Electric Bikes in Portland and Bend, Oregon

Electric Bikes in Portland and Bend, Oregon.

Yes, bike friendly Portland is a great thing. You see these signs all over and at many shops and stores.

This summer we made plans for some family fun (my sister-in-law’s birthday) in Portland. Being one of the big bicycle hubs in our country, I knew some two-wheeled excitement would be mixed in. Also, after meeting Kim from Let it Ride Electric Bike Tours in Bend, Oregon last year, I thought a short blast south would fit-in too. As you will see, we spent much time with family and the bike world while out of town.

Once the basic trip was planned, I went to work to see what E-bike shops there would be worth visiting. Of course they all were, but two just didn’t happen, both I hear would have been well worth it. EcoSpeed and Splendid Cycles were on my list, but time and the such kept us from their doorsteps. Too bad, yet maybe next time we visit I can check them out.

 

We ride many types of bikes, but I generally limit my reporting to vintage bikes, folding bikes and electric bikes. I decided E-bikes would be the theme of this visit, so most of the shops we hit are strong in that direction. One thing I did notice in town was that there must be many E-bikes around (to be able to support such a large selection of E-bike shops), but I didn’t spot that many on the roads and bike paths. When there are so many bikes about, it is hard to see them all in detail. I’m sure we saw tons of electric bikes, but just didn’t pick them out amongst the throngs of two wheel activity.

A great E-bike ride to the new RR museum in Portland was one of our goals.

In all reality the first bike shop we visited was Velo Cult. They were one of our favorite San Diego bike shops until they moved to Portland a few years back. They are mostly into commuters, touring bikes and the European stuff, although from their take on beer, music and parties, it makes you wonder how they have any time for bikes. They had a few electric-assist converted cargo bikes on the floor, yet E-bikes aren’t their number one concern. Don’t miss their parties and beer selections—said to be the best in town. Also, you can sit with the mechanic who is servicing your bike at one of the many repairs stations while you sip your brewski.

 

One other thing I want to mention before I discuss the E-bike shops we visited is my neglect to spend time with a Portland Facebook friend who is heavily into E-bikes and their variants. It turns out that even though he lives there, we went to more E-bike shops in town then he has. I am sure after he reads this he will make amends and see them all. Sorry Robert, next time I’m sure.

 

Where else but Portland are you going to see billboards for E-bikes?

Universal Cycles
This was our first bike shop to stop by on our E-bike quest. They are listed on the Pedego Electric Bikes dealer locater. They have been in the on-line bike accessory business for 10 years, but this retail location and bike sales are new to them. It is a great shop, but they had a limited amount of E-bikes on hand from Pedego. Their store manager said they are changing that, and agreed with me that for Pedego, rentals are big business.

As we ride rental Pedego E-bikes in many cities, I was expecting to do the same here. By now they may have made the move, but we did do a lot of E-bike riding through other shops during our trip. I did like the selection of bikes and accessories at Universal Cycles, and they are enthusiastic on their future with electric-assist bikes. At this time they are the only Pedego dealer in Portland, so I expect they will ramp it up to match the giant success of that brand.

 

Cynergy has a great thing going for the Portland E-bike enthusiasts.

Cynergy E-bikes

This fairly new E-bike shop is bristling with activity. Each time we were there the customers seemed to be flocking in. The couple that runs the store are very knowledgeable and friendly. I found their tech and wrench guy to be fully tuned into their bikes. I spent too much of our vacation talking E-bikes there, but enjoyed every minute.

 

What worked out great is they agreed to set us up on some EG electric bikes for a ride to the new Portland Train Museum. After our time in Bend, we headed back to Cynergy E-bike to take them up on the offer. The birthday sis came along and the three of us had the best time riding to the museum. We got a good Portland soaking on the way back and loved it. We were wet, but comfy and smiling. See below for my review on the three EG bikes we rode.

Field Electric Bikes

When we walked in the door, great tunes were flowing on vinyl from the old-school turntable and stereo on the counter. This shop is a little cluttered, but one of the best we visited. The enthusiasm was as cool as the music while we met the owner (he is also the head tech). While some of the other shops were great, this one gets my vote for interesting bikes and the whole Portland bike thing.

 

Total bliss = an E-bike tour in the beautiful Bend, Oregon countryside.

Don’t miss the video below of the shop and some of the stuff we saw there. I can’t believe time kept me off the Solo Wheel, yet next time we go back to Portland, that will be my first goal. He had a chopper bike on the stand that was getting converted to electric and I would think anyone would drool just a little thinking about being able to ride it.

Clever Cycles

This shop is large and caters much to the cargo and folding bike crowd. They are mostly E-bike oriented to the cargo bikes, as the electric-assist can be so helpful when hauling the kids or a big load. I was also glad to see the large selection of folding bikes they offer. I had to take my shop video in two parts because their floor space is spread out and the selection of bikes is monstrous.

 

Bend Electric Bikes

Check out some of the cool custom E-bikes at Bend Electric Bikes. There are many more inside.

We had a great time in Bend, even staying over two nights in a log cabin in the woods (high desert they call it). Visiting Bend Electric Bikes was a thrill, as they really do some customs and cool machines. They have a wide selection of E-bike brands and conversion kits. The crew was fun to hang out with and really knew their stuff. Their personal E-bikes are worth checking out.

They do rentals and tours, which is cool because the area they are in is so scenic and history oriented. Like the other E-bike shops we stopped at, time went by so quick. I wanted to stay around and soak up much more of the shop and the people there. I do hope we can make a return visit with more time to browse, ride and talk. They gave me an awesome sweatshirt with their shop logo on it, can’t wait till this winter so I can wear it proudly—thanks guys,

 

This large banner of Cap’t Kirk and his wife on their Pedego E-bikes hangs above the entrance at Let It Ride Electric Bike Tours of Bend, Oregon.

Let it Ride Electric Bike Tours of Bend, Oregon

I met Kim (their GM and head tour guide) at the Pedego dealer meeting last winter. She extended a serious invitation to come by for one of their world-class E-bike tours and this had been matching my idea of a fun vacation activity. We had the best time and want to go again. I wrote a full post here about the great experience. Several people told me it was the best article ever on E-bike tours, so who am I to argue? I won’t go into all the details here, but check the link below to get the full rundown.

The eBike Store

This is one serious E-bike shop. The special work they do has to be seen to fully appreciated. While we were there they were in the process of finishing a full remodel on their new location. With many years of experience at their old shop, it really showed in the quality of the customs and their showing of E-bike knowledge. Their customer base is large and we met a few with glowing words flowing on the satisfaction they’ve received (both in service and bike performance).

It seems that Portland has some great shops to fill their needs when the E-bikes come out to play. This shop is right up there when it comes to selection and expertise. I was duly impressed at each turn of this well set-up E-bike shop. Another fun stop was ours and we hated to leave.

Wake puts the final touches on his freshly remodeled shop in the north part of Portland. This is one high-tech E-bike shop.

Make sure to see all the videos

These links will take you to much more about what we saw and did. They fill in the many blanks in my text as I can only write so much on each post.

 
Thanks for getting your Oregon E-bike on, Turbo Bob.

“After your first day of cycling, one dream is inevitable.”—H.G. Wells.

Universal Cycles on the web and Facebook

http://www.universalcycles.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Universal-Cycles/163967241956

Cynergy E-bikes on the web and Facebook

http://www.cynergyebikes.com/

https://www.facebook.com/cynergyebikes

Field Electric Bikes on the web and Facebook

http://fieldelectricmotorcycles.com/

https://www.facebook.com/FieldElectricMotorcycles

Clever Cycles on the web and Facebook

http://clevercycles.com/

https://www.facebook.com/clevercycles

Bend Electric Bikes on the web and Facebook

http://www.bendelectricbikes.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bend-Electric-Bikes/291445484113

Let It Ride Electric Bike Tours of Bend, Oregon on the web and Facebook

http://letitridebend.com/

https://www.facebook.com/letitridebend

The eBike Store on the web and Facebook

http://www.ebikestore.com/index.php

https://www.facebook.com/eBikeStoreUSA

EcoSpeed on the web and Facebook

http://www.ecospeed.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ecospeedinc

Splendid Cycles on the web and Facebook

http://www.splendidcycles.com/

https://www.facebook.com/splendidcycles

Velo Cult on the web and Facebook

http://velocult.com/

https://www.facebook.com/velocult

My full post of our fun at Let It Ride Electric Bike Tours at Bend, Oregon. This includes videos of both our E-bike tours.

http://turbobobbicycleblog.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/let-it-ride-electric-bike-tours-of-bend-oregon-the-only-way-to-ride/

 

My review of the EG electric bikes we rode at Cycergy E-bikes. It includes videos of the bikes and rides.

http://turbobobbicycleblog.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/eg-electric-bikes-easy-riding-for-easy-money/

See Universal Cycles in this video

See Cynergy E-bikes in this video—there are others of the bikes and our ride if you look for them.

See Field Electric Bikes in this video—there are others of his bikes and the Solo Wheel on my site too.

See Clever Cycles in these two videos.

See Bend Electric Bikes in this video.

See Let It Ride Electric Bike Tours of Bend, Oregon in this video. There are also a bunch of them from our rides.

See The eBike Store in this video.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Bike Shops, E-bike general interest | Leave a comment

Introduction to Electric Bicycles—Fall 2014

Introduction to Electric Bicycles—Fall 2014.

Once again it is time for this fun and informative event.   I host this evening here in San Diego at the SDG&E Energy Innovation Center.   It happens every spring and fall since the year  2012.

It is a free, no sales, no pressure event where you can learn about these great bikes and try them out for yourself.   The spring’s seminar hosted 125 attendees, 19 E-bike shops and companies, and 35 E-bikes to ride.   This time it will be bigger and better.

There will be a large opportunity drawing and a full catered meal before the show starts.   Make sure to pre-register so there will be plenty of food to go around.

People even come from out of town and even out of state for this one-of-a-kind E-bike seminar.   The E-bikes you will see and ride often come from even further, yet all the local dealers are there too.

Make sure to tell all your family and friends, they might be interested too.

Check the links below for my posts on some of the previous seminars I’ve hosted and the videos too.

9356_flyerHope to see you there, Turbo Bob.

My first event in 2012

http://turbobobbicycleblog.wordpress.com/2012/07/19/introduction-to-electric-bikes-seminar-an-overview-of-the-evening/

My last event in the spring of 2014

http://turbobobbicycleblog.wordpress.com/2014/05/23/introduction-to-electric-bicycles-spring-2014-another-big-success/

A video from one of the 2013 seminars

An indoor video from the last event.

The riding session from the last seminar

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Brompton Pedal Over-fold Fix and BromFoot 2—Worth the Time and Money

Brompton Pedal Over-fold Fix and BromFoot 2—Worth the Time and Money.

With the BromFoot 2 on your bike, it will help protect your paint and grip your feet better.

Yes it happened in a flash, taking some of the beautiful white paint with it. As I was carrying this Brompton H3L one day, my leg hit the folded pedal just wrong and it over-folded right into the frame. A sad moment to be sure, one I didn’t want to repeat. I had read on one of the Brompton Facebook pages how to keep this from happening, yet figured I was immune. Not so it seems.

My response since that day was to be extra careful. Still I knew I would get around to making the easy fix for the elimination from this worry. The Brompton in question is an E-Brompton on loan to me from NYCeWheels. It is a little heavier than the stock model, so I carry it (when folded) by the frame not the saddle. This does put my leg in a closer position for pushing the folded pedal past its limits into the painted frame.

 
As a side note, I have had this E-Brompton for quite a while and had no issues other than a flat rear caused by a incorrectly installed rim strip at the factory. I have written a long series of articles on it titled “E-Brompton Banter”. You can find these on the NYCeWheels Blog Site (also here on my site I have a category called “My blog articles on other internet sites“ that can take you to them). They are a prequel to the series called “Boy Gets Brompton”, chronicling my time with a raw lacquer M3L from NYCeWheels that I really loved too. Both series have been immensely popular with the folding bike crowd.

The BromFoot 2 comes with the correct screws and an allen wrench for the install.

On to the fix—one day I was spending time with Bill at Metro Cyclery here in San Diego. He has the only Brompton shop in town so you can be sure he is up on all things Brompton. The pedal issue came up, and I found myself leaving with a BromFoot 2 pedal up-grade to try out. For some reason I thought it was going to stop the over-folding, yet during my install video I realized what it does is protect the frame when the pedal over-folds (because it is plastic or nylon).

 
That’s OK I thought, because I know how to solve the problem anyway. The BromFoot 2 does address the fact that the left pedal is shorter and allows better foot contact in that respect. They also claim it grips your feet better and is less likely to cause cuts and abrasions—good deal. The BromFoot 2 fits stock Brompton pedals on bikes made from 2012 until present (2014). It came with the installation allen wrench and was on the bike before I knew it.

Also on their website is BromFoot 1. It fits the 2001-2011 bikes and makes even a bigger difference in the size of the folding side pedal. Neither is too pricey and can make a big change in how your Brompton performs and feels. Although I did fix the over-folding problem with some easy grinding, the BromFoot 2 will stay on-board to keep this Brompton rider happy and comfortable.

 

This kind of fuzzy shot shows my Brompton’s pedal arm after the filing. Check the other photos for a better look at the detail.

I keep reading how many have replaced their Brompton pedals with aftermarket ones. Some with pedals that are fairly easily removed and don’t fold at all. Many say they did it because their originals were failing, others because up-grades seem to be their way of life. It is said that Brompton themselves are working on a better pedal to solve some of these issues, but for now a little bit of filing and a BromFoot seems the easy way to go.

Fixing the over-fold went quickly. I still want to make the area I filed look a little better (and will), but for now the up-grade works and that is the key. What we have here is a extrusion notch on the pedal arm that catches the plastic folding piece on the pedal. It is squared off so as long as the folded pedal is parallel with the arm all is well. Yet, the pedal can swivel many degrees when bumped or pushed, causing the plastic to ride over the notch and fold into the frame.

I took this clearer shot off one of the Brompton FB pages. Thanks guys (and gals).

Or goal here is to file the notch into (kind of a rounded) V so as the pedal swivels the plastic piece doesn’t ride up over it. You could probably do this with the arm on the bike bit I don’t recommend it. There will be metal filings you don’t want to get into the pedal or crank mechanisms (bearings). That, and your tools (file and other polishing trammels) could scratch the frame (just what we are trying to avoid). So pop the arm off the bike for this modification.

 
That does require a special crank puller tool, something worth having in your bike toolbox anyway. Once the arm is off, use some wood or plastic to protect it as you cinch it in your vice. Also, keep the metal filings out of the pedal bearings during this with a rag or plastic. File the square notch into a V and recheck your work as you go. Try not to take any material off from the crown of the notch, just the sides. I included some photos that I hope will explain this better.

 

Another stolen image from FB makes for a clearer idea of your goal for this modification.

Once you are happy it is working the way it should, clean off the filings and reinstall the arm on your Brompton. Test it many times and rework it if necessary. The last step is to do some touch-up work on the frame where the pedal scratched it before your cool rework. Then take a nice long ride feeling proud of your handiwork that keeps your Brompton happy and healthy.

 
I hope this post makes sense to you, ask questions if needed, Turbo Bob.

 
“A journey of a 1000 miles must begin with a single crank turn.”—Lazy-Too, from the Unquotable Quotes Page.

BromFoot on the web and Facebook

http://www.bromfoot.com/

https://www.facebook.com/bromfoot

Metro Cyclery on the web and Facebook

http://metrocyclery.com/

https://www.facebook.com/MetroCyclery

NYCeWheels on the web and Facebook

http://www.nycewheels.com/

https://www.facebook.com/NYCeWheels

My video of installing the BromFoot 2

 

 

Posted in Bike accessories, Bike maintenance | Leave a comment

IZIP E3 Twn:exp—Modern Looks and Performance

IZIP E3 Twn:exp—Modern Looks and Performance.

With a distinctive look and ride, the IZIP E3 Twn:exp has a lot going for it

If you are looking for an E-bike that will take you to the future, this could fill the bill. As Currie Technologies is now part of an big European E-bike firm, they have introduced some very unique electric bikes. Although they still have the traditional looking ones, they also offer premium models that tout advanced electronics and fancy new styling. This exp is just one of those bikes I am referring to.

Right off the name has left me with questions. Is it a Town Experience? Are they just some random letters? Also on the frame is the word Winora, apparently that is the German designer or design firm that came up with the concept. Urban Series is another phrase on the frame to further confuse me. Names aside, what we have here is one solid and well-executed E-bike that rides fantastic.

Fun rides in cool places are just part of what E-bikes are all about. In the background is the famous Beach Boy Hut on Windansea Beach.

At first glance I thought this was a folding E-bike, yet that was easily seen not to be the case. It has the smaller 20” wheels with some cool mags to give you that visual reference. Even though the specs show what might be considered a normal weight capacity for most E-bikes, the wheels alone make you think this bike will hold up to the heaviest rider (no spokes to break or bend). The sleek looks hide the fact that this electric bike scales out at over 60 lbs, a lot, but not that uncommon.

Built into the rear mag is a silent and powerful 400 watt direct-drive brushless motor. This is all the juice any E-bike needs, don’t let the press sway you otherwise. It may not climb the San Francisco hills without pedaling, but no electric-assist bike will (or should). When climbing you need to add your own power to keep the motor cool and happy on any E-bike. I did find the E3 Twn:exp tackled every hill and obstacle put in its way.

Other than the road ahead, this is your view during the ride.

The control system is also programmed in a pleasing way, although one factor still has me wondering. The bar mounted control panel can be operated without having to look at it. The large cruise control button was my favorite, getting used more often than the other controls on the panel. There too is the pedelec selector, with 4 levels of automatic assist at your fingertips. The built-in front and rear lighting has the on-off button there. Plus you can select the display modes for the nice, large, easy to read display mounted in the middle of the bars.

Like many newer E-bikes this IZIP will top out at 20 mph by throttle alone, but if you are pedaling in the auto-assist modes, more can be had. 24 by my testing in the top assist level was easy to attain. In the pedelec modes you get 4 power levels to chose from. The ECU not only knows that you are turning the pedals, but knows how fast. So no matter which assist level you are in, when you start pedaling faster the motor cranks out more power and speed.

There is so much to see here.

I can’t say that I like this feature also found on a few other E-bikes form IZIP. During the ride it isn’t that big of a deal, although can make a steady cruise kind of frustrating. That and it makes you spend more time shifting up and down looking for the sweet spot of power and gearing. What I really don’t like about has to do with starting from a stop. If you haven’t downshifted ahead of time, you get no assist at your start with a slow pedal speed. It makes using the throttle only mode more appealing, a partial waste of fancy electronics it seems.

There are some great bike features you will enjoy on this Twn:exp. Liquid actuated disc brakes are all the rage nowadays and they are on-board. A front head shock soaks up some of the road ruts, yet the minimal travel and lack of adjustment leaves a little to be desired. A seat post shock backs it up some and the large cross-section tires add their part too. So all in all the ride is pretty nice and like any bike when the rough stuff rears its ugly face, you will feel it.

Lights are important. The IZIP E3 Twn:exp has them ready to go.

Ok coverage fenders are bolted on. Ones that are longer might be better, yet there isn’t enough moisture around here this time of year for me to know for sure. The fancy rack encloses the battery and has adjustable elastic straps. It has a cool handle grip in the back to make lifting and moving the rear of the bike easier (never lift an E-bike by the saddle). A chain guard (more on this in a minute), a bell, kickstand and quality lights are part of the package.

I do have to say this is a fun and great riding E-bike. It fit both myself (a fairly big guy) and my wife fine. The ride and controls made each time in the saddle a good experience. The handling is peppy, something that anyone will notice. I like E-bikes that come with lights, even though I add extras when I am on any test bike. The motor seemed pretty efficient as I never ran out of juice even once. The cool stand out paint and color contrasts garnered many compliments.

A sleek profile and sunny skies. Perfect.

I did have two issues though. One is just me, or to be more specific, my like of E-bikes that look like everyday bikes. The IZIP E3 Twn:exp has an E-bike only look that is ok, but not my preference. I do like it, but it wouldn’t be top on my list for a bike of my own. I can easily see many totally falling in love with the looks, it does have that certain something.

The other problem was mechanical. When I got it the chain guard was broken at one of the mounting points and the guides where rubbing on the chain. I figured being a demo bike it had gotten roughed around during riding or transport, yet I found out later that probably wasn’t the case. My first chore when I take on any bike is to check all the fasteners for security, adjust the bars, levers and other controls to my liking and to give it a total one-over. So in this case that included super-gluing the chain guard and getting it back to spec.

You can get a general idea of the bike’s size here. It is bigger than you might think.

Included in the mounting there are two plastic chain guides (kind of flimsy to be sure) to prevent the chain from coming off the front sprocket. Of course I got these set right too and for most of the test there was no issues. Yet at one point I hit some very rough road and the jarring forced the chain off the front sprocket—and of course re-broke the chain guard. The clearances there are so tight that the chain wedged in there and snapped the guard again. I re-fixed it and it has been fine since (yet I stay concerned it will happen again).

On multi-speed drive trains the chain has a quite a mis-alignment in the upper and lower gears. So this kind of problem isn’t that uncommon. There are a few ways to make it better, including shortening the chain (not always the best way to go) and increasing the spring tension on the derailleur (also not optimum). Adding guides can help, as long as they are solid and set right. I hope Currie Tech has this sorted out on the full production models.

This one thing aside, I think IZIP has punched out another cool and quality bike for the E-bike crowd.

Power-up, Turbo Bob.

“To stop or not to stop, that is the question;
the light is red, but my heart is green.”—Christopher Marlowe—from the Unquotable quotes page.

You will find IZIP E-bikes from Currie Technologies on the web and Facebook

http://www.currietech.com/

https://www.facebook.com/currietech

Here is a walk-around video from my You-Tube channel

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dB9F_mj9oU0

Posted in E-bike test reviews | 2 Comments

Prodecotech Oasis Step-through—Beach Cruising American Style

 

Prodecotech Oasis Step-through—Beach Cruising American Style.

 

Electric beach cruiser—beach—does it get better than this?

As my wife and I rode two brand-new Prodecotech bikes on the coast this weekend, we enjoyed the day. It made me realize that as many E-bikes from this company I’ve ridden and videoed, I hadn’t posted a full review on any of them. Well as of today that will change. The traditional framed Prodecotech Oasis has been out a while, yet this low-framed model just hit the stores this month.

 

This E-bike marks a shift Prodecotech is making for in-house frame building. This American company has been assembling their bikes at their Florida factory for years, but now they have three models (at least) with domestic frames of their own making and design. Of course there are many Asian made parts on-board, but the American factor is getting larger. I’m sure this is a trend many will appreciate and embrace.

 

From most any angle the Oasis has a look I like.

The Oasis Step-through comes well equipped at the price-point it offers. This is true for the whole line-up of Prodecotech E-bikes. Part of this is possible with the simple throttle-only control and what could be perceived as a sometimes noticeable lack of attention to detail. Even still, all of their bikes I have ridden perform well and get the job done, and this Oasis is no different.

 
Power has been a strong point on Prodecotech bikes, something the Oasis sports with style. A direct-drive 750 watt rear hub motor is matched up with 48 volts of lithium battery push and the results are a pleasant rush of smooth and quiet assist to your ride. Even with the strong amount of pull, the acceleration at lower speeds is not abrupt due to the direct-drive motor and control system programming. This makes the Oasis more comfortable to ride than other high-power E-bikes I’ve tested

 

The non-traditional beach cruiser look is going to rope in many new riders. With clean lines and a cool color, Prodecotech has nailed the appearance part in a great way. A comfy saddle, cream Continental Retro Ride tires and a set of swept-back cruiser bars help round out the package. During the ride you sit up straight, soak in the cruiser feel and know that all is right on this E-bike.

 

Big powerful motor= Big powerful fun.

The twist shifter is in control of 8 well spaced gears. It has strong detents and grabs each gear solidly. The Oasis rides just fine without use of the power, something that can be very important and is missing on more than a few E-bikes I have tried. The bike aspect is well-covered here and I think most anyone who rides this E-bike will notice that. Bipping along was fun, and that is what riding a bike is all about, right?

 
Another up-scale item to be found on the Oasis Step-through are the hydraulic actuated disc brakes. They add their own level of smooth with each ride. Powerful and easy to modulate, they bring the juice when you need, and the control factor that beginners and experts alike need. Not only that but they contribute a great look to the other bike control components on the handlebars. My comment above about attention to detail sure don’t relate to many parts that affect this E-bike’s performance and ride.

 

Nicely equipped, the Prodecotech Oasis might be the bike you’ve been looking for.

The battery mounting is one of the directions I was headed with that statement. Although just looking at it, it seems strong enough, I’ve seen and heard different. One friend uses a nylon strap to keep his Prodecotech battery from coming loose and hitting the road again. Breaks and cracks in the rods that support the battery rack are other issues I’ve seen. Maybe they have done some up-grades in this department, I hope so.

 
Although just something that caught my eye and is not really a problem, is the large gap between the top of the front tire and the bottom of the fork crown. Looking closely it is more of an appearance thing than a real issue. I would guess it has to do with the way they keep the frame level and the overall design.

 

Strong hydraulic brakes and a throttle that ties you to plenty of hill-climbing power are just two reasons to try out this E-bike.

The last negative I will relay has to do with the lack of places to stow your gear. You could bungee stuff to the top of the battery I guess, but not too much. Maybe a front basket would help, but they tend to make the steering too heavy when loaded down. A handy backpack seems to be the way many get around this, but that isn’t my way. I have been known to use my messenger bag on occasion though. The Oasis isn’t the only electric-assist bike with minimal stowage space.

 

I am a big guy yet fit on this Prodecotech Oasis just fine. The handlebar stem has an easy adjust lever so it can be quickly set for height and angle. The seat post has enough meat to get to a level for my comfort, yet goes pretty low for those not as tall as me. It can be tough to design a ’fits everyone’ bicycle, but Prodecotech hit their mark on this. And even if you don’t fit perfect, the cool look and silky performance will over-shadow it, keeping your smile in top gear.

 

Any long time reader will recognize this pose.

Aluminum frames are the basic norm for E-bikes nowadays. They help keep the weight down, but can make for a firm ride. Having the big (cool looking) cruiser tires helps a lot to smooth things out. That saddle does the same, offering a nice place to sit a spell as the electric-assist glides you down the bike path. The battery has the capabilities for some long rides, so extra comfort is always welcome. With the way this Oasis deals out the fun, expect to spend plenty of time riding it.

 

Sister and brother on the tarmac in front of San Diego Electric Bike.

Both this and the standard frame Oasis share many of the same features and performance specs. If you are looking for matching E-bikes for a fun-loving couple, these could be worth a look. In all reality, a pair of the low-frame bikes could be just as good or better. I call a frame like this ’a comfort step-through’. Comfort is the name of the game for many riders, so don’t let the old-school names for a bike with this type of frame crimp your style.

 
I don’t want to end this post without a shout-out to San Diego Electric Bike in Solana Beach. They have supported me with great info and full-access to their bikes since the first day I met Pat way back when. They do a great job putting the locals on fantastic riding E-bikes, and this Prodecotech Oasis Step-though is just one of them. These are the guys who set us up for a good weekend ride on a pair of cool E-bikes.

 

Beach cruising the Prodecotech way? I like it, Turbo Bob.

 
“I only regret that I had but one bicycle.”—Nathan Not-so-Hale—from the Unquotable Quotes Pun Page.

You can find Prodecotech E-bikes on the web and Facebook

http://prodecotech.com/

https://www.facebook.com/prodecotech

You can also find them at San Diego Electric Bike

http://sdelectricbike.com/

https://www.facebook.com/sdebike

Check out my video walk around of the Oasis Step-through

 

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ORP Smart Horn—Lights, Sound, Action

ORP Smart Horn—Lights, Sound, Action.

Useful, sleek and new, the ORP Smart Horn comes in many colors. Mine just happens to be black.

You are looking a bike riding kind of guy who rings his bell a lot. Not for getting people out of the way as much, but to multiply the fun factor of riding a bike. We have many different types and ages of bells on our bikes, and a new one is now part of the group. This brand-new bike horn / light is already getting lots of press and is said to be in stock at over 600 bike shops.

 
This is as much a product of Oregon as it is from overseas. The man who brought it to life holds many patents and really has a imagination that rings for many. Inside you will find only the most modern of components and innovations (but please don’t really open it up to see). The whole package is wrapped in some modern silicone type stuff with a funny name that makes it close to waterproof. Ring, ring, let’s see what this ORP is all about.

 

Zero in on the ORP for a safe and fun ride.

The main draw here is the two level electronic horn, with each sound being different. When you press down on the Wail-Tail (funny take on the term whale tail) you get the loud horn. This isn’t so loud that you cringe, but the tone has a way of catching your ear even from a distance. And it is not so loud that people with their tunes cranked and the windows up will hear it, but what horn is?

 
Push the Wail-Tail up and you get a pleasant ringing sound. This is my favorite. I have to admit that in the several rides I have taken the ORP on, the bell has really gotten a workout. One was a night group ride on the beach boardwalk. The electronic bell was well received (over and over). The group seemed to like the tone and the walkers on the boardwalk made room fairly quickly. I too got a lot of favorable comments from general bystanders that thought it was cool.

 

As delivered, the ORP Smart Horn packaging has a cool look on the inside too.

And the ORP is a light too. When you sound either horn it flashes the lights. Even if the lights are on, they flash with the horn. I think this is a great feature and one I was probably the most impressed with. The lights themselves have a slow and fast flashing mode in addition to a steady on. They are not ‘ride fast in the darkness’ bright, yet will do the trick in the neighborhood and on lighted streets. These modern LED light really shine and use so little power.

 
Power-wise the ORP has a built-in rechargeable lithium battery. About 3 hours of time (in the charge mode) will bring it back to full song. It has a set of internal lights that tell when the smart charging is active and when it is done. Like so many bike accessories in its class (although I think the ORP Smart Horn is in a class of it own) it charges off your computer (or other source) with the included USB cable.

 

The all language instructions are part of the packaging.

A full charge is said to give between 3-15 hours of light use and I would think nearly unlimited horn use. The ORP also has a socket for a remote button that I haven’t received yet. On some bikes it can mount close to your hand (mountain bike for instance) yet on others (like a beach cruiser) the remote button will come in really handy. The mounting is solid with the stretchy built-in strap. It will fit many sizes of bars and comes with an adhesive backed rubber shim strap. You do want to make sure it is on tight so the light adjustment doesn’t change when you use the Wail-Tail.

 
It has one other setting called the anti-dooring mode. A better name for it could be the “Hey, look at me” mode. With this the horn honks continuously while the lights blink brightly. You may find it handy, yet it just made me smile. When I say smile, it was not the same as the smile I got each time I rang the bell. Maybe it’s a silly thing to have, but I figure why not?

 

#200   ORP Smart Horn   front

You can see some of the modern inner workings through the front lens.

So, is the electronic horn and bell part silly? I like my mechanical bells but I do have to say they have had many issues through the years. Some aren’t too loud, some break easily and some only ding once per push on the lever. I have fixed and lubed several of my bells and some have hit the recycle bin well before their perceived life was up. Electronics have been the future for quite some time, why not your bike bell too?

One other thing that I like about the ORP has to do with the fact we use our blinking lights front and rear, day and night. I know for a fact that having a blinking light on the front of your bike in the daytime can keep you smiling and safe. It can catch the eye of that driver getting ready to pull from the curb or opening their door. And those turning left from in front of you or pulling from a driveway might just see that light and wait an extra moment to let you pass first.

 
Seeing that I have a blinking light and a bell on each bike I ride, why not have them both in the same unit? Another thing I didn’t mention is before the horn will work, you need to wake it up. A 3 second hold on the button (it only has one by the way) will bring it to life for use, and then put it to sleep when your done. Don’t forget to wake up the ORP before you turn the pedals.

You can get a feel for the mounting of the ORP in this shot. Between the two white parts is the plug for charging.

Although I got the juicy details, I can’t go much further than to tell you the ORP Smart Horn will soon have a kissing cousin in the way of a piece that complements it well. It will be on the market before long and will tout the same quality and innovation as this product. What I can tell you is that I desperately need one—actually many, as I love to try out new things that make my ride more fun. I laughed to see the smart horn having the model #001. So I guess when their new stuff hits the market it will be #002. I hope when #007 comes out it will be a cool smart spy bike item (license to ride with a smile?).

 
It comes in some bright colors. Mine is charcoal black. I was hoping for a blue one, yet this color has really grown on me. At my house everything bike comes in pairs, so it seems a trip to the bike shop is in order to fill that need. Oh well, such is the fun of shopping for bike goodies that make each ride more fun than the next. Thanks ORP, you really ring my bell.

 
Make way, ring, ring, Turbo is coming through!

 
“The bicycle is a curious vehicle. Its passenger is its engine”.—John Howard.

Check with Torcano on the web and Facebook for all the info

http://www.torcanoindustries.com/

https://www.facebook.com/torcanoindustries

Want to see a video?   Got you covered.

 

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IZIP E3 Metro—All New for 2014

IZIP E3 Metro—All New for 2014.

With a distinctive look and a great ride, this E-bike from IZIP will appeal to many.

Here is a re-designed E-bike from Currie Technologies with a lot of great features. With racks front and rear it is almost worthy of being called a cargo bike. Comfort, up-right seating and plenty of hill-climbing power are just a few of the reasons I like it. Although its looks are kind of different from your regular bike, I think the styling fits fine. Last years model rode well too, but I was glad to see that big front down tube (that retained the battery) go away.

 
Now the battery is in the enlarged seat stay. This seems to come from the eFlow family of E-bikes, as does the display / control unit. With a 500 watt geared motor running on 36 volts, it has power to spare in every riding situation I put it through. The display reads out many needed things and is close to hand on the left side of the handlebars. The way the control system works is ok, yet I did have a few minor gripes about it.

 

Room for all your gear can be found on both ends of the E3 Metro.

You may know that we have been trying to decide on a replacement commuter bike for my wife. Her 6-7 year-old eZip has been begging for an up-grade. It still runs and works fine, but with all the advancements in recent E-bike years, I think she deserves to move to the present day with each ride. We had already decided on a low-frame IZIP E3 Path+, but during our recent visit to The IZIP Store in Santa Monica (a whole other story that you will learn about soon), we were offered this for her to try out.

 
The E3 Metro is a one-size and one color fits all bike. The matte black is cool and it does have some aqua (green?) highlights here and there. It also sports some bamboo for the base of each rack. We thought a couple bamboo fenders and a new Lazer helmet with a bamboo finish could really put the full wood look together. The front rack is rated at 35 lbs. , enough to carry lots of stuff. Because it is frame mounted (and easily removable too), it doesn’t affect your steering at all. I would think the rear rack could carry quite a bit too, so you can really haul the mail (so to speak).

 

Ready for a ride to work or for play, the IZIP Metro has power to spare.

The beefy looking aluminum frame matches up well with the large cross-section 26” tires. It rides solid and firm, using a seat post suspension to help smooth out the rougher bumps. The saddle was a surprise, as so many companies put those narrow racing ones, or the way too wide cruiser ones. With a built-in rear lift handle and a great feel, I could see this item matched up to many of the bikes in the IZIP roster.

It rides well without the power, having an easy roll and a decent drivetrain. The one thumb shifter is awesome, and working it is a breeze and a pleasure. Like many hybrid bikes the steering isn’t too touchy, but responds well at all speeds. The disc brakes are ok and from a good maker, but a step up to the BB7 ones would have been nice. The stem has a rise adjustment and the bike fit every different height person who gave it a try.

500 watts—plenty of gears—and strong stopping power are all visible from this angle.

My wife really loves riding it, but we did decide to stick with the Path+ as her next E-bike. The few reasons why are all basically minor ones, but seemed to be enough to make the call. I like this center stand (that tucks to just one side when up), but it just doesn’t keep the bike up-right on all surfaces. I like the smoother riding tires, the Path+ has the skinner 700c ones, so this was one thing we are making a concession to. There are some things about the control system that gave me pause (more on this before I’m done).

 
As much as the IZIP E3 Metro has its own look, I am more taken by the appearance and color of the E3 Path+. It just looks so much more bike like. The front rack on the Metro is very strong and useful, but I found to load the bike on my rack (when carrying two bikes) it needed to be removed. It is pretty easy to do and we may not transport her new commuter bike much, but I did take this into account. One more thing that raised a concern is battery security. On the eFlow there is a place to add a small padlock on the holding latch, but I sure don’t see one on the Metro. I’ve had her feed her cable lock through the seat handle and keep it tight enough where the saddle and battery can’t be lifted far enough to remove it.

What a beefy and useful profile the E3 Metro exhibits.

Ok, what about the control system? You might know that these are a very big deal with me. So many people who ride E-bikes either aren’t strong enough to deal with jumpy ones, are aren’t bike savvy enough to fully understand all the nuances. The buttons on the display panel are close at hand, yet you do need to take your hand off the grip to use them, and your eyes off the road to see them. This is common with so many E-bikes, but some (like the Path+) have made them safer to use.

 

Load your gear, sit here and ride.

My real issue here is found on the new Zuma and Twn:exp also. When in the pedelec mode, the power level is chosen on the display. On most when you pedal, the bike goes to that power level and stays there while the pedals are moving. With this new programming Currie tech is using, the electronics also sense how fast you are pedaling and increase the power level to match. Problem here is they don’t always match.

On the whole it is fine, but there are two things about it I don’t like (when in the PAS / pedelec mode). One, with most E-bikes you don’t need to downshift every time you stop, the motor helps you get going again without it. On this Metro (and the two others mentioned) if you don’t downshift before a stop, as you take off the pedals aren’t moving fast enough to get the motor to kick in. You can use the hand throttle, but in the pedelec mode it doesn’t work until the bike senses the pedal movement. Add to this if you are not in the top power level the power doesn’t come on at all with that slow pedal speed. So I found downshifting at for a stop was kind of necessary.

 
The other is that during a cruise if the pedals are not turning quick enough then the power level is low. Then you downshift to get more motor power (just one gear), and then the bike starts going faster than your desires and you are pedaling too fast. This too wasn’t to my liking and seemed wrong. I found using the POD mode (power on demand / throttle only) was just easier, more comfortable and safer than using the PAS mode (power-assist). It gets a little old holding the throttle on all the time you want assist, but I felt it was better than putting up with the PAS system.

 

A sincere thanks goes out to the folks at Currie Technologies for letting me spend the time needed to fully report on their great E-bikes.

Regardless, the IZIP E3 Metro is quite a bike and I enjoyed my time on it. I do think the eFlow technology use is part of the higher price point and in that category you would expect the slightly better brakes too. I think many would look past the drawbacks I’ve noted and become one with this E-bike. Maybe Currie Tech will hear my pleas and make the changes for next year, but even still this bike is worth considering.

 
Carry that load, Turbo Bob.

“Happiness is actually found in simple things, such as taking my nephew around the island by bicycle or seeing the stars at night. We go to coffee shops or see airplanes land at the airport.”—Andrea Hirata.

You can find Currie Technologies on the web or Facebook.

http://www.currietech.com/

https://www.facebook.com/currietech

Here is a video I posted showing the IZIP E3 Metro from different angles.

And one from last years Interbike

 

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