Having bought a Specialised Como 5 Ebike from Ark Cycles, Brimscombe, Stroud, Gloucestershire, at a cost of £4500, in Feb 2023. It is proving, due to its very expensive batteries very limited endurance, proving to be a major disappointment.
The bike itself being comfortable to ride, it includes such niceties as a radar, which shows dots on the display on the handlebars, indicating what traffic is behind you and automatic gears. It has proved to be useless for the Sunday rides I purchased it for, where accompanied by between 5 to 15 friends, we go off on a day long cycle rides. Stopping along the way to visit cafes and pubs and socialise with other like-minded cyclists along the way.
Taking my first Sunday ride February using the Como 5 Ebike in eco, sports and power modes - as required by the terrain. I ended up having to push the bike home for the last 5 miles, of what would have been a 27-mile ride, after the battery bottomed out.
A battery being the most essential element of any electric bike, instead of its claimed range of 60 miles range in sports mode. The Como 5 has an actual range of around 28 – 32 miles using sports mode on very flat terrain. Using all the modes to suit the terrain, I get 20 – 28 miles. The very hungry Power mode - 7miles
The last 20% of the battery depleting faster than water going down a drain. 5% having been reserved to ensure these batteries don’t go completely flat. The last 20% of the battery vanished in 2 to 3 miles in eco mode.
It being the last 20% of the battery that is the most relied on, especially when coming to the end of a day’s ride. This caught me short on that first Sunday ride. Having run the battery down a number of times since then. The last 20% always reacts the same. Just enough juice left to barely power the lights
Getting it home that day, not being easy, due to the automatic gears not functioning without battery power. The bike remained stuck in one of its lowest gears. Going up inclines like pushing a barrow half full of bricks uphill. Without battery power, the Como 5 proved a tough ride on any terrain other than on the level, or downhill.
It being stated in the bike’s manual, the battery loses its capacity to hold a charge by 1.25% per month, or 15% per year, whether it’s in use or not. A battery with a 30-mile range instead of the claimed 60 it’s supposed to have, will lose its capacity twice as fast. After all, it will need to be charged twice as many times.
So, with its present capacity to hold a charge set to shrink by between 20% and 30% before this year is out. I am most certainly not prepared to pay £1000 to replace one dud with another such dud. ABSOLUTELY NOT – NO - NO - NO. That’s going to leave me with an expensive, very useless Ebike in less than a year.
Stan, the person who suggested I do this review after test riding the bike for 25 miles himself. He has calculated it will cost him considerably less for petrol, tax and insurance using his 250cc motorcycle to travel the 200 miles to and from work each week, than it would cost doing around 100 miles a week using this Ebike.
With most Ebikes in the £4.500 to £5.500 range being capable of around 70 - 90 miles in sports mode. Even a Halfords cheapy with a wheel motor and a battery on the rack, can boast better mileage than this Specialised dud. I know, because the two Halford Ebikes used on that ride back in February, were still going strong when the Como 5 conked out.
Having taken the bike back to the Arc Cycles shop, where I complained about the batteries lack of performance. I was surprised when both the mechanic and sales persons tried convincing me this was probably normal. Due the mechanic stated, to the bike having a radar and automatic gears. Having disabled the radar and the front light, (not the gears) it made little or no impression on the battery’s terrible performance.
The online Specialised Turbo Range Calculator: indicating this bike should have a range of around 60 miles in sports mode on level terrain, for a man of my size (I had reviewed and checked this before I purchased the bike) It is instead is proving to be more like one of those Laptops, which last half the time they are supposed to when powered by battery. Unlike Ebikes however, laptops can still be used while they are charging, and you don’t have to push them miles home when the battery conks out.
The mechanics attitude at Arc Cycles, indicating I should accept the poor milage for this bike as the norm. Striking me as being his usual response to complaints of this kind. It is natural to conclude Specialised bike batteries are in the main - despite being very expensive - very very poor performers.
Coincidentally, concerning batteries, I was visiting a supermarket recently when I met a friend who had just purchased a new bike for himself. This one having a Bosch motor and Bosch batteries. He had, he informed me, already done 45 miles on a full charge, with the display indicating the battery was capable of covering another 45 miles in sports mode.
A replacement Bosch battery for his bike, being capable of 1200 charges (not the very limited 300 charges of the fast-depleting Specialised battery) It costs £750 and is not only much cheaper and much more powerful than its Specialised counterpart. It will also over the next several years, save its owner thousands of pounds by not having to be replaced annually.
I still have an old Kalkhoff bike. (Nine years old now) and while it is proving impossible to get spare parts for it. Despite its age, its battery is still capable of outperforming the two-month-old Como 5 battery.
The Kalkhoff being the bike I must use, if I want to continue the Sunday rides. Just to avoid having to push the Come 5 home for the last 5 to 10 miles. (At 75 it can be quite tiring) I have it seems, been left with a right lemon where the very short-range, very expensive to run, Specialised Como 5 is concerned.
The Como 5 going back to the shop on Tues 25th of April, to fix the back LED light which failed within a month of my purchasing the bike. They will also, I have been informed, check the battery.
The female assistant in the shop having suggested the first time I returned the bike; I should try riding it without the battery if I wanted more mileage. (I would have bought a standard mountain bike if I intended doing that) This completely unhelpful suggestion made me realise what I might be up against when dealing with them.
Rather than spending a fortune over the next ten years, regularly replacing batteries which will undoubtedly end up costing you way more than your Specialised Ebike did – anyone reading this should avoid purchasing a Specialised Ebike.
What do you think would happen if one of the Arc Cycles staff purchased an electric car with a purported range of 200 miles, only to discover after using it a few times it only had a range of 100 miles.
Would they say “That’s ok, that seems normal.”
Of course not, that car would be back to the dealers faster than you can blink.
I am quite sure the same would apply to this Ebike, if one of them had purchased it.