Tagged: Commuter Bikes

We recently took delivery of the new E-Lux Electric Fat Tire Cruiser for testing. I’ve never seen a fat tire beach cruiser like this before. The first thing I said when I saw it was…”Wow this thing is tall!” The photo below doesn’t really do it justice…
elux Fat Tire Cruiser Electric Bicycle

So here’s some basic specs:
Motor:750w Brushless Geared Motor
Battery: 48V 13Ah Samsung Lithium Ion
Brakes: Front and rear Tektro Disc Brakes
Power: Pedal Assist of Throttle
Range: 30+ Miles
Speed: 21mph
Charging time: 4-6 hours

e-lux ebikes

During my first 10 miles on the Elux, I have to say I was smiling the whole time. This powerful 750w motor, coupled with the 48v battery gives it enough oomph to get up some of the steepest hills in my area.
fat tire electric bike

For my maiden voyage, I took the E-Lux around a variety of terrain so I could get a feel for this bike. I rode a mixture of street, dirt and gravel. I had the pedal assist on #5 (the highest setting) to see if the bike had any trouble hauling my husky butt around. One some of the steeper gravel climbs, I did pedal a bit just to make sure I cleared the hills.

This bike is pretty heavy, right around 75lbs. But you won’t really feel it when you’re riding, especially if you’re on the throttle or pedal assist. The only time the weight is ever an issue is when you have to lift it.
elux ebikes

I’ve only ridden the Elux 10 miles and so far it’s performing much like other e-bikes out there. The fat tires are a hoot on gravel and sand. I was actually impressed with the tires since they seem to grip even when you lean the bike into a corner. I have to add, it’s also a handsome looking bike. Yes it does have fat tires, but that’s what makes this bike unique. For all you die-hard commuters out there, notice the fenders and rear rack? What you didn’t see in the photos is the pannier that I had mounted on the rack to carry my keys, camera and snacks. I also have to add that this bike does come equipped with a front “to-be-seen” headlight.

We plan on putting this bike through the paces to see how well the electric system works as well as the rest of the machine. I know that many of you object to electric assist bikes, some may even consider it “cheating.” But the reality is this segment of the bicycle industry is growing. There are more and more e-bike brands out there that offer a whole slew of options and styles. So stay tuned for our review in the coming weeks.

So about 10 years ago when I started to commute to my jobs I was really into the whole idea of less is more. This meant that my bike was a fixed gear with one brake, messenger bag and small blinky lights. Each year that progressed I noticed I found that the things I thought were “goofy” at one point, were grabbing my attention.

Let’s take for example rear racks and panniers. I used to think they were for “old people.” Well, as I got older I see that they are way more practical than I had ever imagine. But before I got into the pannier thing, I actually ditched the messenger bag for backpacks. I figured it was better for my shoulders and there were a ton of companies that made some great bags. But that too went by the wayside as I didn’t like showing up to places with a wet back and sore shoulders.
panniers

Now that I’m 10 years older I’d like to tell you what I now prefer when it comes to bike commuting. Ready for this?

-multi-geared bike
-rack with at least 2 panniers
-big lights! Minimum of at least 600 lumens on the headlight and 2 blinkers in the back. I like to place them on two different spots for added visibility.
-T-shirts. I used to commute with only cycling clothing. Now I just grab t-shirts and regular shorts.
-I stopped riding fixed gears…arthritic knees.

Perhaps its with time that I started seeing things differently as I did when I was younger. But one thing I’m grateful for is the choices available that the bicycle industry makes for its consumers. Let’s face it, each company has to cater to it’s various demographics to remain competitive and that’s good for us, young and seasoned riders.

What about you? Were there things you’ve changed through out your commuting career? Do you now do things that you didn’t think of when you were younger? It’s like a young married man saying “I’ll never get a mini-van.” Only to find himself at the dealer a few years later falling in love with a new van with built-in DVD player for the kids.

Many of our readers as well as yours truly have used cyclocross bikes as commuters. Personally I like the speed you can achieve as well as the added durability of this type of bike. I often would commute to and from work only to end my day riding the local mountain biking trails. Check out two models for KHS Bicycles being released for 2015.

KHS Carbon Grit 4Forty CX, equipped with Tiagra gruppo and TRP disc brakes.
khs bicycles interbike

CX300 Aluminum frame, 105 gruppo, Shimano disc brakes.
khs bicycles cx300 interbike 2014
Interbike 2014 coverage brought to you by…
two wheel gear bags

I was talking to a friend of mine from the UK who works for an online bicycle shop called Fat Birds. We got to talking about “commuter bikes” and what that all means to someone in the UK. Well he brought up the word “AUDAX.” Truthfully, I’ve never heard of such a term. Apparently Audax is basically a word that best describes a commuter bike. Here’s a definition on their website:

A Sportive or Audax bike is a bicycle that allows for mudguards and in most cases a rear rack it is lighter than a touring bike and the geometry is more racey (yet slightly more relaxed than a road racer). A Touring bike is a frame designed to handle bicycle touring, with mudguards and front and rear pannier racks (not all come with front racks as this is dependent on the fork).
Special features of a touring bike may include a long wheelbase (for ride comfort and to avoid pedal-to-luggage conflicts), frame materials that favor flexibility over rigidity (for ride comfort), heavy duty wheels (for load capacity), and multiple mounting points (for luggage racks, fenders, and bottle cages).

Oh yeah, did you notice the other word in there? “SPORTIVE.” In the US market, or at least in a few bike shops that I’ve been to, they have dubbed what our UK friends call a Sportive as a “fitness bike.” Basically it’s a bike that isn’t quite a sporty road bike, not as burly as a touring bike, but a bike you could use to commute with or take for a 15-20 mile bike rides and still be comfortable.

So are you wondering what a Sportive/Audax bike looks like? Well check out this beauty…”Kinesis Racelight 4S Audax Road Bike Silver; The versatile Racelight TK3 frameset gets a makeover and has a new name Racelight 4S (meaning Four Seasons).”
audax

Not bad right? I’m almost positive that the US Market will start to use those terms in the near future to introduce new commuter bikes to make them sound fancier.

If you’ve got a bike that uses V-brakes and it’s making some noise here’s a quick tip you can do to get rid of that annoying sound.

So what you do is grab one of these green scouring pads, cut off a small section that’s wide enough to fit on the rim.
bike commuters tips

Then make sure you do a better job in placing it behind the pad than I did. Just to let you know, I did re-position the pad so it would be just right. Now press the v-brake arm in so you are essentially pushing the brake pad into the rim. Then rotate the wheel a few times.
bikecommuters.com v brake

Now check out the green pad. See all that muck…well that’s a combination of grease/oils and other contaminants that are getting in between your pads and your rims. If you have all that muck, it’s basically preventing your pads from making a solid contact patch, which causes vibration/noise.
bikecommuters.com tech tips

So the next time your brakes are making noises, try this!