I have to admit to having once been one of those cyclists. For the longest time, I just assumed electric bikes were for people who sat there, never pedalling, perhaps because I’d only really noticed them being used by the myriad delivery bike riders in the city who use them more as motorbikes that you can get away with riding on the footpath. But the Lekker Jordaan+ is nothing like that. It’s a commuter bike with lots of storage racks so you can carry your shopping and go to and from work without breaking a sweat while still getting a little exercise.
I took the Jordaan+ on a couple of rides, the longest being 21km, and it was utterly delightful for the most part. It’s designed so you sit nice and upright, so you don’t get a sore back from leaning forwards, the seat is nice and soft (so I didn’t really feel the journey until I was almost home), and the handlebars feel luxurious and soft. I mostly ride hybrid and mountain bikes, so I’m used to contorting my spine into more aerodynamic positions and liquifying my organs on bumpy trails with budget suspension.
This was like going from an old Toyota Camry to a vintage Ferrari California, with leather accents and a vehicle designed to be comfortable and effortlessly cool. It’s the kind of bike I would want to show people who want to ditch their car for their commute, but don’t want to get to work sweaty, or are concerned about their fitness level.
Pedal (Assist) Power
There are 7 different levels you can set on the motor:
Walk assist: for when you’re walking the bike
0: for when you want to pedal with no assistance
1: a gentle assistance that gives a slight 5kmph boost while you pedal. It doesn’t just push you forward while you don’t do anything, but will give you a slight extra oomph to get up a ramp in a car park, or up a little hill, more to make up for the weight of the bike than anything else.
2: Like 1, but a bit more.
3: You still need to pedal, but it’s more like you’re spinning your legs and still going at a decent pace. Also good for more intense hills.
4: Like 3, but faster.
5: Pedalling is optional, will go around 18-20kmph on the flat.
While there haven’t really been many times I wanted pedal assist on my Trek FX3, aside from when I’ve overly filled my panniers going to Costco and then ridden back up the massive hill on my way home, I needed it more on the Jordaan+. The motor and the battery are heavy, meaning you need to use them to be able to get the bike to move quickly, particularly when starting up again at traffic lights. Once you adjust to how you change the level of the motor, it becomes just as natural as changing gears. The first time I rode the bike it felt unnaturally fast, even on level 1, and like I wasn’t in control, but that feeling went away quickly as I adjusted.
The battery lasts around 70-80kms, which should be more than enough to get most people to and from work, and it’s easy to take inside and charge if you do need to give it some juice while you’re at your desk/at home.
Nothing Is Perfect
Like all things, the Lekker Jordaan+ is not perfect. The aspect of the bike that irritated me the most is also perhaps the least important: the truly terrible bell that comes with the bike. I hated this bell. Not only did it sound pathetic, but the top part of the bell (the bell part) fell off almost every time I used it. It was so shoddily and cheaply constructed that I’m shocked anyone thought it appropriate to attach to a bike this expensive. I don’t expect a bike to come with a premium bell, but I do expect one better than this.
The pedals are another thing that many cyclists replace when they get a new bike, but I still wanted better than the Jordaan+ pedals. They’re fine and seem well constructed, but they’re so slippery that I would hate to use them in even the lightest drizzle or in a slippery business shoe. I would immediately want to replace them with a more textured pedal.
It’s also just an extremely heavy bike, which is normal for an electric bike, but it’s important to keep in mind that the heft can make it difficult to store. Most people probably wouldn’t feel comfortable frequently carrying it up and down stairs, and it’s too heavy to be lifted onto the rack bike storage systems they have in apartment buildings. It’s also a complete arse to manoeuvre down hallways if you have to store it in an apartment or office.
Who is the Lekker Jordaan+ for?
It’s the perfect bike if you want a commuting and shopping workhorse that still gives you a bit of exercise, but won’t get you too sweaty on your way to work. Riding it to and from work, the supermarket and anywhere else you need to go is so easy. It’s the ideal solution for people who want to reduce how much time they spend in a car, sitting in traffic, but don’t necessarily consider riding 30kms+ up and down hills to be a fun weekend activity.
Because there are solid and sturdy racks built into the front and back of the bike, it really opens up the options of what you can carry, which makes it more of an everyday bike.
Would I buy it?
I think if my budget had been able to stretch that far, this would have been the bike I would have chosen back when I was riding to and from an office. I’m perhaps a touch too competitive and into riding for fitness now to give up my hybrid bike. But if I had a kid I needed to ride to and from kindy and take to the shops, then this would be the bike I’d get with a baby seat. It’s so comfortable and easy to use.
Lekker Jordaan+ ebike
A great electric bike with an adorable aesthetic and plenty of practical features to make it ready for almost all your commuting and shopping needs.
Value for money
Ease of use
Easy to use
Lots of racks to carry stuff
The worst bell I have ever had the misfortune to encounter