Showing posts with label E-bike. Show all posts
Showing posts with label E-bike. Show all posts

Friday, November 10, 2017

An Interview With Spin Dockless Bikeshare

Ready to ride. Photo courtesy of Spin
In September, dockless bikeshare arrived in Washington, D.C., the city that had already proved that a bikeshare station system can work in North America.  Suddenly, in addition to the red Capital Bikeshare (CaBi) bikes, there were the yellow ofo bikes, orange Spin bikes, silver and orange Mobikes, bright green and yellow LimeBikes, and red Jump! ebikes.  Gear Prudence compared the new D.C. bikeshare options to a bag of Skittles

These new bikes are so-called "smart bikes" that are unlocked using each company's apps. The different brands provide options from single-speeds and 3-speeds to ebikes. The Washington Post test rode four of the bikes and provided its first impressions here

An initial issue with dockless in D.C. was where to park them.  They were found inside Metro stations, CaBi docks, blocking sidewalks. David Alpert suggested that the best place to park them was between tree boxes between the street and sidewalk. We'll see if a parking etiquette takes hold.

The big picture question for D.C. and other cities, however, is whether dockless bikeshare is here to stay. Is this really a thing?  To investigate, we sent some questions to Spin. They were gracious enough to provide some answers. 

Spin Q&A

How did Spin get started?  

Spin is the first company to debut the stationless bikeshare concept in America. Dockless bikeshare did not exist in the U.S. prior to 2017 so it was important to build relationships and educate local government on the benefits first. For example, since there was no pre-existing regulations/permits for dockless, Spin worked with the SDOT’S Kyle Rowe (who they recently brought on to their team internally) to create a landmark permit to allow this innovation to benefit both the government and its citizens.

What has your experience been like with the DC launch? How does it compare with what you've seen in other cities where you operate?  

We knew D.C. would be a perfect fit for dockless bike-share. Washington D.C. is consistently ranked among the top biking cities in the country, has a track record of forward thinking transportation policies, and is a city that teaches all students how to ride a bike. As a city, Washington D.C. has ambitious climate change goals which are in favor of alternative modes of transportation.

The big question I keep hearing about dockless is "aren't these bikes going to be stolen or damaged?" How do you respond to this question?  

Unlike other bikeshare companies, Spin has a dedicated staff on the ground in every city in which we operate to ensure that bikes are conveniently and legally placed. Spin will dispatch a ground operations member within 1 hour between the hours of  9am-7pm to deal with bikes reported as obstructing public right of way, with after-hours requests managed the following morning. Spin users and the general public can also report bikes 24/7 via the website or the app. Thanks to our GPS tracking technology, we can anticipate and prevent bikes from piling up.

We've seen pictures on twitter of damaged bikes. How common is this and how do you deal with this?  
Most people are treating our bikes responsibly and with respect. While there are certainly instances of irresponsible use, it’s up to us to be proactive about addressing those issues, through our ground ops team and through community engagement.

The Spin bikes that I've seen are single speeds, have a front basket, and a chainguard. Is that standard for all of your bikes?  

The bikes are all mostly identical. We tweak them as needed for each landscape. For example, we have a customized bike created just for Seattle to be able to handle that particular terrain. But generally, those features are standard. 

[editor note: Subsequent to this interview, Spin replaced its single speeds with 3-speeds]

Do they all have headlights and taillights?


How do you make a bike "weather proof"?

Spin changes the bikes based on terrain so when the winter comes there will likely be an update.

Your blog mentions "rogue" bikeshare operators. What has your experience been with other dockless companies? Has the competition been fair? Is there a market for multiple dockless companies like we're seeing in DC?  
By rogue bikeshare operators, we mean competitors that enter cities without permission. Spin is dedicated to working closely with cities to establish clear procedures for permitting and a pathway to success that benefits both cities and riders. Essentially we want to complement existing systems in each city versus focus on beating out competitors.

When you come into a city like DC, how do you measure success?

We have been deliberate about rolling out and learning from community feedback, especially in terms of placement. One ways we track success is getting data on the number of rides per bike per day. So far, ridership has been incredible.

Will bikeshare spread from cities to less dense towns and suburbs, or is density the key? 
We are currently launching in cities, however, we are extending our focus to other communities and regions as well. One of our values is equitable transportation, so providing affordable bikes to all underserved communities.  We have recently launched on select college campuses located in more rural areas to bring bikeshare to new areas. Spin’s technology allows for bluetooth connection to unlock and ride the bikes when cellular storage and data are limited, so there’s definitely opportunity to bring the bikes beyond city streets.

Friday, May 9, 2014

BULLITT Cargo Bike

While a number of North American designers have developed "longtail" cargo bikes, where the kids or freight are carried in back, the Dutch and Danish prefer keeping things up front. LARRY VS HARRY, a shop in Copenhagen, designed the BULLITT to be a relatively light-weight and speedy way to transport cargo and children.

Most of the models come standard with a 7 or 8-speed internal gear hub in the rear, disc brake in the front, a custom kick-stand and fenders. Derailleur gearing and e-assist are also available. The riding position is somewhat leaned-forward, especially for taller riders, and there is no step-thru frame option. The modern-looking aluminum frame is meant to be extra stiff, to prevent twisting even with heavy loads.

I had a chance to test-ride this bike alone and with kids in the front (in a version that has an added kid seat); the handling is similar to a road bike, with responsive (or twitchy) steering which takes a minute to get used to. Disc brakes are a good idea on a bike meant to carry weight at high speeds.

These bikes have been reviewed by:
Josh Volk
Lovely Bicycle
Momentum Magazine

Many of the Bullitts in the USA are sold by Splendid Cycles in Portland, Oregon, but they are also available in a few other cities. The bike comes as shown, but most people pay for a child seat or cargo box to be added, and an electric bike version with a lithium battery pack is also very popular. A frameset costs $2350 alone. The complete bike with Alfine 8-speed hub is $3500. The e-bike version with a BionX rear hub is a grand more, $4500. Dynamo hubs and lights are an option.

Due to the relatively narrow cargo deck (no wider than the handlebars), one child can fit easily, but only small kids can double up.  Winther, another Danish bike company, makes an adaptation of the Bullitt frame called the Wallaroo, which has a wider child carrier included, to fit two kids side-by-side. However, there is only one current USA dealer, JC Lind in Chicago.
BULLITT Specifications (ALFINE 8 version):

shifterAlfine 8 speed
rear drivetrainAlfine 8 speed
bottom bracketAlfine
chainSRAM 9-speed
brake leversAvid
brakes frontAvid BB7
brake rearAvid BB7
rotorsShimano centerlock
HeadsetFSA Pig
stemCivia Midtown 25.4
gripsCivia Ergo
pedalWellgo Platform
fenders20″ front/26″ rear black
tire frontSchwalbe Marathon 20×2
tire rearSchwalbe Marathon 26×2
tube frontSlime tube 20″
tube rearSlime tube 26″
rim stripSchwalbe rim liners
wheel frontAlfine/Alex DM24 rim/stainless spokes
wheel rearAlfine/Alex DM24 rim/stainless spokes

BULLITT Geometry:

Friday, April 11, 2014

Xtracycle Edgerunner

Xtracycle Edgerunner 27D Lux XO

Continuing our overview of cargo bike options, the relatively new Edgerunner is a Longtail cargo bike from Xtracycle.

Xtracycle founded the current Longtail cargo bike craze, with their FreeRadical. This frame extender attached to a standard bike, converting it to a longtail. An ecosystem of accessories, bags, decks, lights and kickstands was developed around this standard, which Yuba later adopted for their Mundo bike, as have some other manufacturers. Now Xtracycle is making their own complete bike, the Edgerunner. 

The 27D Lux features fenders, a double kickstand, disc brakes, a front dynamo hub and high-end dynamo-powered lights. It has a 3-speed front and 9-speed rear derailleur, for a wide range of gears. 
It uses a smaller, 20 inch rear wheel to keep the center of gravity lower. This make it easier for kids to mount the bike by themselves, and improves handling with carrying heavy loads. It also lowers the effective gearing, which will be a big help when hauling 2 kids and a week of groceries.

Options include huge cargo bags for the rear rack, rails for kids to hold, toddler seats, hydraulic instead of mechanical disc brakes, internal gear hub, and electric assist with the BionX system. The price can vary from $1500 for the basic 24D, to $2500 for a special version with Alfine 8-speed hub at Splendid Cycles, to $2900 for the 27D lux with dynamo lighting and high-end derailers. E-assist is $1000 extra.
Edgerunner Electric 24D Family


Specifications: (24D Family)
Frame & Fork

Front Rotor
Rear Rotor
Brake Levers

Shifters & 
Bottom Bracket

Front Hub
Rear Hub
Front Rim
Rear Rim
Front Tire
Rear Tire

Seat Collar


Front Light
Rear Light

100% Chromoly
Black, White, Blue, or Orange + clear coat
Avid BB5
Avid FR5
FSA Mallet
31.8 clamp alloy
65mm ext (16.5”)
95mm ext (19”)
Velo Duracork
Acera 8s
Altus 8s 170mm
Steel 48-38-28
JIS - 68 x 125mm
Acera 11-34 t
KMC Z72 8-sp
Sealed Bearing 36h
Sealed Bearing 36h
36h Double Wall
36h Double Wall
14g Stainless
Schwalbe Big Ben 2.35
Schwalbe Big Ben 2.15
34.9 alloy allen
31.6, 300mm (16.5”)
31.6, 400mm (19”)
Resin, Cromoly Axle
Alloy black
Optional Luxos U
Optional B & M Std.
Optional Upgrade

Monday, February 13, 2012

Trek Transport

The 2012 Trek Transport, including Bontrager bag.  Credit: Trek website.
While we're on the subject of 2012 Treks, we should mention a clear winner: the Transport cargo bike from the Gary Fisher Collection.  The MSRP is $1,390.

This is a cargo bike done the right way.  I'm very happy that Trek, having swallowed up the Gary Fisher brand, is at least continuing to execute some of his best ideas.  The Transport comes with well-designed, well-proportioned front and rear racks, fenders, disc brakes (makes good sense on a fully-loaded cargo bike), and kickstand (the specs say it's a double kickstand, but the photos show a regular kickstand). 

Now here's a feature I really like: flip-flop dropouts.  This means you can have vertical or horizontal dropouts, which allows you to choose whether you want a derailer with multiple gears, a single speed, or an internal gear hub.  Versatility is nice.

You can also opt for the Transport Plus, which gives you an electric assist. 

What are the Trek marketers trying to tell us about this bike? Click for big.  Credit: Trek.

Here are a couple of reviews of the 2010 Transport:

Bicycle Design


The 2012 specs:

Colors: Matte Metallic Bronze

Frame: Trek Aluminum cargo design w/folding load racks

Fork: Alloy, straight blade w/lowrider mounts

Sizes: 17, 20"

Wheels: Shimano disc alloy hubs; heavy-duty double-wall 36-hole alloy rims

Tires: Bontrager H4 Hard-Case Plus, 26 x 1.5"

Shifters: Shimano M360 Acera, 8-speed trigger

Front derailleur: Shimano Altus

Rear derailleur: Shimano M360 Acera

Crank: FSA Alpha Drive, 38/28 w/guard

Cassette: Shimano HG31 11-32, 8 speed

Pedals: Wellgo nylon body w/alloy cage

Saddle: Bontrager H1

Seatpost: Bontrager SSR

Handlebar: Bontrager Capital OS Urban

Stem: Bontrager SSR OS, 10 degree

Headset: Slimstak, semi-cartridge bearings, sealed

Brakeset: Shimano M416 mechanical disc front brake, Tektro linear-pull rear brake w/Tektro alloy levers

Grips: Bontrager Satellite Plus, ergonomic

Extras: Folding rear load racks, front rack, Bontrager Transport cargo bag, fender, wide-stance double kickstand

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Biria Easy Boarding

Biria Easy Boarding Superlight 8

Biria imports reasonably-priced city bikes, designed in Germany and manufactured in East Asia.  This distinctive bike, with a very low, step-through aluminum frame, was one of the first models exported to North America, called the Easy Boarding series.

Through the use of a single, oversized aluminum tube for the front half of the frame, the Easy Boarding bike manages to have a "standover" height of only a few inches. The top of the frame is lower than the pedal in the horizontal position! 

Although not everyone appreciates this distinctive styling, the lack of a high bar, or even a regular "step-over" top tube found in a classic women's frame, means this bike is easy to get started even for people who have difficulty bending their hips or knees. The low frame and adjustable stem make it possible for most people to fit this bike, even though it is comes in only two sizes, though riders who are over 6' may need a taller seatpost and stem

Biria Easy Boarding Top 3

The series includes basic 3-speed "Top 3" for under $500, and the 8-speed "Lite 8" Shimano Nexus hub version for under $750, as well as a top-of-the-line "Superlight 8", which adds a front dynamo hub and a full dynamo-powered light system for about $840, one of the better prices for a bike with these features. There is also "easy 7" Shimano derailler version and a single-speed "cruiser," both under $400, which still include a partial chainguard and rear rack, and an Electric version, with a 3-speed Shimano Nexus rear hub, lithium battery pack, and 220 watt brushless front hub motor

Biria Easy Boarding - Easy 7
The components of the top-of-the-line Superlight 8 are below:


Frame:  Aluminum 7005
Fork:  Hi-Ten unicrown
Rims:  Aluminum, double-wall, 26"
Tires:  26x1.75
Front hub:  Shimano dynamo hub [Superlight 8 only]
Rear hub:  8-speed Shimano Nexus internal gear hub
Shifter:  Shimano nexus twist shifter
Handlebar:  City cruiser [Alloy]
Stem:  Adjustable Aluminum alloy
Grips:  Brown
Pedals:  Platform, rubber
Front & rear Brake:  Linear-pull cantilevers [Rear coaster brake on Top 3 and Cruiser]
Saddle:  Brown, with springs
Chainguard:  Full guard
Kickstand:  Single
Fenders:  Silver
Rack:  Rear alloy rack
Lights:  Front and rear dynamo-powered [Superlight 8 only]
Colors:  Aqua Blue, Black [Superlight 8];
Sizes:  40 cm (15.5"), 46 cm (18")
Weight:  36 lbs [claimed; single-speed is 30 lbs, 3-speed is 31 lbs ]
Biria Easy Boarding Electric

I look on this bike fondly, because it indirectly got me into commuting by bike. My boss bought the Lite 8 after a bike tour in Europe, and started riding it the 4 miles to work. I was shocked to see it in her office, but after hearing her explain how fast and easy it was to ride to work, I decided to try it myself and am now a daily commuter.

We have also previously reviewed two other bikes by Biria: the Newport 3, a shaft-drive 3-speed, and the Classic Dutch (sadly no longer available, though some dealers may have one in stock.)

The Easy Boarding Top 3 was reviewed by Bike Commuters in 2008, and it appears the 2011 model is unchanged.
Ding Ding Let's Ride had a test ride of the Top 3 in August 2010.

Biria Easy Boarding bike at the Grand Canyon

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Yuba Mundo V3.0

Longtail cargo bicycles are the minivans and pickup trucks of the bike world. The long load decks can hold groceries, kids or a thousand bananas. Yuba's second generation Mundo has 21 speeds and includes a load deck and fenders with flaps for $1099. The strong steel frame of the Mundo has the highest load rating of any longtail bike in the US. You can find the full specs here and close-up photos from EcoVelo here. My favorite feature? The deflopilator (say it in your best Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz voice).

Yuba is offering a special edition "Mundo Wheels 4 Life" that is slightly fewer features (it has 6-speeds and lacks the load deck and fenders) for $899. Even better when you purchase a Wheels 4 Life version they donate a bike to Africa or Central America. You can also get the Mundo as a frameset or e-bike.
Yuba also offers great accessories including *huge* 85 liter "Go Getter" panniers, child seats (the deck can fit two) and stoker-type bars for rear passengers. The Mundo frames have built in load platforms that also accept running boards. So if you pick up stoker bars, running boards, a soft seat and wheel skirts you're set up to ferry around the kids.

See more photos on EcoVelo Blog where they do a full review of the Mundo V3.0.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Bike Commuting for The Rest Of Us

One great way to get more time on your bicycle is to ride it daily to work or to school. The bicycles that we discuss on this blog lend themselves to carrying stuff, riding in street clothes and being tolerable in wet weather. In other words they're good for commuting.

The distance and frequency of your bicycle commute is going to be relative to your local conditions, your physical fitness and (in great part) your determination. Eventually you will learn what your body is capable of doing and what kind of equipment you'll need. But what about the point where you're just getting started with bicycle commuting?

Here are two perspectives on bicycle commuting.

Commuting on an E-Bike
Catherine chose an E-bike for her commute because it would allow her to commute more often and dispose of her car. Getting rid of the car not only saves money right away... it also eliminates excuses not to ride. You can read the blog entry (via Lets Go Ride A Bike) and see the video of her commute.

Ryan Leech on Bicycle Commuting
The second video is about Ryan Leech, a professional bicycle athlete, discussing why he commutes by bike. In Ryan's case commuting by bike helps him get in a workout while he gets to work. See the video here.

Here are some other great resources for Bicycle Commuting: