Posts by Joe Wylie

  • Hard News: There in half the time:…, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I remember doing a test-ride on a road bike a while ago and thinking the brakes were just ridiculous. Did not like at all after disc brakes.

    When I first checked out e-bikes there were still a few models with front wheel v-brakes. Fortunately they seem to have pretty much disappeared. While I sometimes find myself holding back from overtaking a lycra lad out of concern for their feelings, I wouldn't be tailgating them if I had to rely on v-brakes.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4366 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: There in half the time:…, in reply to James Butler,

    Surely there must be a torque reaction arm somewhere which needs to be detached?

    I believe these are only really necessary on larger motors than are currently permitted on rego-free bikes. Most of my experience is with direct drive rear hubs with no internal gearing. Never seen a torque arm on one of those.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4366 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: There in half the time:…, in reply to Stephen R,

    Other than that, I haven't had a failure that required me to try to take the wheels off, but that looks a little more complicated than on my old bike.

    Compared to a regular bike, removing a driving wheel with a hub motor has one extra level of complexity - somewhere there'll be a cable connector, ideally weatherproofed, which you'll pull apart and later reconnect. The worst I've seen IMHE is three cable ties to snip off and later replace for a tidy job of securing the wiring back to the bike frame.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4366 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: There in half the time:…, in reply to Jolisa,

    I popped in yesterday just as they were unloading a truck load of cool bikes from the Sydney branch.

    One point that might be worth mentioning - Australia, the UK and the EU all limit the power of ebikes that can be ridden without a license to 250 watts. Here it's a comparatively generous 300.This is often what's meant when a bike is touted as being "designed for NZ". While I understand that motor power can be tweaked via the onboard controller by those with the know-how, and "stealth" bikes of 500 watts or more can be difficult to detect, IMHE that legal extra 50 watts can be very nice to have.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4366 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: There in half the time:…, in reply to James Butler,

    OTOH Li-ion tech gets better every year, and it shouldn't be difficult with the right know-how to match the electrical characteristics of an old battery pack with a new replacement. I can see this being a growth industry for all kinds of electric transport.

    Most lithium-ion powerpacks, from cordless drills to Tesla cars, use the now venerable 18650 Li-ion battery. I think we'll have reached an interesting stage when it's easily possible to find someone to "repack" your bike battery, as currently happens with power tools. Right now there doesn't seem to be enough of a market to attract the established refurbishers to doing ebike batteries.

    Claims that lithium battery e-bike tech can only get cheaper haven't been borne out by recent history. One of the most successful NZ budget ebikes retailed for $1499 in early 2015. Close to 50% of that price was for the battery. When the NZ dollar dropped later that year the price rose to $1799. Currently it's $1995, with increased Chinese compliance costs following the Tianjin port explosions cited as a reason for the most recent price bump.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4366 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: There in half the time:…, in reply to Russell Brown,

    $2549 is quite an alarming price. I’ve seen Chinese stuff a lot cheaper, but guess it’s much shorter life.

    It's much cheaper than the European models some shops are stocking – like, half the price.

    For non-Mercury customers there are similarly specced bikes to the entry-level Smartmotions for just under the $2000 mark. Perhaps the most significant recent development is that the retail stores are now starting to carry them, rather than sales being mainly from online importers.

    To me the discounted Smartmotion looks pretty good. As each e-bike brand, and often each model, tends to have its own peculiar battery configuration, you hope they'll still be around when you need a replacement. A lot of models that were being sold in NZ 3 years ago have since vanished. Because Smartmotion has a significant user base they seem a good trade-off of brand security against bang for buck.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4366 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: There in half the time:…, in reply to artig,

    The first is a mid-mounted (the crank) rather than hub-mounted motor. It seems that would be more linear with applied pedal effort, irrespective of selected gear ratio.

    While I don't have a crank drive - mine is a very sedate rear wheel direct drive - I believe that they're a great choice when converting an existing bike. Some users who've attempted to fit retro kits with wheel hub motors, such as the Golden or Smart Pie brands that have been favourites in recent years, have experienced problems with wheel spokes becoming loose over time. This seems to be a problem of DIY conversions, rather than ready-built bikes.

    Because the crank mount uses an existing bike's drive train it's not an issue. Also it's supposed to be THE way to conquer hills. There are videos out there of these things being ridden up stairs. The only downside I've read of is that chains wear out faster than they do with hub motors.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4366 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: Apple and the…, in reply to BenWilson,

    Sure, but there were burnable CDs that stored 650 times as much as a floppy and cost a few dollars, and there were hard drives. On those odd occasions where you wanted to give someone some files that were too big for an email (which also made them too big for a floppy), you'd burn a CD.

    You'd have had to spring what would then have been several hundred dollars for a CD burner, as the Bondi Blue and most later iMac drives were read-only. 1.44 Mb floppies were practically useless for graphics files.

    Cheap and reliable CD burning had been around since late 1994, when Adobe launched PC versions of their previously Mac-only graphics apps. Most Windows PCs had the option of a CD drive while beige-era Macs rarely did. By the end of the decade Apple, once synonymous with desktop publishing, had lost its industry edge.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4366 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Radio B and the secret pirates, in reply to Hugh Lucero,

    A bit before my time, but do have this in the shelves

    One from out of the frozen tombs.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4366 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Radio B and the secret pirates, in reply to Dennis Frank,

    Pete Nelson & the Castaways had a hit with a sped-up version of the Skye Boat Song

    I remember that one. Speed bonny boat, like a turd on a string...

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4366 posts Report Reply

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