BikeCommuters.com

Commuter Bikes

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.

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.

Sticker Bomb Fixed Gear Bike

Hello and welcome back to our weekly Monday post. We are getting close to Christmas and to the end of 2016 so things get wacky since our workload gets lighter and we have lots of time to surf the net for “inspiration”. One of those hair-brained ideas came from RL as he continues his Sabbatical and is still wondering if The Grand Tour is better than Top Gear. He showed me a picture of a scooter that had been “Sticker Bombed” and was considering doing that to one of his scooters.

As you can see, a “sticker bomb” scooter is a basically a scooter that is full of stickers, so yes, an idea came to mind: What if I sticker bomb my Awnry Bikes testing mule? First item of business was to get a shit load of stickers, once the stickers arrived, I enlisted the help of my young daughters to apply them all over the frame.

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Yes, I had to use child labor but if Apple does it in China, why not me? I mean, I do feed, cloth and drive my darn kids everywhere! Anyhow, here is the result:

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I think it came out rather good! And better yet, my girls really liked it and they would be willing to ride a sticker bomb fixed gear bike! In fact, they shared the picture on their social media accounts and it got a good response.

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So as I am getting close to launching my own line of simple but fun commuter bikes, I’ve been working on incorporating this sticker bomb scheme into one of the Awnry bikes called the Awnry “Da’ Bomb” (yes, my kids came up with that name). Some of the challenges have been the durability of the stickers and the lack of water resistance but I have gathered a team of skillful engineers to solve that issue. Well, not really, my co-worker is helping me out since he works on different types of decal substrates.

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Awnry Bikes is almost ready to launch, the bikes were slightly delayed because of some added features such as anti-theft bolts, flip-flop hubs and brakes needed to be added. We will have the official launch announcement once we are satisfied with the bikes.

So what do you think about the bike? Yay or Nay?

Winter Bike Project Part One

Hello bike riders, I hope you enjoyed your extra hour of sleep, I know I did. I am excited to share with you that the search for my “winter” bike has come to an end. I shared with you 3 potential candidates on the BikeCommuters.com Facebook page; one folding bike and two single speed bikes.

Candidate #1 was a KHS Flite 200. We reviewed this bike back in 2008 and I doubt that it has changed much. The bike was $50 over my budget so I decided to wait.

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Candidate #2 was an Origami Full suspension folding bike. At $220 was just a tad over my budget but I like this bike a lot. This bike sold right before I contacted the seller.

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Candidate #3 was a fully decked out State bike. This bike had it all; fenders, baskets, bell and a coaster brake. I am not a fan of coaster brakes so I decided to move on.

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As I kept looking for my winter bike, I stumbled upon an ad that was selling a singlespeed/Fixed gear bike for $100.00. I contacted the seller for more details regarding the brand but he could not tell me what kind of bike it was but the frame was in like new condition. I was intrigued. Since the seller was close to my work, I decided to meet with him to check out the bike. The bike was basically a full blown mutt. Brandless frame, Redline wheels, SDG saddle, raceface seatpost, Shimano exage crankset and brakes, easton stem, ITM handlebar and Crane creek brake levers. Oh, it also had a carbon fiber fork. So yeah, I bought the fucking thing, it had a carbon fiber fork!!!

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Now, if you saw the pictures of this bike on Instagram or Facebook, you make have noticed that it had stickers on it:

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What the hell is an Awnry Jackson? Well, if you have not googled it yet, here is the story from a blog post on MtnBikeRiders.com:

Introducing: AWNRY Bikes N’ Stuff
March 29, 2010 – Main, Mountain Biking

Fullerton, CA, March 29, 2010 –(PR.com)– RL Policar and Moises (Moe) Ramirez have launched AWNRY Bikes N’ Stuff. “Moe and I have wanted to do this for a long time.” Policar stated. The famous blogging duo originally founded 2 very popular websites, MtnBikeRiders.com and BikeCommuters.com. Ramirez said, “When we got into the bike media business, the whole idea of becoming our own bicycle brand really intrigued us.”

Though mountain biking is in the heart of Ramirez and Policar, they’ve also launched the AWNRY-Jackson. This is the hipster friendly single speed or fixed frame. The Jackson only comes in black. Ramirez stated, “once you go black, you never go back.”

-4130 chromoly frame and fork
-Horizontal dropouts to easily adjust chain tension
-Accepts 1 1/8″ headset, 27.2mm post and 68mm BB
-Handles up to 700 x 38c tire
-Front fork and seatstay bridge are drilled to accept brakes in case you decide to add them

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Yes friends, I am living my dream of having my own brand of bikes for $115 (the rear wheel needed a spoke). I also had a bunch of decent parts on my parts bin that I added to the Awnry Jackson: Carbon Fiber ITM handlebars, Paul brake lever, Panasonic Tires from Wabi Bicycles, Selle Italia saddle and Crank brothers pedals.

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What is next for the Awnry Jackson? Get decent decals made, I suck at cutting them by hand. I will also experiment with more reflective materials since I will be riding this bike a night.

Stay tuned for Part 2.