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

 

Posted in E-bike test reviews | Leave a comment

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.

 

Posted in Bike accessories | Leave a comment

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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Thule T2 Bicycle Rack—Major Up-grade for My Bike Needs

Thule T2 Bicycle Rack—Major Up-grade for My Bike Needs.

This is how I got the Thule T2. The solid box held it all great and the work to assemble it was minimal.

As a child I never transported my bike (as far as I can remember). If I wanted to ride at the beach, I rode there to do it. It was just that simple. When I got back into bikes in 1991, same story. I rode my bike where I wanted and back home at the end of the day. Times sure have changed in that respect. 10 years ago I found that loading them in the back of the station wagon could lead to a great riding day anywhere we liked.

 
As we got into the heavier E-bikes that wasn’t an option. We would still take our bikes places, but only the ones light enough to lift and fit the pair in the back of the wagon. So our beach cruisers and E-bikes couldn’t go out of town because they didn’t fit in the car. We have since gotten a bike rack and folding bikes to open up our riding location thrills. The cheapo bike rack we were using was solid enough, but had some serious drawbacks (I did a post on that rack quite a while back).

This year we went all out and picked-up a brand new heavy duty hitch mounted rack from Thule. The T2 from Thule has made a big difference for us and I fully recommend it. Although getting the model with a 2” receiver would have been better, it wasn’t an option as both our cars only fit the 1 ¼” receiver. Thule also offers a E-bike specific model, yet it only fits the 2″ set-up.

All set-up and ready to go. It easily folds up when not in use.

Since I got my bike rack several years ago I have been noticing so many different types I have been convinced that one that holds the bikes by supporting them under the tires was the only type I am interested in. With the heavy E-bikes and ones with low frames, I couldn’t imagine carrying them any other way. That, and those types seem to let the bikes bang against each other (scratches and ?). I’ve seen many T2 racks over the years and decided it was the one for us.

 
The T2 is one heavy duty unit. It folds up straight when not in use (I found with my old one that I would remove it and put it in the back of the wagon when were out riding). It came with a nifty lock for the mounting bolt so I am always pretty confident it will be on the back of the car every time we return from a ride. It also has two locking cables to secure the bikes to the rack, a big plus. The rack and the bikes seem to be protected well at all times.

 
The way the rack holds the bikes is a big improvement over my old rack. The uprights fold down for bike loading and when not in use. My old rack didn’t, so this required a dead lift of the bike over a maybe 2 1/2 foot barrier, something I don’t miss on those 60 and 70 lbs. E-bikes. Plus the way the bikes load in general has taken off a big load, I just set the front wheel in the holder and then swing the back wheel up next. No full lifting of the bike is needed.

Loaded down with a couple E-bikes, I am confident they will be there when I reach my riding destination.

The rear wheel holding block slides on the rail for different sizes of bikes and has a nice hold-down mechanism and strap. It is designed to fit the skinny road bike tires and the beefy beach cruiser ones too. The front wheel tray is big enough for every bike I’ve tried (sand bike–maybe not). The fold-down upright is foam covered where it touches the bike and has a strong ratcheting mechanism. It is designed to clamp on the tire, so bikes with fenders can be different. Even the 20” wheel bikes are within its range. It seems I can use this on the frame instead of the wheel if desired.

On the bigger and heavier bikes I use some two-sided Velcro straps to secure the up-right to the wheel for some additional piece-of-mind (and on the longer trips too). I came about doing this on bikes with fenders where I’d rather set the brace on the tire, not the fender. The bikes stay secure on the rack and never bang into each other. When I use it with our Tweed Ride bikes I find the need to remove the seat of one to keep it from interfering with the baskets. Occasionally I will need to lower or raise a saddle to do the same on some bikes.

 
If there is one thing that I don’t like it is the increased overall weight of this rack. Getting it on and off the car is a touch harder. My old one used to hang in the garage on some bike hooks out of the way when not in use, but I don’t see that happening with the Thule T2. It has been taking up some valuable floor space there, but leaving it on the car more often keeps it ready for use in a flash.

 

This good looking bike rack matches some of the bikes I carry with it.

The Thule people did warn against overloading this rack with E-bikes. Although I am occasionally going past its recommended maximum carrying capacity, I figure those numbers are set way under the testing limits and obtained in the roughest of use (a Baja 500 course?) This does concern me (and might you), but everything seems solid enough even with the lighter-weight capacity of the smaller receiver on the cars. I drive pretty mellow and keep a close eye on the bikes and the rack, so I am not sensing any issue in this direction with all the use the rack has been getting.

There are many things to keep in mind with bike racks. Correct mounting and use are right up there. Making sure the hot exhaust of the car isn’t blowing on your bikes and rack is another biggy. Not obscuring the sight of your tail and brake lights is a issue that could come up, make sure to check that. On many bikes their profile is small, but on some bikes they could block the lights. Make sure the people behind you can see those lights, it is important.

Assembly was pretty easy, although I went on-line once or twice to check clearer photos of the completed rack. Like always the instructions were not as well laid-out in some respects. The only hiccup was at the suggested spacing of the two main rails, one of the foam pieces on the up-right bar got torn from being too close to the other up-right bar. I re-spaced the front rail about a quarter inch forward to prevent this clearance problem. I considered asking Thule for a new foam protector, but it isn’t at a place where it contacts the bikes. If it gets worse I will see what they have to say about it.
I am very happy with this new rack and how it has made carrying the bikes easier. Getting them on-board is now a breeze, and always a one-person job. A great bike rack is a good thing.

 
Let’s ride, Turbo Bob.

 
“Every time you miss your childhood, ride a bicycle”.—Mehmet Murat ildan

You can find Thule on the web and Facebook.

http://www.thule.com/en-us/us

https://www.facebook.com/thulebringyourlife?ref=br_tf

 

Posted in Bike accessories, General bike stories, My Bikes | Leave a comment

EG Electric Bikes—Easy Riding for Easy Money

EG Electric Bikes—Easy Riding for Easy Money.

Thanks to Cynergy EBikes for letting me get the inside story on these E-bikes. This is the Zurich.

On a recent trip to Portland I got a chance to ride 3 of these smooth E-bikes from EG Bikes USA. It wasn’t my first exposure to this brand, but was my first time in the saddle. Cynergy EBikes in Portland is a dealer and one of our stops to check on the E-bike scene in that part of the country. When I mentioned to the owners, Rich and Ruth, that we had been hoping to ride to the new Oregon Rail Heritage Center, they jumped at the chance to get us on these bikes.

 
The bikes we (my wife Barbara, her sister Mari and I) rode this day were the Athens 250, the Zurich 350 IX Step-through and the Vienna 250 EX. Each bike was different, but I did like the fact they come with fenders, kickstands, chain guards and lighting systems (although the folding Vienna had too short of a rear fender and a sprocket mounted guard). Rich told me this line-up of E-bikes have done well at his shop, not just because of their price-point, but because of their quality and ride.

 

The Zurich had the most power and looks good too.

Checking the EG Bikes USA website I see they offer a wide selection of E-bikes, including the Monte Carlo. I saw that E-bike last year at Myron’s ExtremeMachines on their demo day. Not only did I post a video of the bike, but I spoke with the owner of that particular bike and he loved it. It seems EG Bikes USA offers a big punch for the buck, and as I rode these 3 different bikes from Cynergy EBikes I was feeling it. Let’s look at the bikes and see what they are like.

 
First off I thought the simple and easy to understand control systems were set well. Mari was a first time E-bike rider that day and had no difficulties during our adventure. The dual control lay-out offers a hand throttle (twist or thumb depending on the model) and a pedelec mode. The pedelec mode can be turned off and the hand throttle worked the bike in all the settings (something I like). The 250 watt bikes can feel a little under-powered during steep climbing, but for most they work fine and can save you a little during the purchase.

 

The Athens is more my type of E-bike.

My favorite of the group was the Zurich. Not just because of the slightly increased power, but it just rode nice. The bars are set a little lower for more of a sport feel, yet the cockpit was comfortable. This electric-assist bike has the hub motor up front the way many like it. I’m pretty sure it is a geared motor (brushless for sure) because of the almost un-noticeable whine and the sprightly feel of power. The 36 volt battery sports 12 Ah of capacity so it should be good for some long rides.

 
A close second in my approval was the Athens. With the bars sitting higher you could keep your head up and straighten out your back. The motor is in the rear wheel where some like it better. The power isn’t as severe, yet great for all but the steeper climbs. With a front suspension fork and the larger profile tires it was the best (of the two non-folding bikes) in terms of a smooth ride on the rougher roads. These are 26” tires, where the Zurich uses the taller (and skinner) 700c.

 

In front of our destination, the Athens was a fine mount for the ride.

In our group it seemed the Athens was the bike to be on. During our ride to and from the Oregon Rail Heritage Center we swapped bikes several times. Although smiles were a given, the rider’s smile on the Athens was the widest. If you’ve tried (or own) an E-bike already you know what fun they can be. Some of that fun can be reduced on a E-bike that doesn’t ride well or has problems, a thing we had no experience with during our day on the EG E-bikes.

 
Later that afternoon Rich and I discussed the bikes and how EG has such a great selection. He said I wasn’t the first to mention that if the Athens had the power system of the Zurich it would really stand-out better. He pointed out that he would love to have every model they offer on the floor, but we both could see that would be tough. He can get you any bike that you see on the EG Bikes USA website.

 

With a more compact size, the Vienna still has a full-size feel.

Rich has a couple folding E-bikes at the store. The EG Vienna 250 EX is his most popular. I have written much on the convenience a folding E-bike offers and done many posts on them. The Vienna was the most fun of the group in many ways. The full suspension was appreciated by us all and the steering is quick but not twitchy. The 24 volt battery mounts to the seat post and has a decent capacity. The lower voltage was noticeable in the power it puts out, yet with a lighter over-all weight as a plus. The only drawback was the short rear fender (something that I would hope gets up-dated on future models and would be first on my list to up-grade).

 

Full suspension and a folding ability are just a few reasons I liked this Vienna.

When we picked-up the bikes it didn’t take long to get on the road. Like I mentioned the controls are simple and each bike had easy to adjust seat heights. Riding on quiet back streets we were able to talk and laugh, enjoying each part of the ride. The day had a few short showers, allowing stops under some trees now and then. On the way back we decided to not let the rain bother us and Mari was the one who got to find out for me that the Vienna’s fender wouldn’t deflect the puddles. It was OK though and she laughed with us as we all got soaked.

 

Soaked to the bone (but not cold), we were still all smiles. This pic was from in front of Cynergy EBikes after our long day.

Rich and Ruth have a great E-bike shop in the south part of Portland. We sure enjoyed our time with them and the bikes they so generously lent us to make our vacation special. If you can, stop by to see all they can do for you and make sure to say hi from us. I do hope we can make a return visit soon.

 
E-bikes and train museums make a great combo, Turbo Bob.

 
“The bicycle has done more for the emancipation of women than anything else in the world.”—Susan B. Anthony.

EG Bikes USA link

http://www.egbike.com/EGUSA/

Cynergy EBike on the web and Facebook

http://www.cynergyebikes.com/

https://www.facebook.com/cynergyebikes

Myron’s ExtremeMachines on the web and Facebook

http://www.electricbicyclecenter.com/

https://www.facebook.com/teammxm?fref=ts

Videos of the bikes and rides

 

 

 

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