Fast Forward Ride E-bike—Checking Out the New Prototype
Today, Nate Smith, the west coast sales rep for HeroEco, came by to get me up-dated on much of what has been going on in the E-bike world since Interbike. You might know that HeroEco is the owner of Ultra Motors that puts out the F4W and A2B line of E-bikes. I first met Nate at my E-bike seminar earlier in the year. He joined in with Ike from San Diego Fly Rides to bring some demo units for the attendees to try out after my talk.
Nate has really been hopping lately, as E-bike popularity is continuing to skyrocket. I was surprised that he could find the time to stop by to talk E-bikes and show me the new prototype Ride model. Nate and I have a lot in common so the afternoon went quick and ended way too soon. Still, we did plenty of riding, laughing and talking in the three hours he was here.
One of the main topics was this new version of their Ride, a commuter style E-bike that is getting a face lift. The final copy will be on the showroom floors around June of next year, but I got a chance to experience it today. This is a low-framed, rear hub-motored E-bike designed for commuting, errands and just plain old fun. Called the Ride 36 on their website, it has the features that most E-bike riders are looking for.
From his explanation, the main changes will be a higher-powered motor and a redesigned control system. I’m sure it will get some other new items too. Out back, the new 350 watt 8fun brushless motor is laced up to the rear wheel. I have been impressed with the power and efficiency offered by this size motor for a while. It adds the needed oomph and climbing ability that many don’t get from the 250 watt motors (what it has had up until now).
So many of the E-bike companies are specing larger and larger motors. While 250 might be a little anemic for many, the 500 and bigger motors aren’t really needed in my opinion. It just makes it too easy to take advantage of the extra power while shortening your battery range significantly. I have been able to climb the steepest local hills with the 350 watt motored E-bikes and do the max speed allowed on the flats too.
I have found this bike to ride well, be very comfortable and do everything I asked of it. The layout of this style of bike fits me fine and I would think that most people who try it will feel the same. It has a fairly up-right seating position and the low-frame adds to the comfort and safety. The central battery location helps give it a balanced feel and nice ride. I believe the bike will retain the fenders, rack and factory installed lighting system.
The frame markings on this year’s model say—Fast4ward. The bike I rode has their new logo and is marked—F4W. There is much evolution going on at F4W and A2B and I feel the consumers will appreciate it. As E-bikes become more seen and ridden here in the states, companies like HeroEco will come out with better and higher-quality E-bikes to match the demand. That is what we are seeing with this Ride.
I have worked up a deal with Nate like the ones I have with many E-bike companies. He will be able to let me have all the models (one-at-a-time) in his line up for extended tests as the months go by. That way I can report on the good and bad I see with each bike I test. So far, I have liked what I’ve found with all the A2B and F4W E-bikes I’ve saddled-up on. Let’s see if it stays that way.
One thing I am passionate about with E-bikes are the control systems. A safe and controllable feel at all times is my concern. Of all the feed-back I give to the companies, I feel this one is the most important. If you have read my articles in the past or heard me speak about E-bikes, then you know what my opinions are on this subject. (My local E-bike seminars have been scheduled for Spring and Fall next year.) I think everyone should be able to have a pleasant and comfortable experience as they ride their E-bikes and I do my best to help in that vein.
The Ride’s new control system is still being fine-tuned. The bike I rode today has a dual-control system. The three-position pedelec switch offered two power levels and a off setting. The off setting for the pedelec is a necessity, but to my dismay, not all pedelecs have this function. The hand throttle is active in all modes. This bike has a torque sensor in the bottom bracket that could be incorporated into an intelligent pedelec computer. Time will tell and I will be finding out when the final version of the Ride is decided on.
Nate has been busy getting the word out on E-bikes and finding the right bike shops to carry his line. I do feel that E-bikes need to be available in every local area across the country. You need to be able to try out different bikes to decide which one is right for you. Buying an E-bike on the internet is risky, not only from the service standpoint, but from the fact that you may not get the correct E-bike for your needs and one that works the way you like. If your local bike shops don’t carry E-bikes, then have them contact Nate at HeroEco to see if they can make the move.
Thanks for the ‘Ride’ Nate, Turbo Bob.
“Yosemite National Park. At present a dusty milling confusion of motor vehicles and ponderous camping machinery, it could be returned to relative beauty and order by the simple expedient of requiring all visitors, at the park entrance, to lock up the automobiles and continue their tour on the seats of good workable bicycles supplied free of charge by the United States Government. Let our people travel light and free on their bicycles.”—Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire.
Look for F4W and A2B E-bikes on their website
They have a Facebook page too
My You-Tube Channel has a video about the bike