As I headed down to the Solar Decathlon at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine to demo some Electric Bikes (E-Bikes), I really didn’t know what to expect.
The E-Bike Demo area was pretty low key with four brands (Cannnondale, Haibike, Felt and BH) that had demo E-Bikes available for test rides. But as the day went on, more and more people started to find out about the demos and started to make there way over to the E-Bikes Demo area that was presented by BOSCH.
I was quick to get get the waiver signed and start riding my demos. I rolled over to the Cannondale tents and I was briefly educated about the E-Bikes that Cannnondale had been making and selling in Europe with great success for the last couple of years. I had to see what all the buzz was about, so I strapped on a helmet and rode several different models from Cannnondale that used the BOSCH drive unit and power pack (battery) with a Intuvia computer display.
All I can say is WOW!!! I was amazed on how these bikes made pedaling so easy and you could set the amount of power output to make the bike accelerate with just a few pedal strokes and a click of the button up or down for the level of power you want.
You still have to pedal to keep the drive system going. They call it pedal assisted power.
This is a game changer for people who might commute or might otherwise think riding is too strenuous or have a slight disability that makes riding a regular bike to difficult to ride. I found it amazing on how the harder you pedaled it doubled your power output to go faster. However, it topped out around 25 mph and then your on your own for going faster than that on the basic models. Although, I was able to get on the racey version of the E-Bike from Haibike and I found myself blowing by the other E-Bikes like they were standing still with very little effort.
After spending a few days at the Interbike trade show a few weeks ago, I could see that many of the manufacturers are getting into making E-Bikes.
E-Bikes are coming like it or not. I like it! You have to try one and you will come off the ride with a big smile on your face and see how much fun they actually are.
For your chance to try out some E-Bike demos, you can make your way down to the Solar Decathlon at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine that is taking place this weekend October 6-7th. Parking is $5.00 and I believe you can ride there and enter for free.
For More info on Cannondale’s E-Bike Visit:
www.cannondale.com (go to change country and you can find the bikes in Europe)
Words & Photos By Frank Sarate, SoCalCycling.com