Last Chance to Register for “Introduction to Electric Bicycles”

Last Chance to Register for “Introduction to Electric Bicycles”.
9911_flyerThis event is sure to satisfy the growing number of people interested in how electric-assist bikes can change their life’s.   I am now starting my 4th year of hosting it every spring and fall.   It continues to gain traction, as the number of attendees has filled the available room for them, meaning some have been turned away in past events.   Registrations will be closed as of tomorrow (May 27th) at 8 pm pst.   Walk-ins may or may not be able to gain entry, so if you are interested in being part of this San Diego E-bike seminar, don’t wait.
I try to get people in other cities, states and countries to organize such an event in their own community.   It might be tough finding the perfect venue, yet fully possible I believe.   Getting the local shops in on the fun would be easy, but the larger companies might have difficulty sending their reps with the bikes to some of the more remote locations.    Part of what makes this all work is the strict policy I have of allowing no sales during or at the event.   That is part of what makes this one-of-a-kind E-bike world-wide excitement.
It is 100% free to the people coming to see and ride the E-bikes—-and to the companies bringing them for your scrutiny. Here is the list of shops, companies and E-bikes you will be able to view and test.   Meeting and greeting with them is also part of the fun.   All this happens on the evening of May 28th, 2015.
Hope to see you there.
Adams Avenue Bike Shop
Bicycle Business Journal   (Bicycle trade magazine)
Blix Bike   (Factory reps on hand)
Cycle Quest
e-Joe   (Factory reps on hand)
eRad   (mid-drive E-bike conversion kits)
El Camino Bike Shop
Electric Bike Central
Electric Bike Company    (Factory reps on hand)
GreenWorld Bike Inc.   (Factory reps on hand)
How to Buy the Best Electric Bike (E-bike book)
Kayman    (Factory reps on hand)
Lectric Cycles
LightMeUp Safety Lights
Living Instead of Existing    (Facebook page—Rhonda Martin)
Marrs Cycles    (Factory reps on hand)
Motiv Electric Bikes
Myron’s Extreme Machines
Nori Lights        (Factory reps on hand)
Ocean Beach E-bikes
OHM Cycles
Pedego Electric Bikes    (Factory reps on hand)
Pedego Carlsbad
Pedego Solana Beach
Performance Bikes Midway
San Diego County Bicycle Coalition
San Diego Electric Bikes
Surf Monkey
Stromer    (Factory reps on hand)
UC Cyclery
Ultimate DIY Electric Bike Guide  (E-bike book)
Virtue Bikes    (Factory reps on hand)
Here are some posts on previous E-bike seminars I have hosted so you can get a feel for what to expect.
Posted in E-bike general interest | Leave a comment

e-Joe Koda—From My Bike Path to Yours

e-Joe Koda—From My Bike Path to Yours.

Ready to whisk you on some dream rides—the e-Joe Koda.

Don’t get the wrong idea from the title, this new E-bike isn’t restricted just to bike paths. With its sporty style and ride, you will be seeing this bike all over the place. The 29er thing will be taking you off-road and the laid-over riding position might bring on some other rides of fancy. With all the features you might need (fenders, lights and rack), this E-bike is ready to roll when you are.

Actually, this bike has 28” tires (700 X 45C) and isn’t really a mountain bike. The tires are semi-aggressive street types and they tout the bike as a sport class commuter, but once it is yours you can call it anything you like. Chances are you will be calling on it quite a bit for some fun and spirited rides. The large capacity lithium battery (15 AH) and the powerful 500 watt rear mounted brushless motor will take you far and fast.


Outfitted with fenders, rack, lights and the such, all you need is a smile.

This is a large bike but has a fairly low (relatively) step over height. I measured the frame as a 18 incher and the top frame tube at about 30. E-Joe has other bikes for those with smaller personal frames. If you are one of those I would make sure to test ride the Koda to see how it fits for the long run. Me, I’m over 6’ and felt right at home with every ride. The larger tires roll smooth and take on the rough stuff with style.

Being big on E-bike control systems and their use, I found this one to my liking. It is a dual control with a left side thumb throttle and 3 levels of automatic pedelec. With some fancy button pushing I found a fourth power level, but it seemed to give the same power and speed as the #3. When you engage it there is an icon of a rider on the display that changes from sitting upright to bent over in racing mode, so it made me feel faster at least. Each of the 3 levels are spaced well and match the bike’s gearing well.

The shifters, display, and thumb throttle are visible from this angle.

The thumb throttle is on the left so using it won’t interfere with shifting the gears with your right hand. It is different from most thumb throttles you see on other E-bikes yet is easy to use. Of course being dual control, it bypasses the pedelec function allowing full power when needed regardless of the pedelec power level setting. The display is well thought out and gives the info you need. On the whole, the control system made me feel in control, had everything I needed and nothing I didn‘t.


Big and strong, the lithium battery tucks into the frame.

As you check out the e-Joe Koda you’ll notice the battery tucks neatly in the frame tube. It is easily removable with the key lock for charging and storage. The charge plug is a little hard to access while it is on the bike, yet tucked next to it is a USB port for your phone and audio needs (with a rubber cover to keep them dry and clean). 36 volts is plenty and the capacity is more than sufficient for some really long rides.

On top of the battery is a master switch that needs to be turned on before turning on the power at the display. It (the master switch) also shuts down the bike, but not the power flowing to the front and rear lights. I wouldn’t mind seeing e-Joe make a small change here, as I always ride with the lights on (who wouldn’t?). What I am saying here is to get going I had to turn on 4 things (battery, display, front light and rear light)—and when done, turn off 3 (battery, front light and rear light). This is the only thing about the e-Joe Koda I didn’t like.


All the power, gears and braking power you will need are mounted out back.

In all reality, this is being picky, as on all other bikes that don’t come with nice factory lights like this one, I need to turn my add-on lights on and off separately anyway. I always add my blinking f + r lights to any bike I ride even if they have on-board ones already. Did I mention how nice these lights are? They work well and even have rubber covers for the switches. If you are hitting the open road, an add-on really bright headlight is a good idea, yet for around town and neighborhood rides they did the job with gusto.

Other than the light thing, I enjoyed my time on it immensely. Whether I was in a gentle cruise mode or pounding the pedals with a passion, the Koda was there for me at all times. The thumb shift levers worked the gears quickly and smoothly. The motor’s power was under full control in the way I like The ride and steering was right on. Having the rack was handy for mounting my panniers and any puddle I found didn’t slow me at all.


A smooth riding front suspension, nice tires and strong brakes are leading your way.

My next comment might catch you off guard, yet I recently almost became a victim to overly powerful hydraulic disc brakes (on a different test E-bike). So many think they want them, yet they work too good with minimal pull at the levers. As the rear wheel came about a foot off the ground in a panic stop, I was able to regain control in time to both keep the bike upright and miss the slowly moving obstacle. My tune on them has changed for all but the most experienced riders (and maybe not even them).


If you like satin black bikes, then this one might be for you.

The Koda’s brakes are plenty strong for any stop, yet the right amount of pull at the levers is what it takes. I am a bigger fan then ever on cable pull disc brakes. The ones on the Koda are safer and better than the so called “best”. I tried many quick stops and loved the feel and stopping distance. Don’t be fooled by the hype of hydraulic actuated brakes, this type is better and all you need.

As I round up this post, I just want you to know that e-Joe has a great line-up of E-bikes at price points that make sense. I have ridden each and every model they have with a smile and enjoyment. This Koda was no different, as it shows their continued commitment to make an E-bike that works well and rides nicely. I would never tell you what to buy, but I do suggest you add them to your list of possible candidates as you look for the perfect E-bike for your needs.

Let’s hit the bike path, Turbo Bob.

“I relax by taking my bicycle apart and putting it back together again.”—Michelle Pfeiffer.

Look for e-Joe on the web and Facebook

Here is a walk around video of the e-Joe Koda


Posted in E-bike test reviews | Leave a comment

Introduction to Electric Bicycles—Spring 2015

Please consider coming to this free public service event.
“Introduction to Electric Bicycles”. It will take place on the evening of Thursday May 28th, here in San Diego.
It is held at the SDG&E Energy Innovation Center in Clairemont from 5 pm to 8:30 pm. (4760 Clairemont Mesa Blvd–92117).
You will learn about E-bikes, and get a chance to try any of the 45+ E-bikes on hand.
This is a no-sales, no pressure event, with free door prizes and a full catered hot meal (make sure to pre-register so there is enough dinner for everyone) (even with 170 spots, the event was filled last year, with some not able to attend, so registration is important).
Electric bikes can be a great way for people to have fun, improve their health, save money, help the environment and relieve road congestion (among many other reasons).
Check the flyer—-hope to see you, family and friends there.
Please share this on your own pages and with email blasts if you can.
This is a direct link for registration
Thanks, Turbo Bob.
Posted in E-bike general interest | Leave a comment

Bicycle Business Journal—A New History Starts Now

Bicycle Business Journal—A New History Starts Now.

Educating people about E-bikes is my big passion. Now as part of the Bicycle Business Journal team, I can take that to new levels.

Let’s fade back to 1950, kind of hard for me as I wasn’t yet a twinkle in my father’s eye at that point in history. Still, the world was in full swing, as were the bicycles wandering the world with happy riders. A industrious and insightful man, Bill Quinn, changed the name of the publication that he had purchased just years before to Bicycle Business Journal. With that, much of the bicycle culture changed as he helped to guide and report on it. 46 years later the words in print ended, yet he lived to an awesome 102 years old.

In today’s news, I have been appointed the monthly E-bike columnist as this mag gets reborn in the hands of John Barous, My sometimes offbeat and care-free writing and riding style will hit the printed paper once again with fresh news, reviews and mildly stated opinions, with electric-assist bikes as my subject matter. I will also be listed as an advertisement consultant, so be sure to hit me up so I can benefit more than just the T-shirts and free lunches that make-up my rewards so far from reporting on the world of bikes. This journal will be distributed free to every American bike shop manager and owner, and to the industry leaders. So the filled-in ad space will be much of the energy that supports this important publication.

Let’s make a timeline and center it around my late 60’s Schwinn Collegiate. As Ignaz and the crew were building it from scratch in Chicago, I was firm in my teenage years. Bikes and electronics were my world, but 101 octane fueled my dreams. The bike industry was cranking out multi-speed bikes and re-embracing adults to get back on their bicycles. Although at that time Bicycle Business Journal was totally off my radar, little did I know what a big impact is was making on one of my passions.

The stories are many, yet hard to find with your basic Google search. As I learn more about this important magazine, I have become deeply impressed with all that Bill did and the massive respect he earned while plying his craft. With his family’s support and contributions to this new (old?) bike publication, I fully expect it to once again rise above any expectations people had then and now. I am proud to be a part of it and hope what I add will hit the set standards burned into the memories of all that read and lived it.

As my 16th year took hold, I set aside my bicycles and raced full-speed into the culture that earned me my nickname Turbo Bob. Boosted performance and full immersion into anything mechanically advanced kept me at the racetracks and garages on a daily basis. I was obsessed and my foot rarely left the floorboard for many years after that. What a great time it was with the thrills and excitement of my dreams coming true as the revs rose. Two wheels or four, if I could make it faster, I was ready to roll. Little did I know then what my real future held for me.

One day in 1989 the fever subsided and the speeds slowed. I still loved and maintained my classic 4-wheelers, yet the blur became clearer in the windshield. I was no longer in a hurry, just finding them as a way from point A to point B. This turned out to be a major plus, as my vision of the world changed to the one I feel is important now. The next year that Schwinn came into my life, a gift from a friend. It wasn’t just the gift of a material item, it was the rebirth of a lost passion, much like the rebirth of Bicycle Business Journal will be to thousands this year.

With that Schwinn, the inner and outer workings of a bicycle started to re-infiltrate my mind. The joy of the journey started to make sense again. Not only do I still have and ride that ‘69 Collegiate, I also now have a 1960 Continental that really takes me back to my pre-teenaged years with each stroke of the pedals. In the mid 90’s I part-timed in a local Schwinn shop. The issues of Bicycle Business Journal came and went, yet I still didn’t dive too deep into the pages. Sales and the such isn’t my world, as I am a user, fixer and modifier of the electro-mechanical devices, not a seller.

During my tenure at that bike shop the final issue of the Journal must have come (1996), but I was not to notice or care. Now as I become a part of this reborn famous publication, my interest in its past are high, but not nearly as high as in its future. Its success will rest in many hands, with mine as two of them. I plan on reporting on E-bike’s big future (that is happening as I write this), yet hope I can add some history of the Journal in my articles too. To say I am excited would be easy to do.

So you know, the Bicycle Business Journal will be much to many. All parts of the bike world will be included and covered. It will continue to be a guide that shop owners can use to embrace their customer’s needs, and line their pockets with the funds it takes to keep the doors open and feed their loved ones. The bike business can be a tough one, and any help they can get to be successful is so important. Even though there are more people on bikes than ever before, the competition can be tough.

One question that might come to mind is how can this magazine be created, printed and distributed for free to all these shops and people (7500?—not to mention the on-line access to it by each and every person) ? We all know the answer is simple. You make money by spending money. So the advertisement dollars will do much to keep it active. There are great deals to be had by the first responders as the July issue starts coming together. Although tons of great products will be shown and reviewed, only in the ads will it really become apparent who supports this effort.

Also, the investment opportunities abound. I try not to talk money in my bike dealings, yet it is a big part of what makes this world turn. If you like what you see and hear, then consider being part of it. And do remember, you can contact me for any of these details if you want in, whether now on the bottom floor, or down the road when you are ready.

One of my main goals with my years of bike testing, reviewing and reporting, is to get out the word that bikes are fun, healthy and cost effective (and of course so much more than that). This new venue for me will take that to a higher level. My bike blog, Facebook page and You-Tube channel will continue on as always, being helped by this new adventure, not being hindered by it. My twice-a-year free E-bike seminar will flourish too, as I continue to promote all the that E-bikes have to offer.

The one thing that may change is my ability to help my hard working E-bike commuting wife with our life’s expenses. I will offer my time and words to the Bicycle Business Journal for free (as I have with all my bike reporting), yet as a advertising representative I have a chance to benefit. So as this publication starts this July, I do ask you contact me for the needed information on how to climb aboard this great train as it picks up speed. As you help build your business, you can help me with mine.

My E-bike education world expands, will yours? Turbo Bob.

“Life is like a 10-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use.”—Charles Schultz, creator of the Peanuts comic strip.

The web site for the Bicycle Business Journal is still being set-up, for now, check out their Facebook page. That will be where you can see each issue in its entirety.


Posted in E-bike general interest, General bike stories, Opinion | Leave a comment

Priority Bicycles—Easy, Breezy, and Nearly Maintenance Freezy

Priority Bicycles—Easy, Breezy, and Nearly Maintenance Freezy.

Sitting tall, feeling good, and riding easy is the name of the game at Priority Bicycles.

Every now and then when you’re in the right mood and on the right bike, you get a little nutty, I know I do. Your cares slide loose and your mind wanders into the heavens. You might be free of thoughts, or have the best ones ever. Either way, they are the most fantastic rides and they bring great memories. An easy flowing set of wheels can be the trigger, and I found mine on a Priority Bike.

In many ways there is nothing too special here, yet on the flip side it is very unique. Designed to ride light and smooth, it also adds to the no worries zone. Here is a bike that is always ready to whisk you on an important errand, or on a mindless cruise. Its complicated workings are hidden in the art of simplicity. A bike should be simple and fun, so Priority made theirs that way.


Free flowing belt-drive keeps this 3-speed bike rolling on a daily basis.

Let’s start with the belt-drive. Because you never oil it, it won’t oil you back. Quiet and care-free, this belt-drive just does its job with no issues. Although it may not last forever, what does? To be sure, even the best cared for chain will wear-out just as soon, and during that time you have doted on it endless times. One vote for belt-drive here.

How about that 3-speed geared hub with coaster brakes? It has pretty much the only adjustment you will see on the bike, but then they rarely need one. The coaster brake is there for you without any fiddling about. We all know how to use them from our early days, and that alone can bring some cool flash-backs. Unless you are the racer from Roanoke or a live in the hilliest city, 3 speeds will cover most any riding needs. If you need more brake oomph, they have the answer too (I’m getting to that).


With the front brake option and a rear rack, this is the bike my wife took on many rides.

Those quality 700c tires are really your only item that should need monthly attention. They are puncture-resistant, yet a blast of air will be needed on occasion. Anyone who rides is used to a quick pump and pressure check. The bonus here is that your new Priority Bicycle comes with a nice floor pump with the gauge right on-board. I’ve gone flat-free, but if I got one I would add a set of thorn-resistant tubes with Slime to almost guarantee no more. Those wheels have turned many a revolution, smiling all the way.


The two Priority Bicycles never even thought of letting us down.

To round out the maintenance freezy thing (I know, kind of nutty), are the well speced other parts that make up this bike. From end-to-end you will see only the good stuff, most in feather-light aluminum. Sure, this is no 5-figure racing bike, yet many of those parts share a heritage with them. Unlike that racer, you don’t have a multitude of time and energy needy pieces. No finicky adjustments on a weekly basis are in the Priority resume. Instead of camping out at the bike shop’s service department, your bike is at your side when you want.

I might be just a little prejudiced about this up-right roadster. It is just my kind of bike. The swept bars and the laid-back frame geometry are what get my blood flowing when it comes to bike styles. Right along the lines of my college bikes and English bikes, this just screams “everyday bicycle!”. Whether it is your passion also, I think you can agree there is no mistaking a Priority Bike for anything but a classic.

Although I added a mechanical and electronic horn, the cockpit is still very simple and straight-forward.

Frame type, size and color options can be seen on their web-site. They have some cool accessories choices too. As you check my photos, you can see the ones I picked. On the bike my wife is riding we opted for the front caliper brake to give her more piece of mind on the hills. I’ve been more than fine with just the coaster brake on every ride and condition encountered, yet I wanted her to be happy too. You’ll notice a rear rack rounding out the goodies on hers.

Adding the front brake was a snap, as the brake handle is designed to go on without removing the grip. Most anyone can complete the install and adjustment, yet get some help if needed. The rack was on there quick as a wink. Priority also offers commuter handlebars, if this type doesn’t suit you. Fenders? Yup. Locks, baskets, helmets and other stuff? Yup. The bike is solid—and they back it up with most any item you need to tailor it for your ride. Seems they did their homework to get the full package rolling in your neighborhood.


Assembly was easy. Mostly just the front wheel install—the handlebar install—and the pedals. They have a video to help—but if you need, have someone do it for you.

Let’s take a ride. Climbing aboard, you first feel those leatherette grips, soft but grippy (yes, I said grippy—it’s that nutty thing again). Plopping down on the matching saddle, the comfort takes hold. Starting out in first gear, the pedals spin as you do. Each next gear comes with the slightest twist of the wrist as the world opens before you. Due to the relaxed nature of this bike, the steering never fights back, but responds with your balance. This is a basic bike and rides with no qualms.

As the miles pass you might need a sip to refresh. The bottle holder comes with the bike and is there to hold your drink of choice. The mellow hill and dale ahead is tackled by your will, not by your brawn. Sitting up straight, you can see the road and your neck is at peace. Your back will thank you too. If you’ve read this far and are waiting for the part about this bike’s bummers, keep waiting, it’s not coming. Not a one comes to mind as the ride continues.


Cruising through Balboa Park one day, we stopped to take a group photo. It was a double date with T-shirts to match.

If I could write this piece while riding I would. It took some doing to park this machine and put pen to paper (so to speak). So you know, I did have to do some minor assembly before the pedals turned. It was easy (for me and hopefully you too). Like before, get some help if you think it wise. The needed tools come with the bike, also a manual to guide you. Need a video, they have that too.

If you follow the Priority Bicycle Facebook page you may have noticed they are coming out with a new (different) model soon (secret?). I can’t imagine they can top this one, yet, I bet it will pretty darn nice.

Why work on your bike when you can ride it? Turbo Bob.

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

Find Priority Bicycles on the web and Facebook

Here are a couple videos on the bikes we rode.



Posted in Bike test reviews | 1 Comment

Stromer ST2—High-tech Thoroughbred

Stromer ST2—High-tech Thoroughbred.


Finally ready for you to ride—the Stromer ST2.

I relayed my first impressions on this bike last month after attending a dealer introduction and training session. Then I was in the house at the west coast launch event. Now that I have put some solid riding miles on-board this Stromer ST2, I am ready to offer more about what it’s like to be on one of the most electronically and mechanically advanced E-bikes on the market. If you haven’t read that March 2nd article, you might consider doing that first (link below). That will fill you in on some details not covered here.

Sleekly mounted, smooth power—here is your ST2 go system.

To start off, I envision that Stromer put the think tank method into play designing this E-bike. With the ST1 they had a great playing field to start with. Many riders, engineers and visionaries must have worked to put together a long laundry list of needed and wanted features. From there the engineers took over to bring each item into being. So many details are evident that you just don’t see anywhere else, come to life on this modern machine. This goes just not for the bike itself, but the whole network of on-line support and possible changes to the bike‘s programming.

I can’t go into every detail to prove this to you, so let’s dive into just one aspect that stands out. The rear wheel / motor attachment is space age stuff to be sure. It has one through bolt that secures it all. The motor has no external wires to deal with, all the connections are made in a hidden and nearly sealed place that lines up automatically as the motor is slid into place. As you look at this one thing, you see smooth flowing lines, but none of the mechanics that make it work.


The touch screen display is also the wireless connection for the Stromer ST2.

And that motor, wow. With 20% more power and torque than before, what you don’t feel is any roughness or surging. The flow and rush is there for your ride anytime you feel the need, and when you want it, you feel it. Of course the braking matches the speed dash with large hydraulics front and rear. The power and modulation you get is up there with the best the bike world has to offer. Add to that the brake hoses are almost fully concealed in the frame and fork. Even the front one is hidden inside the head tube area. The wiring too is nearly invisible.

If there is one downside of the bike (other than the price point), for some that might be the riding position. Stromer makes sport bikes and you just feel sporty riding them. Adding a wider saddle and slightly higher handlebars (or stem) is an option (like most any E-bike), yet you can’t go too high on the bars due to the cable and wiring lengths. Most who are Stromer fans and owners love this lean into the wind stance, and Stromer seems content to stay with it. Me, I didn’t mind, but a couple people I let ride it didn’t care for the bent over cockpit at all.

Sure, why not have an USB port too?

Stromer has been known for their torque-sensed control system since the beginning. It gives the most natural assist, and for seasoned riders it out performs them all. The bike’s motor responds to your needs and makes no compromises. Light pedaling garners no or minimal assist from the motor, yet step up your game and the power is there in a pounding wave. Being a true pedelec, there is no throttle to allow assisted riding without pedaling. Unless you are headed downhill, the only way to move out is to spin the pedals.

Being such a complicated E-bike, the controls for a basic ride are anything but. The simple to use settings are a breeze. You turn on the bike from a push switch below the display (under the upper frame). Turning it back off requires a re-push of that button to bring up a screen that gives you your shut down icon, settings menus, locking and anti-theft options (also controlled from your cell phone if you want). On the right bar is a 3 button switch that allows your choice between 3 power-assist sensitivities and your lighting power. I went into the menu to make it so whenever the bike is on, the 2 front lights and the one rear light are always lit.


So much to see here. The at-hand buttons for the assist modes—the strong headlight—the shifters—the hydraulic brake levers—the frame mounted display—the in frame wiring and brake hoses—and on and on.

What I’m saying here is, you turn the bike on, select a assist level, and ride. That is as simple as it gets. Of the three levels, 1 & 3 are pre-set to minimum and maximum, while # 2 is customizable from your cell phone. On this subject (and what a large subject it is), when you receive your bike, Stromer taps your email and apps your cell phone (with your permission of course). With these connections to your Stromer ST2, it allows you, your dealer and the Stromer company to customize your settings, evaluate your bike, access your maintenance records and pin-point its location (and so, so much more).


An aluminum frame and carbon fiber forks mount some great components. See how the front brake hose disappears into the fork?

This may be big brother warmed over for the bike world, yet we all know how all this is wanted by the throngs of tech hungry people of this planet. Do you want it? That is your choice and the ST2 delivers if you do. If you want to know all that it does electronically, then head over to the Stromer website, pull up an easy chair, and dig in for the duration. I personally don’t have the space here, or the time to cover every aspect that Stromer has programmed into the ST2

The riding is easy on a Stromer. Shifting, braking, and powering up all come as natural as any high-end bike you might try (only better because this is an E-bike). All the bike components work as a team and come from some of the best suppliers. The electrics back it up and off you go. It is as smooth as it gets and with every ride you will know you are living the E-bike dream. The power is awesome for every road the bike and you might encounter. The feel and handling match every other part from top to bottom.


Yup, I loved riding the Stromer ST2.

Is this the bike for me? Not really, but what a ride it’s been. Thanks for showing us all what time, smarts and money can do for an E-bike Stromer, great job. Turbo Bob.

“It is the unknown around the corner that turns my wheels.”—Heinz Stucke, German long-distance touring cyclist.

You can find Stromer on the web and Facebook.

My article to present the Stromer ST2—consider reading this first.

I posted many videos of the Stromer and the 2 events. This is the most recent one.


Posted in E-bike test reviews | 4 Comments

Pedego E-bike Up-grade to 2015 Electrical Specifications

Pedego E-bike Up-grade to 2015 Electrical Specifications.

This is the bike I up-dated, a 2014 Pedego Interceptor.

When the Pedego City Commuter came out in August of 2012 (2013 model), I was pleased to be one of the first to report on it. There was so much to like, yet I felt there was one thing about the control system that needed just a minor tweak.

Then with the 2014 year, they added the new display and pedelec features to their Interceptor model too. Yet, they didn’t take my advice and add the needed throttle override I knew was necessary for a better E-bike experience. Then with the 2015, voila, success. Now I feel they have covered all the bases for E-bike safety, control and convenience.

From the underside of the display you can see the USB port and the rubber plug that keeps it clean when not in use.

One other cool thing to make the grade with the electrical controls for 2015 is the USB power port on the back of the display unit. Although it is a dumb USB port, meaning it allows power output for charging and supplying power to devices, it doesn’t allow interaction electrically with the bike. So now you can power your phone or audio devices (bike light charging too) right from the large on-board motor battery. Even though it is a dumb USB port, I think Pedego was pretty smart to include it.

If you have a 2013, 2014 City Commuter or a 2014 Interceptor you too can have these features included on your E-bike. Your local friendly neighborhood Pedego dealer can do the swap in a jiff. It is also something that most any knowledgeable E-bike shop can do for you. It is really just a matter of getting the correct ECU (electronic control unit) and display from Pedego, then having them installed and set by the right person. Let’s look into the how’s and whys.

Why a throttle override? With dual control the motor will activate from the hand throttle or the automatic pedelec circuit. Although each E-bike maker may set their system differently, here is the basics. The hand throttle will allow you to chose your motor power level and vary it as you ride. A application of the throttle should net up to full power when you need it (in tight traffic situations as one example). Plus that throttle should be active for starting out to help achieve your initial balance.

You probably know that the pedelec part allows the motor to come on automatically while you are pedaling, and turn it off when you stop pedaling. The display lets you chose one of 5 power levels it will go to when you pedal. This is a great thing letting the power flow without having to hold the throttle all the time to get electric-assist. As you ride you can toggle through the power levels to match each situation and speed need you encounter.

The new display is much like the original, but just a bit bigger.

The 2013 and 2014 Pedego system had both, yet the issue was (and still is if you haven’t up-graded), that the motor is set to work from one or the other, but not both at the same time. So, if you were in one of the 5 pedelec power levels (not 0), than the hand throttle was de-activated. To use the throttle you need to toggle to the 0 level on the display to allow the throttle to work, but then the pedelec was de-activated. This meant if you were in a pedelec mode (other then the max, #5) and felt you needed full power for any reason, you couldn’t get it without some quick toggling.

So with the new throttle override, both are fully active whenever the bike is switched on. This makes so much sense, I feel every E-bike with dual control must work in this manner. The way control systems work is important to me, and I feel this throttle override is very necessary. If you feel the same, then go for the up-grade on your Pedego. Remember this only works with Pedegos that came with the display and the pedelec feature.

In this view you can see the Allen screw that holds the display—and the connector that hooks it to the wiring harness.

Pedego would rather you didn’t do it yourself, but I do believe that option is open to you. They let me upgrade the 2104 Interceptor that I have on loan from them. Installing the display is the easy part, with just one Allen screw and one connector to deal with. They do use different connectors on some models so that part needs to be a match (specify the name on the connector when ordering). In fact when ordering, they need to know the model, year and voltage too. The screw holds the unit to the handlebars with a circular clamp. The connector is just 6 inches from the display unit under the easy to deal with plastic wrap.

The ECU is a bit more complicated. Once again, the maker wants a E-bike tech to do the whole swap for you. The ECU is mounted in front of the battery behind a cover plate with 4 screws. The battery should be removed at this point (minimum turned off), so no jolt of unexpected power ruins the new parts or the bike. Each connector is either color coded or uses a different style connector. Do one at a time carefully and use a rag on the painted frame to prevent scratches.

This is the part Pedego would rather you not get involved with (the ECU installation). Get a pro to do it for you. Those extra wires on the lower right should not be hooked to anything or each other for U.S. specs.

The ECU has 2 pairs of extra wires that could (but shouldn’t be) connected together. They set internal parameters that aren’t needed (or wanted) in the U.S. Make sure the heat sink of the ECU is towards the front of the bike and gently stuff the wiring behind the ECU as you reinstall the cover and screws. If any of those 4 screws were missing make sure to order them with the other parts (and maybe a spare just in case). They do tend to loosen up over time, so some Loctite or occasional checking of their tightness is recommended. The lower ones are best dealt with a offset screwdriver, yet a small bladed regular screwdriver held at an angle can do the trick.

The last part is to make sure the new display is set correctly and test out the bike and the new functions. The 2015 owner’s manual outlines the procedure on page 15. Here is the skinny. With the bike on, hold the set button until the display goes into that mode (a couple seconds). The first one will allow you to reset the trip odometer. You can do that by pressing the – button. Remember that, as you might want to use this before each long ride.

Next up is the max speed. You get to that by pressing the set again. Make sure to set that to 20 (more on this in a minute). Hit the set again and you can chose the wheel size of your bike (this calibrates the speedometer). One last set hit and you can choose MPH or KPH, your preference. Hold the set at any time during this, and all is remembered by the display and it will go to the normal readout.

To get the USB port to the ready to use mode, you hold the + and set buttons at the same time for a couple seconds. Doing the same again will turn it off. When it is on, an icon will light up on the display. Every time the bike is turned off, this is reset to off, so you need to go through this procedure every time you turn on your bike and want to use the USB port. And also, the bike will go to sleep in 5 minutes if not used, that will also require you reactivate the USB power when you power the bike back up. So the USB port really only works while you are riding.

Here I am with the (then) brand new 2013 City Commuter. It too can now ride with the 2105 electrical up-date.

Now that 20 MPH thing. Your bike and display are set to that by default when you receive it. That is the legal maximum, so please don’t increase it. It will only net a couple more digits of speed, but will take your bike out of compliance and drain your battery fast if you take advantage of those extra digits. You do have the option of setting it lower if you lend your E-bike to a friend or relative. Keep in mind that it will still do about 18-19 MPH max in the pedelec mode #5 no matter how that setting is chosen. For everyone’s sake, chose 20 and stick with it, please.

There you go, 2015 specs for small money. I have friends that have spent more than this just to get that USB port generically installed on their E-bikes. Modern USB power, safer cycling and peace of mind are the benefits of this up-grade.

Ride that Pedego, Turbo Bob.

“If constellations had been named in the 20th century, I suppose we would see bicycles.”—Carl Sagan.

Here is a video I took right after the up-grade

Posted in Bike maintenance, E-bike general interest | 4 Comments