First came Banana bread. Then came Tiger King. And whilst these two major trends are now all but a distant memory, there is one lockdown activity that has cemented itself as a firm fixture as I carve out a new normal: cycling. Sales of bikes sky-rocketed whilst we were restricted, but even before the coronavirus outbreak, cities around the world were already making moves away from cars in a bid to better pollution levels. Of course, countries like the Netherlands began to prioritise cycling decades ago (in Amsterdam alone, 72,000 commute to work each morning by bike) but Covid-19 could be exactly what the UK needed to become a fully fledged member of the two-wheel brigade. Cycling offered me fresh air and freedom at a time when public transport felt impossible, and now that areas of London have (albeit temporarily) banned cars to pedestrianise the streets and allow for extra footfall, I have to admit I have little intention of returning to the old ways. What can I say? Packed into an armpit on the 08.18 to London Bridge simply doesn’t appeal any more.
As Lockdown Sends Searches For Cycles Soaring, Here's The Best E-Bike For Women
Thanks to Covid, electric bicycles have gone mainstream - but are they worth the hype? One Grazia writer puts British brand Analog Motion's best-loved AMX E-bike to the test...
But not all bikes are created equal. In order to truly embrace the bicycle as a serious mode of transport or exercise, you need to make sure you’ve got the right kit. As people move from leisure-only buying to daily use, e-bikes are suddenly outpacing regular bikes. What’s an e-bike I hear you ask? In simple terms, it’s a bike with a motor - and it is proving popular thanks to its increased performance, comfort levels and assisted mobility features. The great sell of any e-bike is hands-down the battery-powered assist. Despite being technologically advanced, it evokes a sense of nostalgia. Think of it as that feeling you got as a kid when your parent cycling alongside you would give a helpful push up a hill - it's exactly the kind of comfort we all need right now.
Naturally, as a new-age cyclist and someone who likes to keep abreast of the trends - granted usually of the sartorial variety - it seemed only right to check it out for myself. In the spirit of lockdown, I wanted to keep things close to home so checking in with the team at Analog Motion - a Hackney based brand that I backed on Indiegogo early doors - was the first port of call.
Their mission? To use their high performance e-bikes to help people reconnect with the spaces between places, and encourage us all to fall in love with the journey over the destination. Whilst it would take something pretty special to make me head over heels for the minutes lost navigating the Lewisham roundabout roadworks, I must say their signature AMX is exactly that - pretty special. I was an early backer on the AMX Indiegogo campaign and had to wait many months for my bike to arrive, but in this case, the saying that good things come to those who wait was spot on. As a rule of thumb, e-bikes tend to be more costly than conventional bikes, and you'd need to budget £2000 minimum for something even halfway decent. At £1594, Analog Motion have worked miracles to offer their AMX at the more affordable end of the spectrum with features you'd usually have to seriously fork out for. But the AMX is by no means a budget runaround...
The brand have obsessed over every detail and it shows: hidden cables and smooth welds keep the look sharp and clean, whilst a pop of colour brings it firmly into fashionable territory. Looks-wise, this bike is right down my street - less futuristic and techy than you’d imagine, and more in line with a classic manual but with a little extra weight. Also good news if you want to reduce your chances of having it pinched when you're not looking. A big win.
But looks aren’t everything, and ultimately it’s all about the ride. First of all, it's comfy as you like. The big beefy tyres were perfectly prepped for shock absorption, and felt particularly grippy in wet wintry conditions whilst I hurtled down Shoreditch High Street - an excellent partner to the frankly kick-ass brakes that came in to play when a pigeon unexpectedly joined me for the ride. I found the swept-back handlebars super comfortable whilst the unique upright riding position allowed me to look around and soak up my surroundings rather than leaving me hunched over like the majority of straight handlebar bikes.This actually made me feel safer and more in control. In terms of my biking experience to date, I felt like I'd been upgraded from economy cycling to first-class.
So what about the ‘e’ side of things? Powered by a battery that helpfully charges in just 3 hours, the AMX kicks out a 27 mile range on every go, from something literally no bigger than a water bottle. That means carrying around a spare in your jacket or bag is no more fuss than remembering to pack a facemask. As well as powering the rear-wheel engine and allowing you to actually enjoy yourself when going uphill, this rocket charger is also responsible for LED lights that ensure you’re seen day or night - an essential for anyone riding in the city or out of it.
In short, what’s the verdict? Well, the good news is, after a month of using it on the daily, I’m officially a convert. The not so great news? Demand for e-bike has been really high so you can expect to wait until November or December now to get yours hands on one. But despite this, it's worth jumping on the bandwagon. Right now, having an e-bike feels like being part of an exclusive gang - like having tickets to Glastonbury. So if you didn't get any this time around, it will give you the same smug, freedom-calling feeling. Not to mention my Uber bill has drastically dropped, my legs are the best they’ve ever looked and my new transport mode has opened up a wealth of new styling opportunities (my fashion pair of cycling shorts and silver metallic helmet are my most revered purchases of late). It’s also shown me a new side to the city I call home, and kept me out of commuter armpits in a season that’s notoriously terrible for it. But if you're not an experienced cyclist, take some time cycling on setting 1 whilst you get used to the power otherwise you might get a bit of a shock.
Welcome to the future of transport - you’re in for one hell of a ride.