Busy Repair Week

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.


RadPower Day

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.


California for Ebikes!

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.


Dutch mass production

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.


Ecotric commuter

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.


Black Friday Ebike Sales

Here is a link to an article about this year’s ebike discount sales, hundreds off from most of the major online brands.


Short Trips

A research study for the Bureau of Transportation Statistics focused on the number of daily trips taken in the United States. “In 2021, 52% of all trips, including all modes of transportation, were less than three miles, with 28% of trips less than one mile.  Just 2% of all trips were greater than 50 miles.” This means that half our driving could be done by bike for most of the year!

So one quarter of trips could be taken care of with a bike of any style (<1 mile), and half if using an ebike (<3 miles), with no sweat, often even faster than a car. Sounds like this city ebike thing makes some sense, especially when equipted with fenders, racks, panniers, mirrors, lights, and a basket.

It can become a full fledged errand machine, one that is fun to use, and easy to park close to your destination.

Cargo bikes are ever more popular, as they can do carry more (people or cargo), and with electronic assist, go farther and faster with more ease than ever before. Moms love them, as kids love doing errands with them, food delivery folks find them essential, and even hunters use them in outback.

Ebikes and cargo ebikes can save time, money, and fossil fuels by using a more appropriate amount of energy to get our daily chores done. I know I don’t need 2 tons of steel truck to go 4 blocks to buy our daily bread!


Coming and Going…

This week brought these two bikes past the workbench, one is heading out, the other just coming in.

A2B and Radwagon

On the way out is the black A2B Galvani, it came out in 2015, so it is old as far as ebikes go. Here is Electric Bike Review’s take on the Galvani. A quality ebike for the day, it has a gearless 350Watt motor (think longevity), front shocks, fenders, hydraulic disk brakes, build-in lights and rack. It needed a new inner tube, some chain lubrication, a brake adjustment, and shift indexing, and the deraileur was stuck/rusted in place. Its battery was dead, but I was able to find a factory original that was used, but in good shape, and now it is ready to ride again!

The orange RadWagon just came into the shop, it after 3 years, something went wrong on the electrical side of things. I tested the battery, it was putting out plenty of volts. Then I disconnected the motor, and reconnected it to my RadWagon, and the motor worked fine. As the display had been recently replaced, it seems most logical that the controller went bad (the display gave a variety of errors, then just turned off). So it has been ordered, and is on the way, I am confidant that it will cure the problem, but I am not sure. There can be mulitiple points of failure in any system, and the best way to figure it out is to fix one after the other till it works!

About Ebike Warranty Service I’ve found that many support techs at the major brands want you to start with the cheapest possibility, then work from there, company policy, even when the solution seems obvious to me (I’m looking at you Lectric). I did the full monty with the great folks at Vela (Brazilian commuter style), all the diaganostics were for naught, and after several internationl work sessions, they sent a new bike, and paid for all my labor besides, a good company!

I now judge ebike brands not so much on their level of quality, but rather on how they fix their problems when they occur. Different quality levels are needed as many folks have budget constraints, so no judgement on $1000 ebikes. So an inexpensive brand with good service can be preferable to a more expensive brand with poor or non-exitant service except in major cities, (I am looking at you Van Moof)!


Looking at Lectrics

Lectric XP2
Lectric XP2

This Lectric XP 2 came into the shop this week for assembly, the cargo/rack package makes it an especially useful and fun ebike. This one will be riding the trails in Lawrence county next week, so keep an eye out for it! Lectric come through the shop almost as often as RadPower models, so they are very popular in the $1000 price range.

I am been impressed that this brand is inexpensive, yet well designed and put together. Lectric sells only folding ebikes, and thus have gotten quite a few details right over the years.

Here is a rundown of their current line-up. I excluded their XP Long Range as it was the same as the XP 2.0 with a 14 Ah battery, which is an option on the XP 2.0 for the same price. Marketing, I guess.

Lectric XP lite Video Review
18 lighter than the XP 2.0, with a smaller drive train & 2.6″ tires
Price: $800
Drivetrain: 36V/300W/7.8Ah
Weights: Bike 46# Cap: 275# Rack: 55#

XP 2.0 & XP 2.0 Step-Thru Video Review
Current best seller, best combo of price, power, battery, & weight
Price: $1000
Drivetrain: 48V/500W/9.6 Ah or 14 Ah (+$200)
Weights: Bike 64# Capacity: 330# Rack: 75#

XPremiumVideo Review
MidDrive Torque sensing + throttle, hydraulic brakes suspension fork, dual battery, 4″ fat tires
Price: $1900
Drivetrain: 48V/500W/ double 10.4Ah battery
Weights: Bike 75# Cap: 330# Rack: 55#

The XPremium, the only middrive, torque sensing model they make, is very unusual for the fat tire folding ebike catagory. (Also, most middrive/torque ebikes start at >$2000)


Bike Hating?

What is up with motorists hating on bikers? Anyone who rides in Bloomington knows that unkind/unsafe motorists will met on every journey around town.

On those long journeys in the county I’ve been openly threatened a few times (a litre of Coke thrown at me while being passed, rolling coal while climbing a hill, and of course high speed passing within a foot of me). However, those incidents were rare, spaced out over 20 years, while the mini-aggressions of city riding occur every day. It seems that the evidence shows that separated bike paths are the only way to make our cities safe for bikers and pedestrians.

Check out this Guardian article, apparently drivers in England have the same opinion of bikers as here, that we are in their way, and should be relegated to painted bike lanes. They do not see us as an integral part of the transportation system, but rather an impediment.

This has been proven an incorrect assumption by the success of the 7-Line from Walnut to Dunn, IMHO. I can now bike and motor on 7th St more quickly (not faster) than before the protected bike lane was installed.

Cars travel more slowly due to the narrowed lanes, but with no stop signs, the trip to Dunn St. takes less time, with the added benefit of less stress on the brakes and engine of car. On the bike side, it is faster with no stops, but more importantly, it feels much safer! Bikes have been given priority on this street, and it benefited motorists as well, it is a win/win.