lauantai 22. huhtikuuta 2017

eBike testing: Is it the perfect touring bike?

Trivigno looks great, and the bike fits the scene.
An e-bike was the tool today when I wanted to ride a bit around Potenza, reason being that there were no other kinds of bicycles available. I decided to put it to a test: how useful would it be for touring on a hilly terrain? How would I feel on a motorised bicycle for the first time?

When you start pedaling and the Bosch Active Line system is turned on, it assists you to generate speed. I found that handy in uphill starts.

Surely, this sin-heavy Staiger Sinus BC20 has to stay on paved roads. That was also my intention, but soon after leaving the highway shoulder I found myself on paths ridden only with 4x4 vehicles and tractors.

Came there, had to lift 25 kg over the fence.

I did find back to the roads, for a while. It was hilly and I switched between Eco, Tour, and Sports modes. Very smoothly the motor responded. It also reacted to my gear shifting, assisting more with shorter gears. I felt it working like magic. I had to take several looks on my Garmin Edge 520 that showed gradients of 9-13%. I hardly felt any uphill there.

That is definitely the best part of an e-bike: uphills are flattened and you don't have to reach your HRmax or lactate level at all.

I took a short video on one nice 9% segment. Right after the video I realized I was lost. Half an hour later I knew where I was heading at but that place was all too off-road for cycling with a heavy touring bike.


I spare you from the photos taken in the worst places. It suffices to say that I had to walk the bike every now and then, and I even fell off on one particularly steep downhill paved with loose rocks.

On Google Maps the two roads above were marked with the same thickness and colour than this on the right (below on some browsers). So, if you are not MTBing, trust only on roads Google regards suitable for cars.

I finally met the civilization again in Trivigna. Instead of reaching my picturesque goal Castelmezzo, I had to turn back to make it before darkness.

I want to do faster than 25 km/h when on the road. As the assistance reaches the speed limit, all of a sudden you've got a heavy tractor. At times it was difficult to decide how to ride around and above that speed.

On highway uphills I used as much of the battery juice as I could. One idea was to wear it all before the finish in order to see what happens.

1-2 km before the hotel the battery eventually died. As Potenza is up on the hill, I had to get that tank up 100 vertical metres. To my surprise the motor didn't disengage, and gave me a lot of extra resistance. There's got to be a switch to set it to a "free" position but at least I'm not aware of it.

Not finding a way to disengage the motor was a problem also when I wanted to stop pedaling and let the bike roll free: even on a highway it felt like the bike was on a thick layer of sand or mud.

I can't see myself touring with an e-bike. Then again, for a city bike such would make sense, particularly if you need to go to places without sweating.

Cycling not allowed on E847, but it's the only way here. 

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