Monthly Archives: October 2012

Thinking Quality

I put up my introduction to the brilliant pedelecs forums, and have got some good responses. The one from Indalo has given me pause for thought. I had indeed ignored Kalkhoff bikes as being beyond my budget, yet with the current 15% discount from 50Cycles, some of the models fall in to the top range of my possible outlay.50Cycles is a site that, like the Kalkhoff range, oozes quality. Looking at these I meandered to BH Emotion bikes. Again,  the prices are not that exorbitant for quality from a firm that has been making bikes for over a hundred years. I’ll be adding pages on these ranges soon. I think anybody knows that the quality of components is vital for long term reliability, and I’m a bit worried to read of component failure in cheaper bikes after a year or two. Mind you, I have no way of knowing the facts and figures of proper research: I know all bikes or machines will have their occasional rogue singulars. Owners who have voiced dissatisfaction because of faults on popular machines can’t be taken as representative. Still, a converse applies against unknown facts and figures which is that it is reassuring to own a bike made by manufacturers respected for quality of components and build. Still unsure of my future finances but think that whatever happens I will be in a position to go to £1200. I have enough faith in much I have seen between this sum and £800 to look forward to getting one for a few years while seeing how the market goes, and upgrading later.

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Lightly Used Giant Sale

 

From Electric Bike Magazine:

Just had news of this in – the e-bike hire scheme organisers ‘Electric Bike Network’, who operate mainly in the Peak and Lake Districts, are selling off a load of their ex-hire fleet in a one day sale. I believe most if not all are Giant e-bikes. It’s on 24th November at Coniston Boating Centre http://www.conistonboatingcentre.co.uk/ from 10AM till 4PM. They say “Demo bikes will be available to try out.”:

The Electric Bicycle Network annual sale is taking place this year in the Lake District on 24th November. Grab a top quality lightly used bike for a bargain price!

This is a one day only end of season sale of our fleet. All our bikes will be in one place, cleaned and serviced, so come and choose the one you want. Any we don’t sell will be put into storage for next season.

The sale will take place at Coniston Boating Centre http://www.conistonboatingcentre.co.uk/ from 10AM till 4PM. Demo bikes will be available to try out.

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Good looking deal from local stockist

Just noticed Off the Rock Cycles in Wirral are doing both the Claud Butler Glide 2 and Glide 2 Sport for £999.

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Pro Rider e Tourer

Just added the Pro Rider e Tourer to my list of bikes looked at.

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A Charming Looking Dealer!

Just within my range from Liverpool, UCycle2  is based in Halfpenny Lane, Helkin, Lancashire where they sell Batribikes. As you can see from the detail of their website they use solar panels to caharge the bikes which are stored with the stables for the horses.

I could cycle there on my Giaant Express to try an electric bike on country roads. Hmm. Maybe I could have my Giant and a Batribike….

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Thoughts so far

Batribike Granite, available as an XL model for taller riders

I have looked at many bikes via the internet now. Giant are probably the best for reliability, build of bike, reputation and good dealership back-up in my locality. They are on the expensive side, and not that it should matter, dare I say a little bit boring to ride going by user replies. All this means is that you don’t get feeling of power some other bikes advertise. Rationally, this is a very good thing: they do the job they are designed to do without fuss or showy design.

Some other bikes that do well in reviews and tests such as Freego, Juicy, Oxygen may not have the strength for taller and heavier riders. Without visiting a dealer to see if a bike fits, it is very risky to order one through the internet. Plus of course, a local dealer is there for servicing and back-up. On the latter point, Giant and Batribike seem the best bets for a Liverpudlian. The latter is much cheaper than the Giant but seems well thought of – and it carries a big load easily, and has a good mileage range.

See details of the bikes I have looked at under the main BIKES page.

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Why WHICH magazine doesn’t review e-bikes

A friend of mine who has asubscription to the Which magazine did a search for their reviews of electric bikes. It is interesting that they don’t test them or do reviews. thereason they give is that there are so many and that the range is changing so quickly.

I wonder whether as e=bikes become more normal on the roads the market will become more stable in that certain models and manufacturers become firm favourites as measured by expert reviews, sales figures and customer satisfaction feedback.

It is certainly difficult at the moment to find independent evidence of these three factors, but I expect it will come. If the market does grow and e-bikes become more popular, doubtless the sale of cheap and poor quality products will rise to mask the steadier growth of good bikes. On the other hand, I think even after only a week of research I am beginning to get a feel for which bikes are rated as good, and which are perhaps backed by dubious claims from some   manufacturers/importers and retailers.

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A Long Way to Go

I am hoping that savings and job continuity enable me to purchase an e-bike in March 2013. I have a lot of research to do, and while this is mainly searching the internet, I shall soon be visiting nearby dealers to view bikes and perhaps get a test ride.

When I have gathered enough information and seen enough reviews about each bike I am interested in, I shall give each one points for various attributes. The price is already pre-determined at between £1000 and £1600 although I will go a bit higher for the right bike (or lower to £659 for the Powacycle Salisbury if that is all my budget stretches to). Among the factors I shall consider are:

Reputation of manufacturer and dealer

User reviews

Expert independent ratings

Drive system

Quality of bike without motor, battery etc.

Battery, ideally something like 36 V, 15Ah

Cost of battery

Availability of spares

‘Payload’ capability (my weight!) and rider height

I have to say that even if I end up not buying an e-bike, for the first time in my life I haveunderstood the power of ‘window shopping”! So much so that I am expanding my interest to sustainable transport generally and the possibilities of workplaces, local councils and government facilitating awareness of e-bikes, financial incentives and other moves to bring the UK towards the position in some other European countries and different parts of the world.

I’ve been looking at Fair Isle style jumpers this morning and think the actual look of my bike will be on a par. I must resist the temptation to be attracted to the ‘boy racer’ looking designs. Essentially I am after a conventional looking bicycle fitting to a gentleman who wears Fair Isle jumpers and cardigans

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2013 e-Bikes roundup – hub motors, shaft drives and more…

Interesting and informative round-up of e-bike products for 2013 from road.cc

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Cycling Made Easy

A friendly guide from a retailer, with satisfied customer reviews. Cycling mMade Easy sell a good range of bikes with full warranties. Many of the bikes are discussed or will be on this site, including FreeGo, Tonaro  and Kudos. As the firm seem so solid and reliable I shall definitely be looking at their whole range.

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