Big Fat Tires & Eurostyle

We had two new brands (to us) in the workshop this week, Bee Cool and heybike, and both had advantages in their own ways.

Bee Cool Pathfinder – Fat Tire Step Thru

Bee Cool Pathfinder Step-Thru
Bee Cool Pathfinder Step-Thru

This beast is one of this year’s new design with maxed out specs, yet is still within legal limits on bike paths and trails. (750W motor, 22A controller and, massive 48V/20 Ah battery, hydraulic disk brakes). This one has a 100mm stem riser, and with the front suspension, it rides very high and wide. This is great for the owner, who is well over 6 feet, and needs big bike. It is extremely sturdy, and has no problem handling the extra weight of the power train and 4″ fat tires. At the same time, it has a 21″ low step-thru height, making it much easier to handle its 80 pounds of power. At $1800, it is a great value for all these specs, and built for rough riding!

Heybike Cityscape Cruiser

heybike Cityscape
heybike Cityscape

At the other end of the spectrum is this heybike Cityscape, an inexpensive ($900) Euro style commuter bike, it has a most of the extras that make it great for around the town errands, commuting, and just cruising. It has front and back fenders and integrated lights, as well as a chain guard and rear rack. It has moderate 36V/350W/10Ah power train, which will be good for 20-25 miles, more than enough for most city uses. I think it competes well with the Ecotric Peace Dove, which has similar specs, and sells for only $770. The Peace Dove includes a front basket, but has no built in lights. But the Cityscape has a damper seat post and front suspension, making it a cushier ride, and thus worth the extra $130 over the Peace Dove. All in all, I think it is a good value for entering the ebike world.

heybike Explore – Fat Tire Step-Thru

So I mentioned a new design this year, like the Bee Cool above, and suprisingly heybike has one called the Explore. It has very similar specs (48V/750W/20Ah), but seems to have mechanical disk brakes rather than the hydraulic disk brakes on the Bee Cool Pathfinder. So the Heybike costs $1900, while the Bee Cool is $1800 (down from the original price of $2000), and slightly better specs, and that makes it the winner in this catagory (for this month anyhow!)


Separated Bikes Lanes make Bloomington safer!

7-Line Bloomington
7-Line Bloomington

A recent study from researchers at the University of Colorado Denver and the University of New Mexico, found that protected bike lanes bring down fatalities for both bikers and motorists (at least in the large cities they studied.) So thanks City of Bloomington for the new protected bike lanes on the 7-Line downtown! And I say that as both a biker and a motorist!

BTW, have you noticed it is quicker and more fuel efficient driving from Walnut St to Dunn St on Seventh St? Narrower lanes thus slower speed, but no stop signs make it quicker for sure, so no brakes needed time and again, and you can keep your momentum and conserve fuel. Win/win).

Not to bury the lede, but another interesting poin: “Researchers found that painted bike lanes provided no improvement on road safety” and about sharrows (bike symbols painted in the middle of a lane) it was “revealed that it was actually safer to have no bike markings at all.”


Workshop Notes

Another happy customer – Benjamin’s Blue Blix Packa

We’ve had a lot of different ebikes come in for assembly, tune-up, and repair, and that is great news us, things are going according to plan. Our pivot to service and support from ebike sales has meant changes here with our workspace growing and sales space shrinking. Here is a sampling of ebikes that have come through the door this month. RadPower is quite popular now that the order time has reduced from months to weeks!

I ride a RadPower cargo bike, but I particulary like the new Blix Packa pictured above, as it has the second battery built in, plus it runs on standard 24″ tires (while the new RadWagons have propietary 22″ tires).

The RadCity below is particularly suited for commuting and shopping with a built in rack, sturdy front basket and easy to mount step through design. It felt very sturdy, a great utility vehicle. They all had some little quirk that needed special attention, but over all they were all interesting ebikes. (The Pedigo is in for a paint job…)


Good News, Ebikes are coming!

Well, I’ve known it for a while, but apparently ebikes save on fuel costs, and people are buying more and more ebikes, or so says Bloomberg News & People for Bikes:

Folding E-bikes
Folding E-bikes

Torque Sensing Juicy Ebike

This bike came into the workshop because the torque sensor was working intermittently. It is a Juiced Rip Current, a monster of a fat tire mountain bike. The torque sensor is bolted between frame and gear cassette, and integrates the derailleur hanger, and was damaged in a fall. This ebike has a powerful 750W motor, hydraulic disk brakes, suspension front fork, and built in lights, with a massive 52V 19.2 Ah battery. This is a full sized “SUV” of an ebike, and is being used accordingly. Now back on the road, the new torque/cadence sensor makes this bike easy to start up and ride anywhere. It takes two hand to handle this whopper!


Flat Out Protection

One of the main trade-offs in owning an ebike is that changing tires and tubes is harder, and with most rear wheel motors, it best to adjust the deraileur and disk brakes at that time. So what to do if riding in the city, with metal and glass everywhere? I looked around at the various products sold to help prevent flats, got a bit confused, but then found this great video from Bolton Ebike where they put the top products to the test: Mr. Tuffy Tire Liners, Slime, Tannus Armour, and Flat Out, the clear winner.

So we have been adding Flat Out to all the bikes that come through the shop, if the client approves. It just makes sense (though I make more money if you bring me a flat tire, I am not that anxious to work on preventable problems!)

Flat Out the best


NYC Cargo Bike Revolution

I just found this new (Jan 11, 2022) feature by Street Films on cargo bikes in NYC, it gave me all the feelies about how we can change our future for the better. After 4 years riding my RadWagon cargo ebike with the grandkids, groceries and dog, I totally understand and agree with the sentiments expressed by the cargo bike users featured in this video. It makes life in the city easier and more fun, cheaper and less carbon intensive, all positives in my book. I’ve had a few cargo ebikes in the shop for tune-ups/repairs, and they are wonderful machines for families as well as delivery drivers!

I had not heard of Street Films before, but I like them. Here is an added link to the shorter Cycling Copenhagen…


Vela 2 – Brazilian-Euro Style City Ebike

This cute Vela 2 commuter ebike came in for some assembly and tuning (plus some Flat Out for the tubes). It says it is designed in Sao Paulo and made in China, but checks all the boxes for being a Dutch-Euro style commuter ebike.

Vela 2, Vela 2, Euro Style Commuter Ebike
Vela 2, Euro Style Commuter Ebike
  • A Pedelectric (Class 1) fixie, it has no gears to change, but the torque sensor reads how much effort you are expending, and sends more power as you need it.
  • Comforable seat and upright seating position (handle bars well above the seat).
  • 36V/350W Geared Motor, 10 Ah battery
  • Battery is hidden in the downtube below the seat, with USB port
  • Boost mode at two levels, Start-up and Hills
  • Tamper detection/Electromagnetic Lock/GPS anti-theft /App
  • Fenders front and back
  • Rear Rack
  • Built in lights
  • Chain Guard
  • Step Through frame

All in all, a great value ($1600) for a stylish commuter bike, with room for a front basket as well as a couple of panniers on the rack. Keep an eye out for it around Bloomington in the new year!

Vela 2, São Paulo, Brazil
Vela 2, São Paulo, Brazil
Btown Biking Ebikes

The Verge on Ebikes

The Verge

“… electric bikes belong in a category of their own because they’re more than just a fun tech fad. They could actually be the future of transportation.”

I think the Verge is correct, ebikes will be (and are in Europe/Asia), the future, a whole new transportation mode. I can make it downtown and at my destination from the eastside (~3 miles) in less time than in a car, averaging 15 mph. Of course cars can travel 25-30 mph in town, but with all the traffic lights, stop signs, traffic and parking, the actual door to door time is about equal. On the ebike I am getting exercise, fresh air, and learning about my city; I am gazing at the clouds, lowering my carbon bootprint, and helping create a more humane vibe on our largest community space, our streets. (IMHO the streets belong to the people, not the cars!)

More bikes/ebikes, less cars/noise, better air, safer streets and healthier citizens, these are the goals I am working towards, one ebike at a time!


Why Dutch bikes are better…

This is a great video about Dutch bikes (Omafiets) from a Canadian point of view, he lists many of the advantages that I cite to folks as the advantages of ebikes for transportation, not just sport.

Here are a few of the fine points that make this style of bike so useful as a day to day mode of transport in northern Europe.

  • Upright riding position-less effecient, but more comfortable
  • Handlebars swept back, less stress to arms/back/neck
  • Easier to look around, don’t have to raise head
  • Normal clothing
  • Step through ease
  • Coat guard
  • Chain guard
  • Frame lock for quick stops
  • Fenders, front/rear rack
  • Sturdy steel frame
  • Internal gears or fixies
  • Coaster brakes/no cables
  • Simple, easy to maintain

Here is the Ecotric Lark, which seems to fit the bill for most of the points mentioned above, it can be ordered from Ecotric, and I have one in the workshop.

Ecotric Lark
Ecotric Lark 36V/500W

We also have an Ectotric Peace Dove, which meets most of the list, with front basket, rear rack, comfort seating, step through frame throttle and power assist, while it lacks the fender and coat guards. but is a great value at $700.

Ecotric Peace Dove