BBC Radio Solent broadcast a feature on Cytronex on 28th August by Nadine Dukeson. She test rode the Cytronex Powered Cannondale Capo , commenting that she felt like she was flying!
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DJ: Now, it claims to be the world's lightest electric bike, and its been designed and made in Winchester, the Cytronex powered bike not only promises to go faster, but you'll never struggle up hills or up against a headwind again, our reporter Nadine Dukeson strapped on her helmet and took it out for a test spin..
Nadine: Well John, you're always telling me to get on my bike, I just never thought that one day you would mean it quite so literally! I'm at Modern Times in Winchester. The company here claim they've made the worlds lightest electric bike, Mark Searles is the owner of the company and the bikes designer.
Nadine: Mark, can you tell me a bit about the bike, how heavy is it?
Mark: Well, the lightest one we do is the Cannondale Capo which has just been on The Gadget Show, that's 13.6 kilos. The heaviest one we do is 17 kilos, so the range of weights we have is within the sort of weight you would have with a normal bike without power assistance.
Nadine: What’s the difference between a normal bike and an electric bike?
Mark: An electric bike effectively means that you have assistance when you need such as on the hills and in headwinds, so it makes it as easy as going along the flat.
Nadine: Do you have to pay to make it easy?
Mark: Well they come at a price, but then you have to realise that you are replacing car journeys, so you're not having all the costs associated with a car, most of our users cycle to work.
Nadine: So this is a bike for a commuter, would you say?
Mark: Yes, we've designed it for commuting. My idea was to get people out of cars and onto bikes for journeys up to about 20 miles really.
Nadine: Why were you wanting to design a bike that was like this?
Mark: I wanted to do something for the environment, and I am also a keen cyclist. I could see an opportunity with a power assisted bike to persuade people to give up their cars for shorter journeys and as long as we could provide a product which retained all the good bits about cycling, the things people like, but got rid of all the bad bits, like the uphill slogs and the struggling through headwinds, I thought we had a realistic chance of persuading those people to get out of their cars.
Nadine: How much faster can you go on one of these types of bike?
Mark: Well, my journey to work is about 7 and half miles, I used to do it without assistance and it took me 34 minutes, now I can do it in 22, which is only 7 minutes longer than it takes me in the car, so on a rural road that's pretty good.
Nadine: OK well, Mark if it's OK can we go and look at the bike, you can show me how it works and we can give it a go.
Mark: OK I'm going to show you the two types of bike we do; we do single speed and also multi-geared bikes... This one here is a single speed.
Nadine: It looks just like a normal bike really, whats the difference?
Mark: Well, it's certainly the idea is that you can't tell it's assisted. The way it works is that theres a thumbswitch here.
Nadine: So that's just on the right of the handlebars, yes?
Mark: Yes, so you press that with your thumb. Once you start pedalling, what you will see is the motor start, and then the faster you pedal the faster the motor will go.
Nadine: And that motor is on the front wheel, is that right?
Mark: It's in the front wheel.
Nadine: And, how is it being powered?
Mark: It's being powered from this water bottle battery here, which is shaped like that so you can't tell it's electric.
Nadine: And it's in the place where a normal water bottle would go on a bike as well.
Mark: Exactly, it is impossible to tell.
Nadine: Right OK so were on our bikes, I'm in the low speed, and I'm just gonna press the Boost button and then off we go.. OK so just pressing that Boost button on my right... and you.. ooh! and you really... (laughs)
Nadine: You go so fast, I can't believe it - I'm really flying! It doesn't feel like it's any effort at all to ride that bike, that’s amazing! Gosh, you really could go a lot further couldn't you?
Mark: You can, indeed.
Nadine: Wow (laughs). I felt like I wasn't even pedalling, it just literally took off under my feet, that is amazing!
Mark: And of course it will climb very steep hills very easily, so you feel like you're pedalling on the flat.
Nadine: Well Mark, thank you so much for letting me have a go on the bike, I've had such an amazing experience, all I can say is John, Lance Armstrong eat your heart out!
DJ: There we go, Nadine Jukeson, trying out the world's lightest electrical bicycle. Now can I just say if you do see Nadine in next years Tour de France, I think it's only fair on the other riders that we do pull her over, and point out to everyone that she is actually on her electrical bicycle! Sounds good though, I like the idea that you can’t tell by looking at it if it's an electric bike... so you can be whizzing about over-taking everyone just going "ha haa, not even trying!"