Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Central Illinois
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Yes, I think you can make the 8 mile trip. A couple of conditions, though. I hope you can charge at work and the batteries will not have a long life time. Long-term, as opposed to each individual charge. I say 'batteries' because that single battery pack that you have actually contains two 12 Volt/10 Amp-Hr batteries.
I've had an e-Zip Trailz closing in on 4 yrs now and I hold the opinion that this is a fine machine. There are bikes out there that I think, at least some, are less bike at twice the price. Though I'll admit that I'm viewing them 'at a distance'.
I did find that there was a bit of learning to do in order to get the best performance. And this surprised me a bit, as I'm a very experienced bicyclist. But this is a somewhat different breed of cat. I can't possibly list everything that I think you'll want to know in this post. But I'll try to do some summarizing that should point you in the right directions.
Be wary of the stock battery charger. The electrical connector, that you plug into your battery pack, is cheaper than it looks. The conductors inside can be twisted to the point of breaking off of terminals inside. This happened to me fairly early in the game. It took me a little while (living with improperly charged batteries) to figure out what had happened. The fix is pretty easy; you can get other chargers cheaply enough. You can cross that bridge when you come to it. Advice, if needed, won't be hard to find. Also consider the, pretty neat, electrical connectors mounted on the rack. Those spring-mounted brass buttons that your battery pack slides down onto and makes electrical contact with? If your battery pack bounces and 'jiggles' while riding, constantly breaking and then making electrical contact, then those terminals will melt. The good news is that you have a spare on the other side to fall back on. But, of course, you want to avoid the trouble in the first place. I've heard of people bending the side bars on the rack to hold that battery pack a bit tighter. If I still had that stock configuration on my bike, then I'd also consider putting a lashing strap around that battery pack, top to bottom, to really hold that thing down.
As far as operation is concerned; you can take this bike up to nearly 20 mph. But you'll go further if you keep it slower than that. This probably seems obvious. But I found that the curve is much more steep than I would have expected. Going slow is much, much more economical. It's also a lot easier on your spine, the rest of your body and your bike. And these differences are larger than I'd have expected as well. A powered bike can beat the crap out of you and out of itself if you're not careful. If you have nothing but excellent pavement, then maybe the 'beat up' factor doesn't apply to you. But if you commute in 'the real world', then it's gonna matter.
So I've found that riding my e-bike at about the speed I would ride my regular pedal bike, easy going and not trying to break speed records or even work myself all that hard, works best. We're talking 6 or 7 mph, average. It sounds slow, maybe, but you get there with plenty of juice to spare and you feel just fine. Actually, going to work I go a good deal faster. But I can re-charge at work. For referrence, my commute is 6 miles. If I couldn't recharge at work, then I'd do it the economical way. In 'economical' mode, I mostly ride in the first three gears, only shifting higher on downhills and such. I find a pedal cadence that's comfortable and I use the throttle only to take some of the strain out of riding. The motor is humming quietly. And if I start to hear it 'lugging', then I'll downshift, ease off the throttle a bit and be content with going a bit slower.
I've never measured my range riding like that, but I know it's somewhere above twenty miles because I've ridden very nearly that far on a single charge. I am also using twice the batteries that came stock with the bike. It's the equivalent of that optional second battery pack that's available to you. I'm a bit lighter than you at 185 lbs. So you'll have to do some pro-rating. But I'm sure you can see that your commute is in your grasp.
My crank is getting weak; I can feel, and see, it getting a bit loose. Since I'm not yet qualified to rebuild a 3-piece crank, I'll have to take it to a bike shop. That's a bummer. But I'm not sure that it's a weak point of these bikes or if I just got unlucky. I also pushed hard on those pedals before I learned to cool it. Still, it hasn't done so badly. But you might want to keep it in mind and be kind to your crank. Better pedals than the stock ones are also a good idea. Doesn't necessarily have to be done immediately, but keep it in mind.
As far as PAS or TAG goes, I don't think it matters a whole lot. PAS is meant to be more economical with the electricity. But I don't think the difference is great enough to justify the added complexity. I prefer to use TAG mode; I want that motor to react when I tell it to.
Your experience with charging is a bit hard to decipher. They say that brand new batteries charge strangely for the first few cycles. But if you have batteries that are definitely discharged but your charger is claiming to have them up and running in an hour, then something is wrong. Maybe your charger is already having something like the trouble that I had. I hope not. Run them through a few more cycles. If they're not charging properly by then it ought to be pretty obvious.
I don't know if I've covered everything, but I do know that this post is getting long. So I'll say; Best of luck and congratulations on a fine purchase. 8 miles is definitely do-able and you'll have a great time at it.