Tag Archive: e-bike

News: Change Out Your Wheel for a Smart Wheel!

Any of you bikey kids lookin’ to cut the sweat out of your long commute? Or maybe you’ve been thinking about e-pimping off your bike, but it just looks too tedious and technical to set up on your own? Well, check out this Euro-stylized invention coming out soon: the FlyKly Smart Wheel!

“We want to make cities more livable, and more people, not car friendly!” – FlyKly on the Smart Wheel

I know there have been a butt-load of Smart-themed kickstarters and new projects out, but check the article if you’re interested. Plus there is gray-themed fancy people on bikes photos for your enjoyment, like this:

Thoughts, Cycle Ladies and Gents? Is the “Smart” fad more trouble than it’s worth… Smartphones unlocking your precious commuter bike and programming the speeds on your electric-assist rear wheel? Or is it the unavoidable future?

You know my thoughts, with my lack of texting and my dumbphone and all… Chime in with some comments, puh-leeze.

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.


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!


Motiv also had a dashing hot-pink e-cruiser for testing:

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

Review: Ridekick E-Trailer

Right after Interbike we got our hands on a demo unit from RideKick. If you’re not familiar with them, it’s basically a utility trailer that has an electric motor which in turn propels any bicycle forward giving it e-bike capabilities.

This was our demo unit. My daughter graciously help “model” these photos for me.
RideKick Review


Pushes your bike up to 19 Mph
Lead Acid Battery Ridekick Trailer weighs 43 lbs and the Lithium Ridekick Trailer weighs 38 lbs.
Simple throttle gives you variable speed control
Ride 10-12 miles on a full charge on the Lead Acid Battery and 25 miles on the Lithium
Room for a briefcase or bags of groceries
Clicks on or off your bike in 15 seconds
Weather resistant storage case with combination lock
Installs on most any bike in under 12 minutes
Designed to be safe, stable in turns and when stopped
Your bicycle feels comfortable even with a full cargo load
Provides all the benefits of an electric bike or ebike conversion kit without modifying your bike

Cool little feature, the trailer has a built in LED tail light. Great idea, but it would have been great if it was bigger and brighter.

The left drive wheel is powered by the motor via chain.

To attach the RideKick, simply place it on the rear, loop the strap and run the throttle control to your handlebar.


Access to the trunk/battery compartment is guarded by a combination lock. This area allows you to store all sorts of goodies like groceries, bags and whatever else can fit in there.

On a depleted battery, it took 5-6 hours for the RideKick to fully charge. My top speed via GPS was 18.2 miles. The site says it can reach up to 19mph, but I’m sure that could be easily achieved with a lighter rider. I was able to travel 11 miles on a single charge. One of the things I liked about the RideKick was its throttle. Most e-bikes will surge forward as soon as you twist or hit the throttle. But the RideKick will gradually increase speed. So that means if I’m at a stop sign, I hit the button; it will start moving and within a few feet will be up to 100%. It’s a bit of a safety feature if you think about it.

The RideKick is pretty fun device. It allows the rider to carry extra cargo in its trunk and get ample speed if needed. The price for the trailer ranges from $699 to $1359, depending on features. To some this may be steep, but if you compare it to other e-bikes out there, it’s relatively affordable. Most e-bikes start with a price point over $1000, and they’ll charge you an extra few hundred for battery upgrades and etc.

So how does this feel when you ride it? It’s a blast! The Ridekick is very stable and when you weigh it down with load, it will bounce less. During our testing period, we took it through various terrains such as street, grass, dirt and gravel. On the street is where the RideKick excels, but on wet grass or loose gravel, the drive wheel will spin out due to lack of traction. But then again, I really don’t think it was made to ride over that terrain. The only thing I really didn’t like about the RideKick was its size. Granted, it’s a trailer, but having to store it if you’re not using it or even when charging it will require some space. Lucky for me, I have garage with ample room, but for folks with limited space who live in apartments or smaller homes, this might become cumbersome.

I need to mention that our demo unit suddenly died during one of our tests( jumping off the curb). I sent an email to the folks at RideKick and a person named Mike W. responded. He reassured me that the issue I had was nothing but a connection that had gone loose (from all the times we were hopping the curb). All I had to do was open the battery bag and reconnect it. Sure enough when I check it, that was exactly the problem. So if you decide to get one of these, you’ll be in good hands if you ever have any technical issues.

Overall, we were pretty pleased with the RideKick Trailer. It performed well during our tests and their customer support was excellent. So if you’re in the market for an e-bike, you may want to consider the RideKick Trailer for the mere fact that you’re investing into something that will attach to any of your current bikes and gives you room to carry a small load. The advantage of going with this trailer versus getting a whole new e-bike is repurposing your current bike.

Our disclaimer.

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:, 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.

New E-Bike Share Program to Start

While having my morning coffee, I came across this blurb about a new Bike Share program starting up in Knoxville, Tennessee at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

Read on..

KNOXVILLE, TN (BRAIN)—The first e-bike sharing system in the U.S. could be unveiled as early as this fall at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

The small-scale pilot program will consist of 15 of Currie’s pedal-assist trekking-style bikes and five hybrid, traditional Marin bikes with no batteries. Chris Cherry, assistant professor at the university’s civil and environmental engineering department, came up with the idea a year ago as a course project for one of his classes.

“It started as a concept I was interested in studying and I was able to find money to buy the equipment and have my students to do the initial design and analysis for a transportation planning course project,” Cherry said.

But the project soon ran into funding and liability issues, which have delayed its implementation. However, Cherry said the system is just about ready to go live with most of the details, including the unique docking stations, tailored e-bikes and battery vending machines, ironed out.

Cherry emphasized that the impetus behind the program is to develop research findings about bike usage, safety-related issues with bikes and e-bikes and physical activity. The e-bikes and bikes will be equipped with GPS and pedal sensors to track usage.

Cherry said he opted for e-bikes instead of a full fleet of traditional human-powered bikes because of the campus terrain. “Our campus is pretty spread out and very hilly so riding a bike requires a bit of devotion,” he said. “This is a way to hopefully get people to ride more bikes. A lot of students will drive across campus. It’s really auto-oriented.”

Larry Pizzi, president of Currie Technologies, said that aside from providing the fleet at a deep discount, Currie worked closely with Cherry on modifying the e-bikes to make them viable for the program, specifically the battery configuration. Pizzi doesn’t think public e-bike sharing systems will proliferate due to the higher price tag of an e-bike and the large scale of citywide systems. “But with private programs, like a university program, it definitely becomes more viable,” Pizzi said.

—Lynette Carpiet

This might be a nice precedent for other university campuses to give their civil engineering & urban transportation planning students a jump start in their chosen career paths… Hmmmmm…..

OHM Cycles Urban XU700 Review

I had received the OHM Urban XU700 to test a few months ago and this bike has probably seen the most abuse of any other bike I’ve tested. I’ll get into the test procedures later.


My time spent on this bike is a mixture of bike commuting to and from work, errands as well as taking the occasional Saturday morning rides through town.

The OHM XU700 offers a variety of riding options:
1.There are 3 other levels of assist from this bike. 1 being the lowest amount of assist from the motor and 4, being the greatest amount. I spent most of my time on level 4, no pedaling required.

2. Regenerative braking. You read it right. Basically what this means is you can adjust your motor from the control panel to generate electricity and recharge your batteries while going down the hill. Regeneration also works by adding resistance to your pedal stroke. This allows your to pedal and recharge at the same time.

ohm specs

If you take a gander at the detailed spec sheet found HERE, you’ll see that the OHM XU700 is outfitted with some decent parts such as hydraulic Tektro brakes, Shimano Deore drivetrain components and many more. I do have to note that the Suntour NCX fork was pretty plush and when combined with the Suntour suspension seat post, this bike rode like a dream. Pot holes, bumps and any imperfections of the road or trail were quickly absorbed.

Power for the headlight and tail light was generated by the Shimano dynamo hub. Keep in mind that this is more of a “be seen” light rather than one to see with.

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty of the OHM Urban XU700. There are a few things that most people would want to know about an e-bike. I’ll break it down in various sections below:

Battery life between charges-I was averaging about 20 miles per charge. Keep in mind, that I was at the highest level of assist, meaning I barely pedaled while riding. So I relied heavily on its battery power to move my 206lb body.

How long does it take to recharge?
-Once the battery is fully depleted, I recharge it and that cycle takes about 5 hours. Typically what i do is when I arrive at my office, I remove the battery pack and charge it. By the time I head out to get some lunch, the battery is about 3/4 charged. Once I return, the battery is back on the charger. By the end of my day, it’s fully charged and ready to go.

How does it handle?
-There’s no difference in the way the OHM rides than any other bike out there. The geometry suggests a more relaxed stance and has a comfort bike feel to it.

How fast can it go?– On flats, I was able to take it up to 21mph.

How does it work?
-“In auto assist mode, the system automatically provides boost proportionate to the rider’s pedaling effort. The harder the rider pedals, the more the boost the system will provide. Alternatively, rider can use the throttle to propel the bike without pedaling. Note: throttle can only be engaged after 2 km/h.”

Stopping power?The hydraulic brakes make stopping on a dime easy.

Is it user friendly?-Yes, it’s very easy to use. Turn it on, set your pedal assist level, then ride!

Is the bike reliable? In a short and simple answer, yes. The OHM Urban XU700 has been down trails that it wasn’t meant to go on and I’ve tested its durability in more ways than one.

For starters, the bike did well on the street. Not once did I have any problems with it. The electrical system worked as designed and it made my commute easier because I hardly had to pedal. As far as testing its durability, I took this bike through various mountain bike trails as well as a Super D and Downhill course at the Southridge Challenge back in November. The photo below was taken moments before a downpour. I have purposely left the bike out in rain to see if that would cause any problems. To my surprise, everything worked perfectly. The drivetrain has never needed any sort of tuning or adjustments.

SRC Challenge

In fact, when I rode it down the Super D and DH courses, people would stop and stare because they couldn’t believe that this e-bike was able to handle the abuse I was giving it. I tried to beat up this bike, but the only thing I did to it was a pinch flat and it caused the rear wheel to come out of true. Other than that, the bike is in great shape!


I’ve gotta admit, the OHM Cycles Urban XU700 has me very excited. It’s an absolutely entertaining bike to ride. Everyone that has tried it simply falls in love with the pedal assist. During one of my Saturday morning, 15 miler rides with the OHM, I had stopped at the local 7/11 and a gentleman came up to me asking about the bike. He said that he was in the market for an e-bike, but had never tried one. So I offered him the OHM to ride in the parking lot. Much like the responses that people have when they ride the OHM, he too fell in love. He made it a point to write down the brand and model name.


Fortunately, this bike does come with some accessories that a large number of our readers love: fenders, rack, and lights!


In closing, the OHM Cycles Urban XU700 has been a very fun bike to test. It has taken me on some great adventures and its durability has been pretty stellar. But the question is, would I buy one at the price of $3299? If I had the cash laying around — yes, I would.

Review Disclaimer