The commuting arm chair with a good turn of speed
This bike is designed for the commuter with cycle-path off-road capability, easily coping with the potholed roads of the UK. I can see this bike with panniers on the rear rake, fetching bread and milk from the local market and making easy work of getting it all home.
This well-built, functional machine has front suspension supplied by Suntour NEX, which has the ability to lock-out if needed. The electric motor is an E-Kit BOSH active unit attached to a 400W Lithium-Ion battery and as standard runs 400Wh. This gives smooth power delivery, which seems to reward the effort you put in, encouraging you up to the 15mph limited top speed. If you pedal it pass the limited top-end it will remind you how much help you’re getting from the power unit.
I found myself riding no faster than the 15mph top speed, and enjoyed the views of my eight-mile commute into work from the plush riding position. On arriving at work there was no need for my post–commute shower ritual that I normally have to perform when on my non-power assisted bike, although I may have got to work a little quicker on my usual mode of transport.
Shimano have supplied Rieju with the wheels and gears and this is no bad thing – they have a good history and even the lower range products are good. The bike has a 10-speed rear derailleur, which changes gear with the thumb shifters more than adequately. This is attached to the crank-driven motor which has four levels of assist: Eco, Tour, Sport and Turbo. For the majority of the time I leave it in Turbo.
The Bosch display is very informative, showing how much assistance it’s giving you and how much battery life you have left. You can toggle through the information screens and select the assist levels using the buttons positioned next to the left handlebar grip. This tells you about the trip distance, time, max speed, average speed, trip time, range and odometer.
I’m pleased to say that I reached a top speed of 30mph on the bike – that was down a good hill. I’m equally pleased that Rieju have fitted the Shimano disc brakes as I grabbed a handful to stop me at the junction. I did my 16-mile round trip commute with the assist level on Turbo and averaged a speed of 15mph. Colleagues also took this bike out for a spin, and the battery only dropped by half.
All–in–all, the RS3 is a well–built commuting armchair, with a good turn of speed.
Aluminium frame 700C, custom tubing
E-Kit Bosch Active – Standard 400Wh, crank-drive
Shimano deore, SL-M610RA, 10-speed
Shimano SLX, RD-M670 SGS, Shadow, Black, 10-speed
Front disc: Shimano SM-RT20M, 203mm
Rear disc: Shimano SM-RT20S, 160mm
Suntour NEX forks, hydraulic with lockout
400W Lithium-ion, removable, weight 2,5kg
Full charge: 3,5hrs
50% charge: 1,5hrs
Up to 100 miles
Words: Paul Fincham
Images: Sue Waters Photography