I woulld have gladly exchanged my Dahon Vitesse for a Zap NewCentury hybrid folder in Dhún na nGall, Éire during July 2004. I have bittersweet memories of cranking along some of Ireland's wild "spectacular 200-mile coastline- an intoxicating [Guinness is good for you] run of headlands, promontories and penninsulas- rising to the highest cliffs in Europe..." ("Ireland:The Rough Guide", 1996, p. 419).
Met just one biker, a Dutch amazon on a loaded 22.5-inch (at least) touring bike, who laughed as she powered past me on an unrelenting, varying grade, five mile climb.
The natives mostly do hill-walking (an aerobic sport in Gleann Cholm Cille.) I had to do some "cnocadóireacht" myself, whenever I started to reach my own aerobic limits or when, after stopping to shoot a glorious seascape, I could make better progress by pushing the Vitesse.
The Zap system has limited range, but then again any biking (except on a Ducati ;-) would probably be limited. Even doing an (idyllic) roller coaster ride to and from the fishing port, Killybegs, tested an (ancient) Opel.
Koffee could tour Dhún na Gall on her Bike Friday- she once crossed the Dolmites on this folder! But she would sensibly never bike this wild coastline on a Dahon (1-speed-effective) Vitesse! Not even with Condi (Warrior Princess ;-).
So I'm looking into the Zap! folder as a prospective commuter/tourer for my next trip to Oideas Gael http://www.oideas-gael.com/ to learn Irish Gaelic.
Better still, Zap! also sells a "Dual Motor DX" kit that electrifies an existing bike. I can visualize my newly upgraded 26-inch Dahon Matrix (pix soon) "tubocharged" with a Zap kit. The Matrix has an MTB granny and 23 other gears that could add their gear inches to the welcome climbing power of "dual, high efficiency ceramic, permament magnet DC motors".
Maybe "hybrid bikes" have a future in this magical and suddenly prosperous (and Euro-expensive) island?
Anyone have any info or experience or thoughts on whether you would or would not fancy a Zap! folder or kit or other hybrid folder?
Last edited by Leo C. Driscoll; 01-10-05 at 04:01 AM.
I'm not sure whether many of the available electric folders can really produce enough power/have a big enough battery to be really useful. I think you will find the zap very dissapointing. I think the quoted weight and maximum speed optimistic to say the least. For hill climbing you really need 36V. However I believe the curry electric conversion kit is a cheap, usable option.
Heinzmann produce a kit which is very powerful and has about a 50 mile range.....at a cost. But I have seen some very neat conversions. Kinetics of Glasgow supply and fit the kit. http://www.kinetics-online.co.uk/
I've attached a picture of a dahon conversion. Incidentally this bike is for sale on the forum.
Thanks for the info, Samb76! I looked into Heinzmann kits and several others. There is an interesting E-bike buyers guide from the UK. http://www.atob.org.uk/home.html
You're right, it would take the 36-volt Heinzmann to get up some of the Donegal hills (without doing hill walking ;-) The high torque hub motor is the technology needed. But I'm not enthused about riding a 60 lb. folder ;-( So it looks like we have to wait for Rabbit Tool, USA to get their Heinzmann E-bike out of interminable R&D. http://www.rabbittool.com/frames/frelcwhl.html
Following the (engineering) idea of not letting the best be the enemy of the good, Dahon's Roo EL http://dahon.com/rooel.htm with SRAM dual speed hub may help me crank up some of the hills.
I'm also interested in the EPS BionX kit. http://www.bionx.ca/en/ Anyone have any info or experience with this high-tech development?