Saturday, October 29, 2016

Ford Recall Letter

In case you want to know what a Ford recall letter looks like I got mine late last week.   I figured I would share it.

It was announced by Ford on August 22.  I got the letter Middle of October.  Hopefully only a few of us are impacted.  You can check if your Fuse is by going to  Ford Owner Site  and typing in your VIN.   I talked a little about the recall in an earlier blog post.

Ford Recall Letter

Ford Recall Letter

Ford Recall Letter

Ford Recall Letter

Friday, October 28, 2016

Fenix UC35 flashlight

In our motorhome we have several flashlights.  We carry a petzl headlamp , a traditional D cell Maglight  for Sonya and our topic for today.  A Fenix UC35 LED Flashlight

The Fenix is a beast in a small package.   It produces 960 lumens on high.  That is about the amount of light that a car headlamp puts out.  It blasts a huge a huge amount of light and illuminates a large area.

It has several modes of operation.  Eco, low, medium, high and turbo.  It also has a strobe mode.   The lowest mode is equivalent to your old style disposable plastic flashlight.  With a full charge it will run 150 hours on low at 14 lumens.  Sort of like a penlight in intensity.  The Medium mode is about like the 3 D cell Maglight and will run for 9 hours.  The High and Turbo modes are spotlights putting out 480 and 960 lumens respectively for a couple of hours.    

Avoid the strobe mode unless you really need it.  It is designed to be disorienting for self defense . Even with your eyes closed you can see the light.   If you are looking at the light once you can see again the headache will continue.  Don't ask how I know.

It puts out this huge amount of light in a small package.   It fits in your hand well.

It uses a rechargeable 18650 battery.    The best features that the battery can be recharged while it is still in the light.   It recharges using a USB port.   I can just plug it into the Fuses USB ports and I am good.  This goes along with my philosophy of keeping with using the DC systems in the motorhome and staying away from things that need 110v AC.  I can recharge for free using the Solar panel in most cases.   Oh, and in a pinch it can use 2 CR123a batteries.

It comes with a USB charging cable and a nice carrying case that can fit on a belt.  I just normally stick it in my pocket, but leave it in the case when I am not using it.

There are other lights like this out there (Streamlight for one).  I picked the Fenix.   In my youth I purchased inexpensive flashlights.  They never worked when I needed them.  I graduated to Maglights and though they would last 5 years instead of 1 year, They were not rock solid either.  10 years ago I started purchasing "good" lights and though more expensive, I have yet to be let down.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Reser's Main Street Bistro Baked Shredded Potato Casserole

We continue to try things for dinner while traveling in the Fuse.     Tonight we tried Reser's Main Street Bistro Baked Shredded Potato Casserole .  

Reser's Main Street Bistro Shredded Potato Casserole

When shopping this morning I came across this at the supermarket.  On sale for $3.00 a container I thought it was a bargain.  There were several potato options from Reser's but this one looked the best. I also had something to compare it to.  Sonya makes a potato casserole like this and it is one of my favorites.

Why potatoes tonight?  Well we were having T-Bone steaks and potatoes seemed be a natural side item.

T-Bone Steaks on Grill

They were beautiful steaks.  A little bit of olive oil, some salt, some pepper and they were ready for the grill.

They came out great.   As I was letting them rest I went in the motorhome and prepared the side.

The Casserole was easy to make.  Remove the plastic covering,  put in the microwave for 4 minutes and serve.  That is what the box said and it was right.

Steaks and Potato Casserole

So how did it taste?  Like the last pre-prepared dish we tried,  a little salty.  It would have been nice if they substituted more onion for some of the salt so there was more flavor and less sodium.   It was pretty good other than that.  I would get it again.

It was missing something however.  When Sonya makes Potato Casserole she puts some crunches on the top.  Usually some corn flakes in butter.  She puts them on a few minutes before the casserole is done.  Then she browns them the last few minutes.  This was missing the crunches.

Next time we may buy some plain croutons to put on top or bring a small box or two of cornflakes for the topping.  It might not be quite as good, but the crunches would definitely help.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Eastbank Campground - Lake Seminole

Eastbank Campground

Fall has come to North Florida.  This morning it was in the 50s.  Perfect RV weather.   So once I got the chores done we got in the Fuse and headed to one of our discoveries last weekend.  The East Bank Campground at Lake Seminole.

The beauty is that is is only about an hour from our house.  A very easy drive down I-10  and then up to Chattahoochee.   While most of Florida is flat as a pancake, the area around Chattahoochee actually has hills.  Go across the Lake and it is flat again, but at the campground there is some rise and fall.  A real treat for a Floridian.

We did not have any reservations, but we decided to test our luck and go for it.  The campground is an Army Corps of Engineers project.   You can make reservations on Reserve America if you know you are going more than 4 days in advance.  We got to the check-in building and they had plenty of spaces available.  The folks working there were very friendly and helpful.  On the other hand they did ask me if I wanted the Senior discount so I must be looking rougher that I thought.

Since I never had camped at a COE site they entered me into the computer.  I gave them my phone number which is how it is indexed, so next time we stay at any COE run sites we are already in the system   The cost for the night was $24.00.  They take cash, check and credit cards.  They assigned me to site 14, gave me some advice on ants and we went down the hill to our loop.

Eastbank Campground

We got to our site and all I can say is it is as nice of a site as we have ever stayed in.  Everything is clean and manicured.  There is only electric (30 and 50 amps) and water at the sites but there is a dump station on the way out. Everything at the site is about as immaculate as can be.  The sites are crushed stone on this loop.  There were some sites that were along the road on the upper loop that were paved.

Eastbank Campground

There are two bath houses for the campground.  They are both at the upper loop.  The sites by the lake have a walk uphill to get to them, so you need to decide what is most important.

Eastbank Campground

We got to our site and pulled in.  We did have to pull up and back a little to find a perfectly level spot but the entire site was in the bubble.  I plugged in the Fuse to the electric and set up camp.  Since we are only going to be here one night we left the slide in, put out the chairs and started enjoying the beautiful day.

Eastbank Campground

The campground sits right on the bank of Lake Seminole.  The view is gorgeous.   I am not sure what more to say.

Eastbank Campground

We brought our new E-Joe bike and rode around some.  There are some hills here but they were no problem for the E-bike.  I peddled on low assist and playing with the gears some I was able to go up and down with no problems.

Some other things.  We got 10 OTA channels on the TV so watching some football was an option.   I am still thinking that a satellite system is not necessary.  Verizon LTE was pretty good so I was able to get on the Internet.  Since the lake is on the Eastern/Central timezone line, our cellphones were off by an hour.

For the trip details.   110 miles traveled.  Mostly down I-10.  15.2 mpg on the computer and 15.7 mpg when calculated by hand.

A companion video is at:

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Tire gauge for the Fuse

Dually tires

Keeping the tires properly inflated on any vehicle is important.  On the Fuse there are 6 tires that need to be looked after.  The two in the front are easy.  Just like on a car.  The 4 on that back are a little different.  They are commonly referred to as  a "dually".  These are good since they allow the Fuse to carry more weight.  They do require a couple of different tools to do the upkeep.

Air Gauge
Milton S-976 from Amazon

To keep the tires at the proper inflation you need to be able to measure how much pressure is in the tire.  To do this you need a "dual head chuck" air gauge.   Not a big deal.   I own a  Milton S-976 Dual Head Chuck Service Gauge.   It can be had for $15 from Amazon.  You can also get smaller ones and larger ones from various places.   The most important part is that it has the "dual head"  That way you can get the pressure on the tire stems pointing in and the stems that point out.

Checking tire pressure

It is fairly easy to use.  Just use the top opening to get pressures when the tire stem is pointing out.  For the outside tire where the tire stem points in, use the bottom opening and just pull the gauge to you.   Not a big deal.   The correct tire pressures (the front and back may be different, so check) are listed inside the front drivers side door.   Check to see what your inflation pressure should be.

Take note: on the Fuse the tire pressure for the front tires is different than the pressure for the rear tires.  This is different from a car where pressures are generally the same all around.

So if your tire is low what do you do:

Well any tire shop, truck stop, etc will be able to fix you up.  They all have dual head tire inflators.   A normal gas station/convenience store might not, but a real service station will.   Also note that the pressures you need to inflate the tires is between 60-70psi.   Not all tire inflators/compressors will go this high since it is much higher than a car tire.

If you have roadside service call them.  They are set up to help.  I am sort of old school and have a problem bothering the roadside service folks if it is a fix I can handle.  I know I pay them to come out,  but I feel embarrassed to have to call them for the simple stuff and I hate the wait.

If you have nice compressor in the garage like I do you may want to buy your own inflater.  For years I have had a dual head air chuck that came with my compressor.   I used it on the Fuse once and decided I needed something better.  I needed one with a built in gauge.  Going back and forth between the gauge and the inflator got old real fast.

EPAuto Air inflator
EPAuto Dual Head Tire Inflator from Amazon

I purchased an EPAuto Commercial Grade Dual Head Tire Inflator Gauge with 12" Air Hose.   Amazon had them for $25, but I saw them other places for about the same.  I had used one at several places in the past and they worked well. I felt good going with this.  I had to add a quick connect to the bottom of the inflator to easily connect and disconnect from my air hose on the compressor but then I was off.

I am carrying a small air compressor in the Fuse and have put the older air chuck without a gauge with it.  If I have to use it for filling a tire it will be an emergency and exact pressures won't be an issue.  Getting to the next tire store down the road will be the priority.

My ATS Recall Notice

We discussed this earlier but I got my Automatic Transfer Switch recall/inspection letter this week.  In case you have never gotten one or want to know what to be on the lookout for, I figured I would post a photo of it.  I am still waiting to see what Ford sends for the Transit recall my Fuse is impacted by.

Winnebago Recall Notice

Winnebago Recall Notice

Thursday, October 20, 2016

2017 1/2 - 2018 Fuse Updates from Facebook

Lynn & John Hawkins went to the Winnebago Factory and while there met with a  product planner for the Fuse.   I am copying her Facebook posting here and a couple of the comments to spread the word:

Lynn Gilleland Hawkins - 10/12/16
When we met with the Product Planner, he also read us the changes to the new model Fuse which I believe are all available this month. I was typing as fast as I could and, hopefully, I got this right, but please don't hold me to the accuracy of this! I did my best! Here they are:
Navigation system.
Color - Ford discontinued Lunar Sky so they had to change the Fuse color.
5000 lb hitch – they changed the chassis extension and put on a bigger hitch.
Ford Sync radio.
Lane change warning.
Minor cosmetic change to the cabinets up front.
Raised coach clearance 1 inch.
Convenience package is now standard other than the second battery (option).
Changing sofa - easier to pull out and more comfortable especially for large sofas - better sleeping surface.
Entrance door is 2 inches taller.
Table hardware changed - tube and bases fit better.
Added siphon tube.

New options:
Chrome wheels.
Dual pane windows - same weight with shade in the middle; open out like jalousies. Like the ones in the View.
Electric stabilizer jacks – they will not level, just keep from rocking.
Different bike rack.

 John Hawkins
They actually tested the new 2" hitch on the original frame extension and it deformed at max load, so they changed the frame extension to accommodate the increased capacity. Straight from the engineer.
John Hawkins
Some clarifications: The 1" extra clearance will only come once Ford delivers Transits with the new leaf springs (starting later this month?) and they roll through the Winnebago assembly line sometime later. The new hitch cannot be retrofitted on earlier models because the frame extension that Winnebago adds to the Transit frame has been beefed up quite a bit on the models that come with increased towing capacity. If you have the lightweight tables you already have the Springfield Marine table hardware. The early heavy tables have ITC Marine hardware. Neither of us can remember what Lynn's "siphon tube" note means; winterizing water system maybe??

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Electrical Cords and Surge Protectors

I highly recommend and use a surge protector when I plug in the Fuse to shore power.   It may not be necessary and it may be a false security blanket, but it is cheap insurance.   I keep reading of people suffering problems during brownouts, surges, mis-wired sockets, poor grounds and several other bad conditions.

When I bought the Fuse, finding a surge suppressor was one of my first purchases.   I needed a 30amp unit so I did some research.  There were lots of opinions on the internet.  Good, better and best.  My recommendation is to buy one that makes you feel comfortable.

TRC Surge Guard 34730

I purchased the Technology Research Corp 34730 surge protector.  That was last years model and I got a deal.  Now you can get a improved Technology Research Corp 34830 30 Amp surge protector.  Both of these units analyze the power for a minute or two before they let any to the coach. I think this is a good thing to make sure the power is clean.  It continuously monitors for voltage, amps, polarity, grounding.  It has a readout you can look at to see how things are going if you are having a problem.

I also carry 2 electric cords with me.  One is a standard orange electric cord.  Nothing special, I pulled it out of the garage and it is used if I need so electricity around the campsite.

Cameo 55197

The other one I carry is a Camco 55197 30 AMP 50' PowerGrip Extension Cord.   I carry this to connect the RV when far away from a pedestal or to the house with a doggone.  This is a nice 10 awg cord.   You need the heaviest cord you can find when using 30 amps of power and going 50 feet.  A smaller gauge cord will get hot and is a safety hazard.   8 gauge would be better but is probably overkill.  I like the grips on this one and the carrying strap.   But a 10 awg cable is a 10 awg cable and they will work the same.

Note:  They seem to go on sale all of the time for about half price.  Check at Camping World, Walmart and even Lowes and Home depot.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Curly's Pulled Pork & Bob Evans Mac & Cheese

We keep looking for food that we can easily cook in the Fuse, but does not heat up the living space.   For lunch during our exploration of Hales Landing we brought along a couple of things we wanted to try out.

Today, Publix (a regional supermarket chain) Curly's Sauceless Pulled Pork was on sale.  This was located in the meat section but was not frozen.  The microwave safe container held 12oz of nice pulled pork in a vacuumed sealed bag.  To me the best part was that there was NO BBQ sauce on the meat.  Sometimes the sauce is all you taste.  In this case, it was all meat.

It was very easy to prepare.  Remove the meat from the vacuumed sealed bag.  Place it in the supplied container and microwave for 2-3 min.  Mix the meat up and microwave again for 1 min and it is ready.  Using the Fuse microwave,  these instructions worked fine.

I then fixed the Bob Evans Macaroni & Cheese.  It was on sale as for $3.00 and located in the same section of the market as the pulled pork.   It was easy to fix in the microwave as well.  Open a corner of the container to allow to vent.  Microwave for 3 minutes and then stir.  Microwave for another couple of minutes and it was ready to serve.

We served dinner on our finest paper plates with some sour dough bread.  Both dishes came out very good.  We are definitely going to add this to our motorhome dining choices.  There were both slightly on the salty side but tasty.  Neither had that twang that often comes with pre-prepared food.  

These do have to be stored refrigerated so it is not something to pack for a long trip.  But the way we traveled over the summer, we definitely could pick these up in the morning and then cook that evening or the next day without consuming too much room in the refrigerator.  We will definitely be eating this again on our travels.   

How healthy? Not very, but no worse than fast food. 

On another positive, there was enough leftovers for the two of us to have two meals.  Lily even enjoyed the meal, but she enjoys almost anything.

(Sonya's note:  These are my favorite types of meals - good hearty meals that Don can fix while I am out walking the dog and have ready for us when we get back.  Better yet, he is great at clean-up.)

Update 10/29/16

Curly's was back on sale today at Publix.  2 for  $6.99.  This time I got the sauceless pulled chicken.  Even better than the pork.    Very good, moist but not wet.  

Hales Landing GA - Lake Seminole

Fuse at Hales Landing

We decided to go and do some exploring in the Fuse today.   We started out heading for Cordele, Ga.   As we were heading down the road I changed my mind and headed for Fort Gaines, GA on the Alabama border.   So we headed up US-27 and we were on our way.

We got to Bainbridge and it was lunch time.  We saw a sign for Seminole State Park and headed in that direction to stop and eat lunch.  On the way, we saw a sign for a Corps of Engineers (COE) recreation area at Hales Landing on Lake Seminole.  It was just 2 miles away so that is where we ended up for lunch.

Hales Landing Picnic Area

Now that I sound like I am going crazy, this is the great thing about having a motorhome, you can change your mind and find out of the way places.  The landing was a great place to eat lunch in the Fuse.  There is a small campground there and several picnic shelters in addition to the boat launch.

Hales Landing

We parked the Fuse and started making lunch.    For that we needed the microwave so I started the generator.  The generator was needed for about 15 min. and  I was pleasantly surprised since the generator got less noisy as it ran.  

A month ago when I had the oil changed I had them use Mobile One synthetic oil.  Several people had commented that the oil had helped quiet some of the generator noise.  I figured it was low cost, low risk thing to do - so I did.  After the generator ran for about 5 minutes the tone changed.  I thought the generator might have been stopping but everything was fine and the microwave was still running.  About 5 minutes later, the same thing happened, the generator got a little less noisy as the same thought ran through my mind but again everything was going good.  Don't confuse this with the generator being quiet.  It was still loud, but not as loud as before.  It sounded like it was running somewhat smoother as well.  It could be that things are just getting broken in at 20 hours, but things got a little better.

Hales Landing

After lunch and looking around, we drove to the south end of Lake Seminole.  Saw several other COE and other sites looking at them as potential weekend getaways.  Eventually we got to the COE Eastbank campground just outside Chattahoochee, Fl.  We asked if we could look around and were given a 15 min pass by the camp host to take a look.   We are definitely going back when the weather cools a little.  This campground was right against the water and was beautiful.

Then we went back home.  We started out heading NNE, then NNW and then wound up due West.   We drove 170 miles today.  We got 16.25mpg on our journey.  The computer ended at 16.2mpg but during our travels around the lake at 40mph the computer was showing 17.5mpg.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Dogbones for the Beagle Bus

A dogbone in RV parlance is a nice electrical adapter.  These adapters allow you to plug your RV into an electric socket that is different than the one your  RV comes with.    Why do they call them dogbones?  Because the best ones have an connector on each end of a thick electrical cord and looks like a dogbone.

RV Dogbones

I prefer things that are easy to use.  I like the dogbone adapters that have grips and handles I can get my hands on.  This makes it easy to connect and disconnect the adapters from the motorhome power cord.

RV Power adapter

There are some adapters that are much smaller, but I don't think they are made as well as the dogbone types.  They place all the stress of a connection on the RV cord.   I try and baby anything permanently connected to the RV so I don't like this added stress. They can also be a pain to get on and off since they sometimes are hard to get a good grip on.

If you buy a dogbone adapter make sure the cable is thick.  Thicker is better and it should be as big around as your thumb - 10awg or better.  Remember a smaller number is thicker/better in this case  than a larger number.

For the Fuse, make sure one end is a female 30 amp connector.  You plug the Fuse's shore power cable  into this side.  Make sure the other end is male so you can plug it into the outlet on the other side.

30 Amp Connector
30 amp connector

The Fuse and most small RVs come equipped with a 110v 30 amp connector.  This connector prongs look like a V with a ground prong at the bottom.  This is very common and for most places you go you will not need any type of adapter.  But there are 3 cases when're you might.

15 amp connector
15 amp connector

The most common case is when you want to plug your RV into a standard plug at your house. This plug is a 15amp plug.   I do this often when getting ready for a trip to get the refrigerator down to temperature.  Remember with 15 amps, you have to be careful you do not draw too much current.  On  my Motorhone,  with the batteries full, powering the refrigerator and running the A/C on low takes all 15 amps.   Anything else will trip the house breaker.

50 amp connector
50 amp connector

What if you go to a nice RV park and they put you in a huge pull through site designed for a Prevost bus.  You will most likely find 50 amp connection.  In many cases you will find both a 50 amp and a 30 amp plug.  But if there is only a 50 amp plug or the 30 amp plug does not want to work you will need one of these.

L5-30 Conector
L5-30 connector

Another dogbone I carry is a 30amp L5-30 adapter.  This is used to connect into most portable generators that supply 30amp power.  It is an L or locking connector since once you plug it in you twist it slightly and it locks in place so it won't fall out.  I have a large gasoline generator for other purposes.  If I was running it for other reasons (like keeping my refrigerator running in the house if the power was out) I would connect the Fuse to it as well and save the LP gas.

Safety is important when working around electricity.  When using an adapter, you need to occasionally check it.  Make sure the connection is solid and not loose.  Make sure you keep it off of the ground so it does not get wet and cause problems.  One of the most important things you can do is to feel it and make sure it is not getting hot.  If it is,  you are pulling too much current for the setup and you need to re-think how you have things connected.

The dogbones I have purchased and carry with me are:
Camco 55175 PowerGrip Dogbone Electrical Adapter with Handle, 18-Inch, yellow  -  This is the 50amp adapter I carry

Camco 55165 15M/30F 12" PowerGrip Dogbone Electrical Adapter with Handle - This is the 15amp household adapter I carry.  You really need one of these even if you do not get the other ones.

Camco 55272 12" L5-30 AMP Locking 3-Prong Plug / TT-30 30 AMP Standard Receptacle PowerGrip Generator Adapter  -  This is  the adapter I carry to connect to an external generator.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

E-Joe Epik SE Review - Several Weeks In

It has been a busy few weeks but I figured I would add some comments on the my new E-Joe Epik SE bike now that I have ridden it for a while.   To get the details on the Epik SE you can read the first day review I posted earlier.   I am still very happy with the bike.  It rides wonderfully and is working out exactly the way I hoped.

I have now done several rides of 5-7 miles.  These have been on hard packed soil bike trails.   The bike has handled this environment great!   I was a little concerned since this is not a mountain bike but no issues.  Soft soil would be another matter and riding in the grass is a little much for the narrow tires.

The longest ride so far has been 7 miles.  It would have been 14 but I got a flat tire and had to get rescued by my wife.

I generally have been riding the bike using peddle assist 1.  I have been changing the gears to make it easy to peddle and not place any pressure on my feet and ankles.  I have some major issues with my feet and normal bike riding is out of the question.

The Epik SE has a huge amount of power and it has taken these several rides to get use to it.  On flat  asphalt, peddle assist 1 is too powerful and I have to take great care.  Very little peddling is necessary.  I like to move my legs so in these conditions I have been turning off peddle assist and just using the thumb throttle to give a kick when needed.

On the hills here in Tallahassee, peddle assist 1 is perfect.  Big hills that would have caused me to dismount 20 years ago are just handled and no effort is involved.

I mostly have been riding on the Miccosukee Greenway Trail here in Tallahassee (details).  I wanted to build up my experience and wanted to build up distances to see how far the battery would take me.  I have been very concerned about getting stranded so I have been building up slowly.

My last ride was to be 14 miles.  It  was going great but about 7 miles into it and about 100 yards from my turn around point I got a flat tire.   I had just come off a bridge and am pretty sure I caught a nail in the tire. The air came out as fast as it went in.

The good part was at 7 miles the battery was still reading full.  This was after a ride that was  half up and half down decent hills.   I feel very confident that it should be able to do 20-30 miles on this type of terrain without killing the battery.

A couple of points:

  • With an e-bike you do need to make sure you get the feel of the bike.  It is different from a normal bike and can get away from you fast.  
  • I am still not comfortable enough to ride it in traffic.  After a couple more rides I probably will be.
  • The bike can go 20mph.  This is too fast for me.  
  • The breaks work great.  I have had to use them on the hills to keep from going too fast.
  • I brought my bike to my local bike shop to take a look over it.  I had been planning to do this and the flat tire moved the schedule up.  They checked it out and everything was in good shape other than a few loose screws.  I asked them to do a tune up and since it did not need one they just charged me a few dollars for labor over the cost for fixing the tire.  Local bike shops are great.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

E-Joe Epik SE Review - 1st day

E-Joe Epik SE

After a lot of research I have purchased an E-bike.  When we purchased the Fuse we knew we did not want to tow a car. We have come to the conclusion that some local transportation would be helpful.

A really good site I used doing the research on E-bikes was  I recommend this site if you are thinking about buying an E-bike since there are lots and lots of choices.  EBR does a great job of helping with real data.

Why an E-Bike? I wanted to make sure it would be something we used and not just something we hauled around with us.  I am starting to get old and some electric assist will go a long way to making me want to ride.   If the bike turns out to be work, it will just sit there.  We only purchased one so we can see how it works out.  If it does well,  then we will buy another one so Sonya and I can ride together.

I purchased a E-Joe Epik SE from Amazon.   The exact one is at 2016 e-JOE Epik SE Magenta Pink Folding Electric Bike .   It was sold and delivered from .  I purchased it from Amazon for two reasons:
  1. I wanted the protection buying from Amazon gives you.  I was not familiar with these companies so I wanted help if I needed it.    Although, I really wanted to buy local in case I had any problems.  There are just not any places in Tallahassee that had a large selection of E-Bikes.  Several people would order me one, but there were no stores in town that had experts.  The closest stores that seemed to focus on e-bikes were several hundred miles away.
  2. Once I picked the Epik SE the best deal I found was on Amazon.   There was a reason for this.  The bike was pink!  They had several different colors on their web site but pink was available for a $200 savings on Amazon.  For a $200 discount we will ride a pink bike.  For that amount of money I can be secure in my masculinity.  And it might turn into Sonya's bike in the future.
So I placed my order and it was at my doorstep in a week.  Why did I buy an E-Joe Epik SE?  
  • It was light for an E-Bike - 40 lbs.    I wanted light since I need to lift it up onto the bike rack. Most E-bikes come in at 60lbs.   If I got a second bike the combined weights need to stay under 120 pounds so they do not max out the Fiamma bike rack.
  • It got great reviews for a low cost E-bike.  
  • It was low cost for an E-Bike.  Low cost is relative for an E-bike.  List price for the Epik SE was $1600.  I paid $1200.
  • It came with a larger battery - 12amp hours.  More amp hours = more range.   This bike should be able to do 20-30 miles or more depending on how much the rider helps.
  • It has a 350watt/36v motor which was on the large side of the bikes I looked at.  Many were 250-300watts.  I thought this would be important since I am not a small person and I do not want to peddle up hills.
E-Joe Epik SE foldedE-Joe Epik SE

It arrived at our doorstep (thanks Fedex) and it was packed great.  Wrapped in a lot of bubble wrap and some styrofoam.  I think that the company did a great job making sure it did not get damaged in transit.   I had watched the videos on how the bike folded and unfolded.  I pulled it out of the box, unfolded it and it was mostly ready to go.

E-Joe Epik SE

I did have to adjust the cant of the handlebars using an allen wrench which took two minutes.  A bike tool was even included in the box with the charger.  After that, since the battery was mostly charged it was off to the front yard to see how well it worked.

E-Joe Epik SE

It worked great! Almost too great.   In all fairness, I have not really been on a bike in 10 years except trying out a couple of E-Bikes in the last several months.  If you are a hard core biker, you may have very different observations.
E-Joe Epik SE

Using it just as a bike I was pretty happy.  It has 7 speeds and was very easy to peddle.  From a bike perspective, I am sure it is the nicest bike I have ever owned.  It should be since it is also the most expensive bike I have ever owned.  Sitting on it was comfortable.  It has shocks on the front and a cushioned seat.  The seat and handlebars are adjustable for height so it can fit people with a wide range of heights.  It has fenders to keep splashes down and a rack on the back to carry stuff.   All things I wanted in a bike.

E-Joe Epik SE

As an E-bike, the Epik can be used with just the thumb throttle or using peddle assist.    The maximum speed is 20mph.  This is actually a governed speed since if it can go faster than 20mph it is no longer considered a bike and is covered by laws for motorcycles and mopeds.  By the way, 20mph on a bike seems faster than I really want to go.

Using the thumb switch, no peddling is required.  Control the speed with your thumb.  

Using peddle assist, the motor helps you peddle.  The faster you peddle, the faster you go.  It has 3 levels of peddle assist.  Low, Medium and High.  My initial impression given 1 hour of use is that peddle assist actually assists too much. From what I read, this is probably since I am in a very flat area and the assist is tuned for hilly areas.   How  I actually use the motor is what I will have to experiment with.

E-Joe Epik SE

There were only two things I put in the minus column on this bike so far.  Both I knew about when I made the purchase so there were expected and not a big deal to me.
  1. The bike comes with a bell attached.  It is garbage and they probably should not bother.  If I had not read about it I would not have noticed it.  It does not work well and for a bike that is very well constructed and has a lot of thought put into it, this is the only weak point I have seen so far.
  2. The controller is very basic.  Other bikes have speedometers and 10 vs 3 levels of peddle assist.  This controller on the Epik is on/off and 3 levels of assist.   I think that this is a conscious decision that E-Joe made to keep the costs under control.   This is not a big deal to me given my needs. I saw several other companies selling similar bikes with fancier controllers for several hundred dollars more. I think I would rather save the money.

E-Joe Epik SE

I also wanted to see how well it fit on the back of the Fuse.   It went on fine.  I might try with the handlebars folded down or with the seat removed.  It was not too heavy to get it up on the rack so one of my major factors was addressed.

Riding it around the driveway was fun.  Everyone in the family took a turn.  This is a game changer for me and using a bike.  After an hour of use all I can say is this is great!