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

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!

7Feb/130

Random Post:
Most creative Electric Bike Conversions

My name is Jack, an employee at NYCeWheels bike shop in NYC. At the shop, part of my job is to connect with communities of cyclists via social media outlets.  This is a two way street-- we post pics of our bikes, links to the most recent videos reviews etc, and in return people send us their own stories, pics and videos.  This is really the best part of my job, getting to be a part of people's passions, being given a window into a wide variety of creative and innovative projects.  Some of the most interesting projects I've come across are from cyclists looking to convert their bicycle into an electric bike via an electric bike conversion kit.   Many of the most  creative electric bike conversions have involved the BionX Bike Kit.

BionX- versatile electric conversion kit

Just to give a little background, the BionX Bike Kit is an electric conversion kit, which allows you to convert virtually any regular bike into a powerful electric bike. The versatility of the BionX Bike Kit makes it popular with e-bike enthusiasts looking for creative ways to electrify their bikes (and other wheeled contraptions).

Scorpion-with-BionX Conversion Kit

The BionX on a Recumbent tricycle

Converting a recumbent bike with an electric conversion kit is such a logical and brilliant idea, that I wonder that I'de never considered it before.  Here's a good example sent to us from Brenden, a past customer who installed the BionX Electric Conversion Kit on his Scorpion Recumbent Trike.  You can see the BionX on the back wheel.  Aside from having a killer look, the Scorpion makes a great choice for electric conversion, due to it's large wheels, and nice comfy seat.  Whenever you need a break, just lean back, and let the motor carry you along in comfort.  Man I really need to get me one of these.

BionX on a wind powered trike. What? Oh Yes.

BionX powering the PteroSailThis is probably one of the most eccentric electric conversions I've come across, the BionX Powered Pterosail Trike.  This was built by Pterosail Trike Systems in 2010, who announced they would be taking their wind powered trike cross country as a triumph of green technology.  The trike is meant to be powered primarily via sail, but, when the wind is lacking, the rider can activate a 36o watt BionX motor attached to the back wheel, to help motor along in the interim.  This is so amazingly cool, I don't even have the words.

Custom BionX Mods

As BionX conversion kits become increasingly well known, we're starting to see some really great custom jobs.  Some of these have been pioneered by my coworkers here at the shop.  Last year we created an electric folding Mountain bike, installing the BionX Motor on the Montague Paratrooper.  And just last month, my coworker built up one of the first electric fat bikes, installing a motor on the Surly Moonlander, featuring impressive 4.7 inch tires.

Other Custom BionX Conversions have come straight from past customers.  One of the most creative and prolific E-bike pioneers has been Paul DeGarie, who has sent us a steady stream of impressive Custom BionX conversions on a variety of different of different bikes.

 

As the new 2013 season gets off the ground, I look forward to seeing what electric conversions we'll be seeing next.  In a world where bikes fold, have sails, and can be electrified via powerful conversion kits, anything seems possible.

 

 

31May/130

Random Post:
E-Brompton Banter—Part 9

E-Brompton Banter---Part 9---E-xtended Test

by Turbo Bob

When the great folks at NYCeWheels sent me this electric Brompton for testing a year ago, I figured it would be a 2 or 3 month excitement that might someday fade from my memory. As 3 months turned to 6 and now to 12, I know that myself and all that have gotten the chance to feel the magic this bike offers will hold onto the thrill for years to come. This isn't just any every-day, throw-away bike, it is special in a way that is both easy and hard to describe. As I put pen to paper (so to speak), let me try.

The Electric Brompton is the perfect folding electric bicycle for...everything!

Me being a 5 year + E-bike veteran, I have ridden so many different variations of them. Fast and slow, big and little, inexpensive and very expensive E-bikes have come and gone my way as my bike blog exploits continue. Yet none have offered the utility and convenience I have received from this H3L E-Brompton. Blazoned in bright white and powered by a compact 250 watt direct-drive front hub motor, this bike has been so many places and racked-up so many miles I can barely remember them all.

Tucked in the trunk, taken on public transportation, long group jaunts and just simple rides for local errands are all part of the resume it deals up. I have offered the controls to more friends and new friends than can be counted. It has been on radio interviews about E-bikes, tried at my bi-yearly E-bike seminars and might soon be seen on the pages of my local newspaper in an article about the blossoming desire and technology for E-bikes. Ridden in the mountains, at the beaches and city streets, I have put it though most every type of riding you could imagine.

The convenience of a folding bike meets the power of an electric bike

If you are reading this then you probably already know these facts. Folding bicycles are great. You can take them almost anywhere you go. The Brompton is as rock-solid as they come for all types of riding. It folds to the smallest of packages. It rides just as good as any full-sized bike. Security isn’t an issue as you can tuck it under a desk at work, under a table at an eatery and carry it inside at day‘s end. With three-speeds and an up-right seating position it is as comfy as can be.

E-bikes are great. They can help you up a grade or into a brisk head-wind. They can shorten the longer rides. You can arrive at your destination fresh and refreshed. Folks with conditions that make riding a regular bike tough or impossible can really take advantage of the benefits they offer. They put the fun in riding for so many people.

When you add the fantastic electric-assist to a convenient folding bike you get one of the best products ever in the bike world. That is where the E-Brompton really shines. It has just about everything one could ask for in a bike. Power to spare and utility come oozing out of every seam. Even people who were skeptical at first, after a quick explanation or ride, were also convinced this bike has so much to offer.

I will be the first to admit that way back I was not a big fan of the weak and flimsy folding bikes I tried. Plus after my first E-bike ride some 20 years ago, even though it was interesting, I found the bike was very heavy, slow and had the shortest of range. Times have changed and the E-Brompton is proof of that. Smooth, quality electric-assist mated to a rock-solid well-made folding bike is what the E-Brompton offers---nothing more and nothing less. It is hard not to lay it out that simply.

Electric Brompton: a labor of love

You may know that NYCeWheels worked very hard to come up with this combination. It is a labor of love and it shows with every stroke of the pedal. The only issue I’ve had in a year of riding this bike was one flat rear tire that I blame on a too wide rim strip, and which was repaired with a quick and easy modification of the factory part. I invested in a new tube and I think we can all agree that is small change for a year of fun and extensive riding.

I guess I will continue this extended test. For how long? Who know? What I do know is that I am loving it and the ride and reporting won’t stop this month or next. Thinking about getting your own electric Brompton? I say “Go for it!”

-Turbo Bob.

“No excuses.”---Ted Smith.

 

21Oct/052

Random Post:
My electric bike adventure

If you're like me, you probably suffered from all kinds of depression before you owned an electric bicycle and didn't even know why. In my case, I have something called Seasonal Affective Disorder or seasonal depression as it's more commonly known. Yes, I am quite literally SAD! This coupled with how defeated I felt when my doctor advised me to take better care of myself due to my diabetes was definitely a one-two punch for me last winter (that is, until I purchased my electric motor bicycle). SAD was something I vowed would not get me down this wintertime, not as long as I had my electric motor bike. I had made plans to ride my electric bike with the same frequency I had all spring and summer long into the decidedly less electric bike friendly winter months. I would be utterly unphased by whatever Old Man Winter put in front of me and my electric motor bicycle. Below freezing temperatures are no match for electric powered bicycles!

But then winter rolled around and it looked as if global warming took care of my SAD for me. Bright days and moderate temperatures allowed me to run down and get a newspaper in just a sweatshirt. I decided that this was a cause for celebration. I came upstairs and my wife was sitting on the couch with her laptop looking up electric motor bicycles for a future purchase. She had been so impressed by my Birdy BionX folder that she decided that she wanted an electric motor bike of her own. And who could blame her for those electric powered bicycle aspirations? Since I bought my electric bicycle, I felt like a completely new man. I think she knew electric bicycles be the best thing she's done since moving out of her Mom's house in Neptune, New Jersey around when she met yours truly. But enough about Meredith and New Jersey, this story is all about me and my electric motor bicycle!

I decided that I would take advantage of the gorgeous weather with one of my patented Manhattan adventures. These almost always involve electric powered bikes. One of my favorite pastimes is to head out to my local dealer and check out the latest and greatest electric motor bikes. I go to a little place out here on the Upper East Side of New York City called NYCeWheels and they always seem to know what the coolest new gadgets are. I hopped on my electric bike and zipped off to the shop. My favorite R.E.M. song was playing ("Shiny Happy People" for those of you who might be curious!) as I waltzed in and leaned my electric powered bike on the side wall and took in the vast selection of electric bikes in stock.

I decided to take an Ezee Quando out for a test ride (another electric powered bicycle that folds, I'm obsessed!) and I had a great time zipping in and out of the park. I brought it back into the shop with a smile on my face that was both huge and genuine. What a great ride! I might have to get one for Meredith just so we can maybe take a trip down to Florida sometime and ride around on our brand new electric bicycles. I also tried out something that has been referred to as a California electric scooter, the GoPed. In my opinion, an electric bike has it beat any day!

25Jan/073

Random Post:
Electric bike, throttle activated or pedal activated?

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?"

"Out of the electric bikes, what is the lightest folding bike?" You can compare and contrast the eZee Quando, the Birdy Bionx, and the Xootr Bionx here: Electric folding bikes.

26Jun/102

Random Post:
Building an Electric-Powered Bike

BionX Electric Bike Motor Kit

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


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

Electric Bike Motor

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

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

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

Electric Bike Battery

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

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

Electric Bike Control

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

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

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

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

 

 

29Aug/130

Currie Tech iZIP: Comfortable, Stylish Electric Bikes

Picture the following situation: you live in the country, at the top of a large hill. The nearest town from which to get groceries is 15 miles away by scenic drive. You enjoy living in a beautiful area and want to do your part to help preserve the clean, wonderful environment that you wake up to every day by biking as much as possible--but who has the energy to ride 30 miles every single day? Your knees have gotten a little creaky recently, and your back no longer enjoys hours on end crouched in the cockpit of an ultra-stiff road bike. What to do?

Comfortable Electric Bikes

Currie Tech iZIPsThis plethora of woes is all to familiar for a great number of our electric bike customers. Many folks come to us for electric bikes, not looking for the latest, techiest toy, but simply for a comfortable vehicle that fits into their lifestyle and just works. For these customers I often recommend Currie Tech's selection of iZIP electric bikes. Their powerful motors eat up hills with ease, and because they are all built around classic cruiser geometries, you could lounge in an iZIP saddle all day without ever getting sore! With designs ranging from the super simple Path electric bike all the way up to the retro-modern iZIP Metro, not to mention a wide-ranging pallet of color schemes, you're also sure to find an iZIP electric bike that suits your aesthetic tastes.

Now here's another situation: you're planning your last summer escapades to the sunny coast of the Southeast, or perhaps California. You've booked the beach house, bikinis and board shorts are all packed, and your pasty overworked skin is begging you to get your tan on already. With a week of as much relaxation in front of you, you realize you cannot stoop to actually walking to refill your koozie with a fresh, lime-kissed Mexican beer. Even pedaling too much would surely defeat your purpose in lounging here. What on earth can you do?

Style and Performance

Currie Technologies bikes on the beachOnce again, Currie's iZIPs come to the rescue. For the ultimate in beach cruising electric bikes, I always recommend the iZIP Zuma. With its cushy, wide tires and relaxed, sloping frame, the whole bike screams "chill" (well, ok, gently asserts, "chill")--but let's not sell the Zuma short. Under the hood it's packing a 500 watt motor which can easily cruise at 15-20 miles per hour, while a set of Avid disc brakes provide all the stopping power you can use and more. The Zuma is one fun electric bike that truly unites style and performance.

The best part about the iZIP bikes is that we've just lopped several hundred dollars off the price of each! Whereas before they were some of the best valued electric bikes in the shop, now they are an absolute steal. Get your Currie Technologies iZIP today while the low prices and sunny days last!

25Jul/130

E-Brompton Banter-Part 10-Big Fun is Eas-E, by Turbo Bob

Tracy tries out the E-Brompton

Tracy tries out the E-Brompton

Riding a bike is fun. I wanted to start out with something we can all agree on. If I've already lost you, then you might want to rethink the statement. Sure, there are other reasons to ride---transportation, health, job, money and the such. Yet when it all goes full circle, we come back to the fun factor.

My point is that if we want to have fun while we ride, then riding a fun bike is sure going to be important. Everyone has a type of bike they might enjoy more than others. What I've found with this E-Brompton is that it can be almost each and everyone of those bikes. It is fun to ride. It can make the perfect commuter. Even though it has electric-assist, you get to choose just how much exercise you want to receive. It can be used for touring, saving money, saving the planet and many of the other reasons you ride.

The base bike is a rock-solid folding and riding machine. A stock Brompton is truly a bundle of fun by itself. Then with a little of magic from the crew at NYCeWheels, it is transformed into something even more special. They perfectly add the few items that neatly and nearly turn it into a flying carpet. Not that it’s so much faster, or better looking, just that it is so much more versatile and fun. And fun is what we are talking about.

They can convert your Brompton if you like. Or you can pick out just about any combination of options and colors for your new Brompton and NYCeWheels can covert that before you get it. Mine happens to be an all white H3L. The H stands for the 2 inch taller handlebar stem, the 3 stands for the three-speed rear hub gear, and the L stands for lectric---just kidding, you know, having a little fun.

Building a great electric folding bike

The skill put into this conversion is mind-bending. They source all the parts from almost 30 different companies. The narrow 250 watt direct-drive motor is a drop-in piece that helps maintain the Brompton factory warranty. These pieces have no affect on the fold and just the smallest effect on the fold size. Sure some weight is added, something you’ll never notice during the ride. And that extra heft is divided between the bike and the ‘C’ bag so lifting it and carrying it isn't much tougher than before.

So, you might ask, what is so much fun about an E-Brompton? I knew I wasn't going to be able to avoid that question. For one, I get to ride it. Any bike you might ride will almost always deliver the fun you seek. Even a beat-up rusty klunker (not a description of this E-Brompton) can turn an afternoon at the beach into a day to remember. Fun factor #1---bikes are fun.

Part of the thrill (read fun) of an E-Brompton (any Brompton for that matter), has nothing to do with the ride. It has to do with the razzle-dazzle of the fold. Many are awestruck just to watch it turn back and forth from a bicycle to mini jumble of paint and wheels. If you own one I need not go any further on explaining how cool that is. My favorite is, “How long does it take to put your bike back together?” And then, BOOM, they can see it all and understand. Now that is fun!

E-Brompton at Petco Park

E-Brompton at Petco Park

So, I’m sure you can see that this post is about why having the electric-assist makes a Brompton bicycle more fun. Just imagine a stiff head-wind, a gradually rising grade in the road or even a hot day that rolls through your body like fire. Then imagine a invisible superhuman arm taking off the load and helping you and your bike keep moving smooth and easy. Just the imagining part is fun, but the real-life help of motor and battery is even more fun.

A throttle powered folding bike

If you are so inclined you can raise both feet in the air and power down the road at about twenty like a motor scooter. Generally you won’t, but every now and then it’s worth it. Most of the time you find that adding about half the driving power with your legs and the other half with the motor-assist works the best. Or too, you can pedal like normal almost all the time and just add a little power on the tough hills. These my friend, are part of the fun that having an E-Brompton can bring.

Trying to explain an E-bike to someone who hasn’t tried one can be tough. I have let so many people have their first experience on one and it is only then that the full realization of how great and fun they are comes into their minds. This too is part of the big fun of an E-Brompton, sharing that fun with others. You might be tempted to keep that part to yourself, your decision.
How do I have fun? I think you know now.

-Turbo Bob.

“ Learn to ride a bicycle. You will not regret it if you live.”---Mark Twain, American humorist.

Excited about one of these of your own? You can purchase an electric Brompton at NYCeWheels.com!

Want more Turbo Bob? Visit his very own Turbo Bob's Bike Blog!

15Jul/130

First impressions of the Montague Crosstown with BionX SL350 motor

Reading this guest review of a BionX-powered Crosstown from Montague really reminded me of my first time riding an electric bicycle--especially the part about the uncontrollable smiling! Enjoy!

-Miles


Today I got to ride the Montague Crosstown with BionX SL350 48V Electric Motor Kit. This is the first electric bike I've gotten to take for a good honest try and I did not want to stop riding once I started. Riding this bike was the most fun I've had in a very long time and I had the biggest ear to ear grin on my face during the whole ride around the park.

For starters, the Montague Crosstown is a Full Sized Folding Bike with 700c wheels. It has a rigid frame and a very quick and sporty feel to it. The 7 speed gear system really came in handy when I'd approach a hill or steep incline. Given its range of gears and 700x25c tires, this bike is really quick on flats and cruised up to 20 mph with ease. This is definitely a great bike for someone that wants the versatility of a hybrid style bike coupled with the more compact storage capabilities of a folding bike.

The BionX SL350 48V Electric Motor Kit made this already good bike an AMAZING bike. It has a few different assistance modes that I got to play with. It can be set-up to give you just a little extra boost when you are pedaling or you can hit the throttle and zip along enjoying the full power of the motor on demand. This was the first time I've ridden a bike with an electric motor kit like this. The pedal assist mode is great for the individual that wants to get good exercise but when you need a little extra help getting up that steep hill the BionX Kit is there to help you. The speed and power that you get from this kit is just incredible. Whether you want to pedal or not this thing hits 20 mph almost instantly. Its got plenty of power, great battery life, and a fun factor that is second to none! Overall this thing was just a blast to ride and had me feeling like a kid again. Every minute that I was riding it was a minute spent with a smile on my face.


If you want to feel like a happy kid again too, head over to the NYCeWheels website and check out the BionX-equipped Montague Crosstown!

5Jun/130

Dahon Jetstream with BionX makes for the perfect adventuring bike

The Dahon Jetstream P8 is a highly popular bike in our shop, probably because it can do things very few other 20" folding bikes can. An adjustable dual suspension system, Kevlar-lined tires, and a rack-ready frame means that this is a bike that can take on any kind of terrain. It's a bike made for adventure.

One of our Jetstream customers went the extra mile, mounting a cargo rack and a BionX electric conversion system to his ride, and proceeded to put it through its paces in some really wild places. He was so happy with the results that he sent us some beautiful pictures, along with the following review. If you are as impressed as Joseph was, visit the NYCeWheels website to learn more about the Dahon Jetstream folding bike, and about our BionX conversion kits.

Enjoy!
-Miles

Jetstream BionX conversion: "Perfect in every way"

Just wanted to let you all know how pleased I am with my Jetstream Bionx coversion with
the rear rack.  It's perfect in every way.  I took it out for a 23 mile spin around the circumference of Rancho Palos Verdes Peninsula yesterday... there are a lot of hill climbs and descents on this route (not to mention stunning vistas over the pacific, it's a very popular cyclist destination).  This was a former evening routine route for me and doing it on my new bike was a whole new experience, zipping up all the climbs was other worldly fun... I was surprised as well at the efficiency of the re-gen, I didn't expect it to do much but I used in on every extended descent and after a 23mile ride my battery was only half used and I'd had it in the 300% mode on everything except the steep descents.

The full suspension is just great and the bike handles more comfortably than I was expecting.  The incentives of this package are unheralded... full suspension, electric assist, cargo capable and folds into the size of a suitcase.  I can't think of why anyone would want anything else!  I love it.
I would rank my experience at 99% satisfied.

The 1% issue is the seat... because of the way the saddle mount is designed I can't trade out alternate saddles.  I  need something with more area and cushioning than the saddle that comes with the bike but don't know what to do because of the style of the mount... are there options available for me (besides padded shorts)... how can I configure a new saddle given the unique seat mount on the post?

Thanks!
Joseph

Update:
I found a product for my seat problem that seems to be the perfect solution here.

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31May/130

E-Brompton Banter—Part 9

E-Brompton Banter---Part 9---E-xtended Test

by Turbo Bob

When the great folks at NYCeWheels sent me this electric Brompton for testing a year ago, I figured it would be a 2 or 3 month excitement that might someday fade from my memory. As 3 months turned to 6 and now to 12, I know that myself and all that have gotten the chance to feel the magic this bike offers will hold onto the thrill for years to come. This isn't just any every-day, throw-away bike, it is special in a way that is both easy and hard to describe. As I put pen to paper (so to speak), let me try.

The Electric Brompton is the perfect folding electric bicycle for...everything!

Me being a 5 year + E-bike veteran, I have ridden so many different variations of them. Fast and slow, big and little, inexpensive and very expensive E-bikes have come and gone my way as my bike blog exploits continue. Yet none have offered the utility and convenience I have received from this H3L E-Brompton. Blazoned in bright white and powered by a compact 250 watt direct-drive front hub motor, this bike has been so many places and racked-up so many miles I can barely remember them all.

Tucked in the trunk, taken on public transportation, long group jaunts and just simple rides for local errands are all part of the resume it deals up. I have offered the controls to more friends and new friends than can be counted. It has been on radio interviews about E-bikes, tried at my bi-yearly E-bike seminars and might soon be seen on the pages of my local newspaper in an article about the blossoming desire and technology for E-bikes. Ridden in the mountains, at the beaches and city streets, I have put it though most every type of riding you could imagine.

The convenience of a folding bike meets the power of an electric bike

If you are reading this then you probably already know these facts. Folding bicycles are great. You can take them almost anywhere you go. The Brompton is as rock-solid as they come for all types of riding. It folds to the smallest of packages. It rides just as good as any full-sized bike. Security isn’t an issue as you can tuck it under a desk at work, under a table at an eatery and carry it inside at day‘s end. With three-speeds and an up-right seating position it is as comfy as can be.

E-bikes are great. They can help you up a grade or into a brisk head-wind. They can shorten the longer rides. You can arrive at your destination fresh and refreshed. Folks with conditions that make riding a regular bike tough or impossible can really take advantage of the benefits they offer. They put the fun in riding for so many people.

When you add the fantastic electric-assist to a convenient folding bike you get one of the best products ever in the bike world. That is where the E-Brompton really shines. It has just about everything one could ask for in a bike. Power to spare and utility come oozing out of every seam. Even people who were skeptical at first, after a quick explanation or ride, were also convinced this bike has so much to offer.

I will be the first to admit that way back I was not a big fan of the weak and flimsy folding bikes I tried. Plus after my first E-bike ride some 20 years ago, even though it was interesting, I found the bike was very heavy, slow and had the shortest of range. Times have changed and the E-Brompton is proof of that. Smooth, quality electric-assist mated to a rock-solid well-made folding bike is what the E-Brompton offers---nothing more and nothing less. It is hard not to lay it out that simply.

Electric Brompton: a labor of love

You may know that NYCeWheels worked very hard to come up with this combination. It is a labor of love and it shows with every stroke of the pedal. The only issue I’ve had in a year of riding this bike was one flat rear tire that I blame on a too wide rim strip, and which was repaired with a quick and easy modification of the factory part. I invested in a new tube and I think we can all agree that is small change for a year of fun and extensive riding.

I guess I will continue this extended test. For how long? Who know? What I do know is that I am loving it and the ride and reporting won’t stop this month or next. Thinking about getting your own electric Brompton? I say “Go for it!”

-Turbo Bob.

“No excuses.”---Ted Smith.