Category Archives: Reflections and Musings

Raleigh Velo Cite – the one for me?

raleigh velo citeAnyone who has followed my posts will be aware of more than a whiff of prevarication in my personal choice. In the last week I had ‘definitely’ narrowed it down to a choice between two bikes. Now I am ‘certain’ to go for a third, this Raleigh Velo Cite which I hadn’t come across until this week. Down the road in Chester at the Bike Factory, it costs £1200. I like the hub gears, seven speed. I like the weight. I like the look of it. I like the 36volt 11.6 Ah battery. Not least I like the fact that I can go and sit on one, and have the security of the dealer’s being close to hand.

Of course, in a few days I will probably have changed my mind. That Woosh Sirocco crank drive added to my ‘shortlist’ looks enticing. Short list? Look out for the short short list…. Or to hear I am breaking in a new Raleigh. It has a maximum rider load of 120 Kg which is great for heavier riders. The bike also has a two years warranty which includes the battery:

Motor: 250W Raleigh Pedelec
Battery: 10Ah 36V Lithium Ion (Li-Ion)
Gears: 7-speed Shimano Nexus Hub Gears
Shifter: Shimano Twist Shifter
Brakes: V-brakes – Front and Rear
Lights: –
Wheels: 28″ / 700C
Tyres: Puncture Resistant
Forks: Suntour CRV-8 Suspension Forks
Mudgaurds: Full front and rear
Rear Rack: Yes
Pedals: Aluminium
Saddle: Comfort
Seatpost: Alloy
Handlebar: Fully Adjustable Ergonomic
Stand: Side Stand
Lock: –
Cycle Computer: Yes
Modes: High, Medium, Low
Range: 20 – 40miles depending on mode, terrain and rider input
Weight: Only 22kg (49lbs) Including Battery
Size: 50cm (20″)
Max. Rider Weight: 120kg (265lbs / 18s12)
Warranty: Two Years [Bike and Battery]

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Almost there!

Well, I’m still in work so have the cash. I have narrowed it down to two bikes locally – a Giant Escape Hybrid 2, or a Batribike Granite XL. Having said that, to complicate things my income may increase with extra self-employed hours so I have still the possibility of going for what I have described on this site as my dream bike, a Kalkhoff Agattu. One thing that worries me about the latter is how I would get support and maintenance.

For some reason below reason, I can’t get Juicy bikes out of my mind…..

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Why Haven’t E-Bikes Taken Off in UK?

Excellent food for thought in this article:

 

Does the UK have the kind of customers found in mainland Europe? Do Brits buy because they ‘have to’, not because they want to? 

With electric bikes very much in focus this month, much thanks to the Bicycle Association calling a second gathering of the trade to discuss the market’s future, it seems fitting to do a bit of thinking out loud on the topic.

First of all, if you’ve yet to read the summary of the meet, perhaps head here first to read what the professionals had to say during the late November meet.

Now, let’s not beat around the bush – the evolution of the market in the UK has been like watching paint dry, thus far, at least. In my opinion, the UK’s demographic will never really change, no matter how flashy the bikes and technology to back them becomes. The electric bike is largely suited to the over 50s rider with creaky knees and anyone who requires that little extra bit of push up a hill, whether it be down to disability, or simply bought as the first stepping stone in a regime to get in shape.

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JUICE bikes

JUICE

New on the market, Juice produce two bikes, very distinctive looking, the one shown here , the Joule at £1299, (actually it’s the Joule S with a few additional features; see below) and its smaller 20″ Micro Joule version is £999. The bikes are well powered (I have noticed a tendency for newer bikes to ‘boast’ more powerful batteries but see below) and clearly deigned to stand out from the crowd. It will be interesting to see reviews.

Marketing is all in everything. I witness all the time people wasting hundreds on a camera, for instance, because it has an ultra high resolution. Sometimes they are wasting their money because the technical specs far exceed their needs and usage; other times the camera may be very mediocre: a high resolution sensor is useless if the lens is rubbish. The cynic in me thinks that there is an analogy with any consumer marketing. I’ve absolutely no reason to think Juice bikes are anything other than excellent (although as a pensioner they aren’t for me – even in my flares!), and everything about them looks good. But I think back to the previous post and the old lead battery pack horse waiting to be loaded with its 20 or so Kg of shopping for the gentle ride three miles home! Horses for courses.

I do recommend the Juice website for a detailed look at the bikes, and you may find the technical stuff on the gears interesting. Generally, they have clearly focused on quality, service and very much on style:

The market for electric bicycles is growing quickly in the UK, but the variety and style of electric bicycles is not meeting the demand for new and exciting products, which deliver both style and quality at a competitive price. It is this demand that inspired the conception of Juice and its flagship electric bicycle models, Joule and its smaller sibling, Micro Joule.

Design even down to the name: a joule is a unit of Energy and it sounds like Jewel.

I wish I were young enough to research these bikes further. Anyway, here are The specs for the Joule:

 

Overview

Running on 26″ wheels, the Joule with contemporary MTB styling will be equally as happy on forest fire tracks and bridleways as it will be doing your daily commute. The NuVinci N360 system offers a simple-to-use but infinitely wide range of gears, and lightweight alloy components help keep the weight down. Joule is for those that want an eBike that can really do it all, both on and off-road.

Driving 250W of brushless power means that there literally won’t be a hill too steep to climb anymore. The 36v 12Ah battery only weighs 3kgs, yet returns a massive range of between 30 and 60 miles dependent on the mode you are in. Lithium technology means you can quickly recharge the battery at any point. The stunning looks coupled with the quiet operation of the 250w motor means that if it wasn’t for the amazing performance, nobody would even know you were riding an electric bike! This is a premium quality electric bike using the latest developments in technology.

 
Features

Auto lights
Rear brake light
Full suspension seat post
Throttle (independent of pedals)
Intelligent pedal assist system
Integrated lithium battery. Can be charged while mounted on bike or removed for charging when space is of a premium.
Revolutionary new gear system in the NuVinci N360
Digital LCD display showing/controlling:

– Speed (mph/kmh)
– Distance travelled
– Average speed
– Battery remaining
– Power assistance level
– Manual lights operation
Specifications (standard)

Battery: Lithium 36v 12Ah

Brake lever: Tektro EL520

Frame: 6061 Aluminium alloy

Front and rear brake disc: Tektro Novela

Gear System: NuVinci N360

Handle bar: Zoom MTB-AL-153C

Suspension fork: Suntour XCM V3

Motor: 250W Brushless

Rims: 26″ Aluminium alloy double wall

Stem: Zoom MTB-C299N-5

Tyres: Mountain

Weight: 27.4 Kg

Upgrades for Joule S model:

Hydraulic disc brake (FULL SETS): Tektro Auriga E-Comp

Suspension fork with remote lock-out: Suntour XCR V3

 

 

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Bike Spotting

It’s been months since I’ve seen an electric bike in Liverpool. Now two sightings in two days. The first, a battered old lead battery cycle tethered at Tesco, with a huge box on the back. Then today, I exchanged a sympathetic grimace with a bloke struggling into a headwind with a kid trailer in two, then woosh! A sleek silver machine shot past at I guess more than 15 mph. Only the battery on the back gave the game away. Maybe a Giant but certainly a very good looking hybrid oozing class. Not a Woosh though.

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Volkswagen Electric Bike

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’.

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