Customer Review - Converting a Recumbent Bike to electric
"Hi, my name is Paul; I’m 69 years old and I live in Cambridge, UK.
Back in 2010 I bought an ICE (Inspired Cycle Engineering) B1 2-wheel recumbent for a European camping tour. A friend and I cycled from London to Verdun in France for the Semaine Federale, then followed the Moselle to Koblenz and then the cycle path along the Rhine to the Hook of Holland. A fantastic 3 week adventure.
The bike was very comfortable and easy to ride and we frequently did 120km* a day complete with camping equipment. The only downsides (which apply to most recumbents) being the extra effort required going up hills and being caught in the wrong gear in the stop/start urban environment. (To explain – with a ‘normal’ bike it is easy to put your feet onto the deck and push off from stationary. Not so with a recumbent. You have to use the pedals, and if you’re in the wrong (high) gear because you suddenly had to stop it is very, very difficult).
I used the recumbent on and off over the next few years but fast forward to 2019 and my wife and I were in France riding the Loire Cycleway when I was struck down by a virus which affected the nerves in my shoulders and arms. The only bike I could ride comfortably was the recumbent but I needed some help – electric assistance was required.
I spent some time researching companies providing electric conversions. I chose ARCC because I wanted a reputable, innovative company, and one conveniently close to me in Cambridge. I take pleasure in using well-designed and engineered British products and my choice was confirmed when I met the ARCC team in their workplace. They were knowledgeable and helpful, their enthusiasm for their work was evident and they obviously relished the challenge of the conversion.
On discussion with the ARCC team the idea of Launch Control was discussed. I’ve written earlier about the problems of a recumbent in the urban setting, finding oneself in the wrong gear and unable to restart. Launch Control gives me 2.5 seconds of thrust from stationary – enough time and sufficient speed to get the feet back onto the pedals, change gear and go. Brilliant!
When cycling the power feeds through smoothly. Having 6 settings enables me to finely adjust the assistance to the ongoing conditions. Is there enough power to handle hills? Well, ARCC have thought of that because the system includes an inclinometer / accelerometer sensor which provides additional assistance on hills. OK, Cambridge is a tad short of hills but we do have wind and lots of it! It’s always in your face and is an excellent substitute for hills. There is certainly enough power to meet all challenges.
The battery is a standard Bosch 36V 6.0 Ah Li-ion. It’s not too heavy or bulky and provides a good range – I achieved over 100 kilometres on one charge using a setting of 2 or 3, and it charges quickly in 90 minutes.
The Bluetooth controller sits in a cradle attached to the handlebars, it can’t fall out because a strong magnet holds it in place. With the Controller switched on it pairs itself to the pod when the battery is pushed into position. The controls are intuitive and easy to use and they light up which is good for night-time riding. I cycled over 7 hours on one charge and it’s good to know that if the controller runs out of charge the motor will still work at half power provided there is still juice left in the Bosch battery.
As this was a conversion ARCC had to engineer special parts in their workplace to enable the system to be attached to the bike – the whole system including wiring is very neatly done. They also took the bike out for test runs to make sure everything worked as it should. Would I recommend them – yes, I certainly would!"
*Please note that a number of factors will impact the range of the system. These include but are not limited to: battery power, rider weight, terrain, riding style and speed, tyre pressure and the level of assistance selected on the pod.