I recently returned home from a trip to Pigeon Forge / Sevierville / Gatlinburg Tennessee with my wife where we participated in a Grand Designs RV rally at the Sevierville Sun Outdoors park. We had a blast and met some super awesome people. A big thanks to Leon Spencer for the invite and ALL THE WORK he did to put it together.
I did a Q&A on the topic of ebikes and got some GREAT questions from folks about ebikes in general, our bikes, and what makes them different from other ebikes on the market. I thought it would be good to recap some of them for posterity, or at least so that someone else might find an answer they might be looking for!
Q: Motor? (Size, type, Volts/Watts, location)
A: We use a direct drive rear hub motor. Some bikes will use a mid-drive although it is considered premium and usually has a torque sensor. Most of our clientele prefers the cadence sensor (explained later) as a control system. MOST ebikes use a geared hub motor. What gives? We sacrificed torque in order to have a maintenance-free simple motor that had better top-end performance and efficiency….. if we even build a mountain bike, we will use a geared motor. In this case, we built a Buick, not an F150. If you are going to drive recreationally cross country, the Buick is a better choice, pulling a travel trailer an F150 (or for some of your trailers F2, 3 or 450).
Our motor is 750W, 48V. Most US ebikes are 500 or 750 watts and almost all are now 48V. In Canada and Europe they use smaller motors and can get away with smaller voltages without too much current. Our motor is capable of operating ABOVE 750W in bursts, check to make sure when buying you don’t buy a PEAK 500 or 750, if that case you will be getting the next size down in power because you can’t operate a motor long term at peak.
Q: Battery? (Location, Size, removable, range?)
A: Our battery is located in the rear rack and can be removed using the supplied key by sliding it out of the carrier. It is a 9lb 13.6Ah battery. It is IMPORTANT to buy only premium battery cells. Most ebike batteries are made of cells, they fabricate all configurations of batteries out of these and for longevity AND safety, it is important to have good cells (name brand, Samsung, LG, Panasonic) and have them fabricated correctly.
We use Samsung Cells. Our battery also includes (as do most ebikes) a (B)attery (M)anagement (S)ystem, or BMS. This helps to maintain the cells and make sure you don’t overcharge the battery.
Being Lithium-Ion, you don’t need to fully discharge or worry about using it and then topping it off.
Our battery has a published “range” of 50 miles. There are a ton of factors that contribute to range: rider weight, rider effort, terrain, temperature, and wind speed. You can even get down to tire pressure, so our range is based on a 200lb rider at medium effort on level terrain. We have found that most riders at 10-12MPH can really enjoy 2-2.5 hours of biking after that it takes some time to work up to it. In most cases, that makes our battery MORE than sufficient.
We also get a lot of questions about charge time. Technically you could need up to 6 hours to charge your battery, but in most cases, you would not be running it down nearly that far and 2-3 hours would work just fine.
Q: What type of Maintenance / do you need to be an engineer to own one of these?
A: Not too much outside of common sense. Keep the chain clean and lubed. Maintain your brakes. Keep it clean! Almost all “regular” bike stuff.
Ebikes do have a lot of power and some harmonics with the motor, it’s a good idea to regularly check your fasteners to make sure they are all tight. In addition, it’s a good idea, especially with riders over 200lbs to check your rear spokes for tightness.
You can get most of the parts locally (tires, chains brake pads) and most local bike shops will service our bike. I like to call them to let them know we support them and have lots of parts in stock.
A big benefit is that we HAVE parts and we ALWAYS work through problems with you.
When selecting an ebike, call and ask a few of these or other questions, ask if they have a certain part in stock, this should help you select a good partner. A cheap ebike may be a cheap broken ebike if you don’t have support.
Q: Does your bike fold?
A: No, we understand that in the RV community space is at a premium but we opted to build a full-size bike and with the standard size tires and frame there is not much of a savings in space even if it did fold…… the ride quality is DRAMATICALLY different, ride both before making a decision!
Q: Do you offer a hitch-mount rack?
A: We do! We have a SUPER robust solution, the Hollywood RV rack. We ALSO have a special that you can get 2 bikes and a rack package and get a nice discount! I have personally driven 1000s of miles with that rack and I think it’s better than having them in the rig because it holds them so securely. It has a series of locks and a special feature that makes it really rigid in the hitch.
Q: How does it work?
A: Just get on and pedal. The bike has 5 levels of pedal assist, starting out with level 1. As you pedal you will notice that the bike gives a boost about ¾ of a turn from stop. This is the bike trying to get you up to a certain “cadence.” If you are pedaling along and your cadence drops below the assist setting the bike will add a little power to help! No need to turn it on or off, just ride. Need a little more help? Bump the PAS up a notch. At ANY TIME you can hit the throttle and go. Need to get through a busy intersection, pass someone, or be in a hurry, just hit the thumb switch and GO. It’s also great for starting out, you can slowly depress the throttle pick your feet up and start pedaling when you get to speed (SUPER great on hills or if you have a hard time getting started.)
Other than that you can see all the bells and whistles in our manual. We include a full printed manual with details and pictures with each bike!
Q: How do you fit a bike / who will it fit?
A: Fitting a bike is all about individual comfort. Here are some rules of thumb (: The Cruiser Bike will fit about 5’0” – 6’4” BUT everyone is different which is why we have a 15-day money-back return policy)
Seat height should allow the operator to almost completely extend their leg at the bottom of the pedal stroke. This will require the rider to get off the seat OR tilt the bike to the side when stopping or starting.
The seat is also adjustable for camber (tilt) as needed. This is typically a personal preference
The handlebars should be raised and tilted to give the rider an upright seated posture. As mentioned before everyone is different which is why our bike is so adjustable.
Q: What are your most popular accessories
A: The rearview mirror is our #1 selling accessory of all time. For cargo, basket for a permanently mounted solution, and our roll top bag for a removable “take along” solution. We also have a pet basket that works well, but that is a little newer. Our Cell phone and water bottle holders are very popular as well. We also have a great water bottle (made in the USA) and a really cool fingerprint-activated lock.
Truth be told, most commonly available accessories for regular bikes will work too, we carry just what we really like!
Q: How fast can you go?
A: As fast as YOU can go. Obviously, that is not the question being asked, but it is the correct answer. As a class 2 bike, our motor will only assist you up to 20 MPH. We have found that this is far faster than most of our riders even want to go. We typically cruise in the 10-12 MPH range.
As a side note, our bike can be converted to a class one by removing the throttle and re-programming the controller. We do not offer a class 3 which is a throttle and/or pedal-assist bike that assists up to 28 MPH. If you do opt for a class 3 make sure to check with your insurance provider.
Q: What’s your Warranty?
A: We offer a 2-year warranty against manufacturing or workmanship defects. We ALSO cover the battery for 2 years. This is Two times the industry standard of one year. This is an important question to ask as some companies have only 90-day warranties on electronics. You can view the full warranty here.
There were a few more specific questions, but this covers the bulk of what we talked about. SUPER FUN. We love ebikes and we build a great one to make our customers raving fans. We’d love to build one for you. If you have questions, just give us a call – 833-266-4432, or reach out by email firstname.lastname@example.org