Thursday, 17 April 2008

Kalkhoff Agattu: Second Impressions




I’ve now used the Agattu for a day out round town with Mike, a commute to work via the station and several mini trips. I now have a good idea of what it can do. This is my first big city style bike (although my wife used to have one) and my first electric bike.

Ive noticed 4 things I love about it:

  1. Its so heavy and such a strong ride, that you don’t notice the weight of a child in a rear child seat. Obviously the Dutch have known this all along, while I learnt it yesterday.

  2. If I get home from work and I want to take my son out for a 5 minute ride I can just get on it and go. Its got full lights and reflectors (so I don’t have to worry about visibility), Its got a chain guard (so I don’t have to tuck my trousers in my socks), Its got plain rubber pedals (so I don’t have to put on shoes that I don’t get mind getting roughed up or my ‘special’ clipless shoes), Its got a built in lock and no quick release mechanisms so if I park it at the village play park or outside the local shop, I can just clip that shut and walk away.

  3. The electric motor is incredible when pulling away. Just push the pedal gently and off you shoot. In top gear! In the city with a child seat, this is just amazing! I cant wait to try a roundabout!

  4. It climbs my local steep hills (again top gears best!), with very little effort from myself. In fact it climbs better than it goes on the flat! This is what i bought it for, the other three things are icing on the cake.

Any cons? Well more niggles really:

  1. I wish I’d bought the step through frame to make using the child seat easier.
  2. The inner tubes came with woods valves. For those of us born after the war, Woods valves are a very old type of valve that first appears to have been used by Stone Age man. Why they’ve been fitted to a 21st century bike I have no idea. Annoyingly the free (Not free! I paid for this useless lump of plastic!) pump is for woods valves only as well. As I’m not a body builder I couldn’t actually pump my tyres up. They’ll be making bikes from wood next.
  3. They should have fitted forks that completely lock out, on very smooth roads, the fork travel is wasted. That said the forks are very well behaved , you don't feel like your bouncing and the handling is superb on fast descents and braking.
  4. The handle bar grips are incredibly comfortable, but on a hot day they felt very sweaty compared to old fashioned handlebar tape. I might sew a posh leather sleeve for them.

Overall though, 9/10 with lots to love.

5 comments:

Erik said...

I have the step-thru Agattu, and its really good with a child in a seat behind.
I also enjoy the stability going down steep descents on gravel roads.
Due to the long distance between crank and rear wheel, the childs weight is more forward than on normal bikes.

The brakes give a very confident feel going down ramps where you are supposed to get off your bike and walk on the stairs beside. But I do have a keen eye on Magura HS 11 hydraulic rim brakes.

cycledad said...

That point about the long distance between crank and rear wheel is a good one Erik. It makes a lot sense.

Anthony said...

I have the step-thru version of the Agattu and the 'cowhorn' handlebars supplied are different from those on the Gents version, which happen to be straight. Because they curve round towards the body, you can sit more upright and it limits pain in your shoulders over longer distances. I was worried about the bike looking a bit feminine for a bloke, but ergonomically it feels exactly like my old Giant LaFree bicycle which had exactly the same type of handlebars, and I would recommend it to anyone who can't decide which version to get. I'm 6 foot tall, but still only needed the medium size (53cm) frame as these bikes are huge. The large size is strictly for the very lanky only!

Regarding panniers, I bought a couple of clip-on bike bins (www.bikebins.com), which are made of durable plastic with a lockable lid. This means you can leave your bits and bobs safely locked in the pannier on your bike without having to carry them (or your spare battery!) around with you. There's a carrying handle on each pannier which also acts as a loop through which you thread a bicycle lock to secure the bin to your bike. Excellent!

cycledad said...

Hi Anthony,

Good choice on the bike bins. If i didnt have the child seat i'd go for a set of these. Sooooo pratical.

PS It doesnt show in this picture but the handlebars on the 'Diamond' frame (we're all Gents here :-) ) is the same as the handlebars on the Step-thru frame. ie there is a backwards curve. The Pro-connect its younger sportier cousin has the very flat (very useless) handlebars.

pertamana said...

hi there. I know this post is quite old.. but I'll try to ask a question.. What child seat did you use? I find that the battery is in the way of regular child seat..
Cheers
Tino