Moose Reviews: Raleigh Array Electric Bike
Raleigh is one of the best-known cycling brands in the UK, with a range of bikes that put Nottingham on the map and got plenty of us interested in two-wheelers.
Their Array model is an entry-level e-bike and classed as a 'hybrid', so it can be ridden as easily on roads and gravel paths.There are three different frame types to choose between: open frame (step-through), a low step and a crossbar.
Each type has a choice of three sizes: 40cm, 45cm and 50cm. That's roughly 16, 18 and 20 inches.
The Raleigh Array is undoubtedly a bold attempt at producing a fun and funky e-Bike with a quirky touch of style that makes it stand out. And, even if you're not smitten by the two-tone paintwork, tan saddle, matching tan tyres and handlebar grips, the Raleigh Array packs in enough quality components to make it a best-selling e-Bike.
Additional accessories included with the Array are: front and rear light, mudguards and a rear luggage carrier. While the bike is hindered by its weight, it's a perfectly reasonable two-wheeler that is more than suitable for casual cyclists.
There are 5 modes of power a Suntour Canbus E25 rear-wheel motor, a 7-speed Suntour/Shimano gearing setup, and Tektro brakes that provide plenty of stopping power.
Design & Specification
The design of the Raleigh Array e-bike is a traditional European look, with a conventional frame setup simular to the Pure Free City & Free Step. It's jazzed up, by a combination of a silver and blue colour scheme. Raleigh has added to the design with tan-coloured handlebar grips, a tan-coloured comfy saddle, and matching it all up with simular coloured tyres.
READ NEXT: Pure Free City & Step Review
The Array weighs 23kg, so lifting it is a chore – and manhandling it up and down flights of stairs was even harder. The bike's weight means that if the battery runs out and you end up having to ride without the motor, it can give you quite a workout. If you are a commuter living in the city and do not have access to a garage – or need to use stairs for your journeys – then be warned that this is not the most transportable e-bike out there. You would want to avoid hauling it over a stile in the countryside or even as somebody who lives in a second-story flat (and stands at 5'1″).
The forks are sprung, which adds a bit of cushioning when you're travelling and helps deliver a generally reliable ride quality along with the chunky tyres. Hit a bump or pothole, and you'll still feel it, especially at the rear with the hub motor and no suspension at the back, producing the odd jolt.
Overall, the Raleigh Array is comfy and perfect for longer runs when needed. The included pannier rack at the back also makes it more than suitable for loading up with enough bits and bobs for a long day out.
The Array is fitted with mechanical Tektro MD-M280 front and rear disc brakes. While not hydraulic, these cable-operated discs are still responsive and work well. The chain is partially covered by a plastic guard, which helps to keep your clothes clean. This e-bike looks stylish and, perhaps, more expensive than it actually is. At the same time, the laid-back styling doesn't shout 'look at me' too much, despite those tan flourishes.
While it might not look like much of a performer, with a design that suggests you'll enjoy a sedate journey with little in the way of surprises, the Raleigh Array is a definite revelation when you start cycling.
Raleigh claims its potential range to be up to 60 miles. Based on our experiences with the Array, this is easily possible. The battery is detachable (you'll need to use the supplied keys). It can be charged either whilst attached to the bike or separately. On average, this takes around five hours to charge from full to flat, with the blue lights indicating the charge level.
Pressing the On/Off button on the battery and the same on the Suntour handlebar-mounted display indicated whether the bike is switched on. This was more straightforward after dark when it was easier to see if the power lights were activated on the battery pack.
Nevertheless, the Raleigh Array is sprightly when you move off for the first time. It's easy to move up and down through the 7 gears using the levers on the right-hand side of the handlebars, which are supplemented by a small gear indicator next to the grip.
Meanwhile, the Suntour OLED display on the left-hand side allows you to choose from a good selection of power options, four in all: Eco, Tour, Sport, and Turbo, with up to 400 watts of peak power. It's best to start pedalling before choosing your option. Still, you can also turn on a walk assist mode by holding down the top button on display, should you need to wheel your bike to your final location. You can also ride without any power assistance. The screen was difficult to read under direct sunlight. It would make it easier to use if it were slightly larger or brighter.
The wider tyres make the Raleigh Array easy to navigate on less-than-great surfaces, including dark, gravel-covered lanes and uneven terrains. An initial run of a few miles, out in the daylight and back in the dark, revealed the e-bike to be impressive, especially on the hills when you need an extra spurt of power from the battery pack.
Returning home in the dark also allowed us to experience the built-in lights. Both front and rear versions provide more than enough illumination, even when we took a shortcut through the fields.
Meanwhile, the bike rolls along downhill nicely, with momentum helped by the bike's overall weight. There are different motors which can be mounted on an electric bike including a rear hub which powers the Array. Being a rear hub-powered bike means you really feel the power getting behind you on steeper inclines.
READ NEXT: How Do Electric Bikes Work?
There's a lot to love about the Raleigh Array e-bike. It has a premium design, smooth performance, and excellent battery life. It comes in various sizes and frame combinations to suit different heights and types of riders.
That said, this is a heavy bike. Plus, the screen proved annoying when the bike is low on battery, and it lacks some built-in security features that would help give you peace of mind if you're locking it up.
If you can look past these flaws, then the Raleigh Array e-bike is still a great electric option whether you're based in the city or the countryside.