- a collection of notes and reflections on urban living from the perspective of a family of five in Tokyo. My epiphany was many years ago, but being hit by a motorbike and seeing my life flash before my eyes caused a sudden change that slowly made me reflect on whether American style auto-centric urban transportation of the Roosevelt era really is a capital G "Good Idea" for civilized modern cities in the 21st Century. This blog explores the good and the bad in urban planning and design, here and elsewhere. The goal is simple - not "death to all cars," just more walkable communities, quiet tree-lined streets, good public transport, traffic calming, Velib style bicycle sharing and a bit of common sense. The bolg is mostly theraputic, so I don't go wanting to throttle every dangerous driver I come across, but partly also out of a real desire to see positive change. This blog explores how it can be done, the people who do it, and how, in many small ways, this very old idea may at last have found its zeitgeist. Comments and suggestions welcome.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Japanese electric bicycles

I have to mention one thing for anyone who has not had a chance to ride a Japanese electric bicycle: they are really actually pretty damn good. Many electric assist kits appear to be sold in the US and Europe that can be retro fit to your bike, and there are obvious advantages to that. But these things are something else. Most noticeably, there is no throttle on a Japanese electric bike. The throttle is automatically adjusted depending on the pressure you put on the crank via the pedal. This makes a big difference, because it means using one of these bikes is as easy as, well, riding a bike. However, you can select between "economy" and "high power" modes at the press of a button.

Naturally, they also come equiped with basket, lock, light, mud guards, quality gears, stand and chain guard. All you need to do is pick the colour you like. Here is the website of the make I bought. Best 600 dollars spent in a long time.


Ryanoceros said...

oh yea - and they also have a built in lock for the battery, so you don't have to worry about that being stolen either.

Anonymous said...

can i ask which shop on tokyo you purchased the electric bike from? my thanks in advance.

Ryanoceros said...

Sure. I really must expand my information here sometime with a new post. Thanks for the reminder.

In the meantime, I bought ours online, but when a spoke broke, I took it to the local shop. Most local bike shops in Japan will sell you an electric bike if you ask for one.

Online, there are hundreds of resources. For example, go to Rakuten, and search for 電動自転車
This is all the models by National Panasonic sold there:

Ryanoceros said...

Ours is something like this, only with a whopping great wicker basket on the front: