ODK U500 - Winter Riding?

Ian

Member
So I've become interested in Juiced Riders bikes in the last couple days after coming across the CrossCurrent threads as well as delving into the videos and articles about the ODK U500. Living in Minnesota, any e-bike investment would only be worth it if could confidently be used in the winter as well as summer. Can any current ODK U500 owner's chime in about riding in wintry conditions?

I'm thinking that it would be hard to be able to get studded tires equipped on the bike, and that's a disadvantage versus building my own e-bike with a mid-drive motor where I could switch out wheels/tires much easier to use studded Nokian or 45NRTH tires when the weather is bad (about 5 months out of the year). Looks like there may be just one option for a 20" studded tire, the Schwalbe Marathon Winter 20x1.6 and I'm worried about how hard it would be to do the swap, but maybe it wouldn't be so bad, haven't seen anyone do it before.

On the flip side, I don't trust my own e-bike building skills enough to create something that is going to be as robust and moisture resistant as the ODK U500 and I would not have the benefit of a 2 year warranty.

I figured that the lower center of gravity and low step through would make the bike relatively stable and safe since it would be easy to put your feet down if things got unstable on ice or snow. Also, the super large battery pack would be good for the cold weather as range decreases with sub-zero temperatures. I'd have a 21 mile one-way commute so I'd need the extra range for sure.

The ideal solution is likely to build/buy second e-bike (fat bike?) that would be permanently outfitted to take on the worst of wintry conditions but that would be expensive and would happen later down the line. For now I just want my first e-bike to be able to handle about 80% of the days here in the cold north with confidence.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts!
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
I was going to mention this in your previous post.
ODK's battery can not be easily removed to take it inside so you would have to keep the bike in a heated garage during winter conditions.
21 mile commute on a fat bike would need at least 750+ Whr battery.
You can get a triangle pack, pack it with double layer neoprene and use a BBS-HD on a Surly ice cream truck or moonlander or some bikes direct bike with Tektro Dorado's but then you're looking at 3k+ investment.
 

Ian

Member
I would only be able to keep the bike in an unheated garage for this winter, but for future winters I could keep it inside. I wonder if it could survive one winter of cold nights? Another aspect I hadn't thought of previously is that the front drive nature of the ODK could be a problem when dealing with adverse conditions - I feel like it would be easier to lose control on icy roads. But the pedaling still sends power to the back so maybe it would be OK? You almost end up with an all wheel drive bicycle with two separate power sources...
 

CafeRoaster

New Member
I know I'm resurrecting a dead topic, but this is a pretty dead subforum. ;)

We purchased two U500's in the winter. We live in Seattle, where we got about 11" of rainfall in our first month of riding. Also, we work downtown, which is a 328-ft. gain in less than a mile. Not too steep if you're constantly going uphill like on a mountain road, but when you consider that they're short city blocks, you could get an idea of how steep the hills are (a bunch of 5% grade blocks with 0% grade intersecting cross-streets). We've also taken it up 12% grades with a kiddo on the back.

This bike is very capable of winter riding. The only issue I've had with any sort of traction loss is if I stop at a stop sign that's just before the crest of a hill. So I either ride up further than the stop sign into the cross-walk, or go very slowly and not stop at all. At a hill like this on my way home from work, if it is raining, I like to stand over the handlebars. Never any traction issues with doing that.

Most important is maintenance. If your tires and brakes are in proper working order, you'll be fine. I actually deflated our front tires from 55 PSI to 30 PSI in order to gain a bit more traction. It did have a noticeable effect on the wear of the tire and the drain of the battery, but I decided that more traction was important.

As for the battery – remember, cold weather will drain your battery. I had a motorcycle that would die overnight every dang time. Then I started bringing the battery inside and leaving it on the tender.

If you have an outlet in your garage, that might help. Charging the battery generates heat. Contact the owner of Juiced. He's always willing to help and pretty quick to respond! tora AT juicedbikes.com
 

Richard H. Roth

New Member
I love my ODK Juiced u500. So much fun I tell folks riding it must be a sin. It was my choice as a vehicle after my little Toyota PU died and I use it every day, rain or shine.

That said, I have had some issues. First off, I must have gotten a bad set of "pinched" cables as things were acting strange off and on. it would go into cruise mode, or jump speeds, or not go at all or not kick off power when I applied the brake. Juiced replaced the cables and my dealer installed them for me. Been going great since for about 3 months . . . until.

Been raining a lot this year. Since it is my transportation, been riding it in the rain. The last couple of days it has been acting up again, same symptoms, as we have had a few non-rainy days and things are drying out a little. I park it in the unheated garage and put it on the charger at end of day. I suspect water got into the cruise control but have no idea. Or maybe into the controller itself, or the cables?

Wondering if anyone else is having similar issues and what they are doing to remedy the problem. I kinda need it to be dependable. The biggest issue is in crossing traffic and the system plays dead.

Other recommendations is that both of the off the shelf kickstands, the single and the double (Ursus Jumbo Double and Single Leg Alloy Kickstands), do not exactly fit the needs of the cargo bike. I stripped the gears on the double and with anything being carried as cargo the single leans the bike too far so it is tippy. I keep looking for a park space where I can put a wheel in a dip or set the kickstand foot on something about an inch higher.

PS: Slapping the cables in front of the handlebars seems to kick it back in, same as last time.

Problems aside. I repeat: I love my Juiced Cargo bike!
 
Last edited:

lark

New Member
I know I'm resurrecting a dead topic, but this is a pretty dead subforum. ;)

We purchased two U500's in the winter. We live in Seattle, where we got about 11" of rainfall in our first month of riding. Also, we work downtown, which is a 328-ft. gain in less than a mile. Not too steep if you're constantly going uphill like on a mountain road, but when you consider that they're short city blocks, you could get an idea of how steep the hills are (a bunch of 5% grade blocks with 0% grade intersecting cross-streets). We've also taken it up 12% grades with a kiddo on the back.

This bike is very capable of winter riding. The only issue I've had with any sort of traction loss is if I stop at a stop sign that's just before the crest of a hill. So I either ride up further than the stop sign into the cross-walk, or go very slowly and not stop at all. At a hill like this on my way home from work, if it is raining, I like to stand over the handlebars. Never any traction issues with doing that.

Most important is maintenance. If your tires and brakes are in proper working order, you'll be fine. I actually deflated our front tires from 55 PSI to 30 PSI in order to gain a bit more traction. It did have a noticeable effect on the wear of the tire and the drain of the battery, but I decided that more traction was important.

As for the battery – remember, cold weather will drain your battery. I had a motorcycle that would die overnight every dang time. Then I started bringing the battery inside and leaving it on the tender.

If you have an outlet in your garage, that might help. Charging the battery generates heat. Contact the owner of Juiced. He's always willing to help and pretty quick to respond! tora AT juicedbikes.com

Hi CafeRoaster
So hows it going?, still riding? Any new observations?

I'd have problem with severe cold also. Odk battery is listed as not easily removable. Could you say what's involved with that? How much of a pita it is?

Regarding standing over bar for more traction. have you tried loaded front basket? Someone said that helped alot
 

lark

New Member
I was going to mention this in your previous post.
ODK's battery can not be easily removed to take it inside so you would have to keep the bike in a heated garage during winter conditions.
21 mile commute on a fat bike would need at least 750+ Whr battery.
You can get a triangle pack, pack it with double layer neoprene and use a BBS-HD on a Surly ice cream truck or moonlander or some bikes direct bike with Tektro Dorado's but then you're looking at 3k+ investment.

what exactly do you have to do to remove battery? how long?
Jeez, that could be a major defect
 

Richard H. Roth

New Member
It seldom freezes here. The barn I park my bike in is not heated. I use my bike nearly every day - rain or shine, and I am out and about nearly every day and routinely plug the charger in when I park it at home. When I am out, the bike is parked and locked out in the open and we have had a lot of rain. Have continued having electrical problems off and on. Each time we have applied a treatment (changed the cables - cleaned the connections) the system works great for a few weeks or even 2 or 3 months, then starts acting up again. I think I may have found the problem though this week after it was parked and ridden through yet another heavy rainstorm. I think it was the throttle, as I could get the drive wheel to spin by wiggling the cable connection.

The cool weather effect on battery life was driven home by riding it on a trip to the county seat on a 45+/- degree day. The roundtrip is about 50 miles. I have the large battery and thought I could make it. I pedaled the last -relatively flat - 10 miles. It was very slow going and took me a couple hours. I do not want to make the same mistake again. It will be interesting to try the trip again (with backup) when summer temperatures return.

I was wondering if anyone had found a good kickstand for the bike. The off the shelf and suggested ones for the bike are both inadequate. The double stripped its gears and the single is about an inch and 3/4ths too short. I have to carry a block of wood with me to set under it to keep it from falling over when I have a load.
Photo on 4-17-17 at 10.16 AM.jpg
 

CafeRoaster

New Member
Hi CafeRoaster
So hows it going?, still riding? Any new observations?

I'd have problem with severe cold also. Odk battery is listed as not easily removable. Could you say what's involved with that? How much of a pita it is?

Regarding standing over bar for more traction. have you tried loaded front basket? Someone said that helped alot

Still riding. We've taken a few CostCo trips, even.

Currently, my bike is getting serviced. I replaced the Tektro HD-E710 brakes with Avid BB7's. I'm having the shop put the originals back on, as I just couldn't get the BB7's dialed-in. They're a great system, but my mechanical skills must not be up-to-par.

Removing battery. Hmm. I haven't looked at it, and there isn't one here right now, but I'm pretty sure all you have to do is remove the rear wheel and fender, and undo the mounting bolts from below.

As for putting weight up front. Yes, I purchased an Origin 8 cargo rack for the front. Problem with that was that it couldn't be properly mounted because the axle is larger than the eyelets. I had to cut out the eyelets (not easy), and even then it was not an ideal setup. Got rid of that just recently. I would love a front rack that would mount to the proprietary frame mounts, but I'm not willing to fork over that much money.

Only real issues I've had with the bike itself are:
- I don't like how loud the motor is. So many other e-bikes out there that I can't hear, but both of mine scream.
- The handlebars come loose quite often.
- The geometry isn't great. I get some lower back pains sometimes. Maybe replacing the bars and saddle would help. Not sure.

<snip>

I was wondering if anyone had found a good kickstand for the bike. The off the shelf and suggested ones for the bike are both inadequate. The double stripped its gears and the single is about an inch and 3/4ths too short. I have to carry a block of wood with me to set under it to keep it from falling over when I have a load.

Bummer about the battery. I think ours have deteriorated in capacity as well.

I agree about the stands. I have both Ursus stands (the side and the center), and neither are easy to use. The side one is too short, and the center one is a pain to kick down into place (have to lift the bike up), and get back off the ground. That said, they're the best bet for the price. Unless you want to spend $350 for the Rolling Jackass, you're SOL, I think. I've tried a few.
 

lark

New Member
Still riding. We've taken a few CostCo trips, even.

Currently, my bike is getting serviced. I replaced the Tektro HD-E710 brakes with Avid BB7's. I'm having the shop put the originals back on, as I just couldn't get the BB7's dialed-in. They're a great system, but my mechanical skills must not be up-to-par.

Removing battery. Hmm. I haven't looked at it, and there isn't one here right now, but I'm pretty sure all you have to do is remove the rear wheel and fender, and undo the mounting bolts from below.

As for putting weight up front. Yes, I purchased an Origin 8 cargo rack for the front. Problem with that was that it couldn't be properly mounted because the axle is larger than the eyelets. I had to cut out the eyelets (not easy), and even then it was not an ideal setup. Got rid of that just recently. I would love a front rack that would mount to the proprietary frame mounts, but I'm not willing to fork over that much money.

Only real issues I've had with the bike itself are:
- I don't like how loud the motor is. So many other e-bikes out there that I can't hear, but both of mine scream.
- The handlebars come loose quite often.
- The geometry isn't great. I get some lower back pains sometimes. Maybe replacing the bars and saddle would help. Not sure.



Bummer about the battery. I think ours have deteriorated in capacity as well.

I agree about the stands. I have both Ursus stands (the side and the center), and neither are easy to use. The side one is too short, and the center one is a pain to kick down into place (have to lift the bike up), and get back off the ground. That said, they're the best bet for the price. Unless you want to spend $350 for the Rolling Jackass, you're SOL, I think. I've tried a few.

Curious why you don't like the Tektro hydraulics and thought the BB7's might be better. If you just prefer mechanicals as I tend to you might try TRP Spyke's. Haven't yet myself but bike with others who say last longer, stop better, and adjust far easier then BB7. dual pads, more even wear. Modulate like good hydraulics also.

Possibly the upright posture of ODK is worse for lower back then a more sporty posture. I.e, lower back more rounded.
 

lark

New Member
It seldom freezes here. The barn I park my bike in is not heated. I use my bike nearly every day - rain or shine, and I am out and about nearly every day and routinely plug the charger in when I park it at home. When I am out, the bike is parked and locked out in the open and we have had a lot of rain. Have continued having electrical problems off and on. Each time we have applied a treatment (changed the cables - cleaned the connections) the system works great for a few weeks or even 2 or 3 months, then starts acting up again. I think I may have found the problem though this week after it was parked and ridden through yet another heavy rainstorm. I think it was the throttle, as I could get the drive wheel to spin by wiggling the cable connection.

The cool weather effect on battery life was driven home by riding it on a trip to the county seat on a 45+/- degree day. The roundtrip is about 50 miles. I have the large battery and thought I could make it. I pedaled the last -relatively flat - 10 miles. It was very slow going and took me a couple hours. I do not want to make the same mistake again. It will be interesting to try the trip again (with backup) when summer temperatures return.

I was wondering if anyone had found a good kickstand for the bike. The off the shelf and suggested ones for the bike are both inadequate. The double stripped its gears and the single is about an inch and 3/4ths too short. I have to carry a block of wood with me to set under it to keep it from falling over when I have a load.
View attachment 16161

Is the kickstand steel? If so a welder could put a stub on it. Had to do that once on a scooter. Really amazing when manufacturer messes that up.

Keep us posted on electrical problem. A lot of us have unheated barns
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
Thanks Ravi,-- So you don't have to remove wheel as Cafer suggested?

It's not necessary to remove the wheel but it's not super convenient either.
Lark, for winter riding, you would be much better off getting a Cross Current with studded tires and 17.4Ah battery.
 

Marc V

Member
I have a Juiced ODK U500 V3 and live in Chicago, I got it towards the end of winter so only road it a few times when there was snow. I mostly use it to commute to work (~20miles round trip) and Chicago is pretty good on clearing the roads when it snows but I felt the bike handles well in both light snow as well as wet conditions, it has been raining heavy the last few days here in Chicago. Of course with any mode of transportation in foul weather, you need to proceed with caution and reduced speed for safety.

I've had similar experiences of dialing in how I ride in certain conditions with braking at stop signs or lights. It varies with different loads, weather, etc. But I am getting the hang of it now.

I have taken my battery out many times messing with different stuff on the rack (easier to get different things mounted with the battery off) and I have done it so many times it doesn't bother me to do it, but everyone is correct, it is not easy to be removed compared to others :) Currently I have the rear passenger seat kit and a milk crate mounted on the rear rack which work well for most of my commutes.

I have the same issues with loading it with cargo, I have the standard kickstand that came with bike. When I go grocery shopping I like to load the bike while it is leaning against the bike lock/park pole thing :) if I am by myself, if I am with someone, I get on the bike and hold it up while they load then they get on. If it is light loading turning the front wheel the opposite direction of the kickstand lean helps a lot surprisingly for me.

Only clocked in a few hundred miles and no major issues, handlebars were loose as others have reported, I tightened them and haven't had a problem since. Did a range test recently and got 50miles in riding around Chicago with virtually no pedaling lol. But when after charging the bike over night I came in to unplug it and the standard charger that came with it was blinking RED, it still charged the bike, and I asked Juiced support and they mentioned that it was most likely the cells being balanced and that cut off the charge port (juiced support is great by the way, so that helps a lot in my book to know they got your back!). Been riding it the last few days and it has been charging and riding as normal and it has been heavy rain lately. Wish it had full suspension as I travel mostly on paved roads, but Chicago like most cities can have bumpy roads with potholes, and rear passenger kit seat rider feels it even worse, which we found out the hard way haha. So on my to do list is get a suspension float seat and look what I can do for my passenger, maybe a thicker heavy cushion or seat with springs/suspension to help with the bumpy rides :)

I park it outside with a couple of locks and try and wipe it down in my garage after it gets wet from riding and parked in the rain, during winter I only brought in the battery a couple of times, during winter. but I mostly leave it in the garage to charge, not heated but it is insulated so pretty cold still.

So to answer your initial question, the bike seems to handle the winter weather ok, you just need to be mindful of the conditions as it will mostly likely change how you ride, I mostly didn't like riding in winter because it got so dang cold lmao! But I'm still alive and the way Chicago is pretty soon I will be complaining that it got so dang hot! haha.

But I agree with everyone else, it aint perfect, but I really REALLY LIKE my Juiced ODK U500!!! hehe

Take care, ride safe!
Marc V
 

Bicyclista

Active Member
Wish it had full suspension as I travel mostly on paved roads, but Chicago like most cities can have bumpy roads with potholes, and rear passenger kit seat rider feels it even worse, which we found out the hard way haha. So on my to do list is get a suspension float seat and look what I can do for my passenger, maybe a thicker heavy cushion or seat with springs/suspension to help with the bumpy rides :)
Marc V
It's quite clear that electric bikes, whether for road or trail, need a front suspension and a suspension seat post—at minimum—due to the higher speeds they are capable of compared to conventional bicycles. Court points this out frequently in his reviews. I ride a full-suspension Haibike mountain bike—and I'm glad and fortunate. For a second ebike, I would like to buy a cargo bike with fat tires (4 inches at least), front suspension, mid-drive motor, built-in rear rack and front rack attached to the frame (not to the suspension fork!). Nobody seems to offer such a practical beast. Sigh.