Hi, Mitch here at Zephyr Ebike Workshop. The shop is closed as of All Saints Day, 2023. I found that I was terrible at the business end of things, and according the IRS, three years of loss at a business means you have a hobby, not a business. So when the lease ran out, I moved my tools home, and pursue my hobby in my backyard shed (for now). Those who have been my customers have become my friends, and I will continue to help you with your ebikes, but I am not in business.
Scroll down to the blog posts for notes about ebikes, riding in Monroe county, music, nature and more.
This beautiful cargo ebike came in yesterday for a quick checkup, what a great machine! It had top quality parts all around, plus this super kid package up front with seating for 2 with seat belt, plus a bunch more room for groceries, picnic gear, whatever. The colorful paint job is a plus, and with the sturdy frame and high grade foam, it is a beast without feeling heavy.
It sports a torque sensing, mid-drive Bosch motor, with internal gearing, carbon fiber drive train, hydraulic brakes, and plenty of power to move its very long body. The stand is sturdy and steady, great for getting cargo/kids in and out. I got a quick ride, and was surprised at how steady it felt, solid, with no fear of tipping over as so much of the weight is low. As I ride recumbent, I had no problem with its wide turning radius, but some folks might find it consfusing at first. This is a high quality cargo ebike, making way for the new wave of family transportation in Bloomington!
Time Flies Like an Arrow Fruit Flies Like a Banana
This new BeeCool Pathfinder came in for assembly this week, and it is quite the machine. I worked on an older version of this last year, and thought it was well made, but all black and well used in the back country. This year’s model is just as strudy, but with a new paint color that really pops. It has a 48V/750W motor, hydraulic brakes, and front suspension, heavy duty rack, and an big 20 amp hour battery.
As you can see, the aluminum body is heavy guage, and reinforced such that any loss in structrural integrity due to the (non-triangulated) step-thru design is negated. This thing rides true and steady, with the fat tires and the front suspension making potholes irrelevent. This is the SUV of ebikes, will have you riding high, wide and handsome (as my Mom used to say). It is the Bee’s Knees of ebike…
Charlie Bird (& Jojo) came by the shop the other day for a brake tune-up on their Espin Nesta, new pads in front, and a new caliper/pads in the back. We are contemplating an upgrade to hydraulic brakes in the rear, they really do work better and easier, though they cost considerabley more, and are a bear to install.
Charlie stayed on his perch most of the time, my dogs were chill as could be, they are used to Charlie in their space. Now back on the road, wave when you see them go by!
This vintage StingRay got new life as an ebike (I did not do this one, I just changed the tire), styling on the byways of Monroe County! The Schwinn Stingray models were the most popular kids bike on the market from the mid-60’s till production stopped in 1981, so this one must be at least 42 years old. (Schwinn has since reissued the classic StingRay.) They created an adult verson with serious meta,l a slick fat tire backend, ape hangers and long front shocks, way ahead of the time.
When people ask about converting their favorite bike to an ebike, I try to discourage them, not because I don’t want the work, but because I don’t think it is a good idea in general. Standard analog bikes are engineered to be as light as possible while meeting the minimum standards for strength. So when you add extra weight and torque and braking needs to a system that is not engineered for that, there can be trouble!
But in this case, the StingRay is built extra strong: a steel frame with a 26″ front and a 20″ fat tire in the back for traction. The 48 Vbattery and controller are hidden in saddle bags and behind the seat, the front wheel hub motor looks like it is plenty strong enough to pull up all the hills in southern Monroe county.
We have done just 2 conversions in the last year. One was a 2012 Trek Transport cargo bike which had been stripped of its motor, battery and controller. So it was a good candidate for conversion, and it was already built heavy. We upgraded to front and back 1000W motors per the clients instruction. I thought it may be a bit much, but with 20Ah of battery, this thing could cruise.
The other was my 1998 Rans Stratus, a recumbent style road bike that I used for 15 years around Monroe county. We put a 36V/500W motor on the front 20″ wheel, and set it up for throttle only. It is my relaxation/exercise bike, I peddle most of the time, but use the throttle as well to go at higher speeds, and to climb the hills!
As you may know, I converted the business from Sales to Assembly/Repair last year, and though it has been lean through the winter months, this week the shop got crowded, with 5 bikes needing some tuning and adjusting.
The HeyBike just came back home from a season in Florida, and had a coating of fine sand everywhere, as well as rust where it does not appear here away from the salt breezes. The Magnum Cruiser needed tuning, brakes mostly, while the RadRunner is in the process of upgrading to hydraulic brakes. Back in the corner is a GoBike Forza fattire trike, which came in for a broken throttle. (I ordered right away, but it took a slow boat from China to get here.)
Then this Radcity came in for a quick tune-up; it is a sturdy ride, easy to mount, and has a really solid feeling.
Folks ask what types of repairs I do the most, so in order here it was for 2022: Brakes – 95% of ebikes use disk brakes. So normally this means adjusting the cable and inner/outer pads, replacing when needed, as well as cleaning the rotors to prevent sqeaking Tires/tubes – Most bikers end up with a flat tire at some time. With an ebike, this is is made difficult due to the weight of the back tire in most cases, and having to disconnect the wiring. Most common culprits were small pieces of metal or glass that work their way through the tire into the tube. This does not mean the tire needs replacement (unless the side wall has blown out), but the offendint item must be found and removed before installing a new tube. Drive train – The derailleur on an ebike seems to get less use than an analog bike, as most users just up the power rather than gear down to keep spinning at the same pace. But they do occasionally get damaged or knocked out of alighnment, requiring some futzing around the with the H, L, and B screws, or bending/replacing the derailleur hanger, repacing the cable or shifter. Then there is the standard clean and lube the whole drivetrain.
So those who got this far, I need to move some of the ebikes I have left just sitting around now that I am no longer selling them as such. Anyone need a deal, or a loaner, or whatever, I need the space.
A pair of well loved RadPower bikes came in today, a 2019 Radwagon and a fat tired RadRover, a stump jumpin’ all terrain bike. Both needed some brake work, but no new pads needed. I had to clean the chain.twice, it looked like they had spent some time at the beach.
The Rover had a frozen brake cable, no rust or corrosion visible, but very stubborn, so it looks like I will be fishing new cable and housing through the downtube (it is always a challenge). Both bikes are in great shape, soon to be ready for more and more miles.
New California laws pertaining to e-bikes as of January 1, 2023:
Bicycles Omnibus Bill (AB 1909, Friedman)
Providing increased protections for bicyclists, this law requires vehicles passing or overtaking a bike in the same direction to move over to an adjacent lane of traffic, if available, or slow down and pass only when it is safe to do so.
The law also permits Class 3 e-bike riders to use approved bicycle paths and trails, bike-ways, and bicycle lanes. It also prohibits local governments from requiring bicycle registration and allows local authorities to prohibit any electric bicycle on an equestrian, hiking or other recreational trail.
Electric Bicycles: Safety and Training Program (AB 1946, Boerner Horvath)
This requires the CHP to work with other traffic safety stakeholders such as the California Office of Traffic Safety, to develop statewide safety and training programs for electric bicycles. Set to launch on the CHP’s website in September 2023, this training program will consist of electric bicycle riding safety, emergency maneuver skills, rules of the road and laws pertaining to electric bicycles.
Ok, I may have said all ebikes are made in China & Thailand, but I see that this applies mostly to the front/rear hub, less expensive ebikes. This company certainly has it going on, and it is not even the largeste ebike company in Euruope (which is VanMoof).
The production line is amazing, as you will see in the video.
This Ecotric Leopard was been ridden ~10 miles/day, five days a week for a year, as commuter bike, and has held up great so far. It came in for brake work, and a simple change of the pads and clearance adjustment was all that was needed. This is a classic hard tail mountain bike setup with front suspention, knobby tires, and sturdy geometry, but it works great for city commuting, with all our potholes, curbs, gravel, dirt, and funky painted bike lanes, this can plow through it all.
All in all, over a year’s time, this has proven to be a good value ebike.