Top positive review
31 people found this helpful
on October 21, 2013
I commute to work 10.5 miles each way on mostly bike trail. I wanted to do it every day, but was always wiped by Thursday. Enter my electric bike. I researched a lot before I bought the Stride 500. I did not want a step-through model, but I am 5-2 and didn't really have any other choice if I wanted a Prodeco with a 500 watt motor. These bikes are built for tall people. There is conflicting information about how tall you can be for step-through model. On the Prodecotech website it says 5-3, but then I received my manual and it said 5-6 to 6-6, which is what it feels like.
It is a very heavy bike. If you want to mostly bike without the assist it will be challenging, about four times as hard as on a normal bike for me. I also wanted to not worry about charging my bike at work so I needed a minimum of 21 miles per charge. It turns out that there was no getting around charging it at work. Coming home the first time I came up about two miles short. That was a workout! So 25-30 miles per charge isn't accurate, though admittedly the manual says that if you ride more than 10 miles you should fully charge your battery. I do that now and bought another charger for work. It wasn't available on the Prodeco site or on Amazon, so I had to get it through a third party on Ebay. It was about $40.
I'm on my third week riding it and the bell has broken. I wasn't too surprised when it happened because another reviewer experienced the same thing. So I'm yelling "on your left" until my new bell shows up. They probably should have either skipped the bell or used one that was durable.
I ride in the dark often so I like that the battery has a built in rear light you can turn on. I did not see that anywhere in the specs or reviews, so that was a nice surprise. Since you can't have a rack on the back I use a front basket. I also use a small LED camping light inside the basket as a headlight since a full basket obscures a traditional handlebar-mounted headlight.
I'm still figuring out my bike computer with this bike. It's been a bit of a process. The spokes are thicker than normal spokes, so the magnet that came with my bike computer didn't fit. I bought a replacement magnet that screws on instead of snaps on, and it is working in tandem with the sensor now. However the wheel size is not standard. So I estimated what number to input and currently it is giving me a little more miles than I am actually biking, but I will be able to fine tune that from trial and error.
Side note about delivery. It was a mess. Google search "Amazon and Ceva" and see what I mean. I ordered my bike on a Tuesday morning and it would have come as early as Friday. I didn't want to miss a day of work over this bike so I scheduled it for Saturday, which was easy enough with the Amazon check-out interface. It was scheduled to arrive between 8-11am on Saturday. Ceva calls at 9:35 to tell me "Bad news, your TV isn't coming today." I told them I didn't order a TV, I ordered a bike. "Well it's not coming." Nice.
They said they would see if they could deliver the next day even though they don't deliver on Sunday. Well that's sketchy. I never get a call back. I call on Sunday and they say they aren't able to do it and that "residential delivery" will be in touch with me. I call back Monday afternoon, and we schedule the delivery for Wednesday. My husband graciously works from home that day since I can't take off. They call on Wednesday to tell me they don't have the bike period! For some reason they couldn't figure out on Saturday that the bike had disappeared entirely. I end up on the phone with Amazon for 25 minutes while two different reps call Ceva to confirm that Ceva didn't deliver the bike. My Amazon interface says it was delivered so I am really nervous I am out $1299. Amazon finally does accept that I didn't get my bike and sends me another one which arrives about a week later. So total wait time for my bike was over two weeks. But Amazon gave me a $30 credit. So that's nice. At any rate, don't be surprised if delivery is a major pain. And if this is a time sensitive item for you, forgo Amazon completely.
So far I've taken 10 round trips at 21 miles each. The brakes have started sounding noisy. Adjustments on a new bike a few weeks later is normal. They aren't regular brakes, they are Avid BB5 disc brakes. So I still have to figure out how to adjust them. Googling it makes it seem like it should be easy.
The tires are nice and wide, with deep groves. I won't need to worry about changing them out for the winter. The PSI is much lower than my old commuter bike, which isn't an issue performance-wise thanks to the motor.
The motor noise isn't very intense. I'd compare it to the sound of a remote car, except a deeper hum. Other reviewers have compared it to a blow dryer, but I don't get that comparison at all.
I live west of Minneapolis and use Cedar Lake Trail and West River Road Trail to get to work. I'm hardly on the road at all. Biking saves me about $225 a month based on the calcs below. So I will have broken even in 6 months.
$100 parking ramp
$40 MnPass (fast lane)
$15 wear and tear (conservative estimate)
Also riding one way to work on my regular bike took 50-75 minutes depending on direction and wind, ...on my Stride it's 33-38 minutes. That's as long as it would take to drive...with evening traffic sometimes much faster. We are blessed with a great biking system here in the Twin Cities :-)
I am very happy with the purchase so far, though it's still early, and I do wish the bike wasn't too big for me. Hopefully they will start designing some of their bikes for shorter people, but keep the 500 watt motor. According to Wikipedia the average female in the U.S. is 5-4, so maybe they just don't care to market to women. Beats me.
Update 10/22/2013: I forgot to mention that if you don't wear gloves, you will cut your hands when taking off the battery. I've added a picture to the gallery to demonstrate what happened to me without gloves. I haven't had any issues since I started wearing leather gloves to take the battery off.