Be The Envy Of The Neighborhood With The MOD BIKES Easy + SideCar — CleanTechnica Tested

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The vintage-look MOD BIKES Easy e-bike is a powerful, stylish, and comfortable ride on its own, but when the SideCar is attached, this combo is a serious head-turner and is almost guaranteed to incite some world-class envy wherever it’s ridden. Just like any other style of e-bike, it’s not for everyone, and it’s not suitable for all routes and all terrain, but if you’re looking for a feature-packed cruiser bike to tool around town on (and maybe carry a kid or a dog or the groceries) the Easy + SideCar is an excellent choice.

MOD BIKES Easy SideCar 3
MOD BIKES Easy SideCar 3

We recently shared the news about the 2024 collection from MOD BIKES, which was launched about a week ago at SXSW, but the company actually sent its Easy + SideCar 3 to me prior to that for review purposes. I have to admit that before it arrived, I was kind of skeptical about it even as I was attracted to its retro-look, but I ended up being pleasantly surprised with the performance of the Easy on its own, and when the SideCar was attached, to be quite a fun and utilitarian ride. The Easy 3 is also sold on its own without the SideCar, so even if you’re not interested in that feature, the Easy is a comfortable and capable cruiser bike all by itself.

MOD BIKES Easy SideCar 3
MOD BIKES Easy SideCar 3

MOD BIKES describes the Easy as being “inspired by World War II motorcycles,” and with the SideCar attached, it definitely captures the iconic look of those early motorbikes, so I have to give it a lot of style points just from the get-go. Assembling the Easy was, well, easy, and although when assembling the sidecar I felt like I really needed three hands, it was a straightforward affair, and the only part that held me up for a minute was attaching the SideCar mounting bracket to the bike and leveling the SideCar, simply because it was an all-new experience for me.

MOD BIKES Easy 3 SideCar mount
MOD BIKES Easy SideCar 3 mounting plate

The Easy features a 750W (1050W peak) rear geared hub motor paired with a torque sensor, which delivers a very natural feeling when pedaling, as the torque sensor efficiently conveys the actual force the rider is applying to the pedals back to the motor (as opposed to an e-bike with a cadence sensor, which can feel sort of awkward or jerky to ride due to its much less nuanced ‘on or off’ approach). The battery, which is concealed in the faux gas tank in the top tube, is a Samsung 48V 720Wh li-ion pack that offers a range of up to 50 miles per charge, depending on how and where it’s ridden and how much weight is being moved — of course, riding it with a loaded SideCar will come in on the shorter end of that range, as will relying heavily on the throttle or a high level of pedal assist. An optional dual battery setup is also available if a longer range between charges is required.

One standout feature of the Easy’s electric drivetrain is the ability to fine-tune each of the 5 pedal assist levels by adjusting the torque-assist, the speed limit, and the acceleration rate in order to suit the rider’s preferences and the terrain being covered. These changes can be made via the bike’s display (no app needed), so it’s possible to adjust the settings on the fly, so to speak. There is a thumb throttle on the bike’s handlebar, so pedaling is not necessary at speeds up to 20 mph (although riding up steep or long hills or with a heavy load is best done mostly with pedal assist, in my experience). The top speed with pedal assist is 28 mph, but personally I would only ride that fast without the SideCar, as it’s a whole different feel when that is attached (I believe the recommended top speed when attached is 10 mph). [I just found out today how to unlock a secret off-road mode in the settings, so stay tuned, as I’ll update this post after I get a feel for that.]

As far as the feel of the ride goes, between the front suspension fork (100 mm of travel) and the suspension seatpost (40 mm of travel) and the wide gel saddle and the 3″ fat tires, the Easy handles bumps and rough roads with ease. In addition, the upright riding position enabled by the cruiser-style handlebar and the frame’s geometry makes for a very comfortable bike to pedal. Dual hydraulic disc brakes deliver plenty of stopping power, which for a heavy-ish e-bike ridden at top speed is a must, and the electric motor cuts out when the brakes are applied, keeping the odds of an inadvertent acceleration accident happening to a minimum. A neat feature of the Easy is the parking brake function, which essentially allows the rider to pull one or both brake levers fully in and lock them into place so that the bike won’t roll away from you — something that is especially handy when the SideCar is attached and you can’t put the kickstand down.

For safety, riders can opt for a Lumos Ultra smart helmet, which can quickly be paired with the Easy using the wireless MOD Connect system, allowing for the turn signals on the helmet to be activated by the bike’s controls, and for the helmet’s brake light to be activated automatically along with the bike’s brake light. On its own, the Lumos helmet has a separate control unit that is attached to the handlebar, but by having the bike sync with the helmet, it is a much more seamless experience, and one less control unit on the handlebar. The Lumos Ultra features 30 white LEDs on the front, and 64 red LEDs on the rear of it for turn signal and brake light functions, both of which help you be more visible on the road both night and day. Additional safety features on the Easy are the big retro-styled wide-beam LED headlight (with an optional amber lens insert), a rear LED brake light, and a bell.

Lumos Ultra smart helmet
Lumos Ultra smart helmet, photo courtesy of MOD BIKES

Front and rear fenders help protect the rider from road dirt and mud, etc., and the Shimano ALTUS 7-speed system has a granny gear (they call it a Power Gear), which comes in handy on steep hills and when heavily loaded, so the Easy could be a decent town commuter bike. At a weight of about 77 pounds, the Easy isn’t a featherweight by any means, so I wouldn’t want to have to carry it up or down a lot of stairs on the regular, but it isn’t excessively heavy for what it is.

MOD Easy SideCar 3 mounting points
MOD Easy SideCar 3 mounting points

The SideCar connects to a mounting bracket (which is attached to the seat stay and the chain stay) on the right side of the bike with three quick release connections, so it can easily come off for solo rides or be attached for carrying a kid or some gear. It weighs 42 pounds empty, and has a 150-pound payload capacity, which seemed a little optimistic to me unless you’re only riding mostly on flat ground — after all, with a combined weight of 119 lb (empty), plus a rider, plus the weight of whatever the SideCar is loaded with, that’s a whole lotta mass to be moved. That’s not to say that you couldn’t ride the Easy + SideCar fully loaded with cargo, as I was able to still get up to a decent cruising speed with a heavy load, but it felt to me that this combo is best suited to flatter paved surfaces. As they say, your mileage may vary, both figuratively and practically.

There is a bit of a learning curve to riding with the SideCar attached, as the bike wants to stay upright and not lean into turns (although you certainly can get it to lean when turning right, with the SideCar catching a bit of air), but it’s not incredibly difficult to get the hang of. I would just suggest starting slow and low (weight) at first, and only adding your precious cargo of a dog or a kid after some practice. A padded seat and a seatbelt allows for carrying a child in the SideCar, and there are a pair of D-rings mounted to the floor for attaching a leash or two. The only missing things, in my opinion, are a cover for the opening of the SideCar that would keep out rain (or keep your cargo out of view), and holes in the bottom of it to drain out any water that gets in it. However, in a dry climate or if it’s only parked inside, those aren’t really issues (and I suppose you could drill your own drainage holes if needed).

MOD BIKES Snap-On rear basket
MOD BIKES Snap-On rear basket

The company’s Snap-On system of accessories is another really cool feature, and MOD sent me a Snap-On rear basket (above), which can be quickly and easily attached to the rear rack when needed, and then removed just as easily when it isn’t. There is also a Snap-On “bench” available, which can attach to the rear rack for carrying a child with you (up to 65 lb!). They also sent a quick-release front rack (not pictured), which was not quite as quick to install as the Snap-On rear basket, but was still a fairly easy thing to add or remove. The only little glitch that I came across about the front rack was that if you do relocate the headlight from the fork to the rack as recommended, it’s not a quick process to move the headlight back to its original position when removing the front rack. That said, I feel like the front rack is a great accessory to keep mounted on the bike, whereas the rear Snap-On basket is a very easy accessory to attach only when needed. Granted, if you have the SideCar attached, plus the front rack, and then the rear basket attached, that’s a lot of useful room for hauling stuff around.

I’m no videographer, so instead of my feeble attempts at a video, here’s founder Dor Korngold introducing the Easy SideCar 3:

And now for the nitty-gritty. The Easy 3 retails for $3290, and the Easy 3 + SideCar retails for $4190, which might seem pricey if you’re on a tight budget, but if you’re replacing car trips with the Easy + SideCar — especially if you want to look super stylish while doing it — then it’s actually a decent price for what it is. For some peace of mind for hesitant buyers, you should know that MOD BIKES offers a 5-year limited warranty, with a 5-year warranty on the frame, an 18-month warranty on the fork and suspension systems and the motor, battery and display, and a 1-year warranty on the drivetrain. Plus, all of the e-bikes come with a 14-day home trial period, so if you decide a particular model is not right for you, they will refund the purchase price or work with you for an exchange, and will arrange for pickup of the bike, all of which go along way toward assuaging any purchasing fears.

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Derek Markham

Derek lives in southwestern New Mexico and digs bicycles, simple living, fungi, organic gardening, sustainable lifestyle design, bouldering, and permaculture. He loves fresh roasted chiles, peanut butter on everything, and buckets of coffee.

Derek Markham has 554 posts and counting. See all posts by Derek Markham