On November 17, 2010 we added the BionX electric assist drive system to an XtraCycle that was installed on a 3G Venice bike we have on hand for demonstration rides. Since then I have been riding this bike home daily, a 20 mile round trip, and for a variety of other trips such as grocery shopping weekly, office supplies, hardware store runs etc. On 1/11/11 the odometer went past 1,000 miles so now seems a good time to write a few words about this cargo cruiser.
The first thing I found is the amazingly smooth ride that the long wheelbase provides. Because the seat is now more or less centered between the wheels, and there is a long space between them, bumps are much smoother while handling isn't compromised at all.
The 3G Venice has geometry that puts the riders feet further forward than traditional bikes and this combines with the Royal handlebar to enable an upright riding position. Sitting up on the well-padded, anatomically correct Cloud 9 seat provides a very comfortable ride with full leg extension for maximum pedaling efficiency. I don't get a sore neck from being hunched over the handlebar and enjoy a safer all around view. I do wish the handlebar was a bit longer and have one on order to experiment with.
The XtraCycle extension provides room for 4 grocery bags or can carry a passenger up to 200 pounds. I have used it weekly for groceries and what a joy it is. For years I have been using my Worksman tricycle for this task and could carry just 2 bags of grocery in the rear basket plus a few things in the front basket. Now I have doubled my hauling capacity with this XtraCycle making it possible to drop the occasional car trip for bulky items. I have hauled everything from rolls of Christmas lights to furnace repair parts and office supplies on this XtraCycle with only one small problem so far. When a buckle on the XtraCycle broke I learned it is better to attach the straps together over the top of the deck when carrying a heavy load to prevent this problem.
Power and ease of use
Perhaps the best part is the BionX Intelligent Mobility system. This is the best electric drive system available on the market plus it is made in North America. The system amplifies my effort by a factor I control with the console that is mounted on the handlebar. The console also shows my speed, distance, battery level and much more. The BionX is silent and has plenty of power to make riding a joy no matter what the terrain or conditions are.
I commute 10 miles each way from my home to work and I have been doing this daily since we opened the shop in March, 2010. I accumulated have several thousand miles on Pedego electric bikes until I started riding the 3G Venice XtraCycle in mid November. Due to the gearing set up on the 3G it seems a bit slower than the Pedego, but with regenerative braking and proportional assist, rather than a twist and go throttle, the BionX manages the battery power for better range than the Pedego. They are both fine machines, but I find myself choosing the smoother ride and cargo capacity over the speed most of the time.
After riding over 1,000 miles on this bike I remain impressed with the practical usefulness and super performance. I'm using it as both a commuter and a cargo bike and find it quite luxurious and functional. There have been no major failures or problems and I look forward to my ride home tonight.