Seattle's Bike Share Comparison

by Henry Kellogg March 12, 2019

Seattle's Bike Share Comparison

Here in Seattle we now have 2 dockless bike shares: Lime and Jump. Wondering which is better? One rainy Seattle day we pulled both bikes up to the shop and compared them. Here's an e-bike insider's view.

Electric Assist Performance

The two bikes have nearly identical electric assist systems

Both bikes use a torque-sensing bottom bracket from Bafang, a motor from Bafang, and 36V lithium-ion battery (Bafang is a reputable e-bike motor system manufacturer located near Shanghai, China). Though the controllers (the electronic piece that regulates power to the motor and serves as the communication hub of all the components) differ, and the exact specifications are not identical, these electric assist systems are very similar. 

The motor is nominally a 350 watt unit, and on both bikes the motor gives a nice assist on takeoff. However, the Lime electric bike limits the speed to 15 mph, while the Jump bike does give motor assistance up to 20 mph. The Jump bike's assist is more torque-dependent, which means that it can feel touchy if you don't pedal evenly.

Winner: Jump, narrowly (you may prefer the Lime bike if you're not a confident cyclist)

Traction

The Jump bike's motor is on the front, and the Lime bike's motor is on the back. A front hub motor can spin out when climbing a steep hill, especially if it's raining out. On our test spin this happened multiple times with the Jump bike, and it's a bit disconcerting.

Notice that there's no valve!

However, the Lime bike uses an airless tire system (that's a foam matrix instead of an inner tube!), and because the tire doesn't conform as well to the ground, the bike can have trouble maintain traction through turns. 

Winner: Lime, narrowly

Weight

Weighing the bikes with our handy luggage scale - not an easy task for these hefty steeds!

The Lime bike we tested weighs in at 73.1 lbs, and the Jump bike at 74.0 lbs. For comparison, that behemoth of an ebike pictured at the top of this post with the Jump and Lime bikes is the Benno Carry-On. It's equipped with our 28mph/500 watt electric assist, is capable of carrying passengers, has wider tires and a larger frame, and weighs 58.2 lbs.

Winner: Neither. These bikes are built like tanks!

Ride & Non-Electric Component Quality 

The 3-speed Sturmey Archer hub on the Jump bike means that you can shift for a reasonable pedal cadence up to 20 mph, while the Lime bike's single speed drivetrain is geared so that you're spinning out before 15 mph. The Jump bike also has a front disc brake for more powerful stopping. 

Because the Jump bike's battery is located in the main frame tube and not on the rear rack, it feels like it carried its weight better. 

Winner: Jump

Cost

The Jump bike is currently $.15/minute in Seattle, while the Lime electric bikes are $1 to start plus $.15/minute. That $1 flat fee means that the Lime bike is substantially more expensive for the 1-2 mile jaunts these bikes are most useful for.

Winner: Jump

Conclusion

Category Jump Lime  Benno w/ Meridian
E-Assist 20 mph top speed, jerky torque sensing, 350 watt motor 15 mph top speed, smoother assist, 350 watt motor 28 mph top speed, smooth cadence sensing, 500 watt motor
Traction Front wheel can lose traction up hills Solid core tires can lose traction on turns Great traction
Weight 74.0 lbs 73.1 lbs 58.2 lbs
Overall Ride Quality Acceptable: internally geared hub and front disc brake Poor: low-power roller brakes, no shifting, rack-mounted battery Great: High-end components, Deore hydraulic disc brakes, well-balanced frame, etc.
Cost* $.15/min ($900/year) $1 to start, $.15/min ($1,300/year) $2,890

*Annual cost assumes 30 minutes ridden daily, 4 days/week, 50 weeks/year

The Jump bikes are superior in most regards to Lime's electric bike offerings, but both pale in comparison to most e-bikes currently available for retail purchase. 





Henry Kellogg
Henry Kellogg

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