(Pocket-lint) - The idea of a hybrid bike might seem slightly silly to the devout two-wheelers. For the most part, they take all the effort out of cycling, some replacing the need to pedal altogether. Why ride a bike then? Why not just purchase a scooter?
The main reason is because you don't need a licence. Other than that, in the case of the A2B Hybrid/24, which assists your riding with a gentle burst of electricity, you can get fit at your own pace.
In practice, it works brilliantly. We are used to riding all sorts of full carbon racing bikes, complete with their bone-shaking rides. We also zip about cities on fixed-gear bikes, which make hills a nightmare. On the Hybrid/24, however, we immediately found ourself just gliding. Never did we have to work so hard that we broke a sweat, instead we just cruised along, taking in the scenery and enjoying riding a bike.
For the elderly, unfit or those who fancy commuting in a suit and not getting all sweaty, it's a brilliant idea. The riding position in particular, which is nice and upright, makes handling the thing a doddle and doesn't put any strain on your lower back. We would even say it's only a few steps away from the comfort of a scooter, but minus all the faff of taking a CBT test, insurance and tax.
It's not without its faults, however. The main barrier most will face with the Hybrid/24 is in its weight. At 24.1kg it has a kerb weight so high, lifting it up a set of stairs in a train station or flat will be nigh on impossible. You don't notice the weight when you're riding, but the moment you stop it starts to feel like you're wheeling something seriously hefty about.
The bike speed tops out at 15.5mph, which is plenty for most and perfect for whizzing about in the city. You can adjust how much power assist you get from the battery between three separate levels. Full blast takes all the effort out entirely, the lowest setting is much like riding a normal bike except that hills are a lot more friendly.
The issue we have with the hybrid element is that the power delivery can be a touch jerky. If you have it on level 3, the maximum setting, it takes off fairly rapid which might knock the less-experienced of cyclists off balance.
The motor element is built around a 36v Lithium-Ion battery which grants around 62 miles of range from a 3-hour charge. The rear wheel is powered by a 250w brushless DC hub motor. The bike is also geared with a 9-speed Shimano Alivio system, but shifting isn't really necessary, thanks to the electric unit.
Tektro Auriga hydraulic disc brakes stop the hefty thing as quick as you would want it and the Suntour SF suspension as well as huge 24-inch Kenda Krusader tyres make the ride incredibly smooth.
All in all, it's a great little bike and a good alternative to those considering picking up a scooter. At £1,799, it isn't particularly cheap and you'll find plenty of used scooters cheaper even if you factor in insurance and road tax. But if you fancy getting fit at your own pace, dialling back the electric assist the Hybrid/24 offers, then it strikes us as strong bet.