Why ebikes are good / bad

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outnabike
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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby outnabike » Thu Sep 27, 2018 5:49 pm

Yep I was in Holland for 6 weeks and the oldies take the e bikes out and have pancake breakfasts and rides all over the place. We joined them pancakes on borrowed ordinary cycles.
But around my area in oz, all I see is motorised scooters that are very small, driven quickly and noisy petrol things that weave in and out of peds and bikes. Common to see them even on the quieter roads.

I reckon the young adults are a disgraced element from the motoring world. :)

I know they are not E bikes but the lowest common denominator seems to rule.
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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby RonK » Fri Sep 28, 2018 6:37 am

This will put a few noses out of joint. E-MTB's are now officially recognised by MTB Australia.

https://www.mtba.org.au/news/e-bikes-to ... pionships/
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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Fri Sep 28, 2018 9:26 am

AUbicycles wrote:The original post was in 2010, eight years ago and ebikes still get resistance in various ways so the post has been a way to get these on the table for polite discussion. Of course, everyone is entitled to an opinion and as time and technology develops the benefits and disadvantages become more apparent.

As a side note, I support ebikes and have published a lot of content aimed at informing readers so am a supporter but personally don't have a necessity to own an e-bike. I have attended training workshops, ridden a heap of different systems and even been to a factory where motors are manufactured. I can identify a few problem areas with ebike but also a lot of opportunities - particularly for seniors and less abled people where ebikes present greater access and independence.

Are there good places to learn about the options that are not the "everything is great, vertical compliant while laterally stiff" type of nonsense you get in just about every magazine/website when talking about bikes?

After my amputation in 2007 I made a return to racing and went pretty well (as good if not better than before). But I had a strong competitive fire in my belly and that meant I put up with many things in the quest to be the best racer I could be, including putting up with quite a bit of pain at times. It was rewarding to see what I was capable of but also it was not sustainable - my leg was not going to last and the competitive fire was diminished. After 2011 season I retired.

I no longer have such fire and now find riding is not so easy. My stump gets injured easily and riding is very much a sporadic thing as a result. An e-bike, particularly something I can ride on dirt roads/good trails, is something I may well consider as a way to keep on riding more regularly. I have so many good options for road and dirt riding where I am, I can see it's something I may well take up in the years ahead.

But my knowledge of the bike options is pretty limited, it's just not something I've paid much attention to.

I won't be wanting to spend massive dollars, maybe a few $k.

I'd want to ride sealed and gravel roads and good trails. Sealed roads mainly to get to the dirt options. Mind you some of the sealed roads are pretty ordinary and having a dirt bike would make them more comfortable. I can't get too technical on trails or anywhere I would need to walk because I'm operating with what's essentially a peg leg and walking more than a few steps isn't an option. So I'm guessing fancy suspension isn't really needed which can help with the costs.

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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby RonK » Fri Sep 28, 2018 10:32 am

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:Are there good places to learn about the options that are not the "everything is great, vertical compliant while laterally stiff" type of nonsense you get in just about every magazine/website when talking about bikes?

Alex - I have severe osteoarthritis in my knees and recently acquired an e-mtb. Have a read through my thread. An e-mtb for me.... It's a hard tail, but capable of tackling terrain far in excess of my riding abilities.

I'm heading off tomorrow for a 100km 2-day ride on the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail.

E-bike frames are built strong, there is no need to minimise weight when you have an extra 70nm of torque available. Naturally a lighter bike is easier to handle, but it's not a big deal.

The main considerations are around battery range and motor characteristics.

In the short time I've had this bike I've encountered enormous interest everywhere I've taken it. I've not had anyone make any negative comment about it (at least, not to my face).

There are a couple of brave keyboard warriors on this forum though.

Peter Sagan vs grandma on e-bike
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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby Mugglechops » Fri Sep 28, 2018 11:30 am

RonK wrote:This will put a few noses out of joint. E-MTB's are now officially recognised by MTB Australia.

https://www.mtba.org.au/news/e-bikes-to ... pionships/


I was watching the http://www.embn.com you tube show last night and they were saying there is going to be an E-Enduro series next year too.

Bring it on I say, the more people on bikes the better.

I have noticed in the last year or so that attitudes are starting to change for the better.
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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby outnabike » Fri Sep 28, 2018 11:43 am

Hi Ron, I actually think they are the future as well. It gives you an outing in the life of a busy person who may only get a chance on weekends. You are a good example of some one that is not afraid to give something ago.

The bike will get you further and back to see more country.

I see the postal service is quickly giving away the small motor bikes in favour of electric as well. So reliability will get a decent test out for battery life etc.

I know I am only a run around cyclist but my regular trips to the Patterson river where it enters the bay is a 17 klm trip and I do it in an hour. Some fishing thrown in and an hour plus home sees me done for the day....I always judge the wind to be into me on the way home. :)
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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby RonK » Fri Sep 28, 2018 1:10 pm

Hehe - the irony is, I bought the e-mtb not to make riding easier, but because the osteoarthritis in my knees makes walking difficult and painful when I have to get off and push the bike up some the steeper grades I encounter. I don't have to get off any more. :D

Ride stats shown my heart rate is as high or higher than when I ride my non e-bike, probably because I'm now able to tackle any grade regardless of how steep it is.
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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Fri Sep 28, 2018 2:28 pm

RonK wrote:
Alex Simmons/RST wrote:Are there good places to learn about the options that are not the "everything is great, vertical compliant while laterally stiff" type of nonsense you get in just about every magazine/website when talking about bikes?

Alex - I have severe osteoarthritis in my knees and recently acquired an e-mtb. Have a read through my thread. An e-mtb for me.... It's a hard tail, but capable of tackling terrain far in excess of my riding abilities.

I'm heading off tomorrow for a 100km 2-day ride on the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail.

E-bike frames are built strong, there is no need to minimise weight when you have an extra 70nm of torque available. Naturally a lighter bike is easier to handle, but it's not a big deal.

The main considerations are around battery range and motor characteristics.

In the short time I've had this bike I've encountered enormous interest everywhere I've taken it. I've not had anyone make any negative comment about it (at least, not to my face).

There are a couple of brave keyboard warriors on this forum though.

Peter Sagan vs grandma on e-bike

Thanks Ron. Looks a really nice bike.

Unfortunately the best part of $6k is a bit rich for me though.

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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby AUbicycles » Fri Sep 28, 2018 7:43 pm

A decent e-bike costs money and as a vehicle replacement (transport) it is easier to understand it as a 'premium' investment. On a commuter the start point is $3,000. Can you get an e-bike for less, yes... but you are then beginning to get less and are compromising.

Part of the e-bike expectation is seamless power, i.e. you start pedalling and the power-assist starts organically without unnatural 'cutting in' and 'cutting out'. None of the bikes I have ever ridden do it perfectly but many are 'fair'. I am far from satisfied but when the bike and system is too cheap and you move to unknown brands of motors, they really just deliver an on/off switch along will basic bike build.

Conversion kits are cheaper but for the masses have had their day and you don't get an integrated bike - a good ebike is a nicely integrated bike where everything fits well together from handling to the equipment such as brakes.

You have advantage an experienced rider with bike control and cadence... but I want you to win an eMTB and Trek Australia have a promo right now to win an ebike: https://www.trekbikes.com/au/en_AU/win-an-e-bike/


Fully is nice, but hardtail is cheaper and would be suitable for the trails you have described. Trek have a Powerfly 5 hardtail which is RRP $4,500 but I saw it advertised for $3,200 (Bike Force Ellenbrook). I am not sure of the geometry on it, but it has a Bosch motor. Corratec is another brand - good German brand and have been put on offer at good priced.

Melbourne Electric Bicycles present a few brands and you can get a nice overview here.
http://melbourneelectricbicycles.com.au ... -off-road/

For motors, Bosch generally have a better offering for eMTB (and Brose more so) so if you spot other brands, even with bikes that come down to $2,500, you want to look at the specs... I am a little sceptical of the suitability of the lesser known motors tailored to commuters that are strapped onto a MTB and is meant to deliver.


Second-hand... eMTBs have moved rapidly so it shouldn't be too old and you definitely need to look into the health of the battery and availability of a replacement. However if there is a second hand hardtail from the last 2 years from a well known brand with a good motor that was simply never really ridden... this could help save a few dollars.


Alex Simmons/RST wrote:Are there good places to learn about the options that are not the "everything is great, vertical compliant while laterally stiff" type of nonsense you get in just about every magazine/website when talking about bikes?


Not really

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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby Joeblake » Fri Sep 28, 2018 8:22 pm

There's also this thread on this forum:

viewtopic.php?f=51&t=77745
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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Fri Sep 28, 2018 8:33 pm

OK, thanks for the info. I get the message on quality and it's reasonable that my expectations and time frame may need adjusting as I learn more.

I agree on the hardtail, with decent sized tyres I'm pretty sure that would be plenty to meet my needs.

It's funny, I've never been one to buy bikes regularly or turn them over so I lose touch with pricing. I've always bought good quality and flogged it to death.

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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby trailgumby » Sat Sep 29, 2018 8:18 pm

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:OK, thanks for the info. I get the message on quality and it's reasonable that my expectations and time frame may need adjusting as I learn more.


Hi Alex, sorry to hear about your ongoing challenges. Sounds like it's been very frustrating. :(

Reading back through your posts, I'd like to suggest you reconsider ruling out a dually. Hardails are fun and fast and I love my SS29er hardtail, but they do beat you up - you are standing up much, much more and relying on your legs to provide most of the rear suspension. Given that you are finding issues with injuring your stump maybe this is not such a good idea.

Running low tyre pressures does help a bit, but it is a fine line getting it right - too low and you can start bottoming out on the rim, and get disconcerting tyre squirm when cornering. Too high and you start pinging off the square-edged hits from holes, rocks and roots. Quite often the ideal pressure is trail-specific.

Of course this depends very much on the locations you are riding. Smooth fire roads such as you'd see on a road bike gravel ride would be fine, but anything that would be a typical green-rated (beginner) singletrack trail or a fire management trail you may find the gains from the bigger tyre bag will be overtaken by the bigger hits coming up through the rear wheel and rigid rear triangle.

The big-travel Enduro trail e-bikes with upwards of 150mm travel and 2.6"+ tyres are overkill, but a 29er with 100-130mm rear suspension would probably work quite well for the kind of use you're contemplating. Most have lockouts so you can firm it up for better efficiency on the smooth stuff, and then get your comfortable travel back for the bumpier stuff with the flicking of a lever on the shock or handle bar remote.

You spend a lot less time needing to stand out of the saddle with a dually, which would be much kinder to your stump, and it gives you more traction and control when the trail is eroded, reducing the likelihood of having to hike-a-bike

The downside is that rear suspension adds $1-1.5k compared to an equivalent spec hardtail. However, if it keeps you more active for longer I'm thinking it will be far better value for you.

Specialized have demo days and a fleet of bikes for customers to try. Contacting your local distributor and hooking up for a test ride with a few different models in your intended location might help you clarify direction on equipment choice.

Best regards, wish I could be more helpful.

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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:43 am

Thanks, more good food for thought.

Given the investment, I'd say this is going to be some way off and I'll stick to the trainer, the road and maybe doing some velodrome laps for the time being.

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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby ebikerdiary » Sun Sep 30, 2018 8:15 am

As a 68 year old regular rider my tolerance for rough trails is much lower than for most, but my experience with ebikes might help. I have owned three this year, which is an expensive way to work out what suits me best. I've hired four different ones on various trips and test rode about a dozen; I'm no expert but I've sussed out finally what I like. Sure, better bikes are bigger bucks but they give yo more riding options and more riding pleasure.
Most retailers push you towards hard tails regardless of your preferences; its a quicker and easier sale. If you have a young body, they are fine. But if you are prone to aches and pains from harsh bike rides, go the full monty. I now ride a Merida eOne Sixty 800 with 160mm travel front and back, PLUS a Thudbuster seat post. I can ride anywhere I want to ride, but obviously do not risk highly technical trails. I derive a huge amount of pleasure as most of my rides are over three hours long. So if you are prone to jangling bones, my advice is do not settle for less that a full suspension. Mine is here: https://www.instagram.com/p/BmfblNzHfrl ... bikerdiary

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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby Mububban » Sun Sep 30, 2018 11:02 am

Mugglechops wrote:Bring it on I say, the more people on bikes the better.

I have noticed in the last year or so that attitudes are starting to change for the better.


I'll never quite understand why cyclists of all people don't encourage more people to get out of cars and onto two wheels. I think ebikes are awesome and are definitely the future.
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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby Mububban » Sun Sep 30, 2018 11:07 am

ebikerdiary wrote:I now ride a Merida eOne Sixty 800 with 160mm travel front and back, PLUS a Thudbuster seat post. I can ride anywhere I want to ride, but obviously do not risk highly technical trails. I derive a huge amount of pleasure as most of my rides are over three hours long. So if you are prone to jangling bones, my advice is do not settle for less that a full suspension. Mine is here: https://www.instagram.com/p/BmfblNzHfrl ... bikerdiary


That is one awesome looking bike you've got there!

What sort of boost level do you ride at, and how much charge do you have remaining after 3 hours?
When you are driving your car, you are not stuck IN traffic - you ARE the traffic!!!

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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby ebikerdiary » Sun Sep 30, 2018 11:18 am

I do get stares from lookers who want to know what the hell it is. I would get about 6 hours of riding on something like the M7 cycleway which has a few hills, so thats about 85-90 km before I get nervous. Yesterday I did less than two hours on some Terrey Hills trails (see https://ebikerdiary.com ) that were crazy steep and had to use level 3 a lot; I used two bars out of five of battery power. I mostly ride on level 1 or 2; its a very efficient motor. Given how much time I spend on two wheels, it is worth every cent.

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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby AUbicycles » Wed Oct 03, 2018 9:14 pm

Small update on quality independent reporting/testing. A German based 'outfit' called ExtraEnergy are actually a good reference. They publish in English and do independent testing. They are not media in the same sense as being a consumer magazine - they are more of a club but do an impressive amount of testing, are active in events and are a fairly important industry sparring partner.

http://extraenergy.org

Access to their reviews.

It will have a strong focus on commuter bikes rather than sports ebikes like eMTBs and also very European focussed so there will be a heap of brands not available in Australia... but will still be a good orientation.

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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby Mugglechops » Mon Oct 08, 2018 8:41 pm

You can't do this without an ebike.

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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby Comedian » Wed Oct 10, 2018 2:17 pm

As an e-bike owner I actually think the biggest barrier to them is the bike industry. Let me explain...

A good quality e-bike will cost like 3k or more. They are sold as a car replacement.

The problem is - people buy one and then find that they actually need a moderate amount of maintenance. Sure small stuff should be manageable by all - but it's unreasonable to expect that most people will be able to do the more complex tasks. You're going to need professional help with that.

The local e-bike specialist has a waiting list for the service department of longer than one month just to get in. What if something needs to be looked at urgently? Tough luck. Our gazelle had a leaking hydraulic Magura brake. So, I booked it in. A month later they got it and agreed it would be warranty.. and the process began. Take the brake off.. send it to Sydney. They look, agree to replace. Stuff around .. send back to BNE. Stuff around.. fit.. return. Another month gone .. hazzah!

So, the bike was out for two months. It was a minor inconvenience to us - but what if we'd sold the family car? What would happen if your 18 month old Corolla was broken for two months? It would be ACA stuff. I'd love to take it in for servicing when it needs it but it's just not practical so I've bought a bunch of special tools to look after it. Normal people won't do this though.

I really think this will be a barrier to e-bike take up until the industry adjusts.

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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby zebee » Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:05 pm

I am a lazy sod so seldom do my own servicing. If the Monkey was still with us I would take the e-trike there rather than to Sydney Electric Bikes unless it was the motor needing problems.

I did take it to Glow Worm but not because they are an e-bike shop, but because their spannerman used to work at the Monkey and knew the bike. So I knew I wouldn't get the "Say What" I have had in the past from some shops when you front up with a recumbent.

THe hard part is getting a good enough mechanic and getting enough work to pay them. Adding another one means needing twice the work, most shops would be wary of that.

(note that the guy who does my motorcycle has a 6 week waiting list for a service. He's that good and there aren't enough people working on older bikes that are trustworthy. )

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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby ebikerdiary » Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:57 am

Have you checked out https://www.therollingfix.com
Their mechanic comes to you.

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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby Ross » Sat Oct 13, 2018 10:56 am

Comedian wrote:
The local e-bike specialist has a waiting list for the service department of longer than one month just to get in. What if something needs to be looked at urgently? Tough luck. Our gazelle had a leaking hydraulic Magura brake. So, I booked it in. A month later they got it and agreed it would be warranty.. and the process began. Take the brake off.. send it to Sydney. They look, agree to replace. Stuff around .. send back to BNE. Stuff around.. fit.. return. Another month gone .. hazzah!

So, the bike was out for two months.


To be fair a leaking brake caliper isn't an e-bike specific issue, loads of regular bikes have disc brakes these days. Two months is an unacceptable time to wait. Posting the faulty caliper to Sydney should be an overnight task followed by a day or two (max) to inspect it and confirm warranty and then another day or two to ship a replacement, so allowing for weekends and other anomalies a week tops should cover it.

After waiting 12 months for warranty claim on a cracked carbon road bike frame I swore off LBS, unless no other option (not really the LBS' fault, rather it was a s%$t fight between manufacturer and distributor about whether it should be warranty of not). After a month or so without knowing when/if I was going to a replacement frame I went and bought a used frame from eBay and had my regualr mechanic fit all the old parts from my cracked frame bike onto the new-second-hand frame. I did end up getting a replacement frame but as I had bought another frame and was happy with that the new one was now surplus to requirements so I on-sold it.

My way of thinking is that time is money and if it is going to take two months to sort out a warranty caliper I would rather skip the warranty process and buy a replacement caliper/seals if available myself and have the bike back on the road much sooner.

Luckily I have a good mechanic that operates from home, and is usually next day service. But he likes you to be there when he is servicing/repairing the bike so he can explain "stuff" to you. He doesn't carry much in the way of parts, just small consumable service type items such as brake/gear cables, he will send the client off to purchase the parts online or LBS. He doesn't know much about e-bikes but can service repair the non-electric parts of the bike, same as he would on a regular bike. If something electrical specific needed fixing he would probably send the client back to shop of purchase or Google a supplier/fix for that part. Most LBS seem to stock e-bikes these days so I would imagine they should know how to service/repair them as well..

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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby Thoglette » Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:00 pm

I'm with comedian on this - e-bikes need to be as reliable as a Dutch roadster before they'll get decent market penetration. And for the same reasons.
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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby Comedian » Mon Oct 15, 2018 2:32 pm

Ross wrote:
Comedian wrote:
The local e-bike specialist has a waiting list for the service department of longer than one month just to get in. What if something needs to be looked at urgently? Tough luck. Our gazelle had a leaking hydraulic Magura brake. So, I booked it in. A month later they got it and agreed it would be warranty.. and the process began. Take the brake off.. send it to Sydney. They look, agree to replace. Stuff around .. send back to BNE. Stuff around.. fit.. return. Another month gone .. hazzah!

So, the bike was out for two months.


To be fair a leaking brake caliper isn't an e-bike specific issue, loads of regular bikes have disc brakes these days. Two months is an unacceptable time to wait. Posting the faulty caliper to Sydney should be an overnight task followed by a day or two (max) to inspect it and confirm warranty and then another day or two to ship a replacement, so allowing for weekends and other anomalies a week tops should cover it.


It wasn't a normal disc brake.. it was a hydraulic rim brake! Gazelle fitted them because they are glorious in the brief periods when they are working. Great on the showroom floor.

I had another experience with the local e-bike shop. Our e-bike is not really "anyones". it most usually is used by my daughter to ride to school on - but the wife uses it sometimes to go to work or shopping with. I even occasionally get to use it with appropriate notice. Anyway, someone broke the chain case. It's easy to see how it happened.. a bit of a kick and it's busted the mount. To remove it you have to remove a bolt from the rear and the pedal crank. Since I now have the tool it's doable but still a bit of fiddling.

I was passing the e-bike shop one day and thought I'll just pop and ask if they can order one for me as they sell Gazelle. So I went in there and they weren't really very interested. The female shop attendant asked questions like "when was your bike last serviced" and "where did you buy it from?" (twice). When it was clear that we didn't buy the bike from them, and they had only done the warranty brake replacement on our bike because I'd given up on them she really wasn't interested in helping. It appears that there is so much e-bike demand in BNE that they can just choose their customers - and I don't think she thought I was dependant enough to make money out of. She suggested I take the case off, read what it says and order one online.

Oh well. Either way I really think that the reliability and ongoing support of e-bikes is going to be a real barrier to their take up as car replacements. IMHO if we paid the shop to do the maintenance this bike needed it would be cheaper to maintain a car. A good e-bike is not cheap. Well - they aren't expensive but they are enough money that people will expect them to be reliable. I think there would be many challenges with the business model - not the least is the constant churn of importers, plus the every present junk e-bike market.

it's going to be interesting to see how it evolves.

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