Okay, then. Assume 20 miles range.

I just got back from afternoon chicken chores, riding the electric bike through the wash for the first time because the sand is knocked down a bit and the mud has mostly dried. That will not be a route open to the bike most of the year, as I expected: Fat tires or no fat tires it’s a handful in sand.

I’ve ridden it in a number of different power assist settings and also kind of abused my “electric motorcycle” privilege a few times without recharging, to get a feel for how far it’s safe to go on my hilly dirt roads with fair assurance the battery would get me back. After this morning’s chicken chores the charge indicator was on one bar under load, two bars at rest…


…with the odometer showing 18 miles. This afternoon I took it through the wash, pedaling most of the way. That’s a half-mile shorter, so 1.6 miles round trip, and that final bar doesn’t last. The charge controller never shut me down, but the indicator was blinking any time I used the power at all.

So call it 20 miles dependable range in this terrain. For the record it’s 22 miles, almost exactly, by road from my driveway to the near edge of town and back. That “motorcycle” throttle sucks a lot of juice. I could do a round trip, I’m … pretty sure, but I’d have to stay honest. You can go faster pedaling and it takes about half the indicated amperage of playing motorcyclist. But it’s 22 miles of pedaling.

I can believe a person pedaling on level pavement with a low to middling assist setting could probably go 40 miles with watts to spare, like the ads promise – I was pleasantly surprised to have gone so far on one charge out here.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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7 Responses to Okay, then. Assume 20 miles range.

  1. Mike says:

    Considering the terrain that you’re riding in, this result isn’t too bad. Thanks for the honest review.

  2. bill says:

    This bike can really be great for stuff you need to do around the homestead. Happy for you, Joel.

    Old pants legs (sewn up like re-usable grocery bags) hanging from handle-bars work well for carting around things. But you probably already know that.

  3. Ben says:

    Yep, 20 miles of real-world range is something that should be pretty damn useful to a desert hermit.

  4. Winston Smith says:

    Any way to rig up a solar panel for a bit of charge while on those road/town trips?

  5. If there’s an accessible power plug available in town, carrying the charger along could be sufficient. Ride into town, get a partial charge while doing business, ride back.

  6. Beans says:

    Neat. Now you need a trailer for torso-boy, a rifle mount, chainsaw mount (maybe pointing forward like a bayonet…)

    Or at least two panniers or large bags to hang on either side of the rear wheel…

  7. Joel – the odds are high that other people who already own that type of bike have experimented and found work-arounds and hacks for the battery that may be less expensive that just buying an extra. I know you’ve said that you’re not talented at searching things out online – but I’d just about bet the info is out there. In my own searching around these intertubes I’ve found forums for just about everything I could imagine.

    Toys like that bike appeal (imo) to tech savvy people – the same sort who tend to excel in hacking and diy-ing.

To the stake with the heretic!