BluesCat is a resident of Phoenix, Arizona, who originally returned to bicycling in 2002 in order to help his son get the Boy Scout Cycling merit badge. His bikes sat idle until the summer of 2008 when gas prices spiked at over $4.00 per gallon. Since then, he has become active cycling, day-touring, commuting by bike, blogging (azbluescat.blogspot.com) and giving grief to the forum editors in the on-line cycling community.
Awhile back, I was asked by an on-line cycling friend of mine what I thought of Kenda tires. He knew I rode with my recumbent wheels shod with Kendas, and his cycling team had just gained Kenda as a sponsor. I told him I felt that the Kenda tires I was familiar with were tough and rolled really well, but they are a bit skatey on all but flat, clean roadways.
About two weeks ago, Commute by Bike asked if I would be interested in testing the Ultra Motor A2B Metro e-bike of their JOYBAG fleet. Ted said the tires are worthless in snow or on ice and so they were going to be forced to put the bike in storage for the winter, or find someone in Phoenix to play with it.
I jumped at the chance to review the A2B.
Last year, I spotted an A2B Metro out in front of the California Pizza Kitchen; it was their Pizza Delivery Bike. I said at the time that I would ride that bike! Here I was being offered a chance to ride an A2B for a whole winter!
One of the Bike Shop Hub folks, Stuart, dropped the bike off last Friday. Ted sent me an email asking what my first impressions of the bike were. Noting that the stock tires are Kendas, I told him about the skatey tendencies I have observed with other Kenda tires. Ted was quick to reply:
Did you say skatey?”
Check this out:
Now, I don’t know about the rest of you folks, but I think the only thing which would make that clip any funnier would be if it was in black and white and had no sound track of Wicked Ted encouraging poor Robin to Gun it! but only a honky-tonk piano in the background playing a few bars from a Keystone Kops film.
So, after I had recovered enough from flailing around on the carpet, laughing my blankety butt off, I agreed to write a post about my first impressions of the A2B.
The bike is quite heavy, but I’m thinking that is pretty much the norm for bicycles equipped with electric motors and batteries. The suspension on the bike absorbs the bumps in the road pretty well. The wheel base is not much longer than my small-frame Giant mountain bike; couple that dimension with the 20 wheels and it means the bike is pretty maneuverable.
I have to chuckle. Does anyone besides me find it amusing that an electric bike isn’t automatically equipped with a headlight and tail light? I’ll put my NiteRider on it and use the taillights on my rack pack. I’ll have to see if my panniers will fit on that wide rear wheel rack, or if I’ll have to make some other arrangements to tote my stuff.
When I’ve had a chance to load it up and ride it to work for a few days, I’ll report back on how the A2B works on the kinder, gentler winter streets of Phoenix.
One last word on Kenda tires: I once thought I would change to a different tire when it came time to replace the shoes on the recumbent. I’ll probably stay with Kendas. I once bounced into a pothole next to a manhole which was almost two inches below the surface of the pavement. Although the severe bounce knocked my bike computer right out of the handlebar clip, and loosened a few fillings in my teeth, the Kenda tires were not fazed at all. I’ll take a tire that tough over a more grippy one any day of the week!