Boring, reliable products often get boring, reliable reviews. It’s hard to rate gear that works well in every measurable way but doesn’t push the boundaries. But given enough time, bog-standard objects can turn into urban legends. Vintage Honda civics or old Schwinns are ogled by impressed onlookers—many of the same people who wouldn’t have been caught dead buying them when they were new—for their sheer durability.
The Batch E-Bike falls into this category. It’s a boring blue-gray electric bike that won’t go over 18 miles per hour without real huffing, with a stale battery-on-frame design. The thing I liked most initially was the built-in fenders and pannier rack. And yet, after months of sitting next to overpowered ebikes, superlight ebikes, and my own mid-drive mountain bike, this $2,200 Bosch-driven Batch is the only one that hasn’t given me a lick of trouble. Save plugging it to charge and occasionally checking tire pressure, it’s just been there, waiting for me to ride it, in perfect working order.
It doesn’t go fast as lightning, and you can’t lift it with a single hand unless you’ve really been hitting the gym, but I’ve come to love this ebike more than most I’ve tried. It’s a reliable daily commuter that won’t let you down. In a decade, you’ll probably be quoting your total mileage with pride, like your buddy with the ratty old Corolla.
Bosch is the Rolls Royce of ebike motor and battery manufacturers. Its motors are super quiet, very durable, and are used by most high-end bike companies. The downside? Bikes with Bosch components usually cost significantly more—except for this Batch.
To fund the nicer motor and battery, Batch has stuck with a relatively drab battery-on-frame design. You don’t get a fancy color display or suspension seat post, and there are no integrated lights. Instead, the most important parts are high-caliber: You get a set of Shimano gears and a hydraulic disc brake system from Tektro, as well as a 6061 aluminum alloy welded frame that weighs a manageable 50-ish pounds. The 400 watt-hour Bosch battery is a standard, bolt-on size, which will make maintenance cheaper and easier too.
As far as I’m concerned, these are all the right choices. Fancy unibody designs, built-in lights, and slick paint jobs? Yeah, they’re cool but not as important to the riding experience as the working components. The Batch does come with built-in pannier racks and fenders, which are really nice to have on any bike. It makes strapping on a grocery bag a hassle-free affair, and you’ll feel comfortable going anywhere regardless of the weather.
The thing about Bosch motors is that you often don’t realize how much heavy lifting they’re doing when you’re riding a bike with one. When I first hopped on the Batch, I was convinced the motor wasn’t running at its full power, but I quickly learned how wrong I was as soon as I turned down the power level. It’s just that smooth of a ride.
Speed isn’t what this bike is all about, anyway. It’s a relatively heavy bike, and I’m a relatively heavy 6-foot man, but I was able to hit 19 miles an hour on the flats (of the 20 mph limit advertised). Most of the time, I was cruising in the low teens. This isn’t a bike you’re gonna rip past spandex-loving cyclists on, but it sure makes long rides easier.
The big, fat Kenda tires make small imperfections in the road essentially unnoticeable and turning under load an absolute breeze. Comfort and stability are amazing, even when I’m carrying a box of sparkling water home from the store in the pannier.
You can get up to 80 miles on a charge if you baby the thing, but expect about 30 to 40 miles if you want to use the bike at full power. It does very well in flat and moderately hilly terrain, but you will want a more powerful motor if you’re planning to tackle massive hills. Sorry, Bay Area riders.
Boring Is Beautiful
The Batch feels more suited to the pre-COVID world when you’d probably be riding the thing a long distance to and from an office. For now, it’ll manage trips to the grocery store perfectly fine. But this certainly isn’t the ebike for fun romps around town on the weekends—you might want to look at more affordable options from Propella or Rad Bikes. They pack similar power, but I think the Batch will hold up significantly better thanks to its higher-quality components and will be easier to keep in tip-top working order.
The biggest downside is the lack of integrated lights, but you can easily solve that with some very nice rechargeable ones.
It’s not the sexiest sales pitch, but what the Batch E-Bike lacks in looks it makes up for in durability and build quality. It will last you many years to come. Someday, you might be as fond of it as your old Totoya Camry.
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