Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Not a terrible crash – just a folding e-bike

This started out as a bit of light-hearted fun, a humourous post about a folding bike spotted at one of my local Lidl’s, but then became ‘interesting’.

This fairly standard, Chinese made, folding bike looks like a terrible accident when first seen folded, but cleverly turns into a handy adult carrier.

There just happened to be a standard bike behind, offering a comparison.

I was wondering why the owner bothered to fold it while just popping into the shop, but having tried the useless bike parking fixing offered by Tollcross’ Lidl, there’s no mystery. There’s a short row of ‘V’ loops, which a wheel can be shoved into and presumably secured by a locking loop or chain.

They’re a joke!

I tried one recently – utterly useless as it leaves the rest of the bike vulnerable. A thief only has to release the locked wheel and can leave it behind while departing with the rest of the bike.

To secure the bike, you need more chains and locks to secure the frame (and other wheel) to the one tied to the ‘V’. I almost ran out. Fortunately, I carry a few different types to cater for various options, but I did almost run out of… patience!

I also found that a bike in the ‘V’ sticks out into, and occupies half the width of, the footpath passing this ‘rack’.

Not trying that again, I’ll just have to carry on using anything nearby that suits.

Lidl EPlus City Folder

Lidl EPlus City Folder

Things got more interesting when I looked closer, and when I tried to find out more details about this offering online.

There doesn’t seem to be a maker’s web site, but I found this bike on sale on eBay for about £370 – 24 V with 20″ wheels, ‘Manufacturer refurbished’.

Interest continued to grow as there were no proper technical details given, but I noticed the bike on offer, although identical in appearance from it graphics, differed in its apparent system of electric drive.

Referring to retail item as the original, it looks as if the original bike has a conventional pedal/chain driven rear wheel with a few gears, and the electric drive assists this using a hub motor built into the front wheel.

As the front wheel is hidden in my pic, I’ve found an unfolded example.

First, note the front wheel – in the full size pic, wires and connectors can be seen leading to the hub motor.

Second, and more interesting – look at the rear wheel, then compare to the detail I’ve taken from my own pic taken at Lidl.

EPlus City Folder

EPlus City Folder

And rear detail as seen at Lidl.

City Folder DIY Rear Drive

City Folder DIY Rear Drive

I’m impressed!

I’ll hazard a guess and say that the front wheel hub motor failed, and a replacement is not readily available, or if it is, costs as much as the whole bike to have flown in (I found this out the hard way, when some electronic kit failed on me).

I don’t subscribe to the ‘Chinese rubbish’ theory (especially not today, as China is giving much of the rest of the world a wake-up call as it develops – helped by the Orange Moron of course, as it unravels many advances made in the US), but I did wonder the first time I zoomed into that rear motor, its perforated metal strip mounting, the wiring, the sticky tape, and the cable ties.

Then I realised what I was looking at.

I assume that friction drive works.

If I tried something like this, all that would happen would be that the motor would keep twisting out of its mounting, and never stayed in contact with the tyre.

I had a vintage dynamo powered lighting system that depended on a similar system driven by the rear wheel. It was fine while I had old-style rubber tyres mounted. Then I switched to modern synthetic tyres. Disaster! The tyre’s surface had insufficient friction to drive the dynamo against the load when in use. The friction wheel just slid over the tyre. Thank goodness I had already dumped it in favour of  LED lighting all round.

One point.

My OCD means I couldn’t sleep at night thinking of that open electric motor sitting in all the muck that gets thrown behind a bike, even when only ridden in dry weather, and getting water inside (esp those exposed windings, where it would never evaporate from in Scotland) would mean losing any sleep I might have had.

Time for a Blue Peter Moment. Even a washing-up liquid bottle cut to sit over it would help IMMENSELY!

Update

Above, I mentioned the relatively useless bike rack at this Lidl.

Last time I was there, someone had been kind enough to ignore it completely, and do what I do – lock their bike FRAME to the fence around the trolley enclosure. A much more secure option, seen just behind the ‘V’ rack on the left, which only secures a wheel rim.

Great Lidl Bike Rack

Great Lidl Bike Rack

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14/09/2018 - Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , , , ,

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