I decided to get an eletric bike when my car died. Couldn't quite stomach buying a new gasoline vehicle at this point in time, didn't really feel like another used car, and the available eletric cars are still too new/expensive/hard to find. While there are some neat NEVs that are not too expensive, they're too limited to be worth my money, and eletric bikes fit into the same general niche. (So do eletric scooters, but I didn't want to spend that much money on an experiment..)

My first try was a disaster. I was thinking that a large cargo capacity would be a good thing, so I gravitated toward trikes. However, the one I tried turned out to be a lemon in several ways, and suffered a catastropic and dangerous controller burnout. So I learned that this eletric bike industry is pretty rough and ready with a lot of junk to avoid. I also learned that I don't enjoy riding trikes.

The second try was a R Martin LX1, which my dad had researched. I got it yesterday, and have ridden it some now, and I agree that it's a good one.

As a bike, it's well built, has a good back disc brake and decent front brake (will be better once I bring it to a bike shop to adjust it better), has a good derailer, and rides well. I'm no expert but it seems about as good as the bike I used to commute with, though the frame is a bit heavier. (IIRC, it was also at least $200 cheaper than that bike!)

On the eletric side, it has a relatively small and light lithium ion battery; the motor is mounted in the hub. It's strong enough to go up hills on its own if you really want it to, but you will end up pedaling to assist, which is good.

I'm undecided whether the six gears are enough ... Seems like I might want a faster gear, to be able to assist the motor more at high speed. I haven't wanted a lower gear yet, but I've not tried to do any hills without the motor's help.

The eletric controls are ok, but not perfect. I worry about accidentially twisting the throttle, although it has to be turned quite far to engage the motor.

Ideally, the pedal assist would turn the motor on exactly when you pedal, and porportionally to how hard. Instead, there'a a lag, and doesn't care how hard you pedal. This can present problems coming up to an intersection or other hazard, where pedal assist kicking in can unexpectedly be more speed than is needed. Seems a waste to have to brake to cut the assist off.

The motor is audible when accellerating, and especially complains when trying to get me up a hill on its own. At speed, or if given a human power assist, it's quieter than the chain, if not silent.

So there's room for improvement (and this would be a fun thing to do some hacking on to improve its response), but it's still a lot of fun. I'd forgotten how much I enjoy riding a bike and getting a nice workout. And it's especially nice to go up a hill pedaling only as hard as you like, to be able to accellerate quickly without standing on the pedals, and to be able to "coast" a long, long, way.

comment 1
         The bike you wrote about is the finest for the $.
                Goes 13 mph
                It says it can be charged more than 1000 times
                Range is 25 with minimal pedeling
                Rmartin slimes the tires
                Indicator light is misleading, you never know
                till it's to late when your battery is dead.

                Well balanced. No hands riding on empty roads for miles.
                I'm not sure about chargng every night if I only put 12
                miles on it. What do you do? I wish I could go at least
                15 mph. The seat should be covered with the gel seat cover.
                Contact me concerning this L-1 Thanks Stephen
Comment by serbe [myopenid.com]