Weekender Ride

Oregonian video offers closer look at bike share hardware

Posted by on September 24th, 2015 at 11:12 am

The Oregonian has a useful review today of the “fourth-generation” bikes lined up for the bike sharing system that’s set to launch in Portland by next July.

Reporter Elliot Njus got to take the test bike, which is apparently being called “Portland 1,” for a spin across Tilikum Crossing and through downtown. Though like other bike share bikes they’re heavy at 45 pounds, Njus says they shine on “ease of use.”

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“The bike’s driveshaft means there’s no chain to slip or smear grease on clothes,” he writes. “The three-speed grip shifter on the right is smooth, though the gearshift can make a disconcerting snapping sound.”

There’s more. Check it out.

“Ultimately,” Njus concludes, “the program’s success will depend less on the bikes and more on whether users can find them when they want them.” True that.

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21 Comments
  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty September 24, 2015 at 11:19 am

    Is the computer strong enough for someone to sit on? Because you just know it’s going to be used as a seat for a passenger.

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  • Adam Herstein September 24, 2015 at 11:34 am

    Three speeds? With Portland’s hills, those bikes should have at least eight.

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    • gutterbunnybikes September 24, 2015 at 9:12 pm

      My vintage Sturmey Archer three speed bikes has roughly the same range as a 10 speed, it just has less choices in between.

      Best part is you can truly enjoy the ride instead of fidgeting over “just the right gear”. You can shift while stopped, they are durable, and depending on the chainring and cog size are quite easy and fun to ride.

      You don’t have to worry of crossing gears, don’t have to continuously adjust those derailleurs, and you get torque more comparable to a single speed/fixie than you do with a bike with derailleurs since there is no rerouting and twisting of the chain.

      Don’t knock a three speed until you try them, you might be pleasantly surprised.

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      • Adam Herstein September 25, 2015 at 12:17 pm

        I’ve ridden biek share in other cities with the 3-speed Nexus hub. First gear is way too low and almost useless. I end up riding in second and third most of the time. Although, this was in relatively flat cities and first gear might be bore useful up hills.

        Seattle’s bike share bikes come with an 8-speed Nexus hub, although their hills are far steeper than ours.

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  • Lynne September 24, 2015 at 11:55 am

    I hope the day pass is reconsidered.

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  • Harald September 24, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    Anybody know if you have to pay while the bike is in “hold” mode?

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    • Matt September 24, 2015 at 1:04 pm

      Yes. You will pay for the bike while you are using it. If you’re holding the bike you’re using it.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu September 24, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    Three speeds is plenty, because most of Portland is pretty flat. Many people get around fine here with single speeds. Realistically the typical bike share user is not going to ride up into the West Hills.

    My question is, won’t the bikes be quite feasible to steal?. The lock could be cut like any U lock, and users might lock the bikes to less-than-sturdy objects.

    I’m not aware of a theft problem for CitiBikes, because those bikes are always locked in specialized docks which are difficult to attack. Not sure the same will be true here.

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    • Adam Herstein September 24, 2015 at 4:20 pm

      Three speeds is plenty, because most of Portland is pretty flat

      Probably fine for now, until the system expands into North Portland and Mount Tabor.

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      • gutterbunnybikes September 24, 2015 at 9:14 pm

        I ride a 50# three speed up mount tabor often, since it’s only a few blocks from my house.

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        • Adam Herstein September 25, 2015 at 12:19 pm

          You’re obviously a far more capable rider than me; I struggle up Mount Tabor with my 40 pound 27-speed touring bike. 🙂

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          • gutterbunnybikes September 25, 2015 at 4:46 pm

            Not necessarily, but I’ve changed the rear cogs ($8 -$10 part, half hour of time -if even) on my three speeds. If you can change a tire and replace or fix a chain it’s easy.

            The changes I’ve made makes my High (3) gear as the cruising (flats) gear, the Neutral (2) 1:1 ratio) gear as a slight climb gear, and Low (1)Gear as a more sever climb gear.

            I do loose top speed when going downhill with this set up since the wheel spins faster than I can peddle sooner, but so what. Heavy bikes descend faster thanks to gravity anyway. And on MT. Tabor I don’t wanna scream down the hill at 50mph – don’t really wanna go that fast on a bicycle – ever.

            I’ve got two bikes set up like that for hills, and my third is set up to pedal a little easier than the normal factory set up, though not much.

            Also some approaches to Tabor are easier to ride up than others. From 76th west on Taylor turn north then continue west on Yamhill and hit the entrance on the Belmont side (or just walk to the path at the top of Taylor)

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    • JJJJ September 25, 2015 at 7:25 am

      Bike share bikes arent stolen because thieves cant do anything with them. Its obviously a bike share bike, so you cant resell it, and all the parts are proprietary, so you cant strip it and re-use. Theres simply no demand for the stolen product. Thieves will ignore them and move on to the bike they can use.

      Also, if the bikes have built in GPS, a stolen bike can be tracked down. (Citibikes actually dont)

      I am very glad they went with a real basket. All the Bixi products have an atrocious basket that is not useful at all.

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  • Mark September 24, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    John Liu
    Three speeds is plenty, because most of Portland is pretty flat. Many people get around fine here with single speeds. Realistically the typical bike share user is not going to ride up into the West Hills.My question is, won’t the bikes be quite feasible to steal?. The lock could be cut like any U lock, and users might lock the bikes to less-than-sturdy objects.I’m not aware of a theft problem for CitiBikes, because those bikes are always locked in specialized docks which are difficult to attack. Not sure the same will be true here.Recommended 4

    Unless you are riding from Burnside up to PSU. NOT FLAT.

    Man, I hated doing that every day. Anyway, I am super excited to try one of these bikes out. Hey, maybe I will even get a shaft drive bike after testing these machines.

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  • Charles Ross September 24, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    What I want to know is: when I lock that bike up after renting it, to a PDX constructed bike rack with that U-lock, does my responsibility for the bike end or not? Is my credit card still on the hook or not?
    If it is, then we have a problem. I won’t lock my bike up downtown because of the rampant thievery and I won’t be responsible for a rental bike for the same reason.

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    • Spiffy September 24, 2015 at 2:32 pm

      once you lock it to the rack it’s checked in and free for somebody else to use… you can’t be responsible for what happens to it before the next person wants to rent it…

      just like you’re not responsible if a thief steals the rear wheels off a car2go after you park it and check it back in…

      although they might shrink the coverage area to exclude that high-theft area…

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  • Angel September 24, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    What happens when the bike has been parked in the shade unridden for a while and the battery dies?

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    • Anne Hawley September 25, 2015 at 10:31 am

      I Am Not A Bike-Share Expert, but just spitballing here: The system knows how long a bike goes unused and there’s probably an alert in place for X-days (however long battery life is)? And/or maybe data the bike reports back to the system includes battery level?

      They really seem to have thought this system through. I’m sure it’s not without flaws, but I bet “Whoa, bike battery died and now we can’t find it” wasn’t something they left out of the plan.

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  • gutterbunnybikes September 24, 2015 at 9:30 pm

    BTW – you need to slow or (better yet) stop pedaling for a smoother shifting of gears with IGH’s . Takes a little getting use to, but it’s not a big deal.

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  • David Lewis September 25, 2015 at 12:56 am

    I love the bicycle-as-a-system deployment strategy, and I love the complete disregard for tradition! It is disruptive, and for the better!

    It’s no secret… the chain won the Blu-Ray/HD-DVD/VHS/Betamax/Vinyl/CD/petrol/diesel war in the early aughts against the shaft, and we’ve spent over 100 years wondering why, with many generations of derailleur mechanisms trying and failing to succeed. We’re on the cusp of 12-speed cassettes, now, right? Progress!

    I’m a little impatient and I admit I didn’t read the whole story, but I’m curious which factory in America manufactured this bicycle! It’s local, right?

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  • MNBikeLove September 25, 2015 at 8:18 am

    Wait, the u-lock is not connected by any securing mechanism to the bike? Oh boy, that is recipe for lost u-locks. Even a little steel cable from the bike to u-lock would be enough.

    Also, I’ll defend the chain and cassette gearing. I’ll take chain and derailleurs any day. Or chain and hub gears – even better. Shaft drive can feel like you are pedalling a manual mixer through cake batter. Of course, I’m one of those that a) actually cleans and lubes my chain on a timeframe less than the time between presidential elections and b) know not to lean/drop/turbopunch my bikes on the side with chain and derailleurs. So take my endorsement of chains and derailleurs with that grain of salt.

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