EcoSpeed Mid-drive E-bike Conversion by Nomad—Power You Want (Need?).
Last month I was glad to finally visit this great shop in Portland. The year before I did a article on the E-bike scene there, yet this and one other shop was missed for the sake of time restraints. I did both this pass through and was able to post videos of my stops. In fact after shooting videos at EcoSpeed, I knew I had to return the next day for the full story. Not only is EcoSpeed shipping this top-end mid-drive conversion (first run delivered, orders being taken for the second), very soon they will be offering complete bikes (in an interesting varied selection) with the Nomad on-board.
Before I go much further, some talk on this shop is in order. They started up over a dozen years ago with recumbents and trikes as their main focus. An even bigger focus for them is the locally sourced theme they live and transmit with their products. With the exception of the actual motor and a few tid-bits, you will feel the Portland (and USA) love anytime you deal with EcoSpeed. Even the bikes that will soon be rolling from their shop pre-converted with the Nomad, will be Portland natives. For the last 6 years they have broadened their scope to cover some real cool two and three-wheelers.
As you ponder the photos and videos, I think you will see just how finely made the Nomad produced mid-drive is. The machining is crisp as can be, and the designs behind them reflect that too. The mounting of this mid-drive is very flexible, giving the ability to power most any light-weight pedaled (or un-pedaled?) vehicle. The primary chain part of the unit is well protected and I found it to be quieter than expected. I did expect lots of juice with its 1300 watt rating, and no disappointment was found with that aspect.
A lot of what makes it ride so well are the electronics and advanced programming hidden in the black box (silver actually). I spent some time discussing control systems with the crew, and was impressed to find that some of the programming thoughts I often share with E-bike companies (and they dismiss) are either employed (or will be employed) by EcoSpeed in their ECUs. They have the kind of power many want, yet it can easily be halfed to 750 watts for an easier ride and better battery use economy with the push of a exposed button on the ECU.
The kits come very complete and they have the battery options in stock to fill out your bike’s conversion. The bike I rode had the battery enclosed in a aluminum casing. The wiring and finish of the battery was also well thought out. Of course when you are cranking out the big power you need a battery that can do the same. Their years in this business has taught them to make sure every customer gets the matching components and the hands-on help to make success and smiles part of every E-conversion.
You may notice the three ring front gear that comes with the kit. Once again the bling is mated to fine workmanship. From what I’ve seen, very few, if even less than that, give you the option of having such a wide ratio of gears on your mid-drive E-bike. If you are working some rad terrain or hauling the big load in your cargo bike, those extra gears will be appreciated on every ride. This just shows the experience and time they spend riding and testing their products. If they feel they need it, then they know you do.
One of the videos shows a ride on the local trail (one that transports many for dozens of miles through town) I took with Brad and his dog. You can get a basic feel of the power and smoothness the Nomad gives during a ride. He showed me a hill to try, yet it really wasn’t enough to let this mid-drive system stretch its legs. I could feel that it could conquer any grade, as it took this one in stride. Controlling the power was easy, as the throttle only control makes for a good way to handle this much pull action.
A big issue for high-power mid-drive E-bikes is shifting without banging the gears too hard when the motor is doing its thing. Just as you control when to shift, you control when the motor is active, so it doesn’t take long to master smooth shifts and continuous motion on a EcoSpeed powered E-bike. Was does take a bit of time to master is the heavy thrill of acceleration and speed you will get. The curve of power is set well, yet a solid push of the throttle brings a rush, so get ready.
That is one advantage of the half power button. Most times full power isn’t needed, as half is already more than most E-bikes you might ride. I tried both settings plenty, enjoyed them both, yet loved leaving the bike in the max setting. I wasn’t too worried about using the battery power too quickly, so I let my freak flag fly many times with full throttle. I mentioned it is pretty quiet when under power, but I don’t want you to think I meant silent. There is a whir of the chain and motor working, yet in traffic you won’t hear it. On a quiet back trail, the noise does stand out a bit.
Quality and power don’t come cheap. If you have been shopping junky hub motors and kits on eBay, you might be taken aback when you price out this system from EcoSpeed. Then again, if you want solid, well built power for your bicycle, and you’ve looked around some, then you will see the value. I leave it to you to check their website, but I can offer up this though. This is not the kind of E-conversion unit you mount up to a bike from the big-box stores. It takes a good bike to make the Nomad worthwhile and safe.
Power down and enjoy the ride, Turbo Bob.
“I left my youth behind me. It pedaled the bicycle while I rode on the handlebars.”—Jarod Kintz, $3.33.
Here are the videos I took those two days.
You can find Ecospeed on the web and on Facebook.