Sunday, October 18, 2020

New Bike: Second Impressions


OK, I downloaded a speedometer app for my phone to test out the new bike's speed claims of 18-25 miles per hour. I'd say that's a solid claim -- the top speed I managed, running on motor only, on fairly level ground and on a smooth road, was 22 mph (riding downwind -- 18 mph riding into the wind).

As to range, that's going to be a little more complicated.

The bike claims a range of 22-28 miles on battery power, 28-35 miles using "pedal assist" mode.

The simple way of thinking about range is hey, I should be able to pull the throttle back and go 22-28 miles before the battery dies.

But that's not how it works. When the company talks about range, they're presumably talking about ideal conditions -- average rider weight (this is a Chinese women's bike, so about 126 pounds),  and the motor/battery always operating at maximum efficiency. I weight nearly twice as much as an average Chinese woman, and if the bike is ever operating at maximum efficiency, it's not doing so that often. Getting up to speed from a standing start, going uphill, etc. drains the battery faster than kicking the motor on when I'm already going 15 miles an hour and riding on level ground. Running the motor constantly is going to result in more energy lost as heat instead of going into driving the motor. And so on and so forth.

I put about 15 miles on the bike on its first battery charge. I think I probably pedaled 2-3 miles of that, coasted some of the downhill portions, etc. Probably 10 miles or so on throttle or pedal assist. And the battery wasn't dead when I finished, although it was, according to the indicator gauge, getting low.

I suspect I'd get 8-10 miles out of a battery charge if I just got on the bike, maxed out the throttle, and went until the bike stopped moving.

I also suspect I could get a hundred miles out of a battery charge if I didn't kick the motor in until I had the bike up to speed,  only used it intermittently, e.g. when going up long grades or when tired of pedaling, etc.

I'll figure out what the bike can do over time, but so far I'm reasonably happy with it.

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