Electric Bicycle

IMG_2016-1000I have been struggling to fit exercise into my schedule and I found the answer. An electric bicycle! Below it is being modeled by Steve Aplin. The basket and extra lights are after-market. It came from Scootereti.

I added a backup handlebar light, a cell phone holder and a rear basket. That stuff makes a huge difference.

I tell people I got an electric bike for exercise and I always have to explain. I always get the unenlightened response “you’re cheating”. Here’s the thing. You peddle an electric bike. They work because they increase your range and speed so it become practical where a standard bicycle isn’t. If your trip is too long for the unpowered bicycle then you wind up driving or busing. Then you’re really cheating.

For me, not only works for commuting (with little schedule impact) it has put me onto fun routes where I’m steps away from interesting activities. With a car or motorcycle you have to park and walk to the activities. With a bicycle you just go right up to where you want to be and dump the bike on a tree stump.

Also in very hot weather where you’d not consider a bike it’s still practical. You just peddle less and the bike just pushes you through the breeze. Very pleasant.

 

Neo Volt Review (Thumbs Up)

I recommend this bike to anyone who wants to do short haul commuting.

I’m not a bicycle expert but the overall construction is very impressive. It looks good and functions well.

I feel that the collection of design choices are very optimal.

The Good

This bike is priced low and apparently is on sale because of the lack of interest in the the European styled bike in North America.

I’m pleased with the generator for lighting which runs independent of the propulsion system. The light also has a reserve so after you stop you’re still lit and visible.

It folds up. It doesn’t fold very small but it does make a difference. I think it would go in any trunk or closet, elevator you’d want.

It’s pretty light and the power system really makes bicycling sweet. You can do longer hauls and not show up sweaty. You just stop peddling an use the motor for the last few minutes so I can cool off.

The fenders work okay.

Folding pedals are very convenient when I walk the bike or bring it into a grocery store.

The Bad (Slightly)

The following issues are fair game for the price range. These are the sacrifices you make unless you want to spend more money.

Have to remove the battery to charge it. Frankly, I’m not sure this is a problem. So far I’ve not had it next to an outlet.

The small wheels do poorly on grass and soft surfaces. Very tricky. I’m a highly skilled rider and it caught me a couple of times. Okay, it’s not made for that. As much as I like going off-road, this tool is a commuter so this doesn’t qualify as a big problem.

The battery will get scratched when charging. It has to lay on it’s side or top. If you lay it bottom down, you will be stressing the wires and it will not balance. This is not concerning but just thought I’d mention it.

I’m a pretty heavy guy and I can feel the frame bending during use. Not sure this is a problem, I’m sure it’s just the normal amount of flex.

The charger isn’t very portable. It’s a bit clunky. I’m wondering if the cables will become worn from transporting. The range is probably what is claimed but in my use case I need to charge it on the road when I’m doing my business. This is a bit of an awkward aspect. I’m working on this. I think a lot of users would not see this issue since they may be doing shorter runs.

I’m not very fond of the twist grip. Despite being a motorcycle enthusiast I find it strenuous. I think a little thumb paddle would have been cheaper and easier to use.  I’ve seen those on a skidoo and they’re very nice in that context. On the other hand, when cruising the split twist grip is easy to hold at a specific setting. It’s just when you are changing power level it seems a bit harder to operate… A lot of users wouldn’t notice this since they might use the modes where it automatically applies power when you peddle.

Another thing worth mentioning is that it’s only a 7 speed. When you’re topped out at 30km/h, you need to peddle pretty fast to increase speed. Not sure a typical user would want to (or should) go faster.  I’ve had mine up to 51km/h. I wouldn’t make that a habit. I’d suggest it’s dangerous to go much past 30. For a typical user probably dangerous after 25.

 

The Ugly

This stuff I didn’t expect, even at the great price.

There is a rolling resistance when peddling without power. Not sure if it’s the motor or generator dragging or I have another problem.

The switch on the headlamp only works intermittently. So once on I leave on. In fact I got a warning from a police officer for not having a light. And I was unable to demonstrate that the light worked since it happened to be failing at the time I was pulled over.

The rear break is a bit poor. I think it’s because of the cable route. If I have to change that cable I will play around with the route and adjustments and if that helps I may move this point to the “bad” section rather than here in “ugly’.

There was one instance of the bike going on it’s own without me peddling or pressing the throttle. No issue but for an inexperienced user that could have caused an accident. It was sustained for a couple of km. I just kept driving and when I activated the breaks and throttle again the symptom vanished.

User Notes

 

IMG_1963-1000The manual does not match with the control screen so I had to figure out a few things myself.

  • Turn on controller back-light by holding the (-) button while it is on.
  • Click power button to cycle through odometer and other measurements (that aren’t explained in the manual).
  • Click up and down buttons to change power mode.

Needed brake change both front and back after 1000km.

1500km, rear tire blow-out. At this point the tire had been refilled about 3 times due to a slow leak from the start. It was a pinch flat. The new tire has a slow leak too but it’s pretty slow so I wont address it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Related

2000 Miles of Justice: My Year of Riding Electric Bikes

http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/b&musbwerk.asp

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