Tag Archives: uk electric bikes

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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Serendipity?

suburbia_gents

Strange that after all my research I’d missed Picton Cycles up the road from me selling the Dawes Boost Suburbia (see shortlists). Their price of £849 and their local reputation make this an attractive option. Would be great to get a reliable bike backed with good service at that price.  Not a very exciting machine perhaps but who needs excitement with creaky knees!

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Batribike Quartz

Just put up specs of this bike in my new category, FOLDERS. Seems a good bike with decent reviews around. Quite good battery power, and will carry 130 Kg!

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Good Advice

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.

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The SHORT short list (1): Juicy

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.

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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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Momentum Upstart

Click on the button for SHORTLIST(1)  for details and review  of this bike from a new company.

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Getting Real

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.

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Growing Shortlist

I’ve divided my ‘shortlist’ into two: bikes over and under £1000. The list is growing, by no means complete. I am very grateful for feedback from dealers and companies. I keep coming across new bikes for consideration such as the mysterious Momentum brand: only two sleek, very simple, light models and not even sure if they are available yet so will be contacting the company.

Implicitly, I am keeping a third ‘shortlist’ which is those bikes which are available to me at dealers near to Liverpool. I have included here Juicy and anything sold by the Edinburgh Bicycle Co-operative (including Wisper) in Manchester: both of these are easily reached by short train journeys.

I’d emphaasise aadvice which I have seen many times – that there is no ‘perfect’ bike but one which best satisfies and individeal’s requirements (backed by general standards of quality, reputation and customer care).

Eventually, I hope to make a table which shows comparison of many key features between bikes.

 

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Useful brief reviews and more

I cae across this American site, Electric Star,  which has some succinct 2012 appraisals of various bikes available in the UK> It also has some other good pithy advice. There is an interesting observation on the Home page:

 

Buyer beware: there is a lot of “garbage” in this marketplace, as well as a lot of poor information. This is a young and emerging technology which has undergone big growing pains. Many of the products in the past were not ready for prime time. And some of the big box stores carry cheap products of inferior quality that are, in a word, junk. The best of these may serve the purpose of introduction. Unfortunately, most of the cheap electric bikes do not perform properly, break down frequently, and have poor manufacturer’s support. There are also a lot of inflated claims for range, power, and speed, so it is difficult – if not impossible – to understand this industry by surfing the internet. Power ratings of bikes are suspect because it depends on the configuration and design of the motor. Plus, many manufacturer’s think that just because it is electric, it doesn’t need to have decent bicycle components or ride well as a standard bicycle. This is likely the reason why many conventional bicycle shops have a bias against electric bikes.

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