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Hero Lectro C5X e-cycle review - A guide to healthy commuting

After spending a couple of months riding this electric bicycle, we have a different view on commuting to work

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Words: Priyadarshan Bawikar

Photos: Vikrant Date

Let me set some context for this review. I used to cycle to school everyday as a kid, but have never really done so since 1998. It was only once I turned 40 a couple of years ago that I took up cycling again, this time as a hobby and that has no doubt contributed a little towards my 20kg weight loss. While I had commuted to the office on my own mountain bike a couple of times in the past, it wasn’t the easiest of experiences and would generally involve sitting at my desk drenched in sweat, fearful of catching a cold under the AC. So I was looking forward to the Hero Lectro C5X making these commutes a little easier.

What is it?

The Lectro is Hero Cycles’ electric pedal-assisted hybrid bicycle (mountain bike style frame, road tyres) that gets a 250W BLDC hub motor paired to 5.8Ah battery. Now you might say that a lot of modern smartphones have larger capacities, but this battery has much larger cells meant for higher draw to power the motor. Thankfully, the battery is removable, which means it can be charged in your home or office. It also features a front fork with 80mm travel and a hard tail, along with mechanical disc brakes at both ends.

Using only pedal assist, the C5X is supposed to have a range of about 30km, and about 25km if you’re using the throttle. Yes, you can literally ride the C5X using throttle only, without pedalling at all, up to a top speed of 25kmph. So you don’t need a license to ride one on the streets.

How is the riding experience?

Now even though the C5X’ frame is made from 6061 Aluminium, the cycle, with the battery removed and added accessories like the front and rear fender, and headlight, weighs about 17.5kg. So not a light cycle by any means. You won’t feel this weight when you’re riding though. It’s only felt while picking it up and carrying it up the stairs or into your building’s lift.

The C5X features a single speed drivetrain with a 40-tooth front and 16-tooth rear sprocket. And there are three levels of pedal assist on offer - Low, medium and high. Honestly, I find the gearing a bit too short, the result of which is that if I’m using the Low or Medium assist modes, the motor actually can’t keep up with my regular pedalling cadence, and actually slows me down. So I only prefer to use the High assist mode when going up inclines, and switch the assist off completely when on flat road sections. Going up even fairly high slopes is made very easy with the High assist, and I find climbs much easier on the C5X than I do on my personal 24-speed mountain bike, even in the lowest gear.

Using it everyday

I’ve taken the Lectro C5X a couple of times a month for my office commute, and I end up covering the 19km journey in under 50 minutes. While taking a cycle to work does limit how much stuff I can carry (it has to all fit in my backpack), the time taken is only 15 minutes more than what it takes me on my long-term test scooter, the Ather 450X. The best part is that switching between High assist and no assist, the one way commute to work eats up less than half the battery capacity. So on one full charge, I can easily make it from my home to work and back. So even if Hero claims a range of 30km on assist mode, you can easily get more than that if you switch it on only when you need it. 

The only problem with that is the small switchgear lets you switch the assist off with a single tap of the power button. But to switch it back on, you have to hold down the power button for a couple of seconds, and even after that, it goes into Low assist by default. So again you need to press the mode button a couple of times to get it back into High assist. It’s not a difficult process per se, but can get a little irritating when you’re riding along and quickly need to turn the assist back on when you encounter a hill.

In general though, it has made commuting very easy. Even after pedalling to work, my heart rate barely peaks at 120bpm (and I’m far from the fittest guy with a resting heart rate of about 75-80bpm). So I am not tired by the time I reach the office and can start working immediately. 

Where the pedal assist really comes into its own is in heavy traffic. The most irritating thing for cyclists is when some vehicle gets in your way and it breaks your momentum, and you have to pedal like crazy to build it up again. On the C5X, it takes only half a pedal rotation for the electric assist to kick in, and it gets me back up to speed effortlessly. And when traffic is so chockablock that I can’t even get half a pedal rotation in to build up speed, I can just use the throttle to keep inching forward.


At the end of the day, the Hero Lectro C5X is still a bicycle, and isn’t practical enough to replace your conventional two-wheeler for a majority of your everyday tasks. But what it does allow you to do quite easily is enjoy leisurely rides, whether to run errands around town, or occasionally go to office, getting a mild workout without tiring you out in the process. And at Rs 38,999, it’s not too much more expensive than a good, mid-tier hybrid cycle.

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