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

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

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.

 

 

13Dec/124

E-Brompton Banter—Part 5—Surfin’ Safar-E

E-Brompton Banter---Part 5---Surfin’ Safar-E--- By Turbo Bob

E-Brompton and board carrier

E-Brompton and board carrier

After my last installment of E-Brompton Banter, you might think I have my head in the clouds. You wouldn’t be the first one to think that. Today we are headed back to earth, specifically the shore break here in sunny Southern California.

Now, I can’t take my E-Brompton out in the waves to catch the big one, but I can sure ride the coastline to watch some great surfing. And the E-Brompton could be the best way to get yourself and your board to the action. Board trailers, board racks or just carrying it while you ride west makes it easy. Back in my surfing days, bikes, woodies and surfboards went together like Hawaii and shooting the curl. Nowadays with all the woodies in car shows or museums, bikes are bigger than ever for getting to the beach.  Having an E-bike is even better than a woodie. Every cool surfer knows that protecting our planet is part of what keeps the waves rolling. How are you going to hang ten if the ocean gets sick? Riding an E-bike is just one way to help, and a big one for sure. So hitch-up your baggies and ’Let’s go surfing’.

What makes the Electric Brompton Stand Out?

You could use just any bike to get you and your board to the waves, so why an E- Brompton? Some of the reasons stand out just looking at it. The solid build, electric-assist, stylish looks and convenience factors easily talk loud enough to be heard over the pounding surf. Once you try one out, the reasons just keep flowing. Here’s a powerful bike that can be folded and tucked away into the safest of places. While you rock the waves, your E-Brompton will be waiting to take you to the next big break.

Combine the small fold with a cool surfboard carrier like in the photo, and you will never wonder where to park your bike again. This carrier uses the board as the trailer, and it all tucks into a small bag for security or storage. Once again that convenience factor stands out like a switch foot in the white water. And if glassy conditions abound, you’ll be hangin’ loose with the crowd at the fish taco stand on the neatest beach bike ever. Can you say kowabunga?

Making new friends with the Brompton

I have been cruising the E-Brompton lent to me by NYCeWheels all up and down the coast. It allows me to tuck into some tight spots to see the awesome surfing all over our area. It makes it easy to get access to many great areas that overlook the best local shore breaks. The electric-assist gets me up to some of the higher spots with ease. And if need be, a quick fold makes it easy to climb and carry to the tougher places in the cliffs.

When the waves are blown-out and the surfers are on the beach, I’ve had many conversations with them about this great E-Brompton. They are quick to spot it amongst all the other bikes in the area. Many of them live on boats or in the smallest of places, and they are fast to see how handy it could be for them. If they aren’t too wet or sandy, I’ll send them off for a test ride which always brings a smile. I love to brag about my old surfing days but they usually just want to talk about the Brompton Bike.
Talking about Bromptons is almost as much fun as riding them. These wonderful folding bikes are as much like a piece of art as it gets. The care and technology put into each Brompton is amazing. People love watching it fold and unfold. They can’t seem to get enough of the way it all tucks together. And when you climb on one, the thrills just keep coming. The ride, easy pedaling and looks appeals to lots of people, not just surfers.

The E-Brompton- a professional Electric Conversion

Turbo and the E-Brompton just love the beach

Turbo and the E-Brompton just love the beach

The E-assist on this Brompton is done in the most professional way. It looks and feels factory. So simple and powerful, you might want to ride it instead of surfing. I’ve had a few surfers forgo some nice waves to stay on the beach a little longer as they check out and try this special E-bike. In fact, the amount of interest it gets makes me wonder if NYCeWheels can keep up with the demand they seem to generate. They don’t mind building as many E-Bromptons as the world needs, I would think.
Have you tried an E-Brompton from NYCeWheels yet? No, well then hang-ten over to the shop and see what you are missing.

Thanks for kickin’ in, Turbo Bob.
“Bicycles are almost as good as guitars for meeting girls.”---Bob Weir.

Read more Blogs by Turbo Bob

8Dec/120

The Stromer Electric Bike: My First E-bike Experience

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

Learning about the Stromer Electric Bike

Stromer Electric Bike

Stromer Electric Bike

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

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

Activating the electric motor on the Stromer

Stromer LCD Panel

Stromer LCD Panel

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

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

The Stromer: Deluxe Vs Elite

Stromer Electric Bike

Stromer Electric Bike

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

Stromer Electric Bike Discount

Stromer Electric Bike Discount

A Stromer Electric Bike for the Holidays

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

Best

Jack

26Jun/120

Advantages of the E-bike

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

E-bikes are cheap and green

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

 

E-bikes make long distance commuting possible

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

Electric bikes give you choices

Stromer Electric Bike

Stromer Electric Bike

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

Electric bikes make it easy to ride together

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

 

E-bike= great times

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