the grip gives surprisingly quick acceleration from low speeds (or so it feels on something far lighter than a moped) up to 40mph or so, then at a slower rate up to 50mph, finally winding up to 55mph showing on the digital instrument pack. So it’s not a motorway machine, but easily quick enough for suburban dual carriageways.
All of this would be suicidal on a standard pushbike with a big motor shoehorned in, but the Pagan isn’t one of those. The downhill mountain bike forks and rear shock are well up to the performance and the whole thing feels stable at speed. Ditto round corners, though given the relatively fat front tyre, it’s not as quick steering as you might expect.
Range is the big question for all electrics, and I managed 32 miles, mostly at 35-45mph – the maker claims over 50 miles if you can stick to 30-limits, but I didn’t get the chance to test that. They also say it’ll recharge in two hours – none of your overnight stuff.
Some details let the Pagan down – tiny figures on the dash (speed apart) are illegible on the move and the switchgear feels cheap and flimsy. And to carry anything, you’ll need to wear a rucksack. If it looks too pricey, there’s a 40mph version with a smaller battery (so less range) at £3600.
Interesting! A limited range, but if that’s all your commute needs, then the Pagan looks like a good alternative to a 125, especially if you’ve just got a CBT and don’t want to go for a full bike licence.
STAR RATING – 8
4500 watt brushless electric motor
Front: 180mm disc Rear: 180mm disc
Front: 3.00-20 Rear: 3.25-17
Front: Telescopic forks, damping adj Rear: Single shock, pre-load adj
Stand over height
Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide