Introduction To Electric Bicycles, Fall 2014—A Full House Soaks Up the E-bike Spirit

Introduction To Electric Bicycles, Fall 2014—A Full House Soaks Up the E-bike Spirit.

As the group assembled, dinner was eaten, and they got a chance to see the bikes up close and meet the exhibitors.

Since the day I envisioned this event, my goal has been to fill every seat with people wanting to learn more about E-bikes. Not only did every seat in the SDG&E Energy Innovation Center meeting room (170 of them) get filled, but the saddle of each E-bike on hand got plenty of use too. This 5th edition (three years worth, every spring and fall) was the best ever, including a big surprise. If you missed it, let me fill you in on some of the excitement.


Nowhere can I find mention of a evening like this one. I keep the event sales and pressure free, and the center lets me host it at a zero cost to everyone. This easy going night includes a meet and greet with the local E-bike shop’s personal, some bike accessory companies and many electric bike makers. A full hot catered meal is followed by an hour of me presenting E-bikes, the reasons they can be a great asset to people’s life’s and a discussion of their features. After that all the E-bikes are wheeled into the large parking lot and ridden till we can’t ride any more.

With many E-bikes front and center, I did my best to be entertaining and informative.

A big part of my passion to get people on bicycles is devoted to electric-assist bikes. I have talked many times about how great they are and this evening was no different. Much of what I do concerns getting people to know they (E-bikes) exist and the way to choose the best one for their needs. My event has this covered well and the turn-out proves it strongly. I did wish I had more time to cover all the details, but much of the evening revolves around getting them outside and ridden.


Even though it is a free event, let’s not overlook the time and effort it takes just to come. Many came from out of town, and even out of state. Whether they were guests or exhibitors, the desire to be part of the show is what brings them here. Also seen was a great show of generosity, as the door prize table was overflowing. There were a couple of those that wouldn’t even fit on the table, more an that in a minute. And true to the theme, there was no cost or obligation for the chance to win one of the great items.

The level of interest of everyone there was intoxicating.

Even though once I show up for the evening it flows smooth and easy for me, the lead time is hectic. I am able to set a date and reserve the meeting room about two months prior to the event. It is then I can start notifying the shops and E-bike companies so they can get it on their schedule. With a month to go I am presented a shareable flyer and the fun really begins. Messages to the media for calendar placement is next. And mix in bunches of emails and messages to so many people and sources it is hard to believe.

The bikes were the draw, I was the facilitator.

I was lucky once again to do TV and radio bits to help promote it. I was hoping for some actual TV coverage, yet like in the past they weren’t present. No matter, as the room was filled and that’s the important thing. I have, and will again, tell people to try and do an event like this in their own area. It isn’t easy, the biggest obstacle might be finding a venue as generous as the one I have found. SDG&E is dedicated to helping people learn how to save energy, help the environment and enjoy life. They even sent out email blasts to their own customers to help get the word out about the evening.

This shot gives you idea of the room size and all the people who came to get an E-bike education.

Here are the numbers—170 attending (approx 140 E-bike interested guests)—25 shops and companies (a couple that weren’t in attendance but fully supporting this event)—40 E-bikes for everyone to ride (of many makes and types). This is the first time I emphasized pre-registration and it turned out to be a good thing. To my knowledge no one was turned away, but I do expect that soon. The online registration was closed a day or two before the event, but some of those people came anyway and were able to be a big part of the evening. If you want to come to future E-bike seminars I host, make sure to register early.


Most all of the exhibitors on hand (and even a few that weren’t) helped fill up the door prize table. Right from the beginning I knew having door prizes would energize the crowd, and help break up the possible monotony of my talk. Over a dozen free E-bike rentals, many bike accessories and sets of wheel safety lights were awarded to the guests. Although there isn’t room to mention each gift and giver, there are a few that I will point out. ABUS locks sent me a package for the table that included 4 of their awesome bike locks. Kayman bikes in conjunction with Revolights brought two sets of their tech heavy wheel lights for the table too. Look below for a full list of the shops and companies with links to their websites and Facebook pages. Give them each a ’like’ if you can.

With a look of dis-belief, this winner of a Kayman Type R E-bike couldn’t have been happier.

The big surprise of the night (to me even) was the 2 Kayman E-bikes that got awarded to 2 very lucky guests. They came to learn about E-bikes and wound up going home with one of their own. What a treat is was for me to be part of that thrill. I am sure you will learning more about E-bikes from Kayman, as this company is primed and ready for the moves it takes to get their name known. I can’t guarantee future guests at my seminar will have this same chance, but I do mention to each shop and company attending that binging nice bike oriented gifts can’t hurt.

My friend Rhonda has a fantastic and inspirational life story. I was proud to have her be able present it to the group

One other part of the inside activities was my ability to have Rhonda Martin speak about her E-bike journey. To bring you up to speed here, E-bikes played a major role in her loss of half her body weight. Although it was more of a mental decision that brought her to this personal victory and health level, E-bikes figured in strong. Her talk at my last seminar was a important goal for overcoming speaking to a large group. Now as the new ambassador for Pedego Electric Bikes, she is on her way to completing many more speaking engagements and life goals. 12,000 + fans already ’like’ her FB page “Living Instead of Existing”. I suggest you do the same. We also heard the history of E-bikes from long-time E-bike dealer and adventurer Ken Kalb.

Thanks to my friend Hemdan for this outdoor riding picture. Check the video for a better look at the riding excitement.

After all this food, info and gifts, we moved all the bikes outside for some massive riding. E-bikes of all colors and types were filling the parking lot. The bike lights and wheel lights flashed in every direction (really only one as I made sure everyone rode in a clockwise direction in the lot). This part of the evening is what I figure most came for. The smiles and laughter stood out even in the noisy large crowd, dimly lit by the over head free-standing solar panel’s lights.


Some already have E-bikes and yearn to learn and experience more. Most got their first time in the saddle this night to get a feel for what an E-bike is all about. These are the ones that keep my desire for hosting this event alive. Moments thinking about all the work and toil of putting this event together are squelched at this point of each event. My frail ego gets pumped to exploding levels from all the excitement, and with each person that goes out of their way to personally thank me.   I do this as a passion, a personal mission to get people on bikes. That is thanks alone every time another person decides to saddle up. Helping to make this happen is priceless.

I do have to give massive amounts of credit to my lovely wife (who commutes on her E-bike everyday), for all the help and support she offers to make this event come to life. And thanks to all that came—what a rush, Turbo Bob.


“I had a friend whose family had dinner together. The mother would tuck you in at night and make breakfast in the morning. They even had a spare bike for a friend. It just seemed so amazing to me.”—Moon Unit Zappa.

Videos of the event

Links to all the exhibitors—in alphabetical order

A2B Electric Bikes

ABUS Bike Locks



Cycle Quest

Currie Technologies Road Show


Electric Bike Central

Electric Bike Company

El Camino Bike Shop

e-Joe Electric Bikes

GenZe E-Bikes

Kayman Bikes

Lectric Cycles


LightMeUp Safety Lights

Lights Living Instead of Existing

Motiv Electric Bikes


Nori Lights

Pedego Electric Bikes

Pedego Carlsbad


San Diego Electric Bike

San Diego Fly Rides

SDG&E Energy Innovation Center


Torcano Industries


The Ultimate DIY E-bike Guide


Posted in Bike accessories, E-bike general interest | 1 Comment

Buying a New E-bike—A Personal Experience

Buying a New E-bike—A Personal Experience.


Her new bike is all set for the open road. Firm Styrofoam protects the rack and tie-straps secure the hold-all box.

Whether you’ve had a bike lately or not, you may have found that an electric-assist bicycle raises your interest. Once the desire hits, getting that new E-bike can be as easy or hard as you make it. The easy way is to just ramble down to the nearest shop, let them pick a quality one that they think works for you, and ride on down the road. The hard way can be to shop online for a cheapo one and hope for the best, (This way may sound easy, but believe me, chances are it won‘t be.) We are going to talk about my way.

This involves some intelligent investigation of your options. Checking sites like this, shopping at every local E-bike center and keeping track of what you have found can be the key to a great electric bike experience. There are many types, companies, levels of quality and price ranges. I’ve covered most of these topics before and that isn’t the point of this article. This is about getting the bike, getting it set for your riding needs and making sure it will treat you well.


Not fully visible is the Serfas Thunderbolt taillight on the box. I will find a better more permanent place soon.

The focus is my wife’s new commuting E-bike. Her old one (a 7 year-old eZip that still works well) was begging for an up-grade (more my thinking than hers). I ride so many E-bikes, and had proclaimed my favorite bike of the year as the IZIP E3 Path+ from Currie Technologies. We both like the styling, the regular every-day bike appearance and the reputation of the company behind it all. It has some nice features and was chosen to be the perfect replacement for many other reasons.

Upon receiving her new Path+ the first thing I did was to record the frame serial number and I recommend you do the same. It required moving a few under the frame cables to see it, something that most bikes don’t need. You will find this number under the pedal arm bearings (the bottom bracket), on the front head (steerer) tube or on the frame where the rear axle mounts. The numbers (and letters) could be hard to read so use a strong flashlight at different angles to help. If your new bike doesn’t have this number, call the shop to find where it is or consider returning it immediately. A good shop will have your frame number in their files already, but make sure you know where it is, and that it matches your and their paperwork.

Next up is to check that all the nuts, bolts and fasteners are secure. Each has a certain torque and shouldn’t be over-tightened (or too loose). There are a few, like on the derailleur, that are adjustment screws and aren’t suppose to be cinched down, so watch for that. All this should be done when the bike was built and then checked by the shop before delivery, yet you might be surprised at all the ones I have found loose. Get help with this step if you need.

Tire pressure and fastener security are two things covered in this article.

Set your tire pressures to the correct level. There are some options here. On the sidewall of the tire it will tell the recommended PSI (pounds per square inch), a number to remember. You will also see that number in BAR (the metric equivalent). You can go by those if you like, just make sure you use the right one on your bike pump gauge. Some tires will give you a straight number, others will give you a range (ie.–25-60 PSI). When it has a range, then the lower number will let the tire be softer to give a smoother ride, yet add more rolling resistance (and chances for pinch flats). The higher number will do just the opposite. I would opt for the higher number every time.

Next up is to do some test riding. I would imagine you have read the owner’s manual and battery instructions well before we got this far, I hope so. If not take the time to do it now, before you mount-up. Correctly charging and maintaining your battery is important and you will be dealing with that all the time. Learning how to use the controls for the motor, shifting and braking is a given. If you got your new E-bike from a good shop they will have gone over this with you beforehand. And, feel free to ask them any needed questions for the life of the bike.


Things like wheel skewers and brake fittings need to be checked for correct tightness.

During your test ride you will feel if the motor controls, shifting and braking are right. Your new bike should be fully adjusted in all these parameters. If it isn’t and you don’t feel comfortable making the changes, then your dealer is to be seen. On most any E-bike you will buy, these adjustments are included under the warrantee for at least one year. Take advantage of that service to keep your bike in top shape. Seasonal tune-ups are also important. With every ride of your bike you should pay attention if anything needs some looking into.

Your shop should have also offered to set your saddle, bars and brake levers to fit you and your riding style. Seat height is easily changed and makes a big statement for comfort and body health. Setting the saddle angle is often overlooked, but important too. It also slides fore and aft. I like mine a little higher in the front and all the way rearward, yet everyone is different. This might take a while to find the sweet spot for you, so learn how to do it on your own.

Normally the handlebar setting will be fine. There can be more options on some bikes. The height and angle should be set for a comfortable ride and minimal hand fatigue. This can be slightly dependant on your saddle settings, so once again work them little by little to find what feels good to you. On some bikes they use ergo grips and these too need to be rotated for the best comfort.


Getting everything on the handlebars to the correct angle will increase your safety and comfort.

Last here is the angle of the brake handles. Most every E-bike I test has them set way too high. In that position it almost requires you to release the grips to use the brakes—not good. They should be set so the natural extension of your fingers is just above the handle lever. Changing these normally requires rotating the throttle unit, handlebar mounted buttons and shifting unit too. Have your dealer help you with this, hopefully the day you pick up your new beauty.

If your new E-bike showed up on your door-step in a box, it makes all these steps way more important. I do my best to discourage internet purchasing of this kind of item, but sometimes you have no choice. If your did get your bike this way, pay extra close attention to everything and keep in mind you are practically on your own with any issues. A phone call might help, but every time your bike is shipped, the chances for new problems and damage go sky high.

Keep in mind too that most of my suggestions here are for any bicycle. Whether you just got it or have been riding for years, all those little adjustments and bikes needs are important. If you want to be safe, comfortable and have your bicycle last a long time, it is up to you to make it happen. I hope these tips help.

Last is adding accessories. There can be many or none. The bell should be easy to reach. A blinking headlamp and tail light is important. (We use our basic ones day or night for all to see). A spot for a bright nighttime headlamp is usually needed on the bars and a really bright taillight for the night its complement (if you ride at night or in dim conditions). A rack or bags (or both) could be a necessity for you. Chose them wisely and make sure they fit your bike correctly. There could be (and most likely will be) more cool stuff you should get (a rock solid lock for example).

There you go. My wife’s and your new E-bike should be set for many miles of fun and utility. Take care of any problems when they crop-up and keep a close eye on your tires and brakes. Have fun and smile on that awesome new bike, most everyone should be jealous as you enjoy yourself. And don’t forget to mention to them to get one for themselves, why wouldn’t they?

Keep two-wheeling, Turbo Bob.

“Cycle tracks will abound in Utopia”.—H.G. Wells.


Posted in Bike maintenance, E-bike general interest, General bike stories, My Bikes, Opinion | 3 Comments

Interbike 2014 in Videos

Interbike 2014 in Videos.

It was another big year in the bike world evidenced by the showing at this year’s international bike show in Las Vegas. I decided to mix it up some this time and concentrate on posting videos of most every E-bike, folding bike and accessory booth that I was interested in and I hoped you would be too. Along with the big players, I concentrated on some smaller firms and Chinese firms hoping to get some US exposure.

Normally I would post riding videos from the test track, but on a fully flat area it is hard to really evaluate the bikes. Plus I was promised they would incorporate a grade in the test track, but none was seen. There were places with climbing grades to the parking areas, but they were a way from the main testing track.

So enjoy the videos. I counted 74 of them. They are all in a row on my You-Tube channel posted in the second week of September 2014. If you go onto the Bike Shops section, that is probably the best way to find them all. Below are links to the first one and the last to help you find the rest.

Thanks for all the fun and following my bike excitement, Turbo Bob.


Posted in Bike accessories, Bike Shops, E-bike general interest, E-bike test reviews, Folding Bike test reviews | Leave a comment

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

Cynergy E-bikes on the web and Facebook

Field Electric Bikes on the web and Facebook

Clever Cycles on the web and Facebook

Bend Electric Bikes on the web and Facebook

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

The eBike Store on the web and Facebook

EcoSpeed on the web and Facebook

Splendid Cycles on the web and Facebook

Velo Cult on the web and Facebook

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.


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

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

My last event in the spring of 2014

A video from one of the 2013 seminars

An indoor video from the last event.

The riding session from the last seminar

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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

Metro Cyclery on the web and Facebook

NYCeWheels on the web and Facebook

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

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

Posted in E-bike test reviews | 2 Comments