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A2B Metro Goes South for the Winter

by BluesCat

BluesCatBluesCat is a resident of Phoenix, Arizona, who originally returned to bicycling in 2002 in order to help his son get the Boy Scout Cycling merit badge. His bikes sat idle until the summer of 2008 when gas prices spiked at over $4.00 per gallon. Since then, he has become active cycling, day-touring, commuting by bike, blogging (azbluescat.blogspot.com) and giving grief to the forum editors in the on-line cycling community.


Awhile back, I was asked by an on-line cycling friend of mine what I thought of Kenda tires. He knew I rode with my recumbent wheels shod with Kendas, and his cycling team had just gained Kenda as a sponsor. I told him I felt that the Kenda tires I was familiar with were tough and rolled really well, but they are a bit “skatey” on all but flat, clean roadways.

About two weeks ago, Commute by Bike asked if I would be interested in testing the Ultra Motor A2B Metro e-bike of their JOYBAG™ fleet. Ted said the “tires are worthless in snow or on ice” and so they were going to be forced to put the bike in storage for the winter, or find someone in Phoenix to play with it.

I jumped at the chance to review the A2B.

Last year, I spotted an A2B Metro out in front of the California Pizza Kitchen; it was their Pizza Delivery Bike. I said at the time that “I would ride that bike!” Here I was being offered a chance to ride an A2B for a whole winter!

A2B Metro Pizza Delivery

A2B Metro Pizza Delivery | Photo: AZ BluesCat

One of the Bike Shop Hub folks, Stuart, dropped the bike off last Friday. Ted sent me an email asking what my first impressions of the bike were. Noting that the stock tires are Kendas, I told him about the “skatey” tendencies I have observed with other Kenda tires. Ted was quick to reply:

“Did you say skatey?”

Check this out:

Now, I don’t know about the rest of you folks, but I think the only thing which would make that clip any funnier would be if it was in black and white and had no sound track of Wicked Ted encouraging poor Robin to “Gun it!” … but only a honky-tonk piano in the background playing a few bars from a Keystone Kops film.

So, after I had recovered enough from flailing around on the carpet, laughing my blankety butt off, I agreed to write a post about my first impressions of the A2B.

A2B Metro Charging

A2B Metro Charging at BluesCat Word Headquarters

The bike is quite heavy, but I’m thinking that is pretty much the norm for bicycles equipped with electric motors and batteries. The suspension on the bike absorbs the bumps in the road pretty well. The wheel base is not much longer than my small-frame Giant mountain bike; couple that dimension with the 20” wheels and it means the bike is pretty maneuverable.

I have to chuckle. Does anyone besides me find it amusing that an electric bike isn’t automatically equipped with a headlight and tail light? I’ll put my NiteRider on it and use the taillights on my rack pack. I’ll have to see if my panniers will fit on that wide rear wheel rack, or if I’ll have to make some other arrangements to tote my stuff.

When I’ve had a chance to load it up and ride it to work for a few days, I’ll report back on how the A2B works on the kinder, gentler winter streets of Phoenix.

PotholeOne last word on Kenda tires: I once thought I would change to a different tire when it came time to replace the shoes on the recumbent. I’ll probably stay with Kendas. I once bounced into a pothole next to a manhole which was almost two inches below the surface of the pavement. Although the severe bounce knocked my bike computer right out of the handlebar clip, and loosened a few fillings in my teeth, the Kenda tires were not fazed at all. I’ll take a tire that tough over a more “grippy” one any day of the week!

 
Burley nomad 229

6 Responses to “A2B Metro Goes South for the Winter”

  1. Ted Johnson says:

    BluesCat: The JOYBAG Metro that you have is not the current incarnation. The new ones come with an integrated headlight and a much better instrument panel.

    I spoke with a rep from Ultra Motor before the new model came out, and they seemed to have addressed pretty much every one of my gripes about the bike.

    Headlights

    Panel

    It is on the heavy side, even for an electric bike.

  2. I’m interested to see how the pedals are reviewed–on these configurations, often, they are in place to make it a “bicycle” and not an electic motorcycle, but due to the weight and design, are not really practical to pedal for twenty miles in case of battery exhaustion, for example. We’ll see what AZBC thinks, though.

  3. BluesCat says:

    JRA – Yeah, I wouldn’t want to even climb SMALL hills with no battery power. Luckily, the flat terrain of Phoenix, coupled with the nice, low MTB-type rear dérailleur means I could limp home okay — at about 8 mph — if I ran out of battery power.

  4. I agree with both BluesCat and John Alpha, the Metro is both not ideal to ride for 20 miles or up hills w/o power but very doable. I ride both the Metro and Velociti on flats often w/o power assist and while it is a good workout, and extends range considerably, does work you.

    I also live in the hills and work at sea level, and more than once have had to ride uphill w/o power,again doable, though you will sweat a bit!

  5. BluesCat says:

    Nate – My understanding is that the Velociti is quite a bit lighter than the Metro, and runs on 24″ wheels and tires rather than the 20″ shoes on the Metro.

    How does that affect the “bike like” or “scooter like” ride quality?

    • Ted Johnson says:

      BluesCat:

      The Velociti definitely has more bike-like feeling, and it feels more lightweight (maybe because it is more lightweight; 60 lbs as opposed to the Metro’s 80 lbs.)

      One nifty thing about the Metro is that you can add a supplemental battery to double the range (as well as add a few pounds to the weight), whereas the Velociti only has connections for one battery.

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