NiteRider Lumina OLED 950 Boost (and Swift 350)—Morphed to Perfection

NiteRider Lumina OLED 950 Boost (and Swift 350)—Morphed to Perfection.

This new light from NiteRider has it all.

When my wife and I first started bike commuting 10 years ago, we decided to let NiteRider guide our way during the dark hours. Sure, I had owned bike headlamps before that, yet they were all pretty much a joke as far as actually seeing the road. That pair of MiNewt Mini lights were incredible and really made our riding safe. They were smart, convenient and at the time, I thought played at the pinnacle of their game.

Four years ago we upgraded to a pair of the NiteRider Lumina lights (a 500 and a 650). Wow, they were so much better, in so many ways. We really didn’t take advantage of the extra brightness as much, but reveled at the better design and working features. They incorporate many of the same changes that make the Boost and Swift better, yet not all of them. Once again I figured these were the best and there wasn’t anyway to top their design and usefulness. Wrong again.

Now with this Lumina OLED 950 Boost, I am seeing that NiteRider has upped their game to a point I am most impressed with. I will do my best to point out the changes, why I like them, and how they affect my riding. I also got the Swift 350 (which for some might be a way better choice), and the Lumina 950 Boost too. When it comes to riding at night, these lights are great—and as we use blinking front lights in the daytime, they really do the job there too.

Our original MiNewt Mini is on the left–and the modern new Lumina Boost 950 is on the right.

By far, the most obvious change from those MiNewt Minis is the all-in-one housing and light. Those old lights had a separate light and battery unit. That wasn’t a big deal, yet I think we can all appreciate the ease of dealing with just one piece, not two. As we only used those at night (they didn’t blink), they came off the bike most of the time and we kept them in a nice carry bag that my wife made out of some scrap material. So, two items to install, not too hard as the battery was held by a Velcro strap, and the light used a big special O-ring.

As far as mounting goes, the newer Lumina lights were better, with just one unit to mount, but they way they hooked to the bars was different. They used a knurly knobby, (a knurled knob), to tighten the unit to the bars. It works well and fits all sizes of bars, yet the many turns the knob takes to do the job took a bit of time. The new OLED and Boost use a single pull stretchy strap that gets it all done in a jiff. It too should fit all sizes of bars. At first glance I thought it may not hold the light to the bars well, but have since found they work great in that regard, The Swift is similar, yet just a bit different.

With such a strong and smart light, bike riding at night is made much easier.

One of the better changes I like with the newer Lumina, and now the OLED, Boost and Swift is the way they charge and how you can tell when they are charged. The MiNewt Mini had no indicator. You charged for 4 ½ hours and then had light for 3 hours. The only indicator was when the charge was running low the light would get dimmer. They came with their own plug-in (to the wall) charger, yet no real way to determine when it was done charging. The newer Luminas upped that with a illuminated power button that changed colors when it was fully charged (and a USB cable instead of a transformer for charging).

So that added peace of mind for battery charging. Plus that same light would let you know when there was 20% power left during use. The new OLED, Boost and Swift go one step further with intellicharge. It can determine the output of the charge source and charge twice as quickly when that charge source can deliver. On last thing about the OLED (and there is a bunch more there), the OLED has a display that tells you all you need to know about your charging and power left at all times.

The compact and bright Swift 350 is also totally affordable.

Of course all three of these new lights are way bright with long run times. In the attached videos I covered the lumens and run times, and you can also look on the NiteRider site for that same info. I think our original MiNewt Minis were 350 lumens, which really is bright enough for most riding. When we moved on to the Luminas, we normally would just use the lowest (or one up) setting, as high was always more than we need. The OLED and Boost will punch out 950, really bright. They will only do it for less than an hour and you don’t need that much light, yet they will do it.

I do like a front light that will blink. In the daytime I think that is a big key to getting the attention of oncoming vehicles and ones that might turn your way (opening doors too) . The Lumina, the OLED, the Boost and the Swift all do it. In fact the OLED has different blink modes, including one that pumps out an SOS signal, cool. Another thing they do is offer a lock-out mode. These lights get pretty hot in the higher settings, so NiteRider is very big on the lights not coming on when they are stowed. So please, take advantage of that mode whenever the lights are not mounted to your bike.

The display on the NiteRider Lumina OLED Boost 950 is filled with great information.

What makes the OLED stand out even more is the LCD readout screen that is filled with important information. As far as I can tell, both the Lumina 950 Boost lights are the same, with the exception that the OLED has the display. The info on the screen is very helpful to understanding charge and run times. It also shows you the mode you are using. The OLED is controlled with more than just the one button, something I think helped.

Like many things nowadays, the NiteRider uses instructions that are illustration oriented for every language there is. This can be a bit confusing, yet a quick call to them will clear up any of that and get you full access to all the modes and ways the lights can make your rides better. And those instructions are needed to be able to make these lights work with all the modern changes they have been through. Our original NiteRider MiNewt Minis were simple. One button on—one button off. These do that, yet do so much more.

So my point here is (I guess), that with changes come good things. Those original lights did so much for us. They worked well (and are still working after all this time). They were easy to use. They lit the road nicely for a safe and smart ride. They took away the potential stress of night riding and equipment that might fail when needed. As the years went by NiteRider has worked hard to offer the same quality, yet with much better results. I for one (and my wife for two), have been on the receiving end of their persistent push for the best.

The Swift 350 has turned out to be the perfect light for my wife’s commuter bike

One last thing. The Swift 350 has been perfect for my wife’s commuter bike. It blinks for the day rides, and is a very bright light if she has to ride when it’s dark. My favorite part (and maybe hers) is that because it is so inexpensive, she can just leave it on the bike when parked. Its black housing blends in well with her black handlebar bag so it is pretty stealthy. It gets charged once a week. It is compact and does exactly what we want it for. That is the definition of perfection.

I love the peaceful feeling I get riding at night. Let NiteRider help, Turbo Bob.

“Be at one with the universe. If you can’t do that, at least be at one with your bike.”—Lennard Zinn.

You can find NiteRider at their website or Facebook page.

Here are some videos I posted on the 3 lights I just tested.



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Index of Articles—March 2016 to September 2016

Index of Articles—March 2016 to September 2016.

March 2016


2.   Moto Reflex Pedals—Comfort King.

3.   Ride Scoozy 350—An E-bike That Makes Sense.

4.  San Diego Electric Bike Expo—The Experience & the Trends.

April 2016

1.   Electric Bikes in Northern California—What I Found.

2.   Index of Articles—September 2015 to March 2016.

3.   Flux Trail E-bike—Living the Dream.

May 2016

1.   Add-e Electric Bike Conversion Kit—Lightweight Power.

2.   Ariel Rider N-Class Premium 500—Old Meets New.

3.   Introduction to Electric Bicycles—Spring 2016 Edition—May 24, 2016.

4.   LighTake—Bike Goodies for a Song.

5.   ULTIMATE COMMUTER E-BIKE BUILD—Part # 8—Wrap-up and Costs.

June 2016

1.   Velo Orange Model 8 Saddle—My New Favorite.

2.   Be Part of a Guinness World Record E-bike Group Ride Attempt.

3.   Spira Electric Enclosed Motorcycle—Spira4U.

4.   Surface 604 Boar E350—Fat-Tire Filly.

July 2016

1.   Chatham E-bike by Fifield—American Gem.

2.   My Bicycle Trailer—Reworked for Smart Traveling.

August 2016

1.    Flaunt Vicko Electric Bike—Making the Grade.

2.   Electric Bike World Record Ride—Ravi on his Stromer.

September 2016

1.   KTM Macina Cross 10 CX4 E-bike—Souped-up Scrambler.





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KTM Macina Cross 10 CX4 E-bike—Souped-up Scrambler

KTM Macina Cross 10 CX4 E-bike—Souped-up Scrambler.

This baby has what you need to ride—and nothing you don’t need to slow you down.

As I threw my leg over this sleek E-bike for the first time, it seemed to be just another electric-assist mountain bike. Although there is nothing wrong with that, I am more of a street and bike trail rider, so big time climbing isn’t a need for me. Before I made it to the first stop sign, I  was already finding this KTM (with a deep heritage in gas-powered motocross racing bikes) was more than a one-purpose only machine. This brought on a wider smile with memories of days past.

As a kid, some of my favorite motorcycles were the scramblers. Not really road bikes, not really dirt bikes, they were a great compromise that could take on the trails and the highways with equal ease. They weren’t the best for either, yet they were great fun, and let you own one bike that could take you most anywhere. That is how I feel about the Macina Cross 10 CX4 (doesn’t really roll off the tongue eh?) from KTM. I loved the scramblers I had, and I am getting that kind of closeness to this KTM too.

400 watts of smooth Bosch power. It even has a great skid guard to keep you going in the rough stuff.

Being a true pedelec, if is the kind of E-bike that brings you and the bike closer together. With no throttle, all of your assist comes during pedaling. It has 5 levels of assist (including off), so finding the right amount of motor help is easy for any riding condition. The levels are not just how much power the motor will make when pedaling, but also how sensitive the torque-sensed controls are. Torque-sensing means the bike can tell how hard you are working the pedals, and let the motor help to match. For years I’ve been calling this intelligent control, and this Bosch power plant system has it figured out well.

More on that. The Bosch mid-drive motor sends its power through the chain and drive gears. There are benefits and drawbacks to a mid-drive, yet one of the biggest pluses for a bike like this is having the extra weight of the battery and motor mid-mounted and low in the frame for better bike handling, something that is easy to feel when you start pushing the Macina Cross 10. Also, because the electric power is sent through the 10 gears, it allows for better use of the torque and power the motor makes (which is plenty BTW).

The 1 X 10 drivetrain is plenty strong.

The KTM is limited to 20 mph (some of the Bosch aren’t) and has no throttle, so it is a class 1 E-bike here in California. That means no limit on where and how you can ride this lightweight E-bike (here at least). It builds speed fast as you work the gears, and cruises easy using a minimal amount of power from the 36 volt frame mounted battery. It has aa assist interrupt feature during shifting, yet there were times the gears still mashed, not sure why that was.

Like I said earlier, this bike is way comfortable on the street. The 700c Schwalbe tires have a great dual-purpose tread pattern. It is light and agile, so some commuting or fun riding is definitely in its repertoire. The KTM is pretty stripped down though. Looking for a bell, fenders, rack or a  kickstand? You won’t find them, but they could easily be added. There is kind of a chain guard on the tiny front sprocket, but none of that other good stuff you look for on a street bicycle. That small front sprocket turns faster than you would think due to internal gearing, so the gear range on the Cross 10 CX4 makes sense and feels good at any speed.

With the motor and battery mounted low and in the center of the bike, you are assured some great handling.

The lack of a kickstand bugged me a lot, so I was always looking for a curb to prop the pedals on with every stop. And, the bike comes with no pedals either. Like many high-end bikes, instead of just popping something on there, they leave up to you to get the right ones that fit your riding style. Even though there are really no extras, what this bike is about is fully covered, something you get with every ride. It is like an expensive pair of skis, ready to go where you want with no questions asked.

There are a few things about the KTM that might slow you down. One is the lack of retailers. There are 3 shops close to me that carry KTM bikes. None of them have any in stock, they are special order only. That means no test ride, just a sight unseen wish for the bike you want. And then again, none of those shops will sell you a KTM E-bike, just the non-electric ones. If you go on the KTM website, it is pretty sparse. It is a Austria made bike and their site doesn’t translate to English well. I think from my research, there are 3 E-bikes available in the US—and maybe 40 in Europe. Like I said, it is hard to tell from the sites I checked out. Judging by the talks I had with the KTM rep, they are bound to get all their stuff and retailers sorted out better so you can have a great KTM experience.

2 finger levers on the Shimano hydraulic disc brakes let you stop with confidence.

Even though getting one could be tough, I do feel once you have it, all will be fine. This bike is very high quality, the 3 dealers I spoke to seemed to be very well versed on the KTM bikes, and the Bosch power system is heavily supported here in the states. Name brand parts and pieces make up the KTM Macina, so plenty of issue-free riding sees to be a given. Strong disc brakes, solid shifting, an ok front fork and firm chassis are all part of the equation. This is a complete package.

This is a bike with a strong racing background in its rooster tail. When you ride it you can feel the race-bread features, not because it is uncomfortable and abrupt, but just the opposite. Because it is smooth and responsive. Each control and movement brings you closer to the bike. Everything about it feels natural and fun happens without pre-thought. I sure enjoyed my time on it, even if it isn’t the street bike that I crave. I do crave a scrambler though, and that is what we have here.

Bosch has done a great job with the controls and display.

Even though getting a test ride might be tough, I managed to get this one, so don’t give up. With any luck your local KTM bicycle dealer can hook you up. If this type of E-bikes peaks your interest, then it will be worth the effort to find one to try.

Go KTM, Turbo Bob.

“When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments’”—Elizabeth West.

KTM website

They are on Facebook too.

Check out the videos I posted on this E-bike.

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Flaunt Vicko Electric Bike—Making the Grade

Flaunt Vicko Electric Bike—Making the Grade.

Just a solid, good riding everyday bike. That’s what most want I would think.

Today’s title on the Vicko from Flaunt has two meanings. Of course part of the reason you ride an E-bike is to make it up the rises (grades) in the road easily. The Vicko has this covered just fine. I guess too that I am in the grading business (if you want to call it that). On most every level of judging I give this new electric bike a “A”. Also, in the category of not being radially over-priced or having a bunch of stuff and features nobody needs, it gets an “A” there too.

The crowd-funding world is on a big spike nowadays. Right now that is where you can find the Vicko (and their other model the Atticus). They won’t be there forever, but if you follow them there you can get on the Flaunt bandwagon at a reduced price. I try not to let the cost rule my opinions of the bikes, yet it is important to figure that into the equation a bit as I ride and report on cool E-bikes. All cost matters aside, I had a great time riding this Vicko and found it to be a quality and solid mount.

7 speeds, 500 watts, disc brakes.

It isn’t lacking power and features, as that 500 watt geared motor and extra range lithium battery make a good team for the long rides. The saddle and cockpit position are on the same page, keeping me comfortable and smiling as the miles rolled by at maybe 18 mph. It does top out at close to 22, yet I cruise a little slower, keeping me happy and letting the bike battery max out the distances between recharges. I like saving some extra juice for the steeper hills and the last couple miles of a ride.

So we are talking 36 volts and 15.6 Ah of power swirling inside the rack mounted battery. That is a bit more that what might be considered the standard, and who doesn’t like that? The dual-control system that runs the motor also has some features that most E-bikes can’t boast about. One is the fully overriding throttle and the other is the adjustable soft-start circuitry. They call it power control, but what it really does is smooth out the jolt as the power comes on, while letting the battery save some power. You can chose one of three settings very easily. Watch my climbing video for a better description of both of these pluses.

An ok front fork and disc brakes lead the way.

When it comes to the total feel of what this E-bike does, I was impressed. Nothing really special so to speak, just a solid feel with most everything you are going to need from your E-bike. Each component does its job, seems quality enough, and gets you down the road with confidence. You can get E-bikes with every best piece imaginable, yet having an everyday decent bike that most can afford is my goal, and I would think the goal of most every bike rider you will meet.

So, Flaunt has this bike and their diamond framed bike, the Atticus. This one comes in 3 different colors. The other has a 4 color choice. Each can come with cool street tires or some rugged off-road meats. Both bikes are outfitted very much the same, including factory bright lights, kickstand, bell, rear rack, and what might be considered a chain guard. I am seeing the only real option not included but needed (for me at least) is a pair of plastic fenders. They don’t come with the bike, yet are inexpensive and easy to install.

This is the way the Flaunt Vicko arrived. It was up and riding in no time at all.

On the subject of installing, this bike will come to you in a box and need to be assembled. The day may come where you can go to the local E-bike shop and get it ready to ride, but that day isn’t today. Luckily, it is a breeze to put together. Just 2 bolts for the handle bars, 1 quick-release skewer for the front wheel and 2 pedals are the whole story. I did need to make one adjustment, yet I found everything else to be fully tightened and adjusted. Most bikes that come to me in a box need so much more. I actually enjoy the assembly, doing the adjustments and the long term maintenance. If you don’t or can’t, make sure to find a person you trust to build it and maintain it.

Bright lighting is part of the package.

There is much to love with this Vicko. I try not to go on and on about each bit and piece. I suggest you watch the three videos I posted to get some more details and insights. Their sales site has plenty of the specifications if you want to dive in deeper. Stuff like 7 speeds, aluminum frame, how the tail light works as a brake light (when the lights are off), and stuff like that. During the campaign (a few more days) they have specials, if you want a second battery or even a pair of bikes. Even when that is over, it seems they will be at a decent buy-in rate.

I sometimes mention it during review (not always though), that one of my criteria on any bike is my own personal interest level. Sure, all the bikes are usually fun and all that, but how much do they really catch my eye? Is a given bike something I would ride past the test period? Would I actually consider buying one for myself? You know—would I really want one? This basic question burns with each mile on any bike, I am sure you feel it when riding a friend’s bike or a shop’s floor model.

Your information center.

The answer to this question on today’s test bike is a solid yes. It has all I am looking for, rides great, all the power and speed I need, and in general is a decent E-bike. I do like the fact they didn’t go overboard with weird body work or extra stuff nobody needs. It looks like a regular bike and that is the way I like them. The people behind the bike seem sincere in their desire for a great product, and they aren’t some big heartless mega firm either.

I just want to ride, and the Vicko lets me do that, Turbo Bob.

“You’re only one bike ride away from a good mood.”—Basic bike quote.

Check them out on their site or Facebook.

Here are the 3 videos I added to my You-Tube site about the Vicko.

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Electric Bike World Record Ride—Ravi on his Stromer

Electric Bike World Record Ride—Ravi on his Stromer.

Something different today. I normally write a full post of my activities, or a review on a bike or product. Here I want to tell you of a unique individual you can follow as he makes a cross-country journey on a Stromer E-bike. There will be some fun here in San Diego when he completes his ride. Ravi is about half way through this adventure, so it isn’t too late to get on the bandwagon to root him on.

So you know, this isn’t the first time he has worked on making history. If my memory is correct, he did something like 300 miles in 24 hours last year.

His name is Ravindra Kempaiah and he is being sponsored by Crazy Lenny’s E-bikes (among others). Crazy Lenny’s Facebook page is the place to get all the info and updates. Look for the link below.
You may know I led a world record E-bike ride in So Cal recently. It was over 300 people on E-bikes listed as a E-bike parade. We did 12 miles. Ravi is doing over 5000. This is a big deal and worth checking out.

Good luck Ravi—see you at the finish line, Turbo.


Posted in E-bike general interest | 1 Comment

Chatham E-bike by Fifield—American Gem

Chatham E-bike by Fifield—American Gem.

As you read my review, you will see that good looks are just a part of what the Chatham delivers.

When I first reviewed the Jetty by Fifield, I was taken by the online images of their flagship electric bike, the Chatham. With an in-house created chrome moly frame, a belt-drive matched to a mid-drive motor, and some sweet looks, its style and technical advancements had me dreaming of a long fun ride with all it offers. That time has come (and is still happening). There is so much to gush about on this E-bike, but I will try to get it all in this one post.

I guess I’ll start with the looks and the feel. I am all about upright roadster type bikes (I call them college bikes). They match my needs more than any low-bar road bike, cruiser or mountain bike. When it comes to classy bikes through the decades, this is the style that pops in most everyone’s mind. I am so over E-bikes that look clunky and those with lots of extra clumsy body work. I like those that look like bikes, just like this Chatham. Even though it does have an English theme going, this baby is all American.

Not your dream color?—Then just chose one that is.

Sure you will find some pieces from other countries, like the 11 speed rear geared hub, but the heart and soul comes from American minds and hands. Many of the pieces are local too, like those fantastic hammered French style aluminum fenders and the leather saddle from Velo Orange. So many of the individual parts on this bike speak quality and ooze a fit and finish that is hard to find in the E-bike world (regular bike world too). Fifield has some cool colors on the books, yet this one is in a custom painted green. From what I hear, yours can be any fantastic color you can dream up.

Riding the bike is a special treat. Smooth and sleek, you can feel the combination of great components with each push on the pedals. Knowing it looks incredible can make your ride more fun, yet with eyes forward you can still absorb the stand-out appearance of the Chatham. Even though it might have the look of 40’s Europe, all the modern tech brings you into today’s era. Strong (yet not too strong) hydraulic disc brakes slow you with nary a care, while the CenterTrack belt drive calmly gets you back up to speed.

Have hills to climb? Then you want one of these.

The mid-drive motor adds electric assist when you are ready, but this lightweight gem glides so easily, you don’t have to lean on it much. Although the specs show it as a 400 watt unit, I think (judging by the power and max watt readout on the display) it is really more like a 250 or 300 watt power plant. Not to worry though, as most commercial mid-drives are rated the same and unless you are a speed demon, this beauty will get you all the climbing and motive power you desire.

You probably know that the mid-drive runs its power through the drivetrain, allowing the bikes gearing to give flexibility to the motor’s torque and horsepower. So for a given amount of power, it is increased in pull or speed depending on the gear ratio used at any given time. It does require more attention to being in the correct gear at the correct time (as opposed to a hub-motored E-bike). Also, it is important not to shift under power, although the geared hub won’t change gears until the power of the motor is reduced or stopped.

Belts are the future of bikes. Or the present, if you ride a Fifield Chatham.

I have to admit I found that 11 gears is more than this E-bike needs. Most every time I changed 2 gears at a time (whether shifting up or down). When not using the assist, the extra gears were helpful, yet under power not really needed. The thumb shifter works great and has an indicator to tell you which gear is selected. The belt-drive is sleek, clean, maintenance-free, and quiet as can be. I do expect as the years flow, we will be seeing belts on more and more bikes. For now, enjoy what it has to offer on this high-end E-bike from Fifield.

What a sweet sight.

This is a dual control E-bike, meaning you can get the electric-assist (in 5 levels) automatically when you pedal, or by use of the thumb throttle (mounted on the left side of the bars). I did suggest to them a minor programming change (that should be on their bikes by now, I hope), that allows the throttle to give full power regardless of the assist level chosen. This bike limits that power to the level the display is set to, when you add full throttle. I like it to be able to get full juice from the throttle no matter what, in intersections and when the need for some extra scoot arises. Sometimes you don’t have time to toggle the switches, so I think this change will be a good one.

You may have seen my recent article on how much I like the saddle they have chosen to spec on the Chatham. Comfort goes a long way to increasing the enjoyment of a bike ride, so with a bike this nice, having the right saddle is important. I think Fifield used this thinking as they picked out all the pieces that make up the Chatham, as nowhere is to be seen a junky or sour looking part of the bike. Just check out that wonderful chain guard if you are wondering what I mean.

I figure this front hub dynamo is to power the optional lighting package listed on the Fifield website.

I can pretty much guarantee you won’t see any basic penny-counters riding a Chatham. When you compile such nice pieces and wrap them up in a custom in-house frame, you are bound to jump to a higher price point. This is a special E-bike for discerning riders. With all its high-tech features and smooth riding qualities, I do think many who wanted to lowball their way into E-biking, will reconsider and move up the ladder to this sleek and fancy machine. There is so much here to love, even as you look past the glowing beauty, you will find a ride that is hard to equal.

I should have written this review much sooner, but I have been enjoying riding the Chatham so much, time seemed to fly. It was kind of their mistake though, as since they are on the opposite side of the country from me, they shipped me the bike for this extended test. Many times my reviews come from as little as 4 hours with a E-bike, some from a couple days to a week. When I can have a bike this long (well over a month by now), I really get the whole effect, and my reviews mirror that (good or bad). It has been my go-to bike for all that time, and giving it up will be tough. It will happen soon, yet for now I am still turning the pedals.

What a great ride its been.

There just isn’t one angle to view this bike from that doesn’t please, no matter if you are in the saddle or on the sidelines. It might push your plastic a little harder than some to get one in your driveway, yet remember that saying about the cake. This baby is as sweet as can be, and is worth every indulgence you might need to sacrifice to hop on board. Oh my, sweet Chatham, you will want a second helping of this American goodness at every opportunity.

Why wait? Get what makes you happy, Turbo Bob.

“Have fun, be active. Ride a bike instead of driving a car, for example”.—Dan Buettner.

You can find Fifield on their website—and of course they have a Facebook page.

Here is a walkaround video of the Chatham. I might soon add a riding one.

Posted in E-bike test reviews | 3 Comments

My Bicycle Trailer—Reworked for Smart Traveling

My Bicycle Trailer—Reworked for Smart Traveling.

My trailer is no beauty, yet it is in top shape for the long rides.

Even as cargo bikes gain massive popularity, bike trailers have been around for years. Many use them to haul the kids or pets, yet just about anything can be moved with them. There are many styles, long or short, narrow or wide, covered or open, 2 or 1 wheeled. Mine is older and a very low-end one, in fact I actually got it for free. It was a Craigslist find from many years ago. The owner threw in the bike that was hooked to it, which in turn I sold for the asked price of the trailer.

I have used it now and then through the years with some of our bikes, yet realized a long time ago that pulling it with an E-bike was the best way to go. When I did my ULTIMATE project I finally got to start using it on a steady basis. I did some basic reworking then, but this month I finished it up to what I had envisioned. It is short on looks (in the daytime at least), but way long on usefulness. Last year I nicknamed it “My Rig”, and that name that goes even further now.

I had to do some minor mods to get the hitch to fit my new E-bike.

I have been tempted many times to hook it to the parade of E-bikes that seem to come and go, yet I was resistant to enlarging the axle mounting hole on the hitch to fit them. That is a reason it matched well with the ULTIMATE, that was a regular bike converted to E-power, with a (more or less) standard sized axle diameter. After winning my new Pedego E-bike last month, I knew the time had come to grind the hole bigger with my Dremel tool and fit it to this cool E-bike. What a perfect combo.

This is one of those big-box store trailers that is of OK quality. The newer ones of this brand have plastic (?) rims and I am sure have more modern features. It was in kind of sorry shape, but the tires held air and all the pieces were included. After returning the eRAD kit from the ULTIMATE to Lectric Cycles I thought maybe my trailer convenience was done, so I hung it back in the garage rafters. I had used it for group rides and Costco shopping (my biggest thrill to date, as we live on the mesa and the store is closer to sea level). I was so glad to get it back down and once again in service.

Having the tall flag is just part of the visibility changes I made to my trailer.

Although I can’t do much for the looks and faded fabric, I took care of the mechanical issues and spruced it up some. Cleaning and regreasing the wheel bearings was combined with truing and tensioning the spokes. The rims and spokes are kind of rusty, but no problem I guess. A pair of thorn-resistant tubes and 2 HD (E-bike specific) tires got levered on. I added some Velcro on the top panel to replace the damaged and rusted snap grommets, and replaced a couple nylon straps for the seats (yes I can sew, in fact I was a sewing machine technician for 20 years). I purchased an antenna pole and flag to add some extra safety on the road. And of course I gave it a one-over to make sure all the fasters were tight and it is ready for the long rides.

Nighttime safety took a major jump with the addition of LightMeUp Safety Lights in each corner, on the sides and on the wheels. Not only do they make sure you are seen, they garner tons of hoots and hollers from most anyone that see us ride by. They are mostly red, white and blue so when we rode the busy coastline this 4th before the fireworks started, hundreds of people took photos and cheered us on. You kind of need to check the photos and video to really see how much these inexpensive LED lights add to the trailer.

When the sun goes down this trailer really shines.

I did some custom work with these. I soldered a couple strings together on the wheels to allow them all to run from one battery pack. I did the same with the strip lights I put on the heavy steel frame. I sewed the light strings on the side panels as I saw no other alternative there. I wrapped a set on the antenna pole too. I added some bright front and rear lights from Serfas to round out visibility at night (I use those in the daytime too). All-in-all, this is the most lit up trailer I have seen to date.

In the trailer I have a canvas bag that holds some basics. It has a spare tube, tire changing tools, and a tube repair kit. Some bike tools are in there. A few maps and a roll of t/p make sense to have along during a ride. I keep a few bucks and spare change in there too. There is a spare hitch clip that I doubt I’ll need, but it came with the trailer so why not? A flashlight and tire pump could come in handy, so I keep those in the bag with the other stuff.

You can spend hundreds on a new bike trailer. Some mount like mine to the wheel’s axle, some to the rear bike frame, and others to the seat post. Each type of trailer has its own special features and uses, yet with a little imagination they can really be versatile. Just to add to this, the couple RideKick trailers I have tested have a full electric motor conversion built-in, so they convert your regular bike to E-assist with no modifications (and carry your gear). You can spend a lot or a little (like I did) as you explore your bike trailer needs.

Here is my whole rig with the lights ablaze.

Another goal I have with this, is to take my electric R/C model planes to the local flying field (at sea level) for a great morning. It is about a 15 mile round-trip (down and then up the mesa) so I normally just drive. Now with all the mods and my new E-bike pulling the trailer, I expect to add this use on a steady basis. There are so many plans I have for my new rig. A couple times this last month we packed cold drinks, snacks, and our two folding chairs to a outdoor movie and couple free outdoor concerts. Such biking excitement, I can barely contain myself.

I know many that use their bike trailers quite a bit on their regular (non E-bike) bikes and they love them. Our local bike coalition recently moved to a new office spot, and used bikes to move everything. Online I see so much more. If your bike won’t haul what you need on its own, then a bike trailer could be perfect for you. Mate your bicycle with a trailer, it makes so much sense.

Haul that load, Turbo Bob.

“I’m lazy. But it’s the lazy people who invented the wheel and the bicycle because they didn’t like walking or carrying things.”—Lech Walesa.

Here are a few related videos I have posted on my You-Tube site.

Here is a link to the LightMeUp Safety Lights.

You can find the Serfas lights here.

And while we are at it, check out the RideKick E-trailer.


Posted in Bike accessories, Bike maintenance, General bike stories, My Bikes, Opinion | 3 Comments