In Season One of my CFOR podcast, I talked about wanting to do a show about e-bikes, or electric bikes. Since then, scope of the show has been narrowed to be all about radio. However, this blog post is going to detail my recent experience with this form of alternate transportation.
For folks who don’t know anything about e-bikes, they are essentially bikes with electric motors powered by a battery. The purpose is to assist in one’s pedaling, either to gain a speed boost or perhaps not ride to their destination while dipping in sweat.
Last weekend, I decided to replace an old bike for an e-bike. Instead of ordering on-line, Scooter Plus became my shopping destination.
Long story short: This was a mistake. I will tell the whole story now.
As me and my friend Elliot went inside the shop, we didn’t see anything remotely looking like a traditional bicycle. However, there was scooter-ish looking e-bike hanging on the wall for $825.
On impulse, I bought the Roketa ES-44. After leaving the store, I rode on it and actually enjoyed the experience. With the exception of being pulled over by a cop (who assumed it was a moped) for not wearing a helmet, there was no shame for making this purchase.
The following days tell a different story.
Last Sunday, I prepped up for my trip to work in East Memphis/Bartlett. Before leaving, my bike didn’t power on even though the battery was fully charged. After checking the power connections, I noticed a hairline crack in the battery casing.
Despite that, I rode to work and partially back in the night. Now, the battery wasn’t recharged before the return trip home and died during my trip. For future reference: if you are going to make a 10+ mile trip on an e-bike, always charge the battery completely.
With a dead battery, I proceeded to pedal the Roketa ES-44 like a normal bicycle. It seemed to work until the chain completely broke off. Unfortunately I had to lug a 100 lb. e-bike for 6 miles until getting home.
This story gets even better. Knowing that this equipment will need repairs, I made plans to bring it back to Scooters Plus on my off-day.
However, I still had two more days of work and needed to use the bike. On Monday, the fully-charged bike will have to do on just throttle power.
Everything seemed good until I past the intersection of Central & Highland. Approaching the University of Memphis, the tail end of the bike started to sink. In short, the tire had a flat. Interestingly enough, the air cap was missing, even though it was never removed by myself.
Thus, I couldn’t bear to keep this thing much longer in its current condition. I hoped to return it back to Scooters Plus.
Bad news was I couldn’t get a refund. Despite my issues, the store was unwilling to take it back because of their policy. However they told me that they could repair it or replace it with the same thing without any costs because of the 90 day warranty.
I wanted my money back, but instead I am stuck with a faulty e-bike and have to wait until a few more days for it to be “fixed.”
The lessons learned from this experience are not buying anything from stores with return policies like Scooters Plus, not buying cheap Chinese e-bikes, and getting e-bikes that don’t look like scooters.
Once the Roketa ES-44 is repaired, it is going to be sold. Despite the initial problems, it should look and run like new but I am sore over this whole experience.