Category Archives: Why did you think this needed a motor?

If you have $5000 and are looking for a way to break your scapula, Giant Bikes would like to help

One of my local bike shops has been pushing (well, metaphorically, I mean), the Giant Full-E+ 1, which looks like this:

It’s an XT-level mountain bike with dual suspension and disc breaks, and I have no trouble with that. 2.6″ tires, which are pretty much the norm nowadays, and a Yamaha motor that puts out 500 watts. Surely, nothing can go wrong there.

Yes, I know, there are times when having extra power can get you out of a jam, and to get the fun of riding downhill you typically first have to ride uphill, which can be a drag. But among the complaints I hear from people on mountain bikes, “doesn’t go fast enough” has never been mentioned, not even once. And given the propensity of mountain bike riders to endo even under their own power, I’d hate to be the insurance company that stands behind Giant or its dealers.

A Tale of Two Cities

Wheeled Thing’s work group has access to a car.  Unfortunately the office is located in the Financial District (Think Wall Street) and the parking spot for the car is in Manhattan Valley (Think Columbia University).  The distance is a little less than 10 miles.

Last week Wheeled Thing volunteered to drive this car uptown, with the full knowledge that he could use Ciitbike to return to the office.  It was a beautiful Autumn day… what could go wrong?

Manhattan Map

10 Miles… No Problem!

It is amazing the difference the choice of a transport mode makes.

The way northbound was stressful, difficult and annoying.  There was a crash along Route 9A, so the west side was a sea of red.  Cars jockeyed for position in the stop and go crush.  Wheeled Thing shifted to 10th Avenue to avoid some traffic, which may have shaved a few minutes off the drive, but also shaved a few minutes off his life.  At one point a dump truck claimed his lane… basically the truck was getting in front, and If he did not call “chicken” there would be some dented metal.   It made you really hate New York City.

The good news is he made it!

Then he hopped on a bicycle for the southbound trip, and everything was different.  Stress free pedaling.  No traffic and light salt breeze in his face, heart pumping for joy, instead of stress.

It took about the 45 min in each direction – but the first half Wheeled Thing hated the road, while the 2nd he loved it.  It really is a tale of two cities.

Nordic Biking – Copenhagen

Part four of the Wheeled Thing review of Nordic bike share systems is Bycyklen and if you have read the other three parts, you will not be surprised to learn that it translates to City Bikes.  No, you will not be confused by the name of the system as you travel from country to country.

Unfortunately, Bycklen kinda sucks, and I did not give it a try.  Let’s do the bad side first this time!

On the bad side

The pricing did not make any sense.  The website has two options for tourists:

1: Pay as You Go – The price for Pay as You Go is DKK 30 ($4.75 USD) per commenced hour.  Each account can have 2 simultaneous users on each user account. They both pay DKK 30 per commenced hour.

2: Packages:  Pre-paid package of 600 minutes DKK 300 ($50 USD) that allows 5 simultaneous users on each user account. All users that are logged into your account will be using your pre-paid minutes.

As I could not figure out what a “Commenced Hour” was, I  reached out to Byyken.  They wrote:

“The ‘pay as you go’ means that you are charged 30 DKK every initiated hour. That means that if you take two bikes at the same time and ride on them for 20 minutes then you will be charged 2×30 DKK = 60 DKK. It is possible to rent maximum two bikes at the same time on one pay as you go-account, hence the charge.
It is not possible to accumulate minutes, which means that it will calculate after each bike on each trip.”

This means that two bikes taken out for 20 minutes costs $10!  And I though Stockholm was expensive.  Buying a package was an option, but also confusing.

The other problem is the bikes were motorized  and has a tablet mounted, they look like this:

Copenhagen White Bike

Copenhagen Motorized Tablets

No thank You… instead we did a traditional bike rental at Copenhagen Bicycles

Copenhagen Bicycles

Motor Free Cycling!

48 hour rental for DKK 180 ($28 USD) – it was kinda nice not to have a time limit or look for a dock.  The bike worked!

The next reason Byyken is lousy is people ride the bikes too fast… why???? because it has a motor.  Bike share should be slow, as many people are novices riding in the city, and slow is good, especially on vacation.

Copenhagen City Bikes is the worst bike share of the Nordic Capitals.

Better Face Plants with Electricity

This Scooter Packs a Punch! (direct quote)

If there is one thing we know at Wheeled Thing, it’s that when it comes to wheels, bigger is better.  Big wheels roll over cracks or potholes that a smaller wheel will get stuck in.  Big means they ride smoother that don’t have speed wobbles…

One of our biggest frustration with the Razor Scooter fad was the fact the wheels were way to small, and sent too many children to the hospital for facial reconstruction surgery.

Well, plastic surgeons of Ameraica… I’ve got great news for you – The Eon Scooter will soon be flinging kids off their scooters at speeds up to 45 mph!

 

The video on their Indigogo page is 1:30 in length.  Of that time, only 20 seconds (with some of in slow motion), show the person riding the scooter.  35 seconds are shown with the owner dragging or charging the scooter.  That’s right, expect to be dragging this thing around more than riding it.

Included Dork Mode

We urge you not to buy this rolling death trap… but our friends at Eon were kind enough to include a “folding mirror” which will help you to remove the gavel from your chin and  repair your front teeth.  At Starbucks they hate when you walk in with exposed face road rash.

Please clean the blood off your face before entering the office

For $170 you can rocket! If by rocket, you mean “roll at 7mph”

Acton R5 Rocketskates are on sale at woot for $170.

This is the most flattering photo they could find.

These things are controlled by a wireless remote control or by an app running on your cell phone. Imagine the shenanigans if you were to get your hands on somebody’s remote? The laughter might almost justify the legal liability that would surely result.

Per the vendor,

“The ACTON R5 RocketSkates are motorized electric skates that can propel a wearer at up to 7 mph. A set of step-in footplates secure most types of footwear with strap bindings similar to those on snowboard boots, accommodating small and large feet.

Supporting riders up to 180 lbs., the powered skate’s (red buckled skate) twin 6”-diameter wheels has a 50-watt motor integrated into its fiber-reinforced nylon frame. Control acceleration and breaking using the included remote control or remote control app. The footplates also pivot down to put your foot in contact with the ground for walking or going upstairs.

The powered skate has a removable lithium-ion battery that provides up to 45 minutes of continuous power (up to a 5-mile range), ideal for travel across a school campus, to a local cafe, or while roaming a neighborhood festival. Battery recharges in 1.5 hours using the included AC adapter.

5 mile / 45 minute range
Max speed: 7mph
Motor: Dual 50W DC hub motors
Battery: Li-ion rechargeable (charges in 1.5 hours)
Maximum User Weight Capacity: 180 lbs.”

Goodbye Segway, Hello Ninebot

Ahhh, the Segway, a future entrant in the Wheeled Thing Hall of Fame (when we build it).  Launched about 15 years ago Dean Kamen convinced Time magazine that the Segway was the next big thing.  In Time’s December 02, 2001 article they quoted Dean Kamen, the Segway “will be to the car what the car was to the horse and buggy.”   Time continued, “He imagines them everywhere: in parks and at Disneyland, on battlefields and factory floors, but especially on downtown sidewalks from Seattle to Shanghai. “Cars are great for going long distances,” Kamen says, “but it makes no sense at all for people in cities to use a 4,000-lb. piece of metal to haul their 150-lb. asses around town.”

For some reason Kamen though these things should not be street legal, but driven on the sidewalk.  He hired lobbyist to promote changes in the law in every city to allow the Segway to ride on the sidewalk.  NYC said “nope” (along with many other cities) meaning the Segway was a “toy vehicle” and could not be used on the street or the sidewalk.  The Segway was basically a “Big Wheel” for adults.

Big Wheel

People compared a Segway to a bike and guess what.  The bike is better in every category.  It can go further, faster, carry more cargo, cost less…

Then George W tried it out… and showed it’s not as easy to ride as people though (or he’s a klutz… or both)Seway Bushes

Jump to the 2015 and partially due to the fact that Ninebot was infringing on Segway’s patents with their Ninebot Personal Transporter and the One E+ Unicycle, Ninebot decided to just buy the whole company.    Thank you Ninebot!  We look forward to your products filling the Wheeled Thing site for many years to come.

It worked for Tesla, so let’s try Faraday

Nikola Tesla – Inventor of the modern alternating current electricity supply system.

Michael Faraday – Scientist who contributed to the fields of electromagnetism and electrochemistry.

Tesla Motors has a market cap of $26 Billion (4/27/15).  I’m guessing the folks at Faraday Bicycles Inc. are hoping some of that old time smart guy magic will rub into their wallets too.  Maybe they can cut a deal with Tesla Motors… buy a Tesla and get a Faraday.

Faraday_HeroKS_Cream

What is a Faraday bike – well it’s a $3,500 electric bicycle that weighs 39 lbs.  It’s got a steel frame and bamboo fenders.  Basically it’s an expensive electric bicycle with a bit of style and an attempt at heritage.  The battery which is mounted under the seat provides 20 miles of “pedal assist”.

I wish them luck, but it seems like just an overpriced heavy bike.   If the bike was say, 20 pounds lighter, you might not need the “pedal assist”.

Not Tsetse Fly… FlyKly

Do you love your bike, but hate pedaling it?
Are you the kind of person who says, I really want to grow my love handles.

Well, if you want to keep your bike, but add the pounds, FlyKly is the product for you!

According to flykly.com, Niko Klansek, who is based in NY, wants to provide you with a “pedal assist wheel”, to make “your commute easier, faster and smarter”.  I guess it’s the anti-fixie. Instead of making your bike cheaper and simpler, lets slap in a motor, computer and battery!

When you think hi-tech electronics, what country comes to mind first!  Italy!  That is right, the FlyKly is made in Milan, Italy, but assembled in NYC.  No wonder this little thing cost $1,000.  For only $200 more you can get a charger for it, which is “recommended”.  How else to you charge this thing up?  My favorite line from their sales pitch is, “Any custom duties or other associated taxes and charges are the responsibility of the customer.” – Do these guys plan to merge with SledDogs?

For some reason you can test the FlyKly in Slovenia (bottom of page) but not NYC.

Oh yeah, these guys raised $700,000 on Kickstarter. FlyKLY

“The Monolith” is another electric skateboard

I remember during dotcom 1.0 when fifteen startups were announced for every possible business idea conceivable under the technology of the day. Somebody beat you to market with the first online underwear store? Brag you had the first online *organic* underwear store, or the first online underwear store “with a portal model.” It didn’t help, but it made investors feel special.

The good people behind “The Monolith” seem to be trying the same thing. They’re not first to market (see for example the Fiik electric skateboard, which we discussed here a few months ago). So they brag it’s “the first and only skateboard with motors in the wheels”. Why does this matter? It doesn’t.

Looks like a skateboard.

Looks like a skateboard.

87d6a70b3c70e22a23ff5e5a5e817c7a_large

They claim it will go 24mph, which is obviously a lie. Well, maybe on a downhill. You control it with an iPhone app, assuring that people will die. Good thing it’s going to cost $1399, so nobody will buy one. Actually, it’s a kickstarter so it probably won’t ever even be produced.