Yesterday Bolt surprised by making 250 e-bikes available in Warsaw, joining the second type of two-wheeled e-scooter offered in the capital for several years. However, the biggest Polish city was not the first place where Bolt introduced the bikes, because for several weeks identical vehicles can also be rented in Bydgoszcz, Krakow and Olsztyn.
And just a few days ago we decided to take a trip to Olsztyn to see how Bolt’s self-service bike works. We arrived in Warmia and tested several green Bolt bikes especially for you. It is true that we were greeted by rain, but apparently there is no bad weather for a bike, so we invite you to read our material today.
In Olsztyn, the Estonian company has provided 100 examples of e-bikes, which are being made available to townspeople alongside a much larger number of e-scooters. The same mobile application is used for renting both types of vehicles, as well as for ordering TAXI rides from Bolt, and the bikes are displayed on the service map based on icons similar to those indicating positions. scooters.
Both types of two-wheelers are available for rent in the Free-Floating system, i.e. they can be rented directly from the curb and can also be left, provided the vehicle does not get in the way not pedestrian traffic and provided that it is left inside a specific area, which covers almost the entire Olsztyn area. The same rules apply to e-bike rental also in Bydgoszcz, Krakow and Warsaw.
Bolt in Poland offered its customers a bike specially designed for sharing services. It is a two-wheeler, from the Chinese company OKAI, which also specializes in the production of electric scooters for “sharing” services. The Bola bike is a solid, not to say armored, vehicle, but that is unfortunately the reality of shared services, where vehicles that are too fragile would need to be serviced too often, after some customers could handle this type of bike roughly. . The bike is also heavy, as it weighs over 30 kilograms, and a removable battery is responsible for some of the weight, allowing up to 60 kilometers to be traveled with a fully charged battery. The top speed of an e-bike should be electronically limited to 25 kilometers, but what does that actually look like later in our test.
It’s time to get serious, that is, a description of the driving experience and a description of the rental process, which is very simple and intuitive. When you reach the reserved bike, all you have to do is scan one of the two QR codes located either on the frame or on the rear fender. If we have a problem locating the bike in a maze of other vehicles, we can select the bell function, after which, when triggered, our reserved bike will start emitting fairly clear signals of thanks, which gives us will certainly help to follow the bike with which we will begin the journey in a moment. The readiness of the bike for riding is confirmed by a clear sound of unlocking the bike lock. If we have some small luggage, a backpack or a bag, we can put it in a plastic basket, but quite strong placed in front of the steering wheel. Before starting the journey, we can also place our phone in a holder with an integrated inductive charger, which also worked for a phone with a silicone case. There’s also a modest but clear display on the steering wheel that shows speed and current battery level. Before driving, the seat should also be adjusted, which is very simple.
At first glance it may seem that the start of this massive bike is heavy and that more delicate people may find it difficult to do it, but the first impression passes immediately, because from the first turn of the crank, you feel a clear assistance electric. Although riding a Bolt bike requires pedaling and there is no gear in this bike, it is not difficult and tiring even for people with poor physical condition. The driving impressions are good and traveling with this electric two-wheeler is pleasant, but it is not without drawbacks, which however result mainly from the specificity of the sharing services. The first drawback concerns the solid rubber wheels, designed with durability in mind and the optimization of service management processes, but this unfortunately affects the comfort of use. As long as the vehicle is moving on flat terrain, there are no complaints, but especially when driving on the cobblestones of Polish cities, the impressions are much worse. Despite the aforementioned “armor” of the bike and the relatively short operation of the bikes in Olsztyn, of the five vehicles we tested, in only two cases there was nothing to complain about. In the remaining three cases, minor or more significant technical problems were felt, such as a skipped crank or a false flywheel, the most likely cause of which is rough operation.
We rode more than 100 kilometers through the streets of Olsztyn on green two-wheelers and during this trip we were surprised by two problems. The first is the absence of a speed limiter, which is a fairly common solution in bike sharing services in Europe. In our country, according to regulations, the maximum driving speed of an electric bike is 25 km / h, and Bolt’s bike was able to accelerate to a higher speed without major problems, as you can see in the photo attached. For many users, this information will probably be received with joy, while the second of the announced problems is certainly not positive. It’s about riding a bike on hills. Downhill, as it is downhill, is pleasant enough, while attempting to climb the hill can be unpleasantly surprising. If the angle of inclination exceeds a certain value, the bike does not offer the expected electric assistance. In Olsztyn, places where electricity is definitely lacking there are at least a few, and anticipating comments that “you can pedal like a regular bike”, we will answer yes, but in an e-bike from OKAI , it takes much more force than in a bike without electric assistance, it will certainly be a great challenge for people with a weaker condition. However, there is a little trick that can be used when climbing a higher hill. The Bolt e-bike offers hill assist in the low speed range, up to a maximum of 5 km/h, so if you don’t want to tire yourself going up the hill, you can enter it with electric assist without overshooting the five” .
Before moving on to the test summary, it is worth looking at how much an e-bike ride costs. Bolt used a very simple price list, where we only pay per rental minute. It doesn’t matter if we ride a bike, put it in front of the store or in a clearing during a picnic, every minute of using an electric bike costs PLN 0.50
In summary, electric bikes are another type of vehicle that tries its hand at “sharing” and will gladly repeat the success of the electric scooters that have conquered the streets of Polish and European cities. We will probably soon find out whether non-stationary bikes will really share the popularity of scooters, but they will certainly be an interesting addition to the transport offer in the biggest Polish cities, so you should get used to seeing them and try to use them. , which we encourage you to do.