Falcon Flux electric bike review
RideTalkShare was started by me as a website about motorcycles. Of course when most people think about motorcycles the first thing that comes to mind are internal combustion engine bikes. However as much as I love todays amazing IC powered machines it is becoming clear that the future for all vehicles including motorcycles is more than likely electric.
We are at the moment in the infancy of electric power but no doubt as the technology improves we will begin to see it more and more.
Electric power has yet to make a big impact on the “motorcycle” world but it is beginning to gain a strong foothold in the Bicycle e-bike market.
These e-bikes are by definition motorcycles as they are bicycles that have a motor, all be it a very low power one. So I think that they should be included in RideTalkShare and also because I have just bought one and wanted to share my experience of it so far.
I Cycle quite a bit and I wanted to keep my standard bike for the exercise trips but thought that an electric or pedal assist bike would be great for the short trips that I would normally use the car for. Looking at what is on offer there is a wide range of electric bicycles ranging from £500 or so to £4000 or more.
The top end bikes are amazing machines with full suspension, disc brakes and usually crank mid drive motors. In the future I might think about a £2k bike but for the moment I was looking for something much more modest.
So to Amazon where I found a Falcon Flux folding electric bike for around £700. Click here to see on Amazon. This was a really good deal and a few days later I was the proud new owner. I added a nice bright front and rear light and a simple speedo together with an up-rated saddle.
In the UK and Europe the law says that anyone over the age of 14 can ride an electric bike on the roads or anywhere else that a conventional bicycle is allowed. You don’t need a licence, insurance or to wear a helmet as long as the bike conforms to the following specifications.
A maximum motor power of 250 Watts. The motor must only assist you while the bike is being peddled. The motor must only assist you up to a maximum speed of 15.5 mph. Bikes made after January 1st 2016 are not allowed a throttle i.e. they must be pedal assist only. The only exception to this is a 6 kmh walk assist function which is useful to help you push the bike up very steep hills. Once the motor stops assisting after 15.5 mph you can of course pedal the bike faster under your own power should you wish. If the bike meets these criteria it is classed as a pedelec, ebike or electric pedal assisted cycle “EPAC”. You can of course buy faster more powerful bikes but these would be classed as a motor vehicle and would need the usual registration, licence and insurance to be used on the road and would be illegal for cycle path use.
The Falcon Flux is a legal pedalec. It’s a nice looking bike “designed” by Falcon a long established British name in bicycles but of course like most bikes it is actually made in China along with millions of others.
The build quality is pretty good, it has 20 inch wheels with the 250 Watt hub motor in the rear wheel V type cable operated rim brakes front and rear. A six speed Shimano Derailleur gear set operated by a twist control on the right handlebar. Front suspension and a sprung saddle stem to smooth out the bumps. The front suspension is a budget item and I think I will be upgrading it but I am not light at 17 stone so for lighter riders I guess it would be fine.
The bike folds down very easily with quick release catches for the frame handlebars and seat. It only takes a minute or two to be ready to ride.
The seat lifts up using a simple catch to allow access to the large capacity battery which can be easily removed or locked to the bike using a key which is also the main “ignition on” key.
On the left handlebar are the electric controls with battery level meter and pedal assist level mode switch.
The bike can be ridden as an ordinary bike with no assist but at 23 KG or so it is pretty heavy and definitely more difficult to pedal than an ordinary bike. Things change however when you switch on the electrics. A three second push on the power button activates the bike initially in the lowest power setting and as soon as you begin to pedal the motor cuts in. The motor is almost silent when running with just a low whirr. The feeling is really nice, like having a gentle giant hand pushing you along. At the lowest setting slight hills just disappear and you can ride along at a nice pace. You are doing some work at this setting so you will get some exercise. Up to level two and on the flat you are making faster progress with less effort and steeper hills disappear. On the max level three on the flat you can just pretend to pedal, moving your feet slowly round as the bike breezes along at 16 mph. Most hills completely disappear and only on steeper ones do you need to significantly assist the bike by changing down the gears and pedal to help. On the steep hills you will work a bit but you won’t be knackered and puffing like a steam engine when you reach the top.
A warning, be careful if you tip your bike upside down to work on it. Do so on a soft surface or you may scratch your control like I did. Oops!
It’s a great way to travel and you can set the motor to do as much or little work as you like. The tradeoff of course is in range. The more you do, the longer the battery will last. After 15 miles with gentle peddling the battery is showing about half used giving a range of 30 miles or so depending on terrain,weight of rider and amount of effort put in. This is great and I find that I am actually getting more exercise than when I only had my ordinary bike as I am using the e-bike much more instead of jumping in the car. I am pretty heavy and I was worried that the bike would not have enough power, but it copes very well. I guess that if I was a lighter person say 13 stone or so it would fly up hills even better but I have no complaints and hopefully it will help me get rid of a stone or two.
Charging the battery from fully used takes around 5 hours and costs I worked out around 10p, not bad for 30 plus miles! The battery should last for around a thousand full charge cycles so three years or more at a replacement cost of about £175. So it is a very cheap way to get around. I have only owned the bike for a few weeks and have already covered more than 600 miles. My car gets about 40 mpg so that’s 15 gallons, nearly 57 litres saved. At £1.25 per litre that’s £71.25 so far. It won’t take long for the bike to pay for itself in saved petrol costs.
As you use the bike more than an ordinary one you will get the most out of it with good regular maintenance. It’s pretty simple stuff like regularly cleaning and lubricating the chain and keeping nice high tyre pressures. You only have 250 watts plus your leg power available so you don’t want to waste any power with underinflated tyres or a draggy drive chain.
Would I recommend that you get an electric bike? Very much so! It will help you get out in the fresh air and you will use it more and more as it is so easy. If it’s raining, take the car. If you want to go for a fast blast take your motorcycle. If you want to experience nature slowly in the sun with little effort, or lots if you wish, and save a few quid, take your e-bike.
I highly recommend it