2007 Giant twist

Discussion in 'Electric Bicycles' started by Quicken, Nov 16, 2006.

  1. Quicken

    Quicken Just Joined

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    Hi everyone,

    I am new here and looking to get into the exciting world of electric-assist bikes. I've recently been looking into the giant twist bikes so highly regarded by A to B magazine: http://www.atob.org.uk/Electric_Buyers'_Guide.html. As I am sure many of you are aware, the range was sadly discontinued earlier ths year. However, I've been talking to a giant dealer, and he says a whole new twist range is due early next year. He also said the reason for the sudden discontinuation of the previous twist was that giant were moving production in-house, where it had previously been outsourced. Most interestingly, the range is already being previewed on the dutch giant site. Check it out: http://www.giant-bicycles.com/nl/000.000.000/000.000.000.asp. They are claiming a much better battery with 100 km range. Probably nonsense I know, but it'll be interesting to see how they actually perform. Looking at the images on that site, it is difficult to see exactly where the battery is located. It's certainly much more discreet than the old models: http://www.giant-bicycles.com/nl/030.000.000/030.000.000.asp?year=2006&range=200. Translating the dutch battery desciption in babelfish yields the following:

    "Double lithium ion accumulator, fraai got rid of under the case"

    I'm thinking this might mean the battery is stealthed inside the frame. Anyway, I'm really looking for a bike for my 16 mile round trip commute, so maybe a Torq will be the way to go. Still, a little extra range never hurt anyone...

    Q
     
  2. flecc

    flecc Member

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    I've owned a Twist for nearly four years, but the new one is a very different thing, hub motor and nothing like the same capability.

    That dealer is sadly adrift on his facts. Twist production was inhouse, but the motor, battery & electronics were Panasonic. The new Twist (previously called the Suede, then the Argue), has a Sanyo motor, reportedly a bit weak.

    Giant have been completely open about why they discontinued the much better previous Twist, stating in their press release that it had become too expensive to produce. For some while they'd been introducing higher price versions to try to cope with this problem, but eventually had to stop production. There's no doubting the truth of their stated reason, since two other bikes using that Panasonic setup in Japan are also very expensive, and Honda's clone of it in their folder carries a huge price tag too.
     
    #2 flecc, Nov 16, 2006
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2006
  3. flecc

    flecc Member

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    More info:

    The batteries (2) are mounted skirt guard style both sides of the carrier. The Twist 1.0 has Li-ion and an 8 speed hub, the Twist 2.0 has NiMh and a 7 speed hub. No info on whether the bike will work with one battery only.

    Despite that 8 speed hub, A to B magazine say they're still concerned about the hill climbing ability. As for the claimed 60 mile range, A to B think it's likely it refers to a very small person riding somewhere flat in "eco" mode. I'll second that, if it does half that in real world conditions I'll be pleasantly surprised.
     
  4. Quicken

    Quicken Just Joined

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    Several questions here. Is it possible they were moving the motor, battery & electronics production inhouse to cut costs? That would make what you are saying and what the dealer said compatible. The fact that they're using hub motors is disappointing - I thought the whole point of the twist was the drive mechanism. Since these bikes have a new frame layout and different batteries, what makes you say they are basically suedes? Is it the sanyo motor?

    Do you mean the things that look like panniers? Is that going to affect carrying capacity?

    Which issue of A to B is this info in? I might order it to read up some more. As for range, fortunately I probably qualify as a very small person (I weigh about 9 - 9 1/2 stone). Thanks for the info, although it's all a little disappointing.

    Cheers,

    Q
     
  5. flecc

    flecc Member

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    Hello Quicken

    While it may be possible that they are going to manufacture the motor, it seems unlikely since it is a Sanyo, which A to B reckon was derived from the US Birkestrand Corporation motorised wheel. Battery manufacture in house would be even more unlikely, since it's such a highly specialised area. I think that dealer has misinterpreted the situation. Giant have been following a policy of moving DESIGN inhouse recently, and he might have got his idea from that.

    For quite a while Giant had used specialised designers from around the world. For example, the English bike designer Mike Burroughs had been under contract to Giant and was responsible for the design of the Giant Halfway folder, which incorporates Mike's "trademark" single sided wheel support to aid wheel/tyre/tube access. Equally, the original Twist was designed by the Dutch Lafree outfit. That's what's changed, Mike's contract has ended, as has the association with the Lafree people.

    My reason for referring to Suede is mainly the Sanyo hub motor, the rest of the bike being similar as it was evolved to the Argue. This then became the Twist with the further revisions. It's almost certain that they would have wanted to use the Twist name again as it was so well respected, but couldn't really do it while dealers had existing stocks of the original Twists, and I think that's why the delay in the new Twist reaching us.

    As you've seen, it's difficult to tell if what looks like panniers are the battery housings, but it seems likely as bikes aren't usually marketed with panniers since they are very much owner choice items. The A to B illustration is of narrower "bags".

    The A to B issue carrying the Twist news is issue 53, April, 2006, and the report is on Page 37. As it is only a one page news report, I can scan it and mail you a PDF if you wish, contact: flecc@tinyworld.co.uk if that's what you wish.
     
    #5 flecc, Nov 16, 2006
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2006
  6. flecc

    flecc Member

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    PDF sent to Quicken by email as offered.
     
  7. Quicken

    Quicken Just Joined

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    Thanks Flecc,

    Reading the pdf, it isn't as negative as I had feared.

    I think there is every chance the motor on the new twists will be an improvement over the one on the suede. Plus the twists are considerably lighter than the suede, which has to help on the hills. The fact that they're designed with two batteries (presumably in parallel) is surely a good thing too. To paraphrase the A to B article ending - I await a review with great interest.

    Q
     
  8. flecc

    flecc Member

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    Yes, if they've sorted the freewheel issue and the batteries are quite large, it could be a good bet. I doubt if the motor's hill climbing ability will be up to much, this seems to be the trend now though with everyone using hub motors. The importance of the Dutch market is probably to blame for this, the relatively tiny sales here meaning our desire to zoom up hills as well isn't very important to the makers.

    P.S. I'll also be interested in whether the batteries are in parallel or not, if so they'll surely have to feed via diodes for safety with the Lithium batteries.
     
    #8 flecc, Nov 17, 2006
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2006
  9. JohnInStockie

    JohnInStockie Pedelecer

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    Hi Flecc

    Are you saying that Hub gears are not good at hill climbing? If so then what are regarded as the best hill climbing motors?

    John
     
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  10. flecc

    flecc Member

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    In referring to hub motors I'm making the observation of their fixed gear ratio. It has to be a compromise to give a reasonable cruising speed, with some degree of hill climbing ability, and the bias is naturally towards the speed ability.

    Imagine a single speed car. It would have to be low geared to climb steep hills, but it would then be slow which would be unacceptable in the marketplace. So it would be given a reasonably high gear to give an acceptable cruising speed, and this would mean it would be useless faced with a steep hill.

    At the outset this thread referred to the original Giant Twist which drove the hub gears via the chain, so it had both the higher speed and the hill climbing ability through the use of the gears, in just the same way a car has. Sadly it was discontinued due to high production costs.

    The only option to get drive through the gears now is the Cyclone add on motor which I've told you about in another thread, together with the links.

    Otherwise, all legal (i.e. low power) fixed gear bike motors have some limitation of hill climbing ability, unless geared for that at the expense of speed, like the Heinzmann low geared version I've also previously explained in your other thread.
     
    #10 flecc, Nov 17, 2006
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2006
  11. Quicken

    Quicken Just Joined

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    More details

    Hello all,

    I sent an email enquiry off to Giant about the new twist bikes and received the following reply today:

    So that's giant uk claiming a massive 130 km (81 miles) range on the Li-ion version. Even if you only get half that in typical hilly conditions, it will still be very impressive.

    Cheers,

    Q
     
  12. flecc

    flecc Member

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    Thanks Quicken

    It's impossible to make any accurate judgement without knowing the capacity of those new batteries of course, and as you say, even around 40 miles in hilly conditions would be impressive. It's possible though, if they've moved the batteries to that pannier type mounting in order to make them bigger than the old one when combined.

    The previous Twist had the best power management in the industry with a quite low powered (peak 390 watt) motor and could easily give 20 miles on 6.5 Ah of NiMh, even in hilly country.

    If the new one's power management is of the same order and the combined Li-ions have around 15 Ah capacity, it might happen.

    As you see though, I'm still cautious since a hub motor is very different from the drive through chain arrangement of the previous model, and in consequence is much less likely to give the magic combination of economy, adequate speed and good hill climbing. My feeling is that something is going to have to miss out, but only time will reveal what that is.
     
    #12 flecc, Nov 20, 2006
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2006
  13. ITSPETEINIT

    ITSPETEINIT Just Joined

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    Hub Motor or Gear Driving

    It's sad that the latest (probably) offering to the Electric Bike market the new twist) is driven by a hub motor. For setuagenarians living in a moderately hilly area they are of little help. The horizons are narrowed.
    Motors that drive the chain driven gears are the only way to go for serious e-biking (like, well, 1 in 10 at least). Oh the Torq will climb 1:10 even 1:7 or even more (it says) but it's not a pleasant experience either for the moment or the rest of the day.
    Itspeteinit
     
  14. flecc

    flecc Member

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    Well said itspeteinit, it's sad trend, but one dictated to by the all important Dutch market where most bikes are sold. In their flat conditions and with compulsory pedelec only, only a weak and economical motor is needed, and it wouldn't surprise me if the new Twist did have a very long range, though not as much as they claim.

    All is not yet totally lost for those of us in hilly regions. Apart from the odd absurdly expensive options, there are still two reasonably priced ways of getting drive through the chain and gears.

    First, the only English electric bike, the TGA electrobike, also available in trike versions, it's legally powered and a reasonable performer:

    Second, the Cyclone kit for adding to some ordinary bikes. The links are first the UK site, then the Taiwan parent site for more detail.

    The TGA only has a three speed hub gear, but some expenditure to fit an SRAM P5 wide range five gear hub would transform it's potential. The motor could also easily be transferred to an existing bike with a few mods.
     
    #14 flecc, Dec 17, 2006
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2006
  15. flecc

    flecc Member

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    I agree with 50cycles.

    Range in any powered vehicle can always be increased with the application of techniques which are unacceptable to many users, and I'm reminded of some of the methods used to achieve huge mpg figures in car economy runs. One used before it was finally banned was to accelerate in top gear from 20 mph up to about 80 mph with foot flat to the floor, then into neutral and glide along until the speed eventually dropped to 20 again. Then the process was repeated.

    Clearly the car was being run under weakest mixture conditions in the acceleration phase and no supply during decelleration, liitle wonder 80 to 90 mpg could be achieved. Of course, driving like that would be completely impractical for normal use, but it made for good headlines which was the objective.
     
  16. flecc

    flecc Member

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    A comment related to what I posted above, my agreement applied just to the question of range.

    The issue of the Panasonic motor system on the Giant Twist is not so clear cut. The 1:1 power is averaged in the manner that the 200 watt limit is applied to electric bike motors. Substantially more than the rider's output is available by slowing the pedal cadence in any gear, something I regularly take advantage of when towing. Conversely, a fast cadence results in a power supplement well below the rider output, and thus an overall 1:1 is achieved. Of course this still achieves the economy on average that 50cycles pointed out, but that implementation makes it much less restrictive than might have been thought.

    My Twist's 17 mph power assisted when towing with a high gear results from that, but of course doing that markedly decreases the range. Any gain has to be paid for in some way.
     
  17. JohnInStockie

    JohnInStockie Pedelecer

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    Flecc

    Could you explain exactly what do you mean by 'cadence' in this context please. Thanks

    John
     
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  18. flecc

    flecc Member

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    Certainly John, it's the rate of turning the pedals.

    The generally accepted optimum for most sporting riders, club types etc is 90 rotations per minute, but most of us will use around 50 to 70.

    A rider with a famously fast cadence is seven times Tour De France winner Lance Armstrong, in the 100s usually.

    His great rival Jan Ulrich is famous for his slow cadence ability, no fixed rate, but his ability to put in loads of power at a slow rate is striking.

    The Giant Twist assists most at around the 40 rate, and as the rate rises to 70 the assistance drops off . The reason for these low settings is the electric bike target user, mainly in the older age brackets. Basically, the software interpretation is that if the rider's rate is speeding up, they'e managing fine and don't need help, but if it's slowing down, it means they're failing to meet the requirement and therefore need help.

    So that can be used as I do, as a form of throttle to get the power I want at any particular time, just by varying my pedal rate. Of course with the Twist and SRAM P5, this can be set on the gears, change up to slow the pedal rate and get more assist with less range, change down to spin faster, get less assist but better range.
     
    #18 flecc, Dec 18, 2006
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2006
  19. JohnInStockie

    JohnInStockie Pedelecer

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    Thanks Flecc

    I have been out on my new twist only twice thus far (due to workloads). Both times I have experienced problems. Based on the above cadence figures, I know my natural cadence is to go for lower reps more power.

    Problems I am having are:-
    1. I dont seem to be getting any assistance. I couldnt tell if the battery was helping or not when switching between power on and off. I was going up a slight hill (say 1 in 30) and deliberately pedeled lightly and ended up slowing to 3mph. :(
    2. Then, going down the other side, I couldnt seem to get the gears to change to a higher gear. I would change while pedaling and . . . nothing. I ended up pedeling furiously to only get to 16mph downhill. Is that normal?? :confused:
    Is it me?? It could be. I have never professed to being a bike expert.

    John
     
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    #19 JohnInStockie, Dec 19, 2006
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2006
  20. flecc

    flecc Member

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    With a hub gear it's essential to stop pedalling or the change won't happen John, and that's especially true of the SRAM. They are completely different fom derailleurs, but have the advantage that you can change gear while standing still at the lights etc.

    Pause the pedalling, change gear and start pedalling after a slight lag. I have a technique of a fractional back pedal as I change which speeds the change a bit.

    You do have to pedal all the time then for the motor power and there has to some help given to operate the power actuation of course. The power should be easily detectable.

    Also, you must wait for the red light to go out BEFORE you start pedalling, or the motor won't cut in, or will only supply restricted power.

    Try this. Stationary on the bike in 3rd gear, with pedal positioned ready to thrust on, switch on, wait for the red light to go out, then push down on the pedal. The motor surge should be quite distinct as it pulls you forward. If it's not there, it's a fault on the bike.
     
    #20 flecc, Dec 19, 2006
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2006
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