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e bikes

Electricity and Bikes?

by John on March 14, 2013

My coleague Eric on the electric brompton

My colleague Eric on an electric folding bike

As a complete neophyte to electric bikes, it came as a complete shock that you could combine the two elements. Electric?…. Bike? I always figured that you would always want to pedal the bike that you happen to be on. Chalk this up to a lifetime of easy, relatively flat urban riding. To end my ignorance, this week my friend Eric introduced me to the concept of electrified rides in the form of various dedicated E-bikes, as they are coined, such as the pony packing Stromer, powerful eFlow, and the highly adaptable BionX Conversion Kits that can turn near any bike under the sun into an E-bike. You can even make an electric folding bike – Now that’s innovation.

My E-bike education

My education began with the sleek Stromer electric bike, this sporty steed of a bike is a full blown E-bike designed for maximum efficiency with a lithium 500W battery built into the down tube. Fast, powerful, and comfortable, with a frame modeled after a traditional mountain bike that has some nice front suspension and disc brakes. Amazing.

Stromer electric bike

Stromer electric bike

Another impressive e-bike, which just arrived at the shop, is the eFlow nitro. Like the Stromer, the eFlow Nitro also does not shy away from clever design. Where Stromer hides the battery inside the down tube, the eFlow Nitro is designed with the battery cleanly hidden away in the seat tube, cleverly distributing the weight underneath the rider.

Both the Stromer and the eFlow Nitro offer the most bleeding edge technology and innovation to take up any nasty hill or incline. Some may worry about the duration of the charge and range, but if you pedal along with the assistance provided by the motor, commutes of 30-40 miles should be a breeze.

For a detailed review of the eFlow check out TurboBob’s eFlow Nitro Article.

Electric conversion kits

Crosstown BionX Bike

Crosstown BionX Bike

If a fully designed E-bike may be out of your wallet’s range, don’t worry, there is a solution in the form of the BionX Motor Kits. This enables you to convert any standard bike into a speedy commuter so you may also take part in this very green solution to commuting. The kit uses a lithium ion battery, nicely mounted to the bike’s frame, or in some cases to a rear rack.

There are three different types of BionX kits which differ in power. The least powerful kit, the BionX Pl250 uses a 250 watt motor and a 24 volt battery, capable of powering you for up to 20 miles, at around 20 mph. As the least powerful kit, it’s battery is going to be smaller and therefore lighter, which is a major plus if you live up a walk up!

The next kit up is the Pl350 BionX— fit with a more powerful 350 watt motor and 36 volt battery, you’ll have a better range and more power at any given time, but it will be a few pounds heavier than the PL250.

Finally, there is the premium 48 volt bionX kit. With a higher wattage battery coupled with a 350watt motor, you’ll have increased power and range, and it’ll be 20% than the standard as well. Pretty sweet.

After taking test rides on these different models of Electric Bikes I was definitely riding high. If you get a chance, come by the shop take a few free test rides on some great electric bikes and you’ll see what I’m talking about!



The Interbike Electric Bike Media Event—2013, the Year of the E-bike, by Turbo Bob

Interbike E-bike Event

Interbike E-bike Event

The new year kicked off with an exciting day of E-bikes here in the Southern California sun. Interbike has launched what should be an annual event and the start was worthy of a repeat. Many firms gathered to showcase their products to the reporting world and to the Electric Bike retailers that hope to get the public nestled in the saddles of these fun and useful machines.
Although the day revolved around the electric bikes themselves, the event had two key speakers to help things along. After the well attended breakfast on one of the large patios, we moved into a conference room to hear Bill Moore of EV relay thoughts on E-bikes. His topic was about the history of E-bikes and it was covered well. Of course when you consider history, you are doing so with the future in mind. With the American market for E-bikes growing daily, there was much to discuss about new electric bike technology and the future of electric bike legislation.

Interbike E-bike event

Interbike E-bike event

Time to test ride some E-bikes

Then we moved outside to view and ride the bikes on hand. The Terranea Resort, where the event was held, is a coastal gem. This LA location has much to offer and the area for the rides was perfect. A long graded asphalt drive and a big level parking lot is surrounded with great lawns where the booths were located. The selection and types of E-bikes to ride was extensive.
One of the goals for Interbike was to draw lots of non-bike media groups to find out more about the feel and uses of E-bikes for their readers. Many publications sent reporters to learn for themselves what Electric Bikes are all about. With the hope of spreading the word of electric-assist bikes to a larger audience, the wheels turned for a few hours before the lunch break. E-bikes could be seen riding all over with the matching smiles on board.
There were celebrities and press taking to the bikes. Men’s Journal, US Weekly and Oprah Magazine are just a few of the many who made the trek to this seaside location. I shot some videos I have posted on my You-Tube channel that show some of the activities taking place. Of course I rode just about every E-bike on hand, some simple, some expensive and some just downright fast.

Interbike E-bike Event

Interbike E-bike Event

E-bike Advocacy

Lunch was served before long and seated in the conference room again, we were treated to a presentation from Bikes Belong. Bruno Maier told us of the many programs and advocacy lobbing they are involved in. We got to learn about the progress they have made in getting more people on bikes on safer and more complete bike infrastructure. There is still much to do, but the ball continues to roll in the right direction.
The riding session after the meal was geared for the media and the e-bike dealers. The firms that brought bikes and products were knowledgeable and helpful to pass on their message to the interested crowd. There were so many people that changed their views on E-bikes that day and even more that were introduced to them for the first time. This event has done much to help bring E-bikes more into the forefront and minds of the American people.
Due to the time span on many magazines from the initial story until the publications hit the newsstands, the word of E-bikes will be trickling into the minds of the general public for months to come. Some reports, including this one and several others I will write (including one for my own bike blog), are coming to you only days after the close of the event.

The future of E-bikes

I was glad to be able to attend. I thought I would be representing and speaking for Momentum Magazine to promote my feature article on E-bikes they published last year. Although Momentum was not able to come, I still got a chance to make my own personal big splash at the event. That came in the form of me taking a couple full-speed runs down the course on a Kranked Kustoms 1200 watt mountain bike conversion they offer. I am not the biggest fan of over-powered off-road E-bikes, but the thrill was hard to pass up and I saw no one else give it a try. Somewhere around 50 mph I would guess.

Test rides at Interbike!

Test rides at Interbike!

Most all of the E-bikes on hand are more geared for legal road use. There were many folding E-bikes, including the new Dahon based model from a locally based firm. BionX had a sales rep there and the Solex E-bikes were sporting their systems. I rode another BionX equipped bike that was decked out with some fantastic pieces. Commuters, sport, three-wheeled, cargo and mountain bikes of all sizes and shapes filled the test area. They even had a bike-share E-bike for us to try.
The day was a big success and I do expect it to be a yearly addition to the main Interbike venue in Las Vegas. I had a great time and the word of E-bikes will be added to the vocabulary of many as the year continues. The year of the E-bike? I do think so, Turbo Bob.
“This is a pretty extreme occupation—it isn’t the kind of job you can separate from the rest of your life. It completely affects your health, your habits.”—Travis Brown.

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Kettler Twin Electric Bicycle Review

May 15, 2012

I just had the pleasure of meeting the Kettler Electric Bike. A nice piece of German engineering, it has an electric motor in the drive train that acts as a helpful hand on those tough hills and inclines. The Shimano Nexus 8 speed internal hub is also a wondrous edition. I managed to maintain an [...]

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