BikeCommuters.com

Reviews

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.

IMG_5741

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.

IMG_5732

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

 

NiteRider Sentinel tail light review

It has been a little over eight years since we wrote our non-scientific rear light comparo. Planet Bike’s Super Flash rear light was a top favorite and it is still one of my personal favorites.

2015-12-22_10-02-34

We were offered to review the NiteRider Sentinel rear light featuring lasers. Yup, lasers! In top of the lasers, this light also features a 2 Watt LED light producing about 40 lumens. Let me tell you, even without the lasers, this light is freaking bright. Another cool feature is that the Sentinel is a USB rechargeable light-a huge plus in my book.

2015-12-22_10-03-23

I’m guilty of purchasing those inexpensive Chinese laser rear lights and they eat batteries like crazy, not to mention that the quality of the lights was horrible. Lesson learned.

2015-12-22_10-03-06

We used the NiteRider Sentinel during most of our weekly nightly off-road cycling ride. Our local ride offers a variation of horse trails, small streets and big avenues; a rear light is a must for safety reasons. The Sentinel performed with no hiccups even going through some bumpy trails.

2016-01-10_01-55-54

The Sentinel was also tested during our morning rides to the beach on Pacific Coast Highway. Although the lasers were ineffective during daylight, the 2 watt LED was clearly noticeable.

2016-01-10_02-31-03

Pros:
USB rechargeable
Super bright 2 Watt LED light
Freaking Lasers!
Mount can adapt to most seatpost shapes and sizes
NiteRider Quality
Good run time
5 running modes

Cons:
Lasers are invisible during daylight
A little pricey at $50.00

What I would change:
I think that the concept of having virtual laser bike lanes is a good one, however, I don’t really think that we need a laser on the right side since most of us ride close to the curb. It would also be a good idea if the left laser would be 3-feet away from the bike since a few states have a mandatory 3-feet passing law.

2016-01-10_02-33-50

With its super bright 2 Watt LED, convenient mounting strapping system, USB charging and cool lasers; I can definitely see the NiteRider’s Sentinel being one of my favorite tail lights.
Our review disclaimer.

Wabi Cycles Lightning RE Review

I posted a first impression of the Wabi Cycles Lightning RE about two weeks ago. I mentioned that this road bike has been the most comfortable bike that I’ve ever ridden. I still stand by that statement. After ridden the bike on the streets, river trail, uphills and downhills I absolutely love the way this bike rides.

2015-12-12_08-33-38

But before I go into the specifics of why I love this bike so much, I want to get into what a buyer will experience when ordering a bike from Wabi Cycles. It all started with a call from Richard Snook asking me my measurements to ensure that the bike that I was going to receive would fit properly, after I gave him my measurements we decided to stick with a 49 frame. Richard will make sure that the bike that you will be ordering will fit properly.

2015-12-12_08-34-12

I also decided to ask Richard about Wabi, I could hear the passion that he has about his bikes by chatting with him. You can read Wabi’s story on the “Wabi Story” page. He also gave me brief explanation about the different types of steel tubing and explained to me that the Columbus Spirit Steel tubing used on the Lightning RE is the lightest in the industry. If you want to learn more about the different types of steel, click here.

Let’s get into the specs of the bike:

Frame: Hand built using heat treated, triple butted oversized Columbus Spirit super light steel complete tube set and forged vertical rear drops. Integrated, fillet brazed seat post bolt design. Rear brake cable routed through top tube. Braze ons for front derailleur and two bottle cages.
Fork: Carbon fiber blades with 1 1/8″ aluminum steerer and aluminum fork ends. FSA Orbit X headset with sealed cartridge type bearings
Wheels: Sealed cartridge bearing hubs, 28 hole 14/15G DB stainless, 3 cross lacing, 22mm depth aero section rims with CNCed braking surface. 1650g/set
Drive train: Micro Shift Centos 2 X 10 system, with 11/25T cassette
Crank/BB: Cold forged aluminum arms, 170mm, 39/50T chain rings, external bearing type sealed BB
Tires: Kenda Koncept Kevlar bead folding 700×23, 210g each
Brakes: Cold forged aluminum F&R with cartridge type pads

Why did I love riding this bike so much? Comfort, speed and handling with an emphasis in comfort. I’ve owned and ridden steel bikes before so I thought that it was going to be a subtle difference on how the Lightning RE rode. I was floored on how different the ride was right of the bat. Richard is right, the quality of the ride is unmatched to aluminum and lower grade steel bikes.

2015-12-12_08-34-27
2015-12-12_08-35-06

I mentioned my reservation about the Microshift Centos drive train, I’ve never heard of them but what little I found in the internet was positive. My experience with the Centos was also a positive one, shifting was fast and crisp rivaling the feeling of the Shimano 105s. One thing that did bother me was that the shifting paddle does feel flimsy. I also had a tough time on the uphills; the Lighting RE boasts a classic 39/50T on the front and 11/25 cassette on the rear, I was left looking for more gears on over 7% grade uphills.

2015-12-12_08-35-45

Blasting down the hills on his bike was really fun. The bike was responsive with quick handling but the brakes were another story. The Tektro caliper brakes faded a bit and it took quite a bit of pressure on the brake levers to slow down the bike on the steep downhills. The saddle was comfortable and I had to issues with the Kenda Concept tires.

2015-12-12_08-47-32

At $1,950 the bike is not cheap, but if you value ride quality that easily surpasses aluminum bikes and rivals carbon fiber, the Lightning RE’s price point is actually an excellent value. If you can’t get over the Microshift Centos, Wabi also sells the Lighting RE as a frame set (Includes frame, fork, headset and seat post clamp bolt).

Our Review Disclaimer

Wabi Cycles Lightning RE First Impression

“It is the most comfortable bike that you would ever ride”

That is a big claim for bike that will cost you about 2 grand. Did I mention that it was steel? oh yes, but not just “any” steel but Columbus Spirit Steel.

(Disclosure: Wabi cycles sent us a Lightning RE for us to review.  Moe has accepted to do the review because he is roadie, loves bikes and he is just plain awesome. -RL Policar)

If you follow us on Facebook, you would have seen some of the teaser shots from the un-boxing of the Lightning RE to its first 18 mile ride to the beach. Here is my first impression of the bike:

For starters, the bike came well packaged and protected in a box via Fedex.

2015-11-26_09-13-59

It is also worth noting that the bike was pretty much 90% assembled, a simple hex tool was all I needed to put the bike together.

2015-11-26_09-15-01

As soon as the bike was assembled, I couldn’t help to notice how beautiful the bike is. The frame is traditional with a carbon fiber fork, the parts are polished and that Red… quite captivating. The bike got a few compliments as I was riding the bike to the beach, it is definitively a looker.

2015-11-26_09-16-25

There is one thing about this bike that I’m still on the fence; the Microshift Centos shifting components. I’ve never heard of Microshift before, a quick google search yielded few results, some of these results comparing this grouppo with Shimano 105s. Well, my current bicycle is equipped with 105s so a comparison will be a must.

So what about that claim that this is going to be the most comfortable bike I’ve ever ridden? So far it is totally true. The bike blew my mind, I just could not believe how different the ride is from my Giant TCR SLR 2.

The ride to and from the beach is relatively flat with minimal shifting and braking so I still need to put the bike through some uphills and descents. Stay tuned for my full review.

The Classic 2.0 Garment Pannier by Two Wheel Gear

THE CLASSIC 2.0 GARMENT PANNIER

Not too long ago we tested out “The Southwest Waxed Canvas Bike Suit Bag.” Since then, the guys at Two Wheel Gear sent us their updated version of the bag. This time around, they’ve made some changes, mainly in the material they used. Rather than canvas, they went with polyester. Here are some of the main features of the bag:

THE CLASSIC 2.0 GARMENT PANNIER

MATERIAL 600D Polyester with TPE waterproof backing and UV coating
MOUNTING SYSTEM Universal RIXEN & KAUL Vario mounting system – RACK MOUNTING INSTRUCTIONS
INTERNAL ORGANIZATION Stores 3-5 garments, 3 internal mesh pockets for belts, ties, workout shorts, shirts, watches, cufflinks, jewelry, padded 15″ laptop storage
NIGHT VISIBILITY High visibility reflective accents
WATERPROOF RAIN COVER 210 HD Nylon – inverts into clip-on pouch – neon green with reflective silver accents
DETAILS  Padded removable shoulder strap, carry handles, signature monogram liner, zippered mounting hardware access, utility loops for reflective lights and accessories, YKK zippers, top bag hanger/handle, padded internal garment strap, reflective exterior pattern

Product Overview:

  • The functionality of a travel garment bag on your bicycle
  • Meets standard airline carry-on requirements
  • Stores approximately 3-5 hangers/garments
  • Hangs vertical for convenient changing and packing
  • Extra deep side pockets pack shoes, towels, toiletries, etc.
  • Bike to work with wrinkle free clothing

During our testing period we made sure we used the garment bag with our finest duds. As you can see below, the hanger hooks onto a loop and can be secured so it doesn’t fall (the hanger) during transport. Notice the mesh pockets right above the shoulders of my clothing. Those are great for storing for storing small things like jewelry, deodorant, doodads and just about anything that could fit in there. Further down the bag is a security strap; this is great because it prevents your clothing from moving around and we all know that when clothes move around, the more chances of getting wrinkled. THE CLASSIC 2.0 GARMENT PANNIER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition you have another mesh pocket to store your g-string or if you like going commando and don’t have a need to store underwear, you can put socks in there. Beneath that is a padded pocket to store a laptop, iPad or a slice of pizza (wrapped of course).

What you see below has to be my favorite feature of the bag. It has a reflective pattern that allows you to be seen while riding. Also you’ll notice the two large side pockets, you can put your shoes in there. I don’t know about you, but I like to wear cycling shoes when I’m riding and when I get to my office, I’ll slip on a fresh pair of work-appropriate footwear. The other side pocket can be used to store your lunch or whatever else you need to bring with you to the office. The top pocket is perfect for keeping a multi-tool, pump and snacks.

The bag is equipped with briefcase handles as well as a detachable shoulder strap. Having both options makes it much easier to carry with you. By the way, you can even travel on an airplane with this bag since it meets airline carry-on requirements.

THE CLASSIC 2.0 GARMENT PANNIER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notice the reflective rain cover that the Garment Pannier comes with. It’s Hi-Vis to help drivers see you on the road during a down pour. I didn’t get an opportunity to test that feature since living in Southern California, we rarely see rain, all thanks to the drought. THE CLASSIC 2.0 GARMENT PANNIER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Garment Pannier is equipped with a great locking mechanism that ensures that your bag will not fly off your rack. It uses something called Universal RIXEN & KAUL Vario mounting system. It’s pretty self explanatory on how it works, but you can read all about it HERE. Please forgive my shoddy photo, I’m still trying to convince the boss to let us upgrade our camera from 1993. But you get an idea on how it mounts from this photo.

THE CLASSIC 2.0 GARMENT PANNIER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now that you’ve got an clear understanding on how the bag is supposed to work, let’s get into the nitty gritty of the review. I used it for a few hundred miles during our testing phase. I’ve even used it to travel to various trade shows in various parts of the country. One thing that stands out with the Classic 2.0 Pannier is that it really is a versatile and robust bag. Not only is it easy to use, but it’s pretty tough. It must be the 600D polyester they use because this bag has seen some asphalt in its day. There was a few times where I haphazardly mounted the bag without securing it and decided to jump a speed bump or ride off the curb and down went the bag. A few times it slid down the road for about 10 feet. But nothing happened to it! The material was still in great condition, none of the hardware broke, and my stuff in side was still intact.

I think the most appealing part about this bag is it’s looks. Nothing about it screams that you’re a bike commuter. I like how it’s not bulky like other panniers I’ve owned. It’s professional looking and may I add, very handsome. So if you want to look like a boss when you get to work, make sure your clothes don’t look like you just pulled them out of the hamper. No! Arrive looking crisp and fresh. But you can’t do that with just a plain pannier bag. Those other bags will leave your office attire all jacked up and molested looking. The Classic 2.0 Garment Pannier is the way to go. Consider it an investment for your career and if you’re self-employed, I’m sure you could write this bag off somehow.

Our FTC Disclaimer