My New 2018 GreenBike USA GB1 500 Watt Fat Tire Folder

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LeftieBiker   10 kW

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My New 2018 GreenBike USA GB1 500 Watt Fat Tire Folder

Post by LeftieBiker » Mar 03 2019 2:51am

I've been riding E-bikes for about 17 years now, and mainly EZIP Trailz bikes since 2013. Last Summer I finally upgraded to a Magnum Metro. It's a great bike, but it's been a bit problematic for Winter riding (the lowest assist speed is too fast for cold PAS riding) even with a windshield, so I've been looking for a folder, both for the smaller size and hopefully slower assist speeds, and the ability to carry it in our two cars. I'd been looking at everything from a $700 fat tire folder on Ebay, to the Rad Mini for about $1700 with fenders and rack. I eventually happened across the GreenBike GB1 and GB-5 bikes, and I was struck both by the large number of extra value features (geared 500 watt 8-Fun motor, pack-powered lights front and rear, turn signals in the taillight, fenders and rack included, etc) and the almost universally positive reviews. I've had a LOT of trouble with bikes getting damaged in shipping, and one of my prime considerations was how well a given bike would survive the trip to me. Several reviews mentioned the bikes arriving in perfect shape, even with a damaged box. I was then torn between the older version of the bike with 2.75" street tires (lighter and cheaper, but with a very primitive control panel, only 3 assist speeds, and rear rim brake) and the newer fat tire version with full LCD panel, 6 assist levels with two modes, and full mechanical disk brakes. Despite it being somewhat heavier and pricier, I settled on the fat tire GB1. So after doing some price shopping I scored a deal and got one for $1225 with free shipping and no tax, in one of the colors (blue) I liked.

I wasn't in a big hurry for the bike to arrive (lousy weather) but I was kept in agonized suspense waiting for it to get here, worrying that it would be wrecked or otherwise damaged. (To add to the drama, UPS screwed up the final address label, and the driver was in the process of returning it when I intervened and got it delivered.) It was way below freezing and snowing hard, and the box was just slightly damaged, so the suspense lasted right until I opened the box later that evening. Happily, the reviews were right: the bike was packed well enough, with lots of big styrofoam sheets, that the only damage was to the box containing the charger and manuals - that caused further suspense that lasted until the battery was warmed up and I charged it with no problems. I did have to slightly straighten the forks and steering stem with my legs clamping the front wheel, but that was easy.

The bike powered up with no problems, other than it being a little hard for me to figure out the control options setup. A short test ride brought up no issues other than a surprisingly hard ride. I spent a couple of hours that night in my chill garage transferring accessories (better seat with suspension post, saddle bags, removing the saddle bags because they seemed too loose and floppy, rack pack, Mega Horn, cheap mirror...) from the Metro, for a ride the next day.

THE REAL TEST RIDE:

Me: about 190lbs, 5'9", bad back, legs, feet, poor circulation, getting elderly.

Weather: 37F when I left, about 34F when I returned, about 35F for most of the ride (guess).

It was about as cold as I can stand when I left for a hopefully 10 mile ride. The tires were at about 46psi. I had the new seatpost set for best leg extension, which brought me up to almost tiptoes on the bike: it's surprisingly large for a folder, and pretty substantial-feeling, except for just a little bit of play in the handlebar stem riser. I was wearing OTG goggles as usual for a really cold ride, and they were fogging more than usual, distracting me a bit and making the ride less pleasant...

I started out for the second time (having forgotten the goggles on the first try), through my suburb and headed for my usual rural route. The first thing I noticed, and a welcome relief, was that the lowest assist speed (I left it in Eco mode for now) is about 7MPH, MUCH BETTER than the Metro's 11-12MPH lowest setting. PAS-2 is just a little faster, about 8MPH, and PAS-3, at roughly 10MPH, give me a total of three usable assist speeds for cold weather riding. Excellent! The one gripe I have with the assist system is that, unlike the Metro, you don't get throttle-only assist with the PAS-0 setting: it's entirely unpowered, making it unsuitable for people like me who like (or need) to use the throttle (thumb in this case, but pretty good) to get moving. Fortunately, PAS-1 is low enough to serve the same function, with only a slight risk of the bike getting away from you in low speed maneuvers. Remember to hold a brake lever until moving! I did notice one little glitch - one that I hope happens only in Eco mode - where the motor stumbles very briefly when accelerating hard from a stop in PAS-2 with the throttle. It doesn't lose all power, but it's annoying.

Once I was up to speed (well, 8MPH, anyway, at first) on my rural secondary road, I was able to assess the bike's handling. It's clear enough that the bike has little 20" wheels, even if the tires are fat, by the increased oversteer, but just a few minutes had me readjusted to this. The tires are about as loud as the geared motor, but the overall noise level is a little bit less than most of the EZIP Trailz bikes I've owned. Still, I've already swapped over my Bluetooth speaker so I can play music on my rides. The overall ride was too hard, with the forks barely moving and the rear end almost bouncing (but the suspension seatpost mostly compensating). On my second stop I looked at the forks (Mojo? I'll check that) and saw adjustment caps that were labeled "preload." About 5 turns back to minimum preload and the forks softened up enough for me. I expect them to wear in enough that I'll probably add back a little preload. I'm a little concerned about the rear tire possibly being a bit out of round: the bike was bouncing rhythmically in the same sections that one of my EZIPS with knobbies would bounce. I'll look into this as well. UPDATE: The little manual had given me the WRONG tire pressure: 50psi instead of the correct 5-30psi. The ride is still firm, but acceptable, with 27psi. I may go down to 22 or so. I rode my usual 11 miles, including suburban streets, country secondary roads, small hill, larger hills, pavement, and just a little snow berm to test the tires (yes it will push through snow). The bike has, in Eco mode, almost as much power as the Magnum. It will be interesting to see how much more it has in Normal mode. The power indicator never dropped below 4 out of 5 bars, and the end pack voltage was, IIRC, 48.5, down from the 52.5 starting voltage. This is about the same as my also-48V Metro.

One more modest complaint: they programmed the control/display screen to treat resetting the trip odometer the same as changing a menu setting: you have to enter Set mode, get down to that option, then reset it and exit Set mode. That's way too much effort for daily rides, so I guess I'll save the trip odometer for actual & unusual trips...

PROS:

* No obvious defects out of box. Excellent fit & finish.

* Preassembled - just slide the upper steering stem into the lower folding stem joint and adjust for fit.

* Plenty of power, even in Eco, with geared hub.

* PAS* + Thumb throttle assist works well.

* Fully integrated front and rear lights, with dedicated power button & rear brake light and turn signals!

* Handlebar rotation is adjustable without tools.

* Front and rear fenders and strong luggage rack with grab handles included.

CONS:

* Bike is pretty heavy: 52lbs with battery removed.

* No throttle assist in PAS-0 mode.

* OEM seat is wide but lacks springs - too hard for bike's ride.

* Trip odometer is too hard to reset. They treat this common action the same as changing the wheel size in the menu.

* Apparent glitch in PAS-2 when full throttle applied from stop.




http://greenbikeusa.com/storefront/bike ... -fat-tire/


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UPDATE: I discovered why the ride is so harsh: the included manual suggests "50psi" for the bike, but it appears that this was actually for the one with 2.75" tires - they didn't bother to carefully revamp the already skimpy manual, and it lists a very wrong tire pressure for the fat tires. I just noticed yesterday that the 20" x 4.00" tires have "5- 30psi" in white letters on the sidewall! I hope I haven't damaged them by running 46 or so...

LeftieBiker   10 kW

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Re: My New 2018 GreenBike USA GB1 500 Watt Fat Tire Folder

Post by LeftieBiker » Mar 10 2019 1:20am

100+ views now, and no comments. Ah, well, it shows up in a search fro reviews of the bike. That's what matters most.

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E-HP   100 kW

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Re: My New 2018 GreenBike USA GB1 500 Watt Fat Tire Folder

Post by E-HP » Mar 12 2019 8:35pm

LeftieBiker wrote:100+ views now, and no comments. Ah, well, it shows up in a search fro reviews of the bike. That's what matters most.
I found your review helpful, so thanks for posting. I’ve been looking at these folding e-bikes and contemplating getting one for my wife since the stand over height is pretty low.

Secretly, my plan for the longer run is to replace the motor with a direct drive 1000w (and learn how to lace a wheel in the process) and a controller to match. The bike, when my wife isn’t using it, would be a track/camping bike to putt around when my buddies and I camp out to watch car and bike racing events.

I’ve done some measurements on a bike I see parked at the train station to see what room is available, but not many higher current controllers are small enough to fit in the controller box except maybe a Phaserunner or Vesc, so the controller box may only be used for wiring connections. Also, the space behind the seat post is generous, especially if the metal plate supporting the battery is removed, which would allow a battery to occupy space right up to the rear fender. I’m guessing 52v 20ah battery or bigger could easily fit back there.

There’s a donor ebike on Amazon with no front shocks, but the same frame and fat tires. It’s under $800, so my goal would be to build something with more range and power than the Rad Mini, for about the same price or less. I’ve found a suspension fork for about $85, but I want to see how the ride is without it first, so I’m anxious to hear what improvement you get from lowing the tire pressure. I may not need suspension for my application, which leaves more money for the battery.

I’ve also mocked up some photos of a few ideas, one of which would use a Hailong pack behind the seat post and another under the “top tube”; the goal is to have enough capacity to putt around the trackside for a few days without charging.


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LeftieBiker   10 kW

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Re: My New 2018 GreenBike USA GB1 500 Watt Fat Tire Folder

Post by LeftieBiker » Mar 13 2019 12:45am

The bike I was considering - but ultimately rejected as too pricey for me - was the 2019 Rad Mini. It might be what you want out of the box, as it has a 750 watt geared hub motor. It also comes in two versions, now: one step-thru with extra heavy duty aluminum frame that also wraps around the removable pack to protect it, and one slant tube like mine. The step-thru comes with street tires, the slant with knobbies. As for Ebay, you can find a complete bike very much like mine, but with primitive controller and probably a rear rim brake, for $750. The reviews of those aren't bad.

Thanks for the feedback, BTW.

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fechter   100 GW

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Re: My New 2018 GreenBike USA GB1 500 Watt Fat Tire Folder

Post by fechter » Mar 13 2019 9:07am

You might try even lower tire pressure. The fat tires seem to roll pretty well at lower pressures. You can probably figure out a way to compare rolling resistance at various pressures. On my fat bike (26"), I found the thing bounced like a basketball if the tires were anywhere close to the max. I run around 8-10 psi now. This really helps with the ride and I don't notice much difference is rolling resistance. The other thing is at higher pressure, your tire will wear out along the middle very quickly.
"One test is worth a thousand opinions"

LeftieBiker   10 kW

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Re: My New 2018 GreenBike USA GB1 500 Watt Fat Tire Folder

Post by LeftieBiker » Mar 13 2019 4:05pm

fechter wrote:
Mar 13 2019 9:07am
You might try even lower tire pressure. The fat tires seem to roll pretty well at lower pressures. You can probably figure out a way to compare rolling resistance at various pressures. On my fat bike (26"), I found the thing bounced like a basketball if the tires were anywhere close to the max. I run around 8-10 psi now. This really helps with the ride and I don't notice much difference is rolling resistance. The other thing is at higher pressure, your tire will wear out along the middle very quickly.
Thanks. I'll drop it to 15psi. I have lots of experience with E-bike tires, but none with fat tires.

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