Monday, May 21, 2018

An Ebike Replaces A Motorcycle

I almost bought a motorcycle. Almost! Then I remembered all the days said motorcycle would sit on its kickstand just sitting there, looking pretty.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Riding the Moustache Samedi 27 2X Tandem Electric Bike

I love riding with my partner and riding by tandem is one of my favorite ways to get around on a Sunday. Touring by tandem is literally twice as fun as riding solo,when you are on a bike with the one you love and the one that loves you. But tandem bikes are rare and excellent electric tandem bikes are even rarer, so I wanted to give you a fresh impression of our ride yesterday on the 2018 MOUSTACHE Samedi 27 X2 tandem.

Moustache is a French company, making some of the most innovative ebikes in the world. Their tandem is no exception. This bike comes in two build types, either a smooth tire touring type or a knobby tire off-road type, but the frames, motors and other specs are pretty much the same. 

I've ridden tandems for the past few years on road and off road. Yesterday we did a Meet-Up ride with other fellow ebikers in the Sonoma area. Naturally we were the only tandem riders, with others riding solo on their Haibikes, KTM, Giant, Felt and Blix bikes.

Out and about in wine country, Tandems are wonderful. Before our meet-up we scouted around Sonoma for breakfast downtown. The tandem is easy to get on and get going. With the Bosch motor, starting off is nicer than without a motor, as you often need a little oomph to get momentum on a tandem. 

What you notice immediately on the Samedi 2X is its wide handle bars and forward riding position. The bike is made for adventure touring on or off road with MTB type bars front and rear. Big Magura brakes also help. You also notice the sturdy Rockshox forks which smooth out the ride for potholes on road and rocks and ruts off road. The rear passenger also gets a nice Suntour suspension seat post to numb out the jerks. Both of these parts work together to even out the long frame geometry and make the bike very ridable in all riding conditions. 

I am 6 foot 1 and at first my cockpit seemed short at first ride. Visually, when you look at the bike it appears that way too, but once on the bike I got used to the geometry and felt the short cockpit was working to my advantage in other ways, I just don't know how. 

My partner is 5 foot 1 and she didn't complain about size much on this bike. We did have the seat too high for her at one point but lowered it and found a good balance after a few hours of riding with her not able to touch the ground when we stopped. Normally the seats are a problem on a performance bike but neither of us felt them to be too hard even after a full day in the saddle. 

And ride we did, we literally spent the whole day with just a few stops on the Moustache Tandem, riding from 9AM to 5PM all over Sonoma on roads and trails, in the bike lane and in bike dirt paths. 

The handle bars are quite wide, so riding on the bike paths was precarious at times as we passed through the guard zones. Our first challenge after breakfast was to climb up to the top of Sonoma Overlook trail which takes you out of town and straight up the mountain above Sonoma. This was a climbing test for the bike and it was grueling even with the Bosch motor. 

As this was our first time out on the bike long term and we were about to embark on a 50 mile ride in all kinds of condition, I didn't want to do anything early on that would spend out our batteries, so we climbed up half way only, but it was enough to see that we could climb fine at 10-15 miles / hour up a very steep grade. By the end of the day, I had so much battery left, that I could have easily kept climbing to the top of Overlook Trail and had gobs of battery left for the rest of the tour. I wish I had too, as the view up at the top of the trail must be wonderful. We'll have to revisit it again next year during Spring time. 

Riding around Sonoma on a crisp January morning with everything green and wet felt wonderful. Sonoma is just recovering from some nasty wild fires and we could see most of the mountainside all burned up. Must have been terrifying to be in the area during the fires. Still, the grasses were all back and flowers were already starting to bloom even though it was late January and quite cold. 

After meeting up with the group, we first jumped in to the Sonoma Art Museum to check out the Jack London exhibit going on there. I'm a big fan of Jack London and his adventures. Our ride was themed for him and our route was to ride from Sonoma downtown to Jack London State Park where we'd find the trails and make our way up to the summit of the park. 

The ride from Sonoma to Glen Ellen is all on roads with some shoulder and painted off bike lane. It's mostly flat and we cruised at 18MPH most of the way through wine country. The Samedi Tandem accelerates great. In fact, though my friend Frankie thought that Moustache should have offered a different gearing configuration, I found the gearing to be just perfect for all conditions we met that day. It got up to speed fine. It climbed steep stuff fine and it cruised fine. I don't think I'd change out the front sprocket. 

Moustache makes the Tandem in both a touring and an off-road version. We were on the Touring version which is identical to the off-road with the exception of cruiser tires, a rear rack, a rear fender and lights. Both come with big dual 500W Bosch batteries. Truth be told, we should have been on the off-road variety this day, as the route called for some serious trail work and it turned out to be muddy and rocky. 

My partner and I enjoy adventure. We road a tandem over the San Juan Bautista Anza Historic Trail recently without a motor all the way to Salinas from San Juan Bautista and back. The Moustache would have faired even better with a quicker ascent and a better ride once we got back on road. 

The Trekking bike is a better bike if you plan to tour long distance and want to have the option to go both on and off-road, but tour fast on road. 

In it's trekking form, this bike did great off-road. Jack London State Park has some pretty good trails. The main trail is a biking/hiking/horse path that winds up the summit past redwoods, a lake that Jack built for fishing and swimming and through many creeks and washes. It is well maintained by the locals and volunteers with lots repair work where the trail washes out. To the locals, this is their back yard play ground and everything done is in the spirit of the wild adventurer Jack London. To me, this park is a spiritual pilgrimage destination to any one who enjoys the outdoors unfettered by the safety of civilization. 

Once you get past the lake and head up aways, the trail gets steep and rocky. It's 2300 feet to the top. A bit further up, you'll see a camp set in some old redwoods. This is the spot London often camped out with his crew. From here, the trail gets very challenging. I've led groups on this trail before but not by tandem so we made it up. 

My partner and I gave it our best shot to get as high as we could up the mountain. At one point she had to get off and walk as the path was steep, wet and slippery. Without knobbies the back wheel was slipping. It actually slipped more without her on the bike but once we got to a flat area she climbed back on and road a few more hundred feet until we came to a vey rocky, very muddy, very washed out area that I had to push the tandem up using walk assist from Bosch. Even with that I realized that this was pretty much our turnaround point, I expect we were about 2/3 ways up. We let the rest of the riders go on ahead. 

With knobbies and more commitment we could have made it all the way, but neither of felt like pushing things today and we turned back to enjoy the down hill. On the way down we got to test out the big Magura brakes, pretty much cooking them the whole way. Going down even in mud, our Super Moto X tires held grip great come to think of it. As much as we need a good system for climbing on a bike like this we need even better brakes to make sure we get down safely. 

I love the Moustache Tandem! My stoker partner loves it too, so much so she wants to trade in her own Felt hybrid ebike for a Moustache tandem and let it be our main touring ebike, since we are usually riding together always anyway. As a couples option, the tandem just can't be beat. It is just the best way to tour as a couple. You get to ride together, you get to divide some of the navigation and of course the pedaling power. With a motor and 2 batteries it gets even better. On a tandem you're already blowing out the weight issue, so you're heavy. Adding a motor and batteries doesn't change much to the equation. 

I joked with her when she talked a little too much about my riding choices along the way that I wished the bike had an emergency un-coupling that allowed us to disconnect while riding, but other than that the features of the Samedi Tandem are great. 

In the steep steep climbs, I wonder about chain life on a bike with this much riding on the chain. I think an upgrade soon to the SRAM EX1 system will be in order for a better chain and gear life. I'm also working on finding the best pannier and touring back setup for this ride, now that I know I can ride for miles and miles on this tandem. After a full day of riding we barely made a dent in the range of the batteries with only one notch down on the battery indicator. 

Think about the distance you can cover on a bike that also rolls fine with the motor off. The rolling resistance of this bike is nearly zero. It rides fine with the motor off on flat terrain and basically you can use the eco mode of the Bosch system to get you to your cruising speed quicker and then just pedal to keep it up at speed, so you're only using your battery for climbing. 

Any down sides to it? Little stuff like the grips. They are meant to be used with gloves, which I didn't bring this day. At this price point on a touring bike, I'd prefer to have some Supernova lights already built into the bike. It only has one water bottle mount. This bike is meant to eat up tons of adventure miles and so I'd want mounts all over the place for it. After yesterday's muddy ride I'm also going to be putting on a front mud fender and changing out the Ostrich bar bag for an Ortlieb bike camping bar bag. Just fantastic. 

I'll end there. I just fell in love with the Moustache, which I really wasn't sure about at first. The bike rides like a dream but mostly it's got me dreaming of all the amazing places we are now hoping to go as a couple with this bike. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

BOSCH Powertube System United States Release Timing

Aw yea FINALLY Bosch has produced an internal battery system for their widely popular mid-drive ebike system. Only problem is.... IT'S NOT OUT YET here in the good old USA. That's right, as of this blog post, if you want to own a new Haibike, Corratec, Cube or other brand of ebike that is talking about and showing the Bosch POWERTUBE ebike battery system in their models you'll need to wait until around summer time of 2018 before you get that brand new ebike you're eyballing on our web site.

 haibike sduro fullseven 9.0 ebike

Ebikes like the Haibike SDURO Fullseven 9.0 or the Haibike XDURO (ALLTN) All Mountain 10.0 won't be shipping to any dealer until this time due in part to the fact that the BOSCH batteries take more time to get approved by the US consumer safety people before they can be allowed for sale here. We'll have this system available for Haibike and Cube ebikes soon!

Now, depending on when you are reading this, we still recommend you get on the ball and get your order in sooner rather than later for any POWERTUBE system you have your eyeballs set on if you really want one in 2018. Reason being, I predict they will sell out by the time they ship and start to get scarce. In fact it could be we miss seeing them in 2018 at all if things get delayed further.

Now- if you don't want to wait that long, just get a regular system. We have plenty of great new ebikes with the standard battery and note this "older" system is going to be around for a long, long time and the price of spare batteries is certain to go down quickly.

But, if you still want "hidden power" and don't want to wait, then we highly recommend some of the new Moustache ebikes which use the standard Bosch powerpack and hide it inside the frame quite nicely with no summer time delay. See those here in our Moustache Ebike Page.

Visit our web site to order or call 650-918-6259 to talk to a real human being.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Checking out the Haibike XDURO AllMtn 9.0 Ebike

When BOSCH announced the new powertube internal battery system we in the ebike community go really excited. EMTB riding can be a touchy situation here in the United States where entrenched camps in the MTB world often sneer at Ebikes on trail. Some trails here in the SF BAY area outright ban ebikes from trails, for no good reason. The new BOSCH intube system will make it a lot harder for a ranger or traditionalist to snoop about what you are, which means you can ride your ebike where you want in peace.

The new Haibike XDURO AMT 9.0 (all mountain) ebike features the new PowerTube system and it's going to be one of the hot tickets in 2018 when this things comes out. But, hold your hats, if you want one you're going to get to put in an order soon because these bikes will sell pre-sold before they are shipped. The other problem is they are not shipping until Summer of 2018 and there won't be enough of them. 

The Haibike ALLMTN 9.0 has the BOSCH CX motor, of course and features FOX suspension front and rear. Dropper seatpost is there and great tires. The Bosch powertube is a little more expensive and  weighs more than the standard 500w battery pack, but some will find it worth it. 

Note- the PowerPack 500w and 400w systems will all be around for many years to come and if you are thinking about parts availability, the standard batteries will always be more common since they are easier to use on bikes. 

Motostrano is taking orders on the AMT 9.0 now. Go ahead and get your order in. 

Note- we also sell the Cube and Mosutache brand ebikes, which also use the Powertube (Cube) or in Moustache's case, they have a great Hidden Power system that uses that standard good old fashion Bosch system. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Haibike Urban, Race, Superrace Fork Recall

Product recall of all Haibike XDURO Race, Superrace and Urban models 

Schweinfurt, 14th February 2017 – Product recall at Haibike: XDURO Race, Superrace and Urban models were sold on the market featuring forks which exhibit rather unstable material. This might result in premature rupture and may ultimately lead to a fork break. This poses an enormous safety and injury risk for every user. Thus, the lower Franconian bicycle manufacturer decided to perform this recall. Affected are the following models of different model years: -

Haibike XDURO Urban (model year 2014, 2015) - Haibike XDURO Urban RC (MY 2016) - Haibike XDURO Race (MYs 2014, 2015) - Haibike XDURO Superrace (MYs 2014, 2015) - Haibike XDURO Race S RX (MY 2016) - Haibike XDURO Race S PRO (MY 2016) - Haibike XDURO Urban S RX (MY 2016) - Haibike XDURO Urban S PRO (MY 2016)

„The safety of our eBikes and their riders has highest priority for us. Therefore, we perform extensive endurance tests at external testing institutes. Some of our testing criteria are significantly above the DIN, ISO or EN norm standards”, explains Susanne Puello, managing director of Winora Group. “Latest findings from these tests caused us to perform this recall.“ Haibike USA |

Identifying the problem: The forks used in our Haibike Race, Superrace and Urban models might show premature breaking when being exposed to above-standard endurance tests. Therefore, the fork may suffer from rupture or a break. A manufacturing error cannot be excluded up to now. Due to safety reasons, the affected eBikes must be taken out of order immediately. This measure comprises 1765 vehicles in total

How is this recall performed?

All dealers were and will be informed about the situation via letter and will receive an extensive information guideline that will explain the reasons, as well as the further recall action step by step. Additionally, we will create a special dealer and end consumer area on our homepage “With our measures, we will ensure a fast and smooth processing of this recall“, confirms Susanne Puello.

Monday, February 6, 2017

2017 Haibikes Are Here!

Haibike is on the ball this year with many of their 2017 model ebikes available for consumer consumption now! Motostrano recently took delivery of the Haibike 7.0 and Haibike 8.0 All Mountain Bikes. It looks like about 25% of the line-up is now available to own.

See the Full Haibike ebike collection on our web site and visit our stores in San Francisco and Redwood City


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Motostrano Downshift Newsletter

Death Valley Ebike Tour | Whopper Ebike Sale Still On | Accessories for your Ebike

Death Valley Ebike Tour

If follow us on Instagram or Facebook or Youtube you saw are dispatches from the desert. The tour consisted of three e-bikers exploring Death Valley on their e-bikes. We traversed sand, rock, mud, road, mountains, flats for 6 days in this great National Park and experienced the adventure of a lifetime. If we can do it, you can too. Our e-bikes helped get us through the miles, the mud, sand and over the mountains and through the headwinds with relative ease and yet the desert still set up boundaries for us.

We covered a few hundred miles and got up close to the park in ways you can't do in a car. We were some of the few bikes in the park for those 6 days and the only bikes off-road. We explored roads not passable by cars and we took our time and experienced the place up close. We'll be doing more adventures in 2017 and we plan to return to Death Valley. Want to join us? Visit our Ebiketreks meet up page.

Whopper Ebike Sale Still On

What started out as a smashing price-slashing Christmas sale has been extended to this rainy January and so there's never been a better time to buy a fantastic cutting-edge electric mountain or road bike to propel you into the future of bicycling. Complete deals are here.

Motostrano has a page of 2016 year end deales including brand new and demo models, where you'll save even more.

Here are some our favorite picks you can snatch up right now, while saving hundreds of dollars:

Save $1100 on this Haibike HardSeven Carbon, a super-light hard tail with carbon frame, BOSCH motor and top tier components all around. The lightest weight hard tail we sell. 

Haibike XDURO Downhill Pro Electric Mountain Bike
Save $3000 off MSRP on this Haibike Downhill Pro and don't look back. You can't beat this bike for performance off-road. Full on downhill bike with a BOSCH powered motor to get you back to the top to do it all again.

Save $1500 on the Haibike XDURO Trekking, our top pick for standard commuting where comfort, reliability and speed are wanted. You can get the bike in either a 20 or 28MPH top speed configuration and say good by to traffic forever. But this bike is not just a get-to-work horse. Think of this bike as your instant vacation machine. It can take you on adventures you never dreamed of doing on a bike and can't do in a car. Explore the world with this classic European Trekking style bike that is designed to eat up miles of miles of touring. 

For more deals, visit our deals page. 

Accessories For Your Ebike

We've uncovered some excellent new accessories for your ebike. Here are some of them. 

Light & Motion sent us some of their Nip N Tuck front and rear ebike light combination and, in short, they're great. COBI has been shipping their BOSCH ebike control system and if you are gadget freak and ride a BOSCH ebike, this set-up is for you. Speaking of BOSCH, if you want more range the new 500w batteries from BOSCH are shipping next week. With only a limited number (100) allocated for the whole US, it's a good idea to order now because they'll sell out. Lastly, not new, but still a cool collection of accessories, Fahrer from Germany makes a bunch of covers for your BOSCH bike and we have them in stock. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

BOSCH Warranty Note on Consumer Imported Bikes

Surfing the web late at night spending hours and hours of "online research" might land you a bike you want to buy that is not available through US dealers - beware that European-spec bike will not have a US-spec warranty with it. 

It's important for your investment to make sure you buy a bike that is certified and backed by BOSCH USA, otherwise your bike's ebike system will have no warranty. 

All BOSCH ebikes we sell come with a standard 2 year warranty that covers parts (not labor). This means that if your battery goes bad in the 2 years you own it, or you Nyon Display stops working you get a new one once we (your dealer) connect the bike to diagnostics. It's easy, but only if your bike was purchased here in the US. 

1.  Battery Warranty Clarification: North American eBike systems vs. European eBike systems.
North American PowerPack (bottom in picture). European PowerPack (top in picture).
In the U.S. and Canada (North America), Bosch’s limited warranty does not cover European eBike system components (whether purchased inside or outside North America).

The two most common ways a European system enters North America is via an eBike manufacturer or distributor (e.g. manufacturer or distributor exports eBike with a European system to North America and sells to local dealer) or via an end-consumer (e.g. end-consumer moves to the U.S. or Canada and brings eBike purchased in Europe, or end-consumer purchases a European eBike online). In either case, the system will not have a valid warranty through Bosch eBike Systems North America.

This isn’t only a warranty issue—it also means the system cannot be serviced properly here because some European spare parts aren’t available in the North America.

Bosch eBike systems are designed and built to meet country-specific norms and regulations. eBike Manufacturers using our system build eBikes to comply with these norms and regulations and are obliged to use North American systems for eBikes intended for North America. Once an eBike leaves a country for which it was designed, it can no longer be certain that the eBike complies with the new country’s norms and regulations (e.g: max assist speed, power, EMC compliance, etc.).

Since North American dealers might not realize the eBike they’re buying is equipped with a European system, we advise that before making future purchases, check first with your manufacturer or distributor. You can tell the difference between a North American and European system by the battery decal (see image above), and also the max assist speed—15.5 mph (25 km/h) in Europe  vs. 20 mph (32 km/h) in North America. (One exception is with Performance Line Speed systems; max assist speed is same for both at 28 mph (45 km/h)). We ask all dealers to be mindful of our policy and help support it by only selling eBikes with North American eBike systems.