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Tag Archive: bike commuter

Product Review: WTB Freedom Aon Saddle

Wilderness Trail Bikes (WTB for short) is a respected brand among mountain bikers – particularly in the realm of tires and saddles (aka seats). They’re now bringing that experience to bear on commuter-oriented products: WTB’s Freedom line of products is geared at bikes commuters are more likely to ride and aims to provide comfortable, functional gear at a reasonable price point. I’ve been testing their Aon saddle on my (newly resurrected!) road singlespeed, and it’s time to share some impressions.


As mentioned, one of the key components is value. At $39.99, the Aon (which is available in both men’s and women’s versions) certainly does that – it’s more comfortable than many more expensive saddles I’ve tested out. It is labeled as being for road bikes, and that’s precisely how it should be used – it is more comfortable when leaning forward than it is when sitting up straighter. I don’t have to be in the drops for it to be comfortable, but I wouldn’t want it on a cruiser! For bikes with a more upright position, Freedom offers several other saddles – if they’re as comfortable as the Aon, they may be worth checking out as well. Although we don’t have any more saddles on test, WTB provided us several products in this lineup for review, so look for more commentary on some Freedom grips and tires in the future!

Motiv Electric Bicycles

Not too long ago, I met up with the folks at Motiv Electric Bicycles. They gave me one of their bikes to test out for the site. But before I get into that, I wanted to talk about how you could customize your very own e-bike.

If you were to visit Motiv’s website: http://www.motivelectricbikes.com, you can actually pick and choose the colors for your frame, rims, tires/cockpit and battery pack size. Below is what I went with. I had thought about going for the hot pink…but decided to stick with something more conservative.
motive shopping

Here she is in all her glory. Not bad eh? Ya I noticed that the tires didn’t quite match the photo above, but I was pretty happy with the overall look of it.
Motive Electric Bike

To view the specs of the bike, click on this link: Specs

Motiv comes with a lifetime warranty on the frame (as long as you are the original owner). The battery carries a 2 year warranty as well. More warranty information can be found by clicking here:Warranty

Originally Motiv Electric Bicycles set me up with a 36v battery pack. This actually rode well — very smooth — and gave me distance of 23 miles per charge with a top speed of 20mph. Then, at the 3 week mark, they provided me with their bigger battery pack, the 48v. According to Motiv, this pack would let me go faster. Sure enough, they were right! I hit a whopping 31mph and traveled 21 miles in one charge.
Motive Electric Bike
Rear motor has good torque and mated with the 48v battery pack, I was cruising up the hills un-assisted (no pedaling).
Motive Electric Bike

Motiv’s frame is pretty unique when it came to the battery placement. Other e-bikes we’ve tested either have the battery pack in the back or between the head and seat tube. The problem with the rack pack design is that your center of gravity is…well…off centered. To me, those types of bikes feel less stable. But Motiv placed their pack directly behind the seat tube, which basically sits it in the same location as the rider would. This in turn gives the rider (me) a more natural feel. Having the pack in this location makes it feel less squirrely when riding.
Motive Electric Bike
Motive Electric Bike

I think the best thing Motiv did was spec their bike with 7″ disc brakes. With the added weight of the motor and battery pack, you’ll need decent braking power. Again I dare compare it to the other E-bikes that I’ve tested. The 6″ disc brakes on the OHM Urban XU700 was ok, but not great. But these 7″ rotors mated with Tektro levers and calipers…this bike literally can stop on a dime. Just think about it, when you’re rolling at 27MPH and need to stop right away, you NEED those big brakes!
Motive Electric Bike

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty and answer a few questions you may have. “How does it ride?” Well, it rides like a beach cruiser. The upright riding position is great for leisure riding. It surprisingly corners really well with its Schwalbe Fat Frank tires. No flat tires during the testing period, wheels stayed true and no mechanical issues ever occurred. Oh did I mention it comes with a bell? Ding Ding!
Motive Electric Bike

How much does it cost? The test bike I had retailed $1929.99 (with 48v battery pack). Though it may look like a beach cruiser, the Motiv Electric Bicycle can easily be outfitted with fenders and racks since the frame has eyelets and mounts for them.
Motive Electric Bike

Who should buy this bike?
The Motiv Electric Bicycles actually sell more to Baby Boomers than any other demographic. Truth be told, this e-bike is a ton of fun. Not only is it cheaper than the Ohm XU700 and Urbana Current that we tested, but it’s faster too!

Our review disclaimer.

Beginner Tip-Pace yourself

One of the mistakes I used to do when I first started bike commuting was trying to get to my destination as fast as possible. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to beat your time or use your bike commuting for training, but for the bike commuter who just started, you may want to pace yourself.

Why? Well there’s a few reasons. The biggest one for me was that if I went balls out on the first leg of my commute, I’d find myself getting way too tired before arriving at my destination. That poses as a problem because I would find myself way too tired to keep riding. Which made me stop to rest or have to buy a Redbull or Monster just so I can finish the rest of the ride. Another reason to pace yourself was I got way too sweaty. One of the things I hated was arriving at my destination dripping in sweat. This mattered to me because my work place doesn’t have a shower. If it did, then I’d roll out of bed, get on my bike, ride fast and just take my showers at work.

Now you’re probably wondering, “how do I pace myself?” For me, and this could be an entirely different experience for other riders, but what I do is I find the right cadence while riding. I’m not pushing too hard or going too easy. Basically I’m cruising around 14-17mph an hour.

I do hope that this little tip will help out our new bike commuter friends. Enjoy your ride!

Bike To Work Week: Rookie Commuter Resources

I love my Bike in all the months.

Hello enthusiastic readers – year-round cyclists, beginner cyclists, or future bike commuters!  Like the title above says, next week is Bike to Work Week! May is also the only month where you can cycle to work and get loads of freebies – safety tuneups, swag, blinkie lights, bike maps, and bike buddies.  Check out Jack’s article for handy links. For the bike-commuters-to-be and fledgling velodactyls, the staff writers at Bike Commuters wanted to share some tips, inspiration, and motivation to make May’s Bike to Work Week the best. week. ever. Everyone remembers the first time they rode a bike, and our readers have told us how they got started pedaling to work, and it turns out Bike to Work Week is a great starting point!

Here’s a list of some great articles I call the Rookie Commuter Resources. Hand selected and gleaned by yours truly… and don’t forget to read the comments, sometimes you guys are the ones with the best tips for bike commuting!  Enjoy:

  1. Let’s Bike – This year, Elizabeth presented the basics on bike commuting at her job.  She asked our readers to give their advice to newbie commuters.  As Ghost Rider says, “the comments are GOLD” in this one.
  2. 10 Bike Commuting Myths Dispelled Jack’s buddy Alan Snel shines truth on all myths related to bike commuting.
  3. My Conversation with a Cop about Bikes, Traffic, and Safety TipsRL hashes it out with his friend “Officer Ben” to discuss the legal stuff and how to bike commute safely within the law!
  4. Out of My Way, Boys!This article is by Dottie from Let’s Go Ride a Bike.  A funny read for Cycle Ladies getting pumped to tear up the streets!
  5. Commuting in Style (Pint-Sized Edition) Matt gives some tips on how to bike commute with tiny humans (a.k.a. children).
  6. Friday Musings – Top 3 Must-Have Bike Commuting AccessoriesReaders share their thoughts on their favorite commuter accessories.

We know there are more out there, on our site and others, so please share more links in the comments box for any Rookie Commuter Readers out there getting pumped for Bike to Work Week: May 14th through 18th!  Pedal Forward, Cycle Ladies and Gents!

Lookin' fly, Priscilla! Bike to Work Week with your DOG!

Late to Work: Biking in my Dreams!

Do you ever have a commute where you get to work and wonder, Is this real life!?”  I DO.  I don’t know how it happened, but I ended up uber late to work today, rolling in at an embarassing 1:10pm!  Not to say that I arrive at the dark box of drudgery and sadness (a.k.a. office with no windows) any earlier than 9:30am on a regular M-F… but today was different.  Caught between a nightmare of angry drivers and a dream of ukulele bike advocacy, I thought “Dr. Toothenstein must have gone overboard with the Novocaine yesterday.”  Either that, or now I’m biking in my dreams too.

Fruit!

Gramps keeps it real, he's my posture coach.

My dream started out like this: I groggily flopped out of bed late with no time to shower OR shop for vegetables in Chinatown!  Grandpa yelled my name from the streets below as he waited for a ride on my handlebars over to the acupuncture lady.  We’re cruising down the narrow streets of C-town, as I wait in the middle lane to make a left turn.  Gramps and I are chillin’ completely innocent and unoffensive (well, except for maybe some strong B.O. since hygiene is not my forte), and the nightmare begins.  A jerk-bomb in a truck passes by in the far right lane and yells “Get the FAWK outta tha ROAD!” The truck passes by at full 5 mph (bad traffic makes yelling at cyclists then speeding away kinda hard!)  Gramps gets pissed and starts yelling in Cantonese and chasing the truck down.  Guess I don’t need to drop him off to acupuncture after all.

I call these scones "Forget-Me-Nows" - eat one and forget all bad juju from Jerk Bomb in Pick-up Truck!

I’m a bit stunned from the nightmare, but decide to just crank it out.  There’s only one way to repair the damages from a street-fire jerk bomb: Forget-Me-Now blueberry cream cheese scones from Diamonhead Market!  With nothing but scone on the brain, I zone out for the rest of my ride.  On the way there, I detour through Kapiolani Park.  It’s a beautiful day to take the scenic route to scones, and I  hear the voice of the executive director at HBL calling out my name!  I stop and pull over.

A royal shower tree

Kapiolani Park - a dreamy royal shower tree.

I’ve apparently entered into the Bike Advocacy dream sequence with this kinda hot n’ famous ukulele guy, Chad from HBL and a lady cop.  So much for scones, I guess it’s time to film a dreamy PSA with Jake Shimabukuro on how cyclists have the right to take the whole lane in Hawaii!

P1020375

After a couple of video takes, some sweet harmonious tunes, and awkward posing in my HBL tee… I start to think: maybe this isn’t a dream, this is REALITY!  And if it is, am I frackin’ sweaty and smelly.

P1020385

Well, whatever is happening here, I just can’t help but throw up a shaka for the camera!  Deputy lady cop so-n-so says “It’s the law!”

P1020387

How appropriate that my nightmare and dream revolve around the same theme:  cyclists have the right to take the whole lane if it’s too narrow to share with the car!  Seems Mr. Jerk-bomb is the perfect audience for this Public Service Announcement.  Let’s hope jerk-bomb and other drivers out there will listen up and share the road!  Until this PSA is published on the telly, I gotta go back to Chinatown and find Gramps…  Any of you riders out there have bike commuting nightmares to share?  How do you guys get over those nasty comments from drivers on your commutes?

(For the more literal readers out there, Mir.I.Am was intentionally late to work today to film a Public Service Announcement with Hawaii Bicycling League.  Coincidentally, she did get yelled at by a guy in a pick up truck, but no Grandpas were harmed in the writing of this post.  Blueberry cream cheese scones are baked pure deliciousness itself.  Oh god, they’re so good!)