Meet Charles, one of our early adopters from Southern California. Charles shared with us some details about his experience owning a 700c Electron Wheel and commuting to work as an aerospace engineer on his 20 mile daily commute.
Thanks for talking with us today! Can you share a little about yourself?
I’m an aerospace engineer from South Pasadena, California. I’ve only recently rediscovered cycling in the last 5 years, but have really gotten into it as a lifestyle (and it’s still cheaper than a lot of other mid-life diversions!).
You’re one of Electron Wheel’s early adopters. How did you hear about us? What about the wheel caught your attention?
I already owned several bikes that I really love, so I was in the market for a conversion kit, not a new complete eBike. After researching online, the Electron Wheel looked like it would work best regardless of which bike I ended up installing it on.
Can you describe your riding experience before the Electron Wheel?
I have a 20-mile round trip daily commute to work. Before the electron wheel, in a typical week, my schedule would allow me to bike in 2, maybe 3 days a week, and I was hoping an eBike would help increase that.
Has the wheel helped improve your riding? How?
With the Electron wheel, I can completely control how much of a workout I get on my commute and how long it takes by adjusting the assist level. Now I am able to bike to work at least 4 days a week. While I CAN take a shower once I get to work, it is nice to have the option to dial up the assist level to “High” and be able to show up without being all hot & sweaty. Similarly, other days when I have early meetings, I can get there faster on days I need to, or dial it down and get a better workout on the days when I have more time to do so on my way in.
Do you notice the wheel helping you up hills?
Definitely. One of the advantages of the multiple power level settings is that you can choose between high (always helping) medium (helping only when you’re pushing it) or low (really just helping on the hills, based on your gearing & cadence)
Have you ever ridden another e-bike? How does Electron Wheel compare to other systems on the market?
I haven’t ridden any other systems, but I actively researched other in-wheel kits like the Evelo OmniWheel and the Copenhagen Wheel. The ease of installation & ability to quickly move the wheel from one bike to another was the biggest selling point for me.
Is installing the wheel a simple process? How long did it take to get used to riding with the wheel?
I had the wheel on 3 different bikes in the first week I had it, just to try it out and see how each of them handled with it. Getting it on and off was a snap – I’ve got it down to less than 3 minutes now. Should be no problem for anyone comfortable adjusting their own brakes – otherwise a quick trip to the local bike shop where they can make the adjustment once you’ve got it installed, typically either cheap or free. Riding with the wheel took no time at all to get used to.
Can you describe the type of bike you ride Electron with, and your typical ride?
I ended up with it installed on my daily commuter, a vintage Raleigh touring bike (“Alyeska” model) that I had previously upgraded into a “poor man’s Rivendell cycle.” My daily commute is ~10 miles all uphill on back roads with light traffic in the morning, and a really sweet coast back home in the evenings.
Are you an avid cyclist? Or more of a weekend warrior?
I guess I fall into the avid cyclist category, or maybe both – My Raleigh with the Electron Wheel is my daily work commuter, and my Weekend Warrior itch gets scratched by my first love – a vintage mid-80’s Columbus steel Pinarello Montello that I restored off of Craigslist a few years ago (original Campy grupo).
Thanks for telling us about your experience! Is there anything else you hope to see out of Electron Wheel looking into the future? Upgrades to the app or wheel’s functionality?
Although weather doesn’t impact my commute that often here in Southern California, a lot of commuters like me have settled in on CycloCross bikes with fenders and disk brakes as an ideal solution. Having a model of the Electron Wheel that is compatible with disk brakes would open up a larger family of frame compatibility.