All righty, then.

How’s this for a beauty shot?

I put the rear rack on first thing this morning (started to do it day before yesterday when I assembled the bike, but the allen-head bolts were none-too-high quality and I needed to come back with better tools than those provided or risk rounding out the bolt heads) and then put about four and a half miles on the bike, up and down hills, without breaking a sweat. I wanted to go further but got bored with going back and forth between the two recently-flowing and very muddy washes, and didn’t feel like wading to the ankle through mud to get to more road. If the rain holds off this afternoon I’ll take it out again later: the wash mud dries quickly.

It hardly seems to notice the more moderate hills. Climbing the steep hill coming away from the South wash the motor required quite a lot of help and I frankly doubt I will be able to pedal the hill away from Landlady’s house at all – though I haven’t tried it yet because going down that hill on a bicycle is not something I want to do without a helmet and I neglected to pull my skateboard helmet out of the Jeep kit*. That’s the steepest local hill I know. Before the bulldozer and grader made a road there it was basically a short cliff.

When I can go further I’ll get an idea of the bike’s actual range and whether it’s feasible to use it for (non-clandestine! In daylight!) trips to town. But I’m already impressed with its motive power. Except for the aforementioned hills, you really could just use it like an electric motorcycle between neighbors. In use you really don’t feel how amazingly heavy the thing is.

Hey, dig this. I didn’t even know about this until I came back to Ian’s place to make a few adjustments and, er, read the manual…

Brake light off…

Brake light on!

Ain’t that civilized?

I had to take the light off the bike to mount the rear rack and there was provision (and extra cable and zip ties) for putting it on the rack, so I did that without any thought of actually using the thing. Turns out it works with the brakes without your having to turn anything else on. I didn’t know about it until I, you know, went back and read the manual. Almost like it was designed in Seattle or something. It came with a headlight, too, but I haven’t bothered mounting it yet.

*Yes I do use that, any time I’m working on something overhead and worried about my noggin. It’s also handy for the cabin crawlspace.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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8 Responses to All righty, then.

  1. This interests me tremendously. I’ve always thought that, theoretically, an electric vehicle with some sort off off-grid charging capactiy would be the ideal ‘post apocalyptic’ vehicle. So, Im curious, how are you charging it? What are the requirements? Does your PV system have the ability to charge the thing to full charge within a reasonable amount of time> Etc, etc.

  2. Joel says:

    Oh, yeah. It’s no problem at all. It’s only a 14ah battery and charges with regular house power. The manual is adamant about not leaving it connected, which is a little odd considering that your average charger knows when the battery is charged and can back itself off, but in the interest of not burning anything down I carefully watched how long it took to charge when right out of the box – took about 4 hours. If you have any kind of solar power system connected to AC you can charge one of these easy.

    ETA: And as you say, if getting gasoline became a serious problem having a capable electric vehicle handy could become a godsend. As long as you have means to keep it charged.

  3. Kentucky says:

    Couple observations . . .

    Fenders to keep the mud off . . . $89 . . . might be worthwhile.

    Spare battery to extend range . . . $550!!!!! Wow! But trips to town and back . . .

  4. Joel says:

    Yeah – A spare battery would be a no-brainer at half the price. That battery does unlock and lift out of there very easily. But $550 ain’t happening.

    A front fender, on the other hand, I’m going to spring for when I can. The rear, maybe not so much. I can make an undercover for the rack easily with some roll flashing and zip ties.

  5. Ben says:

    “only a 14ah battery” That’s 14ah at 48 volts, which is the same energy as 56ah at 12 volts.

  6. Heathen says:

    Videos from another E bike company:

    Cargo trailer

    Another clip (don’t try this, Torso boy would never approve… )

  7. Norman says:

    A spare battery would be a no-brainer at half the price.

    Spent the last couple of days replacing batteries in a bunch of UPSes and had this thought:

    IIRC from skool decades ago, all electrons look alike and answer to the same name. Is there anything in the bike’s system – such as a “smart” controller – that would prevent a non-manufacturer-supplied battery from delivering adequate volts and amps to perform as a range extender? Cushioning would probably be required, but you do have that luggage rack.

    I’m thinking along the same lines as CZ above.

  8. Ben says:

    The thing runs from 48 volts, so it might be possible to carry (say) four lead-acid jell cells as a range extender, but that might eliminate Joel’s motivation to travel to town because those extra batteries would eat up all of his cargo hauling capability! It’s precisely the
    lightness and compactness of lithium batteries that has made electric bikes so damn tempting!

To the stake with the heretic!