Photograph: Will Matsuda

The frame was also thick enough that I knocked my knees on it while pedaling. There’s a reason why a motorcycle has a thick frame and a bike has a slim one—with a motorcycle, you don’t need to pedal. This would seem to indicate that the pedals on the Tyson are mostly just for show. However, when you exclusively use the throttle, I get barely 15 miles out of the battery (it’s worth noting here that at 115 pounds, I myself am not that big of a person). The range increased dramatically whenever I pedaled, but was still a far cry from the Tyson’s advertised 55-mile range.

I also noticed a bit of delay when the bike offered assistance. With more expensive Bosch, Specialized, and Shimano drive systems, the assist feels pretty seamless. With the Tyson, it was more herky-jerky, which can be disconcerting if you don’t really want to go from zero to 60 on your way home from returning library books.

Still, before I cracked the screen, I found the Tyson had many more features than you might expect from a bike at this price point. Hydraulic front and back suspension, combined with the cushy seat and huge, plushy tires, made for a comfortable ride. The small diameter of the wheels made it maneuverable for crowded sidewalks full of obnoxious preschoolers.

Photograph: Will Matsuda

Photograph: Will Matsuda

The 1200W motor carried me up the steepest hills with ease. I also really liked that the throttle revs you up to only your selected assist level. For example, if you’re on the first assist level, it speeds you up to only 6 miles per hour; the second, 10, and so forth. That reduces the herky-jerkiness a little. The bike also had a number of thoughtful little touches, like auto-on lights—you’d be surprised how often you need these in a rainy place like Oregon. A convenient triangle in the middle of the frame made it easy to lock up (you’d also be surprised by how hard it is to lock up a big ebike).

All in all, I think the Tyson is an affordable way to dip your toes into ebike waters. Making the switch from a car to a bike is a big transition, and biking requires a lot of accessories to make it actually fit into your lifestyle. The Tyson is a good way to see if you like or need things like lights, blinkers, or a rack before you make the switch. After all, a really nice bike doesn’t help you if you never get around to riding it because you never bought lights or a rack. Just be careful and don’t drop it! I’m still waiting for that replacement display to get to me.

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