Review: SMCC RUSA Ride to Camp Sinai, Rizal
(by First Bike Ride)
The first time I cycled to San Mateo in Rizal felt like hell. I found myself pushing my bicycle as I went up Sapinit Road, especially on that segment that’s literally beside a cemetery. On my revenge ride, I finally made it without getting off my gravel bike — tired but successful.
And for my third trip, going to Camp Sinai, it was a no sweat ride. Sweet thanks to Sierra Madre Cycle Company’s electric mountain bike Rusa E-Forward.
My first 10 kilometers started off with manual pedaling. I have to admit that I was afraid of getting my battery drained in the middle of the ride so I had to turn the pedal assist mode off to save energy. Using this mountain bike’s 7-speed gear from Sampaloc to Marcos Highway was easy and it proved to me that this e-bike works well even without the electric power.
I decided to use the e-bike’s motor on the first uphill a few meters before SM Cherry to test how it’ll work on a steep slope. And to my surprise, including those who were cycling near me, the electric vehicle effortlessly did its job in helping me climb. While casually pedaling, through the help of its second level pedal assist, I managed to easily overtake others.
Rusa’ E-Forward’s pedal assist motor has five levels and as you increase it, your speed significantly accelerates. As you gain momentum with the e-bike’s help, it’s notable that you don’t need to amplify your leg power and you just have to sustain your spin.
If you wish to exert no effort at all, there’s the throttle option that automatically moves the vehicle forward. It speeds up to 35 kph.
For the electric power to operate, you have to switch the battery on and its motor that’s conveniently located near the left grip. The electrical parameters’ 3.2-inch screen visibly projects essential information such as speed, the assist level and time, among others.
How’s the e-bike’s battery for this trip? I finished 80 kilometers for this ride (mostly using its level 3 power) and I almost exhausted its electric life. According to the parameters, I used the pedal assist for 62.7 kilometers.
Once you run out of power, you can easily plug the battery to charge it. You can conveniently remove it too and replace it with another unit.
Riding to Camp Sinai was easy, it almost felt like I was using a motorcycle. On that ride, I only used the pedal assist during uphill slopes and was mostly on manual mode during flats. I painlessly zoomed the steep climbs, most especially that long stretch before Boso-Boso and the inclined road beside the Heaven’s Gate Memorial Park.
It rained that day and Sierra Madre Cycle Company’s Rusa E-Forward demonstrated that it can withstand wet and muddy roads. As my friends would put it, it seemed like I did not get tired during the entire trip.
It should be noted that the Rusa E-Forward is quite heavy. When you’re not on pedal assist, you can really feel the 22.8-kg mountain bike and it can slow your pace when manually pedaling, especially on uphill roads. However, you won’t notice the electric bicycle’s weight when the motor is activated.
Like any other mountain bikes, the Rusa E-Forward is very versatile on our terrains in the Philippines, most especially in Metro Manila where the cement roads seem to be challenging and rocky. This is a pretty awesome electric bicycle for leisure cycling and can be suitable for commutes that go more than 10 kilometers. Because of its size, it moves faster than the usual e-bikes with smaller wheels.
When I got invited for a group ride to San Mateo with friends who use gravel bikes, I was initially hesitant to join because I plan to use an e-bike for the trip. I’m glad that there’s no discrimination when I told them that I’ll be bringing the Rusa E-Forward with me.
You see, there was a time when people wouldn’t like the idea of cycling with someone with a motor-assisted bicycle. I’m glad that Filipino cyclists are now getting more welcoming with electric bicycles.
My third cycling adventure to San Mateo and my first bike ride to Camp Sinai was definitely easy and I liked the experience. Electric bicycles give you the option to enjoy a good time with friends on two wheels without worrying about your energy and strength in handling steep climbs. And interestingly, I used Sierra Madre Cycle Company’s Rusa E-Forward going to this destination located at the foot of the majestic Sierra Madre.