From the monthly archives:

December 2011

First ride on an electric bicycle

by Electric bike guru on December 21, 2011

Here's another electric bicycle for the city

Here's another electric bicycle for the city

I recently had the opportunity to ride my first electric bike, an eZee Sprint. Because you can zip around more quickly than usual, I found riding this bike to be really fun. When you ride without the electric assistance, it just feels like a normal bicycle.

After you turn the keys and get on the bike, you can activate the electric assist whenever you’re pedaling. The extra speed feels great. I rode around looking for hills to test it out, and found one with a mild but appreciable grade. The electric assist easily took me right up it while I was pedaling only casually, still in one of the higher gears from an earlier flat stretch. Up the hill there was no real effort on my part, and I was flying. Uphill, but with no effort.

A Comfortable Electric Bike

In addition its boosted speed, the eZee Sprint is also a very comfortable electric bicycle. I didn’t think about comfort while riding, which is probably the best endorsement of a bike’s comfort one can give.

Though I am 6’1, I was easily able to obtain the upright riding position I prefer for city riding. This electric bicycle also has a number of other comfort enhancing features.

First, it has front suspension. Second, the eZee Sprint fits and comes equipped with wide hybrid tires with only a little tread, which are idea for city and all-occasion riding. The particular model I rode had Schwalbe Marathon Pros (my favorite tires) in 26 x 1.75. The wide tires in conjunction with the front suspension make for a very comfortable ride, even on New York’s especially rough streets. If it’s comfortable here, it’ll do well on any street anywhere. Finally, the saddle is very plush, and this electric bicycle has an aluminum low top tube frame so you can easily get on and off.

A Practical City Bike

The eZee Sprint has an internally geared, 7-speed Shimano Nexus hub with a quite powerful internal roller brake. Shifting is done with thumb shifters, much like a mountain bike.

Technical Features of the eZee Sprint

Also in the cockpit is the control for the Brushless Servo 350 watt electric motor, which is housed in the front hub. The motor can do bursts of up to 700 watts. The throttle for the motor is located in the right grip and functions much like a dirt bike or motorcycle. There is no front derailleur, so all speed modulation is done with your right hand.

Overall, the eZee Sprint is a very practical electric bike as it has all the essentials for commuting and city riding. It has an aluminum alloy rear rack that can accept panniers, and front and rear lights powered by the rechargeable lithium-ion battery. There’s also a convenient battery life indicator on the handlebars, next to the computer, which can tells you how fast you’re going. Though I haven’t ridden it at night yet, the lights seem quite bright. It also has a 2-pronged kickstand. With these accessories, its comfort, and the electric assist, the eZee Sprint makes a very fun and practical commuter and city electric bicycle.


Stromer Electric Bike Review

by Electric bike guru on December 8, 2011

Stromer bike with Seth in Brooklyn

Stromer bike with Seth in Brooklyn

Aside from the massive down-tube, the Stromer Electric Bike looks like a typical mountain bike. Once you climb aboard this Swiss-designed bicycle you’ll see this bike is anything but typical.

Traveling just one mile on the Stromer electric bike, with the 600 watt motor pushing you along, you’ll think you’re riding a motorcycle.
Biking in New York City traffic with the Stromer is a wild experience, as the Pedal Assist (PAS) mode kicks in and helps you fly down the streets. You’ll have to pedal to keep the bike moving, but with each pedal stroke you’ll feel a bit of assistance, pushing you along and making you smile as you keep up with cars and pass other cyclists.

Smooth assistance: hallmark of Stromer bicycles

Simply pedal harder and the Stromer electric bike goes faster. There are three settings for the PAS setting; low, medium and high. Low provides a low amount of assistance while high throws plenty of power behind your pedal strokes.

With the Power on Demand (POD) mode, you just twist the throttle and the electric motor kicks in. I was testing this out on the quiet street at the base of Astoria Park and was amazed at how smooth and powerful the Stromer electric bike performed. In this mode there’s no need to pedal, so it starts to feel a lot like a moped or motorcycle.

If you don’t want any assistance, you can turn off the electric assist and pedal along with a wide range of eight gears. Shifting is smooth and direct, with an ample selection of gears to power the Stromer electric bike up most hills or down busy streets.

How does the Stromer electric bicycle handle?

Stromer electric bicycle in New York City!

Stromer electric bicycle in New York City!

The handling of the this electric bike is similar to most any mountain bike. Wide handlebars provide a stable ride, and the wheel base is long enough to give you a stable ride. All of this is helpful when speeding along with the 600 watt electric motor, but even at slow speeds the bike handles quite well.

The components on the Stromer electric bike are top notch. Front suspension, coupled with beefy tires, helps with any rough roads that you might encounter. Together with front and rear disc brakes, this bike is not only fast, but it’s built rock-solid so as to handle anything you can throw at it.

I rode this bike over the Queensboro and Williamsburg Bridge in New York City. Both bridges have tight entry and exit points, but the Stromer electric bike is nimble enough navigate these sections with ease. This is not some clunky, unwieldy electric bike; the Stromer bike has a great ride at slow speeds and through tight spaces.

With the pedal assist mode I was able to zip right up the bridge inclines with ease. The Stromer electric bike would be great for any beginner bike commuter who wants to ride to work but is intimidated by hills.

In all, the Stromer electric bike is a powerful machine that can zip you around any city and yet it handles just like a regular bike. It’s a blast to ride and solid as a tank.