I’ll be posting all the gory technical details about the two electric motor kits Kurt and I are testing on two Bike Friday Tikits next week. I’ve been a bit strapped for time so I haven’t managed to fit in all the testing I would like and I need to pull together all the numbers from Ken at Power in Motion to provide accurate specs on each system.
I have been riding the high power version of the eTikit kit on a loaner Tikit from Ken for a week now. My rides have mostly been my short commute to work 2kms and some running around downtown. While I haven’t tested the capabilities of this system to the fullest I do have enough experience to comment on how I feel about an electric Tikit and how I see it fitting in to my bike/transportation options.
I’ll admit I didn’t really “get” the idea of an electric bike. Pedaling and exercise are the two things I really like about cycling so I couldn’t understand how I’d like a bike where you didn’t have to pedal?? I now realize that this isn’t a bike. Ya that’s right this isn’t a bike. It’s a folding electric scooter.
That may sound crazy, but when you look at it as a transportation device [not a bike] it’s fun to ride, it’s convenient, low cost and pretty darn cool. It can replace a car/motorcycle and either be used with or instead of public transit.
I haven’t sorted out the range I’m getting from the motor/battery I have, but let’s assume I can get 15kms from it @ 30kph with no pedaling. That gives me a pretty useful range from home to work with zero sweat. I can add a transit leg in the middle to extend my distance. If I ride the whole way to work I’m looking at 30mins to 40mins with a few lights. I can fold the bike and take it in to my office and charge the battery while I work and ride home. I charge the battery overnight and I’m ready to rock in the AM. No car, no parking no waiting for a bus. Less emissions. Less traffic. No noise. No license. No pain. It’s a really great commuting tool.
I’ve used the eTikit to bomb home after work. It has allowed me to cut my commute time by about 33% and arrive fresh. I must admit I do pedal when in public just ’cause I feel funny using only the motor. Perhaps that will pass???
Just to provide some basic stats I can cruise on flat ground at 30kph+ [35kph is my fastest electric only speed]. I can cruise up a moderately steep sustained hill in town at 19kph without pedaling as long as I pedal to get to that speed. I tend to leave my Tikit in 7th or 8th gear [out of 8] and pedal away from a stop slowly while giving full throttle. The motor helps, but it’s not uber torquey so a little bit of effort on my part gets me to cruising speed faster at which point I can coast.
To be honest I can pedal the eTikit without using electric power, but it’s not fun. You can feel the drag of the motor at each pedal stroke. If I had to pedal the last 5km home once or twice a year it’s not a big deal. So running out of battery power isn’t tragic, but I wouldn’t be happy if that happen a lot so I’d make sure I had a big enough battery to get the mission accomplished 95% of the time.
Of course the beauty of a hub motor is that in less than 5mins you can swap in a regular Tikit wheel and ditch the battery to have a normal Tikit which is fun to pedal. I think that’s very cool and it makes an eTikit a useful product for even a one bike cyclist who wants transportation Monday to Friday and exercise on the weekends.
Ken was smart to match an electric kit with a Bike Friday Tikit. You don’t ever have to leave your e-bike outside at the mercy of thieves and vandals. The Tikit design is clever and adding an e-bike kit to it that doesn’t impede the fold just makes it even more versatile.
Bottom line I “get” an electric bike now. It’s not a bike replacement. It’s a car/transit replacement.