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Bike Spotting: Fat Free and Electric by NTS Works

28 Jul

My buddy Richard and I often bump into each other commuting on the Guadalupe River Trail, but this encounter was planned. Richard was test riding the NTS Works Fat Free electric-assist bike and I wanted a closer look. I happened to be riding my road bike that day, so I wasn’t wheezing to keep up with him on his beefed-up bike.

As more and more people are turning to bicycles for their daily transportation needs, electric bikes (also known as e-bikes) are getting more and more attention. E-bikes give a boost of power that can take the bite out of steep hills, make carrying kids or cargo less of a grind, and take the sweat out of going faster or further. For some, it means changing a sufferface into a happy face. But not Richard, he smiles all the time regardless.

NTS e-bike portrait

Unlike some e-bikes that operate by throttle, the Fat Free is a pedal-assist e-bike. That means that when you pedal, the motor automatically kicks in, and when you stop pedaling the motor stops too. How big a boost you get is based on which of the 5 levels of assist you choose from the handlebar control. Richard says he can comfortably maintain 18-20 mph, but he kept it at 15-16 mph while riding the trail with me. Lucky me.

I rode alongside Richard for four miles and forgot to ask to test it for myself, but did get a quick ride at an e-bike event at the Los Altos History Museum. It felt powerful, like having an instant tailwind adding to my efforts. Richard gave it the full run down with a ride from his home in Scotts Valley 30+ miles up and over the Santa Cruz Mountains to his job in San Jose. Check out his video review on the NTS Works web site.

What do you think of e-bikes? Would you consider owning one? Why or why not?

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4 Comments

Posted by on July 28, 2014 in Gear Talk

 

4 responses to “Bike Spotting: Fat Free and Electric by NTS Works

  1. TinLizzie72

    July 29, 2014 at 3:27 am

    We saw so many ped-elec bikes in Europe! At least a third of the bikes we saw were ebikes and they were lovely, all brands and designs, with lights built into the fenders and other practical details. Europeans spent more time getting around by bike, so it makes sense that they would want the boost. Someday my knees might really appreciate the technology so I hope we see more acceptance here. Until then, I’ll try one the next bike tour we do in Germany!

     
  2. Frank Peters

    July 29, 2014 at 9:08 am

    This is a great looking bike with a lot of nifty features. The CVT, I know I’d love that.

    eBikes have helped me go car-free. I’ve got a skinny-tire bike for group rides, but increasingly I’m reaching for the eBike to get to a meeting, run errands and haul groceries.

     
  3. Lizzie

    July 30, 2014 at 5:47 am

    Right now I’m enjoying my motor-free bikes too much to change. Part of the fun of cycling is getting around on your own power. If it helps going car free, though, that’s great. I still consider my city too dangerous and the bike infrastructure too fragmented to go car free.

     

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