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

ELECTRIC BIKE

ELECTRIC BIKE KIT

26

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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:

Stromer ST2 Launch PartyS

Like what you see? Check out the specifics on the Stromer ST2 on our online shop.

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6

FEB

0

Moonlander BionX Snow

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.

Check out my video review of the Moonlander with BionX to see how this bike held up.

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6

MAY/10

7

I (Joe) recently became interested in ebikes, have done some extensive research, and finally bought a commercial model on which I’ve put a few hundred miles in the last two weeks. I’ll provide a review of that bike shortly, but first wanted to collect some more general thoughts on ebikes which I’ve consolidated from my research, personal experience, and a good dose of engineering basics. I’m certain almost everything I discuss here has been stated better and more thoughtfully elsewhere, so please forgive my repetition and perhaps naive thoughts. I will say, I think I would have found this type of write-up helpful to me early-on, and hope this discussion may help other potential new ebike riders as well.

So, if you’re like me, the idea of an ebike is appealing. Gas prices are up, “green” transportation is in, and bike commuting has a number of distinct advantages over other forms. Personally, I’ve been a bike commuter for about 3 years now. My regular job is outside Santa Fe, NM, and I have a decent enough means to bike commute about 10 months out of the year, with snow and weather leaving a few weeks for the car. Of course, bike commuting entails other compromises, such as the difficulty in accommodating “business” clothes, “helmet” hair, inclement weather, and of course, safety. As experienced bike commuters known, there’s pretty good solutions to most of these issues, with equipment, planning, and setting realistic expectations all playing a role.

eZee Cadence

eBike, bicycle with electric assist motor

The appeal of an ebike to me is the ability to commute a bit farther, to eliminate the more difficult portions of my commute and arrive “sweat free”, to perhaps save a bit of time, and to allow farther in-day trips from my main work site to various other locales at my employer (which is spread over 43 square miles, I often need to travel to more remote sites where I work). As important, is what an ebike for me wasn’t. It’s not a replacement for a motorcycle. I didn’t want to travel long distances just punching a throttle. I wanted this to be mostly bike with the added benefit of power assist. Taking my bike on public transport, into my office via an elevator, parking with other bikes, etc. are all important.

So, how does this lengthy preamble relate to choosing an ebike? If you read the ebike forums, there’s a near-obsession with specific characteristics of these bikes such as top speed, weight, and perhaps most prominent, range and battery capacity. Naturally, everyone has a list of requirements and desires that they want their bike to meet. At the top of many lists are reliability, range, light weight, top speed, and of course, low cost and maintenance. This wish list quickly runs head-on into the reality of engineering and design. You quickly discover there’s no one perfect bike that does it all. Some of the better ebike retailers start with a very good list of questions to help determine a customers desires. Given this, they can direct you toward a particular system, design, or model.

I stated many of my desires above. Considering my criteria, it was clear that a pedal-assist application is the way to go. The engineering analysis of pedal assist is itself a fascinating topic. In order to appreciate the benefits of pedal-assist, and of ebikes more generally, I found it enormously helpful to discuss and understand some specific characteristics of the most important motor on the ebike. No, not the electric hub, but YOU. Your power output and contribution to propulsion, and understanding the highly non-linear nature of that power output, is actually the key to understanding why pedal-assist is such an attractive option. So, if you’ll forgive my diversion here, I’d like to discuss a few elements of human power output.

You and I consume energy just by living. A resting person weighing 150 pounds has a metabolic rate of about 70 Watts (W). Light activity such as walking and just doing your day to day thing without exertion bumps this up to about 100-125 W. That’s just how our bodies have evolved in our environment. As you start to exert yourself, you spend more energy. This relationship is highly nonlinear. A moderate workout, in which you get your heart rate up and sweat quite a bit, has a total power output of about 200 to 250 W. Tour de France riders with years of special training, nutrition, and conditioning can sustain power outputs of 400 to 500 W for hours on end. You and I, not so much. Over about 300 W, and we’ll tire pretty quickly. So, 100 W is literally “no sweat”, while that next 100 W isn’t nearly as easy. It’s this nonlinear relation between exertion and power output that makes a pedal-assist ebike so attractive.

The goal is to transmit efficient power into the bike. As a rider, you can contribute a nice, healthy 50-100 W (on top of your metabolic 70-90 W) for a very long time, and you won’t notice this as much exertion. These should be the “first Watts” that the bike sees. It just so happens, that pedaling a bike on level ground in no wind requires roughly 100 W to sustain a speed of roughly 25 km/hr. This is the level that most folks would see as “easy” without much exertion. Of course, add a headwind, or hills, or a higher speed, and things quickly turn against you. Further, starts and stops require quite a bit of extra energy, too. Nearly every rider knows this intuitively without the engineering degree, and this helps to explain why bikers don’t particularly like to stop if they can help it, safety be damned.

Now, let’s consider a throttle-only, no pedal ebike versus a pedal assist. If your goal is to get long range with much less exertion on your part, the numbers quickly tell the story of why pedal-assist is so attractive. Remember that 100W figure for sustained 25 km/hr on level ground? At the theoretical limit, a throttle-only vehicle would last about 3 hours with a typical 36V, 10 Amp-hr battery pack (360 W-Hr), whereas a pedal-assist wouldn’t be contributing at all, and would have infinite range, since the rider is providing that first 100 W. Now, this is all theoretical. In practice, hills, starts/stops, the efficiency of your bike and motor, etc. quickly degrade these numbers. More typically, that throttle-only bike with a 360 W-hr battery may have a range of 30-40 km in total. Conversely, a good pedal-assist system in practical use on level ground driven in a way so that you don’t exert can have a range on order 80-90 km or even more.

And it’s the deviations from this ideal ride where pedal assist becomes so appealing. Take hills, for example. The added power to crest that hill can be contributed by the battery, so you don’t have to exert. You’re not constantly climbing during your ride (well, for most rides that is), and the addition of power assist as the last Watts added is what provides that marvelous ability to extend range, open up a whole-new way of biking, and achieve the near-nirvana of long-range, reliability, ease, and (relatively) low cost for an ebike. (And BTW, some studies have shown that the more constant exertion of steady, light exercise may be as beneficial as other forms. Pedal assist hybrid on ebike indeed may be a have-your-cake and eat-it-too proposition when it comes to fitness.)

Ok, so the previous is basically an engineering discussion of ebike propulsion. How does it work in practice and how can you use this understanding to maximize your ebike experience? A couple of things are important right up front, namely, speed and acceleration. Most folks want more speed, its only natural. Unfortunately, things quickly turn against you as you go faster from an energy management standpoint. Top of the list is drag. Drag increases as the square of your speed. Given that most of your energy (on flat ground) goes to moving the air out of the way, this gets ugly quick. If you’re willing to go a little slower, you have the enormous payoff of greatly extending your range. From a practical standpoint, 30 km/hr or so (19 mph) feels about right to me as a nice compromise between speed and efficiency. Others will balance this differently. It just so happens that 32 km/hr is codified in US law as well. At first, I wanted that super-fast ebike that did it all. After spending some time on my current bike, I’ve come to the conclusion that a moderate speed really is best, not only for efficiency, but for safety as well.

Ditto acceleration. My ebike (Trek Valencia+ with the Bionx system) has a 27-speed drive-train which I thought was ridiculous at first, since I could easily keep this in the lowest gear, and just let the motor pull me away from stops. It turns out, this is really bad energy management practice. Hard acceleration is inefficient and sucks tons of precious amps from your battery (just look at the meter on a Bionx system). I’ve come to realize that those extra low gears on the Valencia are actually very useful. Now, I down-shift at stops most of the time, and take just a bit longer to get up to speed, with the Bionx system providing more of a gentle nudge than full-on zippiness. Of course, that zippiness is there is you want it, or when time or safety require. The payoff in backing away from jack-rabbit starts is greatly extended range.

I rode the Critical Mass ride this Friday in San Francisco on the ebike, including some substantial distance to/from the event (yes, I mentioned my job was in New Mexico; I’m spending the year in the Bay Area on another assignment). I got about 50 miles out of the Trek/Bionx system, and had a grand time. Trek worked with Bionx and changed a number of factors in the Bionx system, some of which I think are not well-understood by the ebike crowd, including a change in battery voltage and capacity.

So, I’ve written a tome as a first post. Please forgive this. My goal was to pass along some of the things I learned in my research leading up to my first ebike kit purchase. More experienced folks here will no-doubt correct errors or offer additional points, which I look forward to.

Joe M.

Tagged as: eBike, Electric bicycle, Electric bike, hybrid electric bike7 Comments

24

FEB

11

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.

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.

Tagged as: gepida electric bike, Gepida Reptila 110011 Comments

15

MAR/12

2

By Turbo Bob

Bob riding his non eBrompton in anticipation of the big day.

Bob riding his non eBrompton in anticipation of the big day.

What a great time it is for electric bikes. The quality and ride keep getting better, as the weight and inefficiency gets trimmed. I just got the thumbs-up to be involved in an extended test on one of NYCeWheels’ E-Bromptons and I couldn’t be more excited. As Izzy builds this great converted Brompton for me, I will spend some time to think and dream about the pleasures to come.

You may have read my ’Boy Gets Brompton’ series of articles on one of the NYCeWheels’ sites. I got to spend three months with a Raw Lacquer M3L and came to understand it very well. Some of the stories were a little whimsical, but overall, I really got to dive deep into all the plusses and the few minuses of this great folding bike. Bottom line is, I love Bromptons.

As too, I love E-bikes. The electric-assist bike has been carving out its place in this world, and the word keeps getting spread. Great for so many people and reasons, adding a electric motor assist to a bike can make all the difference for utility and recreation riding. So what better combination then the ultimate folding bike, paired with an electric-assist system? It would seem to be a match made in heaven.

So let’s talk about the bike headed my way. First off, the base bike will be the new H3L. This brand-new version has a longer stem that allows the handlebars to sit two inches higher than the original layout. This will not only lend to my comfort (my 6’ 2” frame), but to the comfort of all riders who desire a more up-right seating position. This up-dated model still has the same super small folded size, and every great feature the L model offers. That includes fenders too.

An e-Brompton near NYCeWheels in NYC

An e-Brompton near NYCeWheels in NYC

You must know by now that you can get your Brompton bike in the most cool selections of colors. You can mix and match, or have yours in all one color. NYCeWheels offers their basic E-Brompton in black or white, but for a little extra, the color palette is wide open. They can also convert your existing Brompton to an E-bike so your color style doesn’t have to change. My new H3L E-Brompton is going to be the ‘in-your-face’ white. Talk about standing out in a crowd. It should be awesome.

The E-bike conversion is one that they have perfected to a ‘T’. With quality pieces from twenty different sources, Bert and Peter (Izzy too) have gone far out of their way to make sure this bike is right on the money. I’ve seen the videos and poured over the specs, and I am sure this E-bike won’t disappoint. My desire for the increased capacity 10 Ah battery was oked by the shop, so my fun rides will be extra long.

The battery will fit into the included ’C’ bag that impressed me so much on my last Brompton bicycle test. It has many pockets, is water-resistant, and comes with a water-proof cover bag just in case you want to ride in wet and wild conditions. There will be plenty of room to keep the battery charger in the bag so it will be handy when I am out-of-town. And believe me when I say, I plan on taking this bike to some far-away places. That is just one draw of a folding bike like this.

With a strong 250 watt front hub motor, I expect to have all the power I need. It will be a brushless and gearless motor. That means it will be quiet and efficient. With virtually no moving parts, it should last longer than who knows what. A thumb throttle will allow me to use the power when I like, with none wasted. That should net me some long rides with an easy way to the top of any hill or grade I encounter.

The whole conversion will add about 18 to 20 Lbs to the overall weight. It might make carrying the bike a little tougher, but almost half of that will be in the detachable carry bag, so I don’t expect it to bother me too much. And any weight penalty will be more than overcome by the power which the motor will add to my legs. If you have ridden E-bikes, you fully know what I’m talking about.

So, as I wait for the delivery driver to make his way to my house, I know that this E-Brompton will make it all worthwhile. Expect to see a flurry of articles about my new folding bike hit these pages. Take this time if you will, to read the ’Boy Gets Brompton’ stories to find out more about my take on Bromptons. Also, I hope you get a kick out of my E-titles for each post.

Thanks for reading, Turbo Bob.

Of course, you could always just order your own E-Brompton and find out for yourself... ;) or an convert your current Brompton to an eBrompton.

“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.”---Ernest Hemingway, By-Line.

Tagged as: e-Brompton, eBike, ebrompton, Electric bike, Electric bike kit, electric Brompton2 Comments

12

APR/12

0

This last month has been a month of firsts, a month of living to the fullest and making bold decisions. At the supermarket I passed up the 89 cent “poor man” onion to purchase the ever elusive Sweet Vidalia, at the MoMa, I passed up Andy Warhol to see the Diego Riverez exhibit, and as a means of transportation I took a detour into the 21st century, test-riding a couple of top of the line electric bikes, the Kettler Twin and the Stromer Electric Bike.

Both of these bikes were quite impressive. The Stromer Electric Bike has four different levels of assistance and at its fastest can go upwards of 30 miles per hour. The Kettler Twin’s not far behind, with three levels of assistance, and a 20 miles per hour top speed.

I had a fantastic time with both of these bikes, but it also got me thinking. Could I ever be the kind of person who rides an electric bike all the time? Did I miss my road-bike or had I been seduced by the thrall of electric speed?

Riding an electric bike is definitely a different experience than riding a traditional road-bike. One of the things I like best about road-bikes is the direct transference of effort to speed--- you get out what you put in. On an electric bike, you no longer need to put in the effort if you don't want to. If you start feeling a little tired, you can just kick up the assistance and let the bike do the work!

This makes an electric bike, like the Stromer or the Kettler Twin, a great choice for commuters. For someone who is tired of being stuck in traffic with their car, tired of paying gas prices month after month, an electric bike offers an elegant and virtually effortless solution.

While, at first, I found myself missing the physical challenges involved in riding a regular bike, eventually, I began to see all the amazing possibilities opened up by electric bikes. On a bike like the Stromer or the Kettler Twin, you could commute 14 miles to work, feel the sun on your face and the wind in your hair, without spending a dime on gas and without feeling the least bit tired!

If you asked me last week if I wanted to buy an electric bike I might raised an eyebrow or two, but now after speeding up a hill on the Stromer Electric Bike, pushing thirty and grinning like a maniac, I might be changing my tune.

But don't take my word for it, go try one for yourself, and see which electric bike is right for you!

Jack

Tagged as: Electric bike, electric bikes, Kettler Twin, Stromer electric bike, The StromerNo Comments

11

JAN

4

Electric bicycles are excellent ideas to help you improve your health, lose weight and get in shape. Exercise is the key to improving your health and losing weight according to many leading publications. Electric bikes are a fun way to do so. Electric bikes are easy to use and easy to pedal: electric bikes are easy bikes, which means that you can ease yourself into your workout routine in a non-intimidating way. If you're just looking for something to ride like a motorcycle, however, you need to ask yourself if an electric bike is appropriate for your needs. Electric bikes are about augmenting human power, not replacing it, which is what makes them great exercise tools.

Almost every diet program includes an exercise program and bike riding is a great form of exercise. Riding your bike to and from work, to and from school, to and from the grocery store, or just around town can provide great healthy benefits.

Since many people are not in the shape they would like to be in it is always a good idea to start your exercise program slowly and build up stamina. Electric bicycles are a great way to build up your stamina and improve your health.

There are two schools of thought about how electric bicycles can improve your health, and help you get into shape and lose weight.

You can either buy a power-on-demand (gear activated electric bike) or a power-assist (pedal-activated electric bike) to help you lose weight - each of these types of electric bicycles have their pluses and minuses.

Some people prefer the power-on-demand electric bicycles because it gives them the confidence to start riding their bike and getting into shape because they know at any point if they begin to struggle they can click on the power and be brought back to their home or other starting point.

By using these gear activated electric bicycles you can be assured that even if you lose steam and are at the tail-end of your stamina you will be able to get back to where you need to go because the bicycle can do the work for you.

Other people prefer the power-assist electric bicycles. These electric bikes do about 50% of the work for you so you can lose weight and build up stamina by gradually building up the distances you travel, knowing that the electric bike is doing about half of the work for you - this is great for people who are not as concerned with stamina but still need that extra assistance as they work towards getting into better shape.

As you build up your stamina you can start traveling longer distances in order to improve your health, get into better shape and lose weight.

Many diets, including every leading diet in the industry will include some form of exercise. Many doctors and medical experts agree that riding a bike is a great form of exercise. It is always a good idea to consult with your doctor before starting any exercise program.

You may even want to discuss electric bicycles with your doctor so they understand how the electric bike can help you, especially for those just starting an exercise program.

Electric bicycles are a great way to have fun while getting into better shape, losing weight and improving your overall health.

Tagged as: Electric bicycle, Electric bike, Electric bike kit4 Comments

14

JAN

0

Stromer ST1 electric bike

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.

Stromer ST1 Electric Bicycle

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

Stromer ST1 Electric Bicycle

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.

Like what you see? Check out an in-depth analysis of the Stromer ST1 on our website at NYCeWheels.com.

Tagged as: electric bicycles, Electric bike, stromer st1No Comments

18

NOV/14

0

By: Mike from DIYBIKING.COM

Stromer ST1 Electric Bike

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.

Stromer ST1 Electric Bike

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.

Stromer ST1 Electric Bicycle

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.

Filed under: UncategorizedNo Comments

22

OCT/14

0

Surly Moonlander powered by BionX D-Series

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.

Surly Moonlander electric bicycle tire with BionX

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.

Electric Surly Moonlander Cassette with BionX

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.

Surly Moonlander electric bike BionX

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.

Surly Moonlander electric bike BionX brake

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!

Surly Moonlander electric bike BionX cliff

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.

Surly Moonlander electric bike BionX portrait

Like what you see? Click here to get your own.

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.

Filed under: Electric bikeNo Comments

6

SEP/14

0

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.

Electric bikes

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!

Thank you.

Victoria F."

izip-metro-electric-bike

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!

Jack

Tagged as: Electric bike, iZip E3 metroNo Comments

22

MAY/14

2

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.

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!).

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!

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 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.

Tagged as: e-Brompton, electric Brompton bike2 Comments

27

MAR/14

1

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!

Tagged as: E-bike, e-Brompton, electric Brompton1 Comment

4

FEB/14

0

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.

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 Bike

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!

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.

Tagged as: A2b electric bike, A2B metro, comfortable electric bikeNo Comments

15

NOV/13

0

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.

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.

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.

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.