Older Americans, especially those 65+ are the real drivers of electric bike adoption in the United States. Betty and Grady Smith of Beaumont Texas may not know it but they are the driving demographic for electric bicycles and tricycles. Both in thier eighties, the couple enjoys riding thier Worksman electric side-by-side tricycle around town. As a business offering electric bike and trike conversion systems since 2008, we've gotten to know...
After suffering a back injury and returning home as a disabled combat veteran, Chris found himself unable to exercise the way he had in the past. It was particularly discouraging to be kept from riding his beloved bicycles. Rather than dwell on his misfortune, he decided to search for viable alternatives. It wasn’t long before he settled on his first electric-assisted bike. His passion for bicycles was reinvigorated and he realized he had to share it with the world.
Back to the bike. I’ve gotta be honest, it doesn’t look half bad. The battery fits into the downtube, which is way better than those crazy brackets you see on cheap ebikes. The welds are also smoothed over, like an old Aluminum Cannondale. The drivetrain is a mix of parts, with Shimano Altus in the rear. Altus is a mountain bike groupset, but on the very low end.
Out on the road the Soho is easy to fire up, just press the button hidden under the top tube (a nice discreet touch), you’ll then get a set of five top-tube mounted LED’s light up to give you a charge indication. First impressions were that the engagement of the motor is a little jerky in tight traffic (tested in central London) and you could find yourself pulled toward the cars you’re weaving though at slow speeds - unless you’re feathering the brakes.
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Simplicity powers the Gtech model, available in either a 20-inch “sports” crossbar frame or a 17-inch “city” step-through option. From using a carbon belt drive to a gearless system that allows a computer to adjust speed while pedaling, not only has Gtech streamlined the e-bike process, but they’ve also dropped the price to just north of $1,000. At a range of about 30 miles, this 35-pound bike offers a humble introduction to e-bikes.
In a friction drive motor, a small, solid wheel rotates against the side of the tire in order to drive it. The first motorcycles used the same concept, with a motor mounted above the front wheel. The problem is that the drive rubs at the side of the tire. It's inefficient, and it quickly wears the sidewall away. Tires need to be replaced every couple hundred miles. For this reason, you'll seldom see electric bikes with this type of drive anymore.
OHM bicycles use E-One Moli Energy (Canada) Ltd’s Lithium-ion battery packs to deliver the safest and highest power of any mid-large e-bike battery currently available on the market. With advanced protection, performance, and convenience, Li-ion batteries are fast charging and maintain steady power output throughout their lifespan. The e-bike battery packs are specifically configured to work with the BionX motor for optimum range and performance.
On the other end of the pricing spectrum (although not as high-end as possible) falls the Riese & Muller lines. The Nevo line, which features a Bosch motor, hydraulic disc brakes and speeds up to 28 mph also has a roughly $5,000 sticker (a variety of models allows for a cheaper price). Using a carbon belt and Nuvinci grip shifter, maintenance worries lessen. The German-made premium models are hand made to specifications and comfort reigns supreme.
Designed for riding around town, this pedal-assist bike has four levels of electric assistance – Eco, Tour, Sport and Turbo – and a maximum assisted speed of 20 miles per hour. This is a well designed and engineered bike, with Shimano Nexus components and a Bosch Performance electric-assist mid-drive system. Front and rear lights are included, and you can even use the battery to charge your smartphone. The integrated ring-lock will help deter would-be thieves, but it’s always best to back this up with a dedicated bike lock.
But it is not complicated to see the detrimental effects that these policies very likely could cause. Simple high school AP Economics taught me that this won’t be good for either China or the US in the long-term. Even if a country can produce multiple items better or cheaper than another country can produce them, it is always in both countries’ best interest to focus their resources on their most skilled areas, and trade with other countries for the products they can’t produce as well domestically.