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

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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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.

8Dec/120

Random Post:
The Stromer Electric Bike: My First E-bike Experience

Before I started working at NYCeWheels, I worked as a free lance writer, test-riding bikes and composing reviews for the blog and website. One of the first bikes they gave me to test out was the Stromer Electric Bike, a sleek looking E-bike designed with a traditional mountain bike frame, 26" inch wheels, front shocks, the works. At that point, I didn't know my pedals from my pedalec, but I had a great time cruising around the central park bike path, boosting up the juice with the power on demand throttle, and passing road bikers going 20mph on an incline, a really really great time.

Learning about the Stromer Electric Bike

Stromer Electric Bike

Stromer Electric Bike

Since then, I've become much more familiar with the Stromer Electric Bike and have come to appreciate it not only for its ride, but also its design. Made in Switzerland, it features some very impressive craftsmanship--- a hydro-formed aluminum frame, Maxxis Overdrive tires, and a hydraulic suspension fork.

The Stromer Electric Bike is also one of our most powerful e-machines. Fit with a powerful 500 Watt motor, the Stromer Electric Bike can go 20 mph, travel upwards of 20mph on a charge, and has excellent acceleration. Like all of our e-bikes and folding bikes, the Stromer can be fit with a wide range of great accessories.

Activating the electric motor on the Stromer

Stromer LCD Panel

Stromer LCD Panel

To activate the motor you use an LCD Dash panel, which mounts to the handlebars of the Stromer for easy access. The dash panel shows a wide range of useful information like speed, distance, and battery life. Using physical buttons on the panel, you can add increasing levels of assistance and the motor will actually help you pedal.

The effect is very nice, you feel like you are pedaling naturally until you realize you've been averaging 18 mph on an incline without breaking a sweat. If you want to get a little exercise, you can even add resistance with the dash panel, allowing you to generate energy, and recharge the battery with your pedaling.

The Stromer: Deluxe Vs Elite

Stromer Electric Bike

Stromer Electric Bike

The Stromer Electric Bike comes in a few different models. The Stromer Delux is the base model, fit with the LCD Dash panel, mechanical disc brakes, and 8 speeds. The Stromer Elite is a nice upgrade from the Delux--- in addition to the LCD Screen the Stromer Elite is fit with hydraulic disc brakes with even more stopping power, a triple front chain ring with 27 speeds, and Shimano Deore derailleurs, some of the best components you'll find on any electric bike. The added gears make a big difference, by shifting gears when you go up inclines or down hills, you allow the electric motor to be even more efficient, increasing your range.

Stromer Electric Bike Discount

Stromer Electric Bike Discount

A Stromer Electric Bike for the Holidays

The Stromer Electric Bike was really my introduction to E-bikes, but since it has remained one of my favorite bikes in the shop, partly out of nostalgia. If you're in the market for a great E-bike now's a great time--- for the holidays you can get a great discount, free shipping, free comfort seat, free rack, a $250 value! So don't wait, order the Stromer Electric Bike today, and start riding.

Best

Jack

25May/082

Random Post:
Electric bike kit | the guide

Electric bike kit

Electric bike kit

NYCeWheels just added an electric bike kit guide to their website.

They walk you through all of the important questions step by step. I wish they had it around when I first picked out my folding bike and equipped it with an electric bike kit. It'd have saved me some time during my research. The electric bike kit guide appears to be an ongoing project. I encourage all of you to look it over and see if you have any questions that aren't answered on it. The more feedback you give them, the more they'll improve and add to the electric bike kit guide, and the more useful it will be to everyone.

I always get excited by resources such as this, especially when they are dynamic and respond to the needs of the user with new updates and information. It just makes me feel like part of a community. The electric bike kit community grows more and more every day, so it's good to see resources for that community, with it in mind, that respond to the needs of the community.

Pick the ultimate electric bike kit.

26Jun/120

Random Post:
Advantages of the E-bike

Many of us have, at one time or other, asked ourselves, “I’m in shape, I exercise, why would I want to buy an electric bike? In fact, there are many reasons why an e-bike might be the best purchase you could make.

E-bikes are cheap and green

Like regular bikes, Electric bikes offer a cheap environmentally friendly way to commute. Instead of paying for gas, save the change, and help reduce your carbon footprint.

 

E-bikes make long distance commuting possible

E-bikes also open up many possibilities for the everyday commuter. With an E-bike like the Kettler Twin, you can go very long distances without depleting your energy. For someone who has always lived in Manhattan, but moved outside the city for a little more room, an electric bike might be the only way to make the 20 mile a day commute without paying gas prices or exhausting yourself pedaling long miles.

Electric bikes give you choices

Stromer Electric Bike

Stromer Electric Bike

An E-bike gives you more options as a biker. Many electric bikes, such as the Stromer Electric Bike, allow you to choose how much electric assistance you receive at any given time. If you’re cruising long distance, you might choose to have light assistance, saving the battery and increasing your range; if you’re heading up a hill, crank up the assistance to full for a fast efficient climb; or if want to get a little more exercise, you can switch the motor off, and even add resistance to recharge the battery.

Electric bikes make it easy to ride together

Often couples or riding partners have different fitness levels and stamina. How many times have you tried to plan that perfect bike trip with your family, only to be met with a slew of hills and sullen complaints? With an electric bike you could take your dad out on your favorite 20 mile path without being worried that he’s going to struggle to keep up.

 

E-bike= great times

Last, and maybe most important, E-bikes are just amazingly fun. There’s just something great about blasting along a flat, pushing 20 and passing hardcore road-bikers on your left and right. Whether you are a pro, or your just trying out bikes for the first time, riding an Electric bike is, without a doubt, a pretty great way to spend an afternoon.

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.

28Apr/101

Random Post:
3 features set the Sanyo Eneloop Electric Bike apart

The new Sanyo Eneloop electric bike is one of the most advanced electric bikes available today. The Sanyo Eneloop electric bike has the look and feel of a regular bike combined with intelligent pedal assistance. This means you have an electric bike that looks cool, has excellent battery life, and the smoothest motor assistance out there.

There are 3 features that take the new Sanyo Eneloop electric bike from ordinary to extraordinary:

1. Intelligent pedal assistance

Having intelligent pedal assistance means that the Sanyo Eneloop electric bike wont jolt you with motor power when you start up. It makes the motor power feel smooth and natural, as if turning it on made you a really strong rider all of a sudden. Intelligent pedal assistance puts you in control of the Sanyo Eneloop electric bike, not the motor.

2. Regenerative braking

Unlike most electric bikes, which can only dissipate the battery as you ride, the new Sanyo eneloop electric bike can actually recharge the battery as you pedal. Because it's front hub motor also doubles as a dynamo generator, the Sanyo Eneloop electric bike can recharge its battery when the brakes are applied going down hill. This feature greatly extends the range of you can travel with motor assistance, up to 40 miles!

3. Ultra light design

The Sanyo Eneloop electric bike is one of the lightest bikes on the market, thanks to the latest in motor and battery technology. Sanyo, which has been manufacturing rechargeable batteries for years, equipped their first electric bike with a lithium ion battery weighing a mere 3.4 pounds! Compare that with older technology batteries that can weight up to 10 pounds or more.

The new Sanyo Eneloop electric bike represents a new generation of hybrid electric bikes. These bikes, which combine human and electric motor power can go further than electric bikes could ever before, and because they look and feel like a regular bike, they are much more fun to ride. For an unmatched electric bicycle check out the new Sanyo Eneloop electric bicycle.

Other articles you might enjoy:
A Sanyo Eneloop Electric Bike Review
An In-Depth Review of The Sanyo Eneloop Electric Bike

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.

Here at NYCeWheels, we're especially proud of the BionX powered Surly Moonlander... because we built it ourselves! Check it out on our online shop – and if you're based in NY, come in for a test ride.

Filed under: Electric bike No Comments
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

10Oct/130

Winter is Coming (Prepare to batten down the bike battery)

my-electric-brompton-s-first-boat-tripA few months ago an older gentleman named Steven came to us, looking for an electric bike to help him up the steeper hills, down the longer stretches, and keep pace with his wife who, according to Steven, "rides at a she-woman pace."

Steven ended up purchasing the electric brompton bike, one of our best folding bikes, fit with a powerful electric motor, and since has kept in touch, writing a great electric bike review of his bike for us, posting on our facebook with pics of his bike, and providing a steady stream of clever and beautifully written anecdotes about his bike and his many adventures.

Most recently, Steven shared a post of his on FB, all about preparing his electric brompton bike for the impending winter season:


"Winter is Coming (Prepare to batten down the bike battery)

Brompton in the snowThis morning driving to work I turned on the seat heaters for the first time after last winter. Oh Oh...the good times are coming to a close.

This is Rochester, NY. In traffic my mind will ramble and I was thinking that with early dark and colder weather, my Brompton E-bike will soon be sleeping with the bears until spring. Sure, I see folks on bikes in mid-January on ice-coated streets, but I suspect that most buyers of electric bikes do not fall into that living-on-the-edge, gotta-be-nuts category. I sure don't.

Which led me to muse about that expensive battery and how to store it for the winter. I got to work and Googled Li-ion battery care (my "boss" is my wife and I can get away with that performance-review killing behavior, I'm underpaid, anyway).

Bottom line: the battery needs to be stored away from cold or heat; under moderate temperatures in the 40-65 F range. Freezing temps and high heat is good for battery sales but bad for you.

More interesting, do NOT store the battery fully charged. It puts excess stress on the cells. Ideally the battery should be charged at 40 to 50% of full charge. How to determine that I haven't a clue, but that is the guideline. Recharge the battery a bit every month or so to make up for normal discharge. There is a lot of information online but it is clear that a bike battery cannot just be left in a corner of a cold garage.


my-electric-brompton-s-first-boat-trip-1Thanks again Steven for the great post, and for making a few good points that everyone should keep in mind while preparing for the winter.  If you plan on being beset with snow and think you won't be riding your e-bike for awhile it is important, as Steven mentions, not to let your battery sit unattended for a long period of time.  We've definitely gotten some calls from those who left it until to late and ended up with a battery that was so low it couldn't recognize a charge.

Steven also makes a good point that it's better not to store a Lithium ion battery at completely full charge, as it will put a strain on the cells to maintain that energy.  To estimate the charge of a battery, it's easiest to use a console that can measure remaining charge.  The electric Brompton comes with such a console, which indicates when the battery is at %100, %75, %50, and %25.  This isn't an exact estimate (Steven is currently in the process of finding more exact methods of determining battery charge) but it will be close enough to determine a safe storage level.

Always a pleasure Steven!  Looking forward to hearing about your next adventures on the Electric Brompton Bike!

Jack