Monday, April 12, 2010

Pedal Nation: An eBike Perspective

Last Saturday, I attended the local Pedal Nation bicycle show. My attendance underwritten by The eBike Store, I was on task to see what the ebike presence was, talk to some old friends, and see if there's anything new in the world of ebiking. I managed to do all three, and still spend some time perusing the best the bike world has to offer.

Walking in, I saw that Tori of Gracie's Wrench was teaching a session on basic bike maintenance. Tori teaches ebiker safety classes to new eBike Store customers; as in my previous posting on the topic, this photo's a little out of focus. She doesn't stay still for long!

Of course, I first headed to the ebike section. Most of the ebike vendors were within 1 aisle of the bmx trick course, if not immediately facing it. I checked in with Wake from The eBike Store - he'd brought 2 of the models he carries, and had a full array of accessories as well.

Next to The eBike Store was Greenlight Bikes/Kalkhoff USA. They'd brought their entire line, including a new model with a NuVinci N360 CVT rear hub installed. I hear it's a smooth setup; I'm keen to try it out.

Columbia Scooters was there, showing their Hebb line of ebikes. New to the ebike scene, it will be interesting to see how Columbia incorporates ebikes into their current line of mopeds, scooters, etc.

I had an interesting conversation with E-moto. They had a significant booth at the show; they've also got some exciting stuff planned to really build category awareness, but I'll save those details for another posting.

Finally, I stumbled across Columbia Cycle Works. I'd not seen their Tripod model before, but its intriguing. A tadpole-style recumbent with a full fiberglass fairing and a 48v 500 watt rear hub motor, its an interesting entrant into the market. I'm partial to the classic British racing car-inspired styling cues.

I was also a big fan of the Nutcase Helmets Nutty Rider area. They were offering test rides on running bikes for kids, accessorized with Nutcase's whimsical and safe designs. I'm particularly taken with the watermelon version, seen awkwardly here.

Overall, Pedal Nation was a good event - it was the first bike show I've been to that so prominently featured electric bikes. Notable in its absence was the Sanyo Eneloop, which has been heavily promoted through national press. I was a little disappointed that the demo area was not larger, and thus more conducive to comparison riding. With all those ebike sellers present, it would've been a great opportunity for it. Hopefully, we'll see Pedal Nation again next year.



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