Thursday, June 10, 2010

Another electric bike

A local company was after some test riders for a range of electric bikes they are importing and I volunteered! I spent two days with a 'townie' style electric bike with a 200 watt hub motor in the rear wheel, 36volt lithium battery, pedelec system, brake cut off and twist throttle.

I had read a lot about the pedelec system where the motor operates only when you are pedalling. On this bike as soon as you started pedalling a nominal amount of power assist was automatically applied and you could then twist the throttle if you needed more power. It took some getting used to but I quickly got the hang of it and found it very easy to use. Basically I could just hop on and pedal! I only needed to worry about the motor if I hit a hill though unless it was really steep I could just drop down a few gears and not worry about applying more power with the throttle. I did two rides over two days - 17km on day 1 and about 24 on day 2. I recharged in between and the power gauge on the throttle never got below 2 lights (out of 3). I would estimate range to be about 40km depending on how much you use the throttle.

The battery locks in to the frame for security but can be unlocked with a key if you wanted to bring it inside to charge it up. Another key turns the battery on and off. With the motor turned off this bike is a bit hard going with only 6 gears so you would want to make sure the battery is fully charged up before heading out. With a 40km range though this should not be a problem.

I was pretty impressed for my first ride on a 'normal' electric bike. For commuting to and from work one of these would be ideal especially in summer when you want to arrive relatively fresh and not dripping in sweat. And if you did not have a huge cargo bike sitting in your garage like I do you could also load it up with a handy amount of shopping with the addition of some strong panniers. I also liked the style of the bike with the more upright seating position which is common in Europe but not so much here. All in all a great way to get around!

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