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Micro-mobility devices to test ride at the E-bike Challenge

by Russ Lowthian, Editor at HaveFunBiking

As consumers gain an ecological awareness of greener transportation with all the alternatives in our ever-changing world, electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming more attractive. Especially with battery and solar technologies speeding forward. The human-powered bike or trike, combined with electric motor assistance can also make for an eco-friendly option when looking at EVs. Known as micro-mobility, please find a shortlist below of some of the e-bikes and trikes that you will be able to test ride at the E-bike Challenge Minneapolis.

Find a vast selection of electric-assist EVs at the E-bike Challenge.

Why an e-bike and the advantages when buying your next vehicle

Those who haven’t had the pleasure of test riding an electric bicycle or e-trike will find they are perfect for many local trips. While not everyone can replace a car entirely, most trips within a 10-mile range can be less expensive with an e-bike. And, in many cases, quicker than a four-wheeled vehicle.

Making it easier to run errands, go to a meeting, or visit the local coffee shop. Also, using an e-assist bicycle allows you to pedal peacefully, sweat-free to your destination. Then, enjoy a fun cardio workout on your return trip. Below, discover many examples of e-assist bikes around the E-Bike Challenge test track.

Cargo bikes to haul kids and freight.

Plus, these e-bikes are being used as an effective rehabilitation tool for riders who may be facing physical limitations or rehabbing following surgery.

The types of e-bicycles and their movement towards micro-mobility

It’s a vast and diverse industry with something for everyone, from adaptive, cargo, folding, fat, long-tail bikes, and trikes ready for you to test ride at the E-bike Challenge. The common thread is that all these bikes and trikes use electric motors to assist in the human-powered activity for micro-mobility. It is replacing car miles – especially gas-powered car miles to create a cleaner environment.

Shop and compare at E-bike Challenge

Bikes to see at the E-bike Challenge

As we work with the E-bike Challenge team, here are some of the brands below expected to be at the April event:

Aventon Aventure (fat tire bike)

Aventon Aventure Step-Thru Electric Fat Bike

This e-bike with four-inch fat tires and front suspension ensures that you will be comfortable cruising the pavement or enjoying the challenges on the off-road trail. Especially with the 80mm of travel in the front suspension absorbing all the bumps in your path. Equipped with a powerful 1130W (peak) motor and 720Wh battery allows any adventurer to go further than before. See more on the Aventon line of e-bikes here.

Catrike eCat (recumbent trike)

Catrike eCAT 5.5.9 Recumbent Electric Tadpole

With sixteen years of engineering and experience, Catrike has created the eCat. Go farther, faster with greater ease aboard this recumbent e-trike. At the heart of this trike is the latest electric assist system from Bosch motors. The result is a recumbent trike offering a perfect combination of maximum efficiency, comfort, and riding enjoyment. See more on the Catrike line of e-bikes here.

Gocycle G4i (folding bike)

Gocycle G4

A folding e-bike perfect for transit and ease of storage in tight city living spaces, on boats, or in motorhomes. With a streamlined chassis, enjoy Gocycle’s bespoke new G4drive wheels that offers extra torque. And the iconic stowable magnesium frame, with a fast-folding handlebar and carbon wheels, creates a genuinely helpful urban folding bike with a 50-mile range. See more on the Gocycle line of e-bikes here.

IZIP Tristar Plus (trike)

IZIP Tristar Plus

This versatile electric three-wheeler has the power to handle your cargo load with every pedal stroke. With its easy handling and responsive TranzX M16 center motor, it’s easy to run errands, deliver goods, or take your pup for a ride. The easy entry frame has a 3-speed drivetrain with a large rear cargo basket, offering an average range of 30-miles per charge. Many are finding this electric-assist trike a welcome member to mobility. See more on the IZIP line of e-bikes here.

Magnum Scout (fat tire bike)

Magnum Scout

An all-terrain fat tire e-bike built for comfort year-round, this large frame model is perfect for five-foot-six and taller riders. Add in the 17.5Ah battery and 750w motor the Scout will get there, within a 35 to 65-mile range, per charge. With this bike, other features of the Scout include high-tread fat tires, front fork suspension, and hydraulic disc brakes. They are making it easy to pedal away for your next remote hunting, ice fishing, or backwoods adventure. See more on the Magnum line of e-bikes here.

PEBL e-Micro-Car (trike)

PEBL Eco Car

Designed to be a local transportation solution for those looking for commuter options in areas where variable weather conditions exist. This compact micro-car has the exercising ability of a bicycle and comes with a 750-watt motor system and lithium battery to assist the pedal power. Whether you want to replace your car, get back into an exercise routine, or just cruise around town the PEBL is another option to check out. See more on the PEBL line of e-Trikes here.

Pedigo Stretch (long-tail bike)

Pedigo Stretch

This cargo bike is complete with everything you need and more. It is fully loaded with user-friendly features that make riding even more fun and practical to haul people and cargo. It comes standard with useful cargo accessories to carry loads of all shapes and sizes. With a premium drivetrain, complete with 5-levels of pedal assist for full power on demand, the Stretch is a complete package with everything you need and more. See more on the Pedego line of e-bikes here.

Riese & Muller Load 75 (long-tail bike cargo bike)

Riese & Muller Load 75

Its full suspension makes it a noteworthy cargo bike, a comfortable ride when hauling packages or children. The Load 75 may be the ultimate family bike hauling up to four toddlers. This e-bike now offers a Bosch 4th generation motor system for more get-up-and-go. Now with more torque, it’s lighter and sleeker than ever before. And like the Load 60, the 75 is also highly reliable, thanks to its high-grade components. See more on the Load 75 line of e-bikes here.

Serial 1 E-bike powered by Harley Davidson

Serial 1 power by Harley Davidson

Inspired by the creation of their first motorcycle, the “Serial Number One,” back in 1903. Today this new line of e-bikes offers fun, freedom, and instant adventure for those looking at a pedal-assist electric bicycle. Powered by the advanced bicycle technology at Harley Davidson, enjoy the freedom of a bicycle with the effortless joy of electric power to change the way the world moves again. See more on the Serial 1 line of e-bikes here.

Specialized Creo SL Electric (Road/Gravel Bike)

Specialized Creo SL Electric

If you are looking for an adventure both on or off-road, the 2021 Specialized Turbo Creo SL Comp Carbon EVO Electric Road Bike is here to assist you. The features of this bike come with the same motor, battery, and frame as its road-oriented cousin. Only this bike is faster! And the bike allows you to take advantage of the tire clearance with Creo’s adventure-ready components. Now you can go wherever your heart desires. See more on the Specialized line of e-bikes here.

SYKL Xplorer X1000 MD Series  (fat tire bike)

SYKL Xplorer X1000 MD

This e-fat bike is designed for rugged terrain and is perfect for climbing hills, long-range hunting trips, and all-terrain exploration. Whether that means getting quickly and quietly to your duck blind; climbing mountains to see what is at the top; or powering along a sandy beach to watch a sunset, the Xplorer bikes will get you where you want to go. See more on the SKYL line of e-bikes here.

Tern GSD S10 LX (long-tail bike cargo bike)

Tern GSD S10 LX

It’s the same length as a regular bike and easy to carry two kids plus groceries or a lot of cargo. And the GSD S10 LX is ready to replace your car. The bike has a handling capacity of 440 lb (200 kg) Maximum Gross Vehicle Weight. Plus, the built-in dual-battery technology lets you ride all day. And with space-saving features of the FlatFold and Vertical Parking makes the GSD, easy to own and use. See more on the Tern line of e-bikes here.

Urban Arrow Family E-Cargo Bike

2022 Urban Arrow Electric Cargo Bike

This bike is the newest member of the famous European cargo bike family line. The 2022 Urban Arrow Electric Cargo Bike can easily transport you and your children or wherever you want to haul. No more worries about your busy schedule, fetching groceries, shopping trips, or delivering a payload. Now zip through the city effortlessly, or enjoy a trip to the country using trails and roads. See more on the Urban Arrow line of e-bikes here.

Just a sample of some of the bikes you can test ride at the E-bike Challenge coming to the Minneapolis Convention Center, mark your calendar for April 2 & 3, 2022. Then, check back often as more e-vehicles signup, and we do total reviews on the models you want to know more test out.

by Russ Lowthian, the editor at HaveFunBiking

The best way to verify you are buying the best bike for you is to test ride a lot.

Buying a new bike? Test ride tips to make the most of your time

by John Brown,

The best way to find the right bike for you is to do some research on models you like. Then verify their size to your body and test riding your choices a lot. How do you make the best use of your time while test riding these bikes with so many choices? Read on for a complete list of how to test ride efficiently.

Test ride bike plan research

Any good test ride begins with research. First, review what type of bicycle you would like, then check out the websites of some popular brands. Please pay close attention to the prices of each bike and what it buys you. A few things to look for are the number of gears, what type of suspension it has, tire size, frame material, and brake type. Once you have gotten a general sense of what is available, you can plan a trip to the bike shop.

Pick a shop

Give a call to the shops closest to you and verify they have the models you want to test ride.

Before looking further, call a shop closest to you and verify they have the models you want to test ride.

Once you have researched a few bikes you like, give some local dealers a call. Most brand’s websites have a dealer locator to help you find the closest shop. Give a call to the shops closest to you and verify they have the models you want to ride. Because shops can’t stock every possible model in every possible size, call to ensure they have the right model in a size that is close to what you are looking for.

Make a date to test ride.

Check the weather and your schedule, then pick a good time to head into the shop. Keep in mind that shops and roads are less busy during the workweek. Therefore, Monday thru Friday is the ideal time to test ride bikes. If you need to go in on the weekend, call the shop and see when they are least busy and make an appointment if possible.

Dress appropriately

It makes no sense to test ride bicycles if you are not dressed for the occasion. Wear your Jersey, Shorts, bring your helmet, and bring shoes and pedals if you ride clipless. Another helpful thing is to bring your existing bicycle with you. They can replicate the setup of your current bike to new bikes you would like to test ride.

Bring your ID

When test riding bikes, you are potentially borrowing thousands of dollars from the shop. Therefore, it’s expected for shops to ask for some form of collateral. At the minimum, bring your ID and a major credit card.

The test ride

Test rides don’t need to take hours, but a three-minute spin is rarely enough time to make a real impression. Expect to take at least 15 minutes on each bike, with more time spent on the first few bikes you ride. When riding, try to focus on how the bike accelerates, how easily it changes direction, and how stable it feels. A great way to do this is to pick a set route with some flat area, some climbs, and at least one good descent. Riding the same course with different bikes makes comparing them easier.

Narrow it down to bikes

Once you get a feel for a few bikes, you can start narrowing down your choices. I find it best to pick two and then ride them back to back, concentrating on fit and comfort rather than speed and stability. Have the shop begin dialing in your fit on these two bicycles to see which one really is the best for you. Once you have a bike that rides well and fits well, you are ready to buy.

Buy everything you will need

A bike that rides great is the key ingredient in a great bike ride, but it’s not everything. Remember that your new bike needs things like a water bottle cage, kickstand, lights, and maybe clipless pedals or a better fitting saddle. Consider all the situations you may run into on your new bike and buy the products you need to be prepared.

Hopefully, your next bike purchase will be fun and informative.

We now have: 24”, 26”, 27.5”, 29”, 27+ and 29+ wheel sizes for mountain bikes. Take a look below to see the pros and cons of each size.

Mountain bike wheel sizes: past, present and future explained

by John Brown, 

Here is a brief history and a look into the future of mountain bike wheel sizes. Once the 29er revolution took over, many companies started looking at even more sizes. Therefore, we now have: 24”, 26”, 27.5”, 29”, 27+ and 29+ wheel options, with another new dimension on the horizon.

The Mountain Bike began it’s commercial success in 1978 in the mountains around the San Francisco bay area. A group of friends started racing down mountain roads on trash-picked Schwinn Excelsior cruiser bikes. Quickly, riders demanded a more durable bicycle that could not only bomb down the hills, but turn around and ride back up. To that end, Joe Breeze of Breezer bikes was happy to oblige by building the first ever Mountain Bike. Considering there were only 26” balloon tires (like the ones on the Excelsior) That is what he used for the first Mountain Bike, setting the tone for all Mountain Bikes built over the next 25 years.

Tire Size

Breezer #1 (the first Mountain Bike) and the Schwinn Excelsior “klunker” both with 26″ wheels

Early changes to wheel sizes

By the early 90’s, mountain bikes had exploded. There were professional mountain biking events all over the world, a prime-time TV show (Pacific Blue anyone?) and mountain bikes in every garage in the country. On the wave of MTB excitement bicycle brands started investing serious money into new technology development, and one of the areas of interest was wheel size. Starting things off was Cannondale with their long heralded “Beast of the East” that used a 24” rear wheel. The benefit of a smaller wheel is better acceleration and the ability to make shorter chainstays.

tire size

Cannondale “Beast of The East” with 24″ rear wheel

On the other side of the country, in Petaluma California, a different idea was being hatched. Based on the development of the 700x48c “Rock and Road” tire by Bruce Gordon, A custom builder caller Willits, started making mountain bikes with 700c wheels. The owner of Willits, Wes Williams, was well connected within the cycling industry and became the advocate for what would be called a 29er. From Wes’ influence, Trek, the largest bike brand in the world, launched production 29ers through their Gary Fisher brand. At that point 29ers were in the main stream and now with so many wheel sizes take a look below to see the pros and cons of each size.

 

tire size

Rock and Road tire that was the start of the 29er movement

It all started with a 26” wheel size

The 26 inch wheels have existed for over 100 years. Furthermore, the critical dimensions of these wheels haven’t changed. Therefore, you could theoretically fit a tire from 1930 onto a rim of today. In an industry that releases new products every year, that consistency is amazing. Currently, 26” wheels are used primarily on department store Mountain Bikes or cruiser bicycles. Therefore, 26″ replacement parts can be found easily and inexpensively.

27.5” and 29” wheels

While 29ers led the way for new wheel sizes, 27.5” wheels were also popular in the initial wheel size change. The reason 29ers took hold so quickly was, in comparison to 26” wheels, they roll over objects easier and have better traction. Conversely, the downside to larger wheels is more mass to push around. In fact, The issue with mass is why 27.5” wheels became popular. A 27.5” wheel has similar traction and roll over to a 29er with much less weight. Therefore they accelerate and change direction more easily. You will now find 29” and 27.5” wheels on almost any mountain bike sold in bike shops. Typically, you see 27.5” wheels on smaller size bikes and 29” on the larger sizes. Also, full suspension bikes use 29ers on the lower travel options and 27.5” on longer travel bikes.

wheel size

A fun chart Giant Bicycles released to compare wheel size and angle of attack

Plus wheel sizes

Plus sized tires are a new development in the cycling industry. In detail, they use the same rim diameter as 29″ and 27.5” bikes, but the rims and tires are wider. For example, a standard tire width is around 2”, while plus tires are 3” wide. As a result,  plus sized tires puts a lot more rubber on the ground, and gives you amazing traction. With a plus sized tire, you can expect to climb up almost anything with ease. Therefore, once difficult trails become easier, and it feels as if every turn has a berm. The penalty for all that traction is additional weight. Additionally, having large tires increases the tire’s overall air volume and makes finding the right pressure a bit more complicated. If you are interested in plus tires, your bicycle has to be built to accept their additional size. Usually, it’s just best to buy a complete bike.

wheel size

Plus tire angle of attack

The future wheel sizes

The development of wheel sizes has slowed down a bit for the cycling industry. With that being said, the movement has shifted to tires. The most recent buzz is coming from the 29” x 2.5” size tire. This “Big 29” tire is looking to be the new size of the year. The reason that size is getting attention is because it blends the speed and agility of a standard 29” tire with the gravity defying traction of plus tires.

What wheel size is best for You

I would love to say it’s easy to measure the pros and cons of each wheel/tire size, cross reference that information with your personal preferences and decide what is the right thing for you. Sadly, that doesn’t work. In reality, the best way to see what is going to work for you is to test ride them. Test rides are the best way to match your riding style with one of the many options available today.