Wednesday
Dec262012

An overview of improvements made for the production ODK E-Bikes

Continuous Improvement

There are several improvements which made their way onto the production ODK E-Bike since the pre-production V2 builds. The small changes will help to improve the quality, reliability and the user experience. All shipping units will now include the following features: 
 


Smoother throttle mapping

The controller has an improved programming setup. Rapid starts are smoother and more controllable. Performance in wet or slippery conditions is improved. Throttle "play" has been reduced and the throttle engages earlier. 

 


   


4x Thick inner tubes

A 4x thick inner tube has been selected as the standard inner tube. The difference is dramatic. The outer section where punctures normally occur is thicker than the inner section, so the weight is less than 4x that of a normal tube. The image to the left compares the 4x and standard tubes. 

Electric bicycles travel much longer distances and are generally heavier than normal bicycles. Any reduction in the chance of a puncture will improve the overall reliability of the product. Liquid tire sealant can still be used with this tube if the rider chooses.


Thicker front dropouts

The steel fork's dropout thickness has been increased to 5mm. The increased width will better protect the axle from spinning inside the dropout if the front wheel is improperly serviced. The new fork is specially customized for the new ODK. 

 

 

 


Rear V-brakes

The rear roller brake has been replaced with V-brakes which provide better stopping power in most conditions. V-brakes are also lighter and more widely used in the North American market. 

 

 

 


Cruise control deactivation

Applying the throttle while in cruise mode will deactivate the cruise control and return the bike to normal operation. The cruise control can now lock on to the speed immediately and even at very low speeds. The bike now has 4 ways to deactivate the cruise: 

1. Applying the front brake 
2. Applying the rear brake
3. Turning the throttle
4. Again pushing the cruise button


Larger shipping box 

The shipping box is taller which allows the bike to be shipped fully assembled. The previous box required the stem and handle bar to be disassembled prior to shipping. There was also the chance that some part of the handlebar would be damaged during shipping. Custom foam inserts have been made to reduce the chance that the bike will be crushed. The bike can be ridden now with only the installation of the pedals and adjustment of the handle bars. 

 


Longer charger cable

The length of the charger's cable has been doubled which will help access hard-to-reach electric outlets. 

 

Tuesday
Dec112012

ODK Utility E-bike (version 2) production gets underway!

After weeks of hard work, the first production run of the 2nd generation ODK Utility E-bikes come off the assembly line and on their way to dealers. We are excited to soon get the product into the hands of waiting customers. There are a few minor improvements to the original spec. Details to follow shortly. 

For now, enjoy "E-Bike Family 2", a music-video style clip highlighting what we have been up to in the past few weeks. 

E-Bike Family 2 - First Production Run - ODK (Version 2)
See video on Youtube or See on Vimeo (non-musical edit)

The production line is set up for the longer bikes.

 

 The first ODK 3-speed production E-bike!

 

Each bike is ridden and carefully inspected to ensure quality. The bikes are shipped fully assembled.  

Wednesday
Sep262012

Interbike 2012 Report: E-bikes are officially not a fad.  

Only 2 to 3 years ago, the electric scene at Interbike was small. With the addition of the e-bike test track, anyone could find out what e-bikes were all about. 

Interbike 2012: Trevor, Sandy, Allen, Tora, PatrickThis year marks an inflection point for e-bikes. The number of manufacturers appeared to have doubled or tripled. The once sleepy test track now required booth registrations and instantly maxed out at 27 slots with other manufactures sneaking on track to get test rides. Lines formed to sign out loaner helmets which were just not enough to go around. 

E-bikes have survived the fad stage and now moved into the mainstream. Many brands with e-bikes in Europe have brought along their 250W European spec e-bikes for display alongside their other bicycle offering.  

Some big manufactures added kits to their existing bicycle frames to quickly get a foot into the e-bike market. In less than 2 years, every manufacturer and retailer will need to have a detailed strategy on how to  include e-bikes to their lineup. The segment is just growing too fast to ignore and this phenomenon is an exact repeat of what happened in Europe. E-bikes once rejected in Europe are now front and center - driving the growth for an otherwise flat industry. 

Vegas: Here to gamble. 

We were on the street level where most of the smaller, more nimble companies risk showing off their innovative products. We were also set up on the newly reconfigured e-bike test track. 

The response to the new ODK Utility E-Bike was very positive. People are starting to see the benefit of having more range and cargo space. The low-step design and 20'' wheel platform is fundamental to reducing the intimidation factor that might be associated with e-bikes. 

People are demanding more range so we lead the pack with the largest capacity on the market. Most bikes excel in the 5-minute test ride, but we insist on features that riders are not aware that they need… till later. 

The newly redesigned rear rack is more functional and can accommodate more accessories. Riders who take longer trips tend to take more stuff so nailing those features in a refined package is critical to our success.         

E-Bikes: Getting real.    

As the e-bike market expands, reliable and less expensive products are starting to hit the market, we are starting to see a diversification of e-bike form factors. 

We will soon start to move beyond the raw specs and began thinking about the job a e-bike can do and how well the product accomplishes this task. The sporty, classic, folding and utility bikes segments are forming. 

It will no longer be competitive to add a motor kit to a normal pedal bicycle and proclaim to have entered the e-bike race. The e-bike revolution will require a rethink of the bicycle and its function. This shift will require us to scrap the legacy of the pedal bike and forge a new path to include the complexities of the electric assist system, the rider, and job the e-bike will do. 

Juiced Riders Interbike 2012 Picture Gallery 

Monday
Sep172012

Introducing the new ODK Utility Bicycle and E-Bike

Welcome aboard the new ODK. 

Learn more about the utility bicycle platform that is redefining what you can do on two wheels. 

Monday
Sep102012

Interbike 2012 launch


Thursday
Aug232012

The Bicycle does the job of the Minivan

Bicycles are used all around the world as family vehicles. It is the one personal transportation vehicle that is currently used by both developing nations and by the most advanced societies. This is happening because the bicycle is fundamentally the most efficient vehicle on the planet. It is so basic, yet extremely advanced all at the same time. In North America, the conditions are forming for the rediscovery of bikes as transportation.

Sources: baycitizen.org , Video: Bicycle Minivan 

Monday
Aug202012

Cargo bikes unite in Eugene

Here is KVAL's news coverage of the first cargo bicycle gathering in Eugene, OR. A nice gallery of the event can be found on Facebook.    

Sources: kval.com , KidicalMass Ride & Cargo Bike Roll Call - Facebook Gallery

Friday
Jul272012

Impossibility is the best motivator - The cardboard bike

Man builds a bike out of cardboard. It is not clear if it is true or not. You never know these days on the internet, but at the warehouse, we go through loads of cardboard and can appreciate its strength. The video is at least inspirational and makes a solid case for the cardboard bike. 

Source: Zhar cardboard bike project from Giora Kariv on Vimeo

 

Tuesday
Jul242012

Kickstarting e-bikes with good looks

The Faraday Porteur electric bike reaches the $100,000 Kickstarter funding goal. The stylishly retro e-bike is packed with high-tech features. The key innovation is the placement of the batteries inside the frame's tubes. 
The e-bike carries a retail price of $3,800, but a pledge of $3,500 on Kickstarter will reserve your bike at a $300 discount plus extra branding goodies. The hand-built collectors edition is available for $10,000. The bikes can be picked up starting April 2013.
 
IDEO and Rock Lobster Cycles collabrated on the bike's design for the Oregon Manifest contest. The goal of the contest was to design and build the ultimate modern utility bicycle. Judging was based on three major categories: True Innovation, Design and Execution, and Functionality.  

Image: faradaybikes.comThe Faraday Porteur was the People's Choices Award winner as determined by voters online. What is quite notable about the contest was that the overall winner was also an e-bike created by Tony Pereira of Pereira Cycles. E-bikes may have found acceptance in the utility segment of the North American cycling world. 
 
The striking thing about this bike is the "lack" of battery pack. By using double top tubes, room is created to insert cylindrical battery cells within the frame. The result is a stealthy e-bike in a lightweight 40lb package.

The tradeoff is the relatively small 3Ah battery giving pedal-assist range of only 10-15miles. Range anxiety is solved by supplying the bike with two chargers so one charger can be carried at all times. 

The double top tube will make it a little more difficult to get on and off the bike or adjust the seat, but this issue is solved by making three different frame sizes to tailor fit the bike for each rider. 
Other innovative features include the LEDs which turn on automatically at night. The front cargo tray has a modular design and can be quickly detachable to prevent theft. Various attachments can be designed to integrate perfectly with the bike's mounting system. 
Image: faradaybikes.com
Overall the bike is an beautiful example of an e-bike that can get the attention of the public and help e-bikes continue gaining momentum in North America. The Kickstarter campaign rocketed to $70,000 within in the first 48 hours. The $100,000 funding target was reached in only 13 days.
  
Monday
Jun042012

Protected bicycle paths arrive in American cities

A short article written by Wendy Koch appeared recently in USA Today. Cities across the U.S. are installing protected bike paths. These so called "Green lanes" are nothing new. They have been used for decades in Europe to protect cyclist from automobile traffic. Painting a line on the side of the road is no longer a sufficient solution for cycling safety. Bicycle routes need to be protected and carefully integrated to the traffic infrastructure.

 "We are seeing an explosion of interest in making bicycling stress-free on busy city streets," says Martha Roskowski of Bikes Belong Foundation, a non-profit touting the paths via its Green Lane Project.
 

 

 
Being fair and balanced paper, a quote from the bike lane opponent needed to be thrown in:

"You have more congestion and frustrated drivers," says Jim Walden, a lawyer with the Gibson Dunn firm who sued against a bike lane on Prospect Park West in Brooklyn that reduced three lanes of traffic to two.

 Although a small percentage of readers actually comment on articles, the lively reader sentiment appears very polarized. City officials will have challenges ahead as they retrofit car-centric city infrastructure to include cyclist and pedestrian traffic flow.

The video below gives a little history of how the Dutch got their cycle paths. The illuminating detail is that the automobiles also took over Dutch city streets -just as in North America. It was later that the people fought to reclaim the public space and once again make the streets safe for cyclist and pedestrians. 

 Sources: USA Today , Bikes Belong , Green Lane Project , How the Dutch got their cycle paths (video) ,Bicycledutch

Friday
May182012

How the bicycle was made - archive film clip

A film showing how a bicycle is made is posted by British Council Film.

What is interesting from the film is how nearly every part needed to make the bike is manufactured by one company. Today, many of the specialized components are purchased from separate manufacturers. 

The modern version of the bicycle has not really changed in decades. It may be that the design of the double diamond bicycle is more or less optimized given the materials available. 

A rider can only supply so much power in a seated riding position. The bike has to be designed around those constraints. New technologies such as electric assistance free the design to optimize around convenience, comfort, and the job to be done by the bicycle. 
Thursday
May172012

Americans shifting towards a downsized living arrangement

An article in USA Today's Money section highlights how Millennials and empty nesters are now trending toward urban homes.

 "There's an emphasis on walkability, an emphasis on health, an emphasis on commuting by bicycle … a shift away from blatant consumerism and the McMansion model."

Attitudes are shifting. The era of suburban sprawl, based around the cheap oil phenomenon has become unsustainable. Increasingly, young people find this living arrangement undesirable. 

"I reject the premise that (the shift) is just because of the recession," Vilkin says. "It's no longer the American dream to own a plot of land with a house on it and two cars in the driveway."

Source: usatoday.com

 

Thursday
Apr262012

The value of e-bikes becoming more evident

 

CBS Minnesota airs a little piece about the shifting demand of e-bikes. Fueled by the recent spike in gas prices, the e-bike market is expanding from the cycle enthusiasts to commuters looking to get around town without using a car. E-bikes excel in this job as they offer more flexibility than public transportation (if it exist) at a fraction of the automobile's operating cost.     

Sources: minnesota.cbslocal.com , varsitybike.com , mplselectricbike.com

Monday
Mar192012

Listen to the eBike Nerdcast interview with Justin Lemire-Elmore

 

Troy Rank interviews e-bike pioneer Justin Lemire-Elmore on the eBike Nerdcast. In part 1 of 3 Justin talks about topics ranging from the history of the Cycle Analyst to his eBike trip across Canada.
 

Sources: 

Troy Rank

Justin Lemire-Elmore / The Grin Cyclery

Update: Part 2 link posted
Monday
Mar122012

The times have changed (for the better)

So much better to commute both ways with the sun! This time makes so much more sense.

 
View Larger Map

GPS track of the daily commute. Download GPS Track.

Monday
Feb202012

Electric Bicycle Magazine issue 4 available online


The UK based Electric Bike Magazine has made available volume 4 online as well as hardcopy. Other issues can also be downloaded via their webpage