Best Commute Possible? Why an eBike might be the answer.

As many cyclists already know, in a city like Toronto, commuting by bicycle is faster than cars and motorcycles, and now using big data from smartphones it has been proven. 

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Significant data gathered from the smartphones of delivery companies (i.e. Deliveroo) and couriers, shows that peddled two-wheel city travel is faster than motor-driven vehicles, and with this evidence, that fact would now seem irrefutable.

However, the relative speed of a city commute isn’t the only consideration regarding the best way to commute, other factors are fairly important as well, especially in today’s ever-quickening pace of life. One must also consider the fitness factor, the mental health aspect, the environmental impact and the benefit of arriving at your place of work, or home at the end of the day, in a refreshed, more buoyant mood.

But, I hear you say, what about arriving in a lathered-up state of sweat and needing a shower. Well my friends, that’s where eBikes come into the picture.

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It’s not that you can’t get a serious work out on an eBike, it’s just that you don’t have to, it’s all your choice to control. This is one of the fabulous things about commuter eBikes, they actually increase the ways you can use them. Commute? Obviously, even faster than a regular bike. Little errands? Easy, Smeasy. Take the kids to daycare? Add the accessories to safely accommodate your needs, and it’s one of the best ways to teach kids the fun of physical activity as a way of life. And of course, just heading out for a leisurely and fun ride, alone or with others, brings out the smiles that cycling always creates on the faces of riders.

Should you want a workout kind of ride, just turn the ‘e’ system off and ride it like a regular bike. How you choose to ride is up to you, full control is at your fingertips at any time. This is what gives you a wider range of use with an eBike.

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Of course, there is another angle to consider regarding commuting by pedal-power and it talks to an intangible human trait relating to the added peace of mind attained from doing something good the world’s environment, and in a small yet important way, for the benefit of all humanity.

Through this independent move to a friendlier way to commute, we help make a change by becoming a part of a mass movement in altering society’s direction. Choosing to cycle to work or school may seem like a small act, but collectively, people around the world are doing just that in increasing numbers.

Check online to learn how this movement is getting more people on two-wheels than ever, and if you would like to understand why, come in to any of our Gears shops to test ride an eBike. You will quickly understand why this is the fastest growing segment in the cycling universe!

 

See you in the shop, or out there…

Cycling The 6ix


Photos Thanks to Specialized Bicycles | @specialized_ca

Kelly Rides | The Future of the eMtb Event Category

When asked to work the outside eBike test ride area at the fall bike show, I replied with an enthusiastic yes knowing there would be interesting conversations ahead about eBikes.

Sure enough there were, and one of the most interesting ones was with a woman named Kelly. She owns an eBike along with a couple of other regular bikes, but she wanted to know what I thought the future of Electric Bikes might look like. That lead to a deeper conversation and a follow up meeting where she laid out her interest in testing an eBike-based initiative next summer!

 

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In her outreach to learn about eBiking opportunities, Kelly came across the organizer of Crank the Shield, a 3-day stage race in the area of Sault Ste. Marie. Crank the Shield is an awesome event, and this year it is opening up a new category for eMtb’s. “eMTB” meaning electric-pedal-assist mountain bikes.

Kelly is nothing if not gung-ho, so upon learning of the event, she decided to enter the 2019 race in the eMtb category. Now came the hard part; gaining confidence that she could actually do it, and getting ready for the challenge. That’s when I got the call.

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Although she has a mountain bike and enjoys riding trails, she felt the only way to do those kind of distances in that kind of terrain would be on an eMtb. To understand the feel of an eMtb, she wanted to ride one for a weekend and asked if we would rent one to her for that purpose. Since we just recently started renting eMtb’s, it was easy to say yes.

Kelly required an extra-small frame and the one we had in that size was the Liv Vall-e. We set it up and off she went to see how she felt about undertaking the race. Already mid-November, the weekend weather was still looking great, especially riding on a new eMountain Bike.

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We caught up Friday for her report on the eBike, and how she felt about it regarding the potential for doing the race. Kelly started with declaring she loved the experience and was definitely getting her own.

On Saturday, she had gone to Albion Hills for 3 hours of riding both double and single track. Overall, she enjoyed it but the 28 kms she covered (mostly in eco mode) chewed through 40% of the battery life. Clearly, she would need to get a bike with a bigger battery to be able to cover the 75km first leg of CTS.

The next day, off she went to Hardwood Hills where she found a white winter wonderland to make riding a little trickier. An example of that was the spinouts that occurred climbing when she applied too much torque. Even with some snow challenges, Kelly still stayed out for 1 1/2 hours riding mostly in the Eco power setting, and during the entire ride, she saw no one else, only a deer that appeared about 20 feet away. Ahhh, to be out in nature!

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After a few days to filter through her impressions, Kelly’s assessment is that she hopes to find a lighter eMtb, with a shorter wheelbase and at least a 650 Wh battery to complete the distances she will be riding.

Armed with all that information, the job now is to find the best eMtb for a determined woman who is going to ride her first Crank the Shield event.


Cycling The 6ix

#kellyrides #emtb #gearselectric #empoweredbygears

Baby it’s cold outside // Winter with Your eBike

Okay, let’s face it. The days are getting shorter and colder. Fall is officially here and winter is not far behind…

If you ride an eBike, you may be wondering about whether your bike can handle the cold. Well, the short answer is yes. However, there as several things you should consider to help keep your bike running properly and efficiency during the cold weather months.


Get your eBike ready for Winter

It is highly recommended that you first give your bike a complete check-over. This is to ensure that your lights, brakes, gears, motor, etc., are all in proper working order. (Not sure who to do this… drop by any Gears Bike Shop or your local eBike Dealer)

Its important to know that rain and snow will have little effect on the bike as all your motor-drive and electrical components are well protected.

 

However, the salt used on many roads in Canada to help clear ice, can have a highly corrosive effect on your bike. Especially your drive train components (i.e.: chain, cassette, etc). It is advisable to wash down your bike with clean water after a messy ride and then dry it off with a rag. Using a “wet” lube on your chain will also help it to shed moisture. Many veteran eBike riders also get a neoprene cover to protect the battery from extreme cold. (i.e.: when the temperature drops below zero)


Your Battery and the Cold

While the battery on your eBike is robust and built to take the day to day effects of riding, it is susceptible to the cold and can easily loose capacity when used during low temperatures. The the temperature drops below zero, it is highly advised that you remove the battery (when not in use) and store it at room temperature – ideally between 15° and 20°C.

When charging the battery, the same rules apply – Lithium-ion batteries should be charged at room temperature.


Winter Storage

Not all of us want to brave the cold and many would prefer to store their eBikes during the winter months. Should you wish to do so, there are a few tips one should consider:

  • Store the bike in a place that is protected from the elements. such as a garage or basement.
  • If the bike is to be stored in an area that is unheated, be sure to remove the battery from the bike and store it inside. Ideally in a dry place where the temperature does not rise above 20°C (high heat and extreme cold will lessen the lifespan of the battery)
  • The battery should also be stored with 30 to 60% capacity and it is advisable to check this a couple of times during the winter. Do not store the battery at 100% charge for long periods of time.

If you plan to call it quits once the ground turns fluffy and white, we also do offer Storage Options for the colder months. Give us a call or visit us in-store for details!


Embrace the winter and don’t be afraid to get out there and enjoy your eBike. And remember… there is truly no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. (which is something we’ll address in a later blog posting)

#RideTheFuture

THIS WEEK IN e… 10/08

eNews

eBike Group Ride World Record
As with all breaking trends, new records are part of establishing the trend as more than just a short-term blip, and more of a major new development.

Now, a world record has been set for the biggest eBike group ride, helping the new phenomenon to become more established in the public’s mind. In Seattle on September 15th, 406 eBiker riders broke the previous record, which was set with 271 riders, by riding a 2 mile circuit around Magneson Park.


eBikes Becoming Increasingly Important
Milan, Italy – There is a growing interest for participating in the e-bike section of the upcoming EICMA motorcycle and bike show.

In Italy and many other countries, eBike mobility is now a growing reality. Italian companies are contributing to the market, not only in manufacturing and sales, but as part of the whole supply chain – suppliers of components, and designers with established patents. In 2017 production in Italy of eBikes increased by 48 percent compared to 2016. Sales of approximately 150,000 in 2017 represented an increase of 19 % over 2016.


Bully for Bulls
The German high-profile eBike company Bulls has released in their words, “the most cutting-edge eMTB bike on the market”. Although somewhat tricky to remember, its name is the E-Core Evo EN Di 2 27.5+, and it offers a high-end dual-suspension, a big twin-core battery pack, all packaged in a sick-looking design.

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Along with a new lightweight eRoad bike concept (below), called the Alpine Hawk Evo featuring the super light and compact Fazua Evation 250 watt drive system. They are e-just two of 14 new Bulls e-bikes announced at Interbike for 2019, including eMTBs, eTrekking, eRoad, eCruiser, eCommuters, and more!

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Haibike Hands Out More Now, and There’s More Coming
The latest Sduron, Xduro and Nduro eBikes from Haibike were displayed at Interbike, and they teased attendees with a preview of their 2020 prototype Flyon eBike featuring the new high torque TQ mid-drive motor system.


Bosch Previews Kiox Colour Display
The latest Kiox color display from Bosch eBike Systems was shown by Claudia Wasko, Director of eBikes, Bosch America. Offering many new features including ride data on speed, rider performance, heart rate, battery charge and more.

While presenting, Claudia also related how more police and fire departments are using eBikes in their range of vehicle fleets, and that increasingly, ski resorts are welcoming eMTBs to their trails.


Survey Predicts Big Future for sCargo Bikes
A 2-year study into the use of ‘Light Electric Freight Vehicles’ concluded that eCargo bikes are a great alternative for perhaps 20% of all delivery vans currently being used in large cities. The study, involving the improvement of city logistics, was conducted in partnership by the Amsterdam and Rotterdam Applied Sciences. A sobering thought was also suggested with the information that various practical problems have yet to be solved.


eBIke Torque Requires Stronger Chains
Specifically, the torque generated from mid-drive motors has been proven to put too much strain on a chain made for regular bikes. This results in early chain wear which also affects the condition of the cassette. The answer is stronger eBike-specific chains.

Showing the industry is on its toes when it comes to eBIke tech developments, stronger chains are now starting to hit the market. A prime example is a chain from TAYA using their exclusive DHT self-lubricated hardness treatment. The process involves applying the treatment on the pins to strengthen them by more than 50% over regular chain pins.


New ‘e’ Trend Fuel For New Frontiers
Now that there is no longer any question about the new and established trend of eBikes, it is seen to be driving the ‘planning & analysis’ of other areas feeding into the trend. Electronics, with the inherent sophisticated software, are finding their way into helmets, locks, brakes with ABS systems, ‘connected’ bikes and as mentioned in a previous post, clothing featuring graphene to make any wearer fully ‘connected’. And we’re witnessing just the beginning.


Bosch PowerTube 500 Wins Award
Reno, Nevada, announced as the 2nd annual eBike Product Innovation award winner, Bosch PowerTube 500 took the prize for its clean integration into the bike frame down tube.

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“We’re proud of this award and to see so many gorgeous PowerTube-equipped eBikes start to hit dealer showrooms,” said Claudia Wasko, Vice President & General Manager of Bosch eBike Systems Americas. “The PowerTube 500 sets a new eBike standard by showing it’s possible to get both a really capable, high-range eBike that looks more and more like a regular bicycle,”

eBikes for Fitness and Health

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University of Basel researchers reported that eBikes are comparable to conventional bikes in promoting health and benefits. Specifically, less-well-trained and/or overweight people can enhance their lives by riding an eBike.

For 10 years, Switzerland has been running a month-long ‘Bike to Work’ program inviting commuters to ride their bike or eBike, and this year nearly 65,000 cyclists participated. The start of the BtW campaign was the starting point for the pilot study.

In short, the researchers from the Dept. of Sport, Exercise & Health, when examining how eBikes compare to conventional bikes in exercise intensity, found them to be similarly effective with comparable health benefits. In addition, after just 4-weeks of training, they found that participants improved their cardiorespiratory fitness. Of the 30 or so volunteer participants who were untrained and overweight, half rode eBikes while the other half rode conventional bikes a distance of over at least 6 km for at least three days.

A month into the program the participants were tested again and found both groups had comparable fitness results as measured by their oxygen uptake capacity. By maintaining this pattern permanently, participants would see their risk of cardiovascular death fall to a clinically-relevant point. As well, both groups were found to have more efficiently working hearts.

A major finding suggested that eBikes can increase motivation in older, overweight people as a way to keep up their fitness training regularly. As well, blood pressure, fat metabolism, and mental well-being was also improved. Overall, the suggestion was that eBikes offer a grand potential for preventing adverse health problems.

Fast on the heels of the above article, Forbes Magazine just ran another article countering the wide-spread notion that using an eBike is ‘cheating’. The article reports that sales of European eBikes in 2017 rose dramatically with 9% increase in the Netherlands, 19% in Germany and a whopping 30% in France. The US was on a similar trend but the 25% Trump tariffs have put a halt to that trend.

At this point in history when climate change is hounding us increasingly, the conventional bike market is in decline. However, eBikes are in the position to help promote increased use of 2-wheel travel by more and more people as the sweat-free fun way to move about during their day.

With all change comes the resistance to said change, and advocates for conventional bikes remain unmoved with comments like ‘eBikes are gadgets for the laziest people’. These people, unfortunately, forget history and the various ways regular cyclists ‘cheat’ while cycling.

After a race in 1902 where a man was defeated by a woman using a bike with a derailleur, it was referred to as a new ‘gadget’ that made cycling easier. It was scoffed at. Of course, there are many more ways cyclists use to make it easier. Riding downhill, crouching over handlebars to create beneficial aerodynamics, drafting behind other riders, and the freewheel that lets a cyclist stop pedalling while moving, are all ways to make cycling easier. Nobody would claim those changes as cheating.

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People using eBikes report good exertion levels as tracked by their wearable fitness-tracking devices. Researchers from the University of Colorado reported in 2016 that eBike riders got an ‘effective workout’ with similar benefits as pedal-only cyclists got.

All these studies and the anecdotal evidence suggest eBikes are definitely a healthy way to travel locally, but as evidence also shows, people who see their traditional way of cycling as the only true way to ride a bike will be the last ones to understand the health and societal benefits. After all, from the time it was introduced in 1902, it took another 32 years before the Tour de France allowed the use of derailleurs. As noted earlier, change is hard for some.

See you out there,

Cycling The 6ix

This Week in e…

Dockless Scooters

BIRD eScooters

Not only are eBikes in, now eScooters are also making the scene, and in a big way. In the search for the solution to the ‘last mile’ – efficiently getting from a drop-off point in a commute to final destination – electric powered Scooters are quickly finding their way.

 

To indicate the power of these little vehicles, you only need to know that the category is attracting billions of dollars in venture capitol. Adding to this is the news that both Uber and Lyft have enthusiastically launched into the dockless eScooter-Share world as part of their inner-city transportation solutions. Notably, Lime and Bird, two eBike-Share companies, are also very much in the game.

Of course, a portion of the market wants their own eScooter for even more convenience. Look for these improbable, yet totally awesome machines in your favourite Gears store soon.

 

Back to the eBike Boom

Turbo Levo Trail Riding Experience

An earlier post on eBike Emporium recalled that the bicycle, one of the most ingenious inventions ever is 200 years old, and that everything old is new again, hence eBikes.

Why the bike has been deemed that way (ingenious invention) is because a bike is the most efficient and healthiest form of transportation. That thinking applied to eBikes simply provides the way for more people to get on bicycles.

 

Graphene and the Bike Business

If you have read about the new wonder material, graphene, you know that its use is being explored in just about every industry. So where is it showing up in the bike biz? Well so far, it is only being used in higher-end tires (Vittoria). But, more is promised.

Graphene, it is said, will be widely used in wearables to create ‘smart’ clothing for Accident-Free Mobility through Internet connectivity. And although clothing is not the first product in which you would expect Graphene to be used, that would be rubber, nonetheless, that is the bold prediction.

Tires are certainly an important part of a bicycle, and the unprecedented characteristics of Graphene improve air-retention, provides lower rolling resistance and improves grip. But its use in apparel, well that’s just batty!

Verge Science, a US-based company, is betting on connected clothing made possible through the use of graphene. Ease of printing on fabric along with superior conductivity makes possible their easily-believed prediction. They say it’s coming in 2019, stay tuned.

Connected clothing brings us closer to total connectivity, a world where everybody and everything is internet connected and thereby closer to accident-free mobility.

Bosch predicts by 2025, more than 470 million connected vehicles will be operating.

 

Bosch Prepares to Provide Connected Mobility Services

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BERLIN, Germany – Bosch plans to become a provider of mobility services. The components manufacturer (for automotive and bike) has a new Connected Mobility Solutions division with 600+ associates developing and selling digital mobility services – vehicle sharing, ridesharing and connectivity-based services.

 

Bosch envisions, not only fundamental changes in the way we travel from A to B through increased connectivity, but also helping to solve today’s traffic problems.

The market for mobility services and other digital services will be worth approximately 140 billion in just four years. Bosch is positioning to leverage that emerging market with significant double-digit growth.

 

New City Bike Drive System from Brose

BERLIN, Germany – Brose has developed their 5th eBike system with the Drive C, a drive system specially designed for city bike models. The design provides smooth power within a 20-70 pedal cadence range, and always delivers 50Nm of torque regardless of cadence level.

As a Brose representative states, “The drive smooths out any inconsistent rider input, which results in a harmonic riding feeling.”

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The unique aspect of the Brose motor is the internal carbon-reinforced belt made by Gates. The benefits from this difference are the reduction of noise and the prevention of vibration transmission to the pedals. If and when battery power runs out, their free-wheel technology decouples the drive allowing peddling as easy as a regular bike.

Along with Drive C, the other motors in the Brose line-up are Drive S Mag & Drive S Alu for mountain bikes, the Drive TF for pedal-assist up to 45kph (illegal in Canada), and the very efficient Drive T for longer-distance touring. All systems are made in Germany.

 

A Better Level of Understanding for Consumers

When it comes to eBikes, we hear one question more than all others; How far will it go? As with all things powered with electricity whether phone, laptop, car, camping lantern or eBike, it’s always on our minds, so it is an important question.

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Although a little murky because of the various claims made from online, less-scrupulous eBike sellers, battery range estimates have been less than accurate with wide degrees of variation. Now that’s about to change.

A new standardized range test called the R200 has been developed in Germany with the intention being to provide assistance to manufacturers in being able to more realistically quote the range of their batteries, and also to help bike shops assist their customers with more accurate information.

Importantly, the new standard achieves reproducible results, which isn’t always the case in the bicycle industry’s eBike sector.

 

 

Trend or full-on major shift!

Although most people in Canada still don’t know about eBikes, or if they have heard, it hasn’t made much impact on them, yet eBikes are showing signs worldwide of causing a major shift in the very way we think of bicycles.

As news about eBikes is increasingly carried in mainstream media, it will become more obvious to more people that there must be something to this new electric bike thing. Well, this news should cause a bit of a stir!

An exciting piece broke this week to help raise the profile of eMountain bikes (#eMtb), a sector of eBikes that, in Europe, is climbing to new heights every month.

Now Canada will be treated to the spectacle of a fully-endorsed UCI* event. The 2019 World Mountain Bike Championships, where the Rainbow Jersey will go to the world’s best eMtb rider, will take place at Mont Sainte Anne, QC August 21-Sept. 1st.

* Union Cycliste Internationale is the world governing body for sports cycling and oversees international competitive cycling events. The UCI is based in Aigle, Switzerland.

 

Awesome Fun for Autumn – Shred Now, Pay Later!

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Now is the time to jam in some extra trail-riding fun for this year. To gear-up for the eMtb Championships next year, one of the very best eMtb products is being offered right now on a ‘pay-later’ promotional event.  

The top-rated Levo from Specialized is available now to allow keeners to get in a full winter riding program while only paying for their ride in the spring. Come into any Gears shop to get the scoop, and scoop up one of these Levo beasts*.

(See “Beasty Boy Does the Don” for full review of the 2018 LEVO)

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My Sweet Ride & The Best Croissant, Ever!

Finally, the ride I’ve been waiting for and working for all summer, is mine. At the beginning of the season, I was teased into thinking it would come my way a little earlier than it did. Oh well, life doesn’t always pan out the way it’s planned out, and who can really complain when all that angst is in the past. Now that I have my Vado 4.0 (I’m naming it EldoVado) I can only look upward and go onward.

Fleur de Jour

Suddenly, with my Specialized Vado, I’m inclined to think up places to go with it. And now that I’m thinking about going places, having a destination would probably be a good idea. Initially and immediately, I thought of food! So I’m going off (on my Vado) in search of food, and in this instance, inspired by a local establishment, the specific food is called the croissant.

Owner FleurduJour

Although probably not that original, I’m calling my search Quest for the Best…and in this croissant case, it’s the quest for the best real French croissant, baked by real French-trained pastry chefs. My best real croissant so far is from my neighbourhood Fleur du Jours at 603 St. Clair W near Wychwood. So now that I have the bar set (and set fairly high I might add), I’m starting to research and plan my next croissant conquest in the Quest for the Best to see if there is a more impressive croissant out there. 

Not only am I personaIy going on this search, I’m inviting anyone who cares to join my quest for the best to send in any entry you feel is deserving to be in the ‘competition’. Once we’ve   got a few competing patisseries to consider, I’ll get croissants from each of them for a ‘formal’ judging.

So now, on to the research. My next post in this quest will follow the leads/suggestions I get. More croissant quests to come…More croissant pounds to pedal away…

 

See you out there,

Cycling The 6ix