Ebike Life

After writing about the Mojo electric bike motor a few month’s ago I finally decided to go and visit Tony Castles the developer and importer and try it out for myself. So with a friend we went to his workshop near Marlborough and after much ebike related conversation with Tony (who’s been involved with electric bikes for many years, after becoming disabled and finding himself unable to pedal a bicycle) I went out for a test ride on one of his Mojo equipped bicycles.Well, I was impressed. The motor was all but silent and yet powerful, assisting me effortlessly up inclines and being a crank drive, as you go down through the gears the motor keeps purring along as its power goes through the gears via the chain in the same way that the riders own pedaling does. I loved it – and decided there and then to buy one for myself.

The Mojo crank motor

The Mojo crank motor unit


This was a few weeks ago – and on Tuesday the big day came. Tony came down with motor which had just arrived in the country (as this is early days he’s not holding large stocks yet). And we set out to install it. The wiring side of things proves to be easy – it comes with a well made wiring “loom” with excellent waterproof connectors. But a possibly unexpected problem presented itself – being a crank drive, to install the Mojo it’s necessary to remove the existing pedaling mechanism from the bike (the cranks, the front cogs, and the bottom bracket/bearing). My donor bikes is quite an old Marin mountain bike – and the bottom bracket proved a little stiff – we resorted in the end to a large spanner with a sledge hammer to hit it, to get the bracket to turn. Took a few blows but eventually it came – I’d asked my neighbor if I could borrow his sledge hammer to adjust something on my bicycle, his curiosity was clearly piqued at this unusual tool for bicycle maintenance but he didn’t inquire further.Anyway once the bottom bracket came off the Mojo motor went in easily- and to be fair for most bikes removing the original parts would be a lot easier – it is an older bike (and it’s great to be able to reuse an older but still rather good machine this way) after all.With all the work done the bike is transformed – and myself and Tony left with that sense of satisfaction that comes from doing your own mechanical work (although of course not everyone finds the same enjoyment doing that sort of thing – and Mojo’s and all other Ebike conversion kits can be fitted for you if you don’t want to take on the task yourself).

Someone else discovers the joy of Ebiking

But for an interesting and useful comparison – on the Wednesday I happened to visit Peter Claxton’s new Dorset Ebike Centre with our Vince Adams in order for Vince to try out one or two of Peter’s ebikes with a view to buy. I went along to provide advice and also I wanted to try some the bikes out myself and for sure Peter Claxton has got a well stocked showroom with a wide selection of different Ebikes. Vince being interested in buying tried 3, I had a go on two – one equipped with a Bosch crank motor and the other with a Panasonic crank motor. Both systems are superb, the Bosch motor being more “kick in the”pants” while the Panasonic is quieter (you can just hear the Bosch) and more subtle – both though providing all the assistance you might need up a hill.

Riese & Muller Charger with Nuvinci gears and belt drive

Riese & Muller Charger with Nuvinci gears and belt drive

An Ebike motors keep on improving

To sum up I was impressed as was Vince. Vince having got a better idea of which bike he’d like to buy, while I now have something to compare my own crank drive (Mojo) equipped bike with. And the Mojo at under £900 for the kit compares very well with those £1800+ bikes, albeit the Mojo needs to be fitted. The Mojo being quieter even than the Panasonic and providing a similar amount of assist.More than anything it shows how the Ebike market is maturing, with many very capable machines becoming available – though it is still (in comparison to combustion engine powered vehicles, and ordinary non assisted bicycles) early days yet, and that brings with it a rather enjoyable sense of being pioneers when out riding Ebikes.

For more info on the Mojo: http://www.mr-motorvator.co.uk/Mojo/index.html

Dorset Ebike Centre: http://www.dorsetebikecentre.co.uk/