BikeCommuters.com

Author Archive: RL Policar

As one of the original founders of BikeCommuters.com. He has helped build this site into one of the leading and oldest bicycle commuting blog sites. Filled with passion for everything two wheels, RL Policar covers a multitude of subjects from product reviews, news, articles and technical how to's.

Father’s Day

I’m a single father of 3 amazing daughters and with Father’s Day coming up, I made some “demands” with my kids on how I want to celebrate this glorious day. I’m a pretty simple guy so I told them I want a combo pizza from Costco, maybe some chicken wings, a beer and a cigar. Oh and I want to go on a family bike ride to the park. Unfortunately my girls don’t like bikes or bike riding. Wait I take that back, they don’t like the idea of it. But once they start going their smiles make it obvious that they’re having fun.

I’ve heard them say “I hate riding bikes!” But about 1/4 mile down the road, they’re all racing each other. Being involved in the bicycle industry for several years, I’ve amassed a butt load of bikes. From Ebikes, mountain bikes, fixed gear bikes, road and cyclocross bikes. I even have a electric sidecar that I had custom built.  Picking which bikes to take is like picking out which shoes to wear with your clothes. I mean, usually its women who think about those things, but this morning I wasn’t sure with Doc Marten’s boots I should wear, the black or the cherry red. I went with the black since I didn’t have a belt to match the cherry red.

Anyway, so the bike ride to the park isn’t even the best part. I simply like to just hang out and either go fishing or picnic. My kids like to do the same. Mind you my kids aren’t little anymore, I’ve got 2 in college and one in high school. To them relaxing and doing nothing is as enjoyable for them as it is for me. Oh and another thing, my oldest is 22, so that means she’s my drinking buddy. So during our picnic, we’ll bust out some wine, vodka or anything that has alcohol, except mouthwash and Nyquil.

These father’s day bike ride to the park has no set schedule or agenda. I just want to be there with my kids and relax. But if you’re like most dads, when your kids start to bicker, then it can be stressful. So that’s why I make sure to give them the following rules:

  1. No fighting.
  2. No complaining.
  3. No whining.
  4. No asking “can we go home now?”
  5. No stressing out dad.

By the way, remember how I mentioned I wanted a combo pizza? Well, to me that’s got to be the best deal for a delicious pizza out there. Not only is it fresh and cheap, but it’s also convenient! Speaking of Costco pizza, I was in Taiwan for a week during the Fall, my last meal in that country was a Costco pizza, but not just a regular pizza, I had a seafood pizza! If it sounds weird, it sorta is. Just think of it as a cheese pizza topped with crab meat, corn, peas and shrimp. Though I ate the whole thing, it just wasn’t all that tasty.

Alright so that’s about the end of my Father’s Day rant about bicycles and stuff. From one dad to another, we want to wish all you handsome fellas and moms as well, a very Happy Father’s Day.

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Affordable Cargo Bikes

cargobikestore.com

Our friends at BikeBug.net who helped us build the Cotton Candy Trike, just let us know that their business is growing. They announced a new website called CargoBikeStore.com where they’re offering remarkably affordable cargo bikes. Take a look at these fine specimens.

Look at these Bakfiet style cargo bikes called the Boxter. Prices start at $800…which is pretty competitive if you ask me.

cargobikestore.comcargobikestore.com

We’ve had some inquiries about the Cotton Candy Trike build and what’s going on with it. Well I’m happy to say we’ve been busy making cotton candy for various fund-raising events. We’re also stepping up our game by acquiring a generator to pull on a trailer in the near future. That way we can be a fully mobile cotton candy trike. No that doesn’t mean we can make cotton candy while we’re riding, but that means we can be self sufficient, we don’t have to be plugged into a wall socket to produce the sweet stuff! Stay tuned!

Rad Power Bikes-RadWagon Electric Cargo Bike First Impressions

We took delivery of the Rad Power Bikes RadWagon for testing. After a 45 minute assembly session, we were on the road. Yes, you read it right, this is an Electric Cargo Bike. Reminiscent of my old Xtracycle, but electrified.

radwagon radpower bikes bikecommuters.com

This bike is powered by a brushless direct 750w drive motor,  48V 11.6Ah Li-Ion With 30 Amp Continuous BMS Samsung 29E Cells. Battery life, depending on mode ranges from 15-50 miles. They say top speed is is 20mph, but I got it up to 21.5mph on the flats.RadWagon

It’s a steel frame with entry level Shimano components. The electronics give you 5 pedal assist modes and a walking mode. The RadWagon weighs 75lbs, but handles really well. Comes with Tektro Mechanical disc brakes with 180mm rotors. Oh yes, it does come with fenders and a rack, which makes it a strong candidate as a “commuter bike.” To read more tech/spec info, simply go HERE.

My favorite feature on this bike would have to be the rear cargo area. It has a wood deck and floor boards so you can carry passengers or cargo. Check out the fender skirts on this bike, that’s in place so your fingers, legs, dress or anything that could get caught in the rear wheel…doesn’t. I like how they made it clear so it doesn’t take away from the look of the bike.

The total payload, that includes rider and cargo is 350lbs. I’ve yet to load it up with cargo, but I know when I had my Xtracycle there was some twisting that could feel. So I’m going to make sure I look out for that on the RadWagon.

radpowerbikes

 

 

This is the control panel. You can set your pedal assist, check your speed, ODO and max speed as well as battery life. The panel also has a built in USB charging port, just in case you want to plug in your device while riding.  IMG_5640

As you can see on the control panel, there’s ZERO miles, that’s because we just finished putting the bike together and we’ll be testing it out in the next few weeks. So stick around for the review.

ELux Fat Tire Cruiser: Review

Elux Bicycles eview

We received the ELux Electric Bicycles Fat Tire Cruiser a few weeks ago and since then we’ve been able to put some miles on it. Rather than fill the first part of the review with the spec info and all that jazz, just go to their website to see all of it. For the most part I’ll be peppering in the spec info throughout the article. So with that being said, I’m just going to jump into it. Ok, so here we go. The ELux is a FUN electric bike! Yep, it’s as simple as that. Fun and functional. The fat tires do offer a different ride and when you keep the air pressure a bit low, it sorta acts like suspension and it also provides some extra traction on loose gravel and sand.

Elux Electric Bicycles

This bike’s 750w Bafang brushless geared motor is powered by a 48v 14Ah Lithium Ion battery. ELux says you can get up to a 30+mile range on a single charge with pedal assist. I was able to get 17.2 miles on a full charge, but that’s with me using the throttle about 90% of the time on various terrain such as steep hills, gravel, dirt, mud, bike path, street and sand. So you’re probably wondering, “17.2 miles is pretty far from 30 miles on a single charge…” Yes it is, but that range ELux provides takes into consideration that their test subject who determined those miles probably weighed about 150lbs and set the pedal assist to 3. But when I rode the bike I weigh over 220lbs and using the throttle most of the time on some steep hills. I figured if all my miles were simply on flat ground on the street, then I’m sure I could have reached that 30 mile range they had mentioned.

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Yes we know that the Elux isn’t what some of you would consider a “commuter bike.” But rather than beating a dead horse and repeating myself that ANY BIKE is a commuter bike, I’ll just go into why this bike got our attention for testing. First of all those fat tires rather fascinating. But we noticed it had fenders, and a rear rack. Plus it has an LED headlight that could is powered by the main battery and switched on by the control panel. Hmm, from the looks of it, this bike would fall into that ideal commuter bike. In addition, it’s electric powered.

In this photo below, we paired the Elux with our Blackburn cooler pannier to show that you can carry bags on the bike. Two things I didn’t like about their rack was it didn’t have an anchor point and the rails were too thick.I have a Banjo Brothers grocery pannier bag that I couldn’t use because it requires it to anchored on the bottom, plus the hooks on the bag were too small for Elux’s rack. However, for the Blackburn bags you see, they worked just fine because it mounts on with Velcro straps.

elux bikes review

We’ve heard from commuter purists that an electric bike is cheating. Eh, is it really? I mean c’mon…anyway. We don’t consider it cheating. We think it’s perfect for those who normally can’t pedal a traditional bike. In this case, it’s right for me since I’ve developed arthritis on both knees. Pedal assist is a welcome reprieve from painful pedaling.

The display on the LCD screen is easy to read and super easy to use. There are 4 buttons on the control panel so you can’t mess it up too much. There’s a power, Set, + and -. You hit the + to up your pedal assist and of course you hit the – button to lower your pedal assist. A great feature on this control panel is the USB port that you can access to charge your devices! Plus the panel  has the ability to be backlit so you can see it at night.

IMG_5735

In addition, there’s even a walking mode too. That means if you’re walking up a hill with the bike, it will give you enough power so you’re not having to lug the bike up. Mind you this is super helpful since this bike weighs 75lbs.

Components are pretty much entry level with Shimano Tourney 7 speed drive train and shifter. The bike is dressed with front and rear 180mm Tektro Mechanical Disc Brakes, which offer plenty of stopping power for this heavy rig.

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The battery can be taken out for charging by unlocking it with the provided key and removing the saddle/seat post via quick release. You can actually leave the battery on the bike while charging. Elux says charging time is 4-6 hours. After draining the battery, it took us close to 6 hours to get a full charge.

Elux stated that the bike can legally reach up to 21mph, which it can on flat ground. I asked if you could hack the system and remove the limiter, unfortunately there isn’t a way. But naturally once the battery life starts to diminish, the bike can’t touch those max speeds.

During our testing period, we never experienced any mechanical or electrical issues. In fact the bike performed rather well given the fact we took in on terrain that the company probably never intended it be ridden on. Yes, it is heavy at 75lbs and if you ever have to transport the bike, it would help if you had a rear rack that could handle fat tires or a truck/van.

Overall we liked this bike. We couldn’t find really any issues, other than the rack that I mentioned above. The 750w 48v system works like a clock and is as reliable as a Japanese car. Elux gives it an an MSRP of $2250. This might be high to some of you, but that’s actually on the low site compared to other brands out there that offer the same motor/battery combo. They do offer a decent warranty; 3 Year Frame, 3 Year limited Battery, 1 year Motor. Other brands only offer 2 years on the frame and 12 months on the battery/motor.

Speaking of which, Bafang motors are used by other brands out there. The Samsung battery that Elux equips their bikes with are also a staple brand for the ebike business. That should help put you at ease since these batteries shouldn’t catch on fire like other cheaper Chinese batteries out there. All the other parts on this bike are you standard bicycle parts that you could buy at your local shop. In fact, you’ll maintain this bike just like any other bike, the battery and motor are pretty much trouble free.

Just to keep things clear, we didn’t receive any compensation from ELux Electric Bicycles for this review.

FTC Disclaimer

 

E-Lux Electric Fat Tire Cruiser-First Impression

elux Fat Tire Cruiser Electric Bicycle

We recently took delivery of the new E-Lux Electric Fat Tire Cruiser for testing. I’ve never seen a fat tire beach cruiser like this before. The first thing I said when I saw it was…”Wow this thing is tall!” The photo below doesn’t really do it justice…
elux Fat Tire Cruiser Electric Bicycle

So here’s some basic specs:
Motor:750w Brushless Geared Motor
Battery: 48V 13Ah Samsung Lithium Ion
Brakes: Front and rear Tektro Disc Brakes
Power: Pedal Assist of Throttle
Range: 30+ Miles
Speed: 21mph
Charging time: 4-6 hours

e-lux ebikes

During my first 10 miles on the Elux, I have to say I was smiling the whole time. This powerful 750w motor, coupled with the 48v battery gives it enough oomph to get up some of the steepest hills in my area.
fat tire electric bike

For my maiden voyage, I took the E-Lux around a variety of terrain so I could get a feel for this bike. I rode a mixture of street, dirt and gravel. I had the pedal assist on #5 (the highest setting) to see if the bike had any trouble hauling my husky butt around. One some of the steeper gravel climbs, I did pedal a bit just to make sure I cleared the hills.

This bike is pretty heavy, right around 75lbs. But you won’t really feel it when you’re riding, especially if you’re on the throttle or pedal assist. The only time the weight is ever an issue is when you have to lift it.
elux ebikes

I’ve only ridden the Elux 10 miles and so far it’s performing much like other e-bikes out there. The fat tires are a hoot on gravel and sand. I was actually impressed with the tires since they seem to grip even when you lean the bike into a corner. I have to add, it’s also a handsome looking bike. Yes it does have fat tires, but that’s what makes this bike unique. For all you die-hard commuters out there, notice the fenders and rear rack? What you didn’t see in the photos is the pannier that I had mounted on the rack to carry my keys, camera and snacks. I also have to add that this bike does come equipped with a front “to-be-seen” headlight.

We plan on putting this bike through the paces to see how well the electric system works as well as the rest of the machine. I know that many of you object to electric assist bikes, some may even consider it “cheating.” But the reality is this segment of the bicycle industry is growing. There are more and more e-bike brands out there that offer a whole slew of options and styles. So stay tuned for our review in the coming weeks.