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Charger electric bicycle (Designed by Aerovironment.)

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CHARGER bikes were designed and made by two California companies: One of U.S.A's major bike manufacturers and AeroVironment, an electrical engineering firm founded by Paul MacCready. Dr. MacCready is best known for his "Gossamer Condor", the first human powered aircraft to cross the English Channel. The two companies partnered to manufacture and market this unique "bionic" bike - an advanced, "strength amplifying" pedal assist concept that also uses the bike's gears to obtain a mechanical advantage that other hub-motor e-bikes lack.

A five-button membrane switch allows you to enter a user defined PIN to activate the system. By locking the electronics, you discourage theft or 'joy rides'. The PIN is especially useful in fleets where individuals are assigned a bike and expected to care for it. The PIN is part of the battery and electronics package that is completely removable. Just pop the battery pack off the bike and lock your Charger bike to the closest bike rack, or run a cable or U-lock through the battery pack handle and bike frame.

Features include: a two-chain drive system to eliminate the need for tire-driving rollers and a more efficient interconnection between the motor and each of 7 pedal gear ratios (like a car's transmission gears connect with the motor); instant quick-release for detaching the 24-volt controller / battery / charger pack; and user-defined personal identification numbers (PIN) to turn on the system.

Features of the Charger e-bike:
  • A battery pack with built-in low-voltage protection and integrated battery charger that recharges in about four hours. The two 12-Volt, 12Ah lead-acid batteries may be recharged at any time. Just pull the cord from the pack and plug it in!
  • The quick-release for detaching the 24-volt controller / battery / charger pack includes an integral carrying handle.
  • A user-defined security code PIN number to turn the system ON and discourage theft and "joy riding."
  • An easy-to-use seven-speed Shimano Nexus shifting system is an advanced internal-hub bicycle transmission available to both the pedal chain and the separate motor chain which provides a more efficient interconnection between the motor and each of 7 pedal gear ratios (like a car's transmission gears connect with the motor);.
  • A high-power Shimano roller clutch brake system for dependable stopping.
  • A 12-volt port to power a headlight or other low-wattage 12V accessory (click here for details)
  • A light but strong Cro-Moly steel frame and fork, alloy rims, and a quick-release front wheel for easy storage and transport.
  • A top assisted speed of 20 mph with an average range of 25 to 30 miles (40 miles 165 lb rider at 20 mph...lowest assist level, level ground, no wind.
  • A see-thru rain sock that quickly fits over the battery pack with Velcro straps to keep it in place. (For those subject to frequent downpours, zip-tie the cover to the bottom of the seat.)
  • A choice of colors: gloss black, moss green or candy blue.
  • The complete Charger bicycle weighs about 65 lbs. The removable battery box, electronics and charging system weighs approximately 24 lbs., while the frame and motor drive weighs 41 lbs.
  • Warranties: frame = 5 years, batteries = 6 months, other parts = 90 days.

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Owner reports:

Subject: Electric Bikes

I commute on a GT Charger. I think it is great. It has allowed me to reduce my auto commute to 1-2 times a week. (When I have extra gear to bring in.) I make the 3 mile commute in about 12-14 minutes get a LITTLE excercise and can park next to the office. I am not a bike purist.. I just like to have fun.

Range depends on the power assist seting. I'm a big guy... 245+... I can go full assist for 16-18 miles. 1/2 power, about 30 miles.

The Charger is a heavy beast. It can be riden without assist, but you will feel it. It is relatively well built, with heavy wheel construction and brakes to handle the extra weight.

I have to admit, I've become an E-assist nut. I've ridden a number of different bikes. I'll probably be adding a US ProDrive to an existing bike this winter. (I need a second bike to cut down on family squabbles.)

Another owner reports these range results:
I ride a Charger. At the lowest boost (50%) I can get 30 miles. (My weight is 280 lbs.) At 400% boost I get a little over 12 miles.

Another owner, reports these range results:
I ride a Charger. At the lowest boost (50%) I can get 30 miles. (My weight 280 lbs.) At 400% boost I get a little over 12 miles.

"Hey! This bike is awesome! I have to laugh that here in Grand Rapids, Michigan, when the lake effect snow blows in (we got 12 inches the other day!), I can make it around town faster and safer than using a car. Some people at work, it took 3 hours to get home, I made it in 15 minutes. This thing is great. "

Here's how one user overrides the Charger's 20-mph limit (and goes up to 28mph):
1) Move the speed sensor on the left chainstay toward the front and pointing outward.
2) Stick a magnet to the inside of the left pedal crank near the pedal.
3) Align the speed sensor with the magnet on the pedal crank so the controller still senses rotation but never sees "20 mph".
Using this trick, a moderate cyclist reports:
"The modification to increase top speed was painless and really makes this the ideal bike for my needs. Depending on winds, I can comfortably cruise at speeds approaching 24 mph."

As with changing a hub-motor wheel, changing the rear wheel of a Charger is more involved than simply releasing a quick release lever. Click here to see the rear wheel removal procedure.
[Editor's Note: Either before or after your first flat, install tire liners and thorn-resistant tubes into your rear tire (size = 26X2.10). Your local bike shop has these parts.]

The electronics in the battery/charger pack are susceptable to overheating; do not charge - or store - your battery/charger pack in direct sun light or hot space (like in a metal shed).

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The Charger Comfort model (pictured on the left) offers a more comfortable seat and riding position with the swept-back handlebars. Fenders are optional.

Mail order (boxed bike) prices (click on item for more information):
Standard Model - $900
Comfort Model - $900 Same as Standard except for handlebars and seat.
Fenders - $30. Rear Rack - $40.
Standard and Comfort models available in gloss black, moss green, and candy blue. Standard LX model available in gloss black, and moss green.

Available from:

Other web site pages about Charger bikes:

Frequently Asked Questions about the Charger:
http://www.electroportal.com/ChrgrFAQS.html

For the Green Bike Tour, two electric-assist bikes were “solarized” by adding photovoltaic panels:
http://www.greenbike.org/MidWest2004/Photos2004/Solarized_bikes_photos.htm

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