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.
The eZee bikes are in, he said without even asking who might be on the other end. Actually I have been on the phone with Bert an hour earlier when he told me this is the big day. It was around 2-3 in the afternoon and the shop on New York City’s Upper East Side was going to close at 7pm. Bert said he needs a couple hours to tune them up, I should be on the way by no later than 4pm since I could be hitting traffic coming in from Long Island at this time.
The brand new ezee bikes are made in Shanghai by Mr. Ching’s eZeebike Kinetic Technologies. The bikes have been around in the UK for a few years now, 50cycles is the main distributor there. Nycewheels together with Electric Vehicles Northwest are the US importers of the ezee bikes. I have been the unofficial new product tester for Nycewheels for the past year - a rough job but someone has to do it
Bert has been talking about the eZee electric bikes for many months now and seemed very exited every time they came up – I knew it had to be something special.
Unfortunately I hit traffic on the way in from my Long Island and arrived only one hour before the electric Bike shop in NYC closes for the day. I will of course go back soon to spend a few hours on every single eZee bike.
Below are some quick notes about the four eZee bikes I rode for about 10-15 minutes each.
I will post a full review soon, I just need to get to the shop first thing in the morning and take each of the eZee bikes for a good one hour test drive.
Overall the eZee bikes are beautiful machines, top quality frames with high-end components and comfortable seats. All eZee bikes come with a choice of NiMH or Li-Ion batteries/chargers. The Battery cases are the same, so each bike can run on either one. All eZee bikes are suited for commuters and everyday use, they are equipped with lights, fenders and racks. I think they have bells and bike computers as well. The lighting system on some of them was powered by a generator and on others by the electric bikes power system, I don't have a preference there.
What a great electric bike. The Torq ezeebike is super light and feels like a non powered road bike. The Torq has a smaller 250 watt front hub motor with amazing pull, it just keeps building up speed – the eZee TorQ very smoothly goes to what seems to be past 20 mph. It feels like a very efficient setup that probably runs for many miles per charge. (unlike those older, heavy EV Global eBikes)
The eZee TorQ is the bike riders electric bike, a throttled bike unlike the pedal activated Giant Lite but almost as light and smooth.
The second eZee bike I took around the block was the eZee Sprint. This electric bike also has a front hub motor but a bit more powerful than the eZee Torq. It rides very well and is super easy to use. It has one of those 7 speed internal hubs which you can shift without pedaling, this comes in handy when driving in NYC traffic. You can down shift to first gear if you get forced to stop short, on a derailour bike you have to take off in high gear - no fun at all. The bike has a smooth front suspension and handles well on rough roads and feels very save and stable. The step through frame is great for stop and go traffic and city riding. If you’re looking for a bike that does it all – this is it.
The Luxury Cruiser of the line of eZee bikes. The Cadence uses a triple-crown-fork for a Cadillac like ride. The electric motor and battery system is the same is the Sprint and provides plenty of pull. The eZee Cadence even has a lighting system that runs of the main battery rather than a Dynamo. The Cadence is a muscle Cruiser that replaces the retired Wavecrest electric powered Tidalforce iO-Cruiser.
What a surprise, the Quando looks like a standard little motorized fold-up bike, but boy does it move. The eZee Quando uses a similar hub motor as the Torq but in the rear instead of front. This little guy has amazing hill climbing ability and top speed. I am certain this electric folding bike will take the place of many scooters for it being light, fast and has 3 times the range of most electric scooters. Some people argue that it's the best folding bike out there because of its superb electric assistance. The Quando has to the perfect New York City commuter bike. Since it's a bike that folds it will be allowed to go on all trains and buses during rush hour as well. It may not fold as compactly as the Brompton folding bike, but it holds the honor of being the most compact electric folding bike on the market. The Quando is truly a portable bike.
Sorry about the brief reviews, I will try do a detailed one for each eZee bike once I get back to Bert’s shop. In the meantime, stop in yourself for a test ride, you will be amazed by the performance and looks of the new eZee bikes electric bikes at Nycewheels.
The rumble of a large truck was my first clue that my new Gepida Reptila pedelec had arrived. I was coiled and ready to strike, but by the time I had slithered out front, the driver had already opened the back door and I could spy the package he was delivering. Although large, it was not difficult for me to help him maneuver it into my garage. With a quick signature, he was gone as quickly as he appeared, and it was time to see what was inside waiting for me.
The box label confirmed it was the Gepida Reptila 1100 I was expecting.
After opening the top flaps of the box, I lifted out the box of pieces I was to install myself. A pair of pedals, that was it. Also in the box was a pedal wrench, a set of allen wrenches, a pair of battery keys, and the battery charger. The electric bike was as close to 100% assembled as you could get. I laid the box on it's side and slid out my new bike. Setting it upright unto the kickstand, I got my first chance to see this Reptila. Very nice.
It actually took longer to remove all the packing material from the bike, then to do the final assembly. And the bike was well packed. Lots of padding was tie-strapped to all parts of the bike. It made the journey with no damage or problems. I clipped off the tie-straps in such a way that would allow me to re-use them on other projects, I'm all about recycling.
The pedals go on easily. They are marked R and L. The left side pedal has threads that turn the opposite way of normal. The pedal wrench made quick work of securing them. I do like to use a little anti-seize on the threads, but any kind of grease is better than nothing.
The supplied allen-wrench is for tightening the handlebar stem. Straighten the stem to align it with the front wheel, insert the long end of the allen wrench through the stem (there is a hole for it), and use a box end wrench or crescent wrench on the end of the allen to get enough leverage to tighten it securely. It does have to be fairly tight. That's it, the bike is assembled. We'll talk about the seat and handlebar adjustment after we start the battery charging procedure.
Your new Gepida electric bike will come with one battery and one empty battery housing. Using one of the keys, figure out which is which. As you look at the battery, you will notice one end has a button and a group of lights. This will allow you to determine the state of charge. Push the button, and the number of lights that light, will give you an idea of how fully charged it is. These lights will also show you when it is charging and when it is done. Before plugging the charger into the wall socket, plug the other cord into the battery. Make sure the battery is on a solid surface, and you can see the lights on the end. It is a good idea to wait 10-20 seconds after plugging in the battery before you plug the charger in to the wall socket. This will let the two units know they are one, and reduce chances of problems.
Once the charger is plugged into the wall socket, you will see the lights come on in sequence. When the light go out, it is fully charged. The book says the battery will fully charge in 4 1/2 hours, but your first charge might take a little longer. Also, it might take up to five charge cycles (charge and then discharge while riding), before the battery reaches full strength. Gepida gives you the option of purchasing a second battery to double the electric-assisted range. You probably won't need it, but if you do, they say up to 70 miles with a pair of batteries is possible.
If you have seen the Gepida video on the NYCeWheels site, then you will know how easy and cool the handlebar adjustment is. Find a spot you like, and change it around until it feels just right. Same for the seat height. I like the front of the saddle a little higher than the rear. Use one of the allen wrenches to change that if you like. Pinch the tires to make sure they are full. Go for a short test ride. Fiddle with the few adjustments until they are comfortable.
Two more quick things before I finish today. Setting and operating the computer / dash display is pretty simple. Check the manual on NYCeWheels website for details. Also, watch that video for a few tips. Make sure to set the speedometer for MPH, if that is your preference. It comes in KMH, which is not mine. Also, set the clock and learn to get through the other menus. The other thing is the valve stems on the tires. Mine came with European spec stems. Bert at NYCeWheels tells me that standard American spec Schrader valves will be on all future bikes he ships. These European ones are a little like a Presta valve, but work a little differently. The supplied air pump fits them fine. It wouldn't be hard to install some standard tubes, and I just might. If I do, they will be the thorn-resistant ones, filled with green goop.
So you can see, getting your new Gepida Reptila 1100 shipped to you and making it ready for daily use, is a breeze. I have over a hundred miles on my new bike already. I am loving the feel, power, and comfort of my Gepida Reptila. Plenty more on this fantastic European E-bike is coming your way soon.
Turbo Bob, San Diego CA
"Just as the idea of classic Greek culture was the most perfect harmony of mind and body, so a human and a bicycle are the perfect synthesis of body and machine."
Richard Ballantine, Richards' Ultimate Bicycle Book.
A big misconception about electric bikes is that they're all laid-back cruiser bikes, built to ride on boardwalks and nicely paved bike trails. A die-hard mountain bike enthusiast probably wouldn't consider an electric bike for a bumpy, dirt trail with lots of hills. However, there are electric mountain bikes that have fully-loaded frames and can take quite a beating on a rough trail. For an aging mountain bike rider that can't quite tackle those hills anymore, this is the perfect solution. Electric assistance can be applied when needed: on the last leg of the trail, near the top of a large hill, or throughout the ride, making it less strenuous and more enjoyable.
OHM Sport Electric Mountain Bike
One of the best electric mountain bikes on the market is made by OHM Cycles. The OHM Sport electric mountain bike is the best model in their line of electric bikes, and comes equipped with all of the bells and whistles for heavy-duty mountain bike rides. There are hydraulic disc brakes, full suspension, 27 speeds on a Shimano Deore shifter, knobby Kevlar tires, and a lightweight 48 lb frame. This is extremely light for an electric bike!
The OHM Sport uses a high-torque 350 watt motor to power up hills. It has four levels of motor assistance, as well as regenerative braking for hills. The electric system is one of the best out there, and with regenerative braking, the Lithium battery can last up to 30 or 40 miles on a single charge. As an electric mountain bike, the OHM Sport has some of the best mechanical and electrical components.
Electric Mountain Bike Conversion
Many people can't bear to part with their mountain bike, especially if it's already souped up and tough. Luckily, you can convert a standard bicycle to an electric bicycle using an electric conversion kit. One of the best electric bicycle kits on the market is made by BionX. With different motor speeds, wheel sizes, and battery mounts, the BionX electric conversion kit is the most versatile motor kits for bicycles. It's also tough enough to ride mountain trails without any problems.
Similar to the OHM Sport, the BionX system has different levels of pedal-assistance as well as regenerative braking. It's one of the best electric bike kits on the market, and is adaptable to almost any bicycle. An electric mountain bike built with BionX is sure to be reliable for years of rough riding.
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.
Another great extended test begins today. After getting my order confirmation from NYCeWheels last week, the shipping company has called to schedule the delivery of my new Gepida Reptila 1100 this afternoon. To say I am excited doesn't do justice to the word. Watching the Gepida video of Peter demonstrating this bike has fueled my fire to grasp it. If you haven't seen this clip on NYCeWheels website or Facebook page, I suggest you have a look. I am already impressed with this new electric-motored bike, and I haven't even ridden it yet.
If you've read my articles on the Brompton folding bike, then you might have a feel for the reason I titled this story the way I did. The name of this bike is just so cool. I will make every attempt to add reptile references to the titles and story lines. I am even thinking about getting a snakeskin to attach to the top tube of my new bike. I'm still debating on if a pair of large fangs on the handlebars would be too much.
So here is the bite to this series of articles. Bert is a 'nice' guy. Bert is the top Gecko at NYCeWheels. Bert knows I have been riding my E-bike for over three years. Bert thinks I can evaluate this bike and convey its quality and worth. Bert sends me the bike fully assembled and ready to ride. Bert lets me give it the full shakedown and then tell you how cool it is. Bert expects you to believe me and then you rush over to get your own Gepida Reptila 1100. Sounds simple enough to me.
Lets do this!
Since before, and after, my wife and I purchased the electric-assist bikes we have now, we have test ridden many different ones. I have reported on many of them on my own blog site. I have a long relationship with bikes and electro-mechanical things. I have devoted my life to the repair and modification of transportation machines. I think Bert is correct in thinking that my opinion on such matters can be trusted. As he, and you found in my Brompton blogs, I will tell you the straight story without the salesperson slant. I'm a mechanic, not a salesman.
Enough of that, on to the bikes. The electric motored bike I ride is the least expensive one on the market. Fairly low quality and very heavy, I have still been happy with it. I have found that most people wouldn't. They wouldn't put up with the mechanical problems I had to overcome to make it dependable. Most people want an E-bike that is built well and exhibits no problems. That is kind of a by-product of cost. I tell people you don't want the cheapest, and you don't need the priciest. Somewhere in between those extremes is the machine for you. The Gepida Reptila 1100 fits into that category. With it's European quality and it's mid-range cost, it should be a perfect fit for most people who are looking for an electric motored bicycle. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Chances are if you are reading this, you have a fairly good idea what an electric bike is and why you want one. They go by many names. I have found I like the term 'E-bike'. Also used are--Electric bike--Electric bicycle--Electric assist bike--Bike with an electric motor--Pedelec--And others. Some of these have to do with your ability to power up the motor without pedaling. There are many brands and types of E-bikes. The best and most popular use a brush-less motor in the hub of the front or rear wheel. A lithium type battery is the strongest and lightest one available. There are different type of lithium batteries, the Reptila uses a lithium-ion. But all in all, it is a bicycle, with a seat, pedals, and wheels.
So check out that video, search the NYCeWheels site for info, and follow along here as I power down on my new Gepida Reptila 1100.
In the meantime you can read Harrison's first review of the Gepida Reptila
"I took to calling my bike my friend. I carried on silent conversations with it. And of course I paid it the best attention. Which meant that every time I returned home I stood the bike upside down, searched for a clean rag and polished the hubs and the spokes. Then I cleaned the chain and greased it afresh. That operation left ugly stains on the stone in the walkway. My mother would complain, beg me to put a newspaper under the wheel before starting to clean it. Sometimes she would get so incensed that she would say to me, in full sarcasm, 'I'm surprised you don't take that thing to bed with you!' And I would retort---'I would if I had a decent room and a big enough bed.' "
Henry Miller, My Bike and Other Friends.
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.
Read more Blogs by TurboBob!
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,