Wednesday, September 17, 2008

E-bike Test Run: Tonie 700 with Bionx

This weekend I test rode what is arguably the ultimate lazy man's bike. Start with a Electra Townie, basically a rolling lazy boy, then add 700c wheels and an electric Bionx motor. Despite a sky high reading on the dork-ometer, riding this bike is pretty much awesome. My friend Mark took off on one these the other day, when I was helping him bring in the bikes in from outside the shop.As he sped off around the corner, with a surprising amount of acceleration. I took one look at the other ebike next to it and decided to follow him, as he exclaimed, "Dude this thing goes 20!". I grabbed the bike, and backed it off the rack. It felt relay heavy, but I got on it and started pedaling. I rolled slowly out into the street I realized that I had no idea how to operate it. The bike was barely rolling and it was in a high gear I could barely turn. Just before I ran out of momentum I noticed what looked like a power button on the console that has the throttle on it:

I hit the button, and pushed the throttle and Shazam! I was off and rolling. I went around the block and up and down the street. Just far enough to get it up to speed and then went back to the shop. I was intrigued and wanted to know more. A few days later on the weekend I told the shop owner, Patrick that I was going to take the thing out for a longer ride, to "See what it can do". Well the bike shop is right at the base of a good steep 1000 ft climb. I know the climb well, Ive done it many times on my road bike. It's not super long, but it starts out steep and then it just gets steeper the closer you get to the top. I knew I had to do it on the ebike.

This video talks about the how the Bionx motor thing works. It's something with magnets, that all I really know. But it works, just hit the throttle and pedal. I pointed it straight up the hill not relay sure what it could do. On flat ground the electric motor provides zippy acceleration. Going up hill is another story. If you don't pedal it wont stop, but it goes real slow. Start pedaling and shift into a medium low gear though and next thing you know your going 15 mph up a 10% grade. In the video the engineer said, with this thing you don't need drugs to be like Lance. Hell with this thing I could probably kick Lances ass. I don't think there is anyway anyone could keep up with one of these things on a regular bike. On some of the steeper sections of the hill I did however, put in a moderate effort. This was mostly because I really wanted to see how fast I could get to the top, without breaking a sweat. Overall this set up is really cool, I would like one on a Kona Ute.

1 comment:

AH said...

Back in college I wrenched in a bike shop and at closing time we'd throw back a few beers and then race the first-gen eBikes that no one in Indy was interested in buying. We'd take 'em out onto the bike path and have a good old time. The only problem was that the governor kicked in at 35mph -- it would kick in so hard you almost got tossed off the bike.

Good times...