I recently got the opportunity to spend a few days with a Jetson Adventure Electric Bike, and let me tell you this: I briefly considered perpetrating some sort of convoluted scheme wherein I would not have to return the bike to the good people of Jetson who lent it to me. Once you have ridden a power-assisted bicycle, a regular bike seems like a cupcake with no frosting.* But I’ve always avoided fraud when possible, so instead I simply rode the hell out of this thing while I could.
First a few words on the Jetson brand: this brand new company is dedicated to providing “the most extensive line of personal mobility products for all ages that are environmentally-friendly, convenient and affordable.” I know that, because it says so on their website. The company will be offering electric bikes, scooters, hover boards, trikes, skateboards, and more. And you read that right, I said “will be” because at the time of this writing, Jetson’s store has not even officially launched yet.
Riding the Adventure is like, well, riding a bicycle. The bike has a 250-watt motor with power supplied by a 36-volt Lithium-ion battery that provides ample power to the 27.5-inch wheels. But it’s not an electrically powered vehicle, per say; rather the power only kicks on when you are actively pedaling (and stops as soon as you cease pushing on the pedals). The bike assists your efforts, rather than propelling you along by itself. That makes the ride experience quite comfortable quite quickly; you might suck in one quick breath the first time you feel the bike begin to add power, but after that, operating the Jetson Adventure is natural and, of course, easy. (And this is coming from a guy who almost crashed a moped into the side of a parked van within about thirty seconds of starting the motor, by the way.)
I rode this thing up hills that normally take the fight out of me on my regular mountain bike and didn’t hear a single complaint from my quads. I zoomed along on major roads and never broke a sweat as I paced the traffic. And I had completed a 3.2-mile loop around town (my standard jogging route, so I know the 4-1-1) before I knew it.
Beyond the obvious attribute of the whole electric motor that helps you bike with minimal effort, the Jetson Adventure Electric Bike has a few other features that deserve mention. The bike has a built-in headlight and tail-lamp, which are great for safety. It can support riders weighing up to 300 pounds, which is an impressive capacity. And it even has a bell; yes, a good old manual bell that goes kind of like “ding-ing” when you ring it.
However, there are a few things I have to criticize about the Jetson Adventure bike. My primary complaint is that the bicycle has a top assisted speed of 20 miles per hour. At first, I didn’t realize the thing had a pre-determined top speed, and I was rather confused why I couldn’t get it to go much faster than 32 KPH (the screen was set to kilometers, and being a progressive sort, I dealt with that calmly). Later, after re-reading the specs, I noticed the maximum speed to which the motor will assist the rider. Oh well, you can always just pedal harder or find a downhill grade. Or both.
Also of note is the weight of this bike. At 42 pounds, it’s heavier than almost any other bicycle you are likely to mount these days. When the motor is working, of course it feels as light as the finest carbon fiber road bike. But were the battery to run out of power when you were still far afield, you would have one heavy bike on your hands. Of course, the Jetson Adventure was designed primarily for crosstown urban travel anyway, so power outlets are likely to be readily available whenever needed.
One more note: given the retail price of around $1,700, you might want to store the Jetson Adventure inside, not chained to a stop sign on a street corner.
* In the spirit of full disclosure, I love cupcakes without frosting. Maybe even more than frosted cupcakes, in fact. I was making a point, not a statement, see?