New Biker

Footie

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 16, 2007
549
10
Cornwall. PL27
Hi to everyone,

Firstly, thank you to the members who welcomed me, very courteous of you.

Being new to electric bikes I have gone through the forum posts (in some cases with a fine toothed comb) weaning out the bits of information I want or find useful. I have drawn a number of conclusions not only on the bikes but also on the forum members. It’s good to see that there are a number of forum members who seem very wise on the subject and fortunately for us are willing to share their knowledge.

When I joined the forum, a few days ago, it was because I had just ordered an electric bike on line. Unfortunately, I have had to make a second choice from my supplier, as the one I initially chose is not available. So, at the moment, I am still without an electric bike.

In essence I have concluded that there is no golden rule in choosing an electric bike. It is dependent on so many things, some obvious and some less obvious. The forum proves an excellent starting point for anyone wanting to find out more about electric bikes. One can use the forum as a invaluable guide but in the end it falls to the individual to make the final choice based on their needs and wants – rightly or wrongly.

With all the information about electric bike swirling around in my mind I am happy that the bike I have finally opted for suits my needs and me.

My requirements are as follows:
First and foremost I want a bike that suits my age (mid 40’s). I know this is cosmetic but this is a personal choice. I am going to spend a lot of time riding so I must feel comfortable with the bike. No disrespect but I don’t want an old gents bike – it’s not me.
Ideally, it needs to be a mountain bike. I have ridden mountain bikes, on and off, for 20 years.
It should be ridable for a minimum of 20 miles or so. I want to be able to ride around the Cornish back roads (hilly).
It needs to blend in with other bikes (look as normal as possible). I live close to a holiday cycle route (Camel Trail), which attracts thousands of people to the area. I don’t want to look out of place.
It must be able to carry the odd extra load of a backpack full of shopping.
It must be able to handle hills reasonably well (I have two 2 mile hills to contend with).
It must have good breaks (if you go up a long hill you must come down the other side).
It should have good suspension (maintenance on Cornish roads never seems a high priority).
It must be the type of bike that will require input from the rider so I get some good exercise (not a twist and go). I have a heart condition (medically described as in heart failure) so I need the exercise.
It should be a high voltage ideally 36v. Higher voltage should improve hill climbing, although there is a weight issue that counteracts it. I have drawn a similarity to battery drills - the higher the voltage the more muscle there is.
I want the batteries to be easy to replace and environmentally friendly as possible.
Finally, I have been motorcycling since I was 16 and I have always preferred heavy bikes, which is why I am not bothered with a heavy bike. In fact I find a heavy bike sticks to the road better, brakes better (less skidding or slipping) and gives me greater confidence. I know that should some 4x4 plonker decide to play the fool I will make a big dent in his/her wing. Sorry I hate 4x4’s, that’s why I drive a big camper van it scares the willy’s out of them :D

So all I have to do now is wait for my bike to arrive and find out if I made the right choice.

Cheers for now,

Steve
 

nigel

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 18, 2006
467
0
Nigel

Hi steve
good luck with your choice:D i am sure you will enjoy your new electric bike they are good fun:) i didnt think there was a great choice in the mountain bike i went for a torq less extras ie mudguards.rack.lights.M plus tyres.i think it looks cool now but next time round it will be the new wisper 905se this could be the one:p NIGEL
 

Footie

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 16, 2007
549
10
Cornwall. PL27
Wild Bike Ideas

I saw that one of the forum members was after a bike trailer and I was searching on the internet for details on trailers (I remembered seeing some the other day) when I found the following site MAKE: Blog: Bicycles Archives it has some really wild bike ideas - some are possibly dangerous :eek:
Thought the forum members may find it interesting. Kept me amused for an hour or so.
Steve
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
45,940
22,582
Yes, they're a mad lot in Make magazine Steve, but they do come up with the odd gem, though I've never seen a bike gem from them yet.

Are you going to let us know your bike choice, or is it for us to guess?

It sounds like either just possibly a Powabyke, but more likely one of those mountain bike styled jobs I've seen on ebay using lead acid batteries.

As you say, each to his own, and high weight and the inefficiency of mountain bike designs, especially with suspension, just make me shudder. I'm also a life long motorcyclist, but view the two separately as having quite opposite requirements.

However the important thing is that you ride your choice, so I agree with your approach to this, gather all the information but don't let it deflect you from your basic requirements.
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Footie

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 16, 2007
549
10
Cornwall. PL27
Hi flecc

You are correct, in that it is a mountain bike design. And yes, it does have acid batteries. You are also right that I am one of those people who gather all the information they can, sift through it and decide. However, once I have made my mind up about something nothing on earth will dissuade me – even if I’m wrong – it’s also called pig-headedness :)

But, having had a number of bikes and even made some weird and wonderful machines myself; like a hill-climber that could climb the cliff-paths and slag piles in Clovelly and you didn’t even have to get out of the saddle – now that was a bike. (Could wheelie till the cows came home). I know what puts a smile on my face.

I don’t know where you live but if you lived in Cornwall then I think you would feel different about suspension. In my shed you will find a 20 year old mountain bike, 21 gears (with the biggest steel frame you have ever seen), racks both front and back, with panniers – it weighs a ton. You will also find a 12 gear-racing bike that can be lifted with two fingers. Either bike is fun to ride on the road but not all roads suit each bike. I think even you would think twice about riding an ultra light racing bike (thin tires and no suspension) on the back roads of Cornwall. You really would shudder on that :eek:

There’s no need to continue guessing. The bike I have selected is a Cougar Mountain Electric Bike.

The full specification is as follows:
Style: On/Off Road Mountain Bike
Control mode: Assisted power - twist grip
Electric motor: Built in motor, brush-less in rear hub
Motor: 36V 200W motor power only 15mph speed
Battery: Lead acid 36V
Range on single charge: Approx 10-25 miles depending on the weight of the rider, the terrain and amount of time the assisted power is in use
Charger voltage: 230-250V (battery charger included)
Charger duration: 4-6 hours
Wheel size: 26 inch with all Terrain tyres
Lights: Front and rear
Gears: 6 speed Shimano gears
Brakes: Front and rear disc brakes
Suspension: Front and rear
Security: Individual security number stamped on frame, security lock for battery
Extras included: Foot stand, chain guard, front and rear mudguards, wheel reflectors, height adjustment for seat and handlebars
Triple - Mode of Operation
Motor power only - 15mph max speed
Assisted power - Motor and Pedals(optional if requred ) - 15mph max speed
Cycling only - Without Motor Assist - any speed you like
Adult sized step-over aluminium frame
Adjustable seat and handlebars
Weight including battery 38kg

From what I have learned from the forum I think it has a fairly good spec and matches what I want, almost perfectly, which is why I have chosen it.

To be honest, I am rather fortunate, in that I don’t need transport to travel to work. I walk out the door, across the road (dogging the 4x4’s dropping the kids off to school) and I am at work.

I suppose you could say it will be more of a toy than a workhorse to me.

Still you know what they say: “Men never grow up, their toys just get better” :D

Steve
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
45,940
22,582
Yes, I've seen that bike Steve, but as you'll have gathered, not for me.

I also ride on back roads and lanes like yours, most not having seen maintenance in decades, and when they do get a patch it's made even worse. The one that finally did get resurfaced had all it's potholes and tree root bumps faithfully contoured in new tarmac, saved for posterity! Not that the tarmac lasted five minutes of course.

But no, that would never change my mind on suspension. Suspension has been around for hundreds of years since carriages and stagecoaches, and cars adopted it very quickly. Bikes as we know them have been around for 150 years or so, but never had suspension until about the last twenty years. When I was a youngster, the whole country rode bikes, few could even afford bus fares and cycling to and from work was the norm as it had been for more than half a century. Bikes could have had suspension then very easily, but customers didn't ask for it or feel they wanted it, simply because the bikes were correctly designed and didn't need it. And that was on post world war two roads that were in the worst condition possible after a decade of total neglect due to the war effort.

My Q bike is actually more comfortable than many of todays electric suspension bikes, and if ever you find yourself in the South London/Surrey border region, get in touch to try that for yourself.

Of course the very narrow tyred race machine is a different animal and can be very uncomfortable in the way that dedicated hard suspension sports cars can be, but a utility bike can be very comfortable without springing and for most of cycling's history they have been.

It was the mountain bike that changed all that from it's first showing in 1979, people liked the macho look and started riding them on the road, putting up with the huge extra effort needed to propel them for the sake of the style. That's fine for them, but I dislike the way in which that fashion has virtually eliminated good utility bike design, to the point where shops don't have them and few people even know what a good efficient bike is. Not so in mainland Europe though, where with many utility cyclists they haven't followed the fashion and ride unsuspended well designed bikes.

P.S. You're not pig-headed, just resolute! :)
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Footie

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 16, 2007
549
10
Cornwall. PL27
Ah, flecc your too kind to say I'm not pig-headed. You must be a gentleman. We obviously come from different generations.

I can now see your reasons for disliking the mountain bike, especially as it’s success has all but destroyed your much loved utility bike.

Mountain bikes – you hate them – I love them …. such is life.

Now you’re encouraging me to go down memory lane in response to your post. I will try to keep it as interesting as I can. I will also try my best to get the spelling right. But no guarantees as I’m dyslexic with a Cornish accent :)

To me, it seems, there have always been mountain bikes and before - well we just tried to make our own. I'm going to go back pre 1980 to around 1975 when, as you say, we had utility bikes (sorry, but boring). I was one of those kids whose parents never really had money so my parents were never able to buy me a bike. I bought my first brand new bike when I was 19 years old.

The first bike I ever had was a hand-me-down from my sister. Think I was 13. It was a single gear free-wheel. My mates Dad welded a cross bar on it so I could ride it without being embarrassed. I remember I took my cycle proficiency test on it and kept falling off - my feet kept getting caught in the wheel. It wasn't until some kind person pointed out to me that I should be riding using the balls of the feet and not the in-steps that I managed to complete the weave round the bollards test and passed.

That first bike went under the welder a number of times; various cogs where welded and ground off again. I even had crash-bars welded to it with 5-foot aerials on each side. Ever seen a bicycle with crash-bars wheelieing down the road - now that's a sight indeed :cool: Incidentally, this was the same bike that could climb cliff paths while in the saddle. Oh, that saddle - what a saddle. I think this is where I get my love for suspension. It was a real wide-assed leather saddle with massive springs. I remember I could get all my fingers between the coils. If you went over a bump you were still bouncing fifteen feet on. I remember several times nearly being bounced off the bike. It was the most comfortable seat I have ever sat on.

I remember a very large green-framed bike. Another hand-me-down. That was an aluminium frame, so no welding to that one. Super light but that died before its time when it got trashed at a disco.

Another modified bike was a Triumph 20 (hand-me-down again). It was a unisex bike with twenty-inch wheels. That ended up with a very large front wheel (can't remember what size it was), giving it the appearance of a dragster. The gears where modified too. It originally had a three-speed hub. This was removed and a four-speed hub was re-spoked into the wheel. A five-speed derailleur was then modified to fit (these were expensive back then). In the lowest gear you could ride up any hill. You could also pop the front wheel and wheelie until you ran out of road. And it highest gear? Well, if you stood on the pedals the bike never moved. We clocked it and it could go over 45 mph down hill. That gear of course would be 20th :)

My mate also modified his bike and at one point his racing bike had 60 gears (5 speed derailleur on a four-speed hub with a 3 speed front derailleur) and it could reach over 65 mph down hill (no speed bumps back then).

Our sole purpose for modifying bikes with multiple gears, wheels (including chunky tires) was so we could cycle in the woods and forestry commissions that surrounded our town. These were (and still are) full of steep winding paths and tracks (some being almost vertical). It would keep us amused for hours.

So when mountain bikes finally came on the scene, my mate and I smiled to each other, because they were what we had been trying to make for all those years.

Ironically, where you have spent the last twenty years disliking mountain bikes, I’ve spent the early part of my life trying to build them.

And I’m sorry if I’m driving everyone mad - I just can’t wait until my new bike arrives ;)

Steve
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
45,940
22,582
You're not driving anyone mad Steve, least of all me. I firmly believe everyone should have access to the type of bike they like, regardless of any good or bad considerations. What I've objected to and found depressing is the way the mountain bike trend swamped all else in the popular market place, leaving little to no choice. As a result, few people even appreciate what an efficient bike is, only those who get into race bikes knowing anything of it.

That has some really bad effects. A kid's first bike from Halfords or a discounter invariably is a cheap all steel monstrosity with all the features, full suspension, often disc brakes etc and weighs a ton in consequence. If you don't mind risking a hernia, pop into Halfords and pick a few up to see. Faced with that the 10 to 12 year old struggles it out a couple of time to show it off to his mates, then dumps it in the back of the garage to quietly rot away.

The proof of that? Two million bikes are sold in the UK every year, probably as many as half being kids bikes, so we should be swamped by bikes everywhere. But they are very little in evidence, kids seen on them least of all, mainly because these mass market bikes are so miserable to pedal around, especially if there any hills, and especially for a kid's strength. The traditional utility bike may be uncool, but it's very much easier to pedal around.

Your reminiscences awaken many memories in me too, modified frame, wooden blocks screwed onto pedals to fit full size bikes to kids etc. As kids we had a race circuit laid out in a local woodland and had regular weekend meetings, but riding traditional bike designs of course. The biggest craze that occurred back then was following sport cycling growing in popularity, when every kid added drop handlebars and twin handlebar mounted water bottles to their utility bike, pretending it was the real thing as they cycled to the local shop for sweets, down in the bars and sucking earnestly on the drinking tube from one of the bottles. The craze didn't last, every drink put in the bottles came out tasting of aluminium oxide! :)
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Footie

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 16, 2007
549
10
Cornwall. PL27
Oh dear.
Well I have some good news and some bad news.
The good news is my new bike has arrived.
The bad news is the forks have got bent in transit.
I've phoned the supplier and emailed him pictures of the damage.
I am now waiting for him to get back to me regarding what to do next.
I suppose it will have to go back to Nottingham (275 miles), I can hardly expect him to come and repair it can I.
I’m starting to lose faith in the whole thing.
Perhaps I should go out and buy a moped instead.
Any suggestions?
Steve
 

FatMog

Pedelecer
Mar 27, 2007
83
0
:( Bad luck Steve, that's really disappointing for you. But I reckon the mark of a good supplier (of anything) is not that everything is perfect all the time cos that's just not how life is, but how they deal with any mishaps. Ask them for an immediate replacement and maybe they'll surprise you with a conciliatory attitude and rapid turnaround! :)
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
45,940
22,582
I'm really sorry to hear that Steve, after all your eagerly looking forward to it. But don't give up yet, give the supplier a chance to do something about it. It is after all the carriers fault.

Just recently another member got a new Powabyke and found the frame fractured, but the supplier offered him either replacement or full immediate refund which he took. Most suppliers are ok like that, they want to stay in business.
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FatPete

Finding my (electric) wheels
Jun 26, 2007
13
0
London
I promise it will be worth the wait, I'm old enough to have been through the big bike phase (cbr 1000, wing, sportster), Had two Autosleepers (utopian and rhapsody) But when your gliding effortlessly along your favourite lanes your gonna have a big smile on your face. Keep the faith....Regards FatPete.
 

Footie

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 16, 2007
549
10
Cornwall. PL27
Hi All,
Well, it’s three days since my bike arrived damage and apart from a ten second phone call with the supplier I have not heard any more, despite emailing and asking to be advised.
Maybe it’s early days yet.
I’ve checked with my credit card company and they have confirmed that if things do not go right I can pass it over to them and they will do their bit :rolleyes:
So I just have to wait for a few more days to find out what’s going to happen.
I suppose with all the water about I couldn’t ride it anyway.
I've not been put off getting an electric bike, it's just the messing about that gets to me. Thanks for the moral support.
Does anyone have any info on the Izip’s? They seem to be the only mountain style bikes left on the supplier’s web site. If he’s not got any more Cougars left I was thinking about an Izip. There’s very little reference to them on the forum.
Appreciate any information.
Thanks
Steve
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
45,940
22,582
If it's the Chinese sourced Izip with the rear hub motor we don't have much information on it Steve, it's too new.

But if it's the one using the traditional Currie motor alongside the rear wheel, theres plenty of knowledge on that.

Let us know which it is.
 

Footie

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 16, 2007
549
10
Cornwall. PL27
Well, it looks like the last email did some good.
I had a phone call Saturday to say they will be sending another Cougar bike and picking the damaged one up.
So it looks like I won’t need the information on the Izip’s after all.
New bike should arrive Wednesday.
Fingers crossed it arrives ok this time.
Steve
 

Footie

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 16, 2007
549
10
Cornwall. PL27
Bikes Arrived

My electric bike has finally arrived :)
I managed to get it unpacked and assembled this evening. The assembly was flawless until I got to the front mudguard (confused the hell out of me). But I figured it out in the end – I think.
Had to adjust the front brake, as it was not gripping. Hope I did it right – it’s how I would have adjusted a normal bike. Slacken off the leaver adjuster, slacken off the nut gripping the cable on the brake and squeeze them in a little before tightening the brake cable nut and adjusting the adjuster at the leaver end.
Nothing working (no power), so I think the battery needs charging (doing that now).
If it’s dry tomorrow will take it out for a spin and see how it handles.
First impressions are good. I like the look and the weight seems manageable once you grab the right bit of the frame when you go to lift it. All the nuts and bolts seem tight and the chain and gears seem to be running smoothly. There are a few small scratches but I can live with them. The key release for the battery it a bit hit and miss and will take some time to get used to.
I was surprised at how tall it is. Everyone seems to think these electric bikes are small but looking at mine I have to disagree. The seat is almost at its lowest setting and I can just touch the ground. Being only 5’ 8” may have something to do with it :(
There’s no where to put the pump, repair kit or lock, so I think I will need a rack and panniers – but that’s for later on. For know I will suffice with a rucksack.
Steve
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
45,940
22,582
Good news at last it seems Steve. :)

Hope all goes well from now, but let us know how you get on tomorrow with it.

It's true that these e-bikes can be difficult to reach, I know that only too well with my 5' 6". Here's me looking up at the rest of the world :rolleyes:
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