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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.

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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.

If you recall, on my battle of the fitness bands post I declared the Moov as most cycling friendly fitness band. The reason it bested the other bands was that the app was really good, but that left me with another issue: I needed a phone mount for my bike.

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Deciding which phone mount was no easy choice, there are plenty of mounts out there ranging from $9.99 to over $100 bucks. So what made me go with a Quad Lock case system? My buddy Rocky had one and he involuntarily crash tested it and the phone fared better than his knee.

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I paid $40.00 for the Quad lock or the equivalent of my monthly beer allowance (good thing I’m trying to lose weight). The Quad Lock system consists of a very nice phone cover:

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and the actual Quad Lock:

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This combination makes the phone very easy to mount and it feels very secure.

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I’m pretty satisfied with the Quad Lock, this setup will replace my aging Garmin 305 but I do have one concern: my phone’s battery life.

Here are more shots of the Quad Lock system:

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So what is coming next week? Another gadget? A bike? Nope, just my very blunt and honest opinion of Electrified bicycles.

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Where is the post about that Quad lock you may ask? It is coming up next, this weekend you get not one but two posts from your favorite Bike Geek!

Last week I posted about planning my multi-modal commute to work. One of the challenges that I had was that I had no commuter bicycle and I was going to try to score one for $150.00 from CraigsList.

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After searching for a few days and going through a sea of big box store “bicycles”, countless fixies, old ass bikes referred to as “vintage” and bikes listed for a dollar but not really selling for one (although some were worth a buck) I decided to change my search parameters.

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I really wanted a bike that could handle mild off road trails and be fast on the pavement; that meant that what I needed was a cyclocross bicycle. A search for “cyclocross” yielded few results and most of the bikes were way over the $150 price point. However, I saw this Devinci Caribou 1 bike being touted as a “touring/cyclocross” bike for $300. I’ve never heard of Devinci and a quick search yielded that this bike is Canadian and it was indeed a touring bike that could handle dirt trails.

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Long story short, I brought this bike home for a decent $338 Canadian dollars. The bike is in decent shape, not perfect but it suits my needs perfectly. I have amassed quite a bit of parts during my cycling years so this bike will inherit some carbon fiber bits such as a seatpost and handlebars, a Selle Italia Saddle and a Minnehaha rear rack pannier and Grand Bois tires that were provided by Wabi Cycles(more on those later on).

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I also placed an order for a set of Kenda King Cross knobby tires, new bar tape and Crank Brothers pedals. I don’t think that I will wait until Bike to work week, I really want to try this bike out once the time changes.

Welcome back to The Bike Geek’s weekly post. I want to thank BikeCommuters.com for letting me keep writing my ramblings. All I can say is that recycled air that they pay me with really gives me a good buzz.

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Today I want to share how I’m planning to use public transportation and a bicycle to commute to work. My daily commute round trip is only 44 miles but I average 2 hours and 30 minutes of stop and stop traffic. Ouch.

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So I’ve been thinking of doing a bicycle-Metrolink train combination to get to work. Being the Geek that I am, I had to do my research first and found a few “challenges” that will not make it straight forward to ride to work.

First challenge is the train’s schedule:

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The first train going to Orange County arrives at my departure point at 7:12 AM and arrives at my destination at 7:45 AM. That seems to be a good deal, only 33 minutes of transit time! (Not counting the bike portion, but we will get to that much later).

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Coming back is a different story. I usually get out of work at 5:30 PM so the 5:17 PM train maybe out of the question, so that leaves me with taking the 6:05 PM train. However, the 6:05PM train does not take me straight to my destination, I would have to transfer to another train netting me a transit time of 55 minutes. My other option would be to ride my bike from a further station, something that I’m really considering because of the route that I’m thinking of taking.

Second Challenge is my bicycle route:

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Taking the most direct route (Jamboree Road) is plain suicide. This road becomes a highway with cars zooming at 70 mph and multiple entrances where cars have to merge at speed. No thanks.

The safest route would be a river trail with bike lanes but for some stupid effing reason, the trail turns into a gravel road and then dead ends at a closed gate. W.T.F.

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That leaves me with the highlighted route, it is longer and again, for whatever effing reason, Edinger goes under Tustin Ranch road leaving me to take a small side street to reach Tustin Ranch Road. I have already scoped Tustin Ranch Road, it has nice wide bike lanes I just have to be careful with butt-hole drivers driving on the bike lanes. Sheesh.

So I got the schedule planned, my route planned, what the hell am I waiting for???? Well, the train ain’t cheap:

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$14.50 round trip!!! With today’s gas prices, I fill up my vehicle with $23.00 and it lasts me a week and a half or 10 round trips. So the question is, is it worth paying for the sanity of not being stuck in traffic and dealing with a-hole drivers? And also…

Challenge number three: I don’t have a suitable bike to commute with. But you will have to come back as I go in a quest to score a decent commuter bike for under $150. Oh, this bike also has to be able to tackle dirt terrain as my route will involve riding parts of the World Famous Fullerton Loop. My goal is to actually try this mode of commuting on “Bike to Work Week”, and who knows, maybe BikeCommuters.com will double my salary since I’m actually going to be commuting by bike!

Next week: First impressions of the Quad Lock for the Galaxy S5.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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