on April 18, 2014
While I'm no e-bike expert, I grew up on a bike and have ridden all of my life. This one just sings my song.
Compared with my stalwart Trek Hybrid 7200, this one feels a tad smaller. But after adjusting the seat height, then raising and rolling up the handlebars a bit, it's now a comfortable ride, e.g. for one handed cruising, and also for racing down the road if I want to lean forward and really go for it.
And a racer it IS too. I'm 5'10" with a 28" (leg) inseam, and a bit over 200 lbs. This bike has a stated capacity of 220 lbs, yet flat out, on a smooth level road, if I put it in high gear and go full throttle, well, it's simply exhilarating. This bike does not come with a speedometer/odometer like some other Prodeco's do, but I would say I probably hit 35 on the stretch; Actually it felt more like 40mph. And again, this is pedaling fast with full throttle.
MORE FIRST IMPRESSIONS:
This was my first day with the bike. After making the adjustments and pedaling it around without the battery, I then popped on the battery and put the vehicle though it's paces on one of the country roads out here where I live. This particular route is 10 miles and it use to take me well over an hour on my Trek. With the Prodeco however, at half throttle most of the way, I was back in less than half that time, and yes, I still got a good workout but without being completely pooped at the end. There are some very steep inclines along this route. I had to bear down and pedal for most of these while the motor also sounded like it was bearing down under the full throttle. Remember, I'm about 206 lbs. and these are very steep inclines. The motor by itself would have likely not carried me all the way to the top. In the past, it was a matter of waking my Trek up these hills, but here at least I could gear down and keep pedaling with the E-assistance.
Another thing about moving from a manual to a powered bike - This particular bike is really responsive. It's reacts quickly to slight movements of the handlebars and shifts of weight. Not gaud awful sensitive, but nicely responsive especially when pedaling and applying throttle. But you've really got to pay attention when under power. For example, when initially taking off, then throttling up, this is where curve radius of your path is going to be wider, so one has to be careful not to get all giddy with the sense of acceleration, then curve right off into the ditch or into the on-coming lane.
When considering this bike, my first e-bike and all, I had a number of questions that were a little hard to find all in one place, so perhaps the following will help someone save a little time in research:
Very little. You can hear the motor whir when applying throttle, but it's really very quite. And yes, this does get louder as the motor works harder up very steep inclines, but it's still on the quite side even when cranking up a hill.
Clanking, rubbing, clattering, as one reviewer noted? Nope, not for me. I guess there is always a lemon for any brand or model. Mine however seems to be solid. It's probably one of the most solid bikes I've ever owned.
Yes, it's heavier than my Trek, probably by 15 lbs or more. But this is plenty compensated by the 500W motor. Yet, if the battery died I am sure I wouldn't have much trouble pedaling home.
No, and I'm glad this bike does not have this feature. For pedal asset to do it's thing the pressure/tork the rider is putting on the pedals has to be measured so the motor can then properly "assist." All of which are more parts that can fail if you ask me. I'm just fine with assisting the motor (with my legs) rather than the other way round. This way, if I want to, I can just cruise without pedaling at all. It's really a good feeling to be cranking down the road and then apply the throttle for a speed boost. You get a good feeling of increased acceleration even though you are still peddling at the same rate. It's a little like that carnival ride which is slow at first because they are still loading the ride up with people, but then the guy hits the GO button and you take off at full speed. The "push" of acceleration feels much the same.
It's a half twist throttle. There's no button or lever to hold down with your thumb. The twist part of the right hand grip is well up the handlebar so one would be less prone to accidentally twisting the throttle when mounting, etc. Yet, it is very easy to give it a little twist while you are riding along. Accelerating and decelerating using this control feels very natural.
The questions I had specifically about this - Isn't the G+ among the first models that Prodeco made? So, is this then a 2006(?) bike? I'm not sure what the story is on this particular G+ Storm product, but reviews for the 36V, 500W version just came out in late 2012 and 2013. Prodeco's first G+ bikes had 250W motors. So I believe this is a new version of their original G+ bikes. In any case this bike certainly does not perform like yesterday's model by any means.
Big fat tires?
Yeah, and they're great too. Continentals. Plenty to grip the road with, which by the way is an assuring feeling when you are ripping down the road under power. Don't forget to pump them up to the recommended 65psi. I went a little lower at 60psi. Out of the box the tires had less than 20 lbs of pressure in them.
Skinny hard seat?
Usually, this is what you'll get with a new bike, but this one is fine. Nevertheless I do have another seat on the way and will likely swap it out.
Not a problem at all, they seem tough and they grip my soles well. Just be sure to give them a good push to snap them into place, directly after unpacking.
A snap. What else can I say. The box it came in was a bike size box, so other than inserting the seat and handle bar post and tightening everything down, then charging up the battery, which took all of 40 minutes, everything was pretty much pre-assembled.
Like wow! I did not ask for 2 day shipment via UPS, but this is what I got. Just in time for the holiday weekend. I'm very impressed on this point. Tells me the company cares for their customers.
Yes the bike seems very solid, the spokes are thicker than most, and the frame seems extremely well built, but only time will tell with regard to true durability. And no, I don't expect to ever take this out in the rain.
The only minor thing that bugs me is it has a plastic back rack, where the battery sits. I would have preferred metal here, I know how plastic can fatigue then crack over time, and this is one critical area where I would never want this to occur.
I've just turned 60, I'm still athletic, and I want to stay that way. My Trek riding was getting a little tougher so I was beginning to avoid those long rides up some of our back country roads... but no more! This bike literally puts me back in the saddle again. I am sure this new G+ Storm will reignite my bike adventures this year, and I am very thankful for that.
UPDATE: My statement, "This bike does not come with a speedometer/odometer like some other Prodeco's do..." was not accurate. I am told by the manufacturer that no model includes this. Which for me is big deal. Also with regard to my slight qualm about the plastic back rack cover on which the battery sits, I am told this is only a $5 part and their next line of bikes will include a metal part. Again, no big deal.
After riding my new e-bike bike frequently over the past three weeks, I must say, this thing is a blast. I changed the saddle to a wider, more comfortable version (for me), and I'm glad I did. After a hour or so on the other one, ye 'ol rump tended to get saddle sore, so the Sunlite Cloud-9 Bicycle Suspension Cruiser Saddle I bought to replace it, was a good decision.
The enduring impression is one of both increased range (for me, by a factor of x3), and speed (especially when applying throttle + pedaling). I guess if I had any wish for this bike it would be for a seat post suspension. When you hit a poorly maintained washboard surface road, you really feel it when traveling at the higher speeds this thing can go. But then again bikes that include this feature tend to go for a grand more, so I am happy with this one to say the least. Solid e-bike, with durable qualities, and a very smooth street ride at impressive speeds with a little twist of the throttle. Zoom, zoom, bike fun.