On a crowded stage with many players, each pushing its own agenda, is the e-bike range of Vindy Trading, the Luyuan Alfa.
Committed to a green environment and enjoying its own prominent identity and position, the joint Vindy-Alfa combination has been pioneering all-electric scooters for almost a decade and a half. That Vindy-Alfa have captured the hearts, minds and indeed pockets (with its many economical advantages) of a vast following comes across clearly in the growing presence of the Company and Brand in our market.
Recently we had the pleasure of ride testing the two latest Alfa e-scooters to enter Sri Lanka - the siblings Neo and e-Pro.
The twins carry a whole number of features of technical and safety nature. These include the new 6X motor, run-flat steel radial tyre; graphene heat removal headlamp, Smart Quick Charging system, anti-shock battery charging socket and disc brake up front. In addition, if you select the Luyuan Alfa e-Pro you get the safety feature of main stand lock which allows the main (centre) stand to be deployed and folded only if the key is inserted in the main (‘ignition’) switch.
Yet another safety feature on these two bikes is the need for the rider to manually unlock the electric drive in order that the bike may begin to move forward. The meter will display the electronic system check running up the numbers, then the green backlight within the meter indicates that the check is complete. This means the bike is ready, are you? When you are ready to roll, squeeze a brake lever (front or rear brings the same result) then the meter legend turns to Ready and only then will the turn of the throttle bring any forward motion response in your Luyuan Alfa. The brake lever is the (unseen and unspoken about) switch to go from, what is in effect, neutral to drive. This safety feature is available on both the Luyuan Alfa twins.
The newest e-vehicle technology comes standard in these Alfa scooters beginning with the electric motor. The 6X motor temperature control ensures that the motor runs relatively cool so that it can produce maximum efficacy because during a motor’s operation it is but natural for the internal temperature to soar and damage the motor coils. This greatly interferes with the electric motor’s ability to perform. The Alfa Neo and e-Pro are equipped with this ‘cool’ technology temperature controller which ensures that the motor functions within its maximum efficacy range.
Another piece of useful tech is the runflat tyre. The extra steel layer in the tyre construction increases the resistance to a possible puncture. In the unlikely event of a puncture the bike can be safely ridden even over 30 km to the nearest tyre repair point.
A light source generates some heat energy, too. How much heat depends on the type of technology and the construction, as well as other factors. On the Alfa twins the LED graphene heat removal system offers an increase in output brightness, high-power LED light beams (low and high), and internal temperature of the headlamp unit can be kept below 80C, thus adding to the light source durability. The Luyuan Alfa siblings have been designed with built-in green friendly features - long life cycle products means lower cost of maintenance to the e-bike user and reduced need for replacement and recycling. Cooler operating temperatures means less ambient heat build-up, which in turn relates to reduced stress on current global resources.
Smart Quick Charging is also new tech, and is a step forward in electric vehicle charging systems. Company literature talks about this new tech as being ‘just like mobile phone quick charging replacing the traditional charging technology’. Due to the high efficiency internal circuitry and electronics, the performance of the charging module is enhanced and the rate of charging is quicker by 3 times while the battery is protected at the same time. The charging socket through which your Alfa Neo and e-Pro receive their regular nourishment has been designed to prevent the passing of electricity in case of accidental human touch, all the electrical zones suitably isolated from external contact.
On the subject of charging there was a time when e-bikes were still new to the market and technology could offer only limited expression to the bikes in terms of performance. About 60km on a full charge was the norm. The two Alfa e-bikes here are capable of a minimum of 80 km all the way up to 150 km, more than most riders would cover in a single day of running. The appeal of e-bikes with this enhanced running distance and other features - including the high level of assembly of the bikes - is increasing dramatically all the while, especially with the speeds at which e-vehicle technology is rocketing.
In addition to the instant near soundless sprint from standing to cruising speed and the gay abandon with which the rider of an e-bike can sail past a fuelling station yet another key technology of e-bikes is the regenerative braking and the rear end stability of these bikes. Braking on the two Alfa e-scooters was so smooth and encouraging, inviting the rider to get up to higher speeds on the road.
At times I found the Neo tending to have a mind of its own in terms of corner lean; this was only with left side lean; on the other side I enjoyed the fact that the Neo and I were on the same wave-length. This little point could be sorted out with a short visit to the service centre I feel. I had a wonderful time on both the Neo and the e-Pro and the e-scooters could keep up with the usual motorized traffic with no problem. In fact braking was so good, and with no gears to change up or down, the e-scooters could make astonishing progress in the presence of other road users.
Initially I found I had to raise my feet higher off the road than on a traditionally motivated scooter. The footboard is where the e-units of electric scooters are housed and must naturally accommodate that extra height. However, once muscle memory kicks in (which is about the second or third time you place your feet on the footboard) you are comfortable with the slightly elevated position.
One thing that took me some getting used to, though, was the fact that the turn signal button was mounted too distant from the left handlebar grip - to activate the turn signal I had to partially lift my hand off the left grip in order to reach the button. Also, I found the horn button when I really needed the turn button, and it needed temporary mind reprogramming to erase decades-long practice of contact with turn buttons to become used to the new ergonomics here. For first-time riders this will not be noticed.
The e-Pro rides on three modes - 1st, 2nd, 3rd. From 1st to 2nd (green button on right handlebar end) you notice something akin to a turbo boost and the bike accelerates further and runs faster. From 2nd to 3rd (green button on left handlebar end) is more like switching to cruising. Activate the brakes and the bike returns to 2nd mode. The running platform is common to both Alfa e-bikes and with telescopic front suspension combined with the two coil-overs at the rear the Alfa e-scooters are as comfortable and stable-handling as you could expect. Luggage handling is catered for with pockets in the inner apron of the scooters and the large under-seat stowage space.
You, as a rider, know what it feels like to move a bike backwards once astride it - you use the strength of your entire body to push the bike backward. Instead, the Neo and e-Pro feature ‘reverse assist’ in that once you get the bike moving backward it then keeps going with hardly any physical input by the rider. A truly useful feature!
No noise, no vibration, instant acceleration, longer ranges on a charge, attractive styling, clean finish, make the Alfa Neo and e-Pro not merely alternative transport but truly your primary way of moving about. You could step out of home or workplace in full confidence of your e-bike’s recognized position on the road.
Vindy Trading & Luyuan Alfa
Vindy Trading (Pvt) Limited headquartered in Borella Cross Road in Colombo 8, is the sole Importer and Distributor of Alfa e-bikes in Sri Lanka. Managing Director Jagath Karunaratne has been promoting the green concept initiative in the two wheeled area since 2007. The wide assortment of e-bikes offered by Vindy Trading suits a large segment of the populace, ladies and gents, from 18 years to the 60 year and higher age range.
Vindy and Alfa have an e-bike for everyone. The e-bikes are available in sporty bike types (for mainly 18 to 35 year youth), another category of bike type for utilitarian use and multi-tasking and with built-in luggage space, the commercial bike type which will be used in day to day people/cargo movement, and the special needs type personal mobility scooters. Vindy-Alfa are supported by a network of Dealers in numerous locations across the island.
Model Luyuan Alfa Neo Luyuan Alfa E-Pro
Motor Type 1500W 6X Brushless motor
Battery 72V 30Ah Lead Acid 72V 45Ah Lead Acid
Instrumentation Digital (LCD)
Tyres 3.00 x 10”
Brakes Disc at the front, drum at the rear with e-ABS
Top Speed 60km/h 65km/h
Range up to 90km up to 150km
Climb Angle up to 25 degrees
Colours Matte Blue Gloss Black / Gloss Maroon
Matte Red Matte Blue / Matte Silver
How Much Rs. 180,000 Rs. 225,000