One real world e-bike

There is a ton of e-bike solutions coming to market that promise to help us go further and faster but I had always wondered what they were like to ride. I love riding my bike, why would I want this extra set of gear to make the experience easier?

Adding an electric motor seemed a bit too close to those folks that have petrol motors on their bikes, it’s cheating right? Nope, some of this e-bike tech is awesome and you can’t know how awesome until you get the chance to ride one.

This is my buddy Stew, he went out on a limb and ordered an aftermarket e-bike kit and has used it to lessen the impact of his work commute.

stew1

With this unit he has been able to bike commute 46 kilometers, five days a week while arriving less sweaty and tired. His previous average speed of 25kph has jumped to 35kph with the pedal assist.

After 3500 kilometers ridden, he’s not ready to give it up anytime soon.

This is a mid-drive setup, that puts the weight and torque on the bottom bracket rather than the front or back forks, comprised of a drive unit, battery and control unit.

wholebike

The drive unit replaces the stock bike’s bottom bracket, chain ring and cranks.

drive-unit

The battery has a 300w output that lasts for 46-48k per charge, taking 5 hours to charge.

battery

The control unit is a display and set of input buttons that govern the level of assistance.

control

This set up cost approximately $1100 from a supplier in China. Stew says it took him one evening to dismantle and install all of the parts. The total weight added to the bike is about 6kg.

In his six months of experience with the kit, the battery has kept a constant charge life and the drive unit has operated flawlessly.

This bike is an absolute thrill to ride, I take it out for a spin whenever possible. I do not have an e-bike of my own yet but it’s now on the horizon thanks to my experience with this one.

Would you buy a pedal assist e-bike kit? Anyone try an e-bike and decide it wasn’t for them?

 

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5 Comments

  • Ben
    29 March 2016, 9:33 am

    It’s only cheating if you think cycling is a sport. I use my ebike everyday and go everywhere on it. Plus we have an electric cargo bike which is just fantastic.

    REPLY
  • Chris Abbott
    4 April 2016, 10:05 am

    I’ve just bought a pedelec ebike – a used Cube from Pacific Cycle Tours and love it! It cruises at just below 30kph with reasonable effort, but has got me back on a bike despite bad knee and occasional atrial fibrillation. I can get from home in Sumner to top of Bridle Path (by road). More rides to follow… The other day I commuted the 13km into town with tail wind in 30 minutes, back into head wind in 40 minutes. So it is not as fast as I was 2-3 years ago when I was much fitter and healthier and younger, but it does get me out and about again. And that was why I bought it. I will now try to use ebike and bus even more…

    REPLY
  • Ewan Sargent
    4 April 2016, 10:58 am

    I’ve been commuting on an e-bike since December. It’s transformed the way I think about travelling around the city. I can easily go 30kmh plus but often that’s too fast for other cyclists and the traffic dangers around me so i chug along at 24kmh. The main difference is you can effortlessly cross vast tracts of the city often faster than a car could go for almost no cost and effortless parking. It’s just a really nice way to get around. The downsides are they are heavy and harder to steer. And it’s not really much of a workout. It’s a pure transport option. Funnily enough a couple times a week I commute on my old bike to get some more exercise and i love how light and nimble it feels. But when I’m running late and have a long way to go or lots to carry, it’s the e-bike that gets the nod every time.

    REPLY
  • Barry (Jerome) Newell
    4 June 2016, 2:40 pm

    After 2 heart attacks and at 67 years old I decided it was time to ride a bike again to exercise and lose weight. Found that I did not have enough huff for my old bike. Purchased an eBike in February and now I can’t keep of it. Even at Assist 1 I am finding it a lot easier on my legs and breathing. My legs still have to pedal (the exercise part) and I am covering greater distances without straining for breath. The other day I rode 18km just to buy groceries about 2km from my home. That is how much I enjoy my eBike as opposed to buying my groceries online as I did in the past.

    I would recommend an eBike to anybody.

    REPLY

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