Rambilicious 100% Ramble-y Goodness

10Jan/110

Bicycle ownership is hard. Bike shopping is harder.

Posted by Mythor

A bit over 2 years ago I picked up a relatively cheap electric bicycle off eBay as an easy means of getting to and from the local shops occasionally, as well as a little bit of fitness and some much needed sunlight.

At the time my requirements were fairly simple. It needed to be roadworthy, road legal and have a range of at least 5km on battery alone. I hadn't owned a bike in 15 years so the kind of gear shifter or brake system or even the size of the frame weren't especially important. I'm an average height so an average sized bike would do.

I read around the internet and nobody had any horror stories about the Green E-Wheels bikes I found on eBay and the price seemed reasonable, so I bought one.

And, for the most part, it's served me well. I've had one flat tire due to a piece of glass, which can hardly be blamed on the bike. Earlier in the life of the bike I had a problem with the left crank coming loose which was temporarily solved by liberal application of threadlocker on the nut. This recently failed as well, necessitating a trip to the bike store and a replacement crank to replace the extremely worn one. Those're fairly expected problems with a bike and aren't really that disappointing.

What has been disappointing is the battery life. I had to replace the battery pack it came with after about a year, when it should have lasted more like two. I wasn't riding it every day and even if I was it should last around 600 recharge cycles from fully flat. And forget about the claimed 40km range. Under the most favourable conditions possible it might manage that distance but about half that was what I would judge the maximum range, though I rarely attempted such distances.

And now the replacement battery is already showing the early signs of dying. The ride to and from the bike shop, via the supermarket, is around 10km. The motor cut out more than a kilometre from home. The last kilometre was the easiest one, but with the battery barely coping with such a meagre distance it's probably not going to go that far very many more times.

And Green E-Wheels have stopped selling bikes and parts. So if I want a replacement for the battery I'm going to have to find someone who can replace the cells inside, or build me something that would be compatible. No easy task.

So I decided, with my gradually improving fitness levels, to look into getting a regular bike and maybe an electric conversion kit for those times I need to travel further than leg power alone will get me.

First port of call, the internet. It being a really great place to research such things without spending hours wandering a bike shop with no clue what to look for.

May have been better going in to my local bike shop and asking what they recommend for what I'm prepared to spend.