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Friday, September 6, 2013

To E-Bike Or Not To E-Bike That Is Question

I still remember the day my Dad taught me how to ride a bicycle. He pretty much gave me a push, made me
Huffy Blue Beard 3 Speed
think he was holding on and after only one crash in to the bushes I was off riding on my own. My second bike was a Huffy Blue Beard 3 Speed. I was in heaven when I got that thing and ever kid in the neighborhood wanted to ride it to. It had big white lettering on the sides of the tires, big handle bars, hand brakes, a 3 speed sifter on the top tube and a slick rear tire. It didn't take very long for me and the rest of the neighborhood to destroy it (maybe a year or so, which is a lifetime for a young kid) and I remember my father telling me I better find a way to fix it because he wasn't buying me another. It made it a few more years until I outgrew it and the rest of the kids where now riding 10 speeds. So one day my Dad surprised me and my brother with Honda 10 speed bikes. Who even knew Honda made a bike. These things where tanks, super heavy and not fun to ride.  I remember when they broke we could not get any parts, so I am not sure if these where a short lived experiment by Honda or what.  I remember letting a friend ride it (you would have thought i learned from the last bike) who had never road anything with hand brakes and he proceeded to crash it needed stitches for a major cut on his leg. I tried to ride the bike home after the ambulance took him away and while looking down at a wobbly wheel I crashed it into a parked car smashing the front forks in. Now not only having a bent wheel the front wheel could no longer turn because it was hitting the down tube portion of the frame. My father was not impressed and I remember not having a bike for a very long time after that.

Single Track Fun
So what does all this have to with an E-Bike and what is an E-Bike anyway? Well, I love to bike and always have. My heart is in the dirt on a mountain bike winding my way through narrow single track. Unfortunately, that type of riding is not always available so I find myself riding streets, side walks and rails to trails quite often.   I also take my bike with me when ever we are camping which is a great way to tour the area.  But not knowing an area and the terrain, how do you know how far to ride before you should head back.  And to be honest road riding is just not that fun for me, especially after getting a taste of the the dirt.  So recently I did a little internet searching for maybe some kind of electric motor to help speed the ride up or if nothing else help get me back on a long exploratory ride of an unknown area.  To my surprise they have really made some huge advancement in electric bike technology or E-Bikes.

So the question becomes do you allow motors to enter into this human powered mode of transportation and a lot of purists are having a fit saying "No!".  I'm not a purist, I ride to have fun and it didn't take long for me to say "heck yeah, I want one!"  With RVupgrades.com located up by Lake Erie outside of Cleveland, I ride pretty much everyday during lunch and around these parts you ride into the wind on three quarters of the round trip.  That is no fun, but if I had an electric motor to help push me along while I pedal, now your talking.  So after a whole 3 days of deliberations and research I bought one and felt like I did way back when my dad got me my first bike, I couldn't wait!

Prodeco Phantom X2
There are ton's of different types of E-bikes, motor sizes and battery capacities which I won't go into here, but I will tell you how I landed on the bike I did.  I have been riding mountain bikes for the past 20 years, so that was an easy choice.  Since we do a lot or RV'ing and I ride at work and home a folding version would be a huge bonus.  And since I wanted this to basically assist me while pedaling I wasn't that concerned about motor power or battery capacity.  This lead me to the Prodeco brand and specifically the Phantom X2.  Prodeco is a Florida based company which I liked and the Phantom X2 had all the features I felt I needed in an E-bike.  Now this bike was not exactly cheap retailing at $1400, but I ride everyday even into the winter so I knew I would get my moneys worth if it held up.  Which was a concern of mine and I was happy to see Prodeco had a 3 year warranty on their bikes.  I wont go into the spec's of the bike you can find those here [Prodeco Phantom X2]

You have to love the internet, within two days after purchasing the bike it arrived and I quickly got to work getting it ready for it's maiden voyage.  Really all I had to do was put the battery on the charger which I found was already fully charged, (Nice!) bolt on the handle bars, adjust the seat and I was ready to go.  I
Luensman Overview Park
jumped on started pedaling and gave a twist of the throttle and Wow! was I impression with the power this thing has.  It's not going to tote my 200 lb frame up a mountain without help, but with assistance you are humming along at 15+ mph in no time.  I had so much fun on that first ride, the wind was blowing a good 10 or 15 mph and I was just tooling along no matter what direction I headed.  Fast forward 6 weeks later and I am still loving this bike.  I get more of a workout with this thing since I ride farther and tend to pedal much faster than before.  This past weekend I took it with us on our RV trip to Lake Erie State Park in New York.  I rode into Dunkirk as well as Brocton and to Luensman Overview Park which has a wicked steep hill on the way up.  All places I probably would not have gone on my standard mountain bike, but glad I did and this bike made it a lot of fun getting there and back.

Where I see E-bikes being a huge benefit is for people who need short distance (under 20 miles) transportation, older riders that still want to stay active, medical patients recovering from knee, hip or back surgery.  I've had 2 back surgeries myself and riding has kept me out of the operating room for over 10 years now.   People who want to get back into shape and need some help getting there.  And riders just looking to put the fun back into riding a bicycle.

~ Bill

1 comment:

  1. I would love to use an electric bike to allow me to commute to work without a car. Thanks for this great article..