I purchased a Cytronex assisted Ridgeback Cyclone, with a 19" frame from the guys at http://www.cytronex.com/
who are based in Winchester in the UK, last Thursday. I have a 16.6 mile commute to cover between Nottingham and Loughborough each day. For comparison purposes I'll tell you a bit about my health. I'm 28 years old, 5'9", about 160lbs and I've not done any meaningful exercise since I was about 15. I'm not overweight, but I'm certainly not fit. I work in I.T and sit at a desk all day. I smoked 20 a day from the age of 18 until about 2 years ago. I never eat fruit, I live on a diet of microwave meals and pizza, I usually skip breakfast and lunch consists of a bag of crisps and a chocolate bar most days.
I am reporting on this as somebody who hasn't ridden a bike since he was a young teenager, and who has zero previous experience of electric bikes.
I have not actually done the commute with my bicycle yet as I'm waiting for them to finish installing showers in our office at the moment. Once I've done the commute a few times, I'll post here again, as it's quite a hilly ride. I have however, bedded the battery in, and done a fair bit of test riding. So far, I'm very impressed with the bike. I covered 41 miles on Monday alone, cycling around Nottingham without too much trouble, which is many times more than I ever imagined I'd be able to cover in a day without collapsing. The first ride was 15 miles before I needed to recharge the battery, then another of 16 miles before a recharge, then another 10 mile journey which didn't fully deplete the battery but I'd finished my cycling for the day. I was letting the bike do as much of the work as possible. During normal usage I expect to put a bit more effort in and therefore get a higher range before the battery runs out. This is pretty much what I expected it to be like after reading all the bumpf.
I have several observations about the experience so far.
1.) When I first started using the system, I sometimes found it difficult to tell whether or not it was turned on, because the red light doesn't show up too well in bright sunlight. I also found it quite difficult to tell whether or not it was in low or high power mode, without actually pressing the button to change the mode. I'm a bit more accustomed to it now though so can usually tell what state the bike is in just by how it feels. It's kind of like when you buy a new car and it's difficult to drive at first. Don't be disheartened by it, be patient with it.
2.) I think it would be better if the boost button was on the left handle bar instead of the right, as I'm often using my right hand to change through gears rapidly when accelerating from a standing position. I've got used to it now, but I still reckon it would be better the other way round.
3.) The system will turn on when a magnet on the rear brake cable is in contact with a sensor. When you pull the rear brake the magnet loses contact with the sensor and it turns the system off. There have been three separate occasions when I've been riding and I've hit the boost button for nothing to happen. Each time, I've had to reach under the top tube and push the magnet back into its correct position. It doesn't seem quite as robust as it could be. I'm not 100% sure but I think it might be the way that I was originally carrying the bike that caused the magnet to move. It hasn't happened the last few times I've ridden.
4.) The trip computer light works well, but I wish it didn't take up all the space on the handle bars that it does. I would like to add a mount for my mobile phone on there, but there is no available handlebar space for it. It would make more sense IMHO to have a trip computer with a backlight. The "Trek Incite Link Team Digital Computer" is only 50 quid and has a backlight built in. Would I be able to just slide the 9i trip computer out of its mount point and then slide in one of these "Link Team" computers, or do they have incompatible connectors?
5.) I didn't get any instructions for the trip computer. It only took a minute of googling to find a comprehensive pdf about how to use it though. I'm sure I remember the person who took me through the purchase mentioning about getting documentation for me so I guess it was just forgotten by us both before I left.
6.) The frame number on the bottom of the bike is partially hidden by a part of the Cytronex system. I emailed the guys at no-hills.com about it and it turned out it was just the first two letters of the code that was missing "TH". Still, you're probably better off checking that you can see what the frame number is before leaving the shop. Especially if you want to register the bike with a police stolen property database.
7.) I installed an RFID tag from http://www.immobitag.com/
and registered it with http://www.immobilise.com/
- When I removed the bike seat to install it, it had the light attached to it, and because the light uses the Cytronex battery, it was attached to the bike by an electric cable, which I accidently yanked, but it's ok thankfully. If you need to remove the bike seat, you need to unscrew the light first.
8.) It would be useful to know how much charge the battery has left. At the moment, you can only guess what it probably has left from past experience.
9.) It would be highly useful if the battery could be locked to the bike so when you nip into the shop you don't have to detach it and carry it around with you. It's not exactly something you can just detach and slip into your inside pocket.
I was going to write this up on http://pedelecs.co.uk/forum/
as the Cytronex bikes have been mentioned on there several times before, but two days after signing up I still can't post to the forum, so sod it. I've signed up here instead. I may go back there to start a second thread if I get an email saying I can now post.