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URB-E Visit

Hello Bike Commuters and fellow bike geeks! This weekend I was able to visit a company that had my interest for a while: URB-E. URB-E is a company that makes “compact foldable electric vehicles” in Pasadena California. Pasadena happens to be about a 45 minute drive so I decided to pay them a visit.

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I was greeted by Jonathan, a young associate that really knew his stuff. He was kind to explain the different models of the URB-E line up, the difference between them and I actually got to test ride two of them!

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Let us begin with their least expensive model; the URB-E Sport. The Sport starts at a reasonable $899.00 and you get quite a bit for this price. Major highlights include a 16 mile range per charge, a top speed of up to 14 mph, a basic dampener suspension and multiple USB ports. Here is a video of Jonathan explaining some of the folding features of the sport:

So how did it ride? For such as small wheelbase and small tires I was expecting it to be really twitchy. Yes, the URB-E Sport does not handle like a full size bicycle but it sort of handles like a folding bike. The acceleration of this model is gradual, you don’t get the full torque right of the bat but I actually consider that a good thing. I was also impressed by the URB-E Sport folding capabilities, the Sport -and the other models, fold as small an upright vacuum. You can either carry the URB-E with a strap or you can also roll it. The Sport weighs around 35 lbs, not bad considering that electric bikes weigh around 50lbs.

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The other model I tested was the next model up from the Sport; the URB-E Sport GT. Upgrades include a rear shock, a tuned speed controller and a front kickstand. The speed and range remain the same as the Sport’s. Here is a video of Jonathan explaining the additional features of the GT:

The ride on the GT was totally different, the instant torque changed the handling characteristics making it a little more difficult to ride. URB-E also offer two other models; the URB-E Pro and the URB-E Pro GT. I was not able to ride these models but they have a range of up to 20 miles and a top speed of 18 mph. Prices start at $1,699.

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I know that electric bikes/scooters/vehicles may be a “sacrilege” to us that love to pedal, but I sincerely think that URB-E’s products will be able to get people to leave their car at home, just wait until gas prices go up again.

By the way, I was in no way compensated or sponsored by URB-E, I just really like featuring innovating companies that make their products in the USA. For more information, please visit www.urb-e.com.

HED Ardennes Plus first impression

Hello fellow roadies and bike commuters! We finally got a sunny day here in Southern California and I took advantage by riding my Bianchi Impulso with the new-to-me HED Ardennes Plus wheels. There are times that you think to yourself; “self, I deserve a new pair of shoes”, but in our case; “self, my bike deserves a new pair of wheels”. In a deal that my buddy could not resist, he bought these seldom used HED Ardennes Plus wheels for his road bike. The problem was the “Plus” since these wheels are wider than the normal wheels and he was not able to make them fit on his bike.

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My buddy was kind enough to let me test ride these wheels to see if I like them. Mind you, they were a little over my budget but based on HED’s reputation I said what the heck, why not, let’s try them.

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I encountered clearance issue as my buddy, but with careful brake pad adjustment, I made those suckers fit. What is the big deal with these wheels? The rims are 25mm wide, 2 mm wider than the “normal” wheels. The HED Ardennes Plus also came with Continental Grand Prix tires which looked like big ass tires.

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I have always considered reviewing road wheels and tires very hard to do. I mean, how can you really tell the difference, right? I picked a route with small climbs and descents, rough asphalt, a railroad crossing and sweeping turns to get a feel of the wheels. The first thing I noticed was this humming noise as I rode on the flat surfaces, not a bad noise, a noise that I assume was created by the bladed spokes. Then came the angry bees, yeah, that noise the rear hub creates as you stop pedaling and coast. Some riders like that noise, some hate it. I like it. As I kept pedaling and rode the rain beaten asphalt, I noticed how comfortable the wheels were. There was no jarring when I rode on top of small cracks or loose asphalt, no “thunk” noises when you hit small pot holes it was just… bliss.

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Rear wheel weight -HED Ardennes

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Rear wheel weight -Shimano RS010

I consider my self “old school” when it comes to tires, I would not ride anything bigger than a 23 because of the minimal weight savings and the theory of lower rolling resistance. These new 25mm wheels and tires have totally changed my mind and I can’t wait to take them on longer rides.

Are you ready in case of a crash?

Hello Bike Commuters! I hope your Superbowl hangover is not as bad, as for me, I didn’t have a lick of alcohol all because of a mishap that happened on a ride.

Shit happens. We all know that, but are you ready when it happens? We learned a hard lesson this weekend when one of our buddies crashed hard and almost severed his finger on a fence.

We were enjoying the decent weather riding around on or Cyclocross bikes on mild terrain when the accident happened. As I got to the bottom of the trail, I saw my buddy waving at me to come back. I was not ready to see all of the blood and part of his finger severely cut.

Luckily my buddy had a gauze and a couple of band-aids so we were able to keep the blood from flowing until we were able to pick them up. My other friend and I were riding at race speed to get to our cars, that was probably my fastest time riding those trails but the battery of my watch died so no Strava segment records for me. We drove back to find my injured friend and were able to help him clean him with a first aid kit that one of our friends always carries.

So that got me thinking, what if I crash or fall when I’m riding my bike to work? I consider myself an over-prepared bike commuter but I must admit that I don’t ride with a first aid kit. A quick google search yielded a few first aid kits but the Brave Soldier Crash pack seems specific for road riding. I have ordered one and I will give you an update once I receive it.

By the way, the bike was not OK 🙁

Bike Suggestions -short, hilly commute

Welcome to your Monday on a Thursday post! Our Monday post was a little late because we celebrated our co-founder’s birthday way too hard and let’s face it, getting old sucks.

Today’s post is about helping out a fellow commuter choose a bike, here is the message that we received:

Hi i’m looking for a new bike and need a few recommendations.

I commute to work it’s only 2.5 miles but it includes a 7% grade hill. Down on the way to work and up the way home.

I’m a teacher and I often wear dressed to work. I need a bike that can handle the hill and is still a low enough crossbar that I can wear dresses. I currently have a 8 speed cruiser but it’s just too heavy for the uphill trip.

I don’t want to spend a lot but it seems women’s bikes are more expensive than men’s”

We posted the question on our Facebook page and we got one lonely response, I guess everyone is too busy commenting on Facebook posts regarding the President’s executive orders.

Anyhow, here is what I recommended: The KHS Ultrasport 1.0

The KHS Ultrasport comes in “Women’s colors”, low top tube, lots of gears and it is fairly reasonably priced. KHS is one of those brands that are underrated, we really like their bikes.

Let us know your suggestions, that is if you are not too busy commenting on posts about Donnie.

My first ride of 2017

Welcome to our 3rd post of 2017! Yeah, I went on a small rant last week but it makes my blood boil every time I read anti-cycling comments on social media. The sad truth is that some of these “keyboard warriors” do manifest their aggressive behavior on the road, they forget that some of us do have families and that killing a cyclist is killing a human being.

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But I digress. You know how I always keep bragging that it never rains in Southern California? Well, it has been raining for the last 3 weeks ruining any chance of a bike commute or along ride. However, I did squeeze in my first ride of the year; a total 1.8 miles that kicked my ass.

These were no ordinary miles, this was also no ordinary ride; it was my first Cyclocross race. Before I go into the dreadful details of my performance (or lack thereof) I want to mention what an awesome job the Inland Empire Biking Alliance is doing. This is my second organized event that I attend that is organized by the Inland Empire Biking Alliance and I am very impressed by their organization and ride amenities. If you are a cyclist that lives in the I.E., I highly recommend you joining their organization.

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So back to my Cyclocross experience, it was a shit load of fun! We were taught the basics of cyclocross and then we raced one lap around the track. Unfortunately for me, I had been sick the week before so my lungs gave up 3/4 of the way and ended second to last. It’s OK, the experience was worth my 6 dollar entrance.

What is next now that cyclocross is over? There is another ride that the Inland Empire Biking Alliance is organizing called the “Redlands Rossa Strada IV” which is a combination of pavement, gravel and singletrack, perfect for a cyclocross bike!

We will get back to posting commuting articles once I start riding again, sorry but I just hate riding in the rain.