BIKE TEST: E-JOE KODA
Founded by Indonesian entrepreneur Will Suwandy, e-Joe Bike began its foray into the pedelec market in 2008. Located in the bicycle-loving city of San Diego, California, e-Joe’s mission has been to bring functionality, fun and practicality to commuters, enthusiasts, recreational riders and e-bike newbies. Based on their small but well-rounded line of affordable e-bikes, they strive to meet these goals, focusing on improving their e-bikes by implementing ever-expanding e-bike technologies while maintaining good value.
The company’s offerings come in three flavors of pedelecs—folders, all-purpose and the e-Joe Koda, which is the brand’s sport model.
While the Koda is touted as a touring/sport bike, it really possesses all the elements of a hybrid commuter. The 2018 Koda has some nice refinements from the previous model. From Bafang, the capable 500-watt with 900-watt peak performance, brushless rear-hub motor is up from a 720-watt peak. Inside its sleek 6061 aluminum frame is a newly upgraded 48-volt, 11-amp-hour LG 18650 Samsung cell lithium-ion battery, which, depending on terrain and load size, will go up to 50 miles on a single charge.
For braking duties, the Koda is fitted with dual 180mm Tektro hydraulic disc brakes with RST Neon Lockout suspension that is within easy reach. Dual shift levers operate the easy-shifting seven-speed Shimano drivetrain, giving the rider plenty of gears to reach their destination. Those with a shorter torso may wish that the Koda’s handlebars were not set in a locked position. This issue is almost compensated due to the seatpost being long and adjustable.
At first glance, this looks like a bike for taller people, but it definitely is not. With the low step-through frame, mounting was easy for those under 5-foot-5. The Selle Royal comfort saddle provides a decent cushion for longer excursions. There were no lights on the test model, but e-Joe says the Koda comes standard with front and rear LED lights. Fenders and a rear rack are available as optional accessories.
What appears to be a power button on top of the battery lights up when pressed, but on our test unit, it didn’t seem to do anything else, as the power did not activate. When pressing the third button on the control pad, the LED display came to life and we were ready to go. It dropped smoothly into low gear from a standstill, and we increased the PAS (Pedal Assist System) to the first of five levels. The torque sensor kicked in at about 5 mph, and it felt quite smooth, not jarring as some can be. The motor emanates a low hum, which increases in pitch the faster you go. With some e-bike motors, the sound they make can be irritating. We found this not to be the case, but rather an enhancement to the experience of power assist.
A well-positioned, easy-to-read, handlebar-mounted LCD display provides the rider with speedometer, five pedal-assist modes, trip-meter readout and battery levels. We believe that for optimal safety while commuting on an e-bike around the city, quick acceleration is essential. With its “swipe” throttle at a thumb’s-length distance from the contoured handle grips, the Koda has this as well covered as any we’ve seen and hits 0 to 20 in just a few seconds.
“You may even forget (for a quick moment) it’s an e-bike you’re riding! ”
WHO IT’S FOR
They named the company “e-Joe” because one of their mottos is “electric bikes for the average joe.” The Koda drops right in the slot with its easy mounting, informative LED readout, good looks and versatility. Forty to fifty miles on a single charge makes it a top option for commuters and not a bad choice for touring. It’s also good for beginners who want a little more than your basic beginner e-bike.
We tested this bike mainly on city streets. The 700c x 1.75-inch Kenda Road tires are responsive at recommended pressure, provide solid handling on the pavement and enough volume to allow some damping of the bumps in the road you’ll inevitably run over. A prudent, functional feature that gives you greater control over the bike is the motor inhibitor’s power cutoff integrated into the braking system and is activated by a light pull on the brake levers. That is, when you put pressure on the brake levers, power is cut to the motor. This makes it much quicker and easier to control speed or come to a full stop.
Battery placement is extremely well thought out—mounted on the downtube, which provides stability and balance with the rear hub motor and cassette. With the weight low and centered, the Koda is very maneuverable, making it easy to cut around potential obstacles or turn sharply if you find it necessary. It also enhances the Koda’s already sleek, clean appearance, as the battery blends almost seamlessly with the top tube.
In lower gears using maximum power assist, the Koda climbs a really steep street fairly easily. This is not to say you won’t have to use some pedal exertion (you will), but you won’t be killing yourself. For going with the flow of traffic in a dedicated bike lane, we found that at level four in sixth or seventh gear the Koda ratchets up to 17 mph where it likes to stay. At that pace, with the motor humming and a light push on the throttle for some extra torque, you may even forget (for a quick moment) it’s an e-bike you’re riding!
Over flat roads, unlocking the suspension didn’t do much on a basic ride. When taking it over rougher terrain, with it locked and at maximum tire pressure, it was quite bumpy. Unlock the suspension, ease down the tire pressure and the Koda gave a ride that was more than tolerable.
The bike offers solid performance, a well-crafted build and good components backed by a company who truly endeavors for quality; the latest Koda improves on its legacy of having won an award for Electric Bike of the Year in 2015. E-Joe provides a one-year limited warranty on components and battery, in addition to a limited 30-day full-replacement warranty.
In another language, Koda means “that which is quiet, systematic and of a technical nature with attention to detail.” In our opinion, this e-bike certainly lives up to its name.
Battery: 48V 11.6Ah
Charge time: 4 -6 hours
Top speed: 20 mph
Range: Up to 50 miles
Drive: Shimano Acera
Brakes: Tektro mechanical disc
Frame: 6061 aluminum
Tires: Kenda, 700c x 1.75”
Weight: 52 lb.
Color choices: Titanium Gray, Pearl White
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