Mohd. Parvez Farooqi,
Having shifted to “eLife” from April 2019, I am pledged to reduce my carbon imprint in remaining human life. So, shifted to eCommute for my daily work duties as a government doctor visit for office work, duties at my dispensary & other related works.
I have planned to own a eScooter (already booked Ather 450 Series 1), Solar at home, Rain water harvesting system to an EV four wheeler.
Currently I own Firefox Adventron (Rear Hub Driven eBike) & Recently added “Scott eRide 10” it’s a mid drive ebike with Bosch performance Cx motor.
Background Story :
Day 1 : Range Test To Nabha
Day 2 : Patiala to Panchkula (Amaravati Enclave)
Day 3 : Panchkula to Solan (back /fro) to Chandigarh
Day 4 : Chandigarh to Patiala
From April 2019 ,I took a pledge to reduce my carbon imprint “Actively” & invest in what I call eMobility. I own a 4 wheeler diesel MS Vitara Brezza with no 2 wheeler at home from my professional college days. Being a doctor and a medical officer in Punjab. Initially I was posted out of my hometown Patiala, hence it wasn’t practical to own any two wheeler.
Now based in my hometown my travel to my Main office usually is 9-12 km to/fro in a day my travel ranges from 10-15 km. It was back in April of 2019 ,a friend who has a bike shop First , introduced to me to an ebike it was a “Lectro Glide”. I took it to home for review spend two days with it.
I somehow loved the eBike the motor pedal assist was kind of cool for long rides vs regular commute.
Why e-Bikes ?
Ideal for city commute ? Oh yes.
Pedal assist biking or EPAC or Pedelac as they call them.
I summed up that I can use “eBike” viz a viz conventional bike for regular usage to work & a ebike trip here there.
For me personally decision was very simple I am not in a pro cyclist category who can bike for leisure on weekdays , nor I can use my conventional bike for daily commute ,but to reduce my carbon imprint I needed something to Assist me hence eBike ticked that box.
How to Buy an eBike
So,I searched the forums, PluginIndia gave the best information on ebikes ,but there was no forum which, gave complete detail hence came up with an Facebook page “eBikersIndia”
Went ahead with multiple brands, searched, very few content was available. Lectro, Spero, Elektron, LightSpeed bikes etc. I wanted an eBike with Gears, Disc brakes, Front Suspension,Good Display ,Removable Battery decent range 50-60km at-least with customization.
Purchased LightSpeed ebike Dryft, 10.4 Ah battery, Mechanical Disc, Front light & Suspension, 21 speed gears (which I think isn’t required ). 7 speed or 11 speed gears are fine. I was a novice when I got my first eBike hence with time now can sum up two aspects for eBikes :
- Electronic Components
- Bike Components
- Other Factors
If your are finalizing your eBike purchase these should form as basis of ur ride. Battery Capacity, Battery Removable, Display Informations, Motor rear or mid drive, Brand service/part availability. Battery capacity is directly related to range you want with Assist with levels of assist or does vary. Removable is must for me personally as it adds to ease of charging hassles.
Motor rear ones rarely need any service. Mid drive motor are complex do need proper servicing.
Bike components are key for a seamless & eBiking experience, remember you can anytime upgrade to premium components of-course, the cost rises. For brakes Mechanical discs are minimum but if hydraulics then it’s the gold standard. Front suspension is a must for our roads, 7 Speed or 11 speed gear system is fine for road commute. Front light is an add on saftey along with useful for night biking as well. Usually local brands don’t use branded components as cost is inflated due to few numbers. So, look inquire before purchasing any eBike.
Your own height /weight do play role selecting correct size is very important. How much your travel is that will decide ur battery capacity & how you charge will decide removable or non removable battery is good for you or not.
My LightSpeed and FireFox Hub motor eBikes!
So, I used “LightSpeed Dryft” and later on updated its Display to a TFT colored one ,with Alloys which LightSpeed offers in LightSpeed Rush. Eventually landed up to purchase “Firefox Adventron ebike” in September of 2019. Upto 2020 April I used both eBikes doing around 4500 km plus of eBiking. Did some Chandigarh-Patiala rides on both eBikes, learnt a lot.
Recently sold my Lightspeed Rush to a dear friend who is using it for his local commute in Chandigarh.
Why a Mid drive system eBike?
Essentially you can divide eBikes into three variants depending upon where is the placement of motor :
- Rear Hub (if its on the rear tire hub)
- Front Hub (if it’s on the front tire hub)
- Mid Drive (motor is placed where the pedals are in the mid)
But they are expensive usually premium range, availability is sparse in India, improper support system.
Availability of mid drive motors based eBikes in India?
Mid drive motor system in india are very few, lack of market, being expensive are few reasons to say. Bosch & Yamaha are the only two mid drive motors available in India. Infact Hero Lectro eHx20 was the First Indian Mid Drive system eBike to be available with a tweaked Yamaha motor launched in 2019 Q4. Cost around ₹ 1.35 lakh. Bosch motor eBike is offered by Bergamont & Scott Sports in India. The BERGAMONT E-HELIX 6 and Scott SubCross eRide 10 & 20 are the 2 models.
I purchased the Scott SubCross eRide 10 eBike!
After riding Firefox Adventron hub motor based eBike, I wanted an upgrade. So i shifted to a mid drive motor Bosch powered eBike. Finally in August 2020, I got "Scott SubCross eRide 10" with a 500 WH battery & Bosch Performance CX line motor. Eventually it costed me ₹ 1.89 lakhs (expensive side) but if I compare the specs. Vs similar eBikes available in Europe or USA, the price isn’t bad. For example an entry level Trek eBike with a Bosch Active line plus (verve 2.0) will cost around 2100-2300$.
It's expensive! Why not purchase an electric scooter or why not get a premium motorcycle?
Well, it all boils down to the choices you want to make in life & whats your vision about it. I already have booked electric Scooter (Series 1 from Ather) but coming from Patiala, Punjab. I wasn’t confident that it will come this year or next year. Along with, lack of EV awareness in my state & around, hence not many manufacturers have EV options here.
Day 1 : Range Test To Nabha : 50 km
Usually Bosch eBikes have 4 modes (Eco, Tour, Sports aka eMTB & Turbo) modes. Basically the motor assist levels, drive pattern, bikers weight, terrain will decide the eventual range.
Eco mode gives the best range per one charge, hence to check the range I drove it around my city, during my work, visits to friends home etc. In Eco mode I had a range left of 49 km, hence I decided to ride to a friends home which was around 49 km up down. It was from Patiala to Nabha, and i was in Eco mode for whole of the drive. The Range test Drive was started at 282 Km & at the end of the range test ride km read 418 km.
In Eco mode range I finally got driving on plain roads with occasional flyovers. Usually with a 5 kg kryptonite lock, 64kg rider was 136 km (till zero battery). In Eco mode we can easily say 130-145 km range we can extract from the eRide easily. It took less than one unit to charge from 0-100%. Wow! However it takes 4 hours to charge from 0-100% battery levels.
Punjab electricity is expensive if one one unit then ₹ 9 for 136-140 km! Wow!
Day 2 : Patiala to Panchkula (Amaravati Enclave) 79.9 (80 km ride)
After the 50km ride in the evening, it was time to ride to a friends new home which was in Panchkula (Haryana). Route : Patiala - Rajpura - Banur - Zirakpur -Panchkula (Amaravati enclave)
It’s a 4 lane highway hence, you can ride easily.
Some basic principles followed :
- Drive as left as possible (left of the white line)
- Anyone coming on wrong side halt ask that guy to cross on ur right (u don’t need the wrong side individual to pass on your left not at all)
- No biking without ORVM I have two ORVMS on handle
- No overtaking even if ur at higher speed
- Hill drive if two heavy vehicles are crossing (halt and let them go)
- No smartphone usage while biking
- If possible use Google maps with Mobile phone bike holder
- Horn or bell a must
- Rear light a must
- Avoid Night driving absolute “No” for hill drives or Highways
- Proper tyre pressure (Puncture kit alongwith )
- Proper hydration ,Proper rest,Halts in between,Small Small Targets to keep
- Going on longer rides.
- Saftey gear reflector, Helmet, gloves add ons a must.
- Take Slip roads wherever possible (infact on this road 23-25km road is has service lane )
- Not to take any Flyover at all (only if there is no alternative)
- If any vehicle is halted in front of u on left side (stop) do not overtake it only cross it once you know there is no traffic /the vehicle will not move from its side
- First halt for imaging was at Janheri Toll, then was at a proper halt reaching Rajpura, where had some fruits and fluid.
- Second halt was around the 2nd toll near Zirakpur ,it wasn’t a big break it was just to stretch.
- Third halt was a nature’s break, which I had to take, around entering Panchkula friends home was just 16 km, here took some fluids.
- Reached friends home Odo read 79.9 km ~ 80 km took around , hours for ride.
Day 3 : Panchkula to Solan to Chandigarh
A close friend rang me on Sunday evening disclosing that he was camping with his family at their farmhouse in Solan. I told him about me eBiking to a friends home from Patiala - Panchkula.
He asked me to send my location & soon rang back that, it’s 56 km from my place of stay. I didn’t commit to him but, later on asked myself that yes it can be done & I have an opportunity to do it it will be a different experience altogether. Soon a plan was made to ride to Solan early morning ,though it’s a hilly terrain enroute to Simla. Woke up around 7.30 am had light breakfast ,made up my mind to ride, highway till Solan is 90% four lane, this added to any apprehension.
On this route many vehicles struggle, but then, it’s a eRide with mode assist. Not being a pro-cyclist, riding an eBike which is 24kg in weight, 64 kg rider, with uphill it required skill & of course “Motor Assist”. I can’t imagine myself to ride a conventional bike uphill !
I started on Eco mode gradually to tour mode till Pinjore (7 km from my friends house) eventually shifted to Sports mode. Bosch Intuvia display does, gives you gear shift indicator to use optimum motor assist level. It was my first eHill ride, hence in 13-15km on ride I figured out that I have to be on highest motor Assist mode on “up-hill” gear shifts as per Intuvia display guide. Soon I shifted to “Sports mode” the highest level of assist available on Bosch eBike (yes this motor churns out 85 nm of torque!). The range gradually dropped as I went uphill, enroute climb was gradually demanded to be on “Sports mode” only. At some stretches I shifted to Sports /tour mode which increased my range, as I didn’t wanted to be without battery & to climb a slope with a 24kg eBike. Hence,I needed a back up plan, with charger along with. I could charge the eBike for 30-45 min at any local Dhaba or a Restaurant. Near Dagshai 16km before my reaching destination, I halted as range was just 3 km on sports mode ,on eco I could do the ride but it was risky.
Hence, halted at a Dhaba ,asked for charge for 45 min gave the owner ₹ 75 for the duration had Maggie & tea. Back with battery boast ,rest rest 16 km ride was really breeze ,enjoyed the most as hill climb wasn’t steep could do easily high speed it was adventurous & fun along with.
Did the ride in about time : 2 : 34 hours ,with average speed of 19.8 km. Distance uphill : 50.3 km
So, immediately hooked up the eBike for charge, sunglasses audio ones to be charged & smartphone to be also charged. After a 4-5 hour halt, had to go back to friends place, from where I had started before sunset. (as I still don’t have integrated eBike front-light), the COBI display one wasn’t ideal (display has become loose it falls of already my iPhone screen got crack due to its fall). So, started back the ride which now would be down the hill & hence with pedal assist I could reach some great speeds so the thrill & adventure part with evening setting up on a solo ride would be really a eRide to remember.
Down the hill, I had most of the times tour mode, yes to have good speeds I shifted to sports-turbo once in a while, i was literally breezing during the ride, with some image breaks, enjoyed the downhill eRide the most. Reached my friends home in nick of time before the sunset, eventually had rest, picked up my stuff went to cousins place which was 22 km, another craze was 11-12km of cycle track rides in Chandigarh. So, finally downhill distance I traveled was 53.4 km, Average speed 26 km/h took 2 hours only. Eventually reaching cousins place it was around 132 km of eRide after having dinner /chitchats went to sleep with eBike recharging.
Day 4 : Chandigarh to Patiala
Woke up by 8 am, got ready had breakfast & checked the kms to home it was 80 km from Cousins place. Started the eRide on the cycle tracks of city beautiful - Chandigarh ,safest city for cyclists if u ride on the 117 km dedicated cycle tracks. (Highest in our country). Idea was to ride on Sports mode, as now it wasn’t the range that was at stake it was more of riding pleasure & experience. Initial rides I used to take frequent breaks now with time I can ride upto 30-40km in one go, hence halted at “B.Gali” had a coffee break ,relaxed a bit. Idea was after this break only halt will be at home. Started back ,sports mode, casual eBiking with imagery, reached home odo finally read 80 km. All in all ,a sigh of relief ,experience to eride on a hill was just altogether different vs Plains.
Sum total of 350km of eRide, was really really mesmerizing ,yes legs/thighs were sore for 1-2 days, but the sense of achievement & satisfaction was immense. I eventually took close to 3 hours, average speed of 21 km. Overall I had never expected that I will eRide on a hill, which can be adventurous/exciting to core. 350 km in 3 days was really mesmerizing, superb to do get away with pandemic duties as a doctor !! Scott eRide performed very well during whole 350 km ride, range was acceptable, assist levels performed as expected.
Currently have clocked 862 km, it’s my "Primary vehicle for commute"!