Celebrating 1,287* Miles with a Model S.

Eric Kuyper

New Member
It had been over 30 years since I last rode a bicycle, and after doing some research and test rides, I decided on the Model S (now Step Thru). I've had it for a year now and have a million great things to say about it, and two small dings, one which I'll get out of the way right now.

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The reason for the * in the title is that since the bikes electronics all default to metric units, the bike odometer flips at 9,999 kilometers, not 9,999 miles, and I've flipped mine once, so I have to add 6,213 miles to all my calculations, so it's actually 7,500 miles in my first year (or I rode for 561 hours at about 2 ½ mph, you can be the judge). Come on guys, spring for some more memory or screen space so I don't have to do math!

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With that out of the way, I love the bike. From a bicycle perspective, it's a solid, well built beach cruiser. It's very comfortable to ride sitting mostly straight up, or a minimal bend for a longer or faster ride. While by no means an off road vehicle, it handles any terrain you would expect your beach cruiser @ 5 or 6 MPH to cross, so parks with hard dirt trails and flat grass pose no problem (at those speeds.) But where it excels is on the standard roads and bike trails, with the tires provided (a pair of Maxxis Gypsy's which favor a smooth ride over roll resistance) it goes all out for the comfort and enjoyment of the rider.

The bike frame also has an integrated basket bracket so the basket mounts to the frame, not the handlebars. This provides more stability if you have a load in the basket. Also across the rear sides and on top of the battery mount are convenient screw mounts for adding cargo holders or mounting whatever you would like (note, the frame mounting geometry from the left to the right is not the same, I found the holes to be different by ½ inch between the two sides. Not really a “defect” per se, as I don't know what the company intends to mount there, but it should be noted for the DIY crowd)

On the eBike side, you have a 500w motor capable of bursts over 1,000w (1,150 is the highest I have observed as it's displayed on the normal view panel). I have the extended battery, and at 48 volts (53.4 is what I see reported actually) I have 921 watt hours of available juice. My bicycle is governed to be a Class 2 Electric Bicycle per the California State code (20mph, throttle assist), however when turned off I was able to achieve 33 mph (210 lb rider) with good general stability. I highly discourage anyone from doing this, as it is simply too fast to reasonably control the bike, and I have never been tempted to repeat that experiment. The throttle and motor adjustment controls are intuitive and in comfortable reach. The display has great contrast and is readable in all conditions.

Where I start to have some concerns is in power management. First off, the display shows 4 bars for the battery. But what they mean are:

4 Bars – Maybe 100%, Maybe 25% full, dunno.
3 Bars – I hope you are close to home
2 Bars – Feet don't fail me now.

The rear battery itself has a 4 bar indicator which is much more accurate, but not easily readable while riding and not a level of precision I would want.

Still with power management, the bicycle allows for full power throttle, or 5 levels of power assist while pedaling. The way it is configured is that you set what percentage of power you want for Level 1, then it scales the others up to 100%. But the lowest you can set Level 1 for is 30%, which effectively provides ~140 watts to the motor. This means first off, it's hard to ride the bike under power at speeds less than 10-12 MPH, you have to either pedal coast pedal coast or feather the throttle, neither of which I enjoy. The throttle itself is technically variable, however I could never effectively use it for more than a minute or two as your thumb is just not able to maintain that precision while you are controlling the bike as well.

It also means for those trying to get every last mile possible, you can't have the bike provide just that little extra “oomph” to keep you going, it's always more the rider assisting the motor, not the motor assisting the rider.

All that being said, my wife owns the same bicycle and has no idea why any of that is an issue. Like myself (as we have no car), she commutes to work, goes for groceries, rides on the beach, and is completely unaffected by those issues since unless you are exceeding 45 miles or 5 hours of riding it doesn't matter one bit. It's nuts like me who think that 8 hours and 100 miles on a beach cruiser are reasonable (oh, and possible with this bike) who grumble about fractional power settings.

Photo Album of First Year Biking

The Model S is a reliable, strong and enjoyable commuter bike, cargo bike and beach cruiser all rolled into one affordable vehicle. After a year and 7.5k miles, there has been no change in the effectiveness of the battery, no increase in charge time, and nothing else needed (less tires and tubes & proper bike maintenance). Minus the dings I've put on it, it's exactly like the day I got it. While I pine for greater power control, I also ride every day with a smile on my face.
 

Calicoskies

Active Member
Thanks Eric for the write-up, I also have a EBC with about 1200 miles over the last year and love it. We have the common LCD-3 display so you do have options. Not sure how comfortable you are with these parameters but you can change C4 to change throttle to match PAS setting and also C14 you can adjust from General (Default) to Weaker or Stronger assist. Weaker would lower your watts on PAS1 to around 80 Watts I think. Also you could change P5 to 0 instead of 15 to read real voltage, see if you like that better. I like to watch voltage to see when I am getting closer to empty around 43 or 44 vdc. Just some ideas to test.
 

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Eric Kuyper

New Member
Hey buddy, thanks for the information, it's nice to see others tinkering with their vehicle.

Early on, I did the C4 change to match throttle to PAS. I used it that way for about 1000 miles. What I found for myself anyways is that if you pedal by default and only throttle when necessary, it's nicer to get the full 20 mph boost when you tag the throttle. However, if your riding style is Throttle first, pedal occasionally, then I agree 100% you should link the two and use your shifting to adjust max speed.

Now the C14 is new to me (ok, I read about it and never tried it), however on your suggestion I'm doing to do just that; if that brings PAS1 to around 80 watts it will be a HUGE benefit to my normal riding style. I shall try that tonight, and again, thanks for the suggestions.

EDIT: C14 worked exactly as you said it would. Thanks a ton, that will make my next 100 mile ride way easier.
 
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Eric Kuyper

New Member
Today, Ten Thousand miles total. No mechanical issues beyond normal wear and tear, and most importantly, the battery retains a charge as well as it did day one, and the motor both performs and sounds as good as new. I'll trundle back here from time to time to let you all know how it continues to perform.

Oh, and I upgraded to a BodyFloat seat post and am loving that as well!
 

christob

Well-Known Member
Congratulations!
I'm still a ride or two away from hitting 3,000 miles on my ebike this year, and even as silly a milestone as that may be in the grand scheme of things, I'm getting excited to see it... As like you, I'd not been bike riding in 25+years before this ebike!
 

Eric Kuyper

New Member
Due to an accident at the local bike shop, my battery enclosure was damaged and needed to be replaced. The new enclosure (in addition to including a remote alarm, nice touch) fixed the issue I had noted about incorrect battery life display, at first I thought by battery was damaged as well but at 67 mile trip up the Santa Ana river confirmed all is good.

So I'm assuming future buyers won't experience the issue I reported about battery display.