By Karen Brooks
Editor, Bicycle Times
First off, I must point out that most of our coverage “action” is happening over in our photo galleries – there, you’ll find a lot of photos with captions to explain what you’re seeing.
In our second day of Outdoor Demo demo-ing, we continued to research bikes powered with electric motors. Some may argue that these vehicles are not really bikes – indeed, e-bike manufacturers can choose to be represented by something called the Light Electric Vehicle Association – but as one booth worker’s T-shirt put it, “Whatever it takes to get more people on bikes.” There are plenty of people who want to ride more, but who are intimidated by the physical exertion involved (or just by the perception of exertion). Bikes that give some assistance – a little push, if you will – with an electric motor can be the gateway for such people to begin to ride more, get in better shape, and be more self-sufficient, and of course, happier. It’s a good thing.
Yesterday, we saw bikes that used either pedelec systems (where the motor doesn’t kick in until the rider pushes the pedals) or throttle systems (which activate the motor without pedaling). At the end of the day, both Karl and I wondered if any bikes could do both. Today, our question was answered, and we saw bikes that can be switched between pedelec and throttle – pretty cool.
We rode a slew of bikes from iZip, the e-bike brand of Currie Technologies, who have been doing e-bikes as long as anyone. They showed six different models that ranged from cruisers to sleek city bikes, cargo bikes and police bikes, with combinations of pedelec and throttle drive systems. We also checked out two models from OHM that were on the higher end of the price and performance spectrum. Last we tried the Ridekick, a simple but effective idea – a trailer with a motor you simply attach to almost any “normal” bike, which gives that little throttle-controlled push to get you up the hill easier.
Oh yeah, and in the middle of all this, I managed to do some mountain biking, too.
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