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Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Battery Bikes – Your opportunity to reduce your carbon footprint!

Battery Bikes are not created equal – What to look out for in the best bikes

You pay your money and you take your choice but when you purchase an e bike (also known as Battery Bikes) what are you actually paying for? For whatever reason, many of us still feel the need to assess any bicycle based solely upon its purchase price when we have little regard or understanding of the difference in features, technology or materials that can otherwise have a significant impact on its price and performance.

First up is the battery itself. Battery technology is a very dynamic and fast moving field right now. Though many manufacturers will happily quote the nominal voltage of their machines, often what’s more pertinent is the actual make-up of the battery itself since the different technologies vary wildly in their performance and cost. Lead Acid (Pb) batteries are traditional, old school technology. Invariably found on cheaper machines, they penalise the rider through their increased weight and relatively slow recharge cycle times. Nickel based technologies (Nickel Metal Hydrides or NiMH) are lighter than lead acid batteries and are more user friendly although they do suffer from losing their charge over time even when not in use. Lithium based battery technology offers a welcome reduction in weight, increased energy density and by far better recharge characteristics and shelf life. Laptops and mobile phones are now commonly powered by Lithium based cells and since their adoption in these products (which used to use Nickel based cells), overall size and weights have tumbled whilst run times and performance have increased.

Secondly, the way that the motor is controlled can vary. Some, invariably cheaper e-bikes, employ a simple switch which offers no control over the amount of power that is being made available to the motor. Whilst this is a cheap and workable solution, this can make the bike feel awkward to ride and, if being ridden alongside a friend or partner, both riders have to start together else the gap between the two cannot be easily bridged.

An evolution of the switch is the twist grip which allows the rider to vary the amount of power being sent to the motor. This type of control overcomes many of the drawbacks of the switched operation although it is still effectively powering the motor at all times and requires the rider to continually apply some throttle in order to maintain momentum.

By far the most technically accomplished solution is the use of a torque sensor within the crank assembly, or a drop out sensor which measures chain tension. This effectively senses how much effort the rider is having to input and increases or decreases the motorised assistance accordingly so as to preserve the battery’s energy and increase the battery bike’s usable distance between charges. As you encounter an incline or need to accelerate, instinctively the rider will push down harder on the forward crank. The sensor picks up on this torque increase and automatically increases the power to the motor but when on a straight, or coasting downhill, the rider needs no power assistance from the motor to maintain their constant speed (as sensed by no torque being input through the crank) and so the system automatically switched off or decreases the power to the motor.

Motor and battery technology aside, battery bikes then share common features with normal bicycles. Suspension forks and suspension seat posts all aid rider comfort whilst disc brakes or powerful V type brakes increase braking consistency and power which can be an important consideration given the additional weight that an e-bike carries over its non-powered traditional cousins. Aluminium continues to be used to provide lightweight and strong frames and normal, derailleur gears can provide the ability for the rider to optimise their pedal speed with their chosen road speed and conditions and if you are considering an e-bike for a daily commute, then the addition of racks and panniers will be appreciated as will be the inclusion of lights, chain guard and mud-guards.

In conclusion you need to choose the best battery bike you can within your budget, but perhaps more importantly go out and have a test ride, not just of one bike but of several because they all feel slightly different to ride. So many people think that having ridden one sort they will all feel the same and that’s just not true, it’s a bit like thinking that a Mini will feel exactly the same to drive as a Ferrari, they both work as cars but are worlds apart to drive. So go and have a test ride and choose the bike that you feel most comfortable riding – you are more likely to use the bike if you love being out on it, this will make you investment and time spent choosing well worthwhile.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Batribike in the City Square Lincoln

Battery bikes were displayed today as part of Lincolnshire County Council's Bike Week initiative. Batribike were very pleased to be invited to the display in City Square where cycling leaflets and bike information was available alongside the 'Bike Doctor' and a security marking service.The event proved very popular, with the lunch time pedestrians spending time finding out about the benefits of electric bikes.

Many of the locals wanted to know if our bikes would go up Lindum Hill the City's famous climb, so Ralph went out on the new Granite and rode right to the top. The hill has a 10% gradient sign and is a long drag, followed by a hairpin bend which steepens on the inside. The bike performed admirably and Ralph only had to drop down to forth gear. The biggest problem he encountered was the poor state of the road edges which were sprinkled with potholes and the fact that the traffic was pushing him to the edge, unfortunately even an electric bike can't sort out these problems.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Battery Bikes at the Lincolnshire Show

Battery Bikes from Batribike have been on show at the Lincolnshire County Show for the past two days. The event is only six miles from our showroom and so it was good to be able to spread the word to lots of local people about the benefits of electric bicycles, many took the opportunity to test ride and see for themselves our excellent build quality.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Battery Bike News

Before we left Swansea we managed to fit in a photo shoot of the new bikes

Great news the shipment is due tomorrow so we will be dispatching next week after the bikes have been through their pre delivery inspection.

We are now back at base after the Swansea show and I have taken some pictures of the Yard and drive as we have had it all resurfaced, it looks great! and it's a super surface for our customers to try riding the battery bikes.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Battery Bikes at Swansea Boat Show

Batribike are showing their battery bikes in Swansea this weekend. We are all set up and ready for the show to start tomorrow so w took the opportunity to walk around the marinas this evening. What a really super area this is, there are lots of cycle paths and footpaths, we went over a lovely suspension bridge that is part of Cycle Route 4.

It has been a glorious evening, with a warm wind and a lovely sunset, lets hope it's a sign of a super day to come.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Bike Week, All Party Parliamentary Cycle Ride

Battery Bikes took part in today's bike ride through the streets of London to the Houses of Parliament. BEBA (British Electric Bicycle Association) members were privileged to join the ride and to demonstrate their battery bikes. Batribike were delighted to be there with three of their bikes one of which was ridden by Edward Leigh MP. Olympic gold medalist Victoria Pendleton headed the cycle ride along with several MP's and Lords.
Mr. Edward Leigh MP on a Batribike Diamond

Mr. Edward Leigh MP was very keen to try the paces of the Batribike Diamond when the group stopped to watch some school children demonstrate their cycling safety skills. Mr. Leigh enjoyed a fast lap of the square and commented that he enjoyed the faster ride.

The Cycling Group A BEBA member
The ride started from Bike Week sponsors EDF Energy's headquarters where participants enjoyed breakfast drinks and pastries before a group photo. The riders were marshalled by a newly formed crack team of cycling policemen who were very keen to demonstrate their cycling skills and to talk about how they are targetting bike crime within the City, they also showed a keen interest in the battery bikes and how they worked. The ride then continued to the Houses of Parliament for a presentation in the Jubilee Room.

After the official ride was over I had a fantastic ride back to the van passing Buckingham Palace just at the right time for the changing of the guard, through Marble Arch and then through Hyde Park which is such a special green space. Battery bikes at the All Party Parliamentary Cycle Ride had definitely been a success.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Battery Bikes, What is a Battery Bike and why would I buy one?

Battery bikes or as they are variously known, electric bikes, e-bikes or battery powered bicycles are becoming more popular and more common place. At the beginning of this style of transport the choice was limited and the design seemed rather ‘old fashioned’ but not anymore! Technology has moved on very quickly and with advances in battery manufacture power packs are now lighter and give a greater distance and frame design is much more stylish.
So what’s a battery bike, and why are Battery Bicycles becoming so popular?
Battery Bikes aka electric bikes are power assisted bicycles that offer motorized power assistance through the use of electric motors and battery technologies. Limited by UK & EU law to 200W/250W motors and with an assisted top speed of 15mph, the motive of a battery bike is that its assistance ultimately reduces the cycling effort and increases the useable range of the bicycle concept. Battery Bikes are classed as bicycles though do not attract road excise duty in the way that mopeds would do and, of course, they can make use of the ever increasing national network of quality cycle paths and routes.
Battery Bike - Who’s it for?
The battery bike concept has a wide market appeal to different people of all different ages. The motorised assistance expands the usable range of the bicycle as a mode of transport and makes daily commuting much easier. It has health and fitness benefits since the rider is still more active than they would otherwise be if sat in a car and if the concept makes the thought of cycling more appealing, then it will be used more regularly than a normal bike.
One problem that most of us face as we get older is that as our fitness diminishes through age or inactivity, the sheer thought of sustained hard effort can be enough to put us off. Even if we do venture out on a push-bike, as soon as a head-wind or a hill is encountered and our speed drops to a crawling pace, our thoughts can all too easily drift back to the comforts and convenience of the motor car. It’s an irony to think that although we’d all benefit from regular exercise, it is most hard to maintain the impetus to get into the routine at the very beginning because our bodies complain so much during the early stages of any regime.
Why buy a battery bike?
The reasons for buying a battery bike are varied, you could be looking for an environmentally friendly way to get to work or you may want to just ride a bike in your leisure time and would like some help with the pedalling, either way the Batribike range has something suitable for everyone.
Battery Bike Advantages?
Green - Although using more energy than if there were no power input, an electric bicycle uses a very small amount of energy compared to other motorised forms of transport. It also creates a lot less noise pollution than vehicles with combustion engines.
Fitness - Many would argue that a conventional bicycle would keep you fitter, this is true if you ride regularly, but if having an electric bike means that you go out more often the advantages are obvious. An electric bike will help with hills, when it’s windy and help with carrying loads.
Commute - If sitting in traffic drives you mad in the mornings but arriving at work all hot and worn out after a hard bicycle ride doesn’t appeal to you then an electric bike could be the answer. It takes much less effort to maintain a steady speed with a pedal assist bike.
Running cost - Typically an electric bike costs ten times less per mile to run than a car! There is no MOT or insurance required to ride an electric bike on the road.
Safety - When riding up a hill most cyclists slow down, this makes the bike much less stable and in more danger from passing cars and lorries. An electric bike can help maintain speed and therefore safety on hill climbs.
Cycle Paths - Because an electric bike is counted as a ‘bicycle’ by law you are legally allowed to ride it on cycle paths. This gives the commuter and leisure cyclist access to a huge network of routes that are not available to other motorised users.
For further information in relation to Battery Powered Bicycles please visit our website at
Battery Bike.com

Bike Week 2010

Battery bikes will be participating in the All Party Parliamentary Bike Ride tomorrow ahead of Bike Week next week - 19th to 27th June 2010. The special guest at the Parliamentary Bike Ride will be Olympic gold medalist Victoria Pendleton. Batribike are delighted that the MP for Gainsborough Mr Edward Leigh will be riding one of their new battery bikes with regenerative braking. Read more in the Blog tomorrow.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Batribike Diamond, more testing....

Battery bike testing has been on hold for a few days whilst I have been busy organising shows. It was last Monday when I went out testing on the Quartz, so when I started todays ride I was very keen to see what progress had been made on the new bridge, the concrete barers were being laid seven days ago so I was hoping to see a nearly finished bridge. I was amazed that today I was able to ride over it for the first time, The wooden hand rail was all in place and the tarmac slopes from the bridleway to the very start of the bridge were completed. The slats of the bridge itself are coated in a non slip material and the whole thing is looking really good.

I spoke to one of the workman and he told me that they still have to take out the temporary bridge they made to get the heavy equipment over the water, (this was made with the corrugated tubes I saw when the construction first started.) they will be putting up some fencing and landscaping the area, it should all be finished this week.
I hope to be riding again tomorrow but after that I won't get another chance for over a week so by the time I see it again all the working debris should have gone.
All the Elder was flowering profusely today and I'm sure that was what triggered my hayfever, I needed to have my pockets stuffed with tissues! The wind was warm too which made the whole thing seem like a summertime ride - even the rain that started half way through was quite warm.
Nearly thirty miles ridden today on the battery bike, Batribike Diamond, I was testing on level two which is quite low but on the flat was excellent, once up to speed it was no effort to maintain a steady 13mph, it was a bit steadier on the hills than using level three or four but I am confident of getting a very extended range from the battery.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Battery Bikes at Bike Radar Live 2010

Batribike is very pleased to announce that we will be attending Bike Radar Live at Brands Hatch on 10th and 11th of July. Show goers will be able to try out our bikes in very auspicious surroundings. There is going to be such a lot going on with a great festival atmosphere, lots of celebs from the bike world will be there and there will be lots of stunting demos!
This is going to be one of the very first places you will be able to see, try and buy our new battery bikes with regenerative braking, the Diamond and Granite.
Lets hope the weather is good, some real summer sun could make this THE event to go to this year.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Battery Bike Enthusiast Wins a Batribike Micro

A recent Caravan Club members competition had a Batribike Micro as the exciting prize. The winner Mr Keith Hunt of Pontypridd, Mid Glamorgan told us that he is very keen to get out on his new Batribike Micro, he is delighted with his prize as he wants the chance to get back into exercise and an electric bike is the ideal solution. Mr Hunt is a keen caravanner so the Micro with it's convenient storage bag is ideal for taking away in the caravan too.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Batribike Folder Test

Battery bike or battery powered electric bicycle testing isn't always about the distance they can go, there are times when it's more about how a battery bike rides and feels and how it performs in all of it's modes. Today I was out riding on a prototype 20" wheel folder, with four pedal assist modes and four throttle modes there was a lot to get to grips with in terms of how fast it would comfortably go in each mode and how well it would cope with any inclines. I had my trusty GPS strapped to the handlebars giving me speed, maximum speed for the trip, trip distance and total distance travelled all on one screen. This enables me to see exactly what is happening at any given time - it is important though not to spend all your time watching the screen otherwise there is a danger of running into things!

I took my normal 8 mile route as I was keen to see how the bridge construction was coming along, lots of progress had been made since my visit last week. The shuttering for the concrete was all gone and the piers were in place, a digger/crane was lifting the cross members into place, the I section beams have been clad in wood which I expect the designers hope will help the new bridge to blend in when complete. Planking was all stacked ready to fit so I must visit again soon as progress will probably be quite rapid now.
Not so much change in the flora this time out although there were quite a lot of Dog Roses, where I stopped to take a picture there was a bumble bee going from flower to flower and giving a very summery sound of buzz, buzz in each. There was also a lovely double row of Foxgloves in one of the college gardens.

battery bike testing went very well, I was rather impressed with the performance up a stiff incline especially when tried with no pedalling at all.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Battery Bikes on Display at Stratford

The new Diamond and Granite were on show today in front of the banners displaying the new regenerative logo. Batribike are also pleased to be displaying the banner showing their membership of BEBA the British Electric Bicycle Association.
Battery bike interest has been triggered too, by the Motor Caravanners who had been at their National Rally at Newark recently where they had seen the Quartz and Micro under test and many had had the opportunity to try them out for theirselves.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Batribike Launches Exciting New Models

Battery bikes with regenerative braking are the exciting new additon to the Batribike range. The popular Granite and Diamond models have been redesigned and have a raft of new features. The battery which powers the bicycle has been moved to be positioned in the carrier as is the current vogue, it has a rattle free mounting and the power rating has been increased to 36V 10Ah for greater cycling distance. Battery powered distance has also been increased by the use of regenerative braking, when going downhill the motor can be activated to act as a brake to slow the bike down and at the same time put some power back into the battery.

The battery powered bicycles now have a 250W rear hub motor, torque sensor power delivery (the harder you push the pedals the more power is delivered, up to a pre set level), four selectable power levels, throttle control and seven speed indexed gears.

Frame design has once again been a key feature, the Diamond retains its low step through Dutch styling with curved handlebars, in fact the step through has been widened to give even easier access. The Granite now has flowing lines with a cross bar that curves gently down to a lower position below the seat post, the trendy rounded triangle shaped tubing provides a strong and robust frame now rated to 130kg max. rider weight. Both the Granite and the Diamond continue to feature full chain guard, mudguards, centre stand and LED lights for the full rider package.