EBiker from Humboldt County California
Even before I moved to California I was thinking of getting a motorbike, a Royal Enfield.
The Royal Enfield Bullet, a 2010 version of the award winning British motorcycle of the 1950s. The updated classic gets 85 miles per gallon, pretty slick bike, looks like something Steve McQueen would have ridden in the day.
I didnít get the Bullet, I got an A2B Metro.
Iíd been considering an electric bicycle while still living in Juneau, Alaska but it was just too wet and the cycling season too short to invest in an electric bike. After I moved to California I purchased a 2010 Ultra Motor A2B Metro, a German designed LEV (Light Electric Vehicle), an Ebike. The A2B is the MoPed for the 21st Century. On the motor alone itíll go 20 mph and 20 miles per charge, pedaling adds speed and range. Since the A2B is considered a bicycle not a motor scooter you donít need a license, registration or insurance. I have a 4 mile commute to work so this is the perfect ride for me. Since I do pedal while riding Iím still getting exercise and the scooter is a blast, rides more like a motorcycle than a bicycle and itís got a throttle. I can even get a little air, ala Steve McQueen in ďThe Great Escape,Ē coming out of the marina parking lot. I figured the A2B would satisfy my motorcycle dreams and it has for now.
Iíve had the A2B for a year and a half ridding it more than 1,500 miles. My commute to work is 4 miles and on many days Iíll take the long way home through Old Town and along the harbor. The problems Iíve had with the bike are the motors. Iím on my third motor. The first motor, an M2 was pretty noisy could not handle the Eureka hills, not going uphill but going down. The motor would shut off going downhill Ė seemed counter intuitive to me. I was told by Ultra Motor that this was due to the controller sensing too much heat in the motor. This was such a problem I really couldnít ride the bike. Ultra Motor sent a replacement motor, a M6 to my dealer. The M6 was quieter, seemed to have a bit more power and although occasionally also shut off going downhill it wasnít as bad as the M2. I rode with this motor for about 6 months. One day as I was accelerating up a slight incline the motor shut down, actually freezing up. Luckily I was only about a quarter mile from the shop. Ultra Motor replaced the M6 with an M7. The M7 rarely shuts off going downhill. When it does shut down I turn it off for a second and it comes back on, much sooner than the M6 did. The M7 is quiet and responsive. Ultra Motor and my dealer have been very good with warranty work. And Ultra Motor has addressed this problem in the 2011 model by removing the controller from inside the motor to inside the frame.
Upgrades Ė Iíve installed Potenza bicycle panniers and a Swagman rack box, bicycle tail and head lights and a folding rear view mirror. I found the original seat to be fine for riding without pedaling but uncomfortable under peddle, replacing the stock seat with a Serfas gell saddle. I also installed front and rear hydraulic brakes and Shinko motor scooter tires. The tires and hydro brakes have improved handling and braking considerably.
I ride almost daily saving on gas, insurance and other transportation costs. The Metro is closer to a motor scooter or small motorcycle than a bicycle, handling and riding like a motorcycle. The motor is the primary power source with pedaling secondary. The ride comfort is much better than a bicycle, the full suspension and the bikeís weight (80 lbs) make riding very comfortable. And itís more fun to ride than a bicycle because itís got a throttle. If you want an electric bicycle, a pedelec the A2B Metro is not for you. If you want a Light Electric Vehicle that rides like a motorcycle and that you can still peddle for power and exercise then this bike is for you.
About those motorcycle dreams, theyíve been rekindled by electric motorcycles, in particular the BRD RedShift SM but I would miss peddles.
I'd like to hear from other EBikers out there.