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Katima to Cape Riding Tips - Rupert Nanni
People often ask me how much assistance you get from the bike and that’s a bit like asking how long is a piece of string. My Torq is fitted with eZee’s cruise control, the eZee Assistance Factor (EAF). This is a cunning little dial that means I don’t have to hold a throttle for hours on end and suffer wrist fatigue. You dial in as much help as you want, and the bike delivers the goods.

“So you can have it turned all the way to full and just sit there” is the next question. Not quite. For starters, the bike is in pedelec mode, so if I don’t pedal, there’s no power. Secondly, riding flat out would significantly shorten the range on each battery and put the motor under unnecessary strain in an already strenuous environment. Namibia is very hot in summer, hovering around 40 degrees Celsius and several sections will be on dirt roads. I would have to tread a fine line between economy and power, and hammering it and nursing the bike home. In various tests, I’d worked out that for my riding style, the Lithium Polymer battery lasted 50km when used heavily, and 75km when used economically.

The other thing I’ve noticed is that the Torq is very economical when used over a certain speed. It’s almost as if it’s fighting gravity up to a point, then momentum takes over and helps. The benefit here is obviously on open roads where you don’t have to stop all the time.

Hill climbing is the big question on everyone’s mind. As I start up a hill, I’d gradually feed in power and check the cycle analyst continually as the gradient increases. If you don’t increase leg power, the watts start to climb, so I would continually turn down the EAF to keep it under 400W. You loose an exponential amount of power by straining the bike on uphills. Letting the power spike for 20m could mean a loss of a couple of km on a flat road. I guess what I’m saying is look up, stand up and pedal!

But the bike is not the only one using up energy. I long ago worked out that cycling energy bars and gels not only cost a fortune, but they can get too much. They’re too sweet and difficult to stomach continually. I still carry one energy drink on the bike, but always have plain water as well. Food wise, there’s nothing like a good old fashioned sandwich or peanut bar and I make a habit of eating something every hour.