Hero Lectro F2i review: Premium electric cycle for adventure riders
E-Mobility is picking up pace in the Indian market, and it not only includes battery-powered cars, bikes, or rickshaws but cycles too. Only recently, Hero Lectro, the E-Cycles brand of Hero Cycles announced the launch of the new F2i e-cycle in India which comes out as the country's first connected e-MTB primarily aimed at adventure cycle riders. And I also got a chance to swing my leg over the new e-bike to see if it is really worthy of its nearly ₹40,000 price tag.
On the outside, the F2i packs quirky looks. There is a flat, straight handlebar up front with quality rubberised grips on the tips. Over the right, the grip also features a throttle assist just like a regular scooter or a motorbike and i'll be honest it does look a bit fancy for a bicycle. The lower side of the alloy frame that connects the front handlebar to the paddle assembly and features ‘Hero Lectro’ branding packs a Li-Ion 36 V, 6.4Ah battery that juices up the rear hub-mounted BLDC 36V/250W motor.
The F2i is made available in two colour options - Blue and Yellow. Wherein the base of the model is in all-black and there are different colour highlights depending upon the option you use. Both the models look equally pleasing to look but its more to the F2i than just the exterior looks.
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The test model arrived in a typical big TV-sized box, just like when you order something from Amazon or elsewhere and along with it came the assembly executive that took roughly 30 minutes to get the cycle up and rolling. With a few nuts and bolts here and there, the bike was ready to hit the road. The company primarily targets adventure bicyclists with the F2i range. But that's not it, the bicycle has everything that a regular biker like you and I would want in a bicycle that can easily be ridden on a regular basis.
Soon after stepping on the model, it was easy to see that the F2i has quite a sturdy ride quality. The use of slightly fatter tyres helps in making the ride feel balanced and the meaty tread pattern has been designed to tackle the dirt.
Near the right side grip, there is a button to switch between the gears. It gets a 7-speed Drive Train from Shimano that works flawlessly despite how and when you try to switch the gears (high or low). While I admit not to have ridden the bike long enough to really see how the transmission reacts to different terrain or weather conditions, on a regular dry city riding, it made no fuss and gearing up or down was slick.
Now the key highlight of the F2i is its motor that has been mounted onto the rear wheel. Using the accelerator grip on the bar, the bicycle is given a torq assist instantly, something quite similar to an electric vehicle. Over the left side of handlebar, there is a small unit that displays the power modes and an RFID key switch that is used to turn the motor operations on and off. This unit also features a light switch as well as displays the overall charge left in the battery. The right side of the bar features the accelerator grip as well as a switch to the Shimano 7-speed transmission. In addition, there is also a button for turning the motor off or on, just like the ignition switch found on regular ICE two-wheelers.
The bike rolls on massive 27.5-inch spoke wheels and also gets disc brakes at both ends. The wheels come shod with fatter tyres that allow the cycle to be used on the roads less taken. While these tyres do make the rider use more force on regular roads due to their larger size/more traction, they also fully complement the adventure bike riding in case you want to hit the dirt. Apart from the wheels, its tough MTB Geometry 6061 alloy frame also aids in providing a balanced ride even when the cycle is being pushed hard. Most importantly, the adjustable front telescopic forks with 100 mm travel give more leverage, especially when following dirt trails. These forks are preload adjustable which gives them an edge over the non-adjustable setup found in the rival brands.
The overall quality of the F2i left me impressed because the company has clearly aimed for a premium product with the F2i and also managed to achieve it. Bits like hand grips, paint finishes, high-spec transmission, IP67 protection on the battery only add to the sense of confidence in the product.
The Final Words: The Hero Lectro F2i is built for adventure riders that want to cycle to the edge of the map. And more interestingly, the use of electric technology on the F2i also makes it a fantastic buy even for beginner cyclists that are yet to explore their pedal potential. The motor assist on the cycle is the key USP that truly makes it a worthy buy, but the slightly steeper price tag of ₹39,999 is what makes it out of reach for many potential customers that seek to ride the EV wave.