EM E22C Ebike from EMG: stripped sown to the essentials

Occasionally, one gets the feeling that the development of new ebikes is hardly about anything less than a carbon frame, lots of “smart” electronics and connecting the bike to one’s own social media profiles. Yet far from it. They still exist, the almost spartan, somehow pleasantly calm novelties on the market. The latest example is an ebike with a steel frame.

Anything but mainstream

The name of the bike alone already says it all: EM E22C. No meta-level. No creative alphabet puzzle of bicycle vocabulary and hip zeitgeist. No unmotivated playing around with special characters or the shift key. Instead, a combination of letters and numbers that neither reveals anything about the actual product nor sticks easily in the memory.

The originator of the name is the company EMG Elektromobile from Steinhagen in Westphalia. There, at the gates of Bielefeld, primarily four-wheeled electric vehicles have been produced so far for people who cannot cover longer distances on foot. Consequently, the target group tends to be older people and people with physical limitations. With the EM E22C, the manufacturer is thus breaking new ground.

EM E22C e-cargo bike from EMG Elektromobile

Reminiscence of earlier decades

Of course, it is not doing without a clou, but even with a leitmotif: “Classic and elegant industrial design meets e-mobility technology in 2022”. In practice, this means: A steel frame reminiscent of a Dutch bicycle gets a retrofit kit with electric drive from Pendix as an add-on. Yes, sophisticated design on a 3D programme including 187 iterations is something else. Nevertheless, it works. And it is also faster ready to ride.

Like with many other bicycles, you have to like the look, of course. If you have a soft spot for the aesthetics of the early days of cycling and like curved lines in combination with the slender diameters of a classic steel frame, you will definitely get your money’s worth. Comfort is writ large. This is evidenced by the wide handlebars, which are pulled far back, and the strong padding of the saddle. Basically, everything has already been said and written about the strength of steel as a material for bicycle frames. Nevertheless, the frame of the EM E22C is additionally reinforced in some places.

Slightly oversized?

Various massive mounts accommodate an extremely spacious front carrier. You can pack up to 50 kilograms on it. Due to the traditionally small 20-inch front wheel, the cargo’s centre of gravity is relatively low. This gives you better control when steering with a fully packed carrier. At the same time, the goods do not have to be weighed as high when loading.

The rear carrier takes less luggage. However, it is only approved for a maximum load of 25 kilograms. In practice, you will probably never use both to the full. At least not at the same time. The cargo bike is only approved for a total weight of 140 kilograms. In an extreme case, this would mean a total weight of 75 kilograms. Added to this are the 31 kilograms of the bike itself. That leaves 34 kilograms for you to weigh on the scales. That’s fine as long as you are about eight or nine years old and have to cycle around with a load of 75 kilograms.

In terms of surface area, the rear carrier of the EM E22C is similar to many others. However, you can transport loads with a maximum weight of 25 kilograms on it.

E-drive retrofitted

Even with less cargo to transport, the eDrive 500 system from Pendix proves to be a welcome relief. Similar to the rest of the bike, the drive fits the concept quite well. There is a choice of three support levels: Eco, Smart and Sport. With a maximum assistance of 200 percent of your own pedalling power, even the Sport mode will not make you a high-flyer. Together with the 65 Newton metres of torque, this will probably be enough for many, especially on flatter terrain.

From the built-in ePower 500 battery with its 497 watt hours, you can expect a range of 62 to 120 kilometres in Eco mode. For the latter value, however, you need ideal conditions with regard to the weather, the bike and the route. The support levels can be set on the rotary wheel on top of the battery. The LED on top of the battery shows you how much energy is left via different colours.

The rotary wheel surrounding the on/off switch is used to select the assistance levels.
With the help of the corresponding charger, the ePower 500 is fully charged within about three hours.

Surprisingly versatile

If at the beginning you were wrongly under the impression that EMG ignores the current usage habits of an ebike, this is by no means the case. For example, riding with a common ebike app on the EM E22C is possible without any problems. Using a Bluetooth interface on the battery, you can access the free Pendix.bike.Pro app. In addition to the usual information on speed, distance, remaining range, etc., it also offers navigation functions. The battery has another little surprise in store. It has a USB-C interface as standard. Charging your smartphone while driving – no problem. As long as the battery has energy, it acts like a power bank away from the ebike. This means you can also use it to power other devices for a certain period of time.

Question marks regarding brakes and gears

The Pendix drivetrain illustrates well the conceptual approach of this e-bike: simple, proven technology meets reliable components, resulting in an overall rideable result that is quick to obtain and not too hard on the wallet. Unsurprisingly, this approach comes with a few limitations. This is particularly evident with the brakes. A drum brake is fitted at the front. In terms of a cargo bike, this is basically a no-go. This type of brake is generally not considered to be robust enough to cope with the forces of a heavy cargo and an electric motor in the long term. Not to mention longer descents with this constellation. The second brake, with a coaster brake, is also not necessarily the means of choice. At this point, the EM E22C seems as if it has not grown from its point of departure to meet the demands of an electric cargo bike.

The hub gears also raise some doubts. For example, there are only three Shimano hub gears that can cope with the stresses of an e-drive and those of a cargo bike. These are officially the Nexus Inter-5E gear hub and unofficially the Alfine gear hubs with eight or eleven gears. However, EMG does not specify exactly which hub is installed. It only mentions that it has seven gears. In any case, it is not an equivalent from the world market leader Shimano.

Want to test it?

If you’re still curious, you can check it out for yourself. Basically, EMG has developed the EM E22C for businesses and specialist dealers. However, private customers can inspect and test ride the electric cargo bike in the sales shop in Steinhagen. According to the manufacturer, it will be on the market at the beginning of 2022.


Pictures: EMG Elektromobile GmbH & Co. KG

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