Aljazeera report on increasing popularity of ebikes in Germany.
The famous post-war French moped is still around today- and will cost you less than an electric bike if you can afford the new tyres driven directly by the little engine on the front. When I was a kid, my older brother and his wizard mechanic mate fitted a two-stroke to drive the back wheel of his bike like this. The engine had been salvaged fromwhat is known as a social tandem or social bike, a four wheeler with two seats and sets of pedals. That vehicle was used by the local vicar and his wife on their pastoral duties before they moved on to the luxury of a Bond three wheeler minicar. The reason I mention the Solex is that it is now produced as an electric bike, its folding version described on this site.
How many time have you met people who ask if an ‘electric bike’ is one where you generate yje battery power by pedalling? While there are some bikes that ‘regenearte’ when you are on a long straight or going downhill, the current they provide is negligible, and for the forseeable future ebikes will rely on the big heavy batteries that take hours to charge.
Now, however, the Mando Footloose looks set to changeall that, with the bike due to be launched in Europe in 2013. Hre is a chainless machine with an alternator dtiven by pedalling which does just what the confused always thought an electric bike does. Read here a full description with many images.
I came across some good impartial advice and information by Dave Elderfield, Senior Buyer at Kudos Bikes. It is a clear overview of electric bikes and contains useful specific warnings of what to avoid. It’s under the tab marked DECISIONS if the link doesn’t take you there.
Since local dealer availability is so important, the bikes I shall probably concentrate on are Juicy, Giant, Wisper, Batribike and Claude Butler. That’s not exhaustive: for instance I would add Freego to that list if I can find out the tolerance of the specified maximum load on the Hawk.
There are some very attractive bikes out there (including a few I will describe separately such as the BH-Emotion range). so I don’t rule out going to an internet dealer. In the coming months I shall relax a bit, and update with reviews and news. To start the process, here is an extremely positive and detailed review of the Juicy Sport from an experienced cyclist.
I’m not blind to the wiles of marketing especially when it comes to hyping ‘sustainability’. and general environmental concerns. Nevertheless, the idea of integrated transportability in cities is important. In any case, this bike looks lovely! I am more than slightly off topic as far as this blog goes but it does make me think as a ‘concerned citizen’ of starting another one!
In any case, the question of the relevance to sales of electric bikes is pertinent. Other countries such as China – and Germany – seemmore foreward in normalising electric bikes, and the question remains as to why the UK market has not (yet?) ‘taken off’.
Electric bikes are consumer goods, and I have to remind myself that under my little boy excitement at the prospect of owning one, I need to establish the base of years of experience. Fortunately, the forum Pedelecs is full of wise, sometimes cynical, comments about the hyped-up claims that some dealers and manufacturers can make. I’ve tonight come across a blog by someone which is dedicated to rubbishing one particular manufacturer/dealer who advertises on Pedelecs. Some of the comments on amazon regarding cheap bikes are worth looking at too, not only as to the quality of a machine but also regarding after-sales. A common refrain I have come across is ‘throw it in the canal’.
You can buy a ‘mountain bike’ from any big chain store for less than £100, and it will certainly look good in the catalogue. The same would be true of any cheap consumer goods such as cameras or televisions. Quality cannot, however, be judged by appearance. Product design is a key tool of marketing. Whatever the ‘content’ of an item, the appearance is a key factor in making sales. This is one reason why I think establishing a relationship of trust with a product’s retailers and/or manufacturers is so important. So far, I have been mightily impressed by the honesty and integrity of some sellers and manufacturers, and this, coupled with a record of genuine user testimonials I hope to detail when I’ve finished my own search for a bike. I will just say now that I am delighted to have come across businesses more than happy to redirect me elsewhere.
One has to consider factors not immediately apparent, such as electrical connectivity and the effects of water (rain and puddles!). I have found that the dealers I respect most do in fact provide pre-ordering advice on such an issue. One dealer who is a strong contender for my custom issues the value that they will strive to respect and support a customer with the same care and attention that customer gives to their bike.