I mentioned in a recent blog post that I had purchased an ANCHEER Folding Electric Mountain Bike.
I’ve had it for a few moist Oregon weeks now, and have taken it out in all of the weather the state has offered me recently. High winds, cold rain, and bleary sunlight admixed with clouds… yep, I’ve been out and about!
Let’s start with the important bits: this is an actual mountain bike (MTB) with a battery-powered pedal assist and twist throttle system. It works just fine with the electric systems turned off, but is noticeably stiffer to ride when the electrics are turned off when I compare it to my 2013 Giant Cypress DX hybrid road bicycle that I’ve rode faithfully for nearly half a decade now. The hub motor and battery do add weight to the overall chassis, making this bicycle about 60 pounds. Again, compared to my Giant, this bike is deceptively heavy, which has lead to an interesting conversation with a bus driver.
Where I live, if you have a folding bicycle, you can board buses with the bike folded up, as long as you do not prevent a senior citizen from having a seat, and must give up the space if a wheelchair boards and you are in the way. I had a nearly flat battery, but needed to get from downtown to a destination about five miles out, plus come back at least three miles to get home. The bicycle rack was empty, but again, the overall weight is capable of damaging the rack.
With the bike folded, I approached the bus and asked, “May I board with my bicycle folded, please?”, having let everyone else board first, and having a couple of minutes until the driver needed to take off. Driver, ostensibly, balked at this because the front bicycle rack is empty, and asks me to load my bike there.
“This bike weighs about 60 pounds, and can damage that rack.”
I was reminded that I’ll have to deboard or otherwise move out of the way if a wheelchair or senior citizen needs to board in the wheelchair well on the bus, which I’m okay with — getting several miles down the road before I have to deboard is perfect, because I’m more likely to be able to finish up the trip on the limited battery capacity. Amazingly, we made it the whole way to where I wanted to deboard the bus, and got there a few minutes early. Driver asked me a little about the bike, because he was curious since I mentioned the weight and that it was battery powered.
Things to know: The bike’s battery is not the best, but it is realistic. In a mixture of pedal assist and twist throttle modes, I’m covering about 15 miles (25 km) on a single charge, which includes at least two bridge climbs per day as part of me getting to and from work. I’m also near the bike’s upper weight limit of 150 kg (330 lbs), which while the bike certainly handles decently with my weight, it has an impact on the battery life overall. On days where I skip the bridge climb, and go the long way around to get to work, it has less impact on the battery capacity, even though it adds half a mile to the trip.
The default seat post is too short for a person of my height, as well. I’m 5’10”. The post doesn’t raise high enough to allow for proper leg extension while riding. I had to hit up the local bicycle shop for help finding a post that fits, and is long enough to allow me to raise the seat higher. $12 later, I had a part from the local shop.
The saddle that the bike ships with is uncomfortable to use after a handful of minutes, which made my trip from Eugene to Springfield by bike uncomfortable enough that I rolled the bike onto the Emerald Express (our local bus rapid transit line) to get a ride most of the way back. I shortly replaced it with a saddle from Parateck, which I picked up on Amazon. Said saddle has a built-in strobe light, powered by CR2032 batteries. If you have a supply of these for low cost, you’re easily set. I’m tempted to tinker about and see if I can retrofit the battery socket with an 18650 battery, so I can just swap those out with the few of those I have around and on hand as needed. If that works, maybe I can add a few more LEDs in there, too — that’d ensure I’m that much more visible.
The fenders that ship with the bike, be ready to throw them away or put them on a smaller bike. For the 26″ wheelbase of this bike, the fenders do NOT stop water/mud from being flung up your back and in your mouth at any speed. They’re too short to offer protection if you’re using the bike for city commuting like I am.
I’m using an SKS X-Blade Fender on the rear of the bike, which I pulled off my previous daily rider. The front fender is still the one that came with the bike, but I’m looking for something that would work for the front, both to guard my mouth from flying roadjuice (bleh!!), and to stop the overall spray of muddy water at the controller box located on the downpost.
At some point, I strongly desire a bigger battery for this bike, because I know 36v, 8Ah is not enough. I’d like to have enough battery power for a full day excursion over into Springfield and back, which would be about a 22 mile round trip. This would be my primary goal to obtain.
My secondary goal would be an adapter: SAE J1772 to IEC-60320-C5. The former is the standard that most US sold electric vehicles use at public charging stations. The latter is what you see most on laptop power bricks: the Famous Mouse ears, as some would call them. If I could find out what would need to go in the box to make this work, so that I could connect it to a charging brick (or the gutted contents thereof), that would be totally swell.
Yes, I’d love the charging components to be separate from said adapter, because if it’s easy to make, it would be the most useful thing — folks can connect it to their existing bricks, or to a spare brick that they’ve picked up, or have hacked up into a box, or anything, really.
Enough rambling for now, though.
Fair disclosure: All of the Amazon links in this post are affiliate links, which results in me getting a small stipend from Amazon if you make purchases when you follow them. This helps fund my current excursions and projects with the bicycle and safety gear plans that I have. If you prefer a direct method of sponsoring me, caffeinate me with the button below this post. Thanks!