Bike Tech Blog:

This is where we geek out over anything with circuitry that goes on a bike -- or on a cyclist.

Lights, electric bike kits, GPS, computer systems, and other bike tech gadgets.

And we'll take a closer look at some of the products found on Bike Tech Shop.

Submit your Bike Tech Photos

Bike Tech has its own charming kind of bike nerdery -- Times Square lights, gadget-packed dashboards, and electric-assist unicycles. Please send us a photo of your bike tech project, or something you've seen out in the wild. Submit your photos here and we'll let you know when we publish them.

The Latest From Electric Bikes

Ohm in Front of the New Bike Rack

A happy customer, Jodi Griffith, ready to ride with her new Ohm XS 750 Electric Bike poised in front of our new bike rack. Jodi went for the Ohm XS 750 as it does well both on the road and for light trail and dirt road use. She plans on riding it to to trailheads that are within 10 miles or so and use it for many, many errands and quick lunch trips.

An update from Jodi on her experiances so far:

Enjoying the Ohm as much as possible—tho my job has turned especially manic for a while, so I haven’t used the bike for much recreational riding.

I did ride it from Fort Valley Road up to the Brookbank trailhead last weekend, locked it up and went for a hike. Sold my car the day before, so was happy this scheme with an ebike will help me get to trailheads and still have some energy left for hiking. The generative braking coming downhill from Brookbank was really cool—just like putting a car in low gear and letting the engine slow it down. That ride drew down the battery to slightly less than half, but it regained some charge on the downhill.

Thursday I rode the Ohm from the Museum of Northern Arizona to the Bashas Fort Valley shopping center to get lunch. Wow that was quick and convenient. The increased speed and weight tho gave me reason to pause and really check the road ahead, especially intersections, to make sure I won’t smack into trouble. On Saturday I rode from MNA again down to Jotini’s for lunch. The battery level is about at one third of a full charge now. I could easily go for another lunch ride before charging the battery for the first time. Pretty amazing.

Hi Tech or Low Tech?

The opposite sides of the bicycle technology spectrum collided the other day in my camera frame. While our Inventory Manager, Matt Irvine, had his new fixed gear Surly Steamroller rolled out for his ride home, I had rolled the A2B Metro out from the display ride to power me along the way.

We both laughed seeing these two bikes side-by-side, but I had the funniest chuckle when by battery ran out out of juice about half way home Pedaling this sofa of a bike home without electric assist is less than fast, and I’m sure that Matt must have ended up covering his 3 mile bike commute home quite a bit faster than I covered mine.

So where do you fall in the bike tech spectrum? Are you a fixie, an electric powered sofa or somewhere in between?

Michael DeVisser of Ohm Stops By

Michael DeVisser, one of the key people behind Ohm cycles stopped by a few weeks ago. Michael was mainly in town to visit Motor Excellence, our homegrown electric motor company, where he was spending time looking at their new motor systems and hanging out with Pete Prebus of both Motor Excellence and Electic Bike Report. It was also a good opportunity for Michael to check in on us to see how we were doing with the Ohms and electric bikes in general.

Michael helped us tune up a few parts on the Ohm that we were are currently review in the JOYBAG project at commutebybike.com. We had to reinstall the battery cap which required dismantling the battery. We also had to route the wiring for the regenerative braking system. As we dive deeper into getting to know electric bikes, it’s been great getting to know folks like Michael and learning from them all the ins and outs of the cutting edge equipment that they are working hard to make widely available.

Michael Seating The Battery

Looking at the Ohm Battery Internals

Urbana Current in the Rain

I was happy with how the light contrasted the black and silver in this photo of an Urbana Current Electric Bike. Pete of Electric Bike Report has recently wrapped up his 6 week test and should have a review up on his website soon. With the bike back at our shop, we are getting underway with testing of our own. To get our test underway, first my wife who is 6 months pregnant will be riding the bike for the next 4 weeks. It seems like an ideal bike for her at the moment with the upright position and the electric boost making for an easy ride.

When setting up our test to include the Urbana as one of the 5 test bikes for the JOYBAG project, we specifically wanted a neutral colored bike if given the choice. Urbana really likes to feature bright, bold colors that show off their fun unique approach, but I think this photo demonstrates how a black frames can work well to achieve a bold statement as well.

Rolling with the Ebikes at the Flagstaff Farmers Market

This weekend, we had our 2nd appearance at the Flagstaff Farmer’s Market. For this go around, I had the inspiration to bring out my rollers. People were first perplexed and then entertained to see me balancing on the rollers, not pedaling at all (Ted should have some video up over at Commute By Bike in not too long). We had another bike setup on a trainer. This was a nice way to coax people into getting the feel for the bike without actually having to balance it. From there, quite a few folks were interested in taking a real spin. It also worked well to demonstrate the different power modes of the BionX Electric Bike Kit of the Ohm XU700 that we had hooked up to it. In the photo below, this guy was struggling before Ted turned up the power setting.

Ted Demonstrating an Ohm XU700 Urban - Kid Struggling Before Ted Turns Up the Juice

Josh Riding an A2B Velociti on Rollers

Good Show, Packed Up & Heading Home

Ebikes Rides at the Flagstaff Farmers Market

Here is our ragtag setup at the Flagstaff Farmer’s Market a few weekends ago. Art Babbot, a Flagstaff city council member and organizer extraordinaire welcomed us to set up a booth under the auspice of educating people about Electric Bikes. We were instructed to be low key on the marketing and focus on the educational aspect. This approach resulted in us looking like a table surrounded by a bunch of bikes. The crates full of Bike Shop Hub T-Shirts didn’t really look that great either. Despite or perhaps because of the casual nature of our booth, we got 20 or 30 people to take demo rides and sign up for our newsletter.

We do have 3 more opportunities to figure this one out this summer. Round 2 will be next weekend. We will be bringing the tent this time (with the sandbags that we forgot last time thus not being able to set it up). I’ve also had the inspiration to bring my rollers as a sort of spectacle to draw people in. Does riding an ebike on rollers count as exercise?

It’s been a summer of maturing as far as the business philosophy and approach is concerned. We launched our show room and our ebike sales. And while we’ve had more people coming in the door, I can’t say it has been a huge success. Online sales have been continuing to ramp up tremendously with bike bags and bike trailers flying out the door. Even with this growing volume of sales, we are struggling to be profitable. I’ve realized that we need to continue to grow sales to an even higher level while reducing costs to transition back to being a profitable company with the larger profile and overhead that we’ve taken on. As with many growing business, we are cycling (no pun intended) between focuses on growth and profitability. The current transition back to focusing on profitability is perhaps the hardest one to knuckle down into, but also one of the most essential ingredients to developing a strong healthy business.

Our main focuses are now circling back to continued growth within our profit centers and cost reduction. Growth for us means continuing our strong online marketing efforts and adding in more product lines. Our biggest pushes for new product lines will be in launching the new BikeTechShop.com by the Fall and adding in 2 or 3 brands to our most successful shop, BikeBagShop.com. Reducing costs mainly means that we will be updating and improving our accounting, inventory management, order fulfillment and other customer service related operations so that we can efficiently and effectively handle our expected continued increase in volume without adding more employees to our payroll. I know this sounds like the problem behind the high jobless rate in the US with corporations trying to find every efficiency and not hire. For a small business like ours, this strategy is essential for shifting back towards being profitable. I question this type of strategy for corporations that are already raking in the profits as it seems shortsighted. But hey, that’s Capitalism. (I think I’m going to start ending every post where I wander off into business strategy with this easy way out line)

Kalkhoff Electric Bike in Summer Flowers

Earlier this winter and spring I published several photos of the electric bikes that we are testing in the JOYBAG project (jump on your bike and go). Now that summer is here, it’s time for the bright cheerful tones of summer to show off the lines of our JOYBAG fleet. Here is the Kalkhoff ebike that I’m just about ready to post a review of at CommuteByBikc.com.

Fratelli’s Electric Pizza Delivery Bike on the Loose

Last week our friend Brent rolled up on his business’s Fratelli Pizza’s new electric delivery bike. This is one slick setup and we were quite excited that they took the plunge with getting it. The bike incorporate what looks like a Madsen Cargo Bike frame into an overall package which includes a large sectioned area for food and drinks. This same area also houses the two lithium ion battery and protects the electric motor.

This bike, put together by a company called Thrust, is really quite impressive with a very powerful acceleration to 20 MPH in 5 seconds. I caught a shot of the bike in the wild turning off RT. 66. This looks like a cost effective and eco-freindly way for Fratelli’s to do pizza delivery by bike and we are excited to hear about how it progresses.

A Windy Bike To Work Week… How About An E-bike?

We’re having quite the windy Bike-To-Work Week as often happens this time of year in Flagstaff. For cyclists with long commutes that are often into the wind, electric bikes can be a great way to make regular bike commuting more feasible.

This is one of the many reasons we are introducing a lineup of electric bikes into Flagstaff with our Grand Opening on Saturday, May 21st at noon. Come on by for electric bike demo rides and lots more!

Electric bikes are really one of those things that you need to try to appreciate. Just yesterday both our programmer Frank and my wife took e-bike commutes home. By the end of the ride, they were both very excited how the electric boost helped them out on a very windy day.

Bike Shop Hub's Electric Bike Line-up (Note the wheels strapped to prevent tipping in the wind)

Ohm Electric Sport Bicycle in the Spring Snow

Last week I was getting familiar with an Ohm Electric Sport Bicycle. As Ted mentioned over at CommuteByBike.com a part of bike commuting often involves finding efficient short cuts. While a light weight/skinny tire commuter bike may be more efficient on smooth roads, in many areas a more off-road capable commuter will end up getting you around quicker.

A shortcut from my house saves me about a quarter of a mile in looping back on the main road. The path is quite rough for about 100 yards and is a great test for the variety of commuter and electric bikes I’ve been testing.

Needless to say, the Ohm Sport XS750 does great off-road with it 26″ wheels, 26″x2″ Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires and comfortable upright handlebar positioning. The Magura Menja MM85XC Fork and Suntour Suspension Seatpost make it a smooth ride down the bumpy trail.

Once on the open road, the Ohm gets me into work quickly with the integrated BionX Electric Assist powering me along. I like the idea of a more rugged commuter bike that offers added confidence and control on-road and off with an electric assist system more than making up for the extra weight and slower tires.

Look for our complete review of the Ohm over at CommuteByBike.com in the coming months.