Eric and Richard on their Conversion Kits
I enjoyed riding bikes all my life. Yet at the age of 74 I felt that the hills seem to get steeper and the headwinds stronger. About 12 month ago I decided to invest in an electric motor, also called “pedal assist” a very fitting name. Since than the two of us, the motor and me handled the last 1800km with the greatest of ease and for me the rides become more and more enjoyable. I believe this motor will add at least 10 years to my riding days, a sincere thank you to Scott and his team.
Richard from Montmorency 12,000 kms done and time for a new battery
You may be interested to know that I am buying this kit to replace one bought from you three years ago, which has done something over 12,000km now. The primary reason for the replacement is that the original battery is getting tired and since it is a major part of the cost of the whole kit... well, why not?! It is helpful that the driven wheel now accommodates a disc brake rotor, too - I already went through one rim on the first wheel. Lastly, the wiring around the connectors between existing wheel and harness is beginning to fail - which I shall probably repair later anyway when there is time, to reattach to a standby bike.
The electric cycle is my primary mode of transport and the motorised hub has made that possible. Having a standard frame and other components has meant that it has been easy to maintain the bike without having to pay premiums on specialized/proprietary parts, while the high torque of the brushless DC motor has made it feasible to carry loads heavier than I could possibly manage otherwise (e.g. slab of beer plus a few groceries!) My first PowerPed kit has been terrific, with few issues during the time I have been using it, and I look forward to receiving and installing the new one.
Thanks & regards
David From Glenorie NSW - Sherpa Folding Bike
For some time now I have been considering whether or not to invest in a folding electric pedal-assisted bicycle. Certainly, in principle it seemed like a good idea because it would mesh well with our family caravanning activities. But I had only read about pedal assisted bicycles and had no hands-on experience of them. So it was hard to judge just how effective and useful one would be in practice. The written endorsements were encouraging but they really didn’t give me what I particularly wanted to know which was how they really performed on the road and what one could realistically expect of them.
In the event, after a quick trial, I recently took the plunge and bought a POWER-PED Sherpa Mark III. By now I have clocked up about 200 km on it and I believe that I can safely say that I am pretty well acquainted with its features and performance. Perhaps you are also considering buying a pedal-assisted bicycle and would value learning of my experience with the Sherpa Mark III (hereafter referred to as “the bike”).
The first thing that I should say is that the bike is extremely well made. Everything about it bespeaks sturdy quality engineering. Certainly it is not particularly light weight coming in at about 20kg all up but it is built like a tank and looks set to last a lifetime. There is no hint of flexure in the frame even though folding it up is a breeze.
The tyres are nice and fat (well at least chubby). One reason why I have so seldom used my old road bike is that its 26” wheel tyres are very narrow and they do not cope well with loose gravel and raggedy edges to the road tarmac. The Sherpa’s tyres make very light work of those conditions.
The Shimano gear-shift works extremely well with an instant response from the left handlebar twist grip and smooth changes of gears. The twist-grip throttle on the right handlebar lies comfortably in the gap between your right thumb and forefinger. And the red motor on/off switch lies conveniently close by your right thumb. The brake levers are well placed and give a satisfyingly positive response when pulled. All of which means that you have total control of the motor, gears and brakes by using the barest minimum movements of your hands. Indeed your hands hardly change position on the handlebar grips when activating these controls.
The combination of the bike’s 20” wheels and the Shimano gearing means that you are never going to beat the land-speed record. On the other hand the pace in top gear is acceptably fast and more than enough for usual recreational purposes. In fact by avoiding the high gearing usually associated with 26” wheels the combination is quite kind to the leg muscles when not using the electric motor and top gear is the one most frequently used.
One quickly learns that the twist-grip throttle is really only of use in getting a welcome boost from the electric motor when moving off from a standing start. Apart from that, the throttle has little further purpose.
With the motor switched on it is quite realistic to start off in top (i.e. 6th) gear. In fact when using the motor top gear is easily maintained on the flat and even when going up gentle hills. Of course there are five lower gears available to cope with steeper gradients and the bike will easily cope with most hills. Understandably, it cannot climb up the proverbial side of a barn door and there is one severe bend on a particularly steep hill near where I live that it cannot manage.
An interesting quirk of the bike is that it is counter-productive to leave the motor switched on when coasting down hill. The motor actually has a braking effect in such circumstances and markedly slows the bike’s free-wheeling. But this is not really a problem since it is a moment’s work to switch the motor off by pressing the red on/off button with your right thumb.
How and when you want to use a pedal-assisted bicycle is of course up to you. With the Sherpa Mark III I prefer to activate the electric motor only when travelling up hill. Because I value the exercise that the bike can offer, when travelling on the flat and downhill I am generally quite comfortable using top gear without the motor. And even on modest up-hill gradients I prefer to use muscle power with the lower gears rather than switch the motor on. However, it is always comforting to get the significant boost from the electric motor on the steeper up-hill gradients. Also there are some other occasions when using the electric motor provides a definite safety feature. For example, when coming to a bend in a very narrow roadway on a slight up-hill gradient it is a good idea to engage the motor. That way you can pass through the bend easily without wobbling and weaving into the path of passing cars. The advertised distance that one charge of the battery will go is “up to 30km”. However, by mostly using the electric motor only on the steeper hills I find that I can easily extend my pedal-assisted journeys to well beyond that distance and still have quite a lot of battery power left in reserve when I finish. This means that I don’t have to worry about running out of puff before getting back home.
In conclusion, I would say that the bike has been a good buy. Importantly I can see it being used frequently because not only does it work well and provide a very convenient form of exercise but it is also great fun to ride. Should it be relevant to the above comments, I might add that I was 70 last birthday.
Dr Cook from QLD - Power-Ped Tracker
I work in Long Pocket and the distance to work is 13 km. I had started to ride again as travel by car had increased to 50 mins in the morning and I also wanted to reduce my ecological footprint. The 26 km a day with the hills and my age (56) even though I am reasonably fit, it was difficult if I want to work on writing or reviewing manuscripts at night. This partially because of lugging my laptop and papers to and from home with me.
I bought the POWER-PED tracker bike and am more than happy with it. I can now get to or from work in 30 minutes and still get a good work out but without the exhaustion caused by the hills and load. The Tracker is a solidly designed bike, so has no problems with the panniers and is a very stable bike. I have had no problems with it and can thoroughly recommend it.
With the pedal assist I don’t seem to be using that much of the battery charge and topping it up each night takes less than 1 hour of charging. The environmental cost is one so much lower. I do not understand why these bikes are not being subsidised as a way to reduce the traffic problems in most major cities in Australian. This would certainly be cheaper than tunnels!
So, if you are thinking of an electric bike try one of these they are great.
Dr Freeman Cook
Senior Principal Research Scientist.
Robert from Adelaide - Conversion Kit
Also wish to put in my 2 cents worth to say how great the POWER-PED EVO Conversion pack is.
Purchased the Lithium Pack and a separate Apollo Hybrid 700CC bike from Cumberland Cycles in Adelaide. Perfect combination of bike and EVO conversion kit.
Big thanks to Mike and Neville at Cumberland Cycles for the assembly and backup. Been very helpful.
Can also backup Dave's claims (from Adelaide) as to the kits performance. Still blows me away.
Easily does 35kpm with no pedalling and 38-39kpm with pedalling. Strong headwinds - easy 30-35kph with pedalling. Definately comes in handy when cycling against the strong afternoon seabreeze. Did a test on how long I could go on the Lithium battery without pedalling at all - and reached a very satisfactory 32km. Even though the batter has only been used a few weeks.
Have done heaps of cycling in the Adelaide hills and mountain tracks in Flinders ranges. The bike was fantastic in the outback and was great on dirt and gravel and loose surface.
For those living in Adelaide - heres a route I took with the bike through the hills....
From Majestic Drive near linear park - rode to North East road which was a steep climb. Along North East road heading toward Houghton. Onto Paracombe road, down to Inglewood. Left turn on dirt track up Fidlers Hill road (steep). Onto Upper Herimatage rd (very steep at top). Onto dirt track Airstrip road (very steep). Onto Chain of Ponds and onto the Cudlee Creek Turn off. Up Gorge rd. Back to Linear park pathway to Majestic drive. Did 64km and battery was flat at the very end after some heavy use on the hills.
Everyone who had rode my bike have been astounded and are looking foward to upgrade.
For those looking at other kits - dont. The throttle contol lets you regulate power at all times, unlike other kits that only start once you reach 7kmph. This is not good if you have to start up a steep hill.
Other companies say that brushless geared make too much noise. The lithium kit is barely audible and not noticable to others.
Have to say worth every penny. Hope to buy a second bike and kit and do a full upgrade with packs and panniers for long touring. Lets hope
Robert from Adelaide