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The tiny Fiido electric bikes are already here at Velomarket! Of course, we had to try it ourselves and in cooperation with Magnus, an active cyclist, we prepared a blog post where the expert describes his experiences of riding an electric bike in the natural conditions of Estonia. Have a good read!
In the summer I had planned to go cycling around Lake Võrtsjärvi with my friends. However, as I had recently had knee surgery, I couldn’t put that much load on my knee. However, a lighter workload in terms of exercise was needed on a daily basis, according to the doctor. So I finally decided to buy an electric bike with an auxiliary motor. After thorough background research and reading reviews, the FIIDO M21 electric bicycle equipped with a torque sensor was chosen. It’s a newer addition that not all electric bikes have by a long way. The sensor monitors how hard the driver presses the pedal and adjusts the engine power accordingly. On conventional electric bikes without this sensor, the default setting is full power and the electric assist only works in one mode. Testing different models showed that this sensor provides a smooth ride and as a bonus helps reduce battery wear while driving.
Other important factors in my choice were that the FIIDOL also has a rear shock and thick tyres(fatbike), which make it very comfortable to ride on gravel roads (and over low kerbs in the city).
But now to the driving experience!
The first test drive was from Linnahalli to Tabasall and back. Total distance 34 km. Electricity also made the ride very enjoyable – starting from behind traffic lights helps to get up to speed in no time, and although I could have gone further with the electric motor alone, my aim was to get some exercise. So, once I got going, I drove on with the help of the condom engine. What was surprising was how smooth this electric bike is – when driving in the city, I mainly just used the start assist, as it’s surprisingly easy to cruise.
The biggest and most enjoyable advantage came when we drove up one of the steep, graveled pedestrian climbs before Tabasalu. When we reached the top, we had to take a break for 5 minutes, because my driving companions needed to catch their breath 😉 But I and FIIDO really enjoyed the climb 😉 Same as driving along the asphalt!
By the time I got back home in the evening, I had covered 34 km and had 4 of the 5 sticks left in the battery. Since the planned mileage of the Lake Võrtsjärve hike was 60-80 km per day, the battery seemed to hold up well.
The bike was also fitted with bags and a proper lock before the trip. One 9-litre bag under the saddle and one 6-litre bag on the handlebar. It seemed a bit small at first, but if you don’t take a tent and a sleeping bag with you, it’s actually quite enough. As the frame of the bike is a bit special, you have to be a bit ingenious to attach the lock and the cup holder, but with the help of a special fastener everything was doable. I also put a cushioning silicone saddle cover on the saddle, as I don’t like bike shorts at all (I also like a padded seat in a car, not a taburet and chamois shorts :D), but that’s a matter of taste.
The second trip started from the southern part of Lake Võrtsjärvi, where we had to return by the next evening. We drove mainly on gravel roads and side roads, at speeds of 13-20 km per hour. Here, an electric assistant was a nice support. In first gear, the electric motor can help you up to 15 km/h, so when you’re driving in the woods, you’re really only using about 20% of the power, with the electric motor doing the rest. On gravel, I used second gear, which helps to reach speeds of up to 20 km/h. We were averaging 17-21 km/h, or 20-30% of the load, with the engine doing the rest. We ran out of steam when we were following each other at high speed for about 10 km on a big highway. We were driving at 26-27km/h. Third gear gives you up to 24 km/h and that’s when the disadvantage of this bike came to light. Thick tyres and a 27 kg wheel + luggage of about 5-7 kg + a 87 kg bonnet engine made driving at this speed quite exhausting. But when the power started to fade, it was good to know that there was plenty of reserve power in the engine at 24 km/h 😉
By the end of the day we had driven 69 km and had 3 out of 5 batteries left. Since I still wanted to give the knee a load, I also drove with only the condom motor, but I believe that the battery would have lasted the whole trip even if I had used only the electric motor.
The third trip was from the northern end of Lake Võrtsjärvi back to the southern end. We drove again partly on asphalt and gravel, and also some crossings through the forest. As I got stuck on the motorway the day before at higher speeds, Dr Google gave me a suggestion on how to take the limiter off. With just a few button combinations, the speed was 39 km/h on electric power only, so there was no problem to drive at 30 km/h on the highway 🙂
We rode a total of 76 km, of which ~20 km were purely on bone power and the rest about 20-30% loaded. There was also enough strength left over to help the laggards – maybe another rider grabbed the shoulder and got dragged behind the group in his FIIDO.
At the end of the day, we had 1 battery out of 5, but the battery was definitely under strain from trying to reach maximum speed and helping the laggards.
To sum up: the FIIDO M21 is suitable for all terrains, you can ride it on sand and uphill with the same load and feel as on smooth asphalt, standing up ;).
I think I’ve written down everything that came to mind. Have a good ride with the built-in tailwind for everyone else! 🙂
Author Magnus Kiis
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