Editor’s Note: This feature is presented by our partners at GT Bikes.
I’m a big fan of responsible cheating. Whether it’s an oversized shortboard or a downhill skateboard run with a friend waiting at the bottom to drive me back up, if there’s a way to reduce my level of effort while having the same amount of fun, I am there. So when GT Bikes approached me to see if I’d like to test out their new Power Performer E-Bike, I jumped at the opportunity. Previously, I hadn’t had a ton of experience with e-bikes. I was, in fact, one of those people who would give an e-biker the side-eye, with thoughts like: “you cheater,” or “you call that exercise?”
However, I’ve recently seen the light. Yes, it is kinda cheating, just like any other life-improving technology, and no it’s not really exercise unless you’re tackling the steepest of hills. But that’s the entire point of an e-bike – go farther than you can on a regular bike with less effort. And the possibilities that opens up are pretty incredible. Speeding along without breaking a sweat is sure to put a smile on your face, a fact that pairs well with the brand ethos of GT Bikes, long a staple in the mountain biking world. GT (short for Good Times, by the way) has been committed to “sharing the stoke on two wheels” since 1972, and what better way to get stoked on two wheels than the effortless ride of an e-bike?
So long to the dorky, utility inspired frames of e-bikes past. This one’s a head turner, and despite my initial misgivings and perhaps even (gasp) embarrassment at riding an e-bike, I felt like the king of the hill coasting through town on this steed. I’m a big fan of the sturdy, BMX-style frame, and the wide handlebars just feel so good. The 2.5-inch Smoothie tires, while not exactly achieving fatbike status, are plenty wide enough to whip and skid around on the beach during low tide.
During the early lockdown stages of the pandemic, I was living with my parents in a small beach town in Northern California while finishing up my senior year of college. Under lockdown we weren’t supposed to drive to the beach, which presented a bit of a problem, as my parents live on a ghastly hill that is fun to ride down, but no fun to bike up. I still made it happen, but the hill became a major deterrent to me going surfing unless the waves were really worth it. I saw this as the ultimate product test opportunity – if this bike could make the journey to and from the waves as easy as driving, then it’d be a winner in my book.
The second I picked up my Power Performer, I went straight to the beach to see how the e-bike would handle that familiar nemesis, the hill. I kitted the bike out with a surfboard rack from Ho Stevie!, which easily mounted to the seat post. Wetsuit and surfboard loaded, I whipped down to the beach, my speed cranking up into the 20s at the highest gear and with full-powered pedal-assist activated. After a couple hours of surfing, I wasn’t looking forward to the hill on the way back, but the Power Performer was ready. I downshifted into granny gear, let the pedal assist do its thing, and before I knew it, I was coasting into the driveway without even breaking a sweat. In other words, it passed this product test with flying colors.
Over the course of the next few weeks I got plenty of use out of the Power Performer in the good name of product testing. I tried it out with my longboard trailer to haul my 9’8″ down and back with surprising ease, and even took it to San Francisco to see how well it did on the city’s famous hills – needless to say, it crushed. Leg burners? All smiles. The throttle was a massive win, helping me get started from a full stop without a single pedal – perfect for the stop and go of city streets. The removable and lockable battery meant I didn’t have to carry the entire bike up to my apartment to charge, and could lock the entire bike up outside of stores instead of having to take the battery with me, both huge wins. It can also charge your phone via a small usb-port on the side, perfect for day-long outings. And with a 50 mile range (under ideal conditions) the powerful 418Wh battery could often go for days of light use on a single charge.
Overall, I was stoked on the style and performance cooked into GT’s Power Performer. If you, like me, are thinking about taking the e-bike dive but aren’t inspired by the style of other options out there, this one’s worth a second look. With two striking colorways and a whole lotta zest under the hood, the Power Performer delivers, big time.