THE COMPANY

Q. How long has Darrvin been operating and in the market. How do I know I’m dealing with a reputable brand and company?

A. Darrvin is an exciting new brand within the industry. It was designed, developed and and operationalized by industry specialists. The company started design and development planning in 2015 and rapidly gained traction in 2018 with the launch of its first range of exceptional quality e-bikes. The founders are current owners of South Africa’s leading active travel company, Bike & Saddle Eco-Active Trips and Holidays, and have a long term commitment and investment in both Darrvin and the travel business and the country. They’re here for the long haul and have invested in the full-circle compliment of products and services to ensure they can compete and service the rapidly evolving market of e-bikes. In addition, one of the partners is a recognized e-bike industry design expert, having previously overseen much the of early design challenges and creative inputs in the e-bike industry in South Africa and contributed substantially to international product ranges. With deep connections to, and understanding of the bicycle manufacturing industry world-wide, Darrvin is well positioned to lead the market in affordable, quality and creative e-bike design, build, distribution and support services..

Q. How does Darrvin manage to produce such affordable e-bikes compared to the competition? How can I be assured of the quality of a Darrvin e-bike?

A. Component by component, Darrvin competes on the highest level with existing brands in offering guaranteed quality, performance and durability. It manages all aspects of procurement and bicycle assembly directly, ensuring cost and quality control at every step of the design, manufacture and assembly processes. Its focus on quality components and best design practice, together with a long term commitment to produce and offer the best e-bikes in the industry, informs its pricing strategy. Darrvin consistently maintains the lowest mark-ups on all components, compared to its rivals. Without compromising on quality, it strives constantly to include components which are better priced and more durable than the competition’s. 

Q. How do I know Darrvin will be around when I need support and service? If it’s a new company, can I trust them? What back-up does Darrvin provide?

A. Darrvin is a relatively new entry and brand in the market. That said, it’s managed and owned by old hands. Darrvin is a subsidiary of the Brooks England SA and Bike & Saddle holding company of businesses, with a proven commitment and investment strategy in both the bicycle distribution and hospitality industries, Darrvin supports its long term strategy to offer complimentary products and services to its existing businesses and brands. Funding is secured and together with its management expertise it means Darrvin can compete for the long haul.

Q. What is the situation with Darrvin-USA?

A. Darrvin manages its distribution into the US from its Oregon headquarters . Our Lakeview operations are situated in what is the highest elevation incorporated community in the State, near the towns of Klamath Falls, Bend, Boise ID, Reno NV etc. while servicing the larger areas of Seattle, Portland and San Francisco directly. Darrvin USA provides a full-circle service to our USA customers. Including limited local assembly, warehousing, distribution, after-sales service and support.

THE PRODUCT

Q. How much does the Darrvin e-bike weigh in comparison to a normal bicycle?

A. The weight is a consideration if you need to transport the bike on a rack or in the back of your vehicle. By removing the battery, you will save between four and five kilos which makes lifting the bike much easier. At the moment there is not really a significant difference in weight between most of the available e-bikes in the market. Darrvin’s lightweight aluminum-alloy frame and compact components make for one of the lighter e-bike configurations. A really lightweight mid-range e-bike weighs in at around 21-23Kg, provided its a standard 250watt mid-drive motor model with 300-500Wh battery. A super light carbon MTB e-bike with roughly the same motor and battery might come in at 18-20Kg. For instance a top end R 150 000 ($10 000 USD) e-bike weighs just over 20Kg. Darrvin comes in at 22.5kg for our Peak and Evolve models and the Connect at 24kg with accessories.

Q. Do I still need to pedal a Darrvin e-bike or can I just sit back and ride the bike without pedaling?

A. Darrvin e-bikes are all Pedal Assist models. The electric drive system on the e-bike can only be activated through pedaling action. The sensor usually measures pedal movement, pedal torque or bicycle speed (sometimes all three) and sensors are located in the bottom bracket. In parts of Europe this class is limited to 15 mph (25 kph) with motor wattage <= 250 watts. In America, because of its more liberal vehicle definition, Class 1 is limited to a motor-powered speed of 20 mph (32 kph) with motor wattage of <= 750 watts. In SA we don’t currently have restrictions in place, but Darrvin follows the EU standard and customization is an option.

Q. How long will the battery and electrical components on the bicycle last? What happens when the battery fails or no longer performs optimally? What guarantees and warrantees does Darrvin provide?

A. Typically you can expect somewhere between 25 and 70 miles (40 to 110 km’s) of travel on a single charge of an e-bike. If you're riding hard on full power, expect less; manage your battery life well and you could get more. Today’s battery can withstand 1000’s of charges in its lifetime and typically outlasts the bicycle with most customers, who typically upgrades within a 5 or 10 year period to newer model bicycles. There is much you can do to prolong your electric bicycle’s battery performance and life expectancy. Here are a few tips:

  • Generally, you can charge the battery to any percentage, but it is important to fully charge the battery the first time, out of the box.

  • Hereafter it’s advisable to do a full-charge-cycle, once every three months.

  • When you’re not using your e-bike for a few days, its best to store the battery off the bike during this time. It doesn’t need a full charge to be stored off the bike - or when you put it back. The battery performance will be unaffected

  • If the battery goes into storage for more than a couple of weeks, it should be charged to around 60% rather than a full charge, prior to storage. This will protect it from reduced capacity that a full charge may cause during a prolonged storage period.

  • In all instances, the battery can be charged on or off the bike. There is no advantage of one method over another.

  • A full charge cycle can take approximately 4-6 hours. Temperature and age are factors that play a role in the required charge time. Under normal conditions, our power-charger will see you out the door in under 4hours.

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Here is an excellent article on how to improve your battery’s life expectancy and performance.

Q. How safe is the battery and how long will the battery last me? How costly is it to replace a battery ? Any safety information and or considerations I should know concerning Li-ion batteries?

A. The battery will last five to ten years depending on usage. The replacement cost  is about 15% of the cost of a Darrvin bicycle. For tips on charging the battery and mileage, see previous Q&A.

Safety is always important. Relative to the hundreds of millions of operational e-bikes, battery fires are extremely rare. You’re safest when buying a new e-bike, or at least a new battery, from a reputable brand such as Darrvin Electric.

Despite the relative scarcity of e-bike fires, you should still take precautions to protect yourself from an accident. Here’s how:

  • Use only the manufacturer-supplied charger. Aftermarket chargers and chargers for different e-bikes can cause batteries to overheat, which can lead to thermal runaway.

  • Don’t leave a charging e-bike unattended, and don’t charge it near other flammable objects. “Do it in a place where if there is smoke, you can get out of the house, and there’s nothing right next to it to catch on fire. Even if you’re not equipped to put out the fire, you’ll be able to get to safety.

  • Don’t store e-bike batteries with a full charge for an extended period of time. More charge means more fuel for the chemical reaction that causes fire.

  • Don’t use e-bike batteries that have been dropped, punctured, crashed, or otherwise damaged in any way. They may look alright, but internal damage can cause the cells to contact each other, overheat, and ignite. Consult Darrvin if you’re unsure whether a battery pack is safe.

  • Don’t modify your e-bike’s drive system if you’re not an expert. We’re all for tinkering, but the e-bikes that catch fire mid-ride tend to be DIY contraptions, so don’t mess with what you don’t know. (A safer DIY approach might involve buying a full conversion kit, with components meant to work together, rather than piecing the electronics together yourself).

  • Use water and an A B C fire extinguisher (the most common type) to put out a lithium-ion battery fire. However, the fire and fumes from a lithium-ion battery fire can be extremely dangerous, so unless you can extinguish the reaction early or safely move the bike outdoors, your best bet is calling for help and getting the heck away from it.

Q. How heavy is the electrical motor? Can I easily lift the bicycle onto a bicycle rack or the back of my vehicle?

A. The motor adds three to four kilos to the bicycle frame weight. By removing the battery, you can lighten the e-bike making it perfectly easy to lift onto a bike rack. As with everything, a regular lifting of the bike will improve your muscle strength and in no time the extra motor weight will not be noticeable. 

Q. How do I know what size frame or bike size to choose when purchasing online in the Darrvin Online Shop? What if I made the wrong purchase? How do I know I’ve made the right purchase? Can I test ride the bicycle before buying it? 

A. You can have a look at our sizing table here. We currently provide two standard frame sizes, medium and large. With adjustment of the handlebar and seat post positions they are adjustable for most sizes, up to and including small and extra large sizes. If the size purchased online is not right for you, Darrvin will replace the bicycle with the correct configuration at no additional cost to you. That said we double and triple check with you, prior to shipping the bike, to ensure it’s properly configured for your size. Test rides are currently available at our Cape Town premises as well as at select dealers countrywide.

Q. Can I charge the battery on and off the bicycle? How long does it take to charge the battery fully?

A. Yes. It makes no difference whether you charge the battery on or off the bicycle. It can take up to four or five hours to fully the battery depending on your setup, the age of the battery etc. The bike comes with a powerful charger that optimizes the charge time.

Q. How easy or difficult is it to put the battery on or to take it off? Is the battery securely locked into the bicycle frame?

A. The battery is locked into the battery tray on the bike frame and can only be removed by a key and lock mechanism. It’s very secure and fits snugly. At the same time, it’s simple and quick to release and remove. It is designed for regular use and is robust and durable.

Q. How much maintenance will my Darrvin e-bike require? What happens when I’m not using my bicycle for a few days or weeks? Or even longer? Can I store the battery for longer terms?

A. Your bicycle requires no special treatment and can be serviced at any regular dealer. Darrvin provides direct service of the motor and battery components countrywide. Check with your local bicycle shop for all other service components. You can store your bicycle long term. See battery tips in previous Q&A.

Q. How powerful is the electrical motor? Will I be able to cycle any hill, no matter how steep, or into headwinds that normally will be hard to cycle in with a normal bicycle?

A. We have chosen a powerful motor for our e-bikes. And yes, hills do not present nearly the same challenge experienced with a standard bicycle. Darrvin currently deploys the same motors on all its e-bike models, allowing for cross-over servicing and support, reducing costs overall i.e. hardware and servicing. These cost savings are passed on to our customers. We’ve chosen one of the industry’s most reliable and appropriate power units for our range of e-bikes. Darrvin’s mid-drive motor constantly samples relevant information at a frequency of up to 80k Hz via a torque sensor and two speed sensors which are all highly sensitive. In spite of a generous power output and a maximum torque of more than 80 N.m, the motor operates in virtual silence. The Max Drive System puts the rider in complete control.

Q. What type of e-bikes do you provide? How many models do you have?

A. We currently offer a standard front-suspension MTB configuration, a unisex commuter/touring model as well as a more racy road-bike frame for the speed addicts out there. To complement our initial range, we are bringing out a flagship dual-suspension e-bike shortly.

THE SERVICE

Q. How long must I wait from the moment I purchase my bicycle online to receiving it? Is the bicycle build-up when I receive it or do I still need to have it build up?

A. When a customer purchases an e-bike directly we unpack it at the warehouse, adjust everything, check all the components and test all the systems. Before shipping, the e-bike is then boxed in a way that makes it easy to self-assemble by the customer. We typically ship overnight, same day the order is received*.

Customers have the option for the bike to be built up by a professional, the ‘’click and collect’’ option at check-out, which means the e-bike is also tested and repackaged at our distribution center prior to shipping. Final assembly is done by a ‘Click & Collect Partner’, typically a bicycle shop near where the customer resides. When the bike is fully assembled, the customer can collect at the partner. There is no extra cost associated with this service.

Q. Does Darrvin provide spare parts for my bicycle? What happens when the control panel or electrical motor breaks down?

A. Yes, we do. We carry spare parts and components ensuring we can provide an excellent after sales service to our customers. We have designed our bicycles to incorporate the most durable components in their class. Issues with the electrical components are rare. We make it our mission to keep costs down for our customers and our service & parts center only includes break-even mark-ups. We do not profit from our service to you. Darrvin is focused on providing the best quality at the best price.

Q. What accessories do you provide for the e-bikes? Can I use my e-bike for long distance touring?

A. Please visit our E-bike gear shop (https://darrvinshop.com/gear). Not only do we offer essential gear and accessories for your e-bike, we also distribute Brooks England’s handcrafted genuine saddles at wholesale prices to our customers. You can now customize your e-bike for lifestyle and utility to reflect your own style and needs.

WHY E-BIKES?

Q. Why should I consider an e-bike at all? Isn’t a normal bicycle better exercise and more fun? What makes the e-bike an attractive proposition?

A. Thanks to the even, adjustable assistance provided by the drive system an e-bike is ideal for training or for getting back into cycling after an injury. Furthermore, the drive system prevents too heavy a burden on knees or thigh muscles. That eases pressure on joints, tendons and ligaments.

Here are 10 compelling reasons for investing in an e-bike:

1. The environment benefits

Users go easy on the environment, especially if they use their e-bike on a daily basis. Half of all car journeys are five kilometres or less, and according to the Environmental Protection Agency the CO2 emissions of a car are around 40 times higher than those of a bicycle with a battery-powered motor. So by using an e-bike rather than a car for short distances you are protecting the environment – and also traveling quietly and economically.

2. Gone are the days of headwinds

Who would not on occasion have appreciated a little assistance cycling on steep ascents in a full-on headwind? An invisible “hand” to give you a gentle push and make starting on an uphill stretch or cycling on a steep ascent almost effortless. Making mountains no longer daunting and headwinds neither here nor there. The e-bike makes it possible.

3. Keeps you fit, makes you mobile

Are e-bikes just for those who want to take it easy? Not at all! Despite the power assistance eBikers still have to hit the pedals to get moving. And it is up to you to decide how much power assistance you want or need. Studies have found that eBikers get on their bikes more often and cover much longer distances than conventional cyclists. So now is the time to get on a bike with power assistance regardless whether for comfort or for sporting use.

4. Perfect for commuting

Would you like to keep fit on your commute? Then the e-bike is for you. It is a sporting option. A glance at the statistics reveals that there are 30 million commuters in Germany and that nearly 25 million of them travel less than 25 km to work. Indeed, nearly every other German commuter travels less than 10 km to work. e-bikes are ideal for distances of this kind.

5. Easement, exercise, extra boost

Thanks to the even, adjustable assistance provided by the e-bike drive system an e-bike is ideal for training or for getting back into cycling after an injury. Furthermore, the drive system prevents too heavy a burden on knees or thigh muscles. That eases pressure on joints, tendons and ligaments. Would you like to be fit and healthy and to improve your wellbeing? An e-bike is a step in the right direction.

6. Wheely good advice

Could you do without discussions and complaints? No arguments, please? The mood can turn fast when people with unequal physical conditions and expectations set out on a cycling tour together. That is when a little motor can work wonders. Its power assistance offsets differences in performance and brings people closer together again – with the result that the tour is an experience everyone is happy to repeat.

7. Easy on the wallet

e-bikes are much less expensive than cars to buy and to maintain. Fuel costs, insurance premiums, car tax or parking charges? Zero. The cost of fuel alone for a fuel-powered car is currently around ZAR 120 per 100 km. 100 km on a Darrvin e-bike costs around ZAR 5. Now that is a genuine saving. Plans already?

8. Fun factor

E-bikes make cycling less work and more fun. With power assistance the e-biker can sail past many other road users freely and easily. The e-bike is often the fastest mode of transport available in urban traffic over distances of up to and including 5 km – and over distances of up to 10 km e-bikers can easily keep up with car drivers

9. Pure mobility

Intermodal traffic? Not the slightest problem with an e-bike. E-bike to the railroad station, take the train and then either use public transportation or rent an e-bike to your destination. With an e-bike you are fast and flexible. You can cover distances more easily and increase the radius of distances you can travel. Power assistance gives you a real boost in the city. E-bikers leave tailbacks behind them and don’t need to worry about finding somewhere to park either.

10. Something for everybody

The market is constantly coming up with new models and versions. E-bikes capable of speeds of up to either 25 km/h or 45 km/h. E-bikes are available for urban or cross-country use, for leisure tours or for summiteers with sporting ambitions. There is a wide range from which to choose and the right E-bike for every kind of person. You really are spoilt for choice.

Different Classes Of E-bikes | E-bike Certifications

As electric bicycles have become more popular in Europe, Asia and the Americas, different types of products have entered the space. Some could be considered “low speed electric bikes” as defined by U.S. Public Law, while others are more closely related to mopeds or motorcycles based on their power and speed. For this reason, several “classes” were created in Europe defining how and where specific ebikes could be used. Variations of these classes are now becoming relevant in America and other locales as laws are put in place determining whether and where an ebike can be used on the road, bike paths and mountain biking trails.

Class 1: Pedal Assist
The electric drive system on the ebike can only be activated through a pedaling action and is limited to relatively low speeds. The sensor usually measures pedal movement, pedal torque or bicycle speed (sometimes all three) and sensors are located in the bottom bracket, rear hub or rear wheel. In parts of Europe this class is limited to 15 mph (25 kph) with motor wattage <= 250 watts. In America, because of our more liberal vehicle definition, this class is limited to a motor powered speed of 20 mph (32 kph) with motor wattage of <= 750 watts. Due to the low speed of operation and required pedaling action this class should benefit from the same rights and access privileges as non-assist bicycles and should be able to be used on streets, bike lanes, multi-use bike paths and off-road trails.

Class 2: Throttle On Demand
The electric drive system on the ebike can be activated through a throttle element such as a grip-twist, trigger or button and is limited to low speeds. The motor system may also be activated through a pedaling action as with Class 1. In parts of Europe this class would be considered a motor vehicle and is prohibited from use on trails and other bicycle-specific infrastructure and is therefore less common. For those locations where it is allowed in Europe, the top speed is limited to 15 mph (25 kph) with motor wattage <= 250 watts as with Class 1. In America this class is currently less restricted and therefore more common. The top speed is limited to 20 mph (32 kph) with motor wattage of <= 750 watts as with Class 1. Due to the low speed of operation without the required pedaling action, this class may be a bit more restricted but still benefit from the same rights and access privileges on paved surfaces as non-assist bicycles and should be able to be used on streets, bike lanes and multi-use bike paths.

Class 3: Speed Pedelec
The electric drive system on the ebike can be activated through a pedaling action to reach higher top speeds. In parts of Europe this class is also considered a motor vehicle and requires special licensing, the use of an identification plate at the rear of the bike may be required and use is limited to roads or private property only with a maximum speed ~28 mph (~45 kph). In America this class could still be considered a “low-speed electric bicycle” if human power propels the bike above 20 mph and as such, does not require special licensing but may be even more restricted to roads, adjacent bike lanes or on private property with a maximum speed ~28 mph (~45 kph) and motor wattage of <= 750 watts. In America this class is often combined with Class 2 which produces bikes that have a throttle element capable of powering the rider up to 20 mph (32 kph) on motor power only, as well as a pedal assist mechanism capable of powering the rider up to 28 mph (45 kph). In parts of Europe, where throttles are less common, most Class 3 electric bikes only offer pedal assist.

Class 4: Moped or Motorcycle
The electric drive system can be activated through a pedaling action or throttle. The top speed is above 28 mph (45 kph) and/or the motor wattage may be greater than 750 watts. In all major geographies this class would be considered a motor vehicle which requires licensing and registration and is limited to certain motorized off road trails or traditional roads. There has been some confusion in America where machines that resemble bicycles (having pedals) that are capable of high speed and power are used inappropriately without licensing or insurance and on infrastructure reserved for bicycles such as paths and mountain bike trails. This behavior is subject to the same legal action as driving a gas powered motorcycle or car and may result in severe legal ramifications.

The value of these classes and a key takeaway for the U.S. market is that the PL 107-319 law categorizes ebikes with <= 750 watts of power and top speeds of <= 20mph as bicycles. It does not determine where this class can be used however. In the U.S., use is determined at the State or Local level, sometimes in the vehicle code section of law. By introducing classes, specifically the first three classes above, cities and states can help guide use for ebikes. These classes are being established in the U.S. by the BPSA (Bicycle Products Suppliers Association) using a special Electric Bike Committee and are being modeled on what has worked in Europe. The BPSA committee is working directly with ebike manufacturers and suppliers for buy-in and is creating model legislation to guide States. This is why these classes are also being listed here at Darrvinshop.com to help consumers understand what they mean and how they apply to bikes for sale. The goal is to create some consistency in the ebike space so that one type of low speed electric bike could be used on paths or trails in multiple geographies across America.

Additional Questions?

Give us a call +27-78-014-2090 or email us DARRVIN@EBIKESAFRICA.COM