I've inherited my dad's Synergy Cycle (based in Santa Cruz, CA). It resides in the garage and my wife uses it occasionally, mostly while pulling the kiddie trailer. She's not a cyclist, nor was my dad much of one. My dad bought it sometime in 2007. Between the state, city &/or county subsidizing the purchase, he got it for something like $350. Retail was something around $900!
Man, the bike itself is pretty craptastic in terms of weight (~60lbs shipped IIRC), components, fork & shock, at the level of your base LBS hybrid/mtn bike. Frame is low end, steel dual suspension, with the motor mounted on a big welded tab. The chain drive goes from motor to a cog mounted on a disc hub.
It has a pretty decent cruising speed (~15-17mph on flat ground). It can jerk you pretty hard if you kick in the electric assist from a stand still.
The thumb activated throttle switch has 2 positions (1) to the left is on/full power & (2) to the right a variable throttle, but this side does not seem work until you turn it to the left! (ie full power). So, it's best to turn on the electric part while the bike is on the kick stand.
This may be a glitch with this bike, I haven't contacted the guys in Santa Cruz about it, but you also have to sometime turn turn the throttle to the "on/full power" position after hitting the brakes. Hitting the brakes activates the "auto shut off", which stops the electric motor. There doesn't appear to be a soft start when first activating the electric motor.
My dad used it a fair amount, in between chemo treatments. He could cruise to downtown & back from Capitola easily. Cruising range is ~10 miles/charge with not much pedaling (as my wife uses it) & flat route (we live in south Louisiana, after all).
I think this bicycle would be much more efficient & user friendly as a hardtail w/ rigid fork. Sure, put some nice fat 26x2.35's on there & suspension seatpost for comfort sakes. But, I guess the cheapo dual-suspension bikes sell.
Yup I have. I now own one. I took my 2001 Rocky Mountain Vertex Team Only that had been retired from racing and been left out to pasture. I purchased and installed a BionX PL350 electic assist system. Plus a rigid fork. Unlike the majority of the systems out there, it is a pedalic system. It is designed to provide assistance only while you pedal. The harder you pedal the most assistance it give. So if you want to go faster you pedal harder and it returns the favour by providing more assistance. The whole bike as you see here is just under 40 pounds. Seriously light for an ebike.
I use it for commuting to work only. It lets me average 32-35kph to work at a recovery heartrate. It's especially great after a weekend of long hard rides. Most monday mornings my legs are toast and I don't generally feel like riding by bike to work. My ebike makes it a pleasure not a chore. Don't knock them till you've tried them. I mean try a nice one. If you're on this site you probably don't ride a Denali from Walmart. So don't try a ebike from a Dept store. Go to an LBS and try a BionX system installed on a decent or top notch bike.
Also I have started using it in the winter for my commute. Especially if there has been a significant accumulation of snow. Usually on a snowy morning I have to leave 15-20mins earlier since the snow can slow me down so much. Not on my ebike. In 10cm's of fresh snow I average almost 10kph faster on the ebike. It's a fawkin hoot! As seen here.
Greetings, This is post #1 for me on these boards.
I am a 45 year old man, a mechanical engineer by profession who rides an electric bike about 5,000 miles per year.
It's a Trek 820 MTB with a 500 watt direct drive front hub motor conversion kit and a 48volt-20amp-hour lithium battery. Whole rig is 75 pounds with top speed, no pedaling of 23 mph on the flat with no wind). Range with no pedaling is 35 miles and up to 65-70 miles with pedaling depending on headwinds. I always pedal because I feel stupid on a bicycle not pedaling. Have done a number of century rides on it with charging at convienience stores and gas stations enroute.
In a year and a half on the ebike I've lost 30 pounds and my cholesterol and blood pressure are normal. The ebike has allowed me to do at 45 what I used to be able to do on a conventional bike at 20.
My aunt in the Netherlands has this electric bike (electric assist?), complete with a nice Brooks saddle. She had some pretty steep little roads to get up on her way to work (and she's easily 60+ years old). This thing made quick work of 'em. It was battery operated (I believe the cells were in the downtube). You could dial up 3 levels of assist. It was quite weird to use it. I put it on #3 and headed up a hill, sitting down, and it felt like I had Lance's legs. Effortless.
Pics of my wife, the saddle, and myself after a little cruise...