It has been part of the family for three years. It’s cheap and has some flaws. But every day, this electric bike does its job tirelessly. After more than 7,000 kilometers on the handlebars of Nakamura E-City ltd, it was time to write the test.
It’s a hearty one that definitely changed everything. An overflow of overcrowded trains, public transport with sometimes dubious regularity and wasted energy in this urban maelstrom. Two hours in total to cover the 25 km daily, which also weighed heavily on the scales… What if cycling was the solution? Except that between the office, located in the heart of Paris, and the house there are some solid odds and that you also have to carry beautiful loads in the form of growing children…
An electric bike then? Relevant choice, except in terms of pricing: hard to get used to the idea that even an electrified bike can cost the price of a small used car. However, this is where a major player came into the picture: Nakamura E-City ltd. And let’s not hide it, it’s above all its price that brought it to light. At the time, at the end of 2019, Intersport cut the price of this city bike with a very simple design. €499 for such a new machine seems more than correct, the reflex is of the quick type: top there my man!
What stands out when riding this bike for the first time is balance and comfort. Why not, this Nakamura is not a featherweight over 21 kg. The risk of having to operate an anvil is therefore very real. But thanks to its battery fixed in the center of the frame, the weight is well distributed and is almost forgotten.
Maneuverability thus remains very close to that of a classic bike, even at low speed. The saddle is wide and padded enough to allow for substantial travel without pain in the buttocks. The very upright riding position contributes to this comfort, as does the frame cutout, ideal for limited flexibility.
When starting the engine for the first time, nothing happens… Control screen does not light up. Then floats like a big doubt about the very recent purchase. However, the battery is fully charged, as evidenced by the built-in indicator – very small.
After a few minutes of floating, a cable splice under the crank, poorly engaged during delivery, put an end to the increase in cold sweats. This is also the only time this connection issue will arise at more than 7,000 km. Even in heavy rain, freezing or scorching temperatures, the control screen remains readable and shows no signs of fatigue.
a true climber
This electrical block reliability is not too much because it has been used intensively for three years. Almost every day, a 24-30 km journey awaits E-City. Only on city roads, more or less clean-bodied, but casually on a bumpy kind of path. It’s up to an 8% slope on average that you have to climb every night. And running it at a good pace, between 15 and 18 km/h depending on the rider’s state of fatigue, remains a pleasant moment even three years later. The engine delivers a torque of 45 Nm which is more than enough to maintain good speed on climbs, even with a small/medium weight of almost 30 kg at the rear.
It is quite on the plane that the main fault on the propulsion side of this bike is felt. With only 6 sprockets available, it saturates quickly at full speed. No matter how much you push (you happen to be in a hurry, right?), this Nakamura painfully exceeds 28 km/h… On the other hand, in terms of range, this bike’s removable battery almost lives up to its promises. No, the advertised 60 km is not there, mainly because we evolved most of the time with the maximum of engaged help. But even after three years of charging, you can easily go 40 km on a full charge. And it only takes a few hours to regain your capacity for daily action.
At night, your enemy…
The real big flaw of this Nakamura E-City ltd is its lighting… battery operated! Of course for its price, the equipment is of the spartan type, but its two standard lamps are clearly insufficient to see and even be seen. Not very effective in terms of range at the front, they are also more difficult to access to change batteries in the rear.
Why is the device not connected to the battery? Why, at worst, not have opted for a dynamo system that would certainly have been more efficient? A double question that will have its answer in a pair of battery-powered lights purchased online… Beam reflectors and a few splashes of fluorescent yellow will be added to make the vehicle even more visible at night. It’s probably a little too much pimp my ridebut who will complain?
Fortunately it wasn’t at night, but on a morning like so many others that we tested the strength of this bike quite unintentionally. A simple straight line. A pedestrian, another cyclist, mutual disagreements and a swerve that ends up at the bottom at 25 km/h… The knee cost a lot, but not as much as the trunk, one of the pillars was cut.
However, in addition to this now good-for-breaking appendage, Nakamura had his first big fall. A few scuffs on the front, but neither the frame, nor the handlebars, nor even the electric unit scorched in this solid maneuver. The opportunity to realize that the aforementioned luggage rack was a little weak and deserved a more robust structure. We will replace it with the one visible in the images, capable of supporting an even greater weight. pimp my ride volume 2.
Dott e-bike test: freedom without comfort
Rear tire annoyance
This Nakamura hides a “detail” that is not one: the presence of the engine in the rear hub. And this particularity only stands out in the case of… a puncture. As you may be a light handyman, venturing out to disassemble the rear wheel of an e-bike is not as easy as it is on a classic bike. The fear of breaking the motor, of accidentally cutting a crucial cable, of causing damage in the broadest sense, takes precedence.
Calling a proximity professional was adequate for this normally so easy operation. Except the corner store didn’t operate hub bikes (sigh…).
He is an itinerant repairman who will be present and will take the opportunity to do the general overhaul of the machine, which at the moment has exceeded 3000km. One hundred euros later and the beast came out with two new tires (it was about time given its condition) and a complete overhaul.
Since we’re talking about screws and wrenches 13, let’s focus on another particularity of this Nakamura E-City ltda: its brakes. Yes, they are classic pads that soothe the daily ardor of this electric bike. And more than bluntly: we quickly understand why disc brakes equip most of these machines!
Specifically, it is necessary to change the pads every three or four months, otherwise the braking distances will increase dangerously. That said, v-brake type brake pads cost less than €3 a pair at a sports shop.
The braking budget for this bike is therefore around €20 per year, to which should be added a few minutes of work with the option of oil-filled fingers, which is still very reasonable.
You would have to be very picky not to see this Nakamura e-city ltd as an ideally positioned cost-effective electric bike. Of course, its construction requires the occasional wrench to tighten the screws (on the bracket in particular) or change the brake pads. But its overall reliability, the correct power of its engine and its overall comfort make it an almost ideal companion for the next 7,000 kilometers.
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