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 Bike Tech Blog

Reality Sucks – Buy an Electric Bike

We’ve been enjoying all of the uproar over GM’s recent Reality Sucks ad campaign, directing college loosers to become winners by further signing their lives away to paying off a car loan.

Many cycling bloggers and even Giant bicycles have glommed onto this softball that GM lobbed over the plate and GM’s own Facebook Page for their college promotion has become a major hatefest against GM.

We’d like to join in and capitalize on the ridicule by promoting our end of year closeouts on our 2011 electric bikes that we still have in stock. We still have 4 fast and efficient electric bikes available to get you around town just as quickly as you might in a new (or even used GM car or truck) at a fraction of the operating and purchasing costs.

We are offering 20% off on the four following bikes:

Ohm Urban XU 700 – 18.5″ silver frame – was $3299 now only $2639
Hebb ElectroGlide 500 – 17″ silver frame – was $2199 now only $1759
A2B Velociti – white frame – was $2199 now only $1759
A2B Velociti – red frame – was $2199 now only $1759

Please Note: this offer is for in store purchases only on the 4 select models – while supplies last.

Ohm E-Bike Urban XU700

Paul’s Extrawheel Classic Trailer on Electric Recumbent Tour

We’ve just kicked of an Extrawheel Trailer sale (thru Oct. 10th), so I’ll be posting up a few Extrawheel related posts that have been building up in the queue. During the sale period, the Extrawheel Voyager is $225 and the Extrawheel Advert is $269.

Our reader Paul sent in this photo of the classic style Extrawheel hooked up to his Bacchetta recumbent with a Bionx electric bike kit. The original style Extrawheel had a large fender wrapping over the wheel with nets for waterproof drysaks. A few years ago they switched to the new simpler and tougher setup which is basically a rack that fits around the wheels allowing for any size of pannier including Extrawheel’s enormous Expert or Dry panniers. Paul utilized his Extrawheel Classic similarly to the new style Extrawheel Voyager by mounting his panniers to it rather than using the cargo nets..

Here's my new recumbent bike with an engine Bacchetta BionX, battery and trailer Extrawheeel, ready to leave. The engine is very easy to start and place the feet on the pedals.


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.

Sanitov Cargo Bike with Built in GPS

There is a GPS chip in this beautiful looking cargo bike to help with theft prevention! Perhaps in a few years this will start becoming standard issue for cargo bikes and bikes of all stripes.

From the manufacturer:

Sanitov Studio is happy to introduce our Cargo-bicycle Concept and the Campaign Go Bicycle Before Its Too Late. Sanitov have successfully exhibited its Design Concepts as a part of the official selection of the London Design Festival, and as part of the Bicycle Film Festival at the Barbican.

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

Here Come the Bike Lights!

Next up on the agenda for Bike Shop Hub is finding the best brands of bike lights to offer up at the new specialty shop that we’ve got under development BikeTechShop.com. There is an amazing variety of high quality cycling lights these days and we’re getting quite excited to wrap our brains around all the options available. As with our other specialty shops, we will be focusing on a broad range of brands and generally carrying the full line-up of products available as well as a full assortment of replacement parts and accessories.

Josh Irvine showing off his Light In Motion helmet lights

Bike lights will just be one component of the BikeTechShop.com. This does seem like a great place to start out our focus with the Fall coming in a few months and that being a popular time of year for bike commuters to stock up on lights as the days grow short. We also will be continuing our push into electric bikes, most likely offering both electric bike and electric bike kits. Other avenues we’ll be pursuing are cycling computers, gps and other mapping and route related devises, and video and photo equipment specific for bikes.

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)