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

10May/111

Turbo Snakes a Reptila-Part 3 | The Reptila gets Slimed

With more than a few miles on the odometer of this Gepida Reptila 1100, I can start shedding some skin on the details of this European pedelec.   With some hissing, puffing, and poison spitting, I will lay out the story of my first week of riding this electric-motored bike.   I will dictate this while I take the time to do some push-ups on a hot rock.

Bob and his Gepida at the Park

Bob and his Gepida at the Park

First off, I have to say that the efficiency of the Reptila is something else.   It uses a fairly small battery, and puts out a lot of distance between charges.   The up-to-date power system is very intuitive to your needs when riding.   The torque sensor has a fine feel for your output to the pedals, and responds quickly with the motor assist.   On the display unit, you can easily vary the amount of overall assist to increase your riding range, or add more power for the hills.   The motor is so quiet, you can only tell when its running, by the pull it gives.

The styling is very modern.   Unlike some gaudy electric bikes on the market, this Gepida has the clean line of an everyday bike.   The battery rack looks like a super-styled piece from the future, not a over-sized and unusable rack with a battery mounted to it.   The frame, paint, and other pieces are well finished and pleasing to the eye.   Only on closer inspection, have many people realized it is a pedelec.

One of the neat features of the Reptila is the quick adjust and almost infinitely settable handlebar and stem system.   Once you have found the sweet spot for this, you are set, but if many people ride it, it is easy to adjust for their fit.   And with a bike like this, you will want your friends to give it a try to see what the future of bikes is all about.   The same goes with the seat adjustment.   The suspension seat post height is changed with no hassle.   Of course, most e-bikes have this feature nowadays.   I did change the seat angle some with the included hex wrench.   The cushy saddle is not the type you would use for major long-distance rides, but I think most people who would order this bike, would find it just right.

Off we go.   After some minor shake-down rides in my neighborhood, I was ready for the open road.   My first ride was almost 25 miles.   I expect the battery to hold more power as the charge cycles continue.   I did use full power to attack a major hill that I try to avoid on my own electric-assist bike.   After about three quarters of the way up, I was getting a little winded, so I pushed the bike to the top.   That is way, way farther that I have ever made it on that hill before.   On most of the ride, I left the power-assist adjustment at about half.   That is a good way to maximize the range of the battery on level and near level ground.

The riding was smooth and easy.   The motor's assist comes on with no abruptness.   It acts as if your legs are much stronger than normal.   The display unit keeps track of your speed in very large digits.   It also records your trip distance, average speed and ride time.   It remembers the total distance traveled (odometer) and has a two part display to let you know how much farther the battery will take you.   The display has a few other features too.   The Gepidas' computer is large, easy to read, and well thought out.

I felt pretty safe on the road with the Gepida Repila 1100 lighting package.   This is standard equipment.   The bright headlamp and tail light are run from the battery's power.   It is controlled by an additional switch on the display.   It even has an automatic mode that will switch in on when it gets dark, if you are in a tunnel or ?.   I will report on the headlamp's power output after I get a chance to ride it at night.   I am a stickler for using flashing lights on both ends, even in the daytime, but so far I have been happy with the performance of the factory lights.   Gepida even included a cool bell with a nice tone and a continuously rotating button that is hard to explain.   You might have to try it for yourself to see what I mean.

Oh yeah, the slimed part.   I came out from a lunch stop to find the back tire flat.   It was the perfect chance to off the Woods-dunlop valve stemmed tubes, and get some thorn-resistant ones.   I squirted in some green goop (Slime) to reduce the chance of another flat.   The Schwalbe Tyrago tires have puncture protection, but somehow the smallest piece of a stranded wire made it through to the tube.   With the added thickness of the new tubes, the slime, and the American spec schrader valves, I think I will be much happier.

With a lot more riding, testing, and reporting to go, I am glad you are following this story on the Gepida Reptila 1100.

Thanks for reading, Turbo Bob.

"When I go biking, I repeat a mantra of the day's sensations: bright sun, blue sky, warm breeze, blue jay's call, ice melting and so on.   This helps me transcend the traffic, ignore the clamorings of work, leave all the mind theaters behind and focus on nature instead.   I still must abide by the rules of the road, of biking, of gravity.   But I am mentally far far away from civilization.   The world is breaking someone else's heart."---Diane Ackerman.

22Mar/111

Turbo Snakes a Reptila (1100), Part 2-Bob Digs His Claws into a Gepida Reptila 1100

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.

Bob Un-packing Gepida Reptila

Bob Un-packing Gepida Reptila

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.

8Mar/116

Turbo Snakes a Reptila (1100), Part 1-Bob Stalks His Prey

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.

Bob waiting for the Gepida Reptila 1100

Bob waiting for the Gepida Reptila 1100

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

Turbo Bob

 

"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.

24Feb/1111

Cruising on the Gepida Reptila 1100 electric bike

Who knew that fouling up the print drivers at work would earn me a glorious mid-afternoon bike ride through Central Park?

Harrison astride the Gepida Reptila after his exhilarating ride

That is exactly what happened on the lovely faux-spring day we enjoyed here in New York last Friday. While the IT guy dialed in to fix my mess (sorry Bert!), I took the opportunity to take the new Gepida Reptila 1100 for a spin.

These new Gepida electric bikes came to us straight from the Budapest factory back in December. I’ve been itching to take one out ever since, and only restrained myself due to the nasty weather we’ve had. Did I really want to take this beautiful Hungarian-built machine over the dirty, pitted, salt-encrusted New York City streets?

But as I found out the notorious NYC streets would have been no match for this tough four-season commuter. The Gepida Reptila after all comes from that distant polyglot land, Europe, where the electric bicycle is taken seriously as a legitimate form of year-round transportation and where, I understand, they also have their share of snow and cobblestones.

As a result the Gepida Reptila is built to be a tough, sturdy, every day electric bike. Unlike many other electric bikes in this category, the Gepida Reptila is also light, maneuverable, and rides just like a regular bike. Don’t let the elegant classic-cruiser frame fool you: this is hydro-formed alloy – light, stiff, and strong.

Gepida Reptila, the perfect electric bike?

Probably the best thing about the Gepida Reptila is the range afforded by the combination of efficient 250w motor and the twin 6ah batteries mounted discretely on the rear rack. Gepida balanced larger batteries against the resulting heavier load and settled on a happy medium. With the second battery in place the Gepida Reptila can travel as far as 70 miles (depending on rider weight, wind, and terrain) on a single charge.

While I didn’t get a full feel on my initial ride for all the capabilities of Gepida’s proprietary console, which blinked up at me with all sorts of readings, the most important read out I noticed was the battery charge indicator: it remained at full charge throughout my 30 minute ride. Not a tick lost.

The one cycling activity I love more than test-riding beautiful new electric bikes on a lovely day is long distance bicycle touring. How would the Gepida Reptila hold up on a long-distance tour? Given the battery life, the comfortable ride afforded by the front suspension, the rear rack, the wide 8 speed internally geared hub, and the ample torque for tackling long inclines, the Gepida Reptila I think would make for a supurb bike for a supported tour. TransAmerica Trail anyone? It could probably be done on a Gepida Reptila electric bike.