Perhaps to most, e-bikes are generally perceived as two-dimensional contraptions whose sole function is to provide electronic assistance to the struggling rider, or one who prefers a more effortless ride. A battery attached to the bike frame drives the motor attached to the rear wheel which in turn powers the pedal. It is a relatively basic concept with no two ways about it.
It would therefore seem slightly futuristic to comprehend a smart e-bike that has almost all its functions controllable from literally the tips of your fingers, a smartphone app, to be exact, where functions from lights to speed control can be managed by a swipe or a single touch.
The TS01, at first glance, could easily pass off as a regular bike, and not an e-bike. The body is not bloated with motor components; instead, a relatively small battery pack sits snugly in a container between the bike frame and is lockable with a key around a wristband that you can wear. The TS01 is powered by the same Panasonic lithium ion battery used by Tesla that lasts for up to 70km, and can be fully charged in just 2 hours. True enough, the absence of an unsightly bulk also translates into the weight of the TS01; at 14kg, it is just half the weight of an average e-bike. You will also notice that the TS01 is unusually shaped, and this is down to its patented, 20-inch trapezoid frame, a distinct departure from traditional triangular bodies. This unique structure transmits vibration to the rear and avoids direct impact on the head tube and the saddle, maximising comfort. To top it off, the frame is constructed from an aircraft-grade 6061 aluminum alloy with excellent strength and structural ability. Lastly, for those new to the e-bike scene, you will also notice the strange rubber drivetrain. This is a timing belt transmission that is based on a vehicle-level timing belt, ensuring smooth flow of power whilst maintaining its durability, cleanliness, and quietness.
Keeping in line with smart technology, the TS01 also boasts some of the most innovative features around, most notably, its unique VeloUP! smart drive system that provides intelligent understanding of road conditions, as well as the judgements and intentions of the rider wherever he may ride – flats, hills, or against the wind. The onboard diagnosis (OBD) system acts as one half of the brain of the TS01, providing real-time monitoring and diagnosis of various components of the e-bike, such as battery, motor, controllers, and sensors. The other half comes in the form of a powerful 32-bit Freescale processor, which functions as the nervous system of the TS01, transmitting information to and from the various components in just milliseconds. This allows the TS01 to reach the top legal speed of 25km/h fairly easily. Do note that the motor comes with a speed limiter which does not allow the TS01 to exceed the speed limit, an indication of their commitment to safety.
With that in mind, the TS01 has been placed through vigorous safety tests – it has been tested on harsh roads totaling 80,000km; on 10-meter drops, and on 20km/h crashes, ensuring that all safety aspects have been covered. And, for anyone worrying about stock lights, the TS01 has a built-in, USB-chargeable LED lights with high-intensity and deep-penetrating properties.
Of course, using the bike is not as complex as knowing how it works. However, you will need either an iPhone or an Android phone to download the Velair app that will be your control hub. An instruction manual details the steps, and connecting the app to the bike is a simple, QR code process. After which, you will be taken to the main interface where you can control the headlight, as well as the degree of assistance from the motor. There is also a built-in GPS system that tracks where you ride whilst doubling as an anti-theft device. Once your bike is paired with your phone, you will be able to track it for as long as 72 hours, even when the battery is turned off. Additionally, you can check your battery life, distance travelled, and current speed. If you are big on sharing your rides on social media, you can do so through the app itself.
The question remains: how did the TS01 fare on the pavements and roads? The surge in power from the motor was quite responsive and evident; the pedalling was made significantly easier. Impact from undulated surfaces was minimal, just as the Tsinova-patented trapezoid frame had promised to do. The speed limit was slightly unfortunate, as riders who are accustomed to cycling at higher speeds will find themselves a little handicapped. In addition, an option to control the e-bike functions on the bike itself would have been helpful; to restrict control to an app cuts off accessibility to people who do not possess a smartphone. A bike mount for your phone is also highly recommended in order to minimise potential risks that may arise from cycling whilst holding the phone in your hand.
Overall, the Tsinova TS01 embodies a new wave of Chinese technology, with its features gaining a total of 11 patents. It works very well as a means of urban transport, and is therefore ideal for Singapore and its ongoing campaign to encourage car-free travelling. Tsinova has shown that e-bikes too, can be light and chic, paving the way for more of the same feasible models that will hopefully prove to be a success in the coming years.
If you are keen to get your hands on this promising e-bike, do visit:
Shado International Group
7 Mandai Link, #08-19, Mandai Connection
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri (10am-4pm)
Tel: 6316 8878
Togoparts Page: http://www.togoparts.com/bike-shop/1476/shado-international-group-pte-ltd
You may also check out their retailer at:
Footloops @ Oxley Bizhub
61 Ubi Road 1, #01-21
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat (10am-8pm)
Tel: 6384 0336
Togoparts Page: http://www.togoparts.com/bike-shop/1273/footloops