Category Archives: Products

An electric bike is perfect for commuting to work.

Considering an electric bike, helpful tips before buying

The real advantages of an electric bike or e-bike include their climbing efficiency, taking a bite out of wind resistance, and the ability to expand your range of travel. Before purchasing an e-bike, it is important to know how far you want to go and what type of terrain you will be riding it on.

For those who have experienced a medical issue or sports injury, an e-bike can breathe new life into your desire to stay active while having fun. With a little assist, you may again want to re-connect with your cycling buddies or add that #NextBikeAdventure to your list. Plus, if you are planning on commuting to work by bike, you will arrive feeling fresh.

Now that you have a reason to consider an electric bike, it’s time to choose the right one! With thousands of electric bike models on the market, there are several things to consider. The last item on our list here at HaveFunBiking is to test ride the e-bike you are looking to buy. Consider visiting several bike shops to compare.

First when buying an electric bike know your style of riding

With all the e-bikes on the market today, design options vary to fit different people and their preference of use. It’s up to you to decide what is most important. With so many models to choose from, first, you should figure out where you’re going to be riding your e-bike.

Geared to accommodate different activities (cargo-hauling; relaxed cruising; trail riding; mountain biking; child transportation; road biking; fat bike riding; touring; and urban commuting), compile a list of questions. The first one, ask yourself before entering a store, what will be my preferred bicycling activity with a new electric bike?

The electric bike drive

There are two mains types of e-bikes. The most common is what has come to be called the “pedal assist.” This system monitors the rider’s pedaling and automatically adds a certain amount of motor assistance – usually depending upon rate, force, and speed.

In most places, the motor’s output is regulated and limited to no more than 750 watts and the maximum speed up to 20 mph or 32 km/h. When you reach this speed, the motor automatically disengages. A few models in this category also offer the twist-n-go option. A switch on the handlebar, like a throttle on a motorbike, is used by the rider to trigger assistance from the motor.

The second drive train system is set for high-performance electric bikes that can easily achieve speeds much faster. Riders with these faster drive train systems need to have a special driver’s license, plates, and insurance. The regulations differ in every state and country, so it’s important to ask your local bike shop for details.

The e-bike motor and its location

There are two main types of motors and where they are located. The hub motor assist is located in one of the wheels and is the most common. Hub motors, which place the electric motor in the center of a bicycle wheel, are the most common. This e-bike power source tends to be quieter but often doesn’t handle hills, as well as a crank assist center mount system.

Rear motor system for an electric bike

Rear motor system for an electric bike

Located over the center mount in the crank and pedal area, the crank motor assist is at the bottom of the frame, transferring the motor’s power to the rear wheel via the bicycle’s chain. That means the electronic controls can include a sensor that detects how hard you’re pedaling and can measure the assistance accordingly. Typically, crank-assisted bikes have become much more common over the last couple of years and have a reputation for doing well on steep hills.

Center motor system for an electric bike

Center motor system for an electric bike

Both have several unique advantages and disadvantages, so choosing the right motor for you will largely depend on your requirements and which advantages seem more useful to your needs. Generally, it would be best if you were looking for a brand with a good reputation, such as Bosch, Brose, Panasonic, Shimano, and Yamaha.

Battery storage

One of the most expensive components of your new e-bike is the battery. Most of the price involved these days in buying a ready-to-go e-bike is the bike’s lithium-ion battery pack size. These batteries are everywhere, so it’s no surprise to find them powering e-bikes.

More expensive e-bikes have higher-tech batteries that are lighter, charge quickly, and last longer. Batteries degrade over time, holding less charge as they age. The quality of the battery makes a difference, so look for a reputable named battery manufacturer. Then make sure the warranty covers the battery for at least two years.

Conservatively lithium-ion batteries are typically said to last for 1,000 full charge cycles. That’s about three years of weekday commuting. They survive longer with careful use, so you should get at least 2,000 half-charge cycles. In practice, several years’ battery life is quite easily achievable depending on how often you charge and store the battery.

The distance an electric bike can  travel

The distance an e-bike will go on one charge of the battery is called range. It’s probably the most important specification. If your commute involves a big hill, for example, you don’t want to run out of juice halfway up. Without power, an e-bike is just a heavy bike.

The range depends on the battery capacity, the speed, weight, profile of the commuting tour, the assistance level you choose, and the percentage of given pedaling power. If you’re only going to do six to ten miles of daily commuting, you don’t need a battery and motor set for a 50 to 70-mile range. However, it would be best if you bought a bike with a higher range than you necessarily need because the range will drop as the battery ages and loses capacity.

Costs is another factor

Good e-bikes are not cheap, as I mentioned above. You can pick up a basic model, but how long will you be happy with it? An average bike with a quality frame, functional brakes, suspension, and other components is expensive. Now, when buying an e-bike, you have to add the cost of the motor and battery. The battery’s cost, with a reputable warranty, along with can cost $500 to $1,000, so don’t be surprised by the higher price; a better bike lasts much longer.

Test ride before you make a final commitment.

Perhaps the most important (and fun) part of buying an electric bike is test riding it. Trying an electric bike allows you to put aside skeptics, reviews, and research and answer the most basic question: Do you love this bike?

The show will combining both cycling tourism and cycling sports into the venue to give you all the facts.

The E-bike Challenge will combine cycling tourism and cycling sports into the venue to give you all the facts.

If so, then ask a few other questions: Does it climb hills in the way I need it? Does the bike fit me in the way I would like it too? And, does it have the quality and functionality I would like?

 

Making yourself heard, with a bicycle bell or by voice command?

By Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking

Working on the gift section in the winter edition of the MN Bike/Hik Guide, coming out in early December, we tested a new bicycle bell from SpurCycle. The Compact Bell is perfect for the mountain bike or a flat bar commuter. The bell also offers the same high-frequency ping as their original bell, just smaller with less moving parts. However, with more people walking and biking, is it better to use a bicycle bell or your voice command to bring attention as you approach?

The SpurCycle Compact Bicycle Bell

In a recent test of the SpurCycle Compact Bell, I found the ring lasts longer than most bells. I found the high-frequency ping with a rich aftermath tone helps those, as you approach, of your on-coming presents.

The perfect brass bell housing holds a ring longer, starting with a very hard “ping.”

This compact bell is plenty loud for off-road riding and suburban commuting but won’t win against car horns and heavy street traffic in a metropolitan area. This bell’s true advantage is how long the ring lasts (or “sustains”), ending at the same frequency.

From its package, test out the high-quality ping this bicycle bell makes.

It’s great for commuters or mountain bikers because you can start the ring 10-15 seconds before passing a biker or pedestrian. Letting let them know where you’re approaching from and how far away you are. With the SpurCycle Bell, there’s no need to ring your bell 20-times like the inexpensive department store models. The initial ring offers enough of a shrill to get the attention of even the most hardcore earbud rockers if you do choose to hit it repeatedly.

If your bike has a larger diameter handlebar (22.2 to 31.8 mm), consider the SpurCycle Original.

Mastering the use of your voice or the use of a bicycle bell

In a recent article published by CyclingSavvy, on should you use a bicycle bell or your voice? For many, it’s a cultural issue. In this in-depth article, John Brooking discusses how you can use a bell or your voice to alert people and what to check for after sending an audible signal. He also touches on the other sounds bicycles make and how these extend your pre-ride safety check. Mastering the use of your voice or bell when riding is a call-and-response. Musicians use this so the audience can sing along; you can use it, so your passage is predictable and safe.

Personally, I prefer the bell to voice commands. Especially if you are in an urban area with heavy pedestrian foot traffic. Spending time in Amsterdam on a bicycle made me a true believer that the bell’s sound was mightier than the voice.

Sledge Sunglasses are designed by cyclists for your riding comfort

by Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking

Thanks to today’s oversized styles from Tifosi Optics, choosing a pair of eye-catching sunglasses for cycling is easy and affordable. The latest Sledge models will have you riding in style when the sun is shining. Plus, if you are like me, when you want a more detailed view,  they comfortably fit over your prescription glasses. Either way, you wear them, you will get the airy fit and the protection you desire.

Each pair comes a full lens kit that includes an additional clear and high contrast AC red lens, plus a hard case and soft bag for cleaning.

Styling comfort with Sledge Sunglasses

Tifosi Optics’ newest cycling sunglasses are designed to enhance your ride. Offering maximum coverage and ergonomic face-fit protection from the elements, you will find an unrestricted view of the road or trail.

Each of the vented Sledge lenses fit into the lightweight yet durable Grilamid TR-90 frame of your choice. And all three lenses are guaranteed shatterproof while providing 100% UV protection.

Cycling sunglasses designed by cyclists

The perfected cycling eyewear at an affordable price, Sledge glasses range from $69.95 to 79.95. Click on each of the four-color options below and choose.

Crystal Orange with a Clarion Blue lens

 

Crystal Red with a Clarion Yellow lens

Matte Black with a Smoke lens

Matte White with a Smoke lens

Like me, you will find that the Sledge line of sunglasses offers the ideal tint for any lighting condition. Each pair is shipped with a full lens kit, which includes an additional clear and high contrast AC red lens, plus a hard case and soft bag for cleaning.

Team up with Tifosi during the Covid-19 crisis

Tifosi face shield donation to health care workers during covid-19

In addition to making affordable eye protection for you, Tifosi is also doing what it can to protect healthcare professionals during the Covid-19 crisis. The company recently announced that they would be donating a face shield to health care facilities during the month of May for every pair of sunglasses sold on their site. For more details, check out their post here.

The Apres-Ski Recovery Boot works well for post fat biking activities

by Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking

Like the Telic’s sandals, the new Apres-Ski Recovery Boot is the perfect footwear, after fat biking the snow-covered trails. With a fun-filled day of pedaling through the woods and open fields behind us. It was time to slip on some comfortable walking footwear and enjoy the local festivities. Here my wife found this Recovery Boot, made for post-ski therapy, perfect for the activities we enjoyed after fat biking.

After a fun-filled day of pedaling through Minnesota’s True North landscape, the boots support technology added to the comfort.

The Apres-Ski Recovery Boot fit

As I mentioned Telic is best known for its comfortable sandal footwear. Telic originally designed the Recovery Boot for skiers in the snow sports industry to help them relax after training and competition. What they found incorporating the Novlaon Footstrike Technology from the sandals, the boot had a soft supportive fit for added comfort for any post-outdoor activity.

Very attractive, I liked the idea that this boot was lightweight, water-resistant, and had a nice traction control outer soles.

Stylish, and very supportive with great shock absorption.

Trying these boots, my wife found them stylish, very supportive with great shock absorption. So we found these boots kept her feet warm while we walked around the apres festivities after fat biking.

The new Telic Apres-Ski Recovery Boot turned out to be the perfect footwear for post-fat biking fun, after riding the snow-covered trails.

What’s an electric assist bike, or e-bike and is it for you?

You have probably read about electric-assist bicycles, commonly known as e-bikes. With many improvements, the past couple of years, this type of bicycle has grown in popularity around the world. So what exactly is a pedal-assist bicycle?

Simply by pedaling, instead of using a twist or thumb throttle, you activate the motor to help turn the drive-train. If you are curious and would like to check them out, stop by a local bike shop or visit the E-bike Challenge Minneapolis. Either option, here are some questions you may want to ask when test riding.

Fun test riding opportunities at the E-bike Challenge Minneapolis

First, how would you use an electric-assist bike

  • commuting to work, running errands or hauling cargo
  • maybe bike touring
  • spending more time on off-road trails
  • or assist with rehabbing after an injury?

Then ask yourself

  • will an e-bike make it easier for me to stay active
  • make it more enjoyable, especially when dealing with hills and headwinds
  • help so I can keep up with friends who ride faster?

Because electric bike technology is progressing quickly, both the batteries and motors are lighter to allow you a better range between charges. Today there are bikes for every conceivable application from hauling cargo to making a climb up a mountain bike trail a breeze.

Choose an e-bike for your style of bicycle riding

Geared to accommodate different kinds of activities, you have a lot of e-bike options. When considering an e-bike are you going to use it for cargo-hauling; relaxed cruising; off-road trail riding; child transportation; road biking; fat bike riding; bike touring; or urban commuting?

With so many e-bikes on the market today, design options vary to fit different people and their preference of use. So it’s up to you to decide what is most important. Is it the ease of riding; the cost; maintenance, dependability, and range – or all the above?

Test ride

Now that you have answered some of the questions, visit a few bike shops or the E-bike Challenge Minneapolis and test ride them. There you will see all the latest brands and models available to ride on the huge indoor test track.

Tern’s HSD electric-assist bike, out of the box and on the road

by Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking

Every so often, I run across a bike that is truly unique and the Tern HSD electric-assist bike is one, and worth checking out. Especially if you are looking for a comfortable ride with options of hauling cargo or a child. As I look over some of the latest electric bikes that will be available to test-ride at the E-bike Challenge Minneapolis. I had a chance to take this new Tern HSD P-9 e-bike out for a spin.

My initial test ride of the Tern HSD electric-assist bike

Using three parallel streets, on a hillside in my neighborhood as my personal test course. I had a chance to experience the pedal-assist-power and comfort of this new e-bike. On my initial ride, with close to 300 pounds of weight between myself and some extra gear, I found the bike had a smooth acceleration with plenty of power to spare. It didn’t matter if I stopped on the flat or on the 12-degree incline of the hill. Each time I started pedaling, which kicked in the motor, there were no irregular jerk movements, it was smooth. Plus, with the Bosch motor set on the Eco mode (the lowest of four e-assist settings) and the 1×9 gear drivetrain, my cadence was comfortable going up all the hills. It was also reassuring that I still had the Tour, Sports, and Turbo motor settings at my fingertips if needed.

About Tern’s HSD electric bike

The Tern HSD electric-assist bike is a compact cargo bike offering a comfortable ride.

The Tern HSD P-9 is a compact cargo bike perfect for commuting, recreational riding and running errands with some extra space to haul cargo or a child. At 5.5 feet long it is slightly shorter than the average road bike and has a load capacity of 374 pounds.

The HSD P-9 model uses a Bosch Active Line Plus motor and 400Wh battery with a Purion display, with Eco, Tour, Sports, and Turbo power settings. The drivetrain uses a 9-speed Shimano® Alivio Shadow RD cassette/derailleur. So this motor/drivetrain combination was smooth when beginning to accelerate and throughout the ride.

Bonus items that come standard

The HSD comes with a headlight and taillight. A Suntour suspension front fork to help ease bumps, 20″ wheels, an aluminum frame, Shimano hydraulic disc brakes and an integrated Abus frame lock in the rear wheel. Plus, the bike can be stored standing on its rear rack and the handlebar stem folds down flat, making it easy to fit a compact space.

The HSD easily stands on the back rack for convenient storage.

Accessories

You can buy many accessories online, but Tern’s proprietary ones are fit to the bike and add convenience. Specifically, the Go-To bag that attaches to the front of the bike using a Tern Luggage Truss™ adapter. It was easy to fit my laptop inside this bag, and perfect for commuting to work, school or the library.

The Tern Go-To bag comes with a special cover for added weather protection and visibility.

On the rear, Tern’s proprietary cargo hold panniers are weather-resistant and pack down flat. Each pannier can hold up to 60 pounds and closes securely with a magnetic clip. I found I could easily slip in two paper grocery bags on each side, nice!

Need more cargo or kid hauling capacity, test ride all the Tern Bikes

Stop by your local Tern dealer or mark your calendar for the E-bike Challenge Minneapolis, March 28-29, 2020. There you can ride all the Tern Bikes including the GSD on the electric bike expos huge indoor test track. Have Fun!

 

This bike pic Saturday, enjoy your time out riding the trails with family and friends as the fall colors are at there peak.

A healthy energy boost makes any off-road cycling adventure better

by Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking.com

If you are like me, I like to carry a few energy boost jell packs while enjoying nature in the wild. On my latest adventure, before the snow covered the Northwoods landscape, I found Trail Butter. Trying them I found they were delicious and provided a level of energy that lasted longer. Plus, having several flavors added to the experience and fun of mountain biking in the true north.

Trail Butter flavors in the 1.15 oz. packets for an energy boost.

A natural energy boost source while off-road biking in the true north

Wanting to get one more bike adventure in before snowfall in the upper Midwest, I spent four days exploring the Beltrami Island State Forest, near Roseau, MN. A mammoth forest covering more than 700,000 acres it’s about 30 miles south of the Canadian border. With Roseau several miles away I wanted to maximize my time and the weight of what I carried along. Using a couple of primitive campsites along the 140-miles of logging roads and trail loops the Trail Butter packets fit my needs well. Each day,

The 4.5oz size was my choice on my recent Northwoods trip.

I averaged about 30-miles of mountain biking from the established base camp for that section of the State Forest. Every five or six miles I stopped and enjoyed a single-size serving size of the Trail Butter. Stopping periodically for an energy boost of this nut butter made it easy to complete the planned route in plenty of time before dark.

With Trail Butter no gooey aftertaste

As I have found with some of the other energy products on the market, with Nut Butter there was no pasty after taste. I also found the company’s claim on its website description, as “slow-burning” and this was also true. The almond component of the nut butter mix offers a ready source of fat that burns slowly, perfect for any outdoor activity. Not like some of the other energy products I have tried, full of high fructose corn syrup or other sugar that doesn’t sustain you for very long.

Offered in four flavors and three different sizes

A 16oz jar of Trail Butter works well back to base camp or at home.

The Trail Butter packaging comes in three different styles and to date come in four flavors, with their Spiced Chai Seasonal Nut Butter Blend. Their regular flavors include the Original Nut Butter Blend; Maple & Sea Salt Blend; and the Dark Chocolate & Coffee Nut Butter Blend. Like the Original flavor, which is an almond nut base with chocolate and cranberries, you will find 680 calories to turn into energy in every single serving. Sizes include:

  • The single-serving 1.15oz packets that are easy to open and resemble the packaging of a typical gel. This size works well when disposing of the packaging isn’t an issue.
  • The 4.5oz size was my choice on my recent trip. It gave me several servings in one reseal-able, easy to eat out of the pouch. I just had to decide which flavor I wanted to carry each day.
  • Also available in 16oz jars. This size works well for those who are able to make it back to base camp or at home to prepare a sandwich.

Made in the U.S., Trail Butter is manufactured by a small company out of Portland, OR.  and sells for a reasonable price. So check out their website and give Trail Butter a try for your next adventure!

A perfect pair of sandals can add to your bicycle touring adventures

by Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking.com

If you are like me when cycling in a new area, it is fun to get off the bike and walk around a historical area, along the beach or venture into a shopping area, especially with sandals. Many times these extra-curricular stops can lead to more treasured memories.

Telic Energy Flip Flop is a comfortable sandal for both men and women.

The only problem, hiking around in bike shoes isn’t always the best for walking. And, even if your bike shoes are fairly comfortable for walking you don’t want to get them wet or dirty, especially if you use them in conjunction with clip-on pedals. So having a second set of footwear, a pair of comfortable Telic sandals along,  can add to your comfort and fun.

Easy to carry when biking

A bungee or carabiner is the perfect way to hang Telic sandals from the seat post.

Lightweight it is easy to bungee the Telic sandals to your bikes frame or seat post if you don’t have a bike rack or large enough handlebar bag. I found that a carabiner (rock climbing gear clip) also works well. Hook the clip into the straps of the sandal and the bottom of the bike seat.

Telic sandals make the perfect footwear when bike touring

From the energy Flip-Flops to the Z-strap or the women’s Mallory it’s easy to carry along a quick change of comfortable sandals.

Telic Women’s Mallory Sandal offers a comfort slide with Orthotic Grade Arch Support

They look good and feel great with enough medial arch support to keep you floating when not pedaling. With the ergonomic technology the Telic’s heat-sensitive Novalon material molds to the shape of your foot, eliminating pressure points making each step is pretty cushy.

For more information or to order a pair check out their website today!

Think of your next adventure with a pair of comfortable Telic sandals – Happy feet!

WingLights is an inexpensive blinker light system for bicycles to display a very visible directional turn signal at an intersections.

Making a bicycling experience safer with a handlebar blinker light system

Here at HaveFunBiking, we have shared blinker systems embedded in bicycle helmets, rear-mounted signaling lights and now for those who have flat handlebars, the WingLights. This inexpensive directional light system (a perfect stocking stuffer) easy to mount into each end of the handlebars. Then, when making your turn, simply tap the light at the end of the right or left handle grip and move to the proper lane. Just like signaling when driving a car. As a cyclist riding on the road or trail you will find added comfort and visibility in displaying your intention when changing lanes or direction.

Just tap the right blinker before gesturing with a right hand signal.

Just tap the right blinker before gesturing with a right-hand signal.

Just tap the left blinker before gesturing with your left hand signal.

Just tap the left blinker before gesturing with your left-hand signal.

The WingLight directional blinkers work well on rough roads where cyclists need to have both hands on the handlebars. Just a firm tap on the surface of the selected light and it begins to blink. Then in 45 seconds, which in most cases is long enough to make the turn, the light turns off to save on your battery.

Winglights currently available in two options

The WingLights Mag, their original, is a high-quality turn signal system that magnetically attaches to your handlebar ends. It is easy to install and use. These turn signals flash bright amber and can be seen from all angles. When removed, the units clip together onto a keyring for safekeeping. The Mag is compatible with all handlebars with an inner diameter from 14.7mm to 23mm. They retail for $49.99 and batteries are included.

The WingLights Fixed v3 is a brand new, non-magnetic turn signal, built to the same high specification as the original system. Like the Mag, the Fixed v3 is permanently attached to your handlebar. The Fixed v3 sells for $34.99, on Amazon.

For more information and other products visit the manufacturer at www.cycl.bike

Brighter and safer blinkers

The blinkers help to improve cyclists’ visibility in dangerous areas, in and around intersections.

Using hand signals along with WingLights

At HaveFunBiking.com, we highly recommend the continued practice of using hand signals. This turning light system, like others on the market, offers added visibility to show your intentions when changing directions. However, they should not replace the practice of using hand signals. By continuing to gesture your movement with hand signals, along with blinkers, you multiply your chances of being seen and staying safe.

Installing the WingLights blinkers

With this review, we found installation quick and easy, taking under ten minutes. At the end of each handlebar grip, cut a sharp knife so the handlebar tube is exposed. Insert the rubber plunger of the Winglight firmly into the handlebar and tighten. You will find full instruction included in the package or for a comprehensive guide on this blinker system check out the instructional video here. 

Sorry, these blinker lights are not suitable for all handlebar types

The current WingLights are only available for straight (sometimes referred to as flat) handlebars. Curved handlebars with maximum curvature of 30° also work. The company is working on a design compatible with drop bars (also known as bullhorn and/or cruise bars) for the future.

 

The perfect wearable and convenient bike lock, the Hiplok Spin

Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking.com

Testing out the new Hiplok Spin, trail riding and running errands the lock offered me hassle-free convenience in keeping my bike safe. Having a bike lock along to secure your investment is a good practice, though it can be cumbersome. With a cable or u-lock, how to store it if you don’t have a large enough saddlebag, or if it does fit how do you pack it so it won’t rattle around or snag an item of clothing, that is the question? Now with the simplicity of the Hiplok Spin, wear it as a visible belt, and as fast as you can click the lock, you are ready to leave the bike secure.

The neon yellow Hiplok Spin offers added visibility when riding.

 

The Hiplok Spin bike lock makes multiple stops convenient

Running into the store, near the trailhead, was fast, easy, and secure with the Hiplok Spin.

It’s a perfect bike lock when you are meeting a friend at a restaurant for lunch, picking up a book at a library or running in to use the restroom at a trailhead. A well-designed and thought-out wearable bike lock system it’s easy to adjust, making it hassle-free when putting it on or taking it off. With the added convenience of an integrated four-digit, resettable combination lock, there’s no need to carry a key. This wearable, lightweight bike lock, available in black or neon yellow for added visibility, adjusts easily to fit your waist (26″ to 44″) without being locked to your body.

When the Hiplok Spin may not be enough

When planning to leave my bike in a questionable high-traffic area, the Spin would not be my solo-choice. For more extended periods of storing my bike out in a public place, I prefer using a combination of a cable and D-lock. It provides a more secure solution to protect my bike from theft when I am away from it at a meeting or the theater. See Hiplok’s helpful bicycle security chart; it may help you find the right lock for your ride.

Ideally, you should always use the most secure lock your budget will allow with a secondary lock for wheels and accessories. However, in the real world, carrying extra items while biking, isn’t always practical. Each ride is different, and you need to balance security with practicality in choosing the right lock for securing your bike.