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  1. #1
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    New to ebikes - considering ebikes from Canadian Tire

    I am so glad this forum exists. The posts I have read have been very informative and I really like the enthusiasm for the topic.

    I am new to the concept of ebikes. I have looked at the scooter-style and the bike-style, but I am leaning towards the bike-style. I don't think I need anything too grand so I am considering two of the ebikes sold by Canadian Tire. I have read Zeuser's fantastic review of the "Stong GT" bike and was wondering if there are opinions on the Schwinn I Zip?

    If the Strong is rated for 100 km/charge but is realistically cut by more than 1/2 as pointed out by Zeuser, then will the Schwinn be similar and get only about 10 km/charge?

    Just a little background, I am not in the best of shape right now and weight close to 260 lbs (117 kg) and stand 6' 4" (193 cm). My knees are not in great shape. My main purpose is to start biking with my kids so they learn to enjoy it and see it as an alternative to the car. Any regular bike I try only lasts a few minutes before the pain in my knees is unbearable.

    I thought an electric bike would allow me to build strength and enjoy biking with my family.

    If it went well and my strength improved I would consider riding to work...about 10 km one way. I am in Kitchener, On. so it would be limited in use from early spring to late fall, depending on snowfall.

    So, is the Scwhinn a decent bike for the price and would it get me 20 km on one charge with peddle-assist. Not too many hills to worry about.

    Or should I spend the extra $400 and go to the Strong? Is it better value for the money?

    I would like to keep the cost below $1000 and even that is a little hard on a budget for recreation use.

    If I am totally on the wrong track with the CT products, I would like to hear any other suggestions for ebikes easily purchased in Ontario, Canada.

    Again, love this forum and I think the popularity will grow as we need to get out of the car more!

    Phil
    Last edited by plaitar; 07-04-07 at 09:37 PM.

  2. #2
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    I agree completely this is a rocking forum and with Robbie Hatfield to guide us this will be tops for sure.

  3. #3
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    Do you have a bike already? There are some good kits on the market that can easily be installed to most bikes. My experience with the Canadian Tire bikes was limited to riding up and down the aisles, but they seemed ok for the price for a complete, ready to ride bike.

    Is there any way for you to charge at work?
    Team Mavic, winner of the 2003 Cycle to the Sun race

  4. #4
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    I agree completely this is a rocking forum and with Robbie Hatfield to guide us this will be tops for sure.
    We should chat over some tea. LOL

    Robbie

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by plaitar
    I am so glad this forum exists. The posts I have read have been very informative and I really like the enthusiasm for the topic.

    I am new to the concept of ebikes. I have looked at the scooter-style and the bike-style, but I am leaning towards the bike-style. I don't think I need anything too grand so I am considering two of the ebikes sold by Canadian Tire. I have read Zeuser's fantastic review of the "Stong GT" bike and was wondering if there are opinions on the Schwinn I Zip?

    If the Strong is rated for 100 km/charge but is realistically cut by more than 1/2 as pointed out by Zeuser, then will the Schwinn be similar and get only about 10 km/charge?

    Just a little background, I am not in the best of shape right now and weight close to 260 lbs (117 kg) and stand 6' 4" (193 cm). My knees are not in great shape. My main purpose is to start biking with my kids so they learn to enjoy it and see it as an alternative to the car. Any regular bike I try only lasts a few minutes before the pain in my knees is unbearable.

    I thought an electric bike would allow me to build strength and enjoy biking with my family.

    If it went well and my strength improved I would consider riding to work...about 10 km one way. I am in Kitchener, On. so it would be limited in use from early spring to late fall, depending on snowfall.

    So, is the Scwhinn a decent bike for the price and would it get me 20 km on one charge with peddle-assist. Not too many hills to worry about.

    Or should I spend the extra $400 and go to the Strong? Is it better value for the money?

    I would like to keep the cost below $1000 and even that is a little hard on a budget for recreation use.

    If I am totally on the wrong track with the CT products, I would like to hear any other suggestions for ebikes easily purchased in Ontario, Canada.

    Again, love this forum and I think the popularity will grow as we need to get out of the car more!

    Phil
    I met a guy with a Schwimm eBike on the bike trails and got to try it a bit. Unlike the Strong or my Bionx, there's no assist. You basically hold down the throttle and it goes. You can pedal at the same time is you want but you have to control the throttle itself.

    The upside of the Schwimm is that you can easily pedal without any drag at all because it isn't a hub motor. You do feel the weight of the thing but not the drag of the drivetrain.

    Soon as you hit the throttle the bike "jumps" off the line but it doesn't accelerate all that fast. Not compared to my Bionx of course.

    I also found the Schwimm to be quite loud for an eBike. I think that's just how it works with a currie drivetrain.

    Another downside I found is that if you want to put a rear rack and even rear saddlebags, you're going to have trouble. The motor is in the way.

    Other than that, for $500 it isn't too bad.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lowell_
    Do you have a bike already? There are some good kits on the market that can easily be installed to most bikes. My experience with the Canadian Tire bikes was limited to riding up and down the aisles, but they seemed ok for the price for a complete, ready to ride bike.

    Is there any way for you to charge at work?
    I looked up the price of kits and they look to be as expensive (or more) than the Schwinn at CT. The kits would probably triple or quadruple the value of my 15 year beast.

    If the batteries are easily removed and carried I could charge it in my office.

  7. #7
    e-Biker
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    Quote Originally Posted by plaitar
    If the batteries are easily removed and carried I could charge it in my office.
    The CT Strong and Schwimm have easily removable batteries. They're a bit heavy though.
    The Bionx has a really lightweight battery which you can put in your backpack. It's about the weight and size of a big textbook.

  8. #8
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    Thanks, really good info.

    But a couple of things you said has raised other questions.

    1) Pedal-assist vs "non"-pedal-assist.

    It sounds like the Strong has it but the Schwinn doesn't. But does pedal-assist mean (on the Strong anyway) that as you pedal the bike applies power from the motor by itself? And that the Schwinn motor is not "linked' or acts independently of the pedals?

    What is the method of using both pedal power and battery power when you ride these different bikes?

    2) Motor types
    What type of motor does the Strong use and is it if better, worse or just different then the Schwinn.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeuser
    The CT Strong and Schwimm have easily removable batteries. They're a bit heavy though.
    The Bionx has a really lightweight battery which you can put in your backpack. It's about the weight and size of a big textbook.
    Zeuser your experience with these bikes is invaluable. Not to put you on the spot (as you said you have had only a little time with the Schwinn) but if you had a $1000 in your pocket and where given the option between the Strong and the Schwinn do you think you would spend it all on the Strong or buy the Schwinn and pocket the left over cash for a rainy day? (I'm a pretty big guy and want to go +20km a day).

    And if you don't mind me asking, where did you purchase your Bionx and what type of bike would do it justice?

    Thanks again.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by plaitar
    Thanks, really good info.

    But a couple of things you said has raised other questions.

    1) Pedal-assist vs "non"-pedal-assist.

    It sounds like the Strong has it but the Schwinn doesn't. But does pedal-assist mean (on the Strong anyway) that as you pedal the bike applies power from the motor by itself? And that the Schwinn motor is not "linked' or acts independently of the pedals?

    What is the method of using both pedal power and battery power when you ride these different bikes?

    2) Motor types
    What type of motor does the Strong use and is it if better, worse or just different then the Schwinn.
    1) The strong will detect that you're pedaling with some sensors on the crank. About a second after it detects this it'll start assisting you with the motor. The Schwimm doesn't do this. You have to press on the electric throttle yourself as you're pedaling. If you look at the Schwimm you'll see that it's not a hub motor. It's simply a motor mounted on the left side of the bike and it uses a drive chain to a fixed gear which is bolted to the hub's shaft. This means that when the hub freewheels, like any ordinary hub, there's no drivetrain drag at all. The Strong uses a hub motor. And while it does have a freewheel in it you can still feel the drivetrain drag. The reason for this is that the hub is still spinning.

    2) Strong uses a 500W motor. Schwinn uses, I think, a brushed motor with a drive gear and chain. Not sure of the power rating I didn't really check.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by plaitar
    Zeuser your experience with these bikes is invaluable. Not to put you on the spot (as you said you have had only a little time with the Schwinn) but if you had a $1000 in your pocket and where given the option between the Strong and the Schwinn do you think you would spend it all on the Strong or buy the Schwinn and pocket the left over cash for a rainy day? (I'm a pretty big guy and want to go +20km a day).

    And if you don't mind me asking, where did you purchase your Bionx and what type of bike would do it justice?

    Thanks again.
    Well, the Strong is now $800 at CT. I'd spend the extra $300 and get the Strong. My main reason for deciding this is because the Schwinn is quite noisy with that chain drive. I suspect it would get quite annoying after a while.

    And I also had a Strong before I got my Bionx so I can recommend it for the low $800 price it now sells for. I didn't ride the Schwinn long enough to find all it's strengths and weaknesses.

  12. #12
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    [QUOTE=Zeuserz
    And I also had a Strong before I got my Bionx so I can recommend it for the low $800 price it now sells for. I didn't ride the Schwinn long enough to find all it's strengths and weaknesses.[/QUOTE]

    Appriciate the info.

    Can I ask where you saw the Strong at Canadian Tire for $800? The website shows it at $999.

    Is the Bionx something a reasonably mechanical person can install themselves?

    Phil

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    I actually purchased the Schwinn izip bike a couple days ago and so far I'm loving it! I'm not sure how much better the more expensive models could be but I'm pretty happy with it so far! Just thought I'd give me heads up! The way I see it, Canadian Tire has a 30 day return policy... If I don't like it, I'll take it back Not looking like that will happen though!

  14. #14
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    the izip... isn't that the electric folding bike?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by kork
    I actually purchased the Schwinn izip bike a couple days ago and so far I'm loving it! I'm not sure how much better the more expensive models could be but I'm pretty happy with it so far! Just thought I'd give me heads up! The way I see it, Canadian Tire has a 30 day return policy... If I don't like it, I'll take it back Not looking like that will happen though!

    Let me know how it works for you in a few more days of good riding.

    After reading a bit through the group I am interested in:

    -What is the actual mileage you are getting out of charge?

    -As Zeuser had mentioned the IZIP doesn't have automatic peddle-assist. Peddling and throttle are controlled independently. How easy is this to control (does it get to a point where the balance becomes automatic to the rider or are you always trying to adjust for it?)

    -I am a "large" guy. 6'-4", 260lbs. Will I "fit" the IZip? Both physically and and without draining the battery to quickly? In other words, where the "average" person gets 30km will I only get 10km per charge?

    Other than that is it a nice bike to handle and does it feel well constructed?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by plaitar
    What is the actual mileage you are getting out of charge?
    Hiya Plaitar
    I've ridden power-assist for six years and 10k km's in Toronto...
    The packs I have been using give a range of anywhere from 10km to 20km...
    Because this depends on a lot of factors... Up hill or down? Do you like to show off? How heavy is the vehicle with rider and gear? How warm are the batteries? How many times have they been discharged and recharged already? How deeply have they been discharged? What battery chemistry? Is there a headwind or tailwind? What is the form factor for the vehicle eg mountain bike or "`bent"? How much of the work are *you* doing versus the motor?

    As Zeuser had mentioned the IZIP doesn't have automatic peddle-assist. Peddling and throttle are controlled independently. How easy is this to control (does it get to a point where the balance becomes automatic to the rider or are you always trying to adjust for it?)
    When Transport Canada was initially testing power-assist, they were leaning to "pedal-assist" only, but the test riders felt more in control with separate accelerator, TC couldn't see any real diff.performance/safety-wise, so they didn't make pedal-assist a requirement.

    I kick my bike, so there are no pedals to assist anyway!

    I am a "large" guy. 6'-4", 260lbs. Will I "fit" the IZip? Both physically and and without draining the battery to quickly? In other words, where the "average" person gets 30km will I only get 10km per charge?
    oh boy. Yah, weight is a factor. You can mitigate this a few ways. Carry more batteries. Use Lithium for greater energy density. Pedal from starts up to some speed before engaging the motor (it's acceleration that uses most of the energy.) Get a recumbent bike, because they have better aero. Add fairings, again, better aero. Slow down, as wind resistance squares as a function of velocity. Get the max HP motor you can - 500w if you are legal, more if you are E-legal <wink>

    Get a power-assist bike that *looks* like a "bike" ("open frame") rather than the "ebikes" that we're starting so see pop up from folks like Daymak and Veloteq... the ones that look like gas scooters but have pedals stuck on so that yes, technically, they conform to ebike regs... They are *heavy*, even before you climb aboard, and lousy for pedaling...

    Joshua over at EVSolutions is a big boy, and he rides a bent.

    Tap to Joshua. Tell him I said hi
    http://www.evsolutions.net/

    Lock
    Alive, and Kickin', in TO
    human-electric hybrid pedestrian

  17. #17
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    I would definately recommend a kit rather than a prebuilt one.
    1) can install on any bike
    2) more options for battery chemistry
    3) front or rear wheel drive option
    4) faster top end, and longer range
    5) looks like a bicycle
    most of the prebuilt ones offered by the major department stores come equiped with lead acid batteries, if you do not charge them right away, they are basically toasted.

  18. #18
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    plaitar, have you gone to see a doctor about your knees? That seems like a more pressing issue! Also, when you ride your bike, are you mashing on the pedals, or do you maintain a nice high pedaling cadence? Higher rpms will help decrease the pressure on your knees. A properly fitted bike (especially seat height) will also ease pressure on your knees.

    If you do end up getting a kit, will you need some help installing it? I've never had the opportunity myself, and we're in the same city...
    www.rebel-cycles.com

    The official Canadian dealer of TW-Bents recumbent bicycles!

  19. #19
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    So I've put 120kms on my Schwinn $600 Canadian Tire budget ebike this week and here are my findings.

    I ride every morning to work and come home every night on it. To work I have a tailwind and mainly downhill. It's a nice leisurely ride. Usually takes me about 25-30 minutes to go 11 km including stopping at lights, etc. When I get to work the battery takes about 2-3 hours to charge up full again. The charger indicates a full charge in 6-8 hours so I can assume that I'm using about 1/3-1/2 the batty to get to work.

    Coming home is more of a chore. Nasty headwind and uphill... However, it's more of a chore for the bike, not for me :-) I actually enjoy the hills now cause I feel like I've beaten nature and no need to get frustrated with 50km+ wind gusts while going uphill for 1.5 km at a 12 degree incline!

    As for the weight? Yeah, it's heavy. But the way I see it is this. Who cares? I could go with a Lithium Ion battery to save 15lbs or so but who cares? It's got a motor! Maybe I'm missing something about people discussing the weight and a con?

    THE PRO'S

    - Everything!
    - It's cheap!
    - Good on the environment
    - SLA BAttery is inexpensive to replace

    THE CON'S

    - My thumb gets sore from the throttle... Don't ask me how. Going to try it tomorrow without my cycling gloves and see if it makes a difference.
    - The little bell on the handlebar tends to "dingaling" when I ride over bumps
    - The battery pack shakes a slight amount when hitting bumps, curves or other hard objects. Not sure if it's an issue, but I'm caution as it's my new toy.

    I can't comment as to how this compares to other ebikes as I have no experience with them. The truth is I'm cautios to try another "better" one because I'm VERY satisfied with my iZip. It's fun, it's easy and it's enjoyable to ride! It's a good headstart into the exciting world of ebikes. By the time I'm ready to move up, hopefully, battery technology will become more reasonable and the technologies will be more advanced. As for me, this wee thing is great and I've not been in the car all week! It's been able to suit all my needs 100%!

    I wrote a short little review on my website at if you're interested to read more. THe review is more about ebikes, etc but reading nonetheless. http://www.corbysimpson.com/7-Gettin...Per-Gallon.php

  20. #20
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    Plaiter,

    I have been riding the Schwinn izip back and forth to work for about two months(3-4 days a week). I started at 6'4 and 285 lbs and have been trying to lose the weight. I drive about 17 km each way in about an hour, it takes a little longer going home due to the uphill ride. I fully charge the bike at work, and I find the battery is pretty much toast by the time I get home. I try and conserve use of the motor mainly to inclines in an effort to get some excercise. The only real problem I have is my wrist gets sore by the end of the day from cranking the throttle. The bike is lots of fun and I am glad I bought it, though I find myself reading about those bionx systems and may upgrade my Giant Mountain bike when I kill the izip.

  21. #21
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    My local bike shop guy recommends the BionX kits over the prebuilts. He says the power output is higher and the battery is better.

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    hello all

    I am a new owner of a schwinn IZIP , I decide to go that way, since I wanted to lose a bit of fat. I am 5'8" 175lbs. the little problem was that I am working on top of a 200 meter high hill, the road to get there is gravel and that hill is 4km long . one in good shape would do this no problem, but I am not .

    I bought my schwinn Izip from Canadian tire in promotion (didn't see it on the flyer but when I arrive @ the cash I was ready to pay 599 but the say 445.99 promotion hey who would fight against that )

    I used it for going to work and here is the thing I notice so far (after one week ) :

    the izip goes well for about the first 300 meter (this is right after recharge ) then it slow down and loose a torque but stay like this for the rest of the ride (I live ~ 8 km from my work ) I beleive the problem is that right after charge the battery has about 26.5 to 27 volt but it probabli gets to it ~ 24 volt after the first 300meter .

    tire: seems fine for gravel and asphalt (compare to my cheap mountain bike)

    seat : confortable

    mirror: not very good keep move with bump and wind

    shifter: goes very well but I thing it is missing a faster gear to follow the motor right after charge or going downhill .

    motor control (potentiometer) goes well but would need somekind of cruse control ;o)

    motor : a bit noisy but not that bad (I never listen or used any other ebike before in fact I don't know a lot
    about bicycle in general )


    battery : had to return 3 time @ canadian tire before I got a descent one , one of them exploded after recharge
    (found out that the charger was faulty ) probably the first battery was fine. for the reson I state
    before (power going down after firts 300meter) I will probably try putting an extra 12 volt battery for
    going 36volt if the controller heat to much I will simply add two 12 volt battery in parralelle with the
    original and leave it @ 24volt until I buy a 36volt regulator . since the izip + me helping are not strong
    enough for the hill @ my work

    fender : no fender come with that izip (another thing on my list )



    here it is now I need advise on putting a bit more power to it to help me until I got in better shape !

    Oh yeay I forgot for those who are against ebike , I would never think on biking to work in the shape I am, it is better for the environment then my gas car, and other coworker seems to be interested going the same way since they saw me doing it some of them are in worst shape then I am !

  23. #23
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    I stopped at one of my local CT stores and they had only one Strong GT. I little further investigation found some interesting things.



    -Bikes can't be tried outside the store. You can sit and try a little peddle in the aisles.

    -Bikes can't be returned. They don't fall in the 30-day return policy.

    -The Strong they had was returned (huh?). Apparently a damaged tire. The store clerk helping tried her best but wasn't that familiar with the circumstances.

    -The clerk said the bike could be sold to me for $500 and the "blown tire" (apparent reason for original repair, which took too long (again..huh?) to repair was left behind by the original owner as a return) looked like it had been fixed.

    -WOW, I thought jackpot! Until I lifted the front wheel and spun it. Only to hear it rubbing and noticed that there was a bit of twist in the rim. Looks like it wasn't a blown tire but a damaged wheel. How someone got it returned is news to me.

    -There was a second bike there. But it was in for warranty repair. I took a look at the repair ticked and it had electrical short problems. Also there for a long time. Sounded like several weeks if not months.

    -The clerk confessed that they are having trouble getting parts sent in by the supplier. (Another clerk in a different store said this was likely due to nearing the end of the season...no comfort in either answer).

    -Other stores have bikes but a couple are also waiting repair. Some damaged by shipping or internal unpacking problems, apparently.

    -Because each store is independent from another they can't merge two bikes from different stores into one and the CT policy is that badly damaged merchandise is destroyed and can't be sold to a consumer in non-working order.

    -One bike builder at one of the CT's had a phone number to the supplier. I haven't tried it yet but will next week.

    -A couple of bike builders/senior clerks said despite the problems with supply and damaged bikes they felt they were good bikes and many were sold and liked by the end user.



    So, limited quality supply, no returns, can't really try the bike first, damage bikes, hard to get parts. My quest continues. I haven't written the Strong off yet. If I could get it a 1/3 to 1/2 off I may still go for it but I think I will continue to investigate. Certainly I will try the phone number they gave me to the supplier.

    Oh, one other thing. Man the bike is heavy and apparently can't be backed up. How would you get it out of bike rack without being able to back up as lifting it isn't fun?

    Phil

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff-o
    plaitar, have you gone to see a doctor about your knees? That seems like a more pressing issue! Also, when you ride your bike, are you mashing on the pedals, or do you maintain a nice high pedaling cadence? Higher rpms will help decrease the pressure on your knees. A properly fitted bike (especially seat height) will also ease pressure on your knees.

    If you do end up getting a kit, will you need some help installing it? I've never had the opportunity myself, and we're in the same city...
    I don't get that far. It only takes minutes for it to start to hurt. I have had a few doctors look but not too in depth. I also have pain if I sit in a "driving" position (sitting on plane, in a theatre, driving a car) for more than 3 hours. In this case it is a constant low ache.

    Although your bikes look interesting. I've seen similar ones around KW now and then. Just for fun, could they be outfitted with a Bionx or another kit?

  25. #25
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    Looking for an ebike solution
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    Quote Originally Posted by billyf
    Plaiter,

    I have been riding the Schwinn izip back and forth to work for about two months(3-4 days a week). I started at 6'4 and 285 lbs and have been trying to lose the weight. I drive about 17 km each way in about an hour, it takes a little longer going home due to the uphill ride. I fully charge the bike at work, and I find the battery is pretty much toast by the time I get home. I try and conserve use of the motor mainly to inclines in an effort to get some excercise. The only real problem I have is my wrist gets sore by the end of the day from cranking the throttle. The bike is lots of fun and I am glad I bought it, though I find myself reading about those bionx systems and may upgrade my Giant Mountain bike when I kill the izip.
    Great info. I appreciate the body size comparison. So my concern on battery time wasn't as bad as I thought. What region/city to your ride in, if you don't mind me asking? Any experience in poor weather riding?

    Phil

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