Electric powered bikes, bicycles with motors Stories about electric bikes, powered bicycles

26Mar/150

Stromer ST2 Launch Party in Brooklyn, NY

Everybody in the electric bike community has been buzzing about the launch of the Stromer ST2 – the most aggressive electric bike ever put in to production.

Last Saturday, on March 21st, Stromed launched the bicycle in a warehouse in Brooklyn, and NYCeWheels was there to cover it.

Check out some photos from the event:

Stromer ST2 Launch Party

Stromer ST2 Launch Party

Stromer ST2 Launch PartyStromer ST2 Launch Party

Stromer ST2 Launch Party

Stromer ST2 Launch Party

Stromer ST2 Launch Party

Like what you see? Check out the specifics on the Stromer ST2 on our online shop.

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6Feb/150

NYC Snow Biking in a Blizzard

Moonlander BionX Snow

The Moonlander has always been one of my favorite bikes. The massive tires, the ultra-lightweight frame, the cushy ride. I even wrote a review about how much I loved the Moonlander with BionX in October. I fell in love with this bike before I had the opportunity to really test the Moonlander – like a blizzard in NYC.

Check out my video review of the Moonlander with BionX to see how this bike held up.

 

 

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26Jun/102

Random Post:
Building an Electric-Powered Bike

BionX Electric Bike Motor Kit

This is all it takes to build an electric-powered bike


It's not rocket science to tell the difference between an electric-powered bike and a regular bicycle. For one, the guy riding the regular bike is working a lot harder to pedal, while the electric bike rider is smiling and cruising along. Of course, electric bikes are much quieter than gas-powered bikes, so at a glance, it's hard to tell if a bike is even electric at all! The average person, unless they have a background in electronics, probably isn't aware of how easy it is to convert a regular bicycle to an electric-powered bicycle. Believe it or not, there are only three primary components needed to have a fully-functional electric-powered bike. If you can change a flat tire, you can turn your bike into an electric bike. Let's get to it!

Electric Bike Motor

The muscle behind the electric bike is the motor. Ranging anywhere from 200 watts all the way up to 1000 watts, this is the large rotating device that helps the wheels to spin on their own. Modern electric bikes have the motors built into their wheels, like the Sanyo Eneloop electric bike or the eZee Torq electric bike. Older bikes used to have an external motor that powered the wheel using a chain, like a scooter. These older motors also used magnetic "brushes" which would wear out over time. Newer electric bike motors are "brushless," and have a much longer life expectancy.

An alternative to the brushless hub motor is the bottom bracket motor, featured on the IF Reach DC folding electric bike. This motor actually cycles through all of the gears, making it slightly more efficient than a hub motor. It also turns the pedals instead of the wheel, so the rider feels a little more in tune with the motor, rather than feeling pushed or pulled by an external force.

Most electric bikes don't need a bigger motor than 500 watts, especially for commuting. The US law sets the maximum speed at 20 mph for electric bikes, so any motor that is bigger is sort of pointless. Smaller motors tend to conserve battery life a bit better. How long should a battery last anyway? Well I'm glad you asked...

Electric Bike Battery

Over the years, there have been many different types of batteries for electric bikes. The most common battery in the last ten years is a Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) battery. This is the same battery used in a lawnmower, golf cart, or go kart. You've seen these at any local hardware store - they're heavy, black, rectangular batteries. On an electric bike, they don't go very far. Depending on the bike, they have about a ten mile range. Luckily, technology has improved in recent years, and there are now much lighter batteries that have a much better range.

The most recent chemical of choice for electric bikes is Lithium. A bike running on Lithium batteries can run for 20-30 miles on a single charge, and some bikes even have the ability to recharge the battery while riding. The BionX motor kit Lithium batteries even have protection circuitry built in, so it's almost impossible to damage them from extreme motor power. Lithium batteries tend to be more expensive than SLA battreries, but the life span is also two or three times as long. There is no better battery on the market today.

Electric Bike Control

How does it work? Well you've attached a battery to a motor, so we're almost there. Now you need a way to control the whole contraption. Want this thing to move without pedaling? Just add a throttle. This is referred to as an "ebike," which is practically a moped. Ebikes are nice if you don't want to ride a bike, but they tend to drain batteries quickly. The most efficient electric bike utilizes pedal-assist, or pedelec, technology.

A pedelec bike works by measuring the rider's pedal power, and then spinning the motor at a corresponding speed, based on a preset on the handlebars. Plainly, if you select "MODE 3" you'll get 50% power from the motor, while if you select "MODE 4" you'll get 100% power. No throttles to worry about, it's all automatic. Pedelec bikes are also called Hybrid bikes because they are a "hybrid" of human power and motor power. The best part about pedelec bikes is that you feel like you're still riding a regular bike, just getting a gentle push as you go.

That's it! Just three components and you can turn a bike into a full-blown electric-powered bike! There are a bunch of different electric bike motor kits on the market, and each one has its advantages and disadvantages. Make sure you check out the motor, the battery, and control system before buying one, because you don't want to be stuck with something cheap!

15Mar/122

Random Post:
E-Brompton Banter-Part 1- Great E-xpectations

By Turbo Bob

Bob riding his non eBrompton in anticipation of the big day.

Bob riding his non eBrompton in anticipation of the big day.

What a great time it is for electric bikes. The quality and ride keep getting better, as the weight and inefficiency gets trimmed. I just got the thumbs-up to be involved in an extended test on one of NYCeWheels’ E-Bromptons and I couldn’t be more excited. As Izzy builds this great converted Brompton for me, I will spend some time to think and dream about the pleasures to come.
You may have read my ’Boy Gets Brompton’ series of articles on one of the NYCeWheels’ sites. I got to spend three months with a Raw Lacquer M3L and came to understand it very well. Some of the stories were a little whimsical, but overall, I really got to dive deep into all the plusses and the few minuses of this great folding bike. Bottom line is, I love Bromptons.
As too, I love E-bikes. The electric-assist bike has been carving out its place in this world, and the word keeps getting spread. Great for so many people and reasons, adding a electric motor assist to a bike can make all the difference for utility and recreation riding. So what better combination then the ultimate folding bike, paired with an electric-assist system? It would seem to be a match made in heaven.
So let’s talk about the bike headed my way. First off, the base bike will be the new H3L. This brand-new version has a longer stem that allows the handlebars to sit two inches higher than the original layout. This will not only lend to my comfort (my 6’ 2” frame), but to the comfort of all riders who desire a more up-right seating position. This up-dated model still has the same super small folded size, and every great feature the L model offers. That includes fenders too.

An e-Brompton near NYCeWheels in NYC

An e-Brompton near NYCeWheels in NYC

You must know by now that you can get your Brompton bike in the most cool selections of colors. You can mix and match, or have yours in all one color. NYCeWheels offers their basic E-Brompton in black or white, but for a little extra, the color palette is wide open. They can also convert your existing Brompton to an E-bike so your color style doesn’t have to change. My new H3L E-Brompton is going to be the ‘in-your-face’ white. Talk about standing out in a crowd. It should be awesome.
The E-bike conversion is one that they have perfected to a ‘T’. With quality pieces from twenty different sources, Bert and Peter (Izzy too) have gone far out of their way to make sure this bike is right on the money. I’ve seen the videos and poured over the specs, and I am sure this E-bike won’t disappoint. My desire for the increased capacity 10 Ah battery was oked by the shop, so my fun rides will be extra long.
The battery will fit into the included ’C’ bag that impressed me so much on my last Brompton bicycle test. It has many pockets, is water-resistant, and comes with a water-proof cover bag just in case you want to ride in wet and wild conditions. There will be plenty of room to keep the battery charger in the bag so it will be handy when I am out-of-town. And believe me when I say, I plan on taking this bike to some far-away places. That is just one draw of a folding bike like this.
With a strong 250 watt front hub motor, I expect to have all the power I need. It will be a brushless and gearless motor. That means it will be quiet and efficient. With virtually no moving parts, it should last longer than who knows what. A thumb throttle will allow me to use the power when I like, with none wasted. That should net me some long rides with an easy way to the top of any hill or grade I encounter.
The whole conversion will add about 18 to 20 Lbs to the overall weight. It might make carrying the bike a little tougher, but almost half of that will be in the detachable carry bag, so I don’t expect it to bother me too much. And any weight penalty will be more than overcome by the power which the motor will add to my legs. If you have ridden E-bikes, you fully know what I’m talking about.
So, as I wait for the delivery driver to make his way to my house, I know that this E-Brompton will make it all worthwhile. Expect to see a flurry of articles about my new folding bike hit these pages. Take this time if you will, to read the ’Boy Gets Brompton’ stories to find out more about my take on Bromptons. Also, I hope you get a kick out of my E-titles for each post.
Thanks for reading, Turbo Bob.

Of course, you could always just order your own E-Brompton and find out for yourself... ;) or an convert your current Brompton to an eBrompton.
“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.”---Ernest Hemingway, By-Line.

16Oct/121

Random Post:
E-Brompton Banter—Part 6—Spark-E—What’s in a Name?

As a member of the London Brompton Club, I get to see a lot of what is going on in this great folding bikes hometown. One of the things I’ve noticed over and over is that many of the bikes in the club have names. In fact, I have been egged on by several of my fellow members to name mine. One suggested the name ‘Sparky’.

Electric Brompton Bike

Electric Brompton Bike

Sparky the Brompton Bike?

I’m sure you can get a feel for the thought behind this name. E-Brompton, electricity, sparks. All that comes together into a fun name. Me, I’m not all that hot on naming my bikes, but the idea has merit. Some of the names for the club’s bikes are clever or have some deeper meaning I‘m not privy to.

If you are a Brompton lover too, head on to their site on Facebook for a look.
I don’t ever expect to see any sparks from this great little folding bike. The quality of the electric-assist conversion by NYCeWheels is top-notch with no worries of such things. With some of the best pieces available, from the motor down to the smallest connector, the only light coming from this baby is shooting out of the headlight I use for night riding.
The months keep rolling by and so does this awesome little E-Brompton. Of course I have wiped it down and aired-up the tires a few times. Other than that, it has been nothing but good old-fashioned fun with nary a hiccup. Although it’s boring to not have any bad news to report, riding it is anything but. It is truly a fun generator, an ’E’ ticket ride from day one.

From day one with my E-Brompton

You might remember the week I got it, it was part of the radio show I was invited to be on. They wanted to talk E-bikes and the E-Brompton was on hand to back me up. Both the radio hosts rode the E-Brompton and E-bikes were the topic of the evening. One of them even joked (not really funny) that she was going to pop it in her trunk while I was on the air. There was a lot of electrical energy that night, but no sparks.
When I gave my E-bike seminar in July, it was the first E-bike I showed the crowd. I used it as the example that E-bikes are just bikes with an added accessory. First I rode it without the battery, and then with. After my talk many people took it for a ride. For some of them it was not only their first E-bike ride, but their first exposure to a Brompton. There was plenty of excitement that night, but again, no sparks.
I took it to the opening of a new section of beach trail near Coronado. There was a big crowd that day. I can’t even remember how many people mounted up the E-Brompton and took a spin on the bikeway. Up and down the trail it went countless times. Everyone got off with the biggest smile. And tons of gawking took place every time I folded it into a little itty-bitty package. If sparks were going to fly, that would have been the day.

Traveling with the E-Brompton

Traveling with the E-Brompton

Traveling with the E-Brompton

Twice this electric-assist folder has made the trek to CicLAvia, (in the trunk of the car as LA would have been quite a ride from my place). With 100,000 people and bikes on hand, we talked to plenty of Brompton owners. Each one was pleased to see how nicely the electric conversion was done and wanted to give it a try. The power was flowing that day. Lot’s of electricity got used and not one spark was seen.
I taken it on many group rides here in town. Lots of them have been night rides. Lights blinking everywhere is always part of the scene. The E-Brompton gets its share of lights and looks at each one. It is always easy to keep up with the group using the pull of the motor when needed. The glowing sidewalls may have seemed on fire, but that was the only thing sparking on those rides.
We just got back from a great trip to Yosemite and Santa Cruz. With a pair of folding bikes in the trunk, (The E-Brompton and the Tern Link P9---both from NYCeWheels) we rode in so many places. Cruising though the trees and spectacular scenery at Yosemite was just electrifying. There is no better way to see parts of this great country than from the seat of a folding E-bike. Thank goodness there were no sparks on that week.
So I won’t be naming this E-Brompton anytime soon. If I did, then possibly naming it after a toy drum-banging bunny or a watch that keeps running after an elephant steps on it would be more appropriate. The E-Brompton from NYCeWheels just keeps rolling on the miles with no complaints. If you’ve named your Brompton, let us know what it is and why, thanks.

What‘s in a name?

Turbo Bob.

Turbo Bob's Bike Blog
“I think the most ridiculous sight in the world is a man on a bicycle, working away with his feet as hard as he possibly can, and believing that his horse is carrying him instead of, as anyone can see, he is carrying the horse”.---George Bernard Shaw, An Unsocial Socialist.

10May/111

Random Post:
Turbo Snakes a Reptila-Part 3 | The Reptila gets Slimed

With more than a few miles on the odometer of this Gepida Reptila 1100, I can start shedding some skin on the details of this European pedelec.   With some hissing, puffing, and poison spitting, I will lay out the story of my first week of riding this electric-motored bike.   I will dictate this while I take the time to do some push-ups on a hot rock.

Bob and his Gepida at the Park

Bob and his Gepida at the Park

First off, I have to say that the efficiency of the Reptila is something else.   It uses a fairly small battery, and puts out a lot of distance between charges.   The up-to-date power system is very intuitive to your needs when riding.   The torque sensor has a fine feel for your output to the pedals, and responds quickly with the motor assist.   On the display unit, you can easily vary the amount of overall assist to increase your riding range, or add more power for the hills.   The motor is so quiet, you can only tell when its running, by the pull it gives.

The styling is very modern.   Unlike some gaudy electric bikes on the market, this Gepida has the clean line of an everyday bike.   The battery rack looks like a super-styled piece from the future, not a over-sized and unusable rack with a battery mounted to it.   The frame, paint, and other pieces are well finished and pleasing to the eye.   Only on closer inspection, have many people realized it is a pedelec.

One of the neat features of the Reptila is the quick adjust and almost infinitely settable handlebar and stem system.   Once you have found the sweet spot for this, you are set, but if many people ride it, it is easy to adjust for their fit.   And with a bike like this, you will want your friends to give it a try to see what the future of bikes is all about.   The same goes with the seat adjustment.   The suspension seat post height is changed with no hassle.   Of course, most e-bikes have this feature nowadays.   I did change the seat angle some with the included hex wrench.   The cushy saddle is not the type you would use for major long-distance rides, but I think most people who would order this bike, would find it just right.

Off we go.   After some minor shake-down rides in my neighborhood, I was ready for the open road.   My first ride was almost 25 miles.   I expect the battery to hold more power as the charge cycles continue.   I did use full power to attack a major hill that I try to avoid on my own electric-assist bike.   After about three quarters of the way up, I was getting a little winded, so I pushed the bike to the top.   That is way, way farther that I have ever made it on that hill before.   On most of the ride, I left the power-assist adjustment at about half.   That is a good way to maximize the range of the battery on level and near level ground.

The riding was smooth and easy.   The motor's assist comes on with no abruptness.   It acts as if your legs are much stronger than normal.   The display unit keeps track of your speed in very large digits.   It also records your trip distance, average speed and ride time.   It remembers the total distance traveled (odometer) and has a two part display to let you know how much farther the battery will take you.   The display has a few other features too.   The Gepidas' computer is large, easy to read, and well thought out.

I felt pretty safe on the road with the Gepida Repila 1100 lighting package.   This is standard equipment.   The bright headlamp and tail light are run from the battery's power.   It is controlled by an additional switch on the display.   It even has an automatic mode that will switch in on when it gets dark, if you are in a tunnel or ?.   I will report on the headlamp's power output after I get a chance to ride it at night.   I am a stickler for using flashing lights on both ends, even in the daytime, but so far I have been happy with the performance of the factory lights.   Gepida even included a cool bell with a nice tone and a continuously rotating button that is hard to explain.   You might have to try it for yourself to see what I mean.

Oh yeah, the slimed part.   I came out from a lunch stop to find the back tire flat.   It was the perfect chance to off the Woods-dunlop valve stemmed tubes, and get some thorn-resistant ones.   I squirted in some green goop (Slime) to reduce the chance of another flat.   The Schwalbe Tyrago tires have puncture protection, but somehow the smallest piece of a stranded wire made it through to the tube.   With the added thickness of the new tubes, the slime, and the American spec schrader valves, I think I will be much happier.

With a lot more riding, testing, and reporting to go, I am glad you are following this story on the Gepida Reptila 1100.

Thanks for reading, Turbo Bob.

"When I go biking, I repeat a mantra of the day's sensations: bright sun, blue sky, warm breeze, blue jay's call, ice melting and so on.   This helps me transcend the traffic, ignore the clamorings of work, leave all the mind theaters behind and focus on nature instead.   I still must abide by the rules of the road, of biking, of gravity.   But I am mentally far far away from civilization.   The world is breaking someone else's heart."---Diane Ackerman.

25Feb/092

Random Post:
Electric bicycles, alternative to cars?

Second and third cars for a family are becoming obsolete with the skyrocketing costs of auto insurance and gasoline.  Many families are looking for alternatives to having a second or third car and electric bicycles are being viewed as a great alternative.

Electric bicycles offer you the ability to get to where you need to go quickly, safely and economically - a winning combination!  Electric bicycles are much more efficient and cost-effective as compared to cars and even motorcycles.

Electric super bikes as some would call them can either assist you with your trip by offering 50% of the legwork (power assist models) or can whisk you to wherever you need to go as you steer (power-on-demand models).  Electric bike kits can even turn an existing bike into an electric bicycle by adding a conversion kit for an electric bike.

Electric bicycles have improved in terms of technology to the point where they are far more economical than even the hybrid vehicles on the market.  The long-life of electric bicycles and the mere pennies it costs to recharge the battery make electric bicycles a far more economical choice for anyone commuting to work, school or anywhere else you need to go.

A commuter bicycle made in commuter heaven - electric bicycles are a great choice for people in small or large cities around the globe.  It is easy to travel into work on electric bicycles and you can even buy a folding electric bicycle so you can be assured to be able to take your bicycle into the office, gym, house or anywhere you want to store it rather than leaving it outside.

Electric bicycles are also safer for the environment than any car or hybrid vehicle.  Electric bicycles have become very popular with many families looking for alternatives to second or third vehicles.  In fact there are likely more electric bicycles on the road than you may realize.

Electric bicycles do not necessarily stick out any more than traditional bicycles.  With electric bike kits, for example, you can convert almost any bike into an electric bike.  But, before you rush out to order a conversion kit for an electric bike you want to make sure that your bike can be converted - there are some models that may not be able to be converted for one reason or another.

Most bike shops will let you know if your bike can become an electric bike or not and some will even do the conversion for you and test it so you know your electric bike kit was set up right.

Today's economy almost demands that people find alternative means of transportation other than buying 2nd or 3rd cars.  Electric bicycles have been seen as one of the safest and most economical alternatives to traditional cars and even hybrid cars.

Rather than spend thousands of dollars per year on insurance and skyrocketing gas prices you can get where you need to go by selecting on of the electric bicycles on the market.

14Jan/150

Six Reasons the Stromer ST1 is the Perfect Vehicle for Cold Weather

 

Stromer ST1 electric bike

Unlike when I borrowed the eBrompton and the electric assist Dahon Formula from NYCeWheels, I got my hands on the Stromer ST1 as the traditional riding season was ending. The fewer the leaves on the trees, the fewer the cyclists on the roads. Seeing your breath becomes routine and eventually it gets so cold you have to wear a full face neoprene mask - the DefCon 5 of winter preparedness.

But the bike itself makes riding in winter easier than it has ever been and in just one sitting I can come up with six reasons why the Stromer ST1 is perfect for winter riding.

 

6. Those big tires

 

Stromer ST1 Electric Bicycle

 

As winter closes in, leaves fall, twigs snap, and missing Stupid Car Antlers show up on the road in front of you. Riding anything smaller causes a wince when you hit obstacles - no matter how small - but not with this bike.

 

5. It doesn’t need to warm up.

 

In a car, you have to hustle into the cold, sit on the cold seat, turn the cold keys and wait until spring for the engine to warm up. When I take the Stromer all I have to do is carry it outside, turn it on, and start pedaling. Bonus: no windshield to defrost and most car trips are so short the car won’t even warm up by the time you get there anyway.

 

4. It doesn’t have to be parked

 

You’ll want to bring a good lock with you for sure but the Stromer ST1 is the best vehicle for holiday shopping. I can lock it at a shop, buy gifts for my entire family, and by the time I’m done the baby excrement-green Kia will still be sitting in the parking lot with the blinker on waiting for the Suburban to JUST MOVE ALREADY!

 

3. In city driving, it’s almost as fast as a car

 

If I want to drive my car to New Canaan from Stamford, Connecticut, it takes a little over 20 minutes. Riding the Stromer ST1 I made it in just under 30 minutes. But even with falling gas prices, it’s a lot cheaper per mile and the quality of those minutes is just far better than any car. And remember: I don’t have to count the time it takes to find a place to park.

 

2. It’s easier to ride than a regular bike

 

Most of the price tag for a Stromer ST1 is for the 500 watt motor and the electric assist system. And while I always appreciated it for the speed I didn’t realize how nice it is until I rode a regular bike in cold weather. On a normal bike, you have to wear warm clothing but the exertion of climbing up a hill can make you sweat. When riding the Stromer I feel like my pace is more regular and I’m not on a temperature yo-yo all the time.

 

1. It’s fun and it feels good to ride

 

Stromer ST1 Electric Bicycle

If James Franco and the guy from ‘Knocked Up’ can’t entertain me on Christmas Day, the terrorists win. To that end, if I can’t go for a bike ride in cold weather, winter wins. Even if you shiver, even if you end up hating the landscape straight out of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, even if you get snotsicles - riding a bike in cold weather is a victorious occasion - and it makes us yearn for the warmer days that are ahead. Hope you get to do that yearning on the seat of the ST1.

 

Like what you see? Check out an in-depth analysis of the Stromer ST1 on our website at NYCeWheels.com.

18Nov/140

The Stromer ST1 – The First Ride

By: Mike from DIYBIKING.COM

Stromer ST1 Electric Bike

If you live in a four story walk-up in Greenwich Village do not - I repeat - do not buy a Stromer ST1 under any circumstances.

I’m just throwing that out there.

Here’s the thing: I’ve already ridden and reviewed the electric assist Brompton and Dahon Formula, and these are electric assist folding bikes that brag about their weight and portability. The Stromer ST1 doesn’t fold and, at 62 pounds, is around twenty pounds heavier than either of those aforementioned NYCeWheels bikes.

The fact that it doesn’t fold was an issue out of the gate, because I couldn’t bring it with me on the train if I returned from Manhattan during Metro North peak hours. So I brought it home early one weekday afternoon and was not only able to bring it on the train easily, but I was able to see one of the new and seldom seen Metro North bike racks.

Stromer ST1 Electric Bike

I you eat your Wheaties, you’ll be able to bring the bike up and hook it on the rack. When I did this, I heard no creak and because it is still the relative size of a normal bike it did fit.

While sitting next to it on the train ride back, I got to look at the bike in such a way I was able to understand where all of the weight was coming from. The 500W motor in the rear hub. The 36 volt lithium ion battery stowed in the bottom tube. The rear rack and fenders - all of it gives the bike heft.

Still more weight comes from the unusual and optional seatpost A Cane Creek Thudbuster. I’ve been familiar with these for a while and would write a song about them if I could. Any bike with a hardball aluminum frame (like the Stromer ST1) needs one of these. It just makes a more comfortable ride.

So yes, this is a heavy bike. That can’t be sugarcoated. But then again, you get something for all of this heft. To find out what it is, you have to turn the bike on, select the ‘Power’ mode, and begin pedaling.

Stromer ST1 Electric Bicycle

With the fat Big Ben tires and the solid frame, the bike doesn’t feel like anything other than an electric assist battering ram when riding. Pedaling at a pace that feels like ten miles an hour while the spedometer says you’re going double that is a grin-inducer, to be sure. Not only that, but the bike has regenerative braking that puts power back into the battery when you slow down - which is not a common feature.

I’m going to have to put this bike through some paces - including, but not limited, to a hilly, 20+ mile ride. I’ll let you know how that goes shortly.

 

Filed under: Uncategorized No Comments
22Oct/140

Winter is Coming? Meet the BionX powered Surly Moonlander.

The Mars Rover meets Surly attitude in this space age electric bike.

Surly Moonlander powered by BionX D-Series

One of the things I value most in a bicycle is its reliability in any terrain. Even in NYC, you can encounter hills, potholes, gravel, and glass – not to mention spontaneous rain and snow. While sleek city bikes are stylish and lightweight, I don’t always feel comfortable taking them too far.

At a glance, you KNOW this won’t be an issue with the Surly Moonlander. The tires alone live up to the name — they’re big (and I mean BIG — 4.7 inches wide big) and knobby enough to take a joyride on the moon.

Surly Moonlander electric bicycle tire with BionX

BionX D-Series: A match made in heaven

The BionX D-Series motor powered assisted pedaling is a godsend in a bike oriented for rough terrain – the acceleration of the motor is buttery smooth, taking you from 0 to 20mph in seconds. In the stop-and-go streets of Manhattan, I was leading the pack of cars with ease.

Electric Surly Moonlander Cassette with BionX

Some electric bikes can’t handle the speeds reached with a motor helping you out, making the ride feel bumpy and brittle. The Surly Moonlander and the BionX D-Series is a match made in heaven. Thanks to the cushy tires, I was sailing over potholes, glass, curbs, and lawns at over 20MPH and couldn’t even tell the difference.

Handling the Moonlander

Surly Moonlander electric bike BionX

It’s a Surly bike, so the breaking is predictably perfect. They’re soft and gradual, unless you slam down on them in an emergency – at which point you stop on a dime.

Surly Moonlander electric bike BionX brake

The only thing more shocking than the massive tires on this bike is how lightweight it is. It’s a formidable electric bicycle – easily one of our biggest in the shop – and yet it was one of the lightest electric bikes we own, weighing in at ~45lbs.

During my test tour, I was riding in the slick mud and leaves of Central Park and never found myself slipping or losing control. Even pedaling straight up jagged rock formations was possible!

Surly Moonlander electric bike BionX cliff

A Clear Winner

The Surly Moonlander is to all-terrain what the Stromer ST2 is to speed and power: the absolute best in its class. The space-age look and crazy performance is sure to draw attention. Through rain, snow, or some sort of Indiana Jones adventure, the BionX powered Surly Moonlander will not let you down.

Surly Moonlander electric bike BionX portrait

Like what you see? Click here to get your own.

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6Sep/140

Victoria Foe customer review E3 Metro

These days there are so many different electric bike models to choose from, it can be difficult to decide which is the right one for you. There are ultra fast sporty electric bikes like the Stromer St1 Platinum, lightweight electric folding bikes like the Formula BionX bike, cruisers like the A2b Alva + or affordable best-bike-for-the-price electric bikes like the iZips.

Electric bikes

The best way to learn about a bike is to hear directly from someone who purchased one. Here is an email that we got from Victoria, a customer who purchased the iZip E3 Metro, and wanted tell us her thoughts about her new bike:

"Dear Peter et al.,

My iZip 2014 E3 Metro arrived a week ago and I have put well over 100 miles on it. I love its sturdy body, its low center of gravity stability, its large load carrying capacity, the always active on-demand twist throttle and the cadence Pedelec sensing which makes the Metro take off smoother than for my husband's Pedego Commuter.

The Metro replaces my old and now dead LA Free mid-drive e-bike that used torque sensing. That little bike felt more powerful for hill climbing, but I think that is what mid drives are noted for.  In all other ways the new Metro is better--including its five or six-fold increase in distance per battery charge.

The 2014 Metro is a beautifully designed e-bike and prefect for my needs, which include an 11 mile RT rural commute plus frequently a side trip into town for  groceries. Here is to the no fossil fuels commute!

Thank you.

Victoria F."

izip-metro-electric-bike

We'd like to thank Victoria for sending us this very informative email, and we hope that it will be useful to anyone who has just started looking at the different e-bike models out there. Take it from Victoria, if you want an electric bike that has great range, stability, durability, and a lower price, the iZip 2014 E3 Metro is a great choice!

Jack

22May/142

Reviewing the Brompton Electric Bike

Electric Brompton BikeToday, I took the E-Brompton for a spin. It is a fantastic custom electric bike, and initially it doesn't even look electric. The hub motor isn't immediately noticeable and the battery is well stored and hidden in the front bag. Just like on a standard non-electric Brompton, this front bag is still quickly removable. Disconnect the battery from the bike, remove the bag from the carrier block, and you'll be able to charge your battery inside. And don't worry, the battery is in a separate pouch and doesn't take up much room, leaving tons of space for your own luggage.

The Electric Brompton is nimble and powerful

Brompton Electric BikeRiding the electric Brompton bike is a breeze. The motor's controls are ultra simple for setting speed and the thumb throttle is very convenient. The whole E-Brompton setup still weighs under 45 lbs, less than many old school steel road bikes I've owned. This definitely takes the Brompton to the next level as a commuting option. With electric assistance, you'll be able to ride longer distances without breaking a sweat, and when you get to work you won't be exhausted and in need of a change of clothing. So fresh and so clean! (clean!).

Does the Electric Brompton still fold?

Electric Brompton bikeThe electric Brompton bike folds up just as quickly and easily as a non-electric. Although technically you can fold the bike with the bag still attached, I found it easiest to remove the front bag first, just to give myself a little more breathing room.

From here it's all business as usual. Fold the rear wheel underneath the frame via a quick release, unscrew the hinge at the center of the top tube and swing the front wheel to the right and back towards the frame, loosen and fold the handlebar with a few twists, and blammo, your electric bike can fit in your closet or be checked on an airplane.

For a more detailed description of how to fold the Brompton bike with large high resolution pictures, check out this folding bike blog.

The Electric Brompton bike folded!

Does an electric bike work with gears?

Electric Brompton Bike MotorBecause the motor is in the front wheel of the Brompton bike, it can be used simultaneously with the gears. The important thing is to use a Brompton that has a high gear range. When you hold down the throttle, the E- Brompton will shoot you forward at 20 mph, and with a single speed Brompton, you wouldn't be able to pedal fast enough to actually engage the transmission. The model I tried was a 3 speed version which has a nice high gear range and worked well in tandem with the motor, allowing me to pedal along comfortably while pushing 20 mph.

Electric Brompton bikeA powerful and innovative Electric Bike

The Electric Brompton is one great ride. It has all the convenience of the original Brompton, the same compact fold, the same flawless craftsmanship, with the added power of an electric motor. Anyone who wants an electric bike with great range and power, and needs it be compact enough to fit in their New York apt, the Electric Brompton bike is the way to go.

27Mar/141

E-Brompton Banter—Part 11—My Gen-E-ration, by Turbo Bob

Electric Brompton TurboFollowing the timeline of the Who is kind of like following my own, my interest in bikes and that of the E-Brompton. The Who cranked out this wild tune in 1965, just a year after they came together as a band. Said to be one of the top three rock groups of all time, these British rock and rollers are still making history with every appearance. This song is about trying to find a place in society, something many E-Brompton owners might be able to relate to. Then again, why try to fit in when you know you are happy and doing the right thing?

The 60’s were a time of enlightenment and turmoil. Adults had mostly turned away from bicycles to embrace the motorcar. What had been a main source of transportation and relaxation for all was mostly enjoyed by the kids during this era. I know this for a fact because I was one of them, and loved the freedom and excitement bikes offered me daily. That was (and is), “My Generation”.

 

As I rode and fixed my bikes, I found other interests through home-made electrical devices and music (among others). My bikes allowed me a chance to be myself, free from boundaries and depending on others. At the time I never envisioned a bicycle with an electric motor, even as I would spend time with my cousin who had built a wagon powered by a salvaged washing machine power plant. He was tethered by a super-long extension cord, something that didn’t match my fancy. I was soon to be enamored with stinky, noisy gasoline power, like so many others of my time.

 

As the 70’s began, I was off and running with the two and four wheeled crowd, loving my hot rods and motorcycles. With every visit to one of the local race tracks, competing with roaring exhausts made my dreams of the era come true. It was during this time I earned my nickname building little econo-cars into muscle car stomping machines. I’ll never regret those days, but also, I’ll never repeat them.

E-Brompton in Santa BarbaraDuring this decade a man in England was finding the need for a folding bicycle that could change the way we get around. Andrew Ritchie was up and running, getting the name “Brompton Bicycle” a place in two-wheeled history. Even though it only really hit mass-production in the late 80’s, Brompton started to get accepted in the bicycle world.

 

The eighties saw music change, yet the Who stayed true to their fans. This whole 10 year period still saw me high on gasoline, as a mechanic and racer. Bicycles rarely entered my mind as my heavy foot played a different tune. Sure I rode a bike now and then, fixed some for the neighbor kids and kept just the smallest lookout for new trends. Yet if I couldn’t fill the tank, it wasn’t my kind of ride. Shame on me.

 

Enter the 90’s. Brompton sales and interest started taking off. The Who continued to play to sold-out crowds. Adults got back on their bikes, following a green movement, exercise, freedom and fun. I was one of those adults, getting a Schwinn college bike from a friend in 91. My youth was rediscovered, the thrill was back, I was in love with bikes once again. My cars were idled much of the time as I took my bike more and more places. It was during this time I got my first taste of an E-bike. Crude, yet very eye-opening to be sure.

http://www.nycewheels.com/brompton-electric-bike.htmlInto the next 10 years my cycling expanded. I met my wife and she too was so happy to get on two wheels once again. Still with no E-bikes in our horizon, it didn’t matter, bicycle riding was fun and smart. We were both like minded in the three R’s---Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Before long we were looking for a way to commute by bike. Sure bikes added fun to our lives, but we wanted more.

 

 

Enter our E-bikes. After some investigation we got a pair and never looked back.

It was during this time I was reintroduced to folding bikes by NYCeWheels. With a flashy raw lacquer M3L Brompton, I was blown away with everything it offered. (I’m sure you’ve seen my series of articles, “Boy Gets Brompton”). Bikes are awesome, but one that folds and rides great is incredible. All my past times with riding and repairing folding bikes disappeared in my memory as I found the Brompton had none of the weaknesses and problems of those bikes of old.

 

NYCeWheels sold their first Brompton back in 2005, and it wasn’t long before the founder, Bert Cebular, envisioned mixing his love of it and electric bikes into one. With determination and an experienced crew, the E-Brompton started to take form. Once it was perfected, it became an instant hit. The first one left the sales floor in 2012, with many more to follow. I’ve been riding mine for over two years and have chronicled my times with it many times here on the NYCeWheels blog sites.

 

Turbo-and-the-E-BromptonThis E-Brompton is so well engineered. Taking the lead from Mr. Ritchie, NYCeWheels moved forward with some great innovations. All the extra components are secure and tucked in as not to affect the fold. The quality and longevity are proved to me with every ride. This E-Brompton has been on several vacations, been ridden by so many first time E-bikers and generally been like a right hand man. If you have been following along with this series of articles then you have half a clue to the way I feel about it.

The E-brompton is a bike for my generation, generations past, present and future too. I am sure with the first ride you will feel the same.

 

BTW, if you hurry I bet you can still get some tickets to the Who’s latest sold-out concert. Turbo Bob.
“It is the unknown around the corner that turns my wheels."---Heinz Stucke, German long-distance touring cyclist.

Read more Blogs by TurboBob!

4Feb/140

The A2B Metro – the MoPed Electric Bike

a2b-metro-bike-ultra-motorThe first thing you notice about the the A2B electric bike is that it looks very sturdy. Big beefy 3 inch tires, disc brakes, thick durable Tig Welded frame, with giant ultra strong rear rack sticking out the back -more than any other electric bike in the shop, the A2B has the look of a Moped.

The most comfortable electric bike

This is not to say that you should try going off jumps and doings flips. The A2B looks more like a gas powered mini motorcycle, but it is more of a cruiser than a racer, more a lover than a fighter. First and foremost, the A2B is just incredibly comfortable. Its seat is wide and cushy, and the handlebars are situated relatively close to you, allowing for a more upright riding position, which puts more weight on your sitting bones and less on your wrists. The front and rear suspension are fantastic, allowing you to glide over bumpy streets and trails as though nothing is there. And the thickness of the frame provides extra durability. Of all the electric bikes I've tried, the A2B is definitely the cushiest.

Powerful Electric BikeThe A2B is fit with a powerful motor

The A2B is also a very powerful electric bike, fit with a 500W motor and a 36 volt lithium ion battery, which fits nicely inside the down tube out of sight and out of mind. This hi wattage motor is combined with a high torque engine making the A2B Electric Bike great for towing a lot of weight. The A2B which we keep here at the shop has a trailer hitch fitted to it so that we can use it to haul equipment, bikes, and other heavy inventory. Once we folded up three brompton bikes, put them in a cart, and used the A2B to haul them all the way from the shop to an exhibition in Tribeca and back. That's around 25 miles hauling about 300 lbs of weight in total!

Just the right amount of Pizzaz

Because of the thickness of its frame and it's numerous components, the A2B is not one of our ultra lightweight electric bikes. Nevertheless, it has great range, particularly if you attach a second battery to the rear rack, as most savvy riders are wont to do. With two batteries at your disposal, you could potentially ride 40 miles or so before having to recharge.

A2B Electric BikeOften customers ask about which electric bikes are the lightest, or which look and feel most like regular bikes. But what I like about the A2B, is that it embraces its ebikeness. Where most electric bikes have pared down frames to minimize weight and increase sleekness, the A2B lets it all hang out, turning heads with some pizzaz. If you're looking for a bike that's nice and beefy, ultra comfortable, but that still has great power and range, the A2B electric bike can't be beat.

15Nov/130

BionX for Beginners

There's no doubt about it, we live in an age of wonders. When I was a kid, I loved science fiction, imagined a future of flying cars, teleportation machines, voice activated George Foreman grills that could produce a perfect medium rare steak in seconds, but it never occurred to me that the tech already existed to super charge my old trek bicycle with an electric motor conversion kit.

Maybe if I had spent less time watching Night Rider and more time reading science magazines I would have seen the electric bike revolution coming. As it is, according to a wiki article on the subject electric powered bikes made up 10 to 20 percent of all two-wheeled vehicles on the streets of many major cities by 2007, and the trend is only just beginning. Earlier this month I watched the first footage of an electric powered flying bicycle. My 8 year old self stands agog.

Powerful electric conversion

Powerful electric conversionThe electric conversion kit has got to be one of the most fantastic inventions of the 20th century, and as time goes on, the technology for it gets better and better. One of the most advanced kits on the market is the BionX conversion kit, capable of converting pretty much any regular bicycle into a powerful motorized vehicle capable of 45 miles on a charge and 20 mph top speeds.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

What is the BionX conversion kit? How does it work?

350-watt-bionx-kit-for-surly-fat-bikesWhen you convert a bicycle into an electric bicycle using the BionX conversion kit, you replace your rear wheel with a new wheel which has a motor in it. This motor is powered by a Lithium Ion battery which is mounted to the frame of your bicycle, and is activated using a console that is mounted on your handlebars. The battery is easily removable, and comes with a charger that can be plugged into any normal 110 wall socket. It takes about 4-5 hours to fully charge the battery. Your bike is still a bike, and you can still pedal it as usual, but now you can press a button and the motor will kick in boosting you along a flat at 20mph, or helping you up those pesky hills.

The BionX uses pedal assist

BionX ConsoleSome electric bikes use a throttle to activate the motor. In the case of a bike like the A2B Metro, the throttle is on the grip itself, just give a twist and you'll feel the motor kick in, whether or not you happen to be pedaling. On the BionX kit there is a throttle, which exists in the form of a small red button which you push with your thumb, but actually the BionX works best as a "pedal assist" electric bike.

Using the console on your bars, you select one of four levels of assistance ranging low to high, the motor then works in tandem with your pedaling cadence. At the lowest setting, the motor will do about 25 percent of the work for you, at highest, it will boost you along at 20 mph with absolutely no effort required on your part. What results is a system that is more powerful, more efficient, and more intuitive than a throttle activated system.

Are there different types of BionX kits?

There are three different BionX kits. The cheapest is the pl250 conversion kit, which uses a 250 watt motor, and a 26 volt Lithium ion battery. This is the entry level kit, lighter than most other kits on the market and with decent power and range.

The next step up is the pl350 BionX kit. This kit uses a more powerful 350watt motor capable of faster acceleration, and is powered by a larger 36 volt battery for more range and power. This kit one of the most popular as it offers more range and power at a mid range price point - a good meeting point between affordability and high performance.

Electric Conversion KitThe last option is the premium Sl350 BionX kit. This is the most advanced BionX conversion kit currently on the market, using a more powerful 48 volt battery for increased range and power, while maintaining a light weight. Including the motor, battery, and console, this kit will only add around 18 lbs to the weight of your bike. This means that if you convert a road bike that only weighs 25lbs to start out with, you'll end up with an electric bike 20 lbs lighter than most other electric bikes on the market.

So there's the basics! Hope this was helpful as an introductory guide. Check out the BionX conversion kit, and see where our future might be taking us.

All the best,

Jack