Caught in an electric Trance!

Now that we’re done with the obvious, yet necessary pun…

Powerful. Capable. Inspiring. The 2019 Trance SX E+ Pro 1 introduces a different style of riding to your typical rip in the trails and is an experience like no other; from smartphone connectivity to ride quality, this bike is awesome! I rode it around the city and in the Don Valley for two days, and it was hard to get the smile off my face!

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Around the city, the instant power makes stop signs and red lights less of a nuisance, now that your acceleration of the line closely matches a car’s. The 140mm of travel in the rear and 160mm in front, renders potholes, bumps and streetcar tracks meaningless, especially when paired with the beefy 27.5+ tires. For a commuter this monster of a bike gives you confidence, speed and comfort, all while you get to work or school without sweating. It also makes that little piece of single track you pass by that much more tempting, knowing you won’t be late and won’t be defeated by the Dons’ punchy cliffside climbs.

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For my own riding and the trails I frequent, (lower Don, Science center and Loblaws areas) the highest level of assist is just too powerful! I found myself mostly using Levels 2 or 3, out of the 5, and still with significant benefit from the extra torque and power, meaning my two-hour ride covered more distance, because I didn’t need to stop and catch my breath.

Now for the Tech side of things. The Giant Aluxx frame, Fox suspension, Shimano XT 1×11 group with 4-piston brakes and Maxxis Minion DH tires, all deliver a predictable, smooth and responsive ride.

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The 2019 Trance SX E+ Pro 1 features their SyncroDrive Pro motor which delivers “360% support.” (Meaning tons of fun!) The weight, being an eBike, is still a downfall in my mind and does take some getting used to in-air and in tight technical sections.

All-in-all this bike is crazy fun and seriously impressive.

Special Thanks to Giant Bicycles Canada for providing this beast of a bike.

@natewksnow
#fullsend #giantbicyclescanada

A woman in motion…

Written by Jeanette Aiello (Gears Bike Shop customer)

I just bought 2 (Specialized) Como E-bikes from Gears Bike Shop in Port Credit yesterday. I’d given it a lot of thought and was lucky enough to be able to borrow one for one month prior to making my selection. The process went like this: I had 3 bikes at my disposal to determine my real needs. I had a Giant street bike, a comfort bike with no gears or hand brakes and a mountain e-bike. 3 very different bikes…but I’m new to cycling and want to figure it out before I part with my money.

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I’m 55 yrs old and have lost 47 lbs over 8 months -and still have 20 lbs to go. I’m generally healthy but I have aches and pains in my knees and shoulders and sometimes my hips. I find if I don’t keep moving I stiffen up and moving gets harder. I began walking around the neighborhood but quickly got bored at the repetitive scenery and the limited distance I could cover without getting too far from home. Walking was exacerbating a foot problem that I have too. I’d like to mention that I joined a gym 5 years ago and injured my shoulder. I spent a lot of money on a personal trainer over a 2 yr period. I gained all my weight back plus some and stopped exercising. I’m running out of time for do-overs so it’s important to me to keep the weight off and get some consistently better habits in place for my twilight years.

My next move was to buy a simple bike with no gears and no hand brakes. I simply wanted a lower impact option for my feet and knees. This bike was fun and brought back some nostalgia, but in the end it did not help out against winds, hills or any speed or distance. This bike was ideal if all I ever wanted to do was ride around the block on level roads or paths. It offered me very little in terms of a physical workout. The posture I could obtain on this bike was great, however. I sat a bit upright and the handle bars came out to meet my arms. The seat was comfortable too. I loved this bike but grew frustrated that it limited me to the neighborhood-much like walking did.

The second bike I tried was the 10 speed Giant street bike. This bike gave me a lot more options. I could ride this bike further and I could adjust the gears for slight hills and even some wind. On an ideal day, I could go much further and the added benefit of new scenery was wonderful for me. I tended to leave the bike in the garage if it was windy outside. It was a considerable workout too. I didn’t mind working harder on this bike because I knew that I could elect to work hard when I could and back off when I was tiring. The posture on this bike was a problem for me. The longer distances that I was able to travel meant that I was on the bike longer and the leaning onto the handle bars with all my weight caused shoulder and wrist pain. My back also ached after 30 minutes. Even if I tried to straighten up while coasting to stretch my back out, I found that I couldn’t reach the handle bars at all in an upright position. My spirit was willing but my flesh was weak, as the saying goes. I was enjoying the wind in my hair and the exhilaration of achieving some physical benefits but I was not completely satisfied with the comfort of this bike. I was beginning to wish that I had purchased the comfort bike with some gears on it. Then I used the e-bike.

The E-bike that I was lucky to borrow for a while was a mountain bike. I expected the same issues as the Giant in terms of comfort-small saddle and leaning onto the handle bars, but I was very anxious to experience the peddle assist. Within 30 seconds of being on this bike I had an ear to ear smile on my face; one that said eureka! I was so happy for the chance to take a longer ride and explore some of the beautiful Niagara scenery that I embarked on a long ride to Niagara on the Lake via the river trail. The peddle assist opened up new places to explore! I live atop the escarpment and if I got down the hill, I might never get back up again so I’ve avoided these areas (they’re the most beautiful though). Now, with the peddle assist I got much more brave and curious. I traveled 25 K that day. I was on city streets, paved paths, scenic roads, country roads and overpasses. I was able to engage the peddle assist to help propel me forward while I peddled with much less effort than the other two bikes. It felt like something was silently and invisibly pushing me forward. I still got the benefit of exerting as much effort as I was comfortable with, and let the bike do the rest. Engaging the assist is as easy as tapping a button. There does not need to be a gear change (although this options remains whether you’re using the assist or not). The small computer screen has information like time of day, Avg speed, distance, duration of ride and an speedometer on it. Like a car, it lets you cycle through the information in either metric or imperial.

I interchanged all three bikes for a month of different weather and times of day. If I was going to follow my wife while she was walking the dog I could tag along with the simple comfort bike. If I wanted to get a workout in, I’d choose the Giant. When I wanted to go further and faster in any situation I’d choose the e-bike. I needed to narrow my options down to one bike. For me, it had to be comfort to avoid pain. It had to allow me to control the amount of exertion based on my physical ability of the day. It had to allow me to go places to maximize the experience of good bike ride-wind on my face, the smells of my environs, the special view you get of the world from the seat of a bike and the way your body thanks you for getting it out of the house.

I understood that e-bikes come in many different forms; road, mountain, street, hybrid, comfort and others. I was certain that I wanted a comfort e-bike, but I needed to test drive one to be sure. I figured I’d get one that looked like my simple, old lady bike except with a battery. I was in for another surprise.

When I got to Gears Bike Shop I was shown a couple bikes but once the conversation progressed with the sales person it became apparent what I wanted. I was shown a Como e-bike in a style I’d never seen before. The size was appropriate for my frame. The battery was well concealed in the the thick center bar and the cables were fed through the frame as well, so they were not exposed. It made the bike look clean and sleek. This bike had elevated handle bars which allowed for the more upright riding position. I was blown away by the detail of the design and the blue matte finish. The handle bar grips were designed to ensure that your hands were comfortable by increasing the surface to cover more of the palms of my hands. The gears, brakes, bell and computer controls were all very easily controlled. The gear shifting was tight and quiet. The peddle assist was as seamless as breathing. The tires were thick for comfort and varied terrains. The test ride path was the paved path that runs along the lake just off Lakeshore road. It twists and turns and has hills and valleys. It was a paradise for bikers with a view of the lake. I was comfortable at last on a bike.

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I have had the e-bike for less than one day and I’ve been on it for 2.8 hrs. I got up early this morning ’cause I couldn’t wait to get back on it. It was a cool 64 degrees this morning and I was everywhere! I watched my town wake up and get to work. I dared to go places that would have been off limits to me on any other bike. My knees don’t ache. My back is fine. The palms of my hands and wrists are unaffected. I don’t have any hip pain. It’s a real marvel to me. I feel like I’ve found the cure for growing old with grace. I watched both my parents grow old and weak and as they became more and more inactive the likelihood of them ever getting active became a dream that got further and further away for them. I don’t want to be that person.

I rode past a large group of bikers who were in a motel parking lot getting ready for a group ride. I assumed they were a club or maybe they’re traveling on a bike tour, which is popular. It occurred to me that even I could join them. I could go just as fast as them and not lag behind. My personal physical ability would never exclude me from joining the fun again.

I downloaded a phone app called Road Bike. It maps out my ride and tells me all kinds of information from elevation to calories burned. It’s another fun element of my rides. I love that I can use my bike as a great training and even a rehabilitation tool. I can manage the energy I am able to exert and measure my progress too. I can use as much or as little assist as I’m capable of. This is a bike that will serve my needs for the foreseeable future. The cost of the bike is relative. I would have paid more. I am now a woman in motion and I will stay in motion on my e-bike from Gears.

Jeanette – a grateful e-bike owner.

Ode to my e-bike (Guest post)

We can across this inspiring Blog Post today and just had to share it with you…

FIT IS A FEMINIST ISSUE

Sam here. I’ve been back and forthing on the blog about e-bikes. See Sam is sorry she was a bit of a fitness snob about e-bikes and Women and e-assist bikes… Sam has some worries and Sam is feeling grouchy about e-bikes. After sharing the recent post on Facebook some friends who are e-bike riders and lovers came out of the woodwork rushing to their defense. I loved their happy stories and their enthusiasm for their e-bikes and asked if I could share their stories. Here’s the first. There will be more to follow. Enjoy!

By Alisa Joy

Samantha asked why women ride e-bikes, and I totally get why she would worry that women might be getting the message that they are just never going to get up whatever hill-of-doom exists on their bike ride. Because she asked, I’m here to tell you there are so many great reasons…

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Family Fun Forever!

Families that play together, stay together

That’s the familiar phrase I kept thinking about when I participated in this year’s EpicTour with my wife Kate, my 4yr-old Chase, and 16 month-old Beth.

The idea was to ride the 80km category as a family riding e-bikes and pulling a trailer. I chose a Cube Hybrid Reaction eMtb with slicks while Kate rode a Specialized Vado. As we approached the start coral, we joined the group of riders consisting 100% of drop handlebar road riders. We made our way to the back of pack to respect the fact the bikes we were on totally differentiated us from the entire group. Not to mention, we were certainly the only people with a double trailer attached.

IMG_1750While applying sunscreen to my kids, one participant suggested we may be in the wrong category, and that the Family 20km bike ride start was later in the morning. I confidently assured him that we were aware, and that we had chosen the proper distance feeling confident we were okay. Unconvinced, he felt compelled to warn that the group behind will be starting very fast, and to be careful of their approach. Clearly, he was oblivious to the fact our bikes were e-enhanced and able to keep the follow group at bay.

After a few shout-outs to the sponsors the ride began. Within a kilometre we approached our first hill. As a family, we started passing riders as well as the participant who warned us, and who now looked at us baffled – he couldn’t understand how this could be possible. I gave a smile, and held back saying ‘Watch out, the group behind will be coming on strong’. We settled into our groove for the next 20km; on the uphills we would roll past riders and on the downhills the road bikes would roll past us. Riders seemed to dig in a little harder when they were around us, I think they were a bit perplexed and it was tricking their brains.

For the first time, Kate and I didn’t have to compromise our individual experiences. Pulling a trailer on an eBike is definitely arduous, and often times Kate would pedal lighter so I could keep up on the uphills. Cycling on these bikes equalized the experience so we could take in the scenery and chat rather than anticipate the upcoming terrain.

Interestingly and importantly, our family merged into the other riders without obstructing their experience. Kate has tested other e-bikes, but with the Vado she felt she was riding a ‘Cadillac’. The Vado’s Brose motor was completely silent while I could hear the Bosch motor of my ride.

I was playing around with the different levels of assist on my bike, but was very conscious of preserving battery power, not knowing if I would have enough juice to complete the 80km.

As one power-bar disappeared after 20km I felt a bit anxious. Kate’s monitor was still displaying full power which is not surprising since I was the one pulling a 70lb trailer. I was also grateful that my kids were happy in the back and not vocalizing any objections.

After a lunch stop at 38km, we got back on the bikes. Immediately, there was a hill and we were able to sneak past a bunch of riders in search of a gap where we could take up a bit of road to ride side by side. My battery reading was at half power and I really tried to utilize as little battery as possible while maintaining a 28-30km speed.

We passed a couple of guys and once again I could sense their confusion, so with full disclosure I said they were electric, and they responded very positively. “What a great way to go ‘green’ and spend time with the family” one fellow mentioned. I said, hop on to our draft and join us for a while. They took the suggestion and were laughing about how much of a slipstream was being generated.

Feeling we were getting a great workout, we decided to skip the next rest stop. It was easy to stay together as one unit, and I thought ‘families that play together stay together’.

Approaching 60km I noticed I had one power-bar of battery showing on my display. It would have been very easy to place another battery in the trailer, and not doing so turns out to have been a mistake because within 15km of the finish line, I lost total power.

I called Dai, the Gears Guy who was running support for the whole event, and he arranged for another battery to be brought out to the 75km point. Kate and I had to get creative and ride 5-10km without assistance on my bike. The combination of my 50lb bike and 70lb tow was slow going, and now riders were passing us like we were spectators – all that ego and bravado from earlier, now it was feeling like a bit of payback.

We decided that I would hold onto Kate and the power of her bike was able to pull us all through the hills at a respectable 20km average. We were still together laughing, and the kids were having fun. It was a bit of a challenge but we worked as a team to get through.

Again, I was still thinking “families that play together stay together” – the important thing was we were together, that’s how tight family bonds are created. At that point we had been out on the road for 3hrs. Within 5km to go I saw the Gears support car – Greg had another battery. Kate’s battery was now blinking on the last bar due to the extra load created by towing me. We switched my battery and set out to complete the ride.

Within 1km to go, Kate lost all power on her bike and we decided to put the bike in the Gears car, and Kate would ride alone with Greg to the finish line. It was a bit of bummer because the power went out just before the last climb to the finish. I powered up the hill, and was in position to showcase this amazing technology. My observation; one still has to pedal hard, but the reward from the assistance prevents you from going into the red zone.

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Kate was there to meet us at the finish, and the lessons we learned about the technology overall created an amazing experience for our family, and we learned (perhaps the hard way) how to better plan for our next ride.

Kevin

On behalf of the Wallace Family

EBikes Can Give a New Lease on Life After Illness or Injury!

Written by Derry Bunting (Gears Oakville Staff)

Earlier this summer we had a customer, lets call her Mary, come by our Oakville location to find out what eBikes were all about. For years Mary, now in her late 50’s, had been doing weekly Sunday Gravel Rides with a group of her girlfriends, usually on routes like the Hamilton-Brantford Rail Trail, a total of about 70 kilometres out and back.

About 4 years ago, Mary was diagnosed with cancer, and went through about 18 months of treatments including Chemotherapy and Radiation. As they usually do, these treatments really took a physical toll on Mary, and it was another 18 months before she felt physically able to ride again. With an approval from her doctor to do so, Mary was anxious to get back to those Sunday Gravel Rides with her girlfriends.

Not unexpectedly, but much to her disappointment, about 30 minutes into that first ride, Mary had to turn back for home. She was heartbroken to find just didn’t have the strength or stamina to stay with the group and do more. Determined to find a way to get riding the full rides with her group again, she decided to check out ebikes as a solution. 

Fully expecting her only option to be the upright, urban style e-bikes like the Pedegos, Mary was thrilled when she saw the drop bar gravel grinder style eBikes like the BH Easy Motion Rebel Gravel X and the Giant Toughroad E+ GX.

After just one test ride, Mary bought the BH Easy Motion Rebel Gravel X on the spot!

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Mary is now back in the saddle again, fully participating every Sunday in those group rides from start to finish, and last time we spoke she was thrilled to tell me about the plans her group was making to do the 200 km P’tit train du Nord ride this September, 4 days and 3 nights through Quebec’s Laurentian Mountains from Mont Laurier to St. Jerome.

Needless to say, we can’t wait to hear all about their trip when they return.

On the Road again…!

eXperience

We love to hear about the eBike eXperience from our fellow riders and customers.

Below is a note from Jo Flewwelling who recently returned to cycling after picking up her new Giant ToughRoad GX E and posted the following on the Gears Bike Shop Facebook page.

Thanks Jo, for the awesome note. Welcome back to the amazing eXperience of cycling…


So its been 3 years since I was on a bike! It was time to get back in the saddle (with a little help). I’m now the proud owner of an e-assist bike thanks to the fabulous team at the Gears Bike Shop in Port Credit!

We now live in the Town of Blue Mountains and you can’t turn a corner without a climb. I have been very intimidated by the hills and it impacted my willingness to join my husband on the road. Now I can hear my cycling friends gasping at the concept of the “assist” but I actually had a SMILE on my face today as I climbed a major hill 🙂

The Giant Toughroad GX E has renewed my love of cycling and given me the confidence that I needed to tackle the terrain.

Still can get a workout, enjoy the scenery and be on the road with my husband. He’s now worried about my new found excitement of hills LOL! But seems happy to tuck behind me on windy days.

A heartfelt thanks to Ira, Kevin and Dai!!! They identified the perfect bike for me out of a large selection of e-bikes.

No more excuses… On the road again!