Thinking about winter commuting already - Surface 604 Electric

Brambor

Well-Known Member
I've been commuting 4-5 days a week and I'm loving it so much I'm worried that I will have to quit in the winter. I have been considering Surface 604 Element. It appears to be priced very well. I'm just slightly worried the bike will get destroyed from winter chemicals used to spray and sand the roads?
 

James

Well-Known Member
It's a great looking bike... and that's my area code!! I'm pretty sure there's no bike out there that will be ok with chemicals, sand, snow and all the crazy elements you'll be throwing at it! A good clean once a day is probably required
 

Brambor

Well-Known Member
for winter biking what would be the advantages/disadvantages of a hub motor vs mid drive ?
 

James

Well-Known Member
The hub motors weight on the back wheel would assist on traction I would think.... I don't have any experience with the mid drive motors, but it does seem like they are the future
 

MarcD

Active Member
I haven't ridden in winter (yet), but I did find myself on a dirt road after a rain outside Hueston Woods State Park this week, and it wasn't fun. The road was slippery, and I ended up having to turn assist off on the Turbo because the rear wheel kept stepping out on me, even in Eco. Obviously this would be reduced with fat tires, but what I was struggling with was the difficulty in getting the bike back under control when that much weight is skidding.

My guess is that with the rear battery, that may be an issue. Hard to say for sure. But I think most fat bikes are cruising trails at say 8-10 mph, and if you increase that to 16 to 20 mph who knows how it handles.... Maybe EddieJ will chime in as he is riding in mud all the time and can speak to how these heavier machines behave in slippery conditions.
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
It appears to be priced very well. I'm just slightly worried the bike will get destroyed from winter chemicals used to spray and sand the roads?
Hey Brambor! I really liked the Element and was also impressed with the price tag... It's nice that it also has 7 speeds (verses the Pedego Trail Tracker that only has one) and is actually made in Canada where it snows and stuff :rolleyes:

Chemicals, salt etc. might wear on the bike but if you rinse it every once in a while with a quick splash from the hose (not directly and not too high of pressure or it will get into the motor and battery) I think the bike would hold up. In any case, so what if it rusts a bit? I think these hub motors and batteries are all sealed up pretty well and should continue working. The battery is removable so you could easily take it off for charging inside at work and home.

The big advantage of a hub motor on this bike vs. mid-drive is that it keeps it affordable. For a bike that's setup for trail riding, beaches and snow... I'm glad it's somewhat expendable because all of those environments have hazards. If you do get it, I'd love to hear your thoughts... You could also wax the bike with car wax to help keep salt and other chemicals out, that's what I do with my bikes sometimes.
 

MarcD

Active Member
Brambor - this month's Electric Bike Action reviewed this fat bike and really liked it, particularly given the price point. The one complaint they had was that it was geared really tall, like almost road bike tall. Which doesn't make a ton of sense. They said they found themselves climbing hills on pavement in first gear. Honestly, that it easy to change for less than $150 including labor with a new chainring. Or if it has a capable rear mech, a larger cassette is am easy DIY project.
 

Tom

Member
Speaking of winter riding, not sure if it has been addressed but how would you or what would be the best way to winterize ones electric bike for a few months.?
 
Hi Tom,

By winterize, do you mean store it for the winter, or do you mean make it more road ready for the winter? For starters, if you live in a colder climate (like us in Chi-town) batteries should be stored indoors or at least in a heated garage. Cold (or extreme) temps can adversely effect a batteries performance and lifespan. At for winterizing there are things you can do to help seal all connections from moisture such as snow or rain…but this comes with the potential of not allowing air to circulate which can cause overheating. Another thing to consider is different tires. What model bike are you riding and where do you live?

Oh and by the way…the Surface 604 is a blast and I have heard that for 2015 they are keeping their $1999 electric fat bike and introducing two more versions of it with upgraded options such as larger batteries and hydraulic brakes. I am looking forward to getting a lot of Chicagoans on Surface Fat Bikes this winter. We will be having a sale to gear up in the fall…will keep you posted.

In the meantime, check out this vid of the element in Aspen snow:

Chicagoland Electric Bikes
 

Tom

Member
Chicagoland,
Thanks for responding. I grew up in Chicago, on the northside. Don't really miss those winters. Right now I live in the Pacific Northwest. Portland, Oregon to be exact. Specifically, I was wondering if I did not ride the bike for a few months, is there anything I would need to do to protect the battery, like drain it completely, or just not worry about it. It rains mostly from end of Oct to end of June. There are weeks that are nice but Dec, Jan and Feb can be not much fun. Very little snow and ice. If we have any it does not last long. I have not bought a bike yet, but am looking and waiting to see what pop ups at this years Interbike. I feel limited because there are only a few electric bike stores in my area, and feel I should stick with what they offer due to service. For example, REI carries Currie, but none of there mechanics are qualified to service them as I have been told. Portland is a BIG bike town but mostly purists. Electric bikes make up a very small percentage. I think that will change within the next few years. On a related note I notice a lot of kids on electric scooters and not on bikes. Anyway, I was just wondering if your electric bike was not being used for a while if there was something one needs to do. Thanks.
 
Hey Tom,
You absolutely need to care for your battery in the winter, but pretty simple stuff. As I mentioned, do not store it in cold temps. In general, most LiIon batteries are recommended to be stored at 70% or so. You should top off the battery every month (some say 3…but I think once a month is best). You can defer to the manufactures manuals for specific brands suggested battery care. We have a page on our site where all the manuals are at easy access…feel free to check it out.

As for a dealer in Portland, I have heard of a few. Rich at Cynergy Cycles in a good guy and very honest. He & his wife moved out to Portland (from the midwest) and opened up shop there last year. I would recommend you check him out: http://www.cynergyebikes.com/default.aspx Always a good idea to buy from a reputable local when you can. Although we sell online it is mostly because the coverage of bike dealers (and good ones) across the US is still very thin….sometimes online is the only option. I think Rich will take good care of you. I met him when working on the manufacturing end of ebikes and he seemed like a good guy. Let me know how it goes. Also, some shops offer a weatherproofing service (expect to pay $50-100). I am not sure if Rich does but if you think you need it you can ask. I just checked and the lines he carries are Currie, easy Motion and EG. Not sure you price point but I deal with all 3 companies and they all back their products well. EG is the value (cheapest) among them. Last I spoke to Rich he was thinking of adding a brand or two. Solex was one….french company with a small line but the look and sound pretty decent…VERY popular in Europe. I am looking at adding that brand as well.

Hope that helps!

Julia
Chicagoland Electric Bikes
 

Tom

Member
Hey Tom,
You absolutely need to care for your battery in the winter, but pretty simple stuff. As I mentioned, do not store it in cold temps. In general, most LiIon batteries are recommended to be stored at 70% or so. You should top off the battery every month (some say 3…but I think once a month is best). You can defer to the manufactures manuals for specific brands suggested battery care. We have a page on our site where all the manuals are at easy access…feel free to check it out.

As for a dealer in Portland, I have heard of a few. Rich at Cynergy Cycles in a good guy and very honest. He & his wife moved out to Portland (from the midwest) and opened up shop there last year. I would recommend you check him out: http://www.cynergyebikes.com/default.aspx Always a good idea to buy from a reputable local when you can. Although we sell online it is mostly because the coverage of bike dealers (and good ones) across the US is still very thin….sometimes online is the only option. I think Rich will take good care of you. I met him when working on the manufacturing end of ebikes and he seemed like a good guy. Let me know how it goes. Also, some shops offer a weatherproofing service (expect to pay $50-100). I am not sure if Rich does but if you think you need it you can ask. I just checked and the lines he carries are Currie, easy Motion and EG. Not sure you price point but I deal with all 3 companies and they all back their products well. EG is the value (cheapest) among them. Last I spoke to Rich he was thinking of adding a brand or two. Solex was one….french company with a small line but the look and sound pretty decent…VERY popular in Europe. I am looking at adding that brand as well.

Hope that helps!

Julia
Chicagoland Electric Bikes

Julia, Thanks for the info. I remember reading somewhere that you should always keep the battery in an even temperature environment. That being said right now it is 51 degrees outside and my garage is 84 degrees. Today's high will be around 90. Those changes in temperature might have a long term effect. Funny that you mentioned Rich, I have been to his store many times trying out his bikes. Both him and his wife Ruth are very nice.
 

Brambor

Well-Known Member
since I wrote the initial post I have decided to go with Felt FatEbike. The only thing at this point that the Surface has over the Felt is 1.price, 2 regen that I would use to slow me down on slippery/icy downhills.
 

pxpaulx

Well-Known Member
first post, thought i would chime in on electric and fat combinations! what we all really need is a mid drive maker to start making a drive that will fit the 100mm bottom bracket on fat bikes. i have a neo emotion xtrem and it is a ton of fun. i bought my wife an ejoe epik lite, but the first model that is limited to 15.5mph, so riding together isnt as fun as it should be.

i started looking into another bike for her, and started reading about fat bikes. of course, i stumbled onto the 604 which initially seemed like a great deal compared to the other fat electric bike options.

long story short, i decided to build my own. i just got a bikes direct fat bike, their boris x7 in burnt orange, and it was a steal at $700, leaving me with $1300 to build it out electric. i am crossing my fingers for an affordable mid drive option sometime in the next 4 to 6 months, otherwise i will run a front hub motor on it. i think fat bikes and mid drives were made for each other though, so i am holding out hope! for anyone that is willing to build, i would encourage a look at the bikes direct fat options, lots of discussion over at the mtbr forums as well. i feel like i got a $1600 bike at less than half the cost, and a nice platform for a motor addition. they also have a full steel frame option for $900.
 

Brambor

Well-Known Member
please post if you find mid drive option. I'm interested but for DIY wouldn't all wheel drive be a better option for a winter bike?
 

pxpaulx

Well-Known Member
i will definitely update the thread if something comes along that is inexpensive. i believe lightningrods will do a custom bracket, but his motor starts at $800 , which is already a little pricey for me. there is also aft ebikes in australia, which was referenced on endless sphere as doing a 100mm bb option, however for decent power again you are approaching $800 or more.

in theory awd with a motor up front does sound like a smart option, but i get a feeling that in the winter you might lose traction more than you would like. that being said, if i go with a hub drive that is where i will likely put it as the fork on my boris is steel. i would likely go with one of those two speed xiongda motors if i go with a hub, having the advantage of a gear with more torque would be helpful.
 

Brambor

Well-Known Member
The thing is though I think none of he options for all wheel drive are pedal assist. Throttle onlybut I could be wrong about that.
 

pxpaulx

Well-Known Member
The thing is though I think none of he options for all wheel drive are pedal assist. Throttle onlybut I could be wrong about that.

that is a reasonable assumption. even if you added a pedal assist sensor it will like be a basic magnetic sensor and not torque sensing anyway. i still think the xiongda 2 speed is a solid choice for the fat bike. less than a week until interbike so we can cross our fingers for something coming! i read this morning that california ebikes will be introing their mid drive fat motor and have it for sale after interbike is over.