This month’s Star Letter details an alarming incident with an error codes, water ingress and an ebike with a mind of its own!

This month’s Star Letter details an alarming incident with an error codes, water ingress and an ebike with a mind of its own!

Read more: Best mountain bike tyre deals, Maxxis and Schwalbe

Ghost bike

Can I just start by apologising for the long-winded letter but it’s worth reading to the end. Trust me! Just been reading the second instalment of your E-Bike of the Year test with interest. Speaking from personal experience and knowing the experience of quite a few other owners I personally wouldn’t recommend buying an e-bike direct.

I’ve got a 2019 Kona Remote CTRL that runs the Bosch CX Gen 3 (I believe) motor. I’m now on the second replacement of this unit. The last time something happened that really shook me up. An error code came up on the display after (coincidentally?) a particularly damp Quantocks outing. So I popped the battery out to check for damp, everything was fine, nice and dry, so replaced it and decided it was back to the local dealer. Just switched it on to check the code and the bike shot off of its own accord across the garage and slammed into another of my bikes and ended up on the floor! Took some time to compose myself and calm down.

So I took the bike back, the dealer was understandably horrified at what had happened and immediately contacted Bosch. To be fair to them they got in contact directly with me and were really concerned for my well-being and promised to investigate thoroughly. In the meantime they sent a new motor and the bike was ready within a week.

But I had lost confidence and didn’t really feel happy riding it until Bosch had done their investigation even though they tried to reassure me the new motor would be fine. After thorough investigation they concluded that water ingress had caused the problem and they found quite a few error codes. I’m back riding the bike now but it’s still in the back of my mind what happened.

So to my direct-sale point I can only imagine the hassle involved returning a 50lb plus bike to Germany or wherever when something goes wrong as it invariably does with cutting- edge tech so for me that overrides any initial savings.

Finally a couple important things: I wonder if mbr could find out why isn’t it possible to make motors more watertight (I’ll just add I never use a power washer) and from an environmental aspect what happens to the old motors? Surely they don’t just go to landfill?

– Roland Lovell

mbr – Hi Roland, that is a truly awful tale, have a jacket to make up for it. On a serious note, that must have been pretty scary and upsetting. We’ve got to say we’ve never heard of anything like this happening before, either to us or anyone we ride with or indeed any brands whose bikes we’ve ridden. I think you were probably just extremely unlucky. It’s also worth highlighting that this was an issue with the previous generation Bosch motor, not the one fitted to all current models on sale.

In our view buying direct does still offer great savings, but you do sacrifice the support a bike shop is able to offer. That said, support is growing: Canyon says if one of its bikes goes wrong it’ll organise collection and shipping to the UK service centre; or – depending on the customer’s location – diagnosis and repair can even be done at a nearby Shimano STEPS dealer.

Meanwhile, YT now has a service centre right here in the UK, plus the YT Decoy Shred is our E-Bike of the Year in the direct-sales category, meaning it could represent the best of both worlds.

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All Star Letter correspondents win a Madison Zenith waterproof jacket worth £99.99.