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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

FTC Disclaimer

 

Adaptive Use Electric Bike Makes Trails All-Access

Did you catch any of the Sochi Paralympics this year? Wowza. Olympic-level athletes are hardcore, but paralympians take it to a whole new level. Just goes to show that often, the only limiting factor of human ability is the speed of innovation and current technology. The human mind and body together can tackle the most demanding, rigorous sports—and that includes road and mountain biking.

This fact was most recently brought to our attention by a company from North Carolina, Outrider USA, which is launching an innovative adaptive-use bike, the Horizon. The electric cycle is a rugged all-terrain trike designed to allow riders of different abilities, including many paraplegics and quadriplegics, to get out on the roads and trails.

Though the company has been building electric trikes since 2011, it wasn’t until teaming up with Christopher Wenner, Ph.D., a quadriplegic adventurer, a little over a year ago that the Outrider team focused on adaptive technology. Chris Wenner wanted to recapture the feeling of riding his mountain bike prior to an injury that made the sport inaccessible until now.

“The driving mission behind the Horizon trike is simple: Just because an individual has a physical disability, doesn’t mean they don’t still crave the adventure and freedom of riding a bike,” says Jesse Lee, Outrider Co-founder. “When we combined that mission with our experience building the world’s highest performing electric bikes, the Horizon was born – and the feedback on the prototypes has been incredibly positive.”

The Horizon adapts to the abilities of the rider – from riders with full leg and arm function to riders with limited function such as paraplegics and quadriplegics. It is possible to ride the Horizon:

  • with full function of your arms and legs
  • with left hand/arm only
  • with right hand/arm only
  • with upper body function but limited leg function
  • with upper body function but no leg function
  • with limited function in both your arms and legs (you’ll need some amount of arm function for steering, braking and throttle.)
  • with any combination of the above

Horizon: Like No Other Electric Bike

Horizon is not your typical electric bike. Outrider describes the Horizon as “the bike for your super-hero alter ego.” With its adaptive-use design and powerful electric assist technology, Horizon is ready for adventures on the street or the road less traveled.

Features of the Horizon: Adaptable and customizable for a range of physical abilities

  • Foot Pedals or Hand Pedals (with foot-tray)
  • Standard hand controls or adapted use hand controls (tri-pin)
  • Actuated seat (rising) to make getting in and out of the seat easier
  • Fold down handlebars for side entry to the seat
  • Three wheels and low center of gravity make balancing simple

Electric assist:

  • Twist the throttle when you want a boost, pedal when you want, or do both together. It’s totally up to you.
  • Horizon is capable of tackling steep mountains and seriously long distances
  • Speeds reach up to 30 mph.
  • Forward and Reverse

In order to get the Horizon into production, Outrider recently launch a Kickstarter campaign to “help with the tooling and production costs of the first production run” and to get feedback directly from adaptive sports and rehabilitation centers. With the help of crowd-sourced funding, the Outrider team aims to get the Horizon into production and delivered by the end of the year.

Interested in learning more about the Outrider Kickstarter campaign? Read more here.

Leed Bicycle Solution: Custom made E-bike wheel for the sidecar

You all may have seen photos of the sidecar project that I have going on. One of the complaints I have with the sidecar is how heavy it is to pedal. As much as I wanted to try and find some sort of multi-geared solution for the bike, that option just can’t be executed due to the way the sidecar mounts on the rear axle. So I was stuck with a single speed configuration. But it gave me an idea after I saw an ad online for Leed Bicycle Solutions. I then got in contact with Mike Merrell over at Leed and we began talking about creating an e-bike solution for the sidecar.

After a few emails, photos and text messages, Mike got all the info he needed to make this happen. Mind you, the sidecar uses 20″ wheels. So this meant Mike had to acquire a 20″ rim and build a motor into it. The whole process took about a week and once it arrived at the Wold HQ of BikeCommuters.com, I immediately went to work to install it.

Before we get on with the rest of the article, here’s some tech info about the kit I received: 30k powered by Samsung Li-Ion Batteries. The kit is everything you need to convert any bike to electric. The online price is $699 and MSRP is $799.

Here’s more technical info about the kit:
30k E-Bike Kit powered by Samsung:
http://www.e-bikerig.com/products/30k-e-bike-kit-samsung-li-ion.html

8Fun Planetary Motor:
http://www.e-bikerig.com/24v-bike-hub-planetary-motor/

10.4 Ah Li-Ion Battery powered by Samsung (Leed 30k):
http://www.e-bikerig.com/products/30k-extra-battery-samsung-li-ion.html

Ok, now that we got all that technical stuff situated, here’s what the finished installation looks like. That clear, square box in the spokes are LED lights that I’m also reviewing. Notice the fork strut? I had to make a small cut in order to open it up to fit the larger sized axle. This also meant that I had to drill out the strut a bit bigger so it will fit. Once I got the strut on, I just snugged it up on both sides.
ebike side car

The “throttle” is a basic On-OFF Switch. You just push it to make the wheel go. Can be strapped on either side of your handle bar.
electric sidecar

Wires can be neatly zip tied to the frame.
bicycle sidecar

I originally wanted to install the battery pack under the seat board of the sidecar, but the way the wiring worked out, this was my best option. Besides, I was able to secure the pack to the frame of the sidecar with the velcro straps that it came with.
custom electric sidecar

Voila! All set up and got a max speed of 12mph. That’s including my weight, the bike/sidecar and my daughter. That’s a pretty decent speed considering the weight of the sidecar itself.
leed bicycle solutions

Here are those PBLights (LED) that I mentioned earlier. The Leed Bicycle Solutions e-bike kit makes the sidecar even more fun to ride. We have a whole series of articles that will pertain to this project build. We plan on getting the sidecar either powder coated or painted and finish up the upholstery as well.
photo

Here’s a couple of short clips of the e-bike kit in action. Forgive the quality, not sure what happened there.
The motor has enough torque to where you don’t have to pedal just to get it going. Here’s my daughter riding it.

Then it was my turn.

Review: Motiv Electric Bikes’ Shadow

BikeCommuters.com is the first blog review site to have had a go with the new Motiv Shadow. Cameron Pemstein handed us two battery options to test, the 36V and the 48V. The price difference between the 2 battery packs: $400.

This was one of 3 demo units they have available. The Shadow will be available in Spring 2014, MSRP: $2,249.99.
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Battery pack with a built in power level indicator.
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New for Motiv is this LCD control panel, with backlighting. You can set how much pedal assist you want to have. 1-5, 5 being the most. The control panel is very user friendly. Simply turn it on by hitting Mode on the remote by the bell, set your pedal assist and you’re ready to hit the road!
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The Shadow is equipped with Tektro Novela Mechanical Disc brakes with 7” rotors. With rotors that size, you can pretty much stop on a dime. I’d have to say this is good planning on Motiv’s part. Here’s why: if you’re using the 48v battery pack, there’s a bit of torque there. You can hit 23MPH within a few seconds. So that means if you’re going that fast, you’ll also need to stop; 7″ rotors are the way to go. If you really wanted to, you can later upgrade the mechanical Tektro brakes to a hydraulic set, but during the testing period, these mechanical brakes worked well enough to stop me going 30mph down a hill and I weigh 195lbs.
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With an electric bike, we’re not all that concerned with how it shifts and all that jazz. But since we are a bicycle review site, I’ll delve into that a bit. The Shadow is equipped with entry-level Shimano 7 speed components and a 44T chain ring up front. I thought that having a 44T would make climbing difficult. But if you have the bike set on pedal assist, climbing is actually a breeze.
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As I mentioned, I tested both battery packs on the Shadow. On the 48v with full pedal assist level of 5, I rode 15 miles on a single charge. This is a mix of gravel roads, dirt trails, steep hills and streets. With the 36v, I was on full pedal assist level of 5. By the time I finished my 17 mile ride, I looked down at the control panel and saw that I still had 3/4 life left on the battery pack. So that means if I wanted to keep going, I could easily reach in the upwards of 30+ miles on pedal assist. But if I turned down the pedal assist levels to 1-3, then the Shadow has a potential battery life of over 50+ miles.

Charging took a minimum of 5 hours. I’d basically charge it the night before, then in the morning I’d head out for a test ride. After I got back, I would recharge it.

Here are some more details about the difference between the 48v and the 36v: in terms of performance, I’d consider the 48v as the High Performance battery pack. It delivers so much more torque which translates to a quicker bike. With the 48v battery, I was able to get up to 25.4mph in just seconds. The Shadow does have a safety feature where the power will be cut off once you hit 25.5mph. With the 48v battery pack, you get on the Shadow, set the pedal assist to 5, then pedal. The motor kicks in and you’re zooming down the road. The pull on it is so quick that you can’t help but smile the whole time.

The Shadow’s frame does allow the installation of a rear rack and fenders. I recall having a conversation with Motiv E-Bikes’ Cameron Pemstein that commuters want to make sure that the bike they buy can accept fenders and racks. Well, I am happy to report that he listened and took that into account when designing the Shadow. If you look at the photo above, you’ll find tabs on the rear seat stay and on the bridge is a spot for you to screw in some fenders. Another feature that the Shadow has is an RST Headshok style fork. This makes for a more comfortable ride. It absorbed potholes and other road imperfections.

One thing that has won me over with the Shadow is its styling. In my opinion, it looks better than many of the e-bikes that are currently available. I do like that it looks like…a regular bicycle. The battery pack can be found behind the seat tube, which makes the Shadow a well-balanced bike. Other E-bikes that I’ve tested in the past have the cumbersome battery pack on the rear rack, which affects the bike’s handling. Often, batteries mounted on the rear rack have this flip-flopping characteristic that make the bike squirmy. But the Shadow felt great to ride; it handles really well, is very comfortable and easy on the eyes. In other words, it’s a sharp looking bike. Motiv plans on making 3 color choices available, Red, White and Blue…Merica!

There was only one complaint I had with the Shadow: the magnetic speed sensor that is very similar to most cycle-computers out there. There’s a magnet mounted on the spoke, while a sensor is placed on the fork. When I was riding up some rougher terrain and I’d hit bumps, the sensor couldn’t get a good reading. At times it showed that my speed was 32 and 54. When this occurred, the safety switch would turn off the power to the motor. But once it did that, the speed would go back to normal. Mind you this would only happen when I was riding up a bumpy fire road. Like I mentioned, the bike was tested in various types of terrain just to make sure we put it through its paces. However, I did have this issue a few times while riding on the street after hitting a pothole really hard.

In closing, the Motiv Shadow really is a great example of what a great E-bike should be. It’s not super complicated, is very easy to use, looks good, and I like that they have 2 different battery pack choices available. I’m sure some of you are thinking that an e-bike should have regenerative capabilities. Well, this one doesn’t. But that’s ok. I’ve tested 2 different e-bikes before that had that option and in all honesty, the regenerative system didn’t regenerate enough energy to help put more power back into the battery. The Shadow is attractive, simple and a load of fun to ride. But before you get the 36v, you might want to consider getting the 48v battery pack, you’ll have more fun with it!

FTC Disclaimer

Interbike 2013: New Motiv Shadow E-Bike

Remember those Motiv e-bike spy photos we showed you a couple weeks ago? Well, we got to try the new Motiv Shadow out in person at the e-bike paddock just outside the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

Motiv’s goal is to produce a pedal-assist e-bike that is a bit more stylish than other offerings, and we think they’ve succeeded — the Shadow takes many of its styling cues from the hot urban cycling market, including deep V wheels and color-matched decals, cable casings and other accessories.

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The Shadow will be available with the choice of three battery types: 36V, 36V Long Range, or a tire-smoking 48V. Those batteries are coupled to a rear hub 500 watt geared brushless motor. The bike was a blast around the paddock area!

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Motiv also had a dashing hot-pink e-cruiser for testing:
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Stay tuned for an upcoming detailed review of the Shadow; RL took delivery of a tester the other day and is enjoying zipping around the streets of SoCal as we speak!


Interbike 2013 Coverage Proudly Sponsored by Black Tiger Jerky
Black Tiger Jerky