Monday, June 6, 2016

The misfortunes of Eddie

Spring is pretty much over and pollen levels have settled a bit, which means I can hang out with my kids outside more. This often involves The Big Eddie - my electric Xtracycle Edgerunner. And it also means that start finding more and more little annoyances with this bike.

Don't get me wrong, I still very much like my electric Ed. But because nobody's perfect, it does come with just a few issues. However, most of these can be easily fixed.

Small wheel requires more effort to keep the heavy bike rolling?
I keep wondering if this is just my feeling or is there really something about it. Small rear wheel is great for acceleration and torque - no doubt. But at the same time it lacks inertia and once the bike is at speed, it seems to take a significant effort to keep it rolling. Obviously, my main problem here is that I can't put a larger wheel on Edgerunner to compare apples-to-apples. I can only compare it with other bicycles, none of which are heavy cargo bikes. So maybe it's not about the wheel diameter but simply bike weight? I don't know. I solved this problem by adding BionX electric assist to Eddie, which gave me even better acceleration, higher average speed, easier handling when loaded and ability to climb steep hills. Expensive addition, for sure, but well worth it.

Small wheel and fat rear tire means that the derailleur rubs on the tire sidewall occasionally when in low gear.
 That's pretty close. Too close for my taste.

The drive side of the rear tire lost most of its brand markings. All due to extensive rub from the derailleur and chain.
In the lowest gear the derailleur cage nearly rubs on pavement. Unfortunately, because tires on Edgerunners are very wide, it also rubs on the tire sidewall. I don't see a way to fix it at this point except, maybe, using less gears, like an 8-speed cassette. Fortunately, because of the electric assist on this bike, the lowest gear is rarely used.

Stock saddle of poor quality.
Brooks B67 another pricey upgrade that should be default.

This is common on nearly all bicycles but I think I should mention it here. For such a nice bike, it's a shame to be shipped with a $20 saddle. I would really like to see an option for a Brooks saddle upgrade, especially with the higher-end Edgerunner models. I replaced mine with B67 right away.

Factory-set handlebars too high.
The original stem. Looks nice but its functionality sucks.

The first time I hopped on my bike it felt very awkward to ride. The position over the bars just didn't feel right. All Edgerunners come with a very long steerer tube and a stem that has an integrated locking cap. That may look nice but makes it very difficult to adjust handlebars height without cutting off the steerer inch by inch. You can't simply slide the stem lower and add more spacers on the top. I knew that a much more natural and efficient riding position for me was one with lower handlebars but because I didn't feel like cutting the steerer, I swapped the stem immediately to a more standard one.

Front mudflap secured by just one screw.
This issue is very minor but drives me nuts. The front mudflap is secured to the fender with just one screw and often gets bumped over to the side. Just one more screw would keep it in place. I may have to add one myself.

Small rear wheel, lots of spokes and large brake disc means it's difficult to inflate the rear tire.
 The problem...

... and the solution.

You will never think about this one until you have to inflate the rear tire. There is simply not much space left between the spokes and the brake disc to fit a larger pump head. To be fair, what you see in pictures is not the original Edgerunner wheel but BionX motorized unit. While it was possible to inflate the tire on the Xtracycle wheel with the presented pump I cut my hand multiple times on the sharp brake disc trying to pull the pump head off the valve. So yes, it does fit but clearance is very tight, simply because the distance between the brake disc and the rim is so short on a 20" wheel.
With the BionX wheel it gets far worse. Because of the electric motor, spokes are so short and tightly spaced thaI had to buy an angled valve adapter in order to use the pump. This is the only way now to add more air to the rear wheel on my bike.

Despite all these little bugs I like my electric Ed more and more. It's a lot of bicycle in one nice package.

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