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:
Like what you see? Check out the specifics on the Stromer ST2 on our online shop.
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.
Ever since my first ride on a Brompton folding bike, I have been intrigued with all the benefits it offers. Easy to store, transport, and secure, it just makes bike riding so accessible. Plus, add to that the great lines and quality of the build, and you have one desirable bike. Now with this electric-motor conversion, it has it all.
NYCeWheels set me up with an extended test on a Raw Lacquer M3L Brompton about a year ago. That started a new direction for my interests in bikes. I have even gotten to tour the Brompton factory in England to seal the deal. Their need for perfection and utility is visible in every part that makes up this folding bike. It is said that they are planning an E-Brompton of their own, but somehow I wonder if they could do better than this.
My new H3L E-Brompton arrived at my house in two boxes. One with the bike, and the other with the battery. It made it to its destination in perfect shape. A fully assembled and ready to ride folding E-bike popped out of the package. Dressed up in a beautiful white paint job with shiny new parts, it made me smile. Yes, I have happ-E feet. The battery comes in the ‘C’ bag that I like so much. This bag has many pockets, is water-resistant, and comes with a water-proof outer bag that is quick to use, The bag mounts on the steering tube, not the handlebars, so it doesn’t affect the stability of the bike. It has one easy to plug-in connector for the battery, and a nice quick-release that locks it in place. The electrics of the bike are well mounted and don’t hinder the fold. The wiring is tucked in neatly and everything appears to be factory installed. This NYCeWheels E-bike conversion can be done to the Brompton you already have, or included with your new Brompton purchase. Either way, it seems you are assured a professional looking and responding conversion. Up front is a 250 watt brushless and gearless hub motor. Perfectly laced to the front rim, it is as close to silent as they come. Almost un-noticeable, it appears just a few inches larger that a front hub generator. Some might say they think you need more power, but the torque, speed, and efficiency of this combination is hard to beat. It is designed to assist your pedaling, not replace it.
As this series of articles continues, I will tell of the bike, the E-conversion, the ride, the feel, and some of the rides I take. I can get a little whimsical and airy in my descriptions, as may have noticed in my ‘Boy Gets Brompton’ blogs. I already have a plan to take it to a island destination for some fun. I’ve taken it on several rides along the local bays and bikeways since I got it. No telling where else me and my new E-Brompton might show-up. About a dozen cyclist friends have gotten to try it out too.
A quick run down on the Brompton Bike
At this point a run-down on the bike is in order. The ‘H’ designation means it has the new, taller stem that allows the handgrips to be about 2 inches higher that the ‘M’. This is great for riders who prefer to sit more upright, and for taller people like me. The ‘3’ tells that we have 3-speeds available in the rear geared hub. The ‘L’ goes towards the fact that fenders are bolted on and ready for the puddles.
As you might know, a Brompton can fold to a very small size. The uses there are many. Using public transportation becomes more feasible. You can take it with you into buildings and elevators. It can be stored in closets and car trunks without thinking twice. You will find that these pluses will have you riding more and worrying less. These are great attributes in a bike. That is the Brompton way. An E-bike is still a bike. It rides the same as a bike. The power-assist is there if you need it, but just goes along for the ride when you don’t. A grade coming up? Add some power. Getting tired? Add some power. Aches and pains? Add some power. You get the idea. The E-conversion does add some weight to the bike. As you ride, it is all but unnoticeable. After all, it is just the smallest fraction compared to your own weight. The only time it comes into play is when you are lifting the bike. Close to half of that extra heft is in the removable ’C’ bag that you carry with your other hand anyway. By the way, I got the optional 10 Ah battery that will extend my rides by a lot with almost no extra weight penalty.
So there you have it for now. NYCeWheels has made me a happy man with this new test. I will report on my fun and anything else that comes my way. In the meantime, drop by NYCeWheels and take try out the E-Brompton for yourself!
“The bicycle can be a philosophical tool as readily as it is a locomotive one. While I don’t see anything wrong with the use of bikes for sport, I do get very bored with the way in which the sporting mentality has penetrated every corner of the cycling world. Many cycle tourists, seduced into seeing themselves as just another breed of athlete, wear funny clothes to prove they are serious about it, and plan their trips as just another kind of race: A to B, quickly as possible. There must be more to life than this.”---Gareth Lovett Jones.
Electric bikes come fit into two main categories. Though different manufacturers and retailers may refer to electric bikes in different ways it seems almost universally accepted in the motorized bikes industry that the difference in the two types of electric bicycles is based on how the power of the electric bicycle is initiated.
Electric bikes fall into two categories and most retailers and manufacturers label these as power-on-demand motorized bikes and power-assist motorized bikes. Knowing the difference between these two types of electric bikes is important.
Power-on-demand electric bikes are throttle activated or gear activated, it is not uncommon to see manufacturers use one or both of these terms when they are referring to power-on-demand electric bikes.
These types of motorized bikes can and will do 100% of the work for you when they are activated. The most powerful types of power-on-demand electric bikes can easily propel you up even a steep hill when activated – much to the delight of men and women in San Francisco no doubt!
The power-on-demand electric bike is great for someone who needs to travel a longer distance than they are comfortable doing on their own. Whenever they get tired they can click on the power of their motorized bike and let the electric bicycle do the work for them.
People who own the power-on-demand electric bikes comment frequently on how surprised they were by how efficient and powerful these motorized bikes are and how they can commute to work, or to school for pennies compared to what they pay for mass-transit or driving to and from work or the train station.
Power-on-demand electric bikes are also great for people who want to be able to keep up with their children or grandchildren but may not be physically fit enough to do it on their own, they can simply activate the motor of the electric bike when they start to tire.
The other primary type of electric bicycles are the power-assist bikes, also referred to as pedal activated bikes. These ingenious motorized bicycles can actually alleviate about 50% of the workload of riding your bicycle – you can go twice the distance for the same effort!
The power-assist electric bikes are quite popular for people who travel around large and small cities, or around any town for that matter and want some extra assistance so they can travel quicker with less energy.
Power-assist electric bikes make great alternatives to a second car, or over-crowded buses and subways. Imagine not having to take mass-transportation anymore because you can get where you need to go faster and cheaper with a motorized bike.
These types of electric bikes are also great for people that are trying to improve their physical fitness but need some reassurance as they begin a cycling program. The power-assist feature lets them lighten the workload and build up more stamina and strength.
Most companies refer to electric bikes in these two main categories: power-on-demand or throttle activated and power-assist or pedal activated.Need help selecting the right electric bike for you? One of the first questions people always ask is "What is the best electric bike?" When selecting an electric bike you'll also want to consider where you live, as your local environment will influence your set of needs and what works best for you. For example, if you live in California you'd want an electric bike that would be through and through a 'California electric bike.'
"What if I'm looking for something very light weight, something that I can carry with one hand. I want to take it on the train. I'd only need it to travel very short distances. I guess it doesn't even have to be electric." Then you're not looking for an electric bike, you're looking for a kick scooter! If you're not convinced that kick scooters can offer serious changes in your life, we beg you to read the following story: "What if I owned a kick scooter?"
I (Joe) recently became interested in ebikes, have done some extensive research, and finally bought a commercial model on which I’ve put a few hundred miles in the last two weeks. I’ll provide a review of that bike shortly, but first wanted to collect some more general thoughts on ebikes which I’ve consolidated from my research, personal experience, and a good dose of engineering basics. I’m certain almost everything I discuss here has been stated better and more thoughtfully elsewhere, so please forgive my repetition and perhaps naive thoughts. I will say, I think I would have found this type of write-up helpful to me early-on, and hope this discussion may help other potential new ebike riders as well.
So, if you’re like me, the idea of an ebike is appealing. Gas prices are up, “green” transportation is in, and bike commuting has a number of distinct advantages over other forms. Personally, I’ve been a bike commuter for about 3 years now. My regular job is outside Santa Fe, NM, and I have a decent enough means to bike commute about 10 months out of the year, with snow and weather leaving a few weeks for the car. Of course, bike commuting entails other compromises, such as the difficulty in accommodating “business” clothes, “helmet” hair, inclement weather, and of course, safety. As experienced bike commuters known, there’s pretty good solutions to most of these issues, with equipment, planning, and setting realistic expectations all playing a role.
The appeal of an ebike to me is the ability to commute a bit farther, to eliminate the more difficult portions of my commute and arrive “sweat free”, to perhaps save a bit of time, and to allow farther in-day trips from my main work site to various other locales at my employer (which is spread over 43 square miles, I often need to travel to more remote sites where I work). As important, is what an ebike for me wasn’t. It’s not a replacement for a motorcycle. I didn’t want to travel long distances just punching a throttle. I wanted this to be mostly bike with the added benefit of power assist. Taking my bike on public transport, into my office via an elevator, parking with other bikes, etc. are all important.
So, how does this lengthy preamble relate to choosing an ebike? If you read the ebike forums, there’s a near-obsession with specific characteristics of these bikes such as top speed, weight, and perhaps most prominent, range and battery capacity. Naturally, everyone has a list of requirements and desires that they want their bike to meet. At the top of many lists are reliability, range, light weight, top speed, and of course, low cost and maintenance. This wish list quickly runs head-on into the reality of engineering and design. You quickly discover there’s no one perfect bike that does it all. Some of the better ebike retailers start with a very good list of questions to help determine a customers desires. Given this, they can direct you toward a particular system, design, or model.
I stated many of my desires above. Considering my criteria, it was clear that a pedal-assist application is the way to go. The engineering analysis of pedal assist is itself a fascinating topic. In order to appreciate the benefits of pedal-assist, and of ebikes more generally, I found it enormously helpful to discuss and understand some specific characteristics of the most important motor on the ebike. No, not the electric hub, but YOU. Your power output and contribution to propulsion, and understanding the highly non-linear nature of that power output, is actually the key to understanding why pedal-assist is such an attractive option. So, if you’ll forgive my diversion here, I’d like to discuss a few elements of human power output.
You and I consume energy just by living. A resting person weighing 150 pounds has a metabolic rate of about 70 Watts (W). Light activity such as walking and just doing your day to day thing without exertion bumps this up to about 100-125 W. That’s just how our bodies have evolved in our environment. As you start to exert yourself, you spend more energy. This relationship is highly nonlinear. A moderate workout, in which you get your heart rate up and sweat quite a bit, has a total power output of about 200 to 250 W. Tour de France riders with years of special training, nutrition, and conditioning can sustain power outputs of 400 to 500 W for hours on end. You and I, not so much. Over about 300 W, and we’ll tire pretty quickly. So, 100 W is literally “no sweat”, while that next 100 W isn’t nearly as easy. It’s this nonlinear relation between exertion and power output that makes a pedal-assist ebike so attractive.
The goal is to transmit efficient power into the bike. As a rider, you can contribute a nice, healthy 50-100 W (on top of your metabolic 70-90 W) for a very long time, and you won’t notice this as much exertion. These should be the “first Watts” that the bike sees. It just so happens, that pedaling a bike on level ground in no wind requires roughly 100 W to sustain a speed of roughly 25 km/hr. This is the level that most folks would see as “easy” without much exertion. Of course, add a headwind, or hills, or a higher speed, and things quickly turn against you. Further, starts and stops require quite a bit of extra energy, too. Nearly every rider knows this intuitively without the engineering degree, and this helps to explain why bikers don’t particularly like to stop if they can help it, safety be damned.
Now, let’s consider a throttle-only, no pedal ebike versus a pedal assist. If your goal is to get long range with much less exertion on your part, the numbers quickly tell the story of why pedal-assist is so attractive. Remember that 100W figure for sustained 25 km/hr on level ground? At the theoretical limit, a throttle-only vehicle would last about 3 hours with a typical 36V, 10 Amp-hr battery pack (360 W-Hr), whereas a pedal-assist wouldn’t be contributing at all, and would have infinite range, since the rider is providing that first 100 W. Now, this is all theoretical. In practice, hills, starts/stops, the efficiency of your bike and motor, etc. quickly degrade these numbers. More typically, that throttle-only bike with a 360 W-hr battery may have a range of 30-40 km in total. Conversely, a good pedal-assist system in practical use on level ground driven in a way so that you don’t exert can have a range on order 80-90 km or even more.
And it’s the deviations from this ideal ride where pedal assist becomes so appealing. Take hills, for example. The added power to crest that hill can be contributed by the battery, so you don’t have to exert. You’re not constantly climbing during your ride (well, for most rides that is), and the addition of power assist as the last Watts added is what provides that marvelous ability to extend range, open up a whole-new way of biking, and achieve the near-nirvana of long-range, reliability, ease, and (relatively) low cost for an ebike. (And BTW, some studies have shown that the more constant exertion of steady, light exercise may be as beneficial as other forms. Pedal assist hybrid on ebike indeed may be a have-your-cake and eat-it-too proposition when it comes to fitness.)
Ok, so the previous is basically an engineering discussion of ebike propulsion. How does it work in practice and how can you use this understanding to maximize your ebike experience? A couple of things are important right up front, namely, speed and acceleration. Most folks want more speed, its only natural. Unfortunately, things quickly turn against you as you go faster from an energy management standpoint. Top of the list is drag. Drag increases as the square of your speed. Given that most of your energy (on flat ground) goes to moving the air out of the way, this gets ugly quick. If you’re willing to go a little slower, you have the enormous payoff of greatly extending your range. From a practical standpoint, 30 km/hr or so (19 mph) feels about right to me as a nice compromise between speed and efficiency. Others will balance this differently. It just so happens that 32 km/hr is codified in US law as well. At first, I wanted that super-fast ebike that did it all. After spending some time on my current bike, I’ve come to the conclusion that a moderate speed really is best, not only for efficiency, but for safety as well.
Ditto acceleration. My ebike (Trek Valencia+ with the Bionx system) has a 27-speed drive-train which I thought was ridiculous at first, since I could easily keep this in the lowest gear, and just let the motor pull me away from stops. It turns out, this is really bad energy management practice. Hard acceleration is inefficient and sucks tons of precious amps from your battery (just look at the meter on a Bionx system). I’ve come to realize that those extra low gears on the Valencia are actually very useful. Now, I down-shift at stops most of the time, and take just a bit longer to get up to speed, with the Bionx system providing more of a gentle nudge than full-on zippiness. Of course, that zippiness is there is you want it, or when time or safety require. The payoff in backing away from jack-rabbit starts is greatly extended range.
I rode the Critical Mass ride this Friday in San Francisco on the ebike, including some substantial distance to/from the event (yes, I mentioned my job was in New Mexico; I’m spending the year in the Bay Area on another assignment). I got about 50 miles out of the Trek/Bionx system, and had a grand time. Trek worked with Bionx and changed a number of factors in the Bionx system, some of which I think are not well-understood by the ebike crowd, including a change in battery voltage and capacity.
So, I’ve written a tome as a first post. Please forgive this. My goal was to pass along some of the things I learned in my research leading up to my first ebike kit purchase. More experienced folks here will no-doubt correct errors or offer additional points, which I look forward to.
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.
The appeal of a bicycle camping trip seems too good to be true. Going off to live off of the land with only the bare essentials, it seems silly to load up that SUV and tread all over nature's trails. Luckily, with some of the new bicycle trailers out there, it's easy to bring all the gear you need and just pedal a bicycle. It's 100% eco-friendly, and it's more fun than driving a car!
Burley Bicycle Trailers
Some of the best quality bicycle trailers available are made by Burley. Lightweight, durable, and easily detachable, the Burley bike trailers attach to almost any bicycle.
For a short camping trip with only one or two people, the Burley Travoy folding bicycle trailer is the best option. Carrying up to 60 lbs., the Travoy functions just like a hand-truck, and can actually be detached and used as one! Two air-filled wheels provide a smooth, maneuverable ride. The Transit Bags are a perfect fit for camping gear, with compartments to fit a tent, cooking supplies, and tools. The best part? When you're not using it, the Travoy folds up to the size of a small suitcase. Cool, right?
Electrify The Camping Experience With an Electric Bike
Pulling a cargo trailer is a lot of work on a bike. You can take away most of the effort by riding an electric bike instead! With new Lithium batteries, these electric bikes travel up to 20 miles on a single charge, and have more than enough power to pull a bicycle trailer. If the camp has an outlet, you can even charge the bike after you set up camp, or ride it around some of the trails.
Converting a bike to an electric bike is always a great option, and the BionX electric bike kit is the best way to keep your favorite bike, but add a bit of electric power. Attach a bicycle trailer to a BionX bike and there is little to no effort with the highly intelligent BionX motor.
Instead of loading up a truck or SUV with camping gear, why not load up a bicycle trailer? It adds the element to your trip of actually getting there, an adventure that can hardly be experienced inside the shiny interior of an automobile.
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
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
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.
By: Mike from DIYBIKING.COM
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.
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.
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.
The Mars Rover meets Surly attitude in this space age electric bike.
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
Today, 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
Riding 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?
The 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.
Does an electric bike work with gears?
Because 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.
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.
Following 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.
During 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.
Into 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.
This 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.
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The 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.
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.
Often 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.
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
The 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?
When 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
Some 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.
The 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,