VeloMini folding electric bicycle observations - day 2

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reikiman
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VeloMini folding electric bicycle observations - day 2

Initial observations: http://visforvoltage.org/forum/9187-velomini-very-cool-little-folding-electric-bicycle-initial-review for pictures ..etc..

Just got through riding it to the day job. The ride is 2ish miles to the light rail station, a 5 minute wait for the train, a 10 minute ride on light rail, and a 2-5 minute ride from light rail to the office. This is fairly typical for one of the places where I think personal EV's would shine brightly - to extend the capability of existing mass transit. A small folding bicycle like the VeloMini is plausibly the best format for an personal EV to take advantage of existing mass transit.

Thoughts:

About 2/3rds of the way to the train station my butt started to get sore. Fortunately the seat is standardized such that you can easily buy cushier replacements at the bicycle store. It does mean on the return trip home I'll be taking a different route with less seat-time.

This bicycle is definitely too small for me and the biggest flaw is that the seat nor handlebars can be adjusted to be very high. This might be fixable, especially as the seat tube is also a standardized part and surely there are longer seat tubes available.

It has good getupandgo and the ride to the train was pleasant and certainly not boring nor tedious. However there is a bus that goes along the same route I rode on the bicycle and IIRC the bus gets there faster than I did with the bike. On the other hand riding the bus means I'm subject to the bus schedule, the bus schedule doesn't always meet the train schedule appropriately, and riding the bicycle has the advantage of getting some exercise. Tradeoffs.

There isn't much on the bicycle of holes in the frame for securely locking the bike. There is one triangle in the rear that holds up the seat tube, so there is a hole where you could run a lock cable.

There isn't an obvious place to mount lights. Obviously with a bit of thought I could jury rig a way to mount lights. Also tapping into the electric system to power lights appears to be simple as all the connectors are in the open. However it would be really cool if this bike had appropriate lights built in - as in, the bike already has a battery pack so why not run the lights off that? It's summertime right now so lights are secondary as the daylight has enough hours that commutes will happen in the sunny period. But what about other parts of the year?

The electronics are neatly hidden in the frame tubes. Hence the whole bicycle is very stealth and you have to look hard to tell it's electric. It also means that repairing anything requires getting into the frame tubes to access the parts. There must be a way .. e.g. looks like a couple access hatches are screwed on. Will have to investigate tonight.

colin9876
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Re: VeloMini folding electric bicycle observations - day 2

I saw one of those up on ebay recently for about £300.
Which segment of the frame is the battery in? and would be interested to know true range?

reikiman
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Re: VeloMini folding electric bicycle observations - day 2

Did you see the nonpowered version on eBay? Or the powered version?

The battery is buried in the back section. The controller is buried in the front section. The connectors and such are very well covered in shrink wrap and I expect it to be very water proof.

For a proper range test - you'll have to find someone where the bike fits them better. What I found yesterday is my patience for riding it wears out after a couple miles a) because the seat is too hard on my butt and b) it's just too small for me. Both of those are fixable the first fixable by an end user swapping in a cushier seat the other by using a longer seat tube. But the handlebars should be raisable as well and they don't appear to be.

VeloChef
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Re: VeloMini folding electric bicycle observations - day 2

I bought 2 VeloMinis recently - Powered and nonpowered - and thoroughly enjoy them. The gearing is perfect, and their ability to fold and get tucked away in the closet or trunk is just what I need.

As you said the saddle can be changed out for something cushier, but though my posterior didn't complain. Your point about the bard being too close is also the same for me, but once again it's because I'm right at the edge of just being too large for the bike.

I believe the importer is already working on these ideas as improvements to the great little folding bike. Don't you love the power of the electric motor in the front wheel?! It's certainly faster than most people can run - that's for sure.

Oh, I believe there are some decent accessories on the website, including lights; www.velomini.com

VeloChef

reikiman
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Re: VeloMini folding electric bicycle observations - day 2

Don't you love the power of the electric motor in the front wheel?! It's certainly faster than most people can run - that's for sure.

Yes I do love the power of this bike, it's surprising/pleasing. I think some may have taken what I wrote as being overly harsh. The notes I'm putting on V aren't my final review, they're simply notes for this community and I know this community will like the detailed look.

I just brought the bike to the EAA Silicon Valley meeting for people to look at. They all really liked the looks of it and we yammered on for a long time about it. A couple people took it for a ride, really loved it and were surprised/pleased at the power.

reikiman
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Re: VeloMini folding electric bicycle observations - day 2

BTW - just swapped the seat and that made all the difference in the world, solving for the two big issues at once. The seat is one I already set up with the cushiness that's good for me and my butt ... plus .. the seat is taller. It is tall enough so that even though the seat tube was lower the result was a better ride.

choccy boy
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Re: VeloMini folding electric bicycle observations - day 2

If you are sitting higher up, and hence a bit further back over the rear wheel, is there any increased feeling that you may flip backwards when you accelerate or head up a hill? I am looking at getting a longer seat post as I also find the seat to pedal distance a bit too short. I am 6' tall.

reikiman
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Re: VeloMini folding electric bicycle observations - day 2

On this bike there's only so far you can raise the seat. I'm about 6' tall as well. I didn't feel any imbalance like you suggest. But there's no hills to speak of so the only hill-like experience I've had is climbing overpasses, and that hasn't been a problem.

choccy boy
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Re: VeloMini folding electric bicycle observations - day 2

COOL - I just MSN'd with the factory - my next container for Australia will have a 3 cm taller seat. I will test the extra height next week. Good if this can be standard for USA too - customers in our countries do tend to have longer legs than the testers here in China!

Also there are some frame strengthening (stronger circular welds), controller and electric routing improvements together with better quality Taiwanese head gear and bottom brackets.

AND..."improve the capacity of dustproof, dampproof and quakeproof" ;-) must be a special request for use on fault lines in California I guess - love it!

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