New tool! Or possibly toy. Time will tell.

Big Brother decided I needed alternate wheels…


It’s an fat-tired electric bike! Some assembly required, and I’m anxious to get to it but obligated to work on editing proofs for the moment. No hurry, really, because…


…that battery needs to charge for several hours before it’s going anywhere. The geriatric one-legged hermit isn’t going anywhere on a 70-pound bike without some power assist.

So it’ll be tomorrow before I can play and even then I’ll be stealing the time because I’m tied to my keyboard until this edit pass is done and that looks to go on for several days.

Question 1: To what extent will it climb hills? Question 2, probably quite a ways down the line: Could I take it to town if I needed to? That’s a question I’m going to answer gingerly and in stages, because getting stranded with a dead battery miles from home is not a welcome prospect. Fortunately there’s no great urgency to try at present but it would be a good alternative to have in my pocket.

BB thoughtfully included a spare tire tube and rear cargo rack, and I’ve got some other accessories coming. At an absolute minimum it’ll be a pleasant way to move between neighbors on nice days, and electricity is free. Jeep fuel, not so much.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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23 Responses to New tool! Or possibly toy. Time will tell.

  1. Benjamin says:

    A hippy I worked with last year had one, he could do 20+ mph uphill. He used it on non-rainy days to commute to work and would take it on trails for fun.

  2. terrapod says:

    Hey Joel!! If that rack will hold an older Trojan battery or two….distance will be no issue :o)

    Just kidding (sort of). A couple of those 12 Amp hour recharger batts don’t weigh much and will extend range quite a bit.

  3. Michael Gilson says:

    When my nieces were growing up on a ranch in Wyoming, my sister and brother in law put foam rubber inner tubes in the tires of their bikes so they wouldn’t constantly go flat on cactus thorns. The inner tubes were sold at the same box store they got the bikes at. Obviously foam has higher rolling resistance than air, I don’t know if they make them anymore, and if they would come in the size of your tires.

  4. R says:

    The fat tires run well at low pressure and are less likely to puncture but slime in the might be a useful backup.

    There’s a lot of potential energy in a lithium battery of that size, charge it where it can’t burn anything important.

  5. Beans says:

    If this bike works, then next get a nice trailer for it. You should be able to carry at least one 5 gallon carboy. Or a bunch of chickens. Even your trail maintaining tools.

    Hope this works for you.

  6. Mike Donathan says:

    Be real anxious to get a number of follow up reports on the bike. As far as I know, they are built here in Seattle and I’ve been looking at the same bike to use as a hunting rig. A lot of the big timber operations have gated off property primarily to stop dumping and the sort. They allow walking, horses and bikes (not motorcycles) to get into good hunting ground. If that bike and a trailer with maybe 150 lbs of gear would go 15 miles uphill and then back, I’d be a buyer.

  7. Beans says:

    What Mike D. said. They make some good game carts and heavy duty bike wagons. Even getting some panniers for the back would be good, as long as the weight is balanced.

    I’ve seen some really fancy beach fishing rigs built on beach bikes (much like what Joel has, wide tires, big frames, etc. Neat things can be done with 5 gallon buckets on either side of rear tires, and clamps on the frame for rods and stuff.

  8. bravokilo says:

    Now I’M excited. I should try to get out more.

  9. Norman says:

    Random thought….is the electron consumption of the bike such that a very small DC generator powered by an equally very small hydrocarbon-fueled internal combustion reciprocating engine might be a suitable range extender or adequate source of additional electrons in the event of inadequate battery capacity to get home?

  10. Wyowanderer says:

    In the desert, pokie things abound (as if I need to tell you). I also suggest some tire sealant and a frame mounted pump to help you not need to walk the bike when the sharp things poke the tires.
    https://www.amazon.com/Slime-10009-Ounce-Automotive-Accessories/dp/B000BOC2E2

  11. Tahn says:

    Joel,
    I will be very much looking forward to your experience with this. Bless you BB!

  12. Joel says:

    In the desert, pokie things abound (as if I need to tell you). I also suggest some tire sealant and a frame mounted pump to help you not need to walk the bike when the sharp things poke the tires.

    Yeah – not getting stranded farther than walking distance from home is a first-tier concern of mine at all times. BB sent a spare tube, and (having much more recent experience with bikes than I do) has also ordered a CO2 inflator I didn’t even know existed. I have tube patches and a large tool bag coming, along with a heavy lock.

    The tires supposedly already have a liner between the tire and the tube, but I’m already well aware that nothing is “puncture-proof.” I’m not a fan of Slime, though I suppose imbalance might make less difference on a bike’s tire than a car’s. For all I know it makes more difference, they go slower but the wheels are so much lighter.

    I assembled the bike last night, though I’m having trouble with the fasteners on the rear rack and need to go back with better tools. With the front wheel on it’s intimidatingly large – I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bike with 26″ wheels. I plugged the battery back in this morning and will go check it in a couple of hours. The manual is pretty adamant about not leaving the charger plugged in, and replacement batteries are $550 so there’s unlikely to ever be a spare. I only rode it briefly last night to make sure the gearing worked and I’m looking forward to learning how to run it powered.

  13. Mike says:

    Very nice, and I don’t write that lightly. I’m looking forward to reading the after action reports of you riding this cool contraption. :^)

    Note to BB, you are a very thoughtful, generous person for doing this.

  14. jabrwok says:

    This is cool and all, but I’m starting to wonder whether a mule might not be a better investment!:-).

    Assuming it could subsist on the local greenery, battery issues wouldn’t be a non-starter.

  15. jabrwok says:

    battery issues wouldn’t be a non-starter.

    “WOULD be a non-starter”.

    Good thing I’m not an editor:-P.

  16. Mike says:

    One last thing…

  17. Claire says:

    Wow. That is a truly princely gift, Joel! You are very fortunate in your choice of big brothers!

    You are now also now officially among the woke. Rad Power Bikes is a sponsor of our local NPR affiliate and gets constant mentions in between the drum beating for gun control and the wails about the plight of the Oppressed Minority of the Moment. 🙂

    My one-and-only experience with battery-operated bike in hilly terrain wasn’t great. But carrying a spare battery might solve that problem — if it arises at all. Your bike is of a new generation & the tech has probably gotten much better.

    Even if it turns out the bike won’t do for long-distance travel, it should be a terrific solution for things like chicken chores. I agree a trailer is a great idea.

    Definitely a wow gift.

  18. Joel says:

    You are now also now officially among the woke. Rad Power Bikes is a sponsor of our local NPR affiliate and gets constant mentions in between the drum beating for gun control and the wails about the plight of the Oppressed Minority of the Moment. 🙂

    Huh. This might explain my sudden desire to find out what a “latte” is. Also, is it true that if you punch someone, that automatically means they’re a fascist? Or are there nuances and subtleties I have not yet become woke about?

  19. Paul Joat says:

    You have to assume they are fascist before you punch them.

  20. Tahn says:

    Mike, Thank you for the above link! I want a Radwagon.

  21. Mark Matis says:

    I’m sure Laddie would love to ride in a wagon behind that bike!
    };-]

  22. Kentucky says:

    “Huh. This might explain my sudden desire to find out what a “latte” is. Also, is it true that if you punch someone, that automatically means they’re a fascist? Or are there nuances and subtleties I have not yet become woke about?”

    Well, if you catch yourself considering trying out alternative personal pronouns you might wish to reconsider a few things.

    😉

  23. Kentucky says:

    In support of my above comment . . .

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzNGkwGYE4E&feature=youtu.be

    😉

To the stake with the heretic!