Just in: Spencer Ivy Spencer electric bike

City bike with pedelec power for the discerning pedaller who doesn't want to break sweat

by Dave Atkinson   December 8, 2010  

You wait months for an electric bike and then three come along at once. First there was the load-happy Kona Electric Ute, and we'll introduce you to the Gocycle soon, but for now we'll talk you round the shiny new machine from Spencer Ivy that's landed at the office.

London-based Spencer Ivy are pretty new to the scene, and on their website they say, "Our vision is simple - we want to get the whole world cycling. Thanks to the electric assistance, everyone from busy mums to the fitness-challenged can pedal away. It's cool, sustainable, and most importantly, lots of fun". If their vision is simple, their range is even simpler: two bikes, the Spencer and the Ivy. The Ivy is a step-through design with a Brooks leather saddle that's crying out for a bit of wicker up front (you can buy the Basil basket as an accessory on the website), and the Spencer – which we have to test – is a fairly traditional men's roadster. Except for the bit with motor in, obviously. Both bikes retail for £1,895 and you can buy them direct from the Spencer Ivy website

So what do you get for your cash? Well the mechanical bits are pretty familiar, an Aluminium frame with an Alfine 8 hub to the rear and a front dynamo hub running B&M lights. Full mudguards and a rear rack are included, the rack being a Pletscher model that can mount various accoutrements including a child seat and a basket on a three-point fixing. You even get a nurse's lock, a chainguard, a kickstand and a dinky SKS pump that mounts on the rack. So far, so practical.

Where the bike departs from the norm, obviously, is the electrics. In this case it's a Panasonic system with a mid-mounted motor directly powering the drivetrain as you pedal. It's similar to the Bosch system that was everywhere at Eurobike, and we can't help thinking that it's the way to go for electric bikes. Everything's in one place, working out when pedal assistance is needed is easy, power is instantaneous when you set off.

The 10Ah battery will last 'up to 50 miles' according to Spencer Ivy, although we'd expect our real world testing to come up some way short of that. We can't help thinking that Spencer Ivy have missed a trick by not having the battery and motor casing black to blend in with the rest of the bike but even with the electric gubbins highlighted in silver it's still a decent looking town bike. Perhaps for the next batch they'll have the chance to ask for some black ones.

We'll be testing the motor's limits on the steepest hills we can find round here (and there are some plenty steep ones) and we'll report back with our overall thoughts on the bike as soon as we can...

9 user comments

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Anyone tried an electric on the turbo or rollers yet?

antonio

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posted by antonio [923 posts]
8th December 2010 - 21:49

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hmm…

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posted by Tony Farrelly [4131 posts]
8th December 2010 - 22:50

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That is one UGLY bicycle. The weird angle of the chain-case, variable tube widths on the frame, spindly looking rear-rack attachment, front brake mounted behind the fork (!? why?)[2] etc.

I'm waiting for the Onya Front-end Loader [1]. I'll skip the Brooks saddle, kickstand and Pletscher rack in favor of something more practical. Yeah, it'll cost twice as much but that's not the point.

1. http://gigaom.com/cleantech/green-overdrive-saul-griffiths-onya-cycles-v...

2. http://road.cc/content/image/28324-spencer-ivy-spencer-electric-bike-fro...

posted by Ush [377 posts]
9th December 2010 - 3:41

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They couldn't even mount the rear-rack properly??? Crap.

posted by Aapje [158 posts]
9th December 2010 - 10:30

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It is ugly. It looks like the unloved offspring of an unfortunate union between a Pashley and a mountain bike that's desperately trying to win attention with a bolted-on motor and battery. Not one for me thanks.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2114 posts]
9th December 2010 - 11:23

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Yes but would YOU steal it??

posted by don_don [149 posts]
9th December 2010 - 14:09

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Hi Dave

Many thanks for the review so far. Black batteries are certainly something we are looking into, as you say to blend in with the bike.

Please bear in mind the 50mile range was tested by the German manufacturers under the following conditions:
- Average speed of 21km/h
- Medium assist mode
- Carrying a total weight of 87kg / 13.9 stones

By all means if you are travelling plenty of steep hills on the highest assist, the battery charge will run out quicker, likewise if you travelled on a majority of flats in low assist, the battery will last even longer. It will be interesting to see the route and gradient you take and how the battery stands up to your testing. The bike frame is made from lightweight aluminium and comes in at a total weight of 21.kg, great for travelling even with the motor turned off.

Comments are appreciated.

@Ush
- Rear attachment is in fact Pletscher's EasyFix rack that allows easy integration of a childseat, basket or bag. There is a short demo video on their website- music optional.
- Brake behind the front fork. The research and design that went into this from our manufacturer was to ensure more effective braking and avoid annoying brake squeal.
- Onya front end loader does look like a good utility vehicle and I'm sure will be great for deliveries and carrying heavy loads such as children- the equivalent of attaching a trailer to our bikes. The 20mph limit as Saul states, is for the US, whereas in the UK the legal assist limit is at 15.5mph.

@Aapje
- Thanks for observing the over-heightened rear rack. This demo bike has been in the field for the last few months so uncertain as to when this was meddled with, although it couldn't have been long ago as it was clearly horizontally aligned in our previous review. Please see pic here: http://www.spencerivy.com/testimonials.php. Not quite sure what the reason for this over-adjustment on this particular bike is.
There are other pictures of our correctly fitted rack: http://www.spencerivy.com/products1.php

I should say that the people that will benefit the most from electric bikes are those that are currently put off cycling due to long distances or steep inclines- although I'm sure these are the reasons why some of you love to cycle. The aim of electric bikes is to get people out of their cars and onto two wheels. Think of it as a moped, except more practical, cheaper to run, easier to park, better for the environment and better for your health- you still have to cycle!

If anyone would like to arrange a test ride to see how the bike performs with the Panasonic system, please do drop us a line.

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posted by SpencerIvy [1 posts]
9th December 2010 - 18:03

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Thanks for the response. I feel churlish now. Good luck with the bike.

posted by Ush [377 posts]
9th December 2010 - 18:47

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Quote:
This demo bike has been in the field for the last few months so uncertain as to when this was meddled with

my bad for not noticing really, it's an easy enough fix...

Quote:
By all means if you are travelling plenty of steep hills on the highest assist, the battery charge will run out quicker, likewise if you travelled on a majority of flats in low assist, the battery will last even longer. It will be interesting to see the route and gradient you take and how the battery stands up to your testing. The bike frame is made from lightweight aluminium and comes in at a total weight of 21.kg, great for travelling even with the motor turned off.

we'll certainly be pointing it at some hills, there's not much option round these parts and that's one of the reasons an electric bike makes a lot of sense for utility cycling here. it's fair to say that i've tested a fair few electric bikes and i've never found one that'll do anything even close to the stated range round here, but that's to be expected, especially with me (98kg) sat on it. For the record, our workshop scales have the Spencer at 23.1kg, not 21kg

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7234 posts]
9th December 2010 - 23:44

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