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      Unleash the beast: High Performance Cycle’s electric mountain bike

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 4 April - 17:54 · 1 minute

    Image of a large, dark green mountain bike against a grey stone wall.

    Enlarge (credit: John TImmer)

    I found myself in the air long enough to give some thought to how I could land while remaining atop the bicycle I had been riding the instant before I hit the jump. Based on similar experiences while skiing, I immediately recognized that this invariably meant very bad things. A few seconds later, as I was brushing dirt out of the abrasions I had just picked up, I contemplated where I had gone wrong.

    Once again, I had misunderstood HPC's Trailblazer e-mountain bike. Doing so had become a feature of the time I spent using the bike.

    The Trailblazer looks like a solid, hefty beast of a bike (that's not an insult—I got compliments on its looks while taking a train to some trails). It's covered with components that are likely to be unfamiliar to people who know the default sets that come with bikes from large manufacturers. But if you do some research on the components, you realize that the Trailblazer was specced by someone with deep knowledge and fairly particular tastes. And the ride the bike provided has some surprisingly subtle qualities that took me a while to adjust to.

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      Study finds that once people use cargo bikes, they like their cars much less

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 31 January - 19:37 · 1 minute

    Trek Fetch+2 with cargo panniers attached

    Enlarge / It's not likely to totally replace your car, nor will it probably be your only bike. But access to a cargo bike can reduce car trips, and even car ownership, a study from Germany suggests. (credit: John Timmer )

    Cargo bikes started as something you'd see in images from Europe— bakfiets loaded up with groceries or sometimes kids. Now they're getting more popular, and seemingly for good reason. A new study out of Germany suggests that once you let people try them, they tend to have a real impact on car use, and even car ownership.

    The study, from Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, surveyed people using a cargo bike share (CBS) system from 58 different programs and initiatives in Germany, controlling a collective 751 cargo bikes. Out of the 2,386 active CBS users surveyed, 45.8 percent had one car in their home, and 54.2 percent lived without a car. As you might notice, this mix of cargo bike shares and car ownership is not representative of the US, but using a cargo bike, even one they didn't technically own, still impacted ownership decisions in even one-car households.

    A bit more than 18 percent of survey respondents said they either got rid of their car or decided against buying a car, and 80 percent of those people said they did so for environmental reasons. Nearly 49 percent said they ditched a car for financial reasons, 42 percent because they had "no interest in driving a car," and about 10 percent due to the safety risks of driving a car (with the survey allowing for multiple reasons).

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      Automatic bike transmission concept is wild and spiky—and could be a big shift

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 30 November - 22:13

    Haven Mercer's prototype front assembly for an automatic bike transmission

    Enlarge / Haven Mercer's prototype front assembly for an automatic bike transmission. (credit: Haven Mercer)

    Depending on how you look at it, either a lot or not very much has changed about the way bikes shift gears since the mid-19th century .

    A lot has been refined along the transmission path, in which your feet push cranks, those cranks turn a big gear, and a chain connects that big gear to a smaller gear on the rear wheel. Shifting has picked up lots of improvements, be they electronic or wireless, as have derailleurs and internal gearboxes. Materials and tolerances have only improved over the decades.

    But in almost all cases, you're still manually adjusting something to move the chain and change gears, depending on the resistance you're feeling on the bike. Even the most outlandish recent ideas still involve indexed movement between different-sized gears.

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      Swytch DIY e-bike conversion kits: A very, very long-term review

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Friday, 20 October, 2023 - 14:19 · 1 minute

    Swytch battery on the handlebar of a gray/pink hybrid bike

    Enlarge / There aren't many e-bikes you can buy with rim brakes and mid-'90s gray/pink styling. (credit: Kevin Purdy)

    Recommending the Swytch e-bike conversion kit feels like recommending a DIY desktop computer upgrade. You’re not evaluating or describing any one experience so much as telling somebody that it might save them money, that it could be a fun project, and that the end result can be a point of pride. Though it would be easier, you can’t replicate the upgrade experience by simply buying another bike. It all depends on what you want out of an e-bike—or a weekend project.

    I’ve now converted two bikes with Swytch kits, I’ve walked my in-laws through upgrading their own cruiser-style bikes with them, and I’ve made tweaks and fixes to all of the bikes over two years. What I've learned is that there’s no single "Swytch kit experience" because every bike is a collection of components, and each component has dimensions and angles and quirks that play off the kit in different ways.

    Some people will drop the front wheel off their bike, replace it with Swytch’s wheel, strap down a few cables with zip-ties, mount a battery, and feel the boost on their first ride a couple hours later. Some people will learn a lot more about rims, tires, and beads than they knew before or discover that their seemingly normal-looking front fork is quirky and find that the dropouts require some filing.

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      Rolling in style: The Priority E-Coast beach cruiser

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Friday, 22 September, 2023 - 11:33

    Side profile of bike

    Enlarge / The E-Coast is a beautiful bike. (credit: Eric Bangeman)

    Sometimes, no matter what you think your level of expertise is, you need to follow the advice of others. I learned this lesson again while assembling the Priority E-Coast , a $1,999 electric beach cruiser from Priority Bicycles. Priority told me right there on the box. "Warning: Bicycle assembly should be performed or verified by a professional bicycle mechanic."

    Once I finished putting the E-Coast together, I was left with a gorgeous e-bike that was enjoyable to ride. But getting there involved more time and swearing than I'm used to. The good news is that Priority apparently heard the curses of its customers, as the part that made assembly miserable has been removed. So you might not need a pro bike tech after all.

    Unlike some e-bike manufacturers, which seem to have popped up out of nowhere in the last couple of years, Priority has been around since 2014, when it launched via Kickstarter. Nine years and two Kickstarters later, it has a robust lineup of motorized and human-powered bicycles.

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      Velotric T1 e-bike review: Slick, barely-an-ebike look hides some real power

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Friday, 4 August, 2023 - 13:32 · 1 minute

    Velotric T1 e-bike against gray background

    Enlarge (credit: Velotric)

    I can't get over how good the T1 looks. It's a beautiful bike, especially in the two-tone frosted blue color of my test ride. It's so smoothly contoured, devoid of wires and generally eye-catching that, for once, I'm more afraid of it getting stolen for its looks than for the powerful motor and battery that are well-hidden inside it. So it's a good thing the Thunder 1 comes with a number of anti-theft features installed.

    Over weeks of testing, the $1,800 T1 (initially the "Thunder 1" at launch, since renamed by Velotric) has been a fun ride. The bike has a responsive torque-sensing motor and a wide range of power options paired with actual gears. The app is about as reliable as any other Bluetooth-based single-device app (i.e., not wholly), but it provides useful data, configuration, and anti-theft options. Most of the cables, settings, and other obvious parts of an e-bike can't be seen. You just ride and notch the assist up or down when you want.

    You can't entirely forget the T1 is an e-bike, as every time you look down while riding, you see a thumbprint sensor. But riding it around on a steady power level and shifting gears—with it looking for all the world like a standard flat-bar bike—you can get most of the benefits of electric assist with very few of its signifiers. It quietly flattens hills and shortens miles.

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      Owners of troubled VanMoof e-bikes get their software keys from rival company

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Monday, 17 July, 2023 - 18:30 · 1 minute

    VanMoof X3 bike on a grassy hill

    Enlarge / VanMoof's X3 bike in 2020. In our review , we noted that its looks garnered "universal drool," while everything else ranged "from serviceable to questionable." (credit: Sam Machkovech)

    VanMoof e-bikes have a look, and price tag, from the near future . They're also a bit endangered these days, as their Netherlands-based maker has run out of money and asked for temporary protection from creditors . Sensing this, a Belgian e-bike company jumped in to provide an app that should help VanMoof owners keep riding, even if the parent company stalls out.

    VanMoof has had administrators appointed to it by a Dutch court, protecting it from creditors for at least a two-month "cooling down period" while it explores options, according to a company spokesperson and media reports . After devoted customers began to notice outages and halts to order-taking last week, the company closed its retail stores in New York, Tokyo, Berlin, and other locations. A company spokesperson told Forbes last week that the company would "work hard to continue our services" and would contact customers about pending deliveries or repairs.

    Many, if not most, bike owners can get by just fine if their bike's maker disappears, at least past their warranty period. VanMoof bikes, however, offload many of their configuration functions to a smartphone app and are much easier to unlock with a phone than manually. Models like the X3 Ars tested in 2020 have automatic shifting, which all but demands regular tweaking with a phone to adapt their behavior to different rides and preferences.

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      Into the rivers and through the woods: Specialized’s e-mountain bike

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Friday, 30 June, 2023 - 11:00 · 1 minute

    Image of a mountain bike leaned against a stone wall.

    Enlarge / Behold, the Turbo Levo. (credit: John Timmer)

    I consider myself a bit of a bicycle fanatic. I've ridden tens of thousands of miles, stripped bikes down to their frames and rebuilt them, and completed a 130-mile ride from New York City to the tip of Long Island. But I have intentionally cut myself off from one of the most exciting, rapidly developing parts of the cycling world. I've never ridden a mountain bike.

    This is partly because I know my weaknesses. I expected I'd like it, and being an inveterate gear hound, I would end up wanting to buy one. A lack of money in grad school followed by lack of space for two bikes in New York City meant that wasn't an option. So I stuck to the road and avoided even exposing myself to temptation.

    I now have a bit more money and a bit more space, and my resistance started to crack a bit when I tested a dual-suspension frame bike late last year. But that foldable, ultra-fat-tire frame didn't give me the confidence I needed to try trails that would challenge both the bike and my lack of skill. It was, however, enough to get me to say yes when Specialized offered some review time with its Levo series of e-mountain bikes. After hitting a few parks with the Turbo Levo Comp Alloy , I'm here to report that I was right in avoiding trail riding for as long as I did.

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      Silent, stiff, and svelte: The Tenways CGO600 Pro e-bike reviewed

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 15 June, 2023 - 11:00 · 1 minute

    Picture of a bike

    Enlarge / The Tenways CGOPro 600 e-bike. (credit: Eric Bangeman)

    When it comes to e-bikes, sometimes less is more. That's the philosophy of Tenways , a 2-year-old Dutch e-bike manufacturer that has recently crossed the Atlantic to have a go at the US market. All four of their bikes are easy on the eyes, but the $1,899 CGO600 Pro really grabbed my attention due to its sleek lines and gorgeous looks.

    Tenways markets the CGO600 Pro as "The Lightweight Champion." It's a 37 lb (16.8 kg) bike built to get you from point A to point B with minimal fuss—and gears, as the CGO600 Pro is a single-speed specimen. The assistance comes from a 360 W rear hub motor powered by a 36 V, 10 Ah Li-ion battery. That's good for up to 53 miles of range, a number that jibes well with my experience riding the bike. There's also no chain—the CGO600 Pro uses a carbon belt-drive system, which cuts way back on maintenance, runs quieter, and has a longer life than a chain.

    The CGO600 Pro really looks more like a flesh-powered hybrid than an e-bike. Absent is the chunky look of e-bikes like the Cyrusher XF690 Maxs or Veloctric Discovery 1 . In contrast, the CGO600 Pro looks streamlined and svelte, ready to eat up the miles. The less-is-more design philosophy carries over to the LCD display, which is about the size of a Lego brick and is mounted near the handgrip on the left side of the handlebar. The downtube is slimmer than most e-bikes, with a removable battery accounting for the mass. The motor is located in the rear hub.

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