e-JOE OMA—Fresh and Fancy.
I got a chance to spend a week with the prototype e-JOE OMA late last year and now the production model is in my hands. I am not sure how much my feed-back helped to form the changes, but it seems every suggestion I made is part of this new E-bike. Those include moving the motor to the front to give the bike a better balance and a set of smaller 26 inch wheels with larger cross-section tires (among others).
This bike has a very European look that should catch the eyes of many. With its included rear bag and large front rack, carrying all your goodies will be easy. The front rack can be left off if you choose. The two colors are eye catching. I am more fond of the yellow banana color, but the coconut green is quite unusual. Both photos I am including show the green differently, you need to see it in person to get a feel for it.
The brand new 8fun 350 watt geared motor is part of this package. Unless you are a speed demon, this has all the hill-climbing power you will ever need in an E-bike. It will hit the legal limit and be more efficient with the available battery power than motors with higher power ratings. Locked in the rear rack is a 14 Ah lithium battery with 36 volts of juice. e-JOE has an optional 20 Ah battery on its list if you want more range per charge.
The OMA has a dual-control power system that is well thought-out. It offers six levels of automatic pedelec with a off setting that I think every pedelec should have. There is also a button that you can hold to maintain a slow walking pace. The half-throttle is easy to use and over-rides the pedelec pre-set power levels with a quick twist. The control panel allows simple settings with the push of a button.
You might know that control systems on E-bikes are high on my list of things that need to work right and run the bike without jumpiness. Any problems here are enough to keep potential riders out of the saddle. If you aren’t comfortable with the power-assist operation, you shouldn’t buy any given E-bike. This was the only thing about the first e-JOE E-bike I tested I didn’t like (E-Transformer). e-JOE took my criticism to heart and has offered exceptional systems since. I give this bike a A+ in this department.
The OMA gives its rider a nice up-right seating position. The handle bars and seat offer a large selection of positions that most any rider will be able to find fits them well. The tires and rims match this bike and give confidence during the ride. With a strong V-brake up front and a roller brake in the rear, stopping was never an issue. I am not the biggest fan of roller brakes, but in dirty and moist riding conditions, they really shine.
Out back is a Shimano three-speed geared hub. If it were my choice, I would swap out the rear sprocket with one a tooth or two smaller for a higher over-all gear ratio. That would make cruising at higher speeds better. But then again, on one of our weekend rides, Barbara and I made it up the steepest hill in town (Laurel), by gearing down and pumping hard. Not that many E-bikes I test can make it up that two section set of hills. e-JOE might decide to spec a 7 or 8 speed rear hub in the future.
I had one bike (a green one) for a week and a half for many rides. I did want some photos of the yellow bike to go into this article, so the main man at e-JOE (Willy), offered me that one for a week. Also, I had mentioned to him that the gears in the motor were a little on the noisy side, so he wanted me to evaluate a different bike to see if it was a problem. These two bikes he brought me had much quieter motors, But…
You would think that any company would only offer up bikes to a test reviewer that had been meticulously gone over by their best tech. I continually find this not to be the case and am always making minor (and not so minor) adjustments and modifications to my test bikes to make them ride the way I like. These also include setting the cockpit and controls to fit my body, but that is a normal thing that any rider will need to deal with.
When Willy unloaded two matching OMAs, one in each color, he was probably thinking he was doing me a favor so my wife and I could have some fun. And we did, but as I saw both bikes were fresh out of the box with the packing protection still on and not final assembled, my first impression was that he was taking advantage of my good nature to do the work for him. I don’t mind doing this, as it allows me some insight to how the bike might be delivered to your door. But two bikes?
This ended up working for and against Willy, as he will work hard to rectify what I found, but I will also report it to you. It is normal for a tech to go over every fastener for security and adjustment (I hope). I always do, and found many in need of attention. The two big issues were eye-opening. One had a bunch of goop (handgrip glue) that was over-applied and took a considerable amount of time to clean off the handgrips. Messy work to be sure, but successful. The other bike would not run.
So here I am in my garage, with a big group ride planned the next morning, almost three hours into assembling, checking and adjusting these two OMAs, and things aren’t looking good. I went through my diagnosis routine and found a faulty wiring harness, with one bad connection near the ECU (electronic control unit). For me, fixing it was easy, but for you, back in the box for the factory techs to fix. (On a side note, I love what e-JOE has done with their E-bikes to make diagnosis and repair of these kinds of problems easier than most bikes I deal with).
Now I know e-JOE is great with the very few warrantee issues they have had, but something like this can be a little discouraging. I do expect them to go over every bike in their inventory before shipping to make sure you get the E-bike of your dreams. I have known e-JOE to be like this since my first exposure to them, so you should be able to order with a smile. I do know we where smiling with every ride we took on these two OMAs.
e-JOE has started a ’Bike at Work’ program that is taking off. They lease the bikes to companies, who in turn lease them to their employees for commuting. With the option of ownership, people get a chance to see if E-biking to work fits into their lifestyle. This is a great idea that more shops and companies should look into. Studies have proved that people who ride to work have more energy and gusto for their duties. Bravo to e-JOE.
Ride your E-bike to work, we do, Turbo Bob.
“To see that wheel turning was very soothing, very comforting. I liked the idea of having a bicycle wheel in my studio.”—Marcel Duchamp.
Check out the e-JOE website
Link to the video I did on the OMA