These cool new e-bikes use regenerative braking for a super-long range

Classic Randonneur Cooper CR-7E
(Image credit: Cooper Bikes)

The company that designed the original Mini Cooper has released four new e-bikes with tiny hub-mounted batteries that deliver a super-long range thanks to regenerative braking.

As BikeRadar reports, Cooper Bikes (the cycling arm of the Cooper Car Company) has implemented the same type of kinetic energy recovery system that's used in motor racing. Pedal backwards, and the Zehus Gen 2 drive system activates the motor brake while also recharging the battery. You only need to rotate the pedals backwards three times to initiate the process, but it sounds like there'll be something of a learning curve.

The four models in the line aren't as expensive as you might expect either, ranging in price from £2,099 (about $2,700 / AU$3,700) to £2,499 (about $3,200 / AU$4,400). To put that into context, our current top-rated e-bike, the Specialized Turbo Vado 4.0, starts at $4,000 / £3,900 / AU$5,000.

Going the distance

The entry-level model in Cooper Bikes' new lineup is the Classic Singlespeed Cooper CS-IE – a stealthy singlespeed made for city riding. 

This is followed by the Classic Ladies' Cooper CL-7E (which has a step-through frame, seven-speed gears, and hydraulic disc brakes) and the step-over Classic Gents' Cooper CG-7E. Finally, the Classic Randonneur Cooper CR-7E, has sportier road styling with drop handlebars, and the same steel frame as the rest of the range.

Each bike's battery is housed within the rear hub motor and can deliver range of up to 60km on a single charge. That's not as far as many bikes with heavy full-sized power packs, but is remarkable for a tiny hub-mounted battery.

Unlike most of the models in our roundup of the best electric bikes, none of the new Cooper e-bikes have a head unit display either, reducing the need for additional cabling. Instead, the drive system connects to a mobile app, which you can use to customize your bike's settings.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of TechRadar's sister site Advnture. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better)