Posts Tagged ‘trek’

The Perils of Electric Moped / Scooter / Bike Ownership – A2B “Bicycles” are Back in Business

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

I think I saw an ad for these A2B bikes just today in the SF Weekly.

They were never very popular but I did my best to discourage purchases, to the dismay of the Ultra Motors people.

These days, Ultra Motors is gone but A2B bikes are making a comeback aided by more realistic pricing.

Thusly, as seen with a flat tire:

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IMO, you’re better off with a regular bike, one with puncture resistant tires and theft-hardened parts.

But that’s just me.

That Horrible Ultra Motor Ltd Company is Still Around, Still Selling Their Crummy A2B Electric Scooters

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Now don’t get me wrong, I think test-driving an A2B electric scooter in Golden Gate Park can be fun, but the problem is that these rigs don’t really make sense for the vast majority of people, that’s the problem.

Anyway, this is the past weekend in GGP here…

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…and this below is from the past.

Sometimes you spend money on an idea and it doesn’t work out.

Oh well.

Well well, has it really been a half-year since an example of the ridiculous, overweight and overpriced A2B electric bike / moped thing has been spotted on the Streets of San Francisco? Yes.

Here’s the one sighted yesterday. It’s a rental of course, but actually, that’s not a bad thing. Assuming you don’t run out of juice, renting an A2B for 69 bones doesn’t appear to be a bad way to spend a day exploring the 415 . You could easily haul on over to Sausalito (remembering to pretend to pedal – the Golden Gate Bridge people actually require this) and back without breaking a sweat.

See?

(Take care it doesn’t get stolen, though, else they’ll charge your credit card an arm and a leg.)

O.K. then.

Now I’ll tell you, most of the people who comment about the posts made about the A2B on this website actually work (or worked) for Ultra Motor.

For example, here’s a bit from Ultra Motor Co-Founder and President Jon Bowman from earlier this year:

“Wow. You really have nothing better to do than attack what appears to be a good idea and an innovative product.”

Does that make sense? He’s berating me for criticising one of his P.O.S. products from the standpoint of someone who doesn’t work for Ultra Motor, yet he works for Ultra Motor. (Reminds me of when people at the San Francisco Chronicle Newspaper would make comments on SFist claiming to work full-time for MUNI or something. They weren’t really fooling anybody…)

Anyway, a newer product Ultra Motor has is called the Excel and it’s being marketed as a $5000 electric scooter. O.K., if it makes you happy.

The big problem with all these bikes is that they don’t sell. The fact that you have to fork over $2200 plus tax, minimum, to buy one (unless you get a deal through Craigslist ) is merely the first problem. It’s not the only problem, not at all. (Now, they have this newer model, the Velocity (Velociti?) but I ain’t never seen one of those – maybe it’s closer to being an actual electric bike…)

Oh well. Even the people who like these things don’t really like these things.

If you want an electric bike, get a Trek or something else.

How the Little Monsters Steal Your Trek Bicycle on Market Street: One Part at a Time

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Appears as if the owner of this electric blue Trek FX or something 7.3 hybrid bike abandoned it after a few parts went missing. And when I say a “few,” I mean just enough, maybe only one thing, to make this particular owner to give up and leave the rest to the midnight vultures of Market Street.

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Note that the pilot took the time to use a proper U lock along with a cable to protect the wheels.

But that’s not enough these days! It’s your headset and your seat and your seatpost – that’s what you need to protect on the mean Streets of San Francisco.

Here’s a shot from a day or two later. The fork and the brakes are now gone too:

The hand tools necessary to crack open the lock or cut the cables, well, they’re too bulky for the little monsters to carry around all the time. But wire cutters and hex tools, your Allen wrench assortment, that’s all you need to operate a bike thief bidness.

I suppose the end to this vignette is the SFPD or DPW coming along to crack the U lock to make room for other pigeons to park their bikes right in front of the Great Nordstrom / Bloomingdale’s Mall of Market Street. You know, to continue the cycle.

On it goes…

Norman Schwarzkopf, something tells me you want to go home

Champagne, bibles, custom clothes you own

Here’s Our Next Mayor Riding an Electric Bike Last Night – Can We Get Rid of That Damn Hybrid SUV Now?

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

You want “leadership?” Here’s your leadership. Here’s the next Mayor of San Francisco, District Three Supervisor and President of the Board of Supervisors David Chiu, seen last night on his Trek electric bicycle heading from a regular Tuesday meeting at City Hall to an engagement in North Beach featuring una poca cucina dell’Italia.

No ostentatious,* honking, black, straight out of Hollywood, have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too hybrid SUV with tinted windows, with an ostentatious satellite TV antenna, and with an engine bigger than than the ones used by the huge buses from the failed Culturebus program.

Your soon-to-be-Acting-Mayor, next to the stop sign, rear light (not even required by the Vehicle Code) blinking away:

Click to expand

What’s that, SFPD, the black SUV is necessary for “security” and whathaveyou? Maybe. Park it and keep it in a safe place until the next Big One, OK fine. I’m sure you could drive the thing to Panama or Montana and say that the trip was “necessary for security” as well – then people could laugh at you all the more.

What’s that, it’s raining? Fine, just take MUNI.

What’s that, what about the entourage? Well, have ‘em ride around in a rig like this. Just anything but the current vehicle.

Thank you, drive through.

*Ooh, you leaking!

Ultra Motor’s A2B Electric Bike, the Worst Consumer Product of 2009, Spotted in 2010

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Well well, has it really been a half-year since an example of the ridiculous, overweight and overpriced A2B electric bike / moped thing has been spotted on the Streets of San Francisco? Yes.

Here’s the one sighted yesterday. It’s a rental of course, but actually, that’s not a bad thing. Assuming you don’t run out of juice, renting an A2B for 69 bones doesn’t appear to be a bad way to spend a day exploring the 415 . You could easily haul on over to Sausalito (remembering to pretend to pedal – the Golden Gate Bridge people actually require this) and back without breaking a sweat.

See? 

(Take care it doesn’t get stolen, though, else they’ll charge your credit card an arm and a leg.)

O.K. then.

Now I’ll tell you, most of the people who comment about the posts made about the A2B on this website actually work (or worked) for Ultra Motor.

For example, here’s a bit from Ultra Motor Co-Founder and President Jon Bowman from earlier this year:

“Wow. You really have nothing better to do than attack what appears to be a good idea and an innovative product.”

Does that make sense? He’s berating me for criticising one of his P.O.S. products from the standpoint of someone who doesn’t work for Ultra Motor, yet he works for Ultra Motor. (Reminds me of when people at the San Francisco Chronicle Newspaper would make comments on SFist claiming to work full-time for MUNI or something. They weren’t really fooling anybody…)

Anyway, a newer product Ultra Motor has is called the Excel and it’s being marketed as a $5000 electric scooter. O.K., if it makes you happy. 

The big problem with all these bikes is that they don’t sell. The fact that you have to fork over $2200 plus tax, minimum, to buy one (unless you get a deal through Craigslist ) is merely the first problem. It’s not the only problem, not at all. (Now, they have this newer model, the Velocity (Velociti?) but I ain’t never seen one of those – maybe it’s closer to being an actual electric bike…)

Oh well. Even the people who like these things don’t really like these things.

If you want an electric bike, get a Trek or something else.

Board of Supervisors President David Chiu’s Motorcade – An Electric Bike from Trek

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

Remember back in the day, back when San Francisco Board of Supervisors President David Chiu was test-driving the new Trek electric bicycles along with a few other supes? Well, it looks like the test-ride is over and nowadays this is his regular ride.

cf. my bike (the red one) - it was about five times cheaper and it has better brakes, gears, pedals, tires, etc., but, sadly, it does not have electric assist. Click to expand:

IMG_0573

Here’s a reverse angle of President Chiu’s ElecTrek:

IMG_0572

This bike is all right (especially when compared to the horrible overweight, overpriced Ultra Motors A2B electric moped, the Worst Consumer Product of 2009).

You could totally haul Trek’s black beauty upstairs. The big issue is the $2000+ price, but oh well.

cf. Mayor Gavin Newsom‘s official ride, complete with a satellite TV antenna to see hisself on the CNN and an engine bigger than a bus and a saddled-up weight that’s so heavy it requires an official-bidness-only exemption to be legal in many parts of San Francisco (including a block of his own street). Srsly.

IMG_6234-copy

Oh well.

Best Buy Sends a Parade of Electric Bikes Down San Francisco’s Market Street

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

This is how outbound Market Street appeared in San Francisco this morning as Best Buy sent a parade of expensive $2500 A2B electric scooters (the Worst Consumer Products of 2009) and also inexpensive E-Zip bikes up the street. E-Zips went for $350 last year at some Wal-Marts (not that I could tell, having never set foot in one) and now $500 (and up) at Best Buy.

E-Zip in the background, A2B in the foreground. Were there a dozen or so riders in this mini, corporate Critical Mass? Something like that:

IMG_0042 copy

Click to expand

What do you get for you $350? Well, you don’t get high tech batteries, that’s for sure. But that’s part of the reason why it’s cheaper than the obscenely overpriced A2B and the Trek Ride+, which is being tested out these days by some of San Francisco’s elected officials. Costco also has a few dogs in the e-bike hunt, upon occasion.

Will you say “Engine*, yes. Gas No”?

Only Time Will Tell.

*Not an actual “engine” – the marketing cookies of Best Buy mean motor, but oh well.

Trek’s New $2200 “Ride+” Electric Bike Costs About $500 Too Much, It Seems

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

Well, here they are - they’re the new (to America, anyway) Ride+ electric bikes from Trek.

First off, check out the SF Streetsblog to see yesterday’s scene of San Francisco Board of Supervisors President David Chiu and Supervisors Ross Mirkarimi and Eric Mar test driving these rigs at City Hall in the presence of Marin County biking legend GaryBury My Heart At Pine Mountain” Fisher.

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Via Gary Fisher’s Twitter

See? It looks exactly like an electric bike, right?

EuroElectricBike2_LRG copy

So let’s talk about what this Trek E-Bike is not. It’s not a ridiculous, overweight, overpriced electric bike from Ultra Motor. Witness that yellow full-suspension rig on the left in this photo from Golden Gate Park? That’s an A2B:

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The A2B is, basically, an electric moped. That means the whole concept is kind of an insurance/regulation scam where the pedals are mostly there to show regulators how this thing is not an electric motorbike. So, the A2B is limited to 20 MPH under Da Law.

“Electric Bicycles are defined by the California Vehicle Code. In summary, electric bicycles are to be operated like conventional bicycles in California. There are several exceptions to this. A person must be at least 16 years old, and anyone riding an electric bicycle must wear a bicycle helmet. The e-bikes must have an electric motor that has a power output less than 1,000 watts, is incapable of propelling the device at a speed of more than 20 miles per hour on level ground, is incapable of further increasing the speed of the device when human power is used to propel the motorized bicycle faster than 20 miles per hour, operates in a manner so that the electric motor is disengaged or ceases to function when the brakes are applied, or operates in a manner such that the motor is engaged through a switch or mechanism that, when released, will cause the electric motor to disengage or cease to function. Driver’s licenses, registration, insurance and license plate requirements do not apply. A motorized bicycle is not a motor vehicle. A motorized bicycle shall only be operated by a person 16 years of age or older. Drinking and driving laws apply. Additional laws or ordinances may apply to the use of electric bicycles by each city or county.”

So, most people using an A2B would never really pedal. Personally, I’ve never seen an A2B in the wild, being used by somebody for something more than a test drive or a day rental. Oh well.

But the new Trek bike is different in that it requires you to pedal – it will kick in power based upon how much work you yourself are doing. So, select the switch on your handlebar-mounted dashboard to have it add 50%, 100%, 150%, or 200% more power – just like the $899 electric bikes they sell at the Costco. And yes, the Ride+ has regenerative braking.

But here’s the thing – the bike itself, a 7.3 FX, costs $600-something and the electric bits from Bionx or someplace similar go for $1200 retail, so why doesn’t this ebike cost $1700 instead of $2200?

The World Wonders.  

Is this bike 140% better than a Costco eBike? We’ll see.

In other notes, the 32 x 700c Bontrager Race Lite Hardcase tires will probably keep you relatively free from flats on the mean glass-strewn Streets of San Francisco but you might want to get rid of those quick-release skewers. And no front (see comments) fender and no disk brakes, Trek? For $2200, really? (And what would a new battery go for, pray tell? Well, I s’pose we’ll get all the deets soon enough.)

Let’s leave the last word for Gary Fisher:

  • The new bata bike will go on sale in only a few shops in aug for $2200. This bike hauls ass and can be Luged up stairs.5:41 PM Jul 14th from Twitterrific
  • Perhaps you could “luge” it downstairs, but certainly not up. As far as lugging is concerned, GF is correct. Unlike the heavy A2B, the new Trek is luggable.

    All’s that left to do is to see how many supes buy these things when the test drives are over.

    Stay tuned…