Service Centres near you

Western Cape and Eastern Cape
Olympic Cycles Claremont/Kenilworth 021 671 5008/021 761 0832
Best Bikes Durbanville 021 979 3622
Kroff Cycles Paarl 021 872 7773
Williams Bike Shop Somerset West 021 851 0919
Hermanus Cycles Hermanus 082 932 3938
Johnie Koen Cycles Mossel Bay 044 692 0488
Coimbra Cycle House George 044 873 0606
Knysna Cycle Works Knysna 044 382 5153
The Bike Shop Plettenberg Bay 044 533 1111
JBay Cycle Centre Jeffries Bay 042 293 3438
Coimbra Cycle Centre Port Elizabeth 041 581 3310
SBI Cycle service Centre East London 043 721 1748

KwaZulu Natal
Cyclesphere Durban 031 312 2559
Cycle specialists Durban 031 563 4333
Zululand Cycles Ballito 032 586 0031
South Coast Cycles Amanzimtoti 083 367 8469
Cycle Junction Richards Bay 035 789 4464
Jowetts Cycles Pietermaritzburg 033 394 1421

Gauteng
Hatfield Cycles Pretoria 012 362 0036
Finish Line Cycles Kempton Park 011 391 6912
Linden Cycles Linden 011 782 7313
Vello Swiss Bicycle Shop Fourways 083 541 6822
Cycles2U Hartebeespoort 083 628 0964

Other areas
Cycletribe Nelspruit 087 945 0070
The Bicycle Company Polokwane 015 296 3411
Extreme Cycles Klerksdorp 072 122 8427
Cycle world Bloemfontein 051 448 0422

WHAT BIKE IS THE ONE FOR ME?

Today the options are unlimited. You can pay a lot and not really need what the bike is intended to be used for. You need to match your need with the bike. If you a recreational biker you don’t have to buy the top of the range product.

There is a range of mountain bikes on the market. The buyer must ask: what do I want to do with this bike? The answer will then lead you to the product best suited for you. Understand that you can get a MTB for under R20 000 and then you are welcome to pay R160 000 for a branded high-spec bike, but what is best for YOU?

A top of the range bike is offered for a reason: the user is a person that probably uses it to its full potential. Long and technical rides and doing it often (If not it is a waste of money).

Then you may select a hard tail MTB for instance where it only has a front shock, but it is still capable of going off road and giving you great fun. It may be a lower spec bike but it may be all you require. For this, you don’t need a carbon frame or a Scram Red group set.

Match your needs with what the bike offers. Never under spec the bike if you think you need the upgrade. An over-spec bike is a bit of a waste unless you have the means and are keen to do so.

WHICH BIKE COMPONENTS ARE IMPORTANT?

Once again, match your needs with a bike that offers that.  But, you need to look at the basics and that is the motor output, the battery voltage and amp hours.

There are a few categories that need attention:

  • The frame: carbon or aluminum? Carbon is only used in the top of the range bikes. No real need otherwise. And it makes it very expensive.
  • Groupset: Difficult one. Here you can spend a lot of money or maybe buy rubbish. Start by selecting a known brand such as Shimano.
  • Motor: If you want to use public roads you cannot use a motor that exceeds 250W. So for use on off road private property or on a private estate it is a different story. This is in line with legislation in Europe. Today 250W is about the norm for road riding and 500W for off road riding.

Battery: the big issue here is the Amp hours (Ah). This is the indicator of how long you can expect the battery to last between charges. Unless you cover long distances, go up long steep hills, you’re on the heavy side and you used the motor extensively, a 10Ah motor should suffice. If you do some serious MTB maybe more.

E-BIKING: WHAT BIKE?

Bikes are designed for different purposes. A mountain bike (also known as an all-terrain bike) has the capabilities to manage off road conditions such as wider and different tyres and fitted with shocks. City bikers are more designed to cover longer distances and their off road capabilities are very limited. Then you get cruisers designed for a comfortable and relax ride.
How many e-bikes have you had to date? Probably none. So, the more reason you need to get up to speed with e-biking.
There are 4 basic categories of e-bikes:
Off road bikes:
These bikes come with wider tyres and are equipped with either one or two shocks to handle the rough terrain. Yet, it is a bike that can be used on a hard terrain as well. This category includes fat bikes which is ideal for soft sand (such as the beach). These bikes are very popular in SA due to its versatility where you have the best of both worlds: tar and off road. (More Information below)
Commuters
These bikes are made for solid terrain and are often used to commute or at least used for fun on something like an esplanade ride or used in an estate. This includes foldable bikes as well.
Specialized bikes.
These bikes have a specific purpose such as a trike (three-wheeler) where people with a balance problem will use them or a cargo bike or even a tandem.
Road Bikes
Road e-bikes are becoming very popular in Europe. It is less popular here, but it is coming. Some of these bikes are also commuter style bikes and then others are proper racing bikes.

WHY NOT MORE E-BIKES OUT THERE?

Everyone talks about more recreational parks, promoting healthy life style, getting more people active and the advantages of people exercising. This will have a noticeable effect on e-biking but what is standing in the way?
• Awareness. When you talk to the man in the street they are pretty much ignorant when it comes to e-biking. (In fact, most have no clue). So there is an awareness lack out there and some education is required for people to realize the unfounded treasure of e-biking. But it is changing quickly.
• A lack of facilities. We see more MTB trails been built, cycling tours organized and interest groups calling for better facilities. But, we need a commitment to have urban cycle lanes (obviously for all type of bicycles) and then role players to support cycling from farmers to big business.
• Lack of support. The Chinese government and for that matter many other countries, introduced incentives and support structures to encourage citizens to use bicycles as a means of transport. Do we have it locally?
• Price of e-bikes. Let us face it. E-bikes are not cheap. You basically pay for a bike and then also a motorized system. More affordable bikes enter the market which open the doors for those hwo could not afford it in the past.
• Safety. A touchy subject but very real. You need to be very selective where you ride today and what seems safe today may not be the case tomorrow. Controlled areas such as estates and paid trails and rides have a lower safety risk.

MORE PEOPLE ACTIVE DURING COVID.

Although the lock down offer real challenges to probably most if not all of us. What was remarkable, was the number of people becoming active when they got the opportunity. Remember when we could go out after six in the morning to exercise? I have been cycling for 21 years and has never seen so many people all over.

If you look carefully you will notice people taking the dogs, probably the first time in months if not years. Bicycles are on the roads that have been hanging in the garage for years – unused. And people walking that has not done this since they left school….

All of this is super great news; more people are active. It can only be good for all. A fitter nation and mentally it is also stimulating. This had a major impact on some of the industries. I quote a section of an article I found on the internet:

Few businesses could report an upswing in their sales during these trying times. However, everything bike-connected is sold out as soon as it is restocked. New bike sales on eBay tripled in April and sales of secondhand rides were up 23 % in comparison with 2019. Halfords, the UK’s biggest cycle retailer, reports they sell double the normal amount of bicycles.

For years, the market was dominated by the needs of “MAMILs” – middle-aged men in Lycra. However, that has changed dramatically in the last couple of months. Female customers are pouring in as well as the younger under-35 generation.

Older people are looking for an alternative to public transport as well. And that resulted in bigger sales of e-bikes.

The super good news is that more PEDEGO’s are now on the roads or on the trails. Never had we received so many enquiries and interest in our e-bikes. This makes the e-bike community bigger and that is great. We encourage e-bikers to be super friendly to others. Give way, greet and chat whenever you get an opportunity.

Acknowledgement: www.welovecycling.com

BIKING AND COVID

So many businesses are taking strain because of Covid19. Yet, others do well. What is the position regarding bicycles?

We experienced an unprecedented uptake. We received more calls and e-mails than ever before. And more sales. We were fortunate to have stock of bikes but then we started to inquire about the position elsewhere. Quickly did we realize that Covid had an incredible effect on how people behave?

When the opportunity came that we could train for 3 hours a day, so many people were out there – walking the dogs, jogging and you noticed bikes all over. Many of those bikes were not used in years.

It was clear that there is a greater need for bikes (not only e-bikes) and stores could not supply. They were out of stock in no time. Then research indicated that this scenario applies to many parts of the world. The suppliers could not cope with the demand.

May those that have not been out there, whether on a bike or just doing some format of exercise will continue to do so. It is so fantastic to see families out there, oldies and “out of shape” people. Let us keep it up.

CARING FOR YOUR PRECIOUS ASSET: THE E-BIKE

Owners of expensive cars service them regularly and wash them from time to time. Yet, they do not apply this sound principle to their e-bikes. Given the price of these bikes, it deserves special care. I love my bike and it gives me so much pleasure that I feel guilty when I do not look after it. Sometimes after a ride, I just don’t feel like cleaning it – and I don’t.
When you look after your bike, it requires less intense servicing and cleaning later on. There are many theories on how you should go about it. I suggest minimum water. No high pressure hose, no hose pipe but a bucket of water. When you wash the bike the excess water should be squeezed from the cloth. The last you need is for the electrics to give a problem. Your Pedego is designed to take some water but frankly, why should you take a chance. A quick rinse after a ride is sufficient.
On the mechanical side only a few items need your attention before you send it in for its annual service (or when it needs attention before then). Moving parts require lubrication – in our case the e-bike chain, cassette and chain ring needs to be cleaned first and then lubricated. You can use a special bicycle lube or use WD40, which I do, and it works perfectly.
Then just minor issues: check the tyre pressure (every time before you set off), that the brakes work well and don’t forget to charge the battery full before leaving. Don’t forget your safety gear of which your helmet is a must.

What distance can I get on a single charge?

You need to understand that there are many variables here: categorized in two: the bike on the one hand and then the use.
The Bike: the bike comes with a battery that drives the motor. You get a range of different batteries and there are two important factors here. The volt output is important. Normally you have either a 36 or a 48 volt battery. The 36 volt under normal circumstances may suffice but then a 48 volt is just in a higher league. The other variable is the Amp Hours (Ah). What this means how far you can go before you need to recharge it. Common Ah batteries are 10 up to even 20. The price difference between them is noticeable. So bigger is better but keep in mind the cost. Unless you are going long distances, a 10Ah is sufficient for most rides.
The use: what will determine how long the battery will last? Firstly how much power you are going to use. Like your car the more power the more petrol used. If you have pedal assist and you pedal, even gently, your battery is going to last much, much longer. It makes a huge difference. Then the terrain: if you are going up a steep hill you will use more battery (like your car will use more petrol). On level ground, you save the battery. Other factors include the weight you expect the bike to push.
The secret is, if you want to get maximum distance on a charge is to help the motor. Peddle more and the distance increases dramatically. I tested this the other day. I did 38 kilometers on an undulating terrain but no major climbs and I did not use the throttle, PAS only. I did most of it in PAS 1 and sometimes 2 as I am reasonably fit but I did not kill myself. I got home using only one bar on the battery indicator.

MOTORBIKE VS MOTOR CAR VS E-BIKE

Do you have to pick? Lets face it, each has a purpose. I will rather leave the E-Bike and the motorbike at home when I need to travel and it is raining. Surely. Then what can beat a ride along the coast on a Sunday when you have perfect weather. Nothing.

It is very convenient to jump on your bike and park right in front of the shop whilst others try and find parking for which they will pay too. Riding casually the street walks (where it is safe), beats other formats of transport.

The best of all is to ride with fellow E-bikers having a chat and discuss the daily events. That is fun. To me that is really part of the fun experience. Stopping for coffee, having some laughs and move on to the next point of interest. You cannot do that in a car.

The best of all worlds have a car and use you E-Bike to chill.

Electric Bike Range Tips

  1. Okay, let’s get the most obvious one out of the way. Make sure your battery is fully charged.  The reason I mention this is because sometimes it is easy to forget about charging your battery after a hard day at work.  Create a routine so that you immediately plug in your battery when you get home.

 

  1. Pedal harder! This may be obvious too but it needs to be mentioned.  For instance you may need to run some extra errands and realize that you don’t have that much juice (charge in your battery) left.  You could reduce the assist setting (or use less throttle) and pedal more to compensate for a low battery.  I have limped my e-bike home this way without totally draining the battery.

 

Another big tip is to pedal harder at the right time.  A lot of energy is consumed when you accelerate from a stop.  If you pedal hard to get your bike off the line this will help conserve your battery energy.  Additionally, hills take a lot of energy so pedaling a little harder on the hills will help improve your range.

 

  1. Take it easy and enjoy a slow ride. Wind resistance can really drain you and your battery’s energy.  If you need to extend your range, riding a little slower will reduce the wind drag.  Oh yeah and riding slower is usually safer!

 

  1. Consider a second charger. If you have a long commute to work and errands to run, you may need more range than your battery can provide.  You could have a charger at work so that you can recharge during the day.  And if your boss is concerned about the electricity bill you can tell them it will cost pennies to charge your e-bike battery!

 

  1. Buy a second battery? If you have a really long commute or ride route that you like to do it may be worth buying a second battery to add to your bike. Some electric bike manufacturers offer the option of adding a second battery to double your range.  Check with your local shop or e-bike manufacturer for more info.

 

  1. Keep your tire pressure up. This will make a big difference in how much energy (electric & human) is required to move you and your e-bike around.  Low tire pressure can make your electric bike feel sluggish.  For normal city style e-bikes I recommend a tire pressure of 50-60 psi.  Don’t over inflate your tires though because it can lead to a very rough ride!  Here is a floor pump I recommend.

 

  1. Replace your old battery. If you have had your e-bike and battery for a while, the amount of energy your battery can hold will most likely have decreased.  I recommend replacing your battery once the decreased range gets annoying.  Your local electric bike shop can help you with this or you could contact your e-bike manufacturer.

 

  1. Use the regenerative braking feature. Some electric bike systems have a regenerative braking feature (Bionx for example) that turns the motor into a generator in order to act like a brake and put a little bit of charge back into your battery.  Typically this is activated by a sensor on one of the brake levers (usually the rear brake lever).  Please note that there is debate in the e-bike world as to how much energy is actually recaptured using regenerative braking.

 

  1. Take care of your battery! If you can, store your battery at room temperature.  Batteries don’t like really cold or hot temperatures.   In general it is a good idea to charge your battery often to keep it topped off.  If you don’t ride your electric bike much in the winter, store your battery fully charged and charge it every couple of months.  Try not to leave it plugged in for more than 24 hrs.

 

  1. Oil your chain. This will improve your pedaling efficiency and if you have a motor that powers through the cranks of your bike (Panasonic or Bosch for example) it will improve your motor’s efficiency too.  After you oil your chain let it sit for a few minutes before you wipe off the excess oil with a rag.

 

Acknowledging Pete (Electric Bike Report) for this article

TOP TIPS: WHAT TO TAKE ALONG ON A RIDE

  • Before you get on the bike make sure you have your helmet on. (Put it on or close to the bike when you store it.)
  • Sun protection. If you have not put sun tan lotion on before you left, ensure to take some along.
  • Eye protection. What about a good pair of sun glasses.
  • This is to buy some a cappuccino and maybe a muffin at the coffee shop.
  • Your cell phone. Not only to make a call but to take those photos for Facebook or Instagram.
  • If the weather is a bit dodgy, take a rain jacket or jersey along if you expect cool weather.
  • It may become hot and a bottle water (in your bottle cage) is a good idea.
  • Comfortable clothes. Make sure the clothes you wear is suitable. Remember your legs move so suitable pants is a good idea. Ladies be aware that you will lean forward (with some Pedego models you may) so you do not want to display too much.

TOP TIPS: WHAT TO DO BEFORE A RIDE

  • Charge the battery. Get into the habit of charging the battery on your return. Nothing so frustrating as going for a ride with a half loaded battery.
  • Pump the tyres. A flat tyre calls for a disaster. It is not only dangerous but it will result in a flatty.
  • Ensure your helmet is donned and properly secured.
  • Do some planning. Although you may change your mind on the way, have some game plan.
  • Estimate the distance you intend riding and ensure that this is within the capability of your battery.
  • If you have not oiled the chain for a while, do so.
  • Pack your belongings for the trip: a cell phone, money, a hat and sun screen.
  • It is a good idea to tell someone where you going and when you expect to be back.
  • Make sure you have agreed where to meet friends at what time.
  • Get into the right frame of mind as you are about to have some FUN.

TOP TIP: HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR E-BIKE

  • Just like your car, your E-Bike also requires some love and care. It all starts with cleaning the bike. Do the chain first. Use a chain cleaning liquid or paraffin. Then wash the bike with soap and water. Use chain lube, it will extend the life of both the chain and components. Some furniture polish at the end will make it shine again.
  • Take your bike for a service for time to time. Under normal use, once a year should suffice, but get it done.
  • If something is not working properly (such as the gears are making a noise or the shifting is a problem), take it to your local bike shop and get it fixed.
  • Your bike is an expensive item, look after it. Store it in a safe place. Best, lock it for safety purposes.
  • Even when you are not using the bike, ensure the tyres are inflated. Most tyres today have an indication of maximum tyre pressure indicated on the side of the tyre.

IS AN E-BIKE “CHEATING”?

Some time ago when you use an E-Bike people frowned upon the idea and regarded it as cheating. Well, lets understand why you use an e-bike and that it itself is vast. The main reason for an e-bike is to have fun. Or you just do not want to pedal for instance if it is a mode of transport. Surely you do not want to get to work all sweaty?

Then you go out for a ride and people ask:  what is the point of cycling when you have a motor to assist? The reason could be because I want assistance for whatever reason. To use an E-Bike is not there to compete with the competitive rider. It is to go out there and enjoy the ride. You are not hiding the fact that you are on an E-Bike, so there is no cheating involved. And it is not a race.

I am also a competitive cyclist but I also enjoy riding my E-bike. Mostly with my wife and that is super fun.

E-BIKES AS A TRAINING TOOL

The major advantage of an E-Bike is that it gets those that are not used to be riding, on the bike. It is an easy entry. Many people just find it too hard and strenuous to jump on a normal bike and give up before they start.

The E-Bike eases you into it. In the beginning you will use much more power and as you find it easier, you will use more leg power and probably use the motor only when it is too hard to handle. Like going up a hill or when you feel tired.

If you have the intention to use the bike also for exercise and not only for fun, start slowly. Short distances and as you feel more comfortable, go further and use less power. Later on if that is what you want, do the leg power as much as possible, well knowing that if you need assistance it is there.

Many E-Bike owners buy the bike to have fun with others. You may not have the physical condition to stay with a group or a family member and the E-Bike makes this possible. Now you can stay with them and it is up to you to decide how much leg power you want to add to the assistance offered by the motor.