I have found a lot of reasons to embrace Diamondback’s new city-friendly Union 1 ebike this summer, namely that record-breaking heat and months of wildfire smoke have made other forms of cycling less fun. Add to that atmospheric strife an excess of road construction in my city and increased gas prices that have turned running errands by car into an oven-baked nightmare. The saving grace has been the Union 1, an ebike that has brought joy, speed, and style to crosstown forays—especially the ones that have ended at a beach.
Better known for its “acoustic” gravel and mountain bikes, Diamondback is new to the growing ebike niche, but its parent brand, Alta Cycling Group, which also owns IZIP, Raleigh and Haibike, isn’t. Alta’s institutional ebike history means that Diamondback didn’t have to reinvent the wheel (or motor) before debuting four ebike models this year, a mid-priced line of urban warriors that each offer high-performing components, sturdy construction, and subtle class.
The best part about the Union 1 is its smooth, seamless ride. Like most Bosch-powered ebikes, the motor offers four modes: Eco, Tour, Sport, and Turbo. Add the 10 gears on the drivetrain and your options go from near-impossible uphill workouts in Eco mode to effortless pedaling reminiscent of a rocket-ship launch while in Turbo mode.
When riding an ebike, I’m less concerned about exercise and more interested in fun, which means that I tend to keep the bike in Turbo mode as long as the battery has juice. On my latest 12-mile ride, which required a 1,200-foot climb partially on gravel roads after a stop to hop off the bike and jump into Lake Superior to cool off, I was impressed that I burned through only 40 percent of battery even while keeping the bike in Turbo the whole time. On longer rides in the 20- to 30-mile range, I dialed it back to the more conservative Tour or Sport mode, but the battery power rarely dipped to dangerously low levels. The ultraconservative Eco mode is great for those who want a real workout or are riding 35-plus miles on one charge, but I found the force of pedaling the Union 1 in Eco torqued my knees, especially on uphill stretches. For more details on the bike’s cited range in each mode, consult Diamondback’s handy range calculator.
social experiment by Livio Acerbo #greengroundit #wired https://www.wired.com/review/diamondback-union-1-ebike