If you’re planning on buying an e-bike to get around a city swiftly and without breaking a sweat, there are two common problems that may make you think twice. The first is that e-bikes are significantly more expensive than regular bikes and the second is that e-bikes are heavy, which makes them unwieldy if you have to take the stairs to get to your front door. And that first point means you’ll certainly want to keep your e-bike inside.
The BMC Alpenchallenge AMP City minimises one of those problems, weighing just under 17kg with the battery attached and 14.2kg without it, all thanks to its carbon frame. This is impressively light for an e-bike – most others I’ve tested tipped the scales at around 24kg. However, that lightweight build comes at a hefty cost – £5,600. That’s an awful lot to spend on any kind of bike and after a few weeks of riding the AMP City I’m struggling to see how it justifies that price.
It’s a great electric bike, there’s no doubt about that. The Shimano Steps 504Wh system delivers a smooth ride and maximises battery life. When fully charged the range shows 183km in eco mode, 128km in normal and 91km in high, which is mightily impressive. With real-world use the numbers do drop a little – after 40km of riding mostly in normal since I most recently charged the bike, I have 100km of range left in eco mode, 70km in normal and 50km in high – but it’s still best in class. Even if you insist on only using the highest level of assist at all times you’ll get through a week of short commutes.
The bike is also light enough to ride reasonably comfortably with the assistance off once you’re up to speed, which is always a bonus if you’re looking to eke out a little extra from the battery. However, I did find it slightly sluggish off the mark in eco mode and I spent a lot more time in the normal and high modes than I have done with other e-bikes. Generally I leave e-bikes in eco, only switching to a mode with more assistance when climbing hills because the lowest setting is usually enough to get me to the 25km/h cut-off point anyway, but with the BMC Alpenchallenge AMP City I had it in normal most of the time.
You can adjust the level of assistance provided by the motor through Shimano’s E-TUBE partner app, but even when I turned on the sportive mode I found the bike a little slow off the mark at traffic lights compared with some I’ve tried. This is probably partly because of the smooth level of assistance delivered by the motor, but a little jolt of speed is no bad thing when you’re trying to get away quickly from a busy London traffic light.
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The bike comes with high-quality built-in lights and I was especially impressed by the front light, which was bright enough to ride through an unlit stretch of my commute at full speed with no fear of coming a cropper.
A small console is positioned on the handlebars by the stem, while the buttons to increase or decrease assistance are placed next to the left-hand grip. The console’s screen is small but clear and easy to read, and it has a button on the bottom that scrolls through the various stats available like distance covered and range left.
The BMC Alpenchallenge AMP City is one of the better e-bikes I’ve tested, but I don’t think the difference between it and a bike that costs under £2,500 is great enough to justify the huge price disparity. Bikes like the Carrera Crossfuse (£1,800) or Raleigh Motus (£1,700) are heavier than the BMC and don’t have quite as long a range, but they’re still smooth to ride and you can roll through several commutes without worrying about battery life. The BMC Alpenchallenge AMP City might be tempting upgrade if it was closer to £3,000, but it doesn’t offer enough to merit its £5,600 price.
Buy from Evans Cycles | £5,600
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