Even Bridgestone themselves were stunned at how much juice our Japanese-language reporter got out of this bike.

Bicycle company Bridgestone offered to sponsor an article on our Japanese-language website, featuring their latest top-of-the-line electric cross bike: the TB1e. Like many electric bikes, the TB1e comes with a cruising mode that helps you meet a standard speed as you pedal.

Unlike other electric bikes, the TB1e’s cruising mode lasts for a long, long time. The website says you can ride at the most conservative strength (“eco-mode”) for a whopping 130 kilometers (80.8 miles).

Go Hatori, our excessively-economical Japanese-language-reporter, decided he’d test-ride it on a real trip spanning 130 kilometers. He would start at the SoraNews24 offices in Shinjuku and cycle, eco-mode, until he reached the city of Choshi in Chiba.

▼ Go drew up his cycle route in fetching pink highlighter.

The day of Go’s big ride came. He started in Shinjuku with a full battery and a head full of ambitious dreams. After running checks on all his filming equipment and bundling up against the cold, he set off for Choshi. It was 8:00 a.m.

▼ Here we go!

Go cycled through Shinjuku at a pleasant, steady pace, making sure to obey all rules of the road and watch out for pedestrians. His pedaling was accompanied by the bare-bones pulse of power from the bike’s eco mode. While Go did test out the more powerful cruising features, and found them almost unbearably luxurious in comparison, he was set on pushing the bike to its furthest limits.

There’s a special trick that the TB1e has that allows it to go so much further than previous models. This feature actually allows riders to recharge the battery as they cycle, and Go was eager to try it out for himself. He held down the left handbrake and stalled his feet on the pedals, allowing the wheels to keep spinning onward.

▼ Here’s how the battery display looks while recharging.

The energy generated by the front wheel motor is sent back to the battery, making it easy to conserve energy. It makes a dramatic difference in how much energy the bike expends.

Speaking of the front wheel, that motor is responsible for the cruising feature. Because it’s affixed to the front wheel rather than the pedals, it provides a sensation of being towed along by something ahead of you.

Go also praised the fact the bike came with a sophisticated lock. Sports bikes like this one often necessitate buying a separate cable lock, but this one is built in!

Go continued to pedal and found himself along the bank of the Tone River. Alone with his thoughts, unable to even get a cellphone signal, all he could do was keep pedaling.

And pedaling.

And pedaling.

As he closed in on 90 kilometers cycled, he saw a familiar face.

▼ Fellow coworker and hamburger magician, Yoshio!

Not that we doubted Bridgestone’s claims about their bike’s battery life or anything, but we decided it might be a little risky to send our only Go Hatori on a trip to Choshi. What if the battery was dead, or almost dead?

We arranged this pit stop so that, just in case the battery had run out, we could have Go finish up at the nearby shore instead.

▼ Go was happy to take an hour break for some banter and relaxation after all that pedaling.

Time to check how much battery was left, now that he was over halfway toward his goal.


85 percent battery remaining?!

Both Go and Yoshio blinked uncomprehendingly at the display, and then burst out laughing. Go had barely used 15 percent of the bike’s battery, and now there was no excuse for him to not go all the way to Choshi.

▼ On he cycled as the day turned into night.

On and on he went, until eventually he happened upon the bright and welcoming neon lights of Japan Rail’s Choshi Station.

The app Go was using to track his cycling distance dutifully informed him he’d traveled 129 kilometers since starting out in Shinjuku, 11 hours and 25 minutes earlier. How was the battery doing after that extra 39 kilometers?

▼ Still 75 percent remaining!

With all that juice still left in the reserves, Go had no choice but to go on a little bit further. He set his sights on the easternmost peninsula of Kanto, where the Inubosaki Lighthouse stands proud and tall. Might as well.

▼ Closer, closer…

▼ …made it!

That brought his trip up to an impressive 135.83 kilometers, while his time since departure now stood at 11 hours and 47 minutes.

Time to check the battery!

▼ Still 75 percent.

Go was astounded. Maybe he should have been using auto mode for cruise control on his trip, instead? If this is how little the battery dropped on eco mode, who knows how far he could have gone?

Go shared his findings with Bridgestone after completing his trip, and even they were shocked by the fearsome eco-capabilities of the product they’d unleashed into the world. A representative gave this comment:

“The cruising limit of 130 kilometers is what we were able to replicate under industry-standard testing, where the bike was used at a 10 to 20 kilometer speed under test conditions. As you cycled on a relatively flat path without many stoplight intersections, you didn’t need to stop and start as often. Presumably your base speed was quite high, also meaning the battery didn’t need to supplement your speed quite as much, so you were able to travel further.”

Go considered this comment and then offered up one of his own, seemingly to himself.

“If this bike can have 75 percent battery left after a 135 kilometer journey on real terrain, how far could it go on a cycle track? It could probably go to outer space, right?”

One other exciting thing about Go’s 135 kilometer journey is that, despite the strenuous exercise, he didn’t end up with a single ache or muscle cramp. Go is no seasoned long-haul cyclist, so he’s chalking up the lack of pain as a point in the TB1e’s favor.

▼ Check out his video footage of the trip, too.

The TB1e goes on sale early this February, and with a price tag of 129,800 yen (US$1,178) plus tax, it’s a serious investment. Still, if you want an electric bike that will go the extra mile, this one definitely has Go’s stamp of approval.

Images: ©SoraNews24
Related: Bridgestone TB1e
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