About

This blog is from a long time bike enthusiast.   It covers topics I am interested in.   Those include E-bikes, vintage Schwinns, folding bikes, and stories about some of the bike rides we take.   I also cover bike repairs and safety tips.   I hope there is something here that you like.

156 Responses to About

  1. Dennis Clark says:

    Read your November 2010 comments about the Cruiser Deluxe with interest. I just bought one at a garage sale. Trying to determine age and value. Number on bottom of frame pedal crank housing is TY96087124. Number on Schwinn logo beneath handle bars is 3406. Any idea where I can look to determine age and value?
    Thanks for any help you can provide.

    • Hi Dennis, If it is a Cruiser Deluxe from the same era as mine (early to mid 90’s), you can tell the year by the color combo it is painted. I would think the web can guide you to some Schwinn catalogs that will show the colors offered through those years. In the eariler years of Schwinn models, you could tell the year by the frame number, but I don’t believe that is the case anymore.
      As far as the worth of your bike goes, it is hard to say. Depending on the condition and what the market will bear, the value will vary. My bike was the last year for that model due to the lack of sales of the single speed deluxe. I would think the relative rarity and today’s interest in classic bikes will keep the value high. My bike’s MSLP in 1996 was $459.
      Thanks for the interest in my bike blog and good luck with your cruiser. Take good care of it, Turbo.

  2. Do you know anything about Cab Bikes (electric bikes made in Canada).?? They make a 6-speed mountainbike and a 3-wheel bike (both are electric). Cost is about $970. My wife is interested in the 3-wheel bike as she has balance issues. Thank you.

    • Hi Mike, thanks for looking up my blog and pitching in with a question.
      I haven’t heard of them til now, but that is not surprising, as there are so many E-bikes companies and E-bikes on the market. I just looked at their website and they look good. Looks aren’t everything, of course. It is always best to buy an E-bike from a local dealer, but we all know that is not always an option.
      The mountain bike looks a lot like what might be called a generic E-bike. If you get them through the web, make sure they get assembled correctly (not hard as they are usually 90 percent assembled), and that you ride them quite a bit at first to make sure they are in good shape and problem free. That way if there is a problem, it can be dealt with while they are still under warrantee.
      Remember, don’t buy something just because the price is low. Shop around to get the best value for your dollar. These seem ok from what I can see.
      Let us know how they are and how the two of you like them if you get them.
      Turbo Bob.

  3. Tom Kennedy says:

    Bob,

    I live in Claremont. I converted my Trek 7500 to an e bike using an Amped Bike kit. It’s a local company -located in Irvine and they seem really nice. I wonder if you would like to review their product line or take a look at my bike.
    Let me know.
    Tom Kennedy

  4. Cathy Lau says:

    Hi Turbo,

    Your electric bike blog is one of the best I’ve seen. I love the time and detail you put into your posts. My client, OHM Cycles, manufactures a line of customizable e-bikes that I was wondering if you would be interested in reviewing. They have some one-of-a-kind features that I’m sure you and your readers would like. Please let me know if you are interested.
    Cheers,
    Cathy

    • Thanks for the great compliment, Cathy.
      I have been keeping my eyes open for someone local who offers the Ohm to see about climbing aboard one. I have noticed them talked about online, and they do seem to have some special features. I will message you to see if we can find a way for me to try one out.
      Have a good ride, Turbo.

  5. MK says:

    Hi Turbo Bob, Met you briefly at CicLAvia yesterday. Great fun! I spotted you guys on your folding bikes and asked how you liked them. We’ll be launching a new folding bike program based in Pasadena in the coming months. Aimed at getting folks out of cars and onto transit with bikes, the program will provide vouchers to help commuters who live or work in Pasadena to buy down the costs. Please contact me if you’re interested in learning more. The program has yet to launch, so we’d love to figure out how we can get the word out to the broader SoCal community. –MK at CALSTART

    • Sure, it was nice meeting you, although briefly. This sounds like the best of ideas. Getting some info from you can help increase my interest. Then I can post more about the program to get more awareness. Sounds like many communities could benefit from a program like this too.

  6. Mark Mullai says:

    Hi Turbo Bob,
    I saw that you are offering a seminar on electric bikes and will display several electric models. I would like to display mine. I have an E-bike by eglobal (associated with Lee Iacocca ex chairman at chrysler). I have added a solar panel and converted in to a perpetual bike, It runs without any recharge during a sunny day. You can see the pictures here. https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/101582555144431325093/albums/5760309647258785249?hl=en
    Let me know what do you decide on my bike being displayed at the seminar.
    Thanks, Mark Mullai

    • I have since spoken with Mark and he will be in attendance with this solar powered E-bike. He plans on a two day ride from Riverside County to be part of the seminar, display his bike and answer quesions about the solar conversion. Have a safe ride Mark, see you there.
      Have a look at the photos of his bike and solar trailer.
      Thanks, Turbo.

  7. Norman says:

    Hi Bob,
    I was just in Interlaken Switzerland where we went on a terrific E-Bike tour with Flying Wheels on e-bikes called Flyer e bikes. They were based on a Panasonic Crank Drive pedal system and were great. They had 3 levels of assistance. Now I want an E-Bike, but this is the only one I have ever ridden. What should I be looking at? I am heavy (250lbs) and live in a hilly area of just below Malibu California.
    Thanks…….
    Best…Norm

    • Hi Norm. Sounds like you had a great time in Switzerland. There are so many E-bikes to choose from. Too bad you couldn’t attend the E-bike seminar I hosted last week. There were many different E-bikes on hand to test ride after my talk. I will do a write-up on the event soon. Plus, I will be having another seminar in the (near?) future.
      I have test reviews on several E-bikes I have ridden here on my bike blog. You should have many E-bike shops in your area that will allow you to try out a wide variety of them. If you have some specific questions, I will do my best to answer them. Check my articles, ride many bikes and let me know what direction you are heading. Keep us in the loop and tell us how it all works out. Turbo.

  8. Cyndi R. says:

    I need advice on tightening steering on a Chinese made electric bike. It looks like a small scooter and was sold by Scroller Bikes of Hermosa beach. I haven’t been able to make contact with them, and I have no owner’s manual. They must have gone out of business. Their website is still up though. Grrr.

    • Cyndi, it should be very straight forward. Unless the bearings or something else is failing, the adjustment stands to be much like the standard bikes on the market. Some do need bike specific tools. Sometimes a clean and re-grease of the bearings is needed too. Search out a friend or bike mechanic with the right tools and the bike should almost fix itself. Good luck, Turbo.

      • Cyndi Rose says:

        Thank you for the advice. Fixed the steering. Now, I have another question. One of our Scroller Bikes battery is overheating while plugged in to charge. So, of course I won’t be using it or charging it. Scary! I need to find a rebuilder or a place to purchase a new battery. They are a sort of L shape with a handle, and fit down inside the scooter style seat. If you look on Scroller Bike’s website (still up, but no one responds to me) you can see what the bike looks like and some specs. I know these are Chinese made bikes, but how can I solve the battery problem? Your thoughts?
        Thank you!

    • Cyndi, I checked that website and from the info provided it apears that bike uses a SLA (sealed lead acid) battery. (Which is quite common on older E-bikes). The way to go about repalcing the batteries is to open up the battery housing and replace the actual batteries inside. Be careful of any mosture as that will be battery acid that is caustic and must be cleaned out properly. The batteries are not that hard to find (locally or internet). Sometimes the connectors are soldered in place, but not always. Repace all the batteries as a team—making sure they are the same external dimensions as the original. Also check the voltage and Ah rating for a match.
      If this is beyond your comfort zone, there are many places (that aren’t E-bike shops) that could handle the job for you.

  9. Dan Abrams says:

    TB,
    I live in a beach town in Costa Rica with no paved roads where I rent Pedegos and love them, except for the lack of suspension. I have been looking for a suspended e-bike that would be appropriate for a beach environment and could handle the rough roads. I am considering the A2B Metro, but am interested in your opinion about the dirt road and beach-side worthiness of the bike and if you know of others that might be better. My research on the Internet hasn’t been very fruitful and you sound like the guy to ask.
    Thanks,
    BiciDan

    • Dan, these E-bikes are getting a great reputation. I haven’t ridden the Metro yet (soon I hope). It does have the rear suspension and large cross-section tires (good for rough roads). I have seen them on the island of Catalina as rental E-bikes too.
      As far as the beach—keep the salt water off the bike–rinse it well if you have to (although don’t pressure wash it or any bike). Of course sand on the chain and bearings is a problem with any bike too. Leaving a bike out in sea-side areas tend to cause rust and corrosion (this I am sure you know).
      The A2B E-bikes are pretty trouble-free so you should have good luck with it.
      I should ride and report on the Metro in a month or two. Let us know if you get one and how you like it, thanks so much, Turbo.

    • Eric Johnson says:

      I have had the pleasure of using both the A2B Metro and the Pedego at length, and I can say that they are both excellent e-bikes and very comparable. The suspension on the A2B Metro is very nice off-road and it should perform very well for you. As Bob said, you will want to take precautions to keep the salt and seawater away from the inner works, but you would have to do that with any e-bike. Good luck!

  10. Dan Abrams says:

    Thanks for taking the time to respond, Eric. I am looking forward to test riding the A2B soon. I currently rent six Pedigos in an isolated beach community in Costa Rica and they are working out well. I want to add a suspended bike to the fleet, but am wary about having to fix them. You know, more to go wrong with more complex bikes, and all. I think the A2B might just be the thing.

  11. Brad Sloan says:

    I am interested in the Pedego City Commuter. I read your report. It sounded like Pedego was really laying on the hype to you. I am sure it was a fun day for all. Since some time has past, what are your impression on the City Commuter? It looks good and has quality brakes. And I am glad it has a geared motor hub for more power. One of my main concerns is, since it uses 28″ wheels, is there more of a chance of the spokes breaking compared to a 26″ wheel. Are the spokes stainless steel? Since it does use a larger wheels does track better compared to smaller wheeled bikes?
    Pedego claims that their Comfort Cruiser uses quality parts. I don’t consider a rear band brake as a quality part. I have rented this bike and it seems to me that it has the weakest rear brake I have tried on any bike hands down. Maybe it’s fine on a dirt trail or bike paths, but on city streets I would prefer better stopping power. This could be a problem on wet streets where you would want to use the back brake more. I hope in the future that they use a rear disc brake.
    Do get me wrong, the business needs a company like Pedego promoting electric bicycles. I just don’t want to be blinded by the hype. I may have a chance to a demo a City Commuter this coming labor day weekend.

    • Good questions and observations Brad,
      Yes, I was very impressed with the new City Commuter. Pedego spent the time, did their homework and testing to make sure this new bike will meet the standards they strive for. They are very customer and customer service orientated. They feel, and I agree, that the 28″ wheels and tires will work well for this bike. Matched with some high-end tires, they rode smooth and should make all riders happy. I would think they used the needed spokes to stand up to the motor and rider as long as possible. Broken spokes shouldn’t be an issue, but things happen on any bike. They tested every part heavily and you can be sure this was one item they spent extra time with.
      With any bike, they have to draw the line somewhere to stay at price points that will allow people to afford them. The jury is still out on disc brakes to a certain degree. There are some real junky ones out there, but the better ones ($) seem to be gaining acceptance.
      As the rear brake does much less work than the front, it is not as big of a deal. Still, strong brakes on a heavy bikes are important.
      I am no big fan of band and roller brakes, but what I have found is that some work much better than others. I have dealt with band brakes that were not working well due to previous maintainance boo-boos. A minor rework and lube brought them back to life in most cases. Still not the strongest, but sufficient.
      We would like to hear your thoughts on the City Commuter when you get a chance to try it out. I do think this bike will be a winner for Pedego. At any price range, it has good features, rides well and is backed by a company with a great track record.
      Thanks, Turbo.

      • Brad Sloan says:

        It has been a busy weekend of trying out Electric bikes. I tested the IZIP Zuma, eZip Trailz, eZip Skyline, 48v Pedego City Commuter, 36v City Commuter step-through. Plus I rented the Pedego Interceptor for a day.
        I will comment in the order that I demoed them. The Izip Zuma had plenty of get up and go and torque. The throttle was good, but the grips are little rough. The shifter was on the left, but didn’t shift smoothly and seemed cheaply made. I had the feeling that it would break with little use. It is the same one used on their much cheaper bike, the Ezip trails. With the motor turned off, there was no resistance from the motor while pedaling. What bothered me the most was the steering. Not for sure if it’s rake in the front forks, but it wouldn’t track well. I was having to make a lot of steering adjustments as I rode. You definitely wouldn’t want to ride it hands free. Next, I rode the eZip Skyline. It was a very light electric bike with an lithium battery behind the seat post. Some lag in the motor when applying power. When up to speed, there was some vibration from the motor. It had the same throttle grip and shifter arrangement as the Zuma. I don’t know what it is with the rubber compound they use on the grips and shifter, but it made my palms raw quickly. This bike tracks in a straight line much better than the Zuma. The eZip Trailz was the slowest of the bunch. Still, it track in a straight line and felt very stable at top speed. With this bike too, same throttle and shifter as the others. The eZip Skyline and Trailz felt priced right for what you get, but Zuma with it squirrelly tracking and with the throttle and shifter that come on cheaper models, the Zuma seemed over priced.

        The Pedego City Commuter 48v was a big leap in quality and ride.
        The bike seemed very balanced and tracked well. It has penalty of hill climbing ability. The bike seem very nimble even with 28 wheels. The hand grips were very comfortable and the shifter was very smooth. No clunking changing gears. The pedal assist has some lag when you stop peddling and the right brake motor cut off wasn’t working, this is a fairly new bike. Using 5 level pedal assist, you accelerate with light pedal input. Over all this bike felt great and a pleasure to ride. The 36v step-through has a shorter frame and my legs felt a little cramped even after rising the seat some. My front foot would touch the front tire on turns. 36v definitely has less power than the 48v. It still climbed an incline, just not as fast as the 48v bike. On both left and right brake motor cut offs didn’t work. Don’t know why. Over all the 48v City Commuter has the best ride of any E-bike I have demoed so far. My complaints are the failed brake motor cut offs, and the need for a brighter head light. I was told it was only 100 lumens. Good as a daytime running light, but would add a much brighter light for the night. Seat comfort is good, but the Pedego Interceptor is better. So, not much in complaints. 48v City Commuter is the standard I would compare all other Ebikes with. It is highly likely I will purchase this bike with in the next four weeks, but first I want to see what Interbike might bring.

      • Adrian Stephan says:

        I too am interested in the new 2012 Pedego City Commuter for my daughter. She is currently riding a 2009 iZip Zuma (men’s) that seems to have constant issues with the breaks, forks and is just falling apart. I have read that you extensively tested both and I wanted to know what your opinion was comparing the two 2012 models. She loves the power of her Zuma and uses it as her only transportation up and down the hills of Cal Poly and down town SLO for shopping. I find it to be sloppy in the steering and the way it tracks but that might just be the age of the bike. I like that the Pedego has fenders and built in lights for safety but wonder if she would be happy with the power. Also, I understand that the frame size from the men’s to women’s on both models might be different? She is 5’6″ and 105lbs. Or is there another easy riding bike you would recommend possibly like the A2B style?
        Thanks – Adrian

  12. Brad Sloan says:

    The more I learn about electric bicycles the more I get a picture of the future of these bikes. For me, I would like to see a 300-500watt mid-drive system with an NuVinci Harmony hub in a commuter frame configuration. I think a mid-drive system might be easier to keep dry. You could use a belt drive with the internal gear hub for less maintenance. I think I would like the shifting by wire of the NuVinci Harmony and its smooth ratio changes with power on. I have written to Fallbrook Technolgies that they need to make a left handle bar version because most throttles on ebikes are on the right handle bar. Over all you would have a excellent hill climber with long range in a clean design and good speed. Hmmm, I think I just described the Optibike. The only problem is their very high price.

  13. Dan Abrams says:

    After dealing with e-bikes for the last five years as a retailer and daily rider, here are some of my conclusions. I believe that in the future, a quality motor with an internal 5 speed that will be easily adapted to a lot of bikes will be the most popular design. You don’t put a lot of demand on the shifting system of an e-bike, so I think you will be finding people putting their money into other parts of the bike rather than buying an e-specific bike like the one you have described. I think the race will be to perfect the all-in-one hub system and then work on getting the cost down, along with working on battery technology, of course.
    There will always be people experimenting with new designs. That is the nature of the bike industry, but I think the future will be in building really cool bikes around a hub and user interface. This is essentially how the bike industry works now. Shimano and SRAM make the critical parts that require a lot of R&D while the builders concentrate on differentiating themselves by fashion and fit and trying to invent new things to do with bikes and then making bikes to do it better.
    I see the motor part becoming more of a choice like a SRAM or a Shimano derailleur choice.
    We are starting to see the sophisticated fashion and fit elements the bike industry has been working on for many years appearing in e-bikes, a trend that is quite welcome. Bike people know a heck of a lot about what they do and I think the e-bike part of the industry is poised to explode with great new designs from them.

  14. Seth says:

    Bob,

    I am a current first year MBA student at Rice University in Houston, and myself and a few other first years are conducting some research regarding e-bikes. We are specifically interested in the new Faraday Porteur coming out of San Francisco in the coming months: http://www.faradaybikes.com/ We would be delighted if you answered a few questions for us:
    What type of people typically purchase e-bikes?
    What purpose does an e-bike serve to its owner? Is it used for commuting or recreation, for instance?
    When purchasing an e-bike, what are the main features that people look for? Is price, weight, battery life, the way it looks, for example?
    Thanks so much for your time. It is much appreciated.
    Seth

    • Seth, thanks for reading and the questions.
      That would make for a good article and I would think if you read a little deeper, many of those questions are covered in my articles.
      I will message you with some of the answers—keep an eye out for my message.

  15. Sean Simpson says:

    Hey Bob,

    Any chance we could get you to try out our new automatic shifting bicycle? We use the N360 rear hub and are offering the first automatic shifting system for the N360 that is designed for the conventional non-electric bicycle. The bike uses a dynamo front hub so the rider never has to plug in their bike or lug around a heavy battery. Here’s a quick video we put together to outline the bike and we’d love to get you on the bike sometime soon. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38GudmnyZKo
    Thanks,
    Sean from AutoBike

    • Hi Sean, I would be very interested in testing and reporting on your bike. You may know I did an extended test on a prototype NuVinci Harmony equipped Kallkoff E-bike. I was quite impressed with that system. I will message you with a contact number.
      Thanks for the offer, Turbo.

  16. Sue says:

    Hello Bob: I live in San Diego as well and am looking for an electric bike. Problem is, the one’s I’ve tried are too heavy for me to lift high enough to put in my truck to transport. Do you know where I could go to find lighter-weight e-bikes? I think I can only lift around 40 lbs. Perhaps they aren’t making them that light yet.

    • Sue, they are getting closer to that 40 lbs. point. The E-Brompton I’ve been riding might qualify, as part of the 48 or so lbs. is the battery in the ‘C’ bag. So the bike itself is less than 40. Some of the lighter E-bikes are getting under 50 lbs. and the battery is removable on almost all of them (that will make it easier to lift).
      I do have to say that most of the lighter E-bikes are not as powerful and don’t have as much battery range. That may not be an issue for you.
      Look on the ‘Meet-up’ page for the Electric Bike Club of San Diego. We are doing monthly rides and Pedego Coronado can bring an extra E-bike for you (just ask ahead of time) so you can get involved.
      Also, go into Ivan Stewart’s Electric Bike Center in Little Italy and San Diego Fly Rides in downtown to see the latest offereings on light-weight E-bikes.
      A couple you might try are the e-Moto and the Fast 4 ward folding E-bikes.
      Thanks for asking, hope to see you on a local E-bike ride soon, Turbo.

  17. Sue says:

    Thanks for your reply! I just signed up on the Meetup group so I will be able to go on your next ride. I did know that a lighter-weight bike wouldn’t have as much power and range, and much as I’d like to “have it all” – being able to actually lift the thing does seem like it should take first priority 🙂 I went to Ivan Stewarts and they said e-Joe was coming out with a lighter one. I emailed e-Joe and they said they should have a 37 lb. one ready by Jan. 28 (so really soon). I don’t know if that’s with or without the battery. Hopefully you can ride it and do a review – and in the meantime I will check out the other places and bikes you recommended.

    • Great Sue, it will be nice to see you on the rides. E-Joe has offered me that bike to test when they are ready. Plus I will be testing the new IZIP folding bike very soon (also not out quite yet). Make sure you try all the bikes that interest you before you decide on one. You are lucky to be living where there are so many good E-bike shops and companies.
      See you soon, Turbo.

  18. Sue says:

    Thanks for the advice! I will take it!

  19. Turbo Bob,

    I love your site-and your passion. I would love to share through a guest post to simple messages. Are you up for a conversation? I seek the townie bikes.
    I have your blog in my feed and I look forward to new posts!

    • Matthew, I’m not sure where you’re going with this comment, but I’ll send you an email to find out more.
      Glad you like my site. I have tons of fun doing it. Bikes and passion are both words that are spelled about the same.
      Keep biking, Turbo.

  20. Chris says:

    Hello Bob,
    I also want to restore my ’95 Schwinn Deluxe 7, but am in urgent need for parts and color scheme’s, can’t find ’em anywhere. Can you perhaps help me out with that?
    Best regards,
    Chris

    • Hi Chris, many of the pieces on this bike are pretty common. It makes me wonder what parts you are speaking of. Some of the more special parts I’ve seen on eBay.
      As far as colors, (repaint needed?) you might be able to find the year specific catalogs on-line. I may have a ’95 catalog hidden in my stuff somewhere. I’ll see if it is something I can put my hands on easily.
      Let me know what you find—and what kind of parts you need. I’ll do what I can to help.
      Good luck getting it the way you want, Turbo.

  21. BikeWatch says:

    Hello Bob!
    You have a great blog and as you are writing about bicycles and cycling I wanted to show you IndieGoGo (similar to Kickstarter) project I am running right now. If you think it is interesting enough, would be great if you could share it with your readers.
    Here is the campaign: http://igg.me/at/bikewatch/x/2484832
    If we get funded I hope we will have a chance to give you one device for testing and reviewing.
    If there are any questions about project or product, just let me know.
    Best regards,
    Kristians Licis
    http://bikewatch.me/

  22. Marco says:

    Hello

    We are passionate about trikes and we are trying to start up our little company to produce an “urban electric trike”.
    We are wondering if you could help us publishing on your great website our “crowd funding” page to help us to collect the amount to go ahead.

    Please have a look here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/jek-o-trike-pre-order

    Any help and/or comment will be appreciated, do not hesitate to contact me for any further information.

    Thanks for your attention.

    Best Regards
    Marco

  23. @PattyCroas says:

    Any interest in getting the scoop on a new FAT Bike that my company is helping to promote? I think it’d be a great match for your audience, for obvious reasons.

    I should mention that it’s a production model made in the USA.

    Thanks,

    Patrick Croasdaile

  24. Anne Wallace says:

    Hello there Turbo Bob!
    I am leaning towards buying the Juiced Riders ODK IIe. Is there a competitor out there that is less than 3K you would choose over this bike? And why?

    Thanks for taking the time to share your e-bike wisdom with the world! Your blog is great.

    Cheers,
    Anne

    • Hi Anne. The Juiced Riders E-bike is very unique. There are some cargo bikes that have a much longer wheel base that can be converted to an E-bike, and I’ve heard of a couple that come with the BionX kit. From what I’ve seen you will be looking at a bigger bottom line with those.
      The Juiced Rider comes from the mind of a local who has really worked out the details and produces a very high quality E-bike. I have a friend who has one and she definitely recommends it highly. Between her and her husband they have 6 E-bikes. She seems to ride her Juiced Riders the most.
      It is a bike that would treat you well. It is powerful and rides nicely. I have spent time on the first edition and on the up-dated models too. There are more than a few local restaurants that use the Juiced Riders to make deliveries. Dependability is one of the key reasons they use it.
      Let us all know your decision and how you like it.
      Thanks for reading, Turbo Bob.

  25. Mr. tpoto says:

    Trying to decide between the IZIP Zuma and the Pedego City Commuter.
    We want both PAS and TAG, which I believe both have.
    If we are in PAS mode, want the ability to turn the throttle for a quick boost
    of power without switching between modes on the controller and
    then continue back to PAS Mode. (So when you leave the TAG mode
    it puts you back in the PAS Mode at the level you left it)
    We would like to have several levels of power assist.
    Both my wife and I are tall – 5″11 and 6″2″” and both looking
    for step thru model.
    I know getting on each model and trying them out is the best way to
    see which feels the best, but not really possible. Have to order
    and take my chances.
    Need a quiet motor.

    • Mr. tpoto, Neither bike you mention have all the features you want. Still, both are great bikes with some quality pieces and fun riding.
      The Pedego has a direct drive motor, so it is very quiet and dependable. A direct drive motor does not have the low-end grunt for hill climbing like a geared motor does. Still very powerful though. That is why Pedego has the Interceptor model with the higher voltage battery system—better power and hill climbing. The Pedego motor is controlled with the twist throttle only, no automatic pedal assist. You will get that with their City Commuter model though.
      The Zuma has the automatic pedal assist and a twist throttle. With its geared motor, you will experience better climbing at low speeds—with increased motor noise. It is still pretty quiet, but not as silent as you might like.
      I would think you have read my impressions of both. Each bike has things about them that set them apart from the other. I can’t tell you which would be better for you. It is too bad that some test rides aren’t in your future. I highly recommend you find a way to try them out before diving in.
      Pedego takes each bike and fully assembles it for testing before shipment to their dealers. It is then repacked in a different box for final shipment. They are very responsive to any issues that might arrive.
      Currie tech has been in the E-bike business for a long time. They to are good with service if needed, yet the bike might not be as closely checked here in the states before shipping to you or the dealers.
      Let me know what you decide, how you like them and any good or bad experiences. E-bikes are great and one bike or the other, I think you will be happy to join the world of E-biking.
      Thanks for asking, Turbo.

  26. John J. says:

    Based on your reviews/vids and Pete’s, I bought an IZip Express for $2999 and am impressed.
    The link below explains how the EVO hub operates.
    As an old motorcycle rider and daily cyclist, I’ll say the EXP can be made to strut. One has to work with this ebike however.
    I’m 66 and doing small, unintended power wheelies from stop-lights is a treat!

    http://worldwide.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/biblio?CC=US&NR=5242335&KC=&FT=E&locale=en_EP

  27. Good to hear John. Yes E-bike are great. Then Express has some great features and I really enjoyed the time I spent with one.
    Keep having fun, thanks for letting us know how much you like it, Turbo.

  28. City Commuter says:

    Hi Bob

    Thanks for your great articles and all the insights you shared. I’ve been wanting to buy an electric folding bike and am now deciding between Prodeco’s Mariner 7 (~$1100) and IZIP E3(~$1800) Compact. I tried the latter at a local dealer and loved it but I am not sure how to justify the $700 difference, especially when Mariner 7 has some good features (no PAS but has front suspension, disc brakes, (2-yr warranty). I would appreciate if you have any take on this. If you think there’s a better choice, please let me know.

    Best,
    City Commuter

    • Hey City Commuter, thank you for the thumbs up. I really appreciate it.
      The two bikes have a lot of differences for sure. The Mariner has some cool features and I have ridden them more than a few times. (I have two friends that have them and like them). The Compact is a little more up-scale and much more solid. The single speed part isn’t the best for certain types of riding, but a three-speed could be added for a some extra pocket change.
      Plus, from what I saw at Interbike last week, the Compact is going out of production and their new folding bike seems to be even better.
      There are some other choices in the folding E-bike market, so try not to limit yourself to choosing just between these two bikes. Did you see the article I posted on E-folding bikes earlier in the year?
      Check my You-Tube channel for the video of Currie Tech’s booth at Interbike 2013 to have a peek.
      Let us know what you decide on and how you like it, Turbo.

      • City Commuter says:

        Thanks for the advice, Turbo Bob. I did see the article on E-folding bikes and tried to study each one of them. The E-Brompton is out of my price range and I have difficulty finding the Richen Warrior 20 on the web. I also tried the EZ Pedaler F300 at a local dealer but the bike doesn’t look as nice as others. Could you let me know which one is your top choice for a E-folding bike under $2000?

    • City Commuter. I am just not in the mode for recommending an actual bike. I do my best to relate my experience and many of the bikes highs and lows, but need you to see the end result on your own.
      The Warrior came from a Chinese company that was working hard to land some interest in the states. From what I can tell, they never made it here and are quite possibly out of business. I might have the only or one of the few of these bikes in the US.
      Consider too doing a E-bike conversion on a quality folding bike. At Interbike, around town and on Bikebook (Facebook) I have see some fine conversions. The best kit is the BionX, but is pricey (as the best things always are). There are some others I have dealt with that could work for you very well.
      And too, from what I see (and have been told in private), there are a few more folding E-bikes coming out soon from quality companies that could be perfect for you. I am not telling you to wait, but the E-bike firms are doing their best to make a bike for everyone and the one you want could be just around the corner.
      As always, I do recommend you test ride all the bikes you are considering to make the best decision possible for your new set of wheels.

  29. John Howard says:

    Hey Turbo Bob! Just discovered your site when looking up “electric Brompton”. Your review in March 2012 was at the top of the Google stack. I have enjoyed several of your other more current posts as well. I recently test-rode a non-electric Brompton for the first time, liked it very much, and now I am considering the electric Brompton from NyceWheels. I have never ridden an electric bike, so perhaps I should do that first. But I am in California and probably would order the electric Brompton without ever trying one first. MY CONCERN is the amount of peddling resistance the front wheel motor presents when the motor is off. I would like to enjoy riding the bike mostly unassisted (6 speed), with only occasional electric assistance for hill climbing. I am wondering if the resistance from the front wheel motor when turned off will be very difficult to pedal and discouraging and make me wish I had ordered the bike without the electric motor! What are your thoughts? Do you find the extra pedal effort with the motor off a real drag? Or is it minimal in your opinion? Many thanks!

  30. John, more then the resistance (which is pretty minimal), the extra weight is what might hold you back some. It uses a direct drive motor that has a little more friction than a geared motor (which has a built-in free-wheel that keeps the motor part from turning when the motor isn’t being used). I do find having the motor is quite satisfying and makes riding it way better.
    The battery is in the ‘C’ bag that is removable when you are carrying it or riding it without the electric-assist. The bummer there is having the ‘C’ bag to carry gear and goodies is pretty important. If you take it off to ride un-assisted, then your cargo carry abilities are reduced.
    I would ride some E-bikes to see what you think.
    Another option is the Ridekick E-trailer. That way you can have a regular Brompton and still have the E-assist when using the Ridekick. I have posted on the Ridekick and added some videos of it to my You-Tube.
    Let us know what you decide and how it works out for you. Plus feel free to ask any other questions that might help.
    Thanks for kicking in and following along, Turbo.

  31. John Howard says:

    Very interesting and unexpected reply, TurboBob. I never even heard of the Ridekick E-trailer, but I watched your YouTube videos about it and will search your written reviews as well. Very interesting suggestion and clever invention. Many thanks! I will let you know what I decide to do.

  32. David says:

    Hi Bob,
    I just got a used IZIP Street (metro?) Enlightened from the original owner who said it worked when he left it in the garage years ago. It looks in good shape, I understand battery may need replacing, etc.
    Can you help me determine its year and value? Should I fix it up or sell it to someone with more time experience money etcetera?
    Thanks, David

  33. Hi David, I sent you an email with some more info. In a nutshell, it appears those were offered in 2007, maybe other years. Hard to say what the value is or what it might cost to get it just right. A new modern E-bike might treat you better, yet some like a classic older bike.
    There have been many improvements over the last so many years, in both power and quality.
    Check with Currie Tech and hit Craig’s List to see if they give you any clues as to where you stand with this E-bike.
    Good luck, Turbo.

  34. kgnot says:

    Listen Bob, I will buy a electric bike, but here in Denmark I can’t find a good design. It’s like these bikes are from the 60’s. I will pay a 1000 euro for any of them, can you give me your contact to tell me my options if I buy from you?

    • Hey kgnot, I’m glad to hear you are considering getting yourself an E-bike.
      Where you got the idea that I am involved with selling them is hard to understand. I do no sales, but spend my time with them as an evaluator—reporter—and a free advisor to the companies that design and make them.
      I find it hard to believe that you can’t find a bike worth riding in your country. Sounds like converting your own bike or a new modern one might be a good option. As I have not been to Denmark I wouldn’t be able to tell you what I think are your best models to try out.
      Let us know what bike you decide on—and to repeat myself, I do no sales or do I accept payment from any bike company for what I do. A free lunch, some bike swag and the such come to me on occasion—I am fully independent and do this out of passion—not for cash or checks.
      Thanks for following along, Turbo.

  35. Robert Soliz says:

    Yep, I got a new eZip trail electric bike, they are fun to ride. I climb the 2 deep hill in 1st gear. With power assist mode, I wasn’t tired at all. So if anybody says that the eZip is not a good bike, that’s because they are lying, they just want you to buy their bike’s productions. People don’t let other electric bike shops lie to you, all electric bikes are the same Don’t let them fool you, all they want is take as much money they can. Get the eZip electric trail bike. is a good sized powerful bike.

  36. Craig Brockwell says:

    Hello, I am having some problems with my E bike, I don’t know what brand or make the bike is but it looks more like a moped, I have disconnected the ECU and found the three live wires, when I connect them direct to the DC vault age and the wheel doesn’t move but it makes a clunking like noise when connected and it looks an sound like it’s trying to move, there is a humming noise like it sounded when it was working, I would love to hear back from anyone who can help, you can email me direct for any other info like pictures and so on, thank you.

    • Craig, this gives me limited info to help you. E-bikes can be hard to find wiring diagrams for, and it seems like that is your first line of defense. Knowing the brand and model is important, yet there are many out there that are what I call generic.
      There has got to be a local expert that can do what it takes to find and fix any issues the bike is having.
      Good luck.

      • Craig Brockwell says:

        I have looked around my area and they all charge just to look it’s ridicules! If I send you some pictures might you be able to help me out?

        Sent from my iPhone

        >

      • Craig Brockwell says:

        Hello, I found the make! I found the receipt from when my grandad got it, it’s a Sakura S212

        Sent from my iPhone

        >

    • Well Craig, I did the same online search you may have done. Not a lot to go on there, but I did find one dealer in Wales. Plus I got the impression that Sears may have sold them at one time. I sure have never heard of it or worked on one. There were even a few people (maybe one was you) looking to find a repair manual.
      Although it may not work in every case, there are universal ECUs that will work with most motors. It would require someone in the know to make it all come together. You could be having a simple problem like connections being bad or wrong—even a bad brake lever safety switch.
      Funny thing about professional repair people, they want to make a living. Not only are you paying for their time to effect the repair, but for the years of hard work it took to become an expert in their field.
      There are many books that explain electronic theory, general E-bike workings and other subjects needed to understand how an E-bike works and how to find problems that keep them from working. Dive in with gusto and learn what you need—or pay the piper if you want to ride your Sakura again.
      All the best of luck getting that baby back on the road, Turbo.

  37. Gentry Alexander says:

    My friend and I are looking to purchase two ebikes. WOW – what a process to try and find just the right bike. One that you can easily have serviced, get parts for, great customer service, and the right fit for the rider. We’ve test driven the Emotion City and the Pedego comfort cruiser. We both have back disabilities and are in our 50’s, so we are looking for something with comfort, has a step thru for easy access, a bike that will assist our ride, not do it for us, yet have the option of throttle when needed. While so many blogs talk about the Izip, I don’t know where to test one here in San Diego. I’m not sure what’s quite right for us taking into consideration (safety, service, parts, and fit). Can you narrow it down for us? Thank you, Mark

    • Mark, I understand what you are going through. You have made a big decision (the right one) to get some E-bikes. They are life-changing machines full of full.
      There are many options here in San Diego—and you are in luck to try out many, many brands in one place—all for free. Twice a year I host my E-bike seminar called “Introduction to Electric Bicycles” You may have seen the flyer on a post here a couple weeks ago. It will be the evening of May 15th at the SDG&E Energy Innovation Center in Clairemont. All the local E-bike shops (and many E-bike companies) will be there to allow you to try them all on for size (in one place at one time).
      Of the two brands you mentioned, the first one is not recommended by me, especially for people with physical weakness or lack of cycling experience. Many of the modern E-bikes with torque-assist control systems can operate in a way I don’t think is comfortable or safe. Of those type E-bikes, the eFlow and BionX are programmed smartly and safely and are on my plus list.
      IZIP bikes are available here in San Diego and you will meet them all (the local dealers) at the seminar.
      If you need more info let me know, otherwise, see you there.
      Turbo Bob.

  38. Douglas Camp says:

    Hello Sir,

    I was going through the family storage and found a 1995 Schwinn Cruiser Deluxe (blue color) sitting in brand new shape (except for flat tires). I was searching via google and found your article on what I think is the exact bike
    https://turbobobbicycleblog.wordpress.com/2010/11/26/schwinn-cruiser-deluxe/

    I was hoping you could tell me about what the value might be and the best way of selling it.

    Regards

    • Douglas, I sold that one and have another one very similar now. I loved the blue on blue with the chrome better than the one I have now. (For more info look in the “My Bikes” category to see info on both bikes).
      Depending on the condition and if you make it perfect again, the worth could vary. The one in this article finally sold to a collector, but I had it in free ads for many years. I didn’t really want or need to sell it, but that was my plan from the day I got it.
      If you were local I might be interested in yours.
      Send me a photo on my Facebook page and a message and we can talk about it.
      On Facebook—“Turbo Bob’s Bicycle Blog”.
      Talk to you shortly, Turbo.

  39. Douglas Camp says:

    Thanks for your help sir. Could you please contact me at the email address I entered as I do not have Facebook. I’d be happy to send you pics etc.

  40. Tim says:

    Hey Turbo Bob,

    My wife and I are looking for an electric bike that we can ride together on occasion. We don’t want a tandem bike, however. Do you have any articles you can point me to or recommendations?

    Thanks,

    Tim

    • Tim, then I guess you are looking for a pair of E-bikes. That would make sense as bike stuff comes in pairs at my house.
      If you are talking about the two of you on one E-bike, that may not work well, unless the two of you are fairly light. Most bikes set the limit at about 260 lbs, yet will hold more with mellow riding.
      There are so many great E-bikes on the market nowadays without breaking the bank. If you have read some of my reviews then you probably have a feel for some of my personal favorites.
      Choosing the right bike has to do with many factors—where and how you will ride—the basic type of bike that you like—price range—the brands of bikes sold at the shops in your area. The best way to go is find the local shops, try the bikes that interest you (keep a list of what you like and don’t on each bike you try)—and some really dive into the color too. Don’t buy the first one you see and give it an overnight or two as you both make up your minds.
      If you have some specific question then be sure to write back and I will help. Being independent I don’t normally push any brand or type, but will be honest with my opinion during your questioning.
      Good luck and let us know how it works and what you decide on—and thank for following along, Turbo.

  41. Al Vonderahe says:

    Hi,
    My wife and I are avid NW Jersey rail-trail and back road wanderers. We are very active youngish seniors, and we use our bikes throughout the Northeast. Yet, we have been stymied by mountainous stuff. A friend got an E-bike, and that had led to a bunch of very enjoyable research, which, of course, led me to you. By chance, we have an IZIP dealer pretty close, and no others. When we first got into biking we converted Raleigh mountain bikes into bikes suitable for our needs with high stems, high-rise bars, bar-ends turned up, after-market and user-friendly seats, and racks. Later, the bike industry built “Hybrids” exactly like that. Now, I think we need IZIP Dash bikes re-done exactly the same way. In desperation, I seek your guidance, oh please, PLEASE! Thanks very much! Al Vonderahe

  42. Hi Al, great to see the two of you here. E-bikes are a great way to get around. I see a couple options for you.
    The IZIP E3 Dash bikes can be converted to an up-right bike without too much work. The main consideration is that the cables and wires at the handlebars will reach to a higher spot. It seems to me the Dash has some wiggle room there. You need to check that while trying them out. (any E-bike you consider will need wires with extra reach to make the switch) (changing the cables is much easier than extending the wiring).
    Another way to go is to convert the bikes you have now into E-bikes. (as long as they are still in good shape) (but then again you may still want to ride them they way they are sometimes). The BaFang mid-drive conversion kit is a good one and well suited (in many ways) to mountain riding. I have posted several videos and did a full post on them. There are other companies that sell decent conversion kits too.
    There are E-bikes that have higher bars factory, but will still need better saddles and the such. Some E-bikes are better suited for hills and rough conditions than others.
    Try out those E3 Dash bikes to see what you think.
    We love Rails to-Trails, are members, and wish we could do one in a different part of the country every week.
    I would think you have seen my videos page and Facebook page too.
    Let us know how it works out and if you have more questions. Welcome to the world of E-bikes.
    Turbo.

  43. Robert says:

    Hello, came across your blog while researching vintage schwinn continentals and was hoping you could help with a few questions. My roommate has a schwinn continental and we can’t pinpoint the year. It is a sky blue which I see in a few years of the catalog. A distinguishing component is the 2 chainrings continue to spin on the bottom bracket while free wheeling. Any info or resource you could refer me to would be extremely helpful. Thank you!

  44. Robert, one cool thing about that bike is the gears will shift without pedaling as long as the bike is moving. There are a few sites that can help you as long as it was made before 1982. Check it out.
    If this doesn’t help, just Google Schwinn Date Code Website.
    http://re-cycle.com/History/Schwinn/SwnB_Serial.aspx

  45. Hi TB. I Live in Costa Rica in the country on the Pacific Coast near the Costanera. I want to buy an E Bike in Costa Rica and am having a difficult time finding a dealer. Any ideas who is acting as a reputable dealer in C.R. I don’t wish to import a bike. Pedego seems like a good option…where I live there are probably no suspension issues. Good flat roads. I am open to any suggestion concerning make or model.

  46. Dan Abrams says:

    Mike,
    I have 11 Pedegos, fattys and cruisers, I have been renting in Nosara, on the Nicoya peninsula. I would be happy to sell you one if a used one would suit your needs. I can also get you a new one.

  47. Richard says:

    Hi TB. I am in my mid 50’s with no back problems (yet) and want a folding electric bike. NYCEwheels offer 2 that look fantastic to me. They have a new Brompton bike with their new motor and also a Dahon S18 with a BionX custom made for the bike. I just want to get the best bike I will be happiest with for many years. Do you have a favorite of these two? Thanks,
    Richard

    • Richard, sorry for the delay in my response. Both the E-bikes you’ve mentioned are very nice. Either will treat you well. The Brompton is a rock solid bike and adding some E-power makes it even better.
      The BionX kit is among the best, with many great features.
      I have posted on both these bikes much, yet not the Dahon / BionX combo. I would imagine most of my impressions are covered pretty well in those articles.
      Let us know your choice, how it works out and if you have more questions.
      Thanks for following along, Turbo.

  48. Paul Malley says:

    TB: One item has made me ride more often: airless tire tubes. I bought them years ago at Wal Mart and absolutely love them, though they were tough to install. I’ve searched your site in vain to see if you have any pointers. Two questions: have you written on the subject? How about using them on electric bikes?

    Thanks……..Paul

    • Paul, from my own personal experience and all I’ve read, you are one of the few who like them. I recently tried some newer modern ones that made big claims, still just not up to the standards most look for in a bike tire. I do expect more advances to be made in them as time goes.
      I just saw a FB post about a company with some new ones. It will be interesting to see what they ride like.
      I am a big fan of thorn-resistant tubes with Slime I add myself. My wife and I have had the best success with this set-up. On top of good flat protection, these thicker tubes with the Slime stay aired up much longer than the standard tubes.
      I have even had punctures with the expensive tires with inner shields built-in on some of the E-bikes I test.
      Good to hear they are working for you. If you like them then add then to any bike you think needs them.
      Thanks for the question, and if I have a chance to review some I will.
      Turbo.

  49. adam says:

    Hi TB, I am looking to upgrade my teenager’s eBike and am seriously considering an IZIP Express, mostly based on your reviews, but I am having a lot of trouble getting one. I can’t seem to find them new at any IZIP dealer and Currie Tech says they are ‘on backorder’. There is an IZIP dealer that is ~400 miles from my home that has one old but unused 2012 model he can make available.

    My question is whether you would still recommend this bike given that anything I find may be three or more years old. Are there any other eBikes that offer comparable range and power that I can get for less than $3,000?

    • Adam, that IZIP Express was kind of a one-off experiment of a E-bike from a certain maker. Very innovative and interesting, but they didn’t last long on the Currie Tech line-up. As much as I liked it, it does have draw-backs—including parts and service issues due to the low numbers made.
      Their eFlow is a little more $ than you mention, but what a bike.
      The mid-drive E-bike explosion is happening. Many like that, but for most E-bike riders I think they should stick with a hub motor.
      There is such a great variety of good E-bikes in the 2-3 G range nowadays it is incredible. I will continue to ramp-up the tests on new E-bikes as the 2015 year models come my way. I do have walk around videos of many that I don’t do full printed reviews on.
      If you have a certain one in mind, let me know and I can tell you my impression of it (as long as I have spent some time in the saddle of it).
      Good luck finding the perfect E-bike. Turbo.

  50. adam says:

    Hi TB, Are there other aspects of the IZIP Express that would keep you from getting one? I do like the power and range that it offers, and the overall quality and ruggedness of the bike. Currie says that service parts are available (batteries are available for ~ $900/ea) so I would be willing to believe I could keep it running.

    I have some alternatives in mind, including an iZip e3 peak for $2800, an eflow e3 nitro demo for $2500 and a Focus Jarifa Speed used for $2300, but I keep coming back to the izip express that I am hoping to get for about $1800 from superkids.com(!) or $2500 for the older model I mentioned from another dealer.

    Any other thoughts you have about this bike (or others) would be greatly appreciated.

    • I covered the bike pretty well in my review from what I remember. There was much to like about it. The way the EVO hub works can take some time to get used to.
      Check with Field Electrics in Portland. He had a couple on the floor when I was there this summer. Tell him Turbo Bob mentioned to ask him about the Express.

      • adam says:

        Hi TB,
        Just to follow up, I got my Izip Express from thesuperkids.com a few weeks ago and I am amazed at what you get for less than $2000. I love the power and range, the quality of the components, and the overall ruggedness of the design. You can really see how this is a professional ebike for police and park ranger use. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for their next eBike.

  51. Al Vonderahe says:

    Good morning!,
    Have you ridden/ compared the 2015 eflow Nitro… relative to your review of the new 2013 model? Thanks!

    • Al, I haven’t been on the newest model. That said I haven’t heard that it is much different. I will look into it. Although I am waiting for the new models, I normally get a month or so on all the Currie Tech E-bikes as the year passes.

      • Paul Malley says:

        Turbo,

        Here is my criteria for a new electric bike:

        Very simple controls. (With no ups, extras or factory air)

        Can be ridden as a bike and it it feels like a bike. No more than 10 speeds as a bike.

        Under $800 and reliable.

        I can fix it and make adjustments myself.

        MOST IMPORTANT: It will have off the shelf batteries that are lightweight and interchangeable, at a price I can competitively price off the internet.

        Have any electric bikes caught up with folks like me? Any recommendations?

        Thanks…….Paul

  52. Paul, this is a subject that has been discussed much. I am afraid what you wish is not a reality. Just think about the big box store’s bicycles and compare that to E-bikes.
    Maybe that will answer your question—maybe not.

    • Paul Malley says:

      Turbo,

      I did not understand your reply but thank you for your time.

      Paul

      • Let’s try it this way. Those low-end big box store bikes have cut the quality on each and every part to keep the price low. Also the assembly quality is not well covered. So each and every part is not up to the snuff needed for safety, reliability, and longevity. From the hardness of each ball bearing to the branding of the tires they just are designed to work, but not work well, long and under normal to tough service.
        On the other hand as you move to a bike shop bike they are a different story—and then on to the five figure bikes too (although they are a different story altogether).
        There are low-cost E-bikes. Yet poorly built with lousy parts are what they are made of. The most expensive piece of an E-bike is the battery. They have cheapo ones you can get directly from China. They sometimes work well, but most often they don’t. A good battery for an E-bike costs from $400 to over $1000, depending on many factors.
        You can convert your own bike to electric-assist for under $400, yet same deal—the $800 to $1500 kits are just way better in every respect. Quality—longevity—performance.
        The day may come for what you want, but I doubt it. The low-end E-bikes are available, but don’t match any of your criteria.
        I hope that explains it better.
        You don’t need the best—you want to avoid the worst—somewhere in the middle is the bike that will work well and last a long time.
        Turbo.

  53. Gord Duncan says:

    Hi,
    I have an ecoped pulse and little problem. I have power and the bike runs fine (New battery), but suddenly the brakes, lights, indicators and horn don’t work. Is there a main wire that controls all these components? Can you help me with this issue? Thanks.
    Gord.

    • Hey Gord, thanks for the question and reading along with my bike blog. I may not be much help, as that machine isn’t too familiar to me. Yet I think you are right, one power feed wire most likely runs all those accessories. A possible fuse problem exists, yet mentioning that it has a new battery could be the direction to guide you. If they all worked before the new battery was installed, it could be that one wire got left disconnected or ? I would double check for that.
      Good luck, hope that helps just a little.
      Turbo.

  54. Michael says:

    Hello.
    I was hoping you might have some info regarding ranges for bikes. Ive been a cyclist forever logging 5,000 miles yearly. I do multi day trips usually along the pacific coast. I’m interested in touring on an E-bike. I have spent many hours on the Internet looking for evidence that the E-bike technology can support this type of riding but have found nothing.
    I’m thinking of retrofitting my Surly Long Haul Trucker with a Bionx 350 or 500 system with the 48V 11.6a battery. I’ll also carry a second battery same capacity.
    The ride will be from San Francisco to San Diego over 5 days. I’ve done this ride many many times so I know what to expect with a normal bike. The bike will be fully loaded carrying about 50 pounds of gear.
    I plan to ride About 120 miles a day. My goal is that the E system provide assist at the lowest level 35% for the majority of the time with 75% (level 2) for short periods. I need each battery to last at least 50 miles with 60 being wonderful.
    Do you think this is feasible. Have you heard of anybody getting this kind of range.
    I appreciate any information.
    Thank you
    Michael

    • Hi Michael, that sounds like a fun ride.
      E-bike range is a hot topic. Many companies really fudge the numbers. It can vary so much depending on the bike’s load, the terrain and just how much power you use during your ride.
      I would think what you have in mind is doable with 3 batteries, not two. BionX makes a great system, being a direct-drive hub motor that is fairly efficient and dependable. Although I am not the biggest fan of mid-drive, yet for your bike and purpose, you might be better off with the BaFang mid-drive set-up. They can be the most efficient conversion if ridden correctly with that in mind.
      If barely used, one battery could make the whole day’s worth of riding—seeing that you are used to long rides without the electric-assist. Still, when you have it you tend to use it.
      There are a few bikes on the market that claim 100 mile range. Some do it by having two batteries on-board.
      All I can say is give it a try and you will find out for yourself what can and can’t be done.
      All the best and thanks for asking—-Turbo.

      • Michael, a few more things on this topic. I know of three people (some were groups) who have ridden E-bikes from coast to coast. (on EVELOs—a Pedego—A2Bs). Plus Micah Toll (the author of DIY E-bike Conversions) is just getting ready to start one. There is info on-line about these trips.
        Plus there is a Facebook page called “Electric Bike Touring”.
        These resources might give more information that can help you on your quest.
        Have fun.

  55. Michael says:

    Thank you for the information. I will check these sources out. If I were to go for a mid drive I would look at the Bosch Gen 2. I know I won’t be able to use my existing bike with Bosch but rather purchase a bike with the system, maybe a Haibike. I’m sure your aware that Bosch opened a U.S. headquarters in Irvine Ca this month. They seem very serious about this market. I’m going to see if I can be provided a bike to conduct a range test. I can’t believe that manufacturers have so far neglected to publish any meaningfull data on this. The other area I think needs improvement is recharge time. Zero motorcycles have 9,000 watt batteries that can be recharged with multiple 110 outlet in 3.9 hours. So why can’t a 400 – 500 watt battery be recharged in under an hour.
    By the way I joined your info group and hope to attend your next seminar.
    Thanks again
    Michael

  56. Anup says:

    Hi Turbo,

    Thank you so much for your enlightening posts about electric bike’s troubleshooting! I personally learnt a lot from them. Currently I am having some problems with my electric bike and thought you might be able to help me identify the source of the problem. I run an eZip Mountain Trailz bike and am facing the following two problems:

    1. One of the cables is torn and an e-bike mechanic told me that it is the motor cut-off cable. He also said this is not going to cause any serious mechanical trouble.
    2. When I place the battery in my bike and switch on the connection, the battery charge indicator light gets on even before I switch on the throttle button. While I am riding the bike, the indicator light keeps jumping between green, yellow and red. Within a few minutes it stops showing the green light, rather keeps switching between the yellow and red. After riding my bikes for 4 miles, I again need to charge my battery for an hour or so.

    I will sincerely appreciate any insight that you could kindly provide!

    • Anup, Thanks for the thumbs up.
      The switch on the brake lever is one for safety. Having it working is nice, but as long as it isn’t actuated to cut-off the motor, you can ride. Although, if those wires are bad to the point of causing a problem, then they should be repaired.
      The factory SLA battery that comes with eZip doesn’t have a real long life. It could be ready for replacement. From the sounds of it, that isn’t your only issue. Read the multi part series of articles on our 2 old eZip bikes for more insight on the minor issues I had with them. (For instance the spring connectors on the bike that make contact with the battery connectors.) You will find them under the category “My Bikes”.
      You do have options when replacing your battery. Complete SLA battery from Currie Tech—-replacing the individual SLA batteries in the casing—-Replacing the battery in the casing with a lithium—buying (one of two capacities) a complete lithium battery from Currie Tech.
      I’d start with the battery and look deeper if you still have a problem.
      Good luck, Turbo.

  57. Very interesting place and I enjoyed the posts. Let me introduce a new 9+ plus in one for e-bikes that has never been done, or designed before..https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VF2DIm9XSvw

  58. Kevin Crowley says:

    Hi Bob,

    Probably the wrong place to leave this but… I have a Volteg Challenger 2008. I have power to the motor but no power to the lights and horn. I checked the circuit breaker, reset it, even bi-passed it, but still no luck. Am I missing seeing a fuse? Kevin

    • Kevin, I have no experience with that bike. I tried to Google it to get some insight on the bike and its type, but found nothing on it.
      Wiring, connections, the power switch, the lights themselves. These are all part of the circuit and should be investigated. Start from where the power starts to where it ends with your VOM and continuity tester. Maybe the issue will come to light.
      Thanks for asking, good luck.

  59. Hi Turbo Bob, This is Ben, owner of Umov Technologies. I just wanted to thank you for your like on facebook and tell you that we really like your work! Keep it up!

  60. No problem Ben, it is what I do. Getting the word out on E-bikes and everything they do is one of my priorities.
    It would be great to be able to review one or more of your E-bikes—and offer some personal feedback too.
    Messaging on my Facebook page is a great way to go—same name as this—Turbo Bob’s Bicycle Blog. Talk to you soon? Turbo.
    Thanks for the thumbs up!

  61. Lawrence Weathers says:

    With a Chinese kit, I turned my Easy Racer recumbent into an electric bike a couple of years ago. It was a very impressive machine until it quit suddenly one day, for no obvious reason.

    It still has 48+ volts coming out of the battery controller, but no power any place else.
    Can you direct me towards a stepwise diagnostic procedure that I can go through to track down the problem?.

    • Lawrence, I would think you read my 2 part article on E-bike trouble shooting. Look in my category section to find them. That should give you a good start to finding the problem. Once you have more info on tracking it down (and if you haven’t found the issue) let me know and we can go farther.
      Thanks for reading along.

  62. Hi Bob, I’ve got a problem with my brother’s Storm electric bike. I was replacing the front tyre and inner tube, in itself an easy job, just being careful with the power cable to the motor. I put the front wheel back on the bike only to find when the front wheel turns it starts to pull the power cable and it winds around the axle. As I’ve said, all I did was change the tyre and inner tube. How would I stop the part on the motor where the power cable enters from tuning? Any help with this situation would be great. Cheers Stevie 😊

    • Stevie, I am assuming that by Storm electric bike you mean the one from Prodecotech. Although I am not totally familiar with that bike, like most it should have flats on the axle that mesh with the squared off slots in the fork. Plus there is a good chance for torque arms that also help prevent the axle from rotating in the fork (possibly you neglected to re-install those during the work).
      It sounds like now there is a very good chance the wires are damaged (to the point of needing replacement or an entire new motor).
      I am thinking you bought this on-line and not from a local dealer that has repair facility and mechanic on-hand. It is probably best to contact Prodecotech with photos and see how they can help.
      As with any job (simple or complicated) some photos or notes during the tear-down can really help as it goes back together.
      Let us know the outcome, good luck, Turbo bob.

  63. Yes Paul, everything is set for October 13th, 2015. It will run from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm. The registrations will be open on the SDG&E Energy Innovation Center site soon. See you there.

  64. Dan says:

    My Pedego Police Interceptor keeps shutting off so I have to turn key off then back on. It will go variable times then shut off. 1 min or 15. Evoke shop cleaned connector and fuse on Battery but no change. Everything working as it always has, Thanks.

    • Dan , I assumed you meant Pedego (I respelled it before I posted your comment). They have great customer service, whether in person, by phone or online. I would suspect the ECU, but let them make the determination. Best just to contact the shop where you got it for a quick fix.
      Let us know how it comes, Turbo.

  65. Jonathan Weinert says:

    Bob – I see that you’re going to be doing an eBike demo at the National Bicycle Tourism Conference in a couple weeks. Please let me know if you’d like to support from Bosch at this conference. Please email me directly using the contact info I provided. Thanks, look forward to hearing from you.

    Jonathan

    • Great to hear from you Jonathan. That is partially true. What I am doing is the first presentation there on E-bike tours (both guided and un-guided). I think it is so important for the people involved with bike tours to understand more about the benefits of E-bikes for their customers. They (like E-bikes themselves) are one of the fastest growing segments of the bicycle industry.
      My wife and I have been on many—and just riding an E-bike out-of-town even qualifies.
      Bike riding is the best way to see any new area—E-bikes are just that much better.
      There will be a E-bike demo after my presentation. I gave them some suggestions, but I think they have that part covered.
      What I would like is to see some reviews come forward on my site of Bosch powered E-bikes. I have ridden several, but have yet to get one long enough to be able to do a full review on it. I will email you back to see what we can do about that.
      Thanks for the message, Turbo.

  66. Hello Bob,
    My nickname is Armadillozack, and I am the owner of a brand new Customized Catrike Q-4 From Utah Trikes, And I am disabled from a work related accident… The accident has left me on total disability and I have some other health related issues… But I am going to try next spring after tourist season to go from my home to Key West, Fl… It is a 300 mi. trip from my home to Key West, and I am going to be towing a trailer which will be for sleep and as well as eat, something like a teardrop trailer, but much more aerodynamic and of my own design.. I do have one problem and that is going up across passovers, and long causeways such as the longest causeway on the overseas highway heading to the Key’s which I believe I read somewhere to be around 10 mis. long.. I need power assistance to help me out in some of those areas, or I should say all of those areas… Can you recommend a power assist unit or drive for me on my
    Catrike Q-4 in order to help me overcome these obstacles…? Any, and all help will be greatly appreciated…! Thanks….Armadillozack

    • The amount of assist systems on the market is amazing—so many choices. I am surprised the shop you got it from doesn’t have a go to power system—have you asked them?
      I have tested some—including power-assist trailers and all-in-one wheels. The system on my newest project is real nice—-eRAD.
      Have you checked the DIY E-bike book I reviewed? There are many suggestions and kits there.
      Let us know what you decide and how it works out for you.

  67. Thanks…!
    I will drop you a line, or 2 when I get it all figured out, But as of now I have so many questions, and little in answers, but I am determined, and I will figure it all out, one way or another…!

  68. Kenneth says:

    Ecoreco m5 front bolts bending. Can you replace them with bolts from Home Depot?

    • I had the same problem on the M3. EcoReco sent me the new parts and the fix wasn’t too hard to take care of. Maybe the hardware store—yet I would think contacting EcoReco will get quick results. Maybe they have come up with stronger pieces by now.

  69. Raphaël M. says:

    Hi Bob,

    Just discovered your blog, which is really a mine of information !
    We’re a young French company working on electric bikes and we set up http://www.ebikemaps.com.
    It’s a website which allows you to compute your energy consumption on a specific trip (among many other things) and check that you will not run out of energy. We use the eBike characteristics, the cyclist information, and of course the trip distance and elevation.
    We though that it could interest you. If you try it out, your feedback is more than welcome !

    Raphaël M.
    eBikeLabs

  70. Thanks for the info Raphael. I made a quick check on your website. I would imagine your site is Europe specific, yet maybe I am wrong.
    I will share your site on my Facebook page for my bike blog to see if that gets any interest. Does you company have a Facebook page? If so, I would be glad to ‘like’ it and get more info there.
    Turbo.

  71. Hi Turbo Bob!

    I found your work at Momemtun Magazine when you wrote the article “E-bikes: The Future of City Travel” and we really liked it! (we even shared it on our social media). We thought that you could be interested in our new e-bike. I’m Sagui from FLUX Bike, an american startup that’s soon to launch its campaign on Indiegogo in the coming weeks. We aim to develop competition in the e-bike market by bringing high performance at an affordable price.

    I could send you more information and if you’re interested, I would be pleased to help you with anything to make the writing process easier for you.

    Thanks for your time.

    Sagui Uscanga

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/goflux/
    Web: http://flux.bike

    • Hi Sagui. I have been following your page on Facebook already. I am anxious to be able to review one of your E-bikes for my fans and followers. As soon as you can get a bike to San Diego for me to ride and test for the review, that would be great.
      I need to spend at least 4 hours with it—yet a week of riding always makes for a better review and article.
      I do think I have shared your page already on FB, and I will be sure to do it again soon.
      New E-bikes to the market are always welcome—and E-bike sales seems to be picking up steam here in the states.
      I am pleased to hear you followed and shared my article in Momentum. The last meeting I had with the publishers seemed to point to my ability to do some more writing for them.
      When you are ready you can reach me here—or on my Facebook page for my bike blog—same name as this site.
      Hope to hear more from you soon—-good luck with the launch.
      Turbo.

      • Hey Turbo!

        Glad to hear that you were already aware of us! We would love for you to review our bikes. We’re in San Francisco right now, so maybe we can schedule something for next week, although I think we will have to go with the 4 hours option.

        We hope that you publish more with them and we would really appreciate to be featured in any of your articles. For us, this is not only about our passion for biking but also for sustainability and the environment, so let’s bring the e-bike revolution to America!

        I’ll let you know when we’re ready to set a date for the meeting. Thanks for your answer.

        Sagui Uscanga

      • Sagui, I sent you an email the other day, but have yet to get a reply—hopefully I will very soon. Turbo.

  72. Randall K Sanderson says:

    Bob, will you be hosting another e-bike seminar here in April? Thank in advance for your time and response.

    Best,
    Randy from Phoenix

  73. Randall, it will be on May 24th (2016) this spring. I will be getting all the notifications out in a couple days. It should be bigger and better this time. Hope to see you there, Turbo.

  74. Ray says:

    Bikee Bike mid drive conversion product- Do you have any knowledge of this new product soon to be announced on Kickstarter? It appears to be one of the cleanest mid drive designs I have seen- and they won some kind of technology innovation award from Ford. Information on their website is
    lacking and that goes along with their company name. Any thoughts on Bikee Bike? Man that name has to go!

    • He has made many improvements since I got to ride it last year.

      • Ray says:

        And????
        Any thoughts on the product- How it compares to other mid-drive kits like E-RAD for example? Do you know what features it has that Ford found important enough to award?
        Do you have a write up about the version that you demod last year? Perhaps a link?

  75. Ray says:

    Just saw your link to the video- Thank you- Do you know what features it has
    that makes it better? The style looks really good- Except for the external controller.

  76. Ray says:

    Thoughts on strength needed for ebike ? Thanks for your blog. I attended the bike fair in SD and
    thought the new bikes were cool and well integrated – My favorites were the Raleigh with shimano hub and steps/ and the Trek 700+. However I have never been a fan of aluminum frames. I really like the old school chromo frames. I am hoping the Bikee Bike survives because that looks like an awesome power option. My question to you is do you think adding ebike power to an older bike frame ( I currently have an older (1991) Trek 750 with Lugged steel frame) will be to much for it?

    I love these old steel lugged frames and don’t mind putting money into a bike frame I can really customize. I realize I will likely have more into it when complete than a new bike would cost but also think I would have a much better bike ( assuming the frame will hold the extra tension the motor will provide). I guess the biggest concern would be the brakes not holding up against the
    additional speed?

    What do you think- Am I crazy for wanting to upgrade with e-power and bling out my favorite bike –
    or am I asking for trouble?

    http://screencast.com/t/TZ1pUnDOZm

  77. Rae Weese says:

    In the mid ’60s my Dad bought me a new Schwinn women’s bike that was white with pink pin stripes, one speed, of course. I saw it once in the early ’80s and haven’t seen it since. I have no idea what the model is. Any help?

  78. Nick Hazard says:

    I would love to read your take on the 60 Minutes story last Sunday regarding the small motor used in racing bikes and the possible uses of similar motors for the average, overweight, rider in less than great physical condition, like me at age 74. How might it affect bike propulsion compared to today, etc.
    Thanks.

  79. Hank Isaac says:

    Bob,

    I’m designing a rear-wheel-driven trike for two people and have a question about electric wheels. Do you imagine it would be possible to mount two powered wheels side-by-side (for more power) and physically link the throttles together? Further, is it possible to swap the leads so one of the wheels would essentially run backwards? This would allow me to have the wires come out of each side and make the design simpler? Crazy, I know. I was considering using the front wheels for power but the rear mounting is easier to fabricate.

    Thanks for your time..

    • Yes, running one motor backward is easy—-just switch two of the phase (power) wires. The real issue is that adult trikes (unless it is a low recumbent) should be limited to 10 to 12 mph—-they tend to tip over easy.
      The other issue with running two motors is the dual set of electronics and how to integrate them. I could go into it—-yet I recommend the Endless Sphere forum will be better. I am sure there are many posts on your options.
      Bottom line—my thought is one good motor is all you need.—-Unless you are building trikes for San Francisco type hills. Even then, the people need to pedal to prevent overheating and other problems.

  80. Jerry Allen Matney says:

    Dear Bob,
    ( I think this is how I start one of these sad letters)
    I sent a inquiry to a gentleman Joe Goodwill about a e-cycle Ive gotten a hold of, and Ive also posted on other sites from r/ecycle on reddit (my last resort for information on something because of the a-hole and sarcastic replies). After a week Joe sends me to you, If anyone has the info you do, and if you dont, its not out there. So here what I sent to Joe.

    I pray you or anyone can help me here, Im creating a recumbent trike to continue a cross country trip I had to cancel 1/4 of the way through due to a illness in the family 5 years ago..Now mine is at risk so Im pressed for time and money of course. Im building my trike from parts from other bikes that I got in a barn find.. I know I couldn’t afford a 8fun however I did get my hand on a 2009/2011 (?) Gett E-cycle all aluminum folding frame bike, and it has peddle assist. The ONLY info I got on it is its a 36v hub motor and this was from a you tube video, well I could see its a hub motor. and the battery is 1/2 the bikes weight. I need to know what drives it watts wise, the torque Im working with is it planetary or Direct drive ? The hub itself is 5″ wide, and about 5 1/2 tall, wider than most direct drives Ive seen, however it is only a 16″ wheel, so it very well could be, It has 3 14 gauge wires (GRN, YEL BLU) then 6 more smaller wires 2 each of the sames colors that goes inside the shaft. They all run to the control box (I pray it works) Im guessing it has brake regen since those smaller ones also run to the disc brake handles.I cant find any info on the company which seems to be out of business due to (you can buy this address add GETTcycles.com.) Plus a Tile company is now at its location. Since it has 3 1 inch wide fins not spokes I thought I might be able to mount it either on the peddle boom OR somewhere else on the chains path because of the Peddle assist thats mentioned on the frame, any info would be greatly appreciated. Thank you .much Bob
    Jerry A. Matney

  81. Jerry, you will be the lucky one if you can get any of this to work. I can tell too that more info and understanding on your part is needed. There are informative books that might help.
    Still, a complete kit with a quality lithium battery is my best recommendation.
    And if that is secured from a good firm, they can offer all the help you will need.
    Good luck.

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