We were recently delighted to be able to help an ex-serviceman, who uses a recumbent Ice Trike for off-road fun and exercise.
Since becoming a double amputee, he'd mainly been riding the trike along local fire roads, but quite understandably, found the dead-spots in the pedal stroke a real chore.
He would tolerate the discomfort in order to get out, get exercise and have fun, but now, thanks to the wonders of these little crank motors, it doesn't have to be that way!
A fair bit of alteration was performed to adapt the motor kit to deliver the best possible results, but we're really happy with the outcome, and he seems to be putting in the miles getting used to his new toy.
We converted his wife's KMX trike too, and now their rides take them far further with more smiling and less grimacing .
He only seems to use the assist on the uphills, reducing the assist to 0 once through the gritty part of the climb, where his lack of full pedal stroke would make maintaining speed a little too much.
It's one thing getting a little help on the commute, quite another when life as you know it is taken away from you.
Here's a few snaps of them out and about in the glorious Welsh countryside.
A sure case of more smile per mile.
Back in 1934, recumbent bikes were banned from competitive racing, essentially because it was considered that they gave an unfair advantage in respect of aerodynamics.
Suffice to say they were fast, and as technology evolves are becoming ever faster still.
Couple that speed with a sensation of flying on your back just a foot or two above the road, and it's an exhilarating ride.
Brighton E-bikes were recently delighted to be invited to update a Linear LWB recumbent from the late 1980s, into a modernised, motorised, refreshed version.
Requiring a little more planning and time in the workshop than usual, the Linear was upgraded to Shimano XT 9 speed transmission with a new Tiagra hub in a Mavic Open Sport 700C rear wheel.
A Bafang BBS01B 36V 250W crank-drive motor was fitted, along with a Samsung cell 36V 11.6Ah battery.
The addition of a 42 tooth Lekkie Bling Ring, and the gearing is a perfect balance of speed and climbing ability.
It's quite a machine, and certainly one to consider for some long distance touring.
Having always ridden 26" wheel bikes off-road, I have been a little dismissive of and resistant to the recent 29er movement, I don't feel it suits the style of riding I enjoy.
650B definately has it's attractions, so I built up a new off-road bike around a Ritchey Timberwolf 650B frame with some BOS Deville 140mm forks.
To say that I am impressed with the ride would be an undrstatement.
After only a few miles I stopped noticing the slightly larger wheels; the bike felt very natural to ride, and comfortable at speed!
Here's what Ritchey say about the frame.
"Few can claim to have played a bigger hand in the evolution of the mountain bike than Tom Ritchey. And he's still at it.The original Timberwolf debuted in 1984 as Tom's answer to the growing demand for a mountain bike that could handle more of anything. Reborn 30 years later, the Timberwolf is a hardtail incarnation of an all-mountain trail bike that can shred anything you throw at it. Designed around 650b wheels, the Timberwolf is agile and fluid whether bushwacking the mountainside or carving single track. It's the bike we can't stop riding".
Even with the addition of the BBS01B motor and 11.6Ah of Samsung cells, it just slides under the 20kg mark at 19.8Kg.
I've only had a few rides so perhaps too early to decide, but the overall package built around 650B wheelset feels pretty good so far.
Designed by the owner, primarily to be able to drop his son off at nursery then commute 20 miles on to work in one time saving motion, this BMC Alpenchallenge AC01 is a small person mover that transforms into a commuter rocket.
Leaving both child and childseat at nursery just 2 miles into the journey, it's then into sports mode to tackle 20 miles of London roads to get to work.
Some may see it as a little unorthodox, but in everyday life, if it works, then it works!
An interesting and entertaining video clip from 1985, when snowboards were not as commonplace on the hills as they are today.
I wonder what reports we will look back on in another 30 years from now, and simply have to laugh?
I'd wager a few misconceptions about eMTBs will be amongst them.
This recent BBS01 conversion was specifically requested to be with an extra small ladies frame, and for weight distribution and handling reasons, have the battery mounted on the downtube.
The 'Giant Liv Alight 2' in extra small offered everything in a beautiful package.
With both the motor and battery mounted central and low on the bike, the handling becomes more stable and the ride smoother.
The 250 watt mid-drive motor, capable of providing 80Nm of torque at the cranks, delivers plenty of power to ascend what previously would have been a 'get off and walk' type of hill.
Approximately 50 miles between charges means longer journeys suddenly become more achievable, and local journeys become a breeze.
It feels light and nibble to ride, but packs a punch far greater than it's stature.
A keen cyclist for all of their life, the owner of this much loved Ridgeback World Voyage's recent hip operation meant that using the bike around Brighton was no longer possible.
With the addition of a Bafang BBS01 36 volt 250 watt mid-drive motor and a Samsung cell battery, the bike is back in daily use again.
Yet another wonderful example of #moresmilepermile in action :)
This really is well worth a watch.
Bike engineer Zach Krapfl explains why electric bikes offer a bright future in personal transportation.
(We are pleased to say that all our batteries at Brighton E-bikes are charged using solar energy).
Progress in electric transportation is developing fast, electric bikes being the best, most viable and cost effective option to transform everyday life for many people, particularly here in Brighton and Hove.
So many people have bikes sitting unused in a shed or garage, purely because the hilly terrain can be too zapping to make cycling everywhere enjoyable. Many start with good intentions but resort to the car after a short while.
Now, with the ability to add a small mid-drive electric motor and battery to bikes that people already own, it transforms the cycling experience into the best way to get around Brighton and Hove.
Research shows that people who converted their bike to electric assist use their bike four times more frequently than before, and journey distances more than doubled.
There are many other positive effects, not just on the individual but those around them and the environment too.
For people who previously drove a car for local journeys, it immediately means there is one less car adding to congestion and polluting air.
The health and lifestyle benefits new e-bikers report are of feeling more energised, more relaxed and experiencing a greater sense of well being. Arriving places early and not having trouble parking were added bonuses reported by many. Cycling is a very nice way to travel once the hills are magically made to feel flat.
There is some truly beautiful countryside around Brighton, and venturing to the South Downs becomes a breeze with the assistance of an e-bike, meaning more people can feel confident riding off-road into areas that they would never have previously believed possible. A fifteen or twenty mile ride around the South Downs suddenly becomes an activity more people can enjoy together. It's all about inclusivity.
Below are a couple of photos taken on a recent jaunt along the South Downs to show what's on offer if you get out there. Half an hour ride from the door of our workshop and scenes like below can be found in every direction.
If you think you might like to try the lifestyle changes that an e-bike brings, get in touch through our Contact page or by calling 01273 930700.
Introducing the new 'side release' battery from Brighton E-bikes.
11.6 Amp hours of Samsung (INR-29E) cells inside the new style side release case.
Designed primarily for downtube mounting, they also fit to a rear carrier rack for bikes with limited space inside the main frame triangle. ---> Click HERE for prices and information.
A few photos taken during a recent ride along the South Downs Way, brought together in a short video courtesy of my magical telephone computer thingy.
There has been quite some misinterpretation and confusion of the laws relating to E-bikes with 'twist-and-go throttles' in the UK. Thankfully, The Department for Transport (DfT) have recently clarified the matter of when throttles are accepted.
Pedelecs, the leading electric bike community, recently published an article that provides clear explanations, on the most part devoid of technical speak and jargon.
The following is an extract from a recent Pedelecs' article.
The Department for Transport has today confirmed to Pedelecs that an ordinary cycle, already ridden on public roads as such and subsequently converted to a ‘twist and go’ electric bike, will not require type approval.
The DfT further clarified that type approval ‘only applies to new vehicles, not converted ones’.
The latest guidance on conversions follows on from news that electric bikes manufactured as a ‘twist and go’ from January 2016 will require type approval.
Their response reiterates that ‘twist and go’ type approval requirements are directed at the manufacturers, meaning that ‘riders making conversions are not committing an offence’ (with regard to type approval requirements).
It is also our understanding that, since not all cyclists are technically proficient in fitting conversion kits to a bike, that conversion can also be carried out by a business, so long as the bike in question has been ridden on public roads before conversion (i.e. the bike is not considered ‘new’).
The full response from the DfT reads:
“In response to your email about converting a normal pedal cycle which has first been used on the public road as a pedal cycle, I am pleased to report that type approval does not apply – it only applies to new vehicles, not converted ones. Therefore if you convert a pedal cycle which has already been ridden on the road to “twist and go” operation, it does not become subject to type approval. As previously noted, the regulations will be directed at the manufacturers and so riders making conversions are not committing an offence. Manufacturers are permitted to sell kits of this nature but would need to ensure they are in line with regulations if sold as EAPC kits (EAPC power and speed limits).”
Currently, new electric bikes fulfilling the definition of an EAPC (electrically assisted pedal cycle, limited to 15.5mph motor assistance/250w) are exempt from requiring the manufacturer to type approve before retailing. However, ‘twist and gos’, electric bikes manufactured with a throttle that can independently propel the bike forward without the rider needing to pedal, fell through the legislative cracks of type approval exemptions since motor assistance isn’t cut off when the rider ceases pedaling:
Article 2(h) of the EU Regulation No 168/2013 excludes from its scope the type approval of “pedal cycles with pedal assistance which are equipped with an auxiliary electric motor having a maximum continuous rated power of less than or equal to 250 W, where the output of themotor is cut off when the cyclist stops pedalling and is otherwise progressively reduced and finally cut off before the vehicle speed reaches 25 km/h.”
Twist and gos are particularly popular with those who may have limited physical abilities but want to stay active and mobile.
(Thank you Pedelecs)
There really are some lovely rides to be had around Brighton. One very easy, accessible and flat route is along the under cliff path from Brighton Marina towards Saltdean. On a sunny day like today the views are just great and the sea breeze cools the air nicely.
Here are a couple of photos taken on the ride overlooking the Marina and under cliff path as well as the view towards Brighton with the Pier in the distance.
In the last photo, taken from above and overlooking the route, the cliffs in the distance are nearing Peacehaven at Telscombe Cliffs where the under cliff path ends, so it's a lovely manageable ride for all the family. There are a few good cafes for refreshments along the way too.
It's great to see how the wildlife, flora and fauna changes throughout the seasons, but it doesn't get much better than during the summer months.
Above: View from up above Marina looking west towards Brighton Pier.
Above: Panorama looking out to sea from above the Marina.
Above: View from the under cliff path near Saltdean Lido looking west towards Brighton Marina.
Above: View from up above the Marina looking east towards Saltdean.
The map below shows the shared cycle path from the Marina out to Saltdean.
Click on the Map to view in Google Maps.
Above: A ten minute video riding towards the far end of the under cliff path.
Unless for training purposes of building physical endurance for races and events, it's fair to say that pedaling uphill isn't a particularly pleasurable experience. Whizzing downhill on the other hand, is very much fun. This is where more and more people are discovering the wonder of bikes with electric pedal assist.
Used daily by a competitive athlete and runner, this recently converted Dawes Mojave now provides an efficient way to travel to training sessions without using up some all important power in the legs, meaning when the racing starts on the track, 100% is available from the start.
Yet another case of More Smile per Mile from Brighton E-bikes
A much loved bike, bought brand new some twenty years ago and left chained up on Brighton seafront for six months in error, is back as a new and improved best buddy.
The time spent chained up on the seafront taking the brunt of last winter's weather had taken it's toll. The chain was like a straight piece of solid brown metal, the brakes were seized solid, the derailleurs were fixed in one shape, it was a sorry sight.
There was, however, still a lot of good bike remaining. Some pampering was required and some modernisation requested, and that's when Brighton E-bikes got involved.
After a full strip down, rust treatment and a polish, new bearings with fresh grease were fitted all round, a Bafang BBS01 250 watt mid-drive motor and a Samsung Lithium-ion battery were added, and it is now like a new and improved reincarnation of it's former self for 2016 and beyond.
Back in use everyday for another decade or two, but now making Brighton feel as flat as Amsterdam, it's a great example of how to get More Smile per Mile.
Off to spend some time touring the picturesque French countryside, this beautifully retro styled Orlandi should fit in nicely amongst the farmers' classic old bikes.
Kitted out with a Bafang BBS01 36V 250W motor and 10.4Ah of quality Samsung battery cells it's a dream to ride. It's still an agreeably light bike with 8 speed nexus hub gear, it now feels like there is a constant tail wind everywhere you go.
On to the next vineyard with More Smile per Mile.
It was only a matter of time, and with off-road e-bikes gaining popularity all the time, an E-bike specific drivetrain was inevitable, and SRAM have recently presented a 1 X 8 with 11-42 offering in the form of SRAM EX1 that looks pretty handy.
We haven't seen it in the flesh yet, or a price list, but on paper it certainly looks to have good potential.
Click on the pictures below to read a great review providing all the low down by E-Mountain bike .com
Click the below image to link to E-Mountain bikes.com's review.
A wonderful piece of Dutch 'people moving equipment', the Azor Frieland from Flying Dutchman. Sure, it is a weighty beast compared to most bikes, but then it can do things other bikes simply can not!
The guys at Azor know how to make bikes that are more than up to the job and will last a lifetime.
The one pictured above that Brighton E-bikes recently added a 250 watt mid-drive motor and battery kit to, commonly has a six year old child on the back and can carry up to thirty kg on the front. No wonder a little electric assistance doesn't go amiss for certain hills.
Below is a short subtitled video for those who want to see how they go about achieving such great quality and long lasting bikes. Very good ethos indeed.
Props to Flying Dutchman in Camden London, and Azor bikes, although I guess it shouldn't be any surprise, inspired by such a great cycling nation.
Click the Flying Dutchman logo below for more information.