Monday, June 22, 2015

If an E-Bike Rides in a Forest... It Can Be Unexpectedly Fabulous!

Grass Routes Kalkhoff E-Bike
Well, my friends: It has happened. As a flock of pigs makes its way over a frozen infernal landscape, I submit to you this account of my unexpected weekend adventure. The excuse I shall use, is that it all began with a car. You see, we were heading home from a long trip. And at some point I must have begun to make that barely audible howling noise which my Companion has come to recognise as "too much time in a motorised vehicle; meltdown imminent." Luckily, we were approaching the Glenveagh National Park at the time, and so a unanimous deciduous was made to stop and take a walk though its majestic lands before continuing home. Just as we pulled into the car park we noticed a herd of bicycles spread out fetchingly beside a van that seemed to be promoting their hire. Confirming this impression was the helpful sign: GrassRoutes E-Bikes. E-bikes! Oh boy. We strolled over to have a look at them - not intending to ride them at all, mind you; just curious about the construction and weight. But one thing led to another. And long story short: I have finally tried a bicycle with electric assist.

Grass Routes Kalkhoff E-Bike
To provide some background: I would categorise my attitude toward e-bikes as disinterested. I have never been "against" them as some cycling purists are. But I do consider e-bikes to be a different category of machine from ordinary bicycles. And it is ordinary bicycles that interest me. Hence: no e-bikes for me, and (usually) no e-bike content on Lovely Bicycle. That said, I have nonetheless been meaning to try one some day - if only to experience it for myself. It was only a matter of the right circumstances coming together. And now here we were, in a beautiful forest with undulating terrain and no bicycles of our own. Why not explore the place on a couple of e-bikes? And so we did.

Grass Routes Kalkhoff E-Bike
So, what sort of creature do we have here exactly? The machine before you is a Kalkhoff Agattu: An upright, all-terrain, fully equipped step-through bicycle with an 8-speed internally geared hub and an Inpulse Drive e-assist system (in case it doesn't jump out at you visually, the battery is behind the seat tube).

Grass Routes Kalkhoff E-Bike
The Agattu is available both in ordinary and e-assist versions. It is a versatile model that incorporates both mountain bike and city bike elements, with features that include: an aluminium drop-frame with ultra-low stepover, suspension fork, fat tyres, swept-back handlebars, integrated dynamo lighting, fenders and rear rack. A range of gearing options and extras are available for both the e-assist and ordinary versions, including a belt drive option.

Grass Routes Kalkhoff E-Bike
Like all Kalkhoff bicycles, the Agattu e-bike is manufactured in Germany, at the Derby Cycle factory in Cloppenburg. For those unfamiliar with Kalkhoff Cycles, this brand has existed since 1919, producing transport and touring bicycles. You can still find Kalkhoffs from various eras throughout Europe today, ranging from fancy pre-WWII roadsters to practical '80s trekking bikes, and to what you see on their website today. In 1989 Kalkhoff was acquired by Derby Cycle, with little impact on production methods.

Grass Routes Kalkhoff E-Bike
Kalkhoff/ Derby began producing e-bikes in 2007, quickly acquiring an excellent reputation in this niche of the industry. The bicycle I rode came equipped with their proprietary Inpulse system, of which there are now several versions. The version here has about a 100km (60 mile) range, before the battery needs recharging.

Grass Routes Kalkhoff E-Bike
A control mechanism mounted to the left handlebar allows the rider to regulate the e-assist's power -from low, to medium, to high.

Grass Routes Kalkhoff E-Bike
On the right handlebar is an ordinary twist-style 8-speed gear shifter for changing speeds.

Grass Routes Kalkhoff E-Bike
The experience of getting on the Agattu e-bike was no different from that of a regular utility bicycle. The upright position and low drop-frame make it welcoming to hop and and ride in ordinary clothing. To start with, I set the e-assist power on medium and set off.

I felt the e-assist "kick in" as soon as I pushed off to begin riding. And I mean this literally - as the sensation is like that of a little kick to the pedals on the rider's behalf - making the bicycle start from a stop with a slight jolt. By no means an unpleasant or disbalancing sensation, it is nonetheless distinctly felt when pushing off from a stop.

Grass Routes Kalkhoff E-Bike
One the e-bike got going (which was more or less instantaneous) it felt like any other comfy and reasonably zippy upright bicycle. I was rolling along the unpaved forest trail nicely, but I was definitely pedaling with no sense of the e-assist helping me along - until I tried to put the proverbial hammer down and quickly accelerate. At this point, the e-assist again kicked in (more smoothly this time than from a dead start) and helped me - so that the acceleration I wanted took place, but without the power I'd expected to apply in order to make it happen.

Grass Routes Kalkhoff E-Bike
The e-assist worked in the same way when applying power in a headwind, as well as when going up inclines. Whichever gear I'd be in, pushing myself up a hill (or against the wind) in that gear took less effort than it normally would.

Grass Routes Kalkhoff E-Bike
As far as I can make out, the e-assist function on bikes with the Inpulse system is not engaged continuously, but kicks in when power is applied beyond a certain threshold. So the rider is always putting in some effort when pedaling, but never too much effort. And, of course, you can regulate the effort threshold at which the e-assist kicks in, by adjusting the power setting and the gear you are in. Switching between the low, medium and high settings, I could feel the difference distinctly.

Grass Routes Kalkhoff E-Bike
Considering the unpaved forest trails - which got rough and twisty at times in the off the beaten path areas we wandered into - being helped up the loose, steep stretches was a particularly cool sensation. Nevertheless, I never felt as if I wasn't doing any work. As the GrassRoutes organisation that hires out the e-bikes puts it:
Effort is still required - but not nearly as much. Steep hills become moderate and easily managed, moderate hills feel like gentle slopes and gentle slopes barely exist. The miles clock up without you even noticing.
Grass Routes Kalkhoff E-Bike
This proved to be very true in our case, as we'd ended up venturing way further out on these bikes than we had intended, touring nearly the entire park in the sort of relaxed and leisurely manner that would not have been possible on ordinary bicycles.

What I mean is, that while we certainly could have handled the terrain on non-e bikes, the combination of the very relaxed sitting position and stroll-level effort was attainable thanks to the e-assist specifically. On an ordinary bicycle it would have been a manageable, but yet a different type of ride.

Grass Routes Kalkhoff E-Bike
It was especially telling, I thought, that even my monstrously athletic companion found the Kalkhoff e-bike useful and enjoyable in that sense. In fact, he was absolutely delighted to be riding it and couldn't say enough good things about it. For exploring and taking photos on challenging terrain without it turning into a fitness ride, he feels an e-bike could be the right tool for the job - even for those who don't "need" the assist.  He'd certainly rent it again himself, without a shred of embarrassment. And for couples and groups with disparate abilities, he feels it is an absolutely ideal equalising tool.

Grass Routes Kalkhoff E-Bike
We also both felt that, e-assist aside, the Kalkhoff Agattu in itself was an impressively comfortable and well-handling bicycle for relaxed forest trail riding. Part of the Kalkhoff "Active" range, the geometry and construction seem to combine MTB and utility bike elements in just the right way to get the best of both worlds (as opposed to the other way around, as often happens with this category of bicycle). We'd be curious to try the non-e version.

Grass Routes Kalkhoff E-Bike
As for the e-bike, I must admit that I enjoyed the experience far, far more than I expected to. Especially in the forest setting, the combination of the Agattu's handling, smooth ride, and the e-assist was an absolute blast. Of course, to what extent this has to do with the specific Kalkhoff e-bike I tried, as opposed to e-bikes in general, I cannot say. There are lots of different e-assist systems on the market at this point. And you will forgive me, but unfortunately I do not plan to go out and test a variety of them just to answer that question! Overall, I remain uninterested in e-bikes as a category. But more than ever, I acknowledge their usefulness. And I know that they can be a lot of fun! I may even rent one myself again under the right circumstances.

Grass Routes Kalkhoff E-Bike
In fact, I see pretty big potential for e-bikes in rentals specifically. People who do not normally cycle a lot but may want to rent bikes on holiday would find the e-assist function especially helpful. And with the rental company taking care of things like maintenance and battery change, using an e-bike would be a hassle-free process. It makes a lot of sense.

Grass Routes Kalkhoff E-Bike
As far as private ownership? In theory it can certainly make sense, for those who live in hilly areas and want to cycle for transportation without having to put in heroic efforts each and every time - particularly with heavy cargo, or children on board. Keep in mind, however, that the e-bike version of the Kalkhoff Agattu weighs 60lb and costs over 2,700€ (that's roughy $3,000 or £2,000 at today's rates). For comparison, the non-e assist version of the same model, weighs 40lb and costs aroud 600€. Considering those figures, I am not sure how many people will find it worthwhile to flat-out purchase this e-bike, wonderful riding as it is. The cost is high. And the weight might present a problem for pushing the bike should the battery run out, as well as for taking the bike along on holiday either attached to or inside an ordinary motor vehicle. On a budget of $3,000, I personally would find it more worthwhile to build up a comfy, compact, lightweight upright-ish bike with super-low gearing instead. And I could still always rent an e-bike if the situation called for it. Small scale companies such as GrassRoutes even rent them out overnight, as well as to groups for all sorts of trips and adventures at very reasonable prices.

Grass Routes Kalkhoff E-Bike
And whether on a rental or your own bicycle, should you ever find yourself planning a trip to Ireland, a visit to Glenveagh National Park in County Donegal is a must. It is truly a beautiful, peaceful, magical place like no other.

With thanks to GrassRoutes and Kalkhoff for the opportunity to try this e-bike and for answering my questions. Full picture set can be found here.

42 comments:

  1. Hmm . . . much the same as you, I was surprised at the fun I had on an e-bike. However, I would liken it more to my enjoyment of a moped or electric scooter. I personally found the experience less 'bikey' than I had actually anticipated. A lovely alternative transport but not for me on a regular basis. However, I have 2 older friends (1 of whom has bad knees) who get the pink back in their cheeks because of their much loved e-bikes.

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    1. Interesting. I found it "more bikey" than anticipated. I think that I had vaguely expected these machines to allow you to coast endlessly, only pedaling once in a while to apply the e-assist. Instead, I pedaled it like a regular bicycle - only the terrain felt easier than what it was.

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    2. I believe this version of ebike is designed to specifically only "assist" you while you are actually pedaling as opposed to many others that just work like a low strength motor so you can "coast" while just using the electric motor to go. So it has the effect of making you "stronger".

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    3. Ah. So many types of e-bikes. So little time.

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  2. Velouria goes electric... anyone shout "Judas!" at you? ;)

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  3. I thought I recognized County Donegal. My cousins live in Port Salon (adjacent to Lough Swilley). The bicycling around County Donegal are wonderful except for the (occasional) rain. Great article on e-bikes. My son owns one in Oregon and, at the moment, if he had to choose just one bike, it would be the Xtracycle.

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    1. I know the new EdgeRunner model + e-assist is a popular combination. Certainly makes sense for hills and heavy cargo transport.

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  4. "In theory it can make sense, for those who live in hilly areas and want to cycle for transportation without having to put in heroic efforts each and every time - particularly with heavy cargo, or children on board."

    Amen, sister - http://bostonbybike.blogspot.com/2015/05/ed-becomes-eddie.html

    BTW, that's typical Ulster summer? Seriously? We are frying here in Boston and you are wearing winter coats!

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    1. Thinking the same thing - hats, coats, what temp is it in NI in June/July?

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    2. Oh come on. You can clearly see that I take the coat *and* the hat off in some of the pictures. By the end of the ride, temps rose to something crazy like 16°C!

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  5. Unexpectedly fabulous is not a bike thing, it's a living thing. Get out and try something different. Let go for a moment and you, too, may be surprised. Just saying.

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  6. Senior citizens travelling at warp caught me off guard when I first arrived in Switzerland. E-bikes are quite popular here.

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  7. What a beautiful forest - lovely photos and the E-Bike looks fun - I would certainly try one if the opportunity arose. I know an older man who has one and it's just the best for him, allowing him to cycle and carry shopping, I'm sure there are many people who could benefit from riding this type of bike.

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  8. It's a bit "ironic" to have a dynamo lighting system on an ebike. Though I supposeit guarantees you'll always have lights and keeps the bike more standard with the non ebike version.

    I wonder if any of the ebike system makers are using regenerative braking to capture brake energy to recharge batteries.

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    1. From what I can tell, most if not all Kalkhoff models come standard with dynamo lighting. It is just a basic component to them. But yeah. I would be a lot more enthusiastic about e-assist as a concept if it were possible for the rider to generate the e as part of the cycling process itself, just as with the dynamo lighting.

      Re regenerative braking (oops, my autocorrect almost made it "barking"): The "Copenhagen Wheel" company and a few others have been working on different versions of that; not sure how close it is to being truly accessible to the consumer though.

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    2. German law specifies that bikes need to be fitted with lights meeting a certain standard at point of sale, with exceptions for road bikes and mountain bikes. That's meant that almost all modern city and hybrid bikes on sale in Germany are equipped with hub dynamos, and the cost of dynamo lighting setups has fallen dramatically. I have a VSF Fahrradmanufaktur (non-E) bike and the Shimano hub dynamo setting is one of my favourite things about it - you can never forget your lights, worry about them being stolen or find your batteries are flat, which makes it perfect for all year round commuting.

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    3. True about the law, but I know of a good few brands which manage to get around it. In any case, I am a big fan of integrated lighting on transport bikes, so no complaints about Kalkhoff including them as standard here.

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  9. Thank you for reviewing this e-bike. I've been curious about them but the weight, cost and use factor held me back from purchasing one, and still does. Your review does clarify the ride quality on this bike. Another point, I know of no bike racks that would take an e-bike to another location to ride, as they are too heavy. There may be a type of rack out there but I haven't heard of one so far.

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    1. There are numerous e- bikes that fold; check out prodecotech.com. They fit in the back of a car easily.

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  10. After 20 years of not riding, I got an e-bike to get back into cycling. The confidence that I would not run out of steam on the way back allowed me to expand my distances and strength. I've recently sold it and use a manual bike exclusively, but I now I will eventually get another e-bike when my knees finally give out. I prefer the throttle models, though, as you can decide when to use the extra boost which allows for more exercise. For city riding, it works great to clear intersections and defeat hills, but no boost is necessary on flats.

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    1. That's interesting that you switched from e-bike to ordinary bike. The more familiar to me trajectory is: person gets city or cargo bike, finds it too difficult t pedal uphill, and then either gets an e-motor for it or switches to an e-bike. Glad it worked out for you and got you into "real" (joking) bicycling!

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  11. My wife and I have been bicycle touring in Connemara, County Galway, for the last three days and are not surprised that you're still wearing cold-weather clothes. I think the temperature touched 60F on Monday, but Sunday, we had four layers of t-shirts, jerseys and rain gear for a slog through the rain from Oughterard to Carna and still shivered. On a happier note, out in Cleggan today we met a couple from France -- he on a road bike and she on an electric. It was her first time bike touring, she was having a great time and said she was happy that she could keep up. Later, we met another couple, from Germany. Again, she was on an electric and he on a human-powered machine. Both said they enjoyed the arrangement. My wife and I are on a tandem, which is working very well on the downhill segments, although I have to admit we'd welcome a little electric assist on the climbs.

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    1. E-bike as solution to keep up with roadie spouse! Never occurred to me but kind of cool.

      FWIW I love the weather here : ) Unless it's too windy to cycle. Or the road is flooded. Or... oh never mind!

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  12. I've tried a few at local demos, and on every one of them when you quit pedaling the motor turned off. The few that I have seen are owned by older riders that want some help on the hills. Most of them that have the options are running on low or medium assist.

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  13. Good thing your first experience was on a Kalkhoff and not a lot of the poor quality stuff that budding entrepreneurs are marketing.

    Your two negatives were weight and price. Let us address those:

    We run a charitable trust that looked at ebikes that would be suitable to transform urban cycling in New Zealand from a hobby to a mainstream form of transport. We have major urban hills and from time-to-time major wind.

    We concluded kits were better than the overly-expensive and somewhat-clunky ebikes on offer. We then surveyed the field, bought ten different finalists and narrowed the best to the Bafang BBS-01 mid-drive motor. We then sponsored a co-op buy of 27 motor/battery kits that were installed on people’s Gazelle, Pashley, Pedersen, Bella Ciao and Velorbis, as well as more run-of-the-mill bikes. See https://plus.google.com/photos/106489709579834210265/albums/6163774702016634289 for photos of the install day.

    You can take almost any bicycle that has the standard 34-36mm x 68-70 mm bottom bracket and install the mid-drive BBS-01 kit. Mail order out of China, the cost for a complete kit (motor/battery/shipping) is about US$1,000 plus customs duty, if any. Anyone competent with tools can install it. For Americans we recommend the more powerful BBS-02 kit (Europe 250W / USA 750W). We recommend em3ev.com run by an Englishman in China as the best mailorder supplier.

    The motor kit weighs 3.9 kg. The batteries we ordered weighed 2 kg each, so you are safe to say converting a bicycle to an ebike adds about 6 kg (13 lbs).

    If you buy a Bella Ciao Ingegnere Due (10 kg/ 1,350 € [$1,500]) you have a much finer ebike that weighs 16 kg (35 lbs) and costs $2,500 / €2,200 / £1,600.

    If you go with a Pashley Poppy (15.6kg/£500 [$800], you’re looking at 21kg (46lbs) and costs $1,800 / €1,600 / £1,150 .

    If you add one to a bike already in your garage, it adds 10kg and $1,000 and nothing really changes in regard to your riding. You can always remove the kit and restore the bike later when you want to upgrade... and when the battery wears out after 1,000 recharge cycles, you just order another, since it is not proprietary to the ebike.

    So as you can see, adding a kit to a classic (or a banger) costs less and delivers more than a premade ebike. Having said that if you have three grand for the 60lb (27 kg) Kalkhoff and don't need to carry it up the stairs, it's a fine brand.

    We would agree with your overall assessment of the ebike, it is a different form of transport than riding a bicycle, even when it is a kit on a classic bike. The normal bike rider (who uses a car) finds when they buy an ebike or put on a kit, they ride longer distances, ride more often, up bigger hills and in windier weather. It's not unusual to see a two-car family become a one-car, plus two-ebike family. It also proves a success for couples wanting to ride together... the stronger male who is always leaving his lady behind now finds she keeps up fine on her upright Dutch, in heels, while he sweats up a storm in lycra on his 36-speed titanium wiz-bang (it was amusing to watch the marital dynamics of that one). Ebike kits are a game changer for families with kids on cargo bikes as well, and security and delivery companies are buying them in bulk. The most unexpected market we saw was convicted drunks whose license was taken by the court (we worry about that market). Down under where we have a lot of ferry transport, the ebikes are allowed on for free, which is exceptionally convenient as Auckland is moving toward perpetual gridlock.

    Glad to read your write-up - a lot of people follow your blog, and "giving permission" to check out ebikes means more two-wheelers on the road. The more bikes, no matter how they are powered, the safer it will be for us all.

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    1. Wow. Thank you for your informative comment. That is some neat stuff you do at your shop. And a Bella Ciao e-bike! I bet the BC fellows never expected that.

      Would be interesting to try bicycles I am already familiar with, such as the Pashley, various vintage roadsters and Bella Ciao, with the e-bike kit. Too bad I cannot just drop by your shop - it looks great.

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    2. Yeah, we tried to convince Mattheus to give it a go, but his firm is not structured as a limited liability company, so he was reluctant to take the risk. In time, he may come around though.

      Of all the bikes we put the motors on, I have to say, the BC is my personal favourite. However, when I go to town on the ferry, I take the 1951 Raleigh DL1 because it is more resistant to salt spray and takes the abuse of potholes better.

      NZ is a long way from Ireland, but I'll put the word out. There may be someone in Ireland who has done the conversion on something interesting. If you get to San Francisco, we left another DL-1 with a fellow in Ukiah. He's babysitting it, but you would be welcome to try it out.

      It is quite an experience to hop on a bike you have ridden for years the first time you replace the crank with a motor. On the flat, it's the same bike, but as soon as you hit that killer hill it's like magic. You pedal a bit harder, but it really just feels normal... until you tap the button, cut the power and realise how the motor quadrupled your leg power (the normal rider pedals 100W, Tour de France rider pumps 400W, the ebike adds 250W to your legs).

      We're now seeing a lot more bikes on the island, almost all with motors. A Scottish friend of mine just picked up a 1950's BSA which he is now upgrading with hub brakes, hub dynamo and a lot of needed TLC (but the old way, with a hand paint brush) that will have a second life as a ebike. It's a beauty that otherwise would have been bound for the tip. He's older than the bike, and his grandchildren are thrilled that he's back on two wheels.

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  14. Couldn't help but notice - are those running on Continental City Ride tires? Kind of a coincidence because I just now put a pair of City Ride IIs on my "new" '72 Schwinn 3-speed which someone had installed standard 26 x 1-3/8" rims on, thank goodness. A tad wider, maybe heavier than Delta Cruisers and they feel plush yet strong. With these tires, the bike feels more like a tank than before (because it is) and it's not as zippy as my Raleigh Sports but I quite like it.

    As for e-bikes, my opinion is just as yours was - disinterested, but not against them. the only reason I've tried one is because there is one sitting in our office, as Genze of Ann Arbor is nearby. My opinion after trying the e-bike is similar to yours as well. And it's funny that you mentioned a bike rental because part of our office deals with the bike share - they are basic, aluminum-framed 3-speed city bikes and I am the one guy who drives around in a box truck keeping all 100 of them maintained. Lots of work, but it's what I love to do!

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    1. Yup. Though looking at their website I don't think those are the default tires for this model. Not a fan of most Conti tyres myself.

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    2. Oh I see. Just wondering, in your opinion, where do the Continentals usually fall short? I can't say I'm a seasoned expert when it comes to tires so I'm still reading around trying things out to see what I like. I love the Delta Cruisers on my Raleighs (which I chose after reading your reviews with Lucy 3-speed) but I figured I wouldn't learn anything if I didn't try something else for the new bike. After having ridden for a couple more days, I can confirm the City ride tires are a bit heavier and more sluggish than the Delta Cruisers. However, I did put a pair of Conti Super Sports on a road bike that has since found a new owner and have to say I enjoyed them quite a bit, but it was my first set of slick/semi slick tires so I had no point of comparison.

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    3. For me it's the way they feel: harsh and "dead." And oddly enough it's across the board, from their road tires to city tires, etc. Not everyone finds Contis to have this quality, but some do - so it's obviously a personal preference. If you like them, that's great. They are certainly made to a high standard and are very durable.

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    4. Oh, okay. Thanks for the response! I suppose I will continue to find my own preference as I wear through and try different sets of tires. And if I haven't said this before, I appreciate your writing about your experiences here. I know most of this is subjective, but it gives a good point of reference and lots of info to think about. Thanks for that :)

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  15. I've only ridden an E-Bike twice for a total of maybe 5 or 6 miles, but, like you I thought parts of the experience were terrific. As a bicycle it was sort of heavy and not very nimble or eager to do anything saucy, but what it was really good at was giving me this feeling of being freaking SUPERMAN. To be able to go uphill as easily as that, to fear no headwind and not have to forgo an interesting side road because you are maybe a bit tired already, and all without any annoying noise or consciously fiddling around with a throttle or switches was like getting to be some sort of junior Super Hero. It's like the rush you get when you use the restroom at an Elementary School and have that little moment of "This must be like what it feels like to be a GIANT!" Which I dig.

    Last summer I watched as a 30ish woman on an E-Bike rolled off the ferry to Bainbridge Island with a pack of serious looking racer types and then left them for dead in the frantic massed start hillclimb. She didn't look like she was grinning because of the thrashing she was giving a bunch of middle aged guys on $5,000 bikes so much as because she was just having fun hauling up a big ass hill. Nothing wrong with that.

    I don't want one of my own but if I any of my friends get a good one they better lock it up. Because it would be perfect for riding to a cabin I have a key to. Now if I want to ride my bike out there I have to either send my gear with someone heading that way, ferry it out in the car or haul it myself on my bike. Which isn't a bad thing except it means it stops being a fun 3 hour ride on my favorite bike on back roads with a ton of dirt and climbing and becomes a 5 hour slog with 20 pounds of gear and water up those same roads or 4 hours on a busy rural highway with no shoulders on a bike that isn't as much fun (and I get there long after dark if I leave after work on Friday). I'd do it more if it weren't so much hoo-ing and haw-ing to get out there. A bunch of these for rent somewhere would probably get used for a bunch of stuff we do now in cars or on motorbikes.

    Spindizzy

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  16. Having built my own bicycle, I take care about what is named “Q factor”, I mount the least narrow bottom bracket I can (107 mm).
    So, you’re a middle height person and I’m not sure this bike is good for you ? Nonetheless, electric motor can alleviate this discomfort for long distance.

    L.

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    1. The wide BB didn't bother me over the time I rode this bike. Then again, on an upright bike Q-factor seems less important/noticeable than on a road bike.

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  17. Never seen you smile so much! But, of course, it could be due to the gorgeous surroundings, or many other factors than just the e-bike. Never the less, I am happy for you to be happy!

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    1. I don't often get photographed in action : )

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  18. I'm fairly certain I'll eventually get one. They're very popular around here, though I've had one German woman admit to me that she "put's this [pannier] on the back to hide the battery."

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  19. For anybody reading the comments still, there is a cool e-bike post on Jan Heine's blog. He tried one in Japan and came to some interesting conclusions.

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  20. I recently test road a Faraday Porteur (https://www.faradaybikes.com) and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It was a great day for a test ride -- lots of wind and up some moderate hills (typical to my normal commute) and it just felt like an easy ride around town. I also like that it's light (about 39 lbs) for an e-bike, evenly weighted, and doesn't look electric at all because the battery is hidden in the down tube. The main downside is price -- not that I'm saying it's not worth it, just that it's pretty steep (as are most e-bikes). I'd probably have to sell my Oma first. I think I could live with my Raleigh for leisure and a Faraday for commuting, but would be interested to hear if anyone else has thoughts on the Porteur though.

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