Why ebikes are good / bad

Positive discussion on ebikes and pedal assist bicycles

Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby Joeblake » Tue May 25, 2010 12:20 pm

KenGS wrote:I guess not being able to use power assistance when not on a shared path is under the Cons heading when it applies.



I'd take a contrary view in saying that it's positive thing not using power on a shared path. Eg in the example of the throttle sticking (or breaking a brake cable), you've got more chance of hurting somebody (other than yourself) if you hit a pedestrian rather than a car. Plus shared footpaths are usually much less spacious than a roadway, so you have less room to manoeuvre at high(er) speed.

Where possible I prefer travelling on the roadway rather than a dual use path, because I'm able to travel faster more safely. Ideally I'd prefer to travel on a dedicated "pedestrian free" bike path, but they're not very common, sadly. In Perth we've now got a blanket 50 km/h speed limit on non-major (or signposted) suburban roads, which means that the speed differential between even unassisted cycles and motor traffic is much smaller. In designated "school zones" the speed limit is 40 km/h, which means that I'm actually able to travel at the same speed as cars (on the flat) without needing to use the motor.

If the blanket suburban speed limit were to drop to 40 km/h, then that would change the entire ball game, and assisted cycles would become a very real option.

Just a thought.

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by BNA » Wed Jul 07, 2010 6:35 am

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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby zx6rj1 » Wed Jul 07, 2010 6:35 am

For every eBike, there is one less car on the road :D

What we need is a law change to allow 300 to 500watt motor. This will allow 40-50kph riding which is both fun, cheap, and useful for commuting.
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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby Zynster » Wed Jul 07, 2010 8:47 am

You don't need a law change. Electric motorcycles are already legal and available.
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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Wed Jul 07, 2010 10:51 am

The YikeBike is not legal as it is powered by an 1100W motor. Though I feel is a flawed design, is a friendlier device for mixing with peds and cycle paths than the fatter and heavier and altogether nastier segway to crash into. I *think* I'd have no problem accepting a few Yikes or similar ont he paths but never a segway. I rather think that power is a convenient but not optimal way of classifying what can and can't mix it with bikes and peds. 200W is an arbitrary thing. However, the intent is reasonably clear.

There are already options for faster use, but they then limit how you can use it. Mopeds, pedal assisted motor bikes, etc. There has to be some point at which a vehicle crosses that divide. As you allow more and more performance to be put into an ebike, you run the risk of crossing the line, and with that comes responsibilities that come motor vehicles generally.

I suspect that, with developing technology, the speeds and performance of a 200W motor may head upwards and become a concern to cyclists, pedestrians and urban planners. Maybe governors make more sense, along with weight and size limits. Power is too blunt.

(Yes, I know that the Yike and the segway are not ebikes, but they demonstrate the point.)
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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby Zynster » Wed Jul 07, 2010 11:03 am

I'd have one:
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Zerotracer
Top Speed: 250 km/h
Range: 350kms
Motor: Electric 135 kW
Weight: 80kg
http://www.gizmag.com/zerotracer/15627/
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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby Joeblake » Wed Jul 07, 2010 11:04 am

DRAT!!!

Ya beat me to it. What a machine.

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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby webman » Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:03 pm

I'm joining this discussion rather late, as I haven't had time to keep up with the discussions on the forums.

I purchased an e-bike last year, and have had a number of positive and negative experiences:

1) It is heavy, if you run out of juice, it is a serious amount of work trying to peddle yourself and all the extra dead weight. One of my very early rides was from Mascot to Chatswood (sydney) and return (with no stop to recharge). I only made it back to Nth Sydney before the battery totally died. It was real hell getting the rest of they way home :(

2) It doesn't go fast! I'm not saying the electric needs more power, what I'm saying is that I can't pedal fast enough to get or maintain a decent speed. Reasons for this are the smaller wheel diameter and the gearing. This just comes down to bike design.

3) Battery life - just not long enough, I want to ride further and further without the constant worry of the battery giving out. Also, the battery "meter" basically only tells me one of three states:
a) You have some power
b) You have a tiny amount of power
c) You have practically no power
I want to know exactly how much I have, so I can turn around and head home at 50% remaining, or to know if I need to stop and recharge now or not/etc...

4) Spokes - totally crap, it used non-standard spokes, which were crap quality. I broke a number of spokes on the rear wheel before my LBS replaced them all in one go, with better quality spokes, and in a different lacing<?> style. I've recently discovered a couple of broken spokes on the *front* wheel, which AFAICT, is somewhat unheard of.

5) Power - lack of it when going up hills. Mine tends to cut out the power shortly after starting up the hill because I assume it is attempting to draw too much power from the battery. The only way to solve this is stop mid-hill, use the key to switch off/on, and continue for another few seconds until the problem repeats, or just ride up the hill without power. That kind of defeats the whole point of power assisted IMHO. Mind you, this is only on the steeper hills, a small incline is no problem (but then again, power assist isn't really needed there anyway).

6) On a good note, I love my bike, I was able to ride in 35+ degree heat, and arrive at my destination without being totally dripping. In fact, I could do it and look almost like I arrived in a car with a bit of a walk at the end. However, I tend to try to pedal quickly, and so usually end up a pretty hot anyway :)

That's all for now, most of the above issues are related to the specific bike I purchased, and the trade-offs associated with it's design. I'm not sure whether I intend to purchase a normal bicycle, or another e-bike, because my current one is more often than not out of service due to the broken spokes.

Looking forward to them getting a bit cheaper (I spent over $2000 on mine) and also to iron out some of the wrinkles. I'll probably have another go at a power assisted bike at some point when other areas of my life settle down and I get some more riding time... especially summer ")
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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:13 pm

webman wrote:4) Spokes - totally crap, it used non-standard spokes, which were crap quality. I broke a number of spokes on the rear wheel before my LBS replaced them all in one go, with better quality spokes, and in a different lacing<?> style. I've recently discovered a couple of broken spokes on the *front* wheel, which AFAICT, is somewhat unheard of.


Your experience on spokes interests me.

Nearly thirty years ago I went thru spokes on the rear wheel too often. It was a racing frame which brings the rear wheel closer to the seat and so moving weight fromthe front wheel to the rear. And I carried loads of books and stuff in the panniers. And there wasn't much in the way of smooth bike paths.

I eventually bit the bullet and respoked. I increased the lacing pattern from three-crossings to four crossings, and also used old style galvanise treated spokes in place of the usual and visually more appealing chrome finish jobs - the ugly ones do not fracture as readily at the bend at the hub end. So for ugly, and for a little extra weight from the longer spokes required for the extra lacing cross, I went from regularly breaking spokes to never again having the problem. Ever.

The changed lacing you speak of will be the same, longer spokes and extra crossing. If that is not enough, then, if fatiquing and breaking at the bend at the hub, then maybe consider respoking with dull galvanised finish spokes if they are still available in this day of gleam and style. You can always touch them up with black texta if you don't like the utilitarian look.
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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby cachexian » Thu Jul 29, 2010 5:32 am

Webman,
Your experiences with your ebike don't sound fantastic - especially the issues with going up hills in Sydney.

The ebike that I tried at the weekend (Ezeebike Torq) was really great with hills. It powered up hills with no troubles at all. I'm not sure if you're familiar with Lilyfield Rd Lilyfield, Battle Boulevarde Seaforth of Parriwi Rd Mosman but it powered up these steep hills at 20-25 kph with no fuss at all (I was pedalling).

Sure it was heavy and the bike is designed for comfort rather than speed. I tried to ride up Sydney Rd Manly without any power assist to see what it was like and it wasn't fun. With the fat squashy comfortable tyres it was hard to pedal without assistance at more than 25kph on the flat.

But while you've got juice left in the battery, the power more than makes up for itself.

I'm going to get an aftermarket kit and attach it to my flat bar road bike in the next few weeks. I'll post here when I do.
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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby AUbicycles » Thu Jul 29, 2010 6:09 am

Webman,
there are faster ebikes on the market, though legally (I understand) it gets a bit more complicated - ie. you probably need a licence and it is classed as a small motorbike.

Batteries are a big issue - I would compare it to a laptop battery in that often they develop a life of their own after a while, they run out suddenly or quickly and even if you mathematically judged that there was 30% power left, it doesn't equate to 30% of your journey. Though like a laptop battery, sometimes you can recalibrate so that the power levels are more accurate. Batteries are one of the most expensive parts of an e-bike and I think there will be a big market in replacement batteries for ebikes.

Regarding pedalling up hills, do you have a single mode (ie. power assist on or no power assist)? You probably know of the models that offer different power levels - obviously the more power, the lower the battery life though it would help with your gearing (choosing the power level that suits) plus you can have the boost for gears. Obviously something to consider for the next time around.
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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby webman » Thu Jul 29, 2010 10:18 am

ColinOldnCranky wrote:
webman wrote:4) Spokes - totally crap, it used non-standard spokes, which were crap quality. I broke a number of spokes on the rear wheel before my LBS replaced them all in one go, with better quality spokes, and in a different lacing<?> style. I've recently discovered a couple of broken spokes on the *front* wheel, which AFAICT, is somewhat unheard of.


Your experience on spokes interests me.

The changed lacing you speak of will be the same, longer spokes and extra crossing. If that is not enough, then, if fatiquing and breaking at the bend at the hub, then maybe consider respoking with dull galvanised finish spokes if they are still available in this day of gleam and style. You can always touch them up with black texta if you don't like the utilitarian look.


I think the 're-spoke' didn't actually change the length of the spokes, just how they were 'laced'... I think the old way they said something about the spokes actually putting more pressure on the crossed spokes while the new way puts less pressure on the neighbouring spokes... or something like that. Anyway, I have had less broken spokes since then on that wheel. However, I am also dismayed at the lack of LBS willing to actually do the work... Most flatly refused or wanted to charge $100's (per hour rate) to change 3 broken spokes.
Eventually even after finding an LBS who was willing, it usually took 1 to 3 weeks to do what I thought was a 5 minute job....

I'll keep your comments in mind about the galvanised treated spokes as well next time. (I've got a bunch of 'spare' spokes which I bought previously so that I didn't have to wait for them to order them in each time).
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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby webman » Thu Jul 29, 2010 10:25 am

cachexian wrote:Webman,
Your experiences with your ebike don't sound fantastic - especially the issues with going up hills in Sydney.

The ebike that I tried at the weekend (Ezeebike Torq) was really great with hills. It powered up hills with no troubles at all. I'm not sure if you're familiar with Lilyfield Rd Lilyfield, Battle Boulevarde Seaforth of Parriwi Rd Mosman but it powered up these steep hills at 20-25 kph with no fuss at all (I was pedalling).


I'm not familiar with those hills specifically, the main ones I had problems with where around the outside of centennial park, and for example up the hill through the 'domain' in the CBD...

cachexian wrote:Sure it was heavy and the bike is designed for comfort rather than speed. I tried to ride up Sydney Rd Manly without any power assist to see what it was like and it wasn't fun. With the fat squashy comfortable tyres it was hard to pedal without assistance at more than 25kph on the flat.


Is that because the bike is sooooo heavy you can't pedal hard enough to go faster (ie, you aren't strong enough to go faster) or is it (like in my case) that there is not a higher gear and your cadence can't go any higher?

cachexian wrote:But while you've got juice left in the battery, the power more than makes up for itself.


This sometimes makes me think... I generally limp home after a reasonably hard ride with no power, so I frequently wonder if I might not be better off without the extra weight of battery + motor and just do the whole ride on my own... Then again, I tend to have the motor on for the whole ride (until it dies) as it is hard going without the assist...
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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby webman » Thu Jul 29, 2010 10:38 am

AUbicycles wrote:Webman,
there are faster ebikes on the market, though legally (I understand) it gets a bit more complicated - ie. you probably need a licence and it is classed as a small motorbike.


I really don't want/need more power, I just want a more efficient method of getting the power out of my legs into the wheels.... (on the flat/downhill). I also want a consistent amount of assistance on the uphill, so that the power assist doesn't vanish when it is needed most.

IMHO, I just chose the wrong ebike for me. I chose a foldable bike which has limited gears/etc instead of getting the 'normal' bike with proper size wheels and gears/etc...

AUbicycles wrote:Batteries are a big issue - I would compare it to a laptop battery in that often they develop a life of their own after a while, they run out suddenly or quickly and even if you mathematically judged that there was 30% power left, it doesn't equate to 30% of your journey. Though like a laptop battery, sometimes you can recalibrate so that the power levels are more accurate. Batteries are one of the most expensive parts of an e-bike and I think there will be a big market in replacement batteries for ebikes.


I'd be pretty disappointed if this is the issue. I've only actually ridden the bike probably under 2000kms... My trip computer died when it fell off and got run over by a car, and my new wireless trip computer is totally unreliable, but my best guess is that I've done close to 2000kms... I would have expected a lot more use before having battery problems...

AUbicycles wrote:Regarding pedalling up hills, do you have a single mode (ie. power assist on or no power assist)? You probably know of the models that offer different power levels - obviously the more power, the lower the battery life though it would help with your gearing (choosing the power level that suits) plus you can have the boost for gears. Obviously something to consider for the next time around.


The model I have is power on/off. Either it can be automatically on when you pedal it kicks in, or manual from the handle-bar (twist knob)... Perhaps the twist knob is a variable power, but I don't think I would ever use it at less than full power which is fairly limited.

Anyway, I think I will need to actually test ride more ebikes before my next purchase. I suppose I got stuck on the idea before all the really good stuff came out, or just couldn't find the better stuff. It will be nice if these bikes become better supported and sold in the LBS's....
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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby Joeblake » Thu Jul 29, 2010 10:51 am

How to respoke a wheel ...


http://www.bmoaonline.com/wheel_lacing/ ... acing.html

It's a motorcycle wheel, but the principles are pretty much the same, except that if you have a gear cluster you will have to dish the wheel appropriately, as the spokes on one side of the wheel will be of a different length than those on the other.

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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby cachexian » Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:30 pm

Webman,

Re: Eseebike Torq

Hills:
The hills I mentioned would be similar incline to the one through the Domain but much longer in distance. The battery had no problem with them - although the bike was nearly brand new and battery capacity does reduce with time.

Re speed:
I think that the speed issues are a combination of the thickish low pressure tyres (80psi) with highish rolling resistance as well as the fact that the bike did not have a high enough gear to get up a really good speed downhill. I also suspect that the motor does put some resistance to the freewheeling action of the wheel, which slows the bike down a lot. I was easily overtaken going at the bikes top speed pelt downhill by a cyclist on a carbon road bike. I might have been able to push it a bit faster if I'd had another gear or two (mind you, I was going at 60 so the road biker must have been speeding!).
The eseebikes are actually quite light at 24kgs so I don't think that that is the problem. My Scott Sub 40 weighs about 14kgs with the bike lock and baby seat attached. I can pedal that along on the flat carrying my son in the babyseat at 30kph no problem and the total weight of the bike plus son would be 29kg.

Your bike:
If your bike has he pedal assist function make sure you've got your bike in the lowest gear for going up hills because the motor controller will only put in maximum power if you are turning the pedal fast. I found it was better to be in a lower gear sitting down and pedalling fast than standing up on the pedals in a higher gear when going up hills. That way I got more power from the motor.
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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby x8pg2qr » Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:34 pm

Thanks webman. This sort of end-user information is what I like to read in this forum.

Although a new thread might have been cool.
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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Thu Jul 29, 2010 4:42 pm

webman wrote:I think the 're-spoke' didn't actually change the length of the spokes, just how they were 'laced'


They will be longer,not because thjat is the aim. the aim is to increase the number of opposing spokes that each spoke crosses over. But to do that he fits a spoke that will get that far around, inherently a slightly longer spoke. I suppose the crossing s are reduced on higher performing bikes to reduce a little weight. Plus I suppose shorter spokes are a tad cheaper anyway.

Have a look at the lacing of your frotn wheel and your rear and you will see what we mean by cahnging the lacing pattern. Your rear probably is now four crossings, the front will be two or three.

And yes, in my experience, broken front spokes would be unheard of, the loads always being so much less than the rear. It seems that your original spokes must have some really serious quality issues. And one repair that is not worth doing on the road is a spoke replacement and then the necessary truing of wheel, even if you did carry a spare spoke. Without a doubt, get the front wheel respoked too.
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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby Mububban » Wed Aug 11, 2010 3:56 pm

cachexian wrote:I'm going to get an aftermarket kit and attach it to my flat bar road bike in the next few weeks. I'll post here when I do.


I'm considering doing a conversin with my MTB for commuting, can't wait to hear your feedback.

Who are you looking at for the conversion kit?
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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby Comedian » Sun Aug 22, 2010 9:54 am

I came back into cycling in April this year. I bought an electric kit and a new bicycle. Unfortunately, the bike I bought wasn't compatible with the kit but I tried it for a couple of weeks before this became apparent.

I now ride without assistance but it's given me a bit of an insight into the issue. Electric bikes are **really** neat. They will give many people the push to give it a go that would otherwise sit on the sidelines. Brisbane is very hilly, and I just wouldn't have given it a go without the kit. Also, they rock in the hot weather if you want to go somewhere and not be a mess when you get there.

As to the bikes though, there are issues. The vast majority of electric bikes are imported Chinese designed and built. The downside to this is that they are generally quite poor quality and very heavy. I did find one that I would describe as cheap and cheerful but the majority when used daily are very high maintenance. Also, due to their origins they tend to offer little or no frame size choice. If you're not about 5'4 - 5'8 it's going to be a compromise for you.

To the motor size - this is a furphy IMHO. 200w or maybe 250w is more than enough to give you a help - the idea of electric bikes. If you have a bigger motor, you're going to have less range or will need a bigger battery which makes everything heavier again. Where do you stop?

To the batteries, most of the bikes use LIPO batteries or SLA. Unfortunately, despite claims by the manufacturers friends with these bikes tell me that 150 cycles about all they are good for and they are expensive to replace ($400 - $600). Some manufacturers are using Lithium Ion Phosphate or better quality Lithium Ion. These batteries have the potential to last many years.

The only electric bike that I would consider is the Gazelle Innergy. It really is a car substitute due to how well it's engineered and put together. Unfortunately, it is possible to buy a second hand car for the same price but I still consider it good value. If you were looking for a cheaper solution the bikes from Electric Avenue in Brisbane seem to be well built and have lithium ion phosphate batteries and are on special for 1k at the moment.
Once you can climb hills on a bike it's all downhill. :mrgreen:

Hopefully I'll know what that's like..... one day. :shock: :lol:

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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby glowwormbicycles » Sat Sep 04, 2010 5:17 pm

cachexian wrote:Webman,
Your experiences with your ebike don't sound fantastic - especially the issues with going up hills in Sydney.

The ebike that I tried at the weekend (Ezeebike Torq) was really great with hills. It powered up hills with no troubles at all. I'm not sure if you're familiar with Lilyfield Rd Lilyfield, Battle Boulevarde Seaforth of Parriwi Rd Mosman but it powered up these steep hills at 20-25 kph with no fuss at all (I was pedalling).

Sure it was heavy and the bike is designed for comfort rather than speed. I tried to ride up Sydney Rd Manly without any power assist to see what it was like and it wasn't fun. With the fat squashy comfortable tyres it was hard to pedal without assistance at more than 25kph on the flat.

But while you've got juice left in the battery, the power more than makes up for itself.

I'm going to get an aftermarket kit and attach it to my flat bar road bike in the next few weeks. I'll post here when I do.


The 'fat squashy comfortable tyres' are Schwalbe Marathon Plus, inflatable to 75psi. We look forward to seeing your flat bar road bike conversion! Please bring it into the shop to show it off
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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby glowwormbicycles » Sat Sep 04, 2010 5:18 pm

cachexian wrote:Webman,
Your experiences with your ebike don't sound fantastic - especially the issues with going up hills in Sydney.

The ebike that I tried at the weekend (Ezeebike Torq) was really great with hills. It powered up hills with no troubles at all. I'm not sure if you're familiar with Lilyfield Rd Lilyfield, Battle Boulevarde Seaforth of Parriwi Rd Mosman but it powered up these steep hills at 20-25 kph with no fuss at all (I was pedalling).

Sure it was heavy and the bike is designed for comfort rather than speed. I tried to ride up Sydney Rd Manly without any power assist to see what it was like and it wasn't fun. With the fat squashy comfortable tyres it was hard to pedal without assistance at more than 25kph on the flat.

But while you've got juice left in the battery, the power more than makes up for itself.

I'm going to get an aftermarket kit and attach it to my flat bar road bike in the next few weeks. I'll post here when I do.


Sorry, I meant 85psi for the Schwalbe Marathon Plus!
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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby glowwormbicycles » Sat Sep 04, 2010 5:29 pm

webman wrote:I'm joining this discussion rather late, as I haven't had time to keep up with the discussions on the forums.

I purchased an e-bike last year, and have had a number of positive and negative experiences:


Most of these experiences listed are not about ebikes in general, they are about poor quality ebikes (though most ebikes at the moment for sale from what I've seen).
1) It is heavy, if you run out of juice, it is a serious amount of work trying to peddle yourself and all the extra dead weight. One of my very early rides was from Mascot to Chatswood (sydney) and return (with no stop to recharge). I only made it back to Nth Sydney before the battery totally died. It was real hell getting the rest of they way home :(


Yes, it will always be heavier than a normal commuting bike. However, our ebikes will easily to Mascot-Chatswood return.
2) It doesn't go fast! I'm not saying the electric needs more power, what I'm saying is that I can't pedal fast enough to get or maintain a decent speed. Reasons for this are the smaller wheel diameter and the gearing. This just comes down to bike design.

Sounds like your ebike has small wheels and low gearing - again, nothing to do with ebikes in general, just your one.
3) Battery life - just not long enough, I want to ride further and further without the constant worry of the battery giving out. Also, the battery "meter" basically only tells me one of three states:
a) You have some power
b) You have a tiny amount of power
c) You have practically no power
I want to know exactly how much I have, so I can turn around and head home at 50% remaining, or to know if I need to stop and recharge now or not/etc...

Solved by having a battery of sufficient capacity to get you to work and back.
4) Spokes - totally crap, it used non-standard spokes, which were crap quality. I broke a number of spokes on the rear wheel before my LBS replaced them all in one go, with better quality spokes, and in a different lacing<?> style. I've recently discovered a couple of broken spokes on the *front* wheel, which AFAICT, is somewhat unheard of.

Bad spokes are bad spokes. You can't necessarily tell what spokes your ebike has on it but you can bet that if the ebike has high quality everything else that you can verify (battery, tyres, wheels, drive chain, frame, lights) then it'll have good spokes too because they know what they're doing
5) Power - lack of it when going up hills. Mine tends to cut out the power shortly after starting up the hill because I assume it is attempting to draw too much power from the battery. The only way to solve this is stop mid-hill, use the key to switch off/on, and continue for another few seconds until the problem repeats, or just ride up the hill without power. That kind of defeats the whole point of power assisted IMHO. Mind you, this is only on the steeper hills, a small incline is no problem (but then again, power assist isn't really needed there anyway).

This is partly due to legislation but probably due to the quality and efficiency of motor, the limited power output of cheap batteries and possibly an undersized controllor. Again, a good ebike will solve all of these.
6) On a good note, I love my bike, I was able to ride in 35+ degree heat, and arrive at my destination without being totally dripping. In fact, I could do it and look almost like I arrived in a car with a bit of a walk at the end. However, I tend to try to pedal quickly, and so usually end up a pretty hot anyway :)

That's all for now, most of the above issues are related to the specific bike I purchased, and the trade-offs associated with it's design. I'm not sure whether I intend to purchase a normal bicycle, or another e-bike, because my current one is more often than not out of service due to the broken spokes.

Looking forward to them getting a bit cheaper (I spent over $2000 on mine) and also to iron out some of the wrinkles. I'll probably have another go at a power assisted bike at some point when other areas of my life settle down and I get some more riding time... especially summer ")

[/quote]

Please come and have a test ride of some that we have. You can also borrow it to do Mascot to Chatswood return and the ride will speak for itself
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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Sun Sep 05, 2010 1:40 am

Re point 5, the answer is to get away from non-geared drive assist. Designs are now appearing where the assist helps at the pedals/crank end of the drive train instead of the wheel end. That way, as it struggles, you can shift down and reduce the load on the motor enough to keep it within it's performance envelope. Just like you do for your own drive train, your legs.
Unchain yourself - Ride a unicycle .Image
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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby vitualis » Sun Sep 05, 2010 6:28 am

hartleymartin wrote:e-Bikes = GOOD

unregistered electric motor-scooters/motor-cycles/mopeds = BAD

Be careful to make that distinction.

My trip average speed is about 15-18kph on a good day. My usual cruising speed is about 20-25kph on the flats. Introduce a hill and I get slower.

Electric motors should not be available to use in such a manner that would effectively turn a bicycle into an electric scooter. Use the electric motor to take the muscle-work out of hill-climbing or when you've got killer headwinds. If you want a motor-scooter, go get a license, and register a proper motor scooter.


From the point of view of sport (as recreation or in competition), I agree that there is a value and virtue in the effort/athleticism to non-power assisted cycling. I would have never thought to question the above viewpoint in the past.

However, after being in the Netherlands, I'm actually wondering whether this is a bad distinction from a commuting point of view. I think most of us agree that e-bikes can be a fantastic option for some as a form of personal transport. To paraphrase someone up this thread, every e-bike is one less car off the roads. Why do we consider electric scooters (or even low power petrol scooters) so different? As a form of transport, they are often easier to handle, have better range, better speed, better brakes than even the best e-bikes. In the Netherlands, riding a scooter does not require a license and they share the same infrastructure as bicycles (i.e., bike lanes are for bikes and scooters only; no pedestrians).

Regards.
Michael Tam
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2009 Pegoretti Responsorium Ciavete Custom :: 1982/3 Colnago Super :: 2006 Cannondale Six13 Pro :: Late 1980s Repco Superlite
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Re: Why ebikes are good / bad

Postby glowwormbicycles » Sun Sep 05, 2010 11:22 am

ColinOldnCranky wrote:Re point 5, the answer is to get away from non-geared drive assist. Designs are now appearing where the assist helps at the pedals/crank end of the drive train instead of the wheel end. That way, as it struggles, you can shift down and reduce the load on the motor enough to keep it within it's performance envelope. Just like you do for your own drive train, your legs.


Normally in admiration of ColinOldnCranky's information, but this time I can't disagree more.

Gearing your motor through the drive chain = bad. Amongst its social ills:

- noisy
- high maintenance
- loss of motor efficiency through its multiple freewheels (motor, cranks), its own chain (if applicable), then your chain, then your gears
- loss of your efficiency because it meddles in your pedalling (freewheeling cranks, freewheeling the motor when you are just pedalling)

And the biggest - you effectively destroy your bike with non-standard and usually poor quality parts such as a long bottom bracket axle and freewheeling crank. Bicycle mechanics probably won't want to service your chain drive ebike and when something brakes (and it will) or goes loose or out of alignment, then everything goes wrong - pedal power and motor power.

Compare this with a hub drive motor that tries to turn, is forced to turn the spokes with it and away goes your wheel. Close to 100% efficient drive chain, no intereference with your drive chain and nothing to maintain.

Ever seen a single speed rider tearing around the city? They don't mind not having gears because they feel they've got the legs to maintain the power needed to stay in that one, beautiful, perfect gear. Not everyone is like that, but a good hub motor is - it doesn't care much what speed it's going, it's got the legs.
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