What is the point of the motor assistance?

Positive discussion on ebikes and pedal assist bicycles

Re: What is the point of the motor assistance?

Postby Joeblake » Sat May 14, 2011 12:21 am

10speed wrote:
Nobody wrote:That's why the authorities have settled on 250W. So what's the problem?


Ah I'm in Australia, the limit is 200W here - That's the problem.


But it won't be 200W once the legislation is passed.

bikes should be made for all situations


I don't think so. There's an expression "Horses for courses". I can't imagine riding a carbon fibre light road racer over a BMX track.

It would be neither long-lasting nor efficient.

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Re: What is the point of the motor assistance?

Postby RobertFrith » Sat May 14, 2011 12:29 am

stolennomenclature wrote:many cyclist seem to be hung up on this for reasons that are beyond me. What's so wonderful about pedaling? No other vehilce on the road require pedaling. Personally, I can take it or leave it.

Leave it then. Honestly, just buy a motorcycle, pay the rego, ride the road and never pedal again.
stolennomenclature wrote:I cannot see any reason why an electric bicycle should not be used as a low powered moped.

Everything you discuss is around the idea of "low powered". You have pointed out that Canada has decided that 500W is low powered. Others have pointed out that most cyclists are battling to output more than 250W. Australian authorities seem to be settling on 250W as a sufficient power addition for ebikes, potentially making them significantly more powerful than the vast majority of pedalled bikes. Until those same Australian authorities see fit to raise the standard of the paths that power assist bikes are allowed on I suspect you'll find broad acceptance for that cap. Canada beckons??
stolennomenclature wrote:I am quite sure that if you took the pedals off an electric bicycle and offered it to a burly leather clad motorbike rider and told him it was now a motor bike, he would laugh in your face

He most definitely would. However if you offer it to the average cheapskate bike ninja who can't drive his Commondore to the bottleshop 'cause he's lost his license (again) he's going to be pretty excited, and the faster it goes without turning a crank the better. No-one on this forum is looking forward to meeting that guy
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Re: What is the point of the motor assistance?

Postby RobertFrith » Sat May 14, 2011 12:32 am

oh yeah, Blastork anyone?
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Re: What is the point of the motor assistance?

Postby nickobec » Sat May 14, 2011 1:12 am

The way I see the logic behind the 200/250 watt rule and why I agree with it.

In that the motor is a subsitute for the power of a good cyclist.

So a power assisted bicycle allows a non cyclist to ride at the same speed as a good cyclist and hopefully use the same cycling infrastructure safely and without conflict.

A larger motor will propel an electric motorcycle at a higher speed, which will IMHO:
1. Be more dangerous to the rider and other users of the cycling infrastructure (read cyclists and pedestrains)
2. Cause more conflicts, have a look at the number of threads on the forums about conflicts between cyclists and pedestratians, and lead to conflicts between cyclists and electric motorcyclists
3. The backlash when a 50kph electric motorcycle causes serious injury or death to a pedestrain on a shared path.

If you want to ride on footpath, you are restricted to an electric scooter which is limited to 10kph.

If you want to ride on shared paths and other cycling infrastructure, you are restrcited to a power assisted bicycle with 200 or 250 watts.

If you want to ride on the road, you can use any licenced electric vehicle which complies to the road rules, you have a licence and stick to the speed limit.
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Re: What is the point of the motor assistance?

Postby trailgumby » Sat May 14, 2011 8:34 am

Why are we feeding this troll? The comment about taking or leaving pedalling confirmed my suspicion this guy is no cyclist.

How many times have you blown over the limit and been done for DUI, mate? How many years 'til you can get your licence back? :roll:
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Re: What is the point of the motor assistance?

Postby Nobody » Sat May 14, 2011 9:49 am

10speed wrote:
Nobody wrote:That's why the authorities have settled on 250W. So what's the problem?
You quoted me instead of Sogood. I didn't say that.
Last edited by Nobody on Sat May 14, 2011 2:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is the point of the motor assistance?

Postby Comedian » Sat May 14, 2011 1:11 pm

OK.. a conundrum for you all. I was passed by a guy on a petrol powered bike today (coming the other way). I reckon he had more than the 200w electric limit... but not a huge amount. Probably close to the 500w mark. Now if it's OK to have a 500w electric bike, are we OK with a 500w push bike with a petrol motor strapped to it?

From an environmental perspective I reckon the petrol bike wouldn't be much worse than the electric bike. It doesn't have a huge array of batteries made of rare earth minerals... and isn't charged from a coal fired powerstations.

So is that OK?

Personally I think both of them are motor bikes but there you go! :)
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: What is the point of the motor assistance?

Postby trailgumby » Sat May 14, 2011 1:19 pm

I got passed by s pensioners on a petrol powered BSO... while driving my car. :shock: Definitely a motorbike. He didn't bother making the slightest pretense at pedalling.
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Re: What is the point of the motor assistance?

Postby Joeblake » Sat May 14, 2011 1:28 pm

I suspect that ANY petrol engined bicycle would be technically illegal, since even 250 watts of power moves the bike oh-so-slowly it is virtually useless.

A couple of years ago I had a petrol engined mountain bike pull up beside me on my trike at the lights. The engine looked like it was about 25 cc or thereabouts. When the lights changed to green I took off, both pedal and electric, and left him like he was standing still, because, as I could hear, he had to rev the guts out of it to get moving, and even then, whilst he did eventually pass me (after about a km or so) I caught him at the next set of lights. (I usually can beat most cars across the intersection at the lights, which enables me to get onto the cycle lane on 'tother side.)

The beauty of electric over petrol is that the application of torque on in e-bike is instant, whereas petrol needs revving. Around the city, with stop/start running, electric is just so much more sensible.

To be viable a petrol engine needs a whole lot more than 250 watts, and I suspect that most, if not all states, have a cubic capacity limit, not a power limit for petrol. (I'll try to check that out.)

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Re: What is the point of the motor assistance?

Postby Joeblake » Sat May 14, 2011 1:50 pm

Joeblake wrote:To be viable a petrol engine needs a whole lot more than 250 watts, and I suspect that most, if not all states, have a cubic capacity limit, not a power limit for petrol. (I'll try to check that out.)

Joe



It's not easy to find the power output for small scooters, the specifications all talk about cubic capacity. However, Vespa gave me an insight.

http://www.vespa.com.au/piaggio/Zip50-2t

This 50 cc scooter is claimed to have a power output of 3 kW!!! Okay, this is a road legal machine, which needs a licence to be ridden. But if my friend on his petrol powered mountain bike had a 25 cc engine then he would be using (very roughly) 1.5 kW - roughly 6 times the (proposed) legal limit of 250 watts!! And he still got shat upon. Based upon that very incomplete survey of one machine, I can't really see how ANY petrol powered bicycle that goes over about 10 km/h can be "legal". Petrol assistance seems to be totally untenable.

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Re: What is the point of the motor assistance?

Postby Nobody » Sat May 14, 2011 2:44 pm

trailgumby wrote:Why are we feeding this troll? The comment about taking or leaving pedalling confirmed my suspicion this guy is no cyclist.
OK, then:

trailgumby wrote:How many times have you blown over the limit and been done for DUI, mate? How many years 'til you can get your licence back? :roll:
Umm, aren't you now "feeding this troll"?
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Re: What is the point of the motor assistance?

Postby Nobody » Sat May 14, 2011 2:46 pm

Comedian wrote:OK.. a conundrum for you all. I was passed by a guy on a petrol powered bike today (coming the other way). I reckon he had more than the 200w electric limit... but not a huge amount. Probably close to the 500w mark. Now if it's OK to have a 500w electric bike, are we OK with a 500w push bike with a petrol motor strapped to it?

From an environmental perspective I reckon the petrol bike wouldn't be much worse than the electric bike. It doesn't have a huge array of batteries made of rare earth minerals... and isn't charged from a coal fired powerstations.

So is that OK?

Personally I think both of them are motor bikes but there you go! :)
The big difference here is that petrol powered bikes stink up the paths and one of the reasons I like paths is the lack of fumes.
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Re: What is the point of the motor assistance?

Postby nickobec » Sat May 14, 2011 3:01 pm

Much like my experience with one petrol powered BSO I used to see some mornings on my commute up the Freeway south PSP near Cockburn Central.

On the flat at maximum revs, engine straining, no pedaling ever, top speed was about 40kph and it would regularly pass me. I never chased it was too smelly and noisy to want to tuck in behind.

One morning I am riding to work and could hear it behind me straining at full revs, and there it was tucked into my wheel for a short 400m climb at max %4 to Roe Hwy. I am no powerhouse, I was pushing a 52x17 singlespeed with about 400 watts at 28kph and it was struggling.

Soon as the gradient dropped it went passed and flew down the otherside.

Petrol may have the top speed, but definitely lacks torque to accelerate or climb decent gradients. Hate to see what one would be like at 8% or 10%.
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Re: What is the point of the motor assistance?

Postby cachexian » Sat May 14, 2011 4:26 pm

Comedian wrote:From an environmental perspective I reckon the petrol bike wouldn't be much worse than the electric bike. It doesn't have a huge array of batteries made of rare earth minerals... and isn't charged from a coal fired powerstations.


No way. I can't believe that the environmental impact would be similar.

From this website: http://hubpages.com/hub/MPG-Guide-The-F ... g-Scooters
The worst performing 50cc scooter was a Suzuki SJ50QT 50 cc - 30 km/l - 71 mpg ie 3.3L/100k so let's round that up to 4L/100K for real world consumption. Now that's the fuel usage for a well constructed engine that complies with emissions controls etc.

A petrol engine emits 2.3kg per litre of fuel consumed so over 50klm that engine would release 4.6kg of C02.
Now an engine of half the capacity half a 50% lower fuel consumption (which it won't *) a 30cc petrol bike motor would release 2.3kg C02. (Rotary Bike.com sells a 30cc engine kit)

That is 10 times the CO2 that is released from my ebike on my 50klm commute.

Sure my ebike batteries contain lithium and have a life span of 1-2 years but the petrol motor contains steel and aluminium. All of these metals can be recycled at the end of life.

* I think that it's fair to assume that it is quite possible that the consumption of a petrol powered bike kit, which is not subjected to emissions standards and lots of expensive big motor company R&D, and more importantly has no gearbox/transmission could consume more fuel per klm than a well built scooter despite the lower weight and lower displacement of the bike motor.
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Re: What is the point of the motor assistance?

Postby cachexian » Sat May 14, 2011 4:29 pm

Correction:

A two stroke engine emits about 3kg Co2 per litre of fuel consumed so that's 3kg C02 for 50k commute on rotary bike compared with 0.2kg from 200W ebike.

Sorry if the mathematics is a bit sketchy.

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Re: What is the point of the motor assistance?

Postby Comedian » Sat May 14, 2011 4:40 pm

cachexian wrote:
Comedian wrote:From an environmental perspective I reckon the petrol bike wouldn't be much worse than the electric bike. It doesn't have a huge array of batteries made of rare earth minerals... and isn't charged from a coal fired powerstations.


No way. I can't believe that the environmental impact would be similar.

From this website: http://hubpages.com/hub/MPG-Guide-The-F ... g-Scooters
The worst performing 50cc scooter was a Suzuki SJ50QT 50 cc - 30 km/l - 71 mpg ie 3.3L/100k so let's round that up to 4L/100K for real world consumption. Now that's the fuel usage for a well constructed engine that complies with emissions controls etc.

A petrol engine emits 2.3kg per litre of fuel consumed so over 50klm that engine would release 4.6kg of C02.
Now an engine of half the capacity half a 50% lower fuel consumption (which it won't *) a 30cc petrol bike motor would release 2.3kg C02. (Rotary Bike.com sells a 30cc engine kit)

That is 10 times the CO2 that is released from my ebike on my 50klm commute.

Sure my ebike batteries contain lithium and have a life span of 1-2 years but the petrol motor contains steel and aluminium. All of these metals can be recycled at the end of life.

* I think that it's fair to assume that it is quite possible that the consumption of a petrol powered bike kit, which is not subjected to emissions standards and lots of expensive big motor company R&D, and more importantly has no gearbox/transmission could consume more fuel per klm than a well built scooter despite the lower weight and lower displacement of the bike motor.

Can you tell me how many KW is required for a full charge of your battery from flat?
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: What is the point of the motor assistance?

Postby Joeblake » Sat May 14, 2011 4:44 pm

Comedian wrote:Can you tell me how many KW is required for a full charge of your battery from flat?


I think kilowatt Hours would be more appropriate. :wink:

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Re: What is the point of the motor assistance?

Postby Comedian » Sat May 14, 2011 4:50 pm

Joeblake wrote:
Comedian wrote:Can you tell me how many KW is required for a full charge of your battery from flat?


I think kilowatt Hours would be more appropriate. :wink:

Joe

Yes, and then we need power station efficiency figures before we can say for sure about this.

I remember reading an article a while back that it was approximately 1kg of co2 per kw hour for an average Australian power station.
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: What is the point of the motor assistance?

Postby sogood » Sat May 14, 2011 4:54 pm

nickobec wrote:Petrol may have the top speed, but definitely lacks torque to accelerate or climb decent gradients. Hate to see what one would be like at 8% or 10%.

I would also suspect the weight penalty of a petrol motor was considerable.
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Re: What is the point of the motor assistance?

Postby sogood » Sat May 14, 2011 5:05 pm

cachexian wrote:The worst performing 50cc scooter was a Suzuki SJ50QT 50 cc - 30 km/l - 71 mpg ie 3.3L/100k so let's round that up to 4L/100K for real world consumption.

That's a horrific figure in terms of energy efficiency along with extremely dirty exhausts! Current generation VW Golf with 1.4L engine can do around 6.5L/100km in the city (real life experience), A vehicle with 28x in engine capacity and far greater load carrying capacity. Ride a bicycle, take public transport and car pool, just don't use those inefficient petrol motors!
Last edited by sogood on Sat May 14, 2011 5:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is the point of the motor assistance?

Postby sogood » Sat May 14, 2011 5:07 pm

Comedian wrote:From an environmental perspective I reckon the petrol bike wouldn't be much worse than the electric bike. It doesn't have a huge array of batteries made of rare earth minerals... and isn't charged from a coal fired powerstations.

The whole idea is to move away from dirty burn fossil fuel. And yes, current crop of motor add-ons give out stinking exhausts and are noisy due to an absence of muffler. They should be categorically banned on these two criteria. Moving to electric, the eventual aim is to supply it through renewable and/or clean sources.
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Re: What is the point of the motor assistance?

Postby Joeblake » Sat May 14, 2011 5:09 pm

Comedian wrote:
Joeblake wrote:
Comedian wrote:Can you tell me how many KW is required for a full charge of your battery from flat?


I think kilowatt Hours would be more appropriate. :wink:

Joe

Yes, and then we need power station efficiency figures before we can say for sure about this.

I remember reading an article a while back that it was approximately 1kg of co2 per kw hour for an average Australian power station.


Not in every instance. For example, (sorry to keep harping on it) but I've got photovoltaic panels on the roof of my house, so in most circumstances where I need to recharge the battery(ies) in a hurry, rather than use the PVs on the trike, I plug an ordinary battery charger into the domestic circuit and use the solar energy in that way.

Of course, not everybody has rooftop PVs, so this won't apply to everybody.

Other factors can apply as well, such as whether the e-bike has the ability to harvest energy via, say, regenerative braking, which is in effect using the same electricity twice, hence it should cut the carbon generated in half.

So I suppose my underlying point is it's not very easy to determine the carbon footprint of an e-bike, it would seem to be much simpler with a petroleum fuelled machine. (Unless you've got a diesel which will run on biofuel, recycled chip oil etc etc.)

Too many factors to make a hard decision either way.

I was interested to see that figure of 3.3 l/km for the 50 cc scooter. My 650 BMW gets (according to the manual) 3.3 l/km and in real life just a tad under 4 l/km. Man that must be a VERY inefficient engine on that scoot. :shock:

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Re: What is the point of the motor assistance?

Postby treborfifty8 » Sat May 14, 2011 8:42 pm

A 200 watt hub motor with six average gears doesn't get up hills where i live i have to get off and walk it up
If the government was serious about e bikes they would allow bigger motors and could then tax you with a registration fee
I just bought this bike as an experiment and discovered how lame they are.
Not only don't climb hills they retard your effort to ride faster than about 25 kph as you end up pushing against the motor
ive had this ebike 3 days and im returning it as a it is next to useless.
Back to my road bike at least i can go faster than 25 kph on it.
Also something noone has mentioned they warn you not to ride Ebikes in the rain thats great if you live in Melboune
and get caught in a sudden downpour.
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Re: What is the point of the motor assistance?

Postby Comedian » Sat May 14, 2011 9:21 pm

treborfifty8 wrote:A 200 watt hub motor with six average gears doesn't get up hills where i live i have to get off and walk it up
If the government was serious about e bikes they would allow bigger motors and could then tax you with a registration fee
I just bought this bike as an experiment and discovered how lame they are.
Not only don't climb hills they retard your effort to ride faster than about 25 kph as you end up pushing against the motor
ive had this ebike 3 days and im returning it as a it is next to useless.
Back to my road bike at least i can go faster than 25 kph on it.
Also something noone has mentioned they warn you not to ride Ebikes in the rain thats great if you live in Melboune
and get caught in a sudden downpour.


Firstly... an e-bike is meant to help you up hills... not power you up them. You are supposed to pedal and the electric motor is supposed to help.

Over 25 you aren't pushing against the motor - it's just cutting out (25 is the mandated maximum for assistance) so you're actually getting some appreciation of how much it has been helping you.

I'm not sure about all e-bikes not being allowed to go out in the wet. I know some of the better quality ones are fine in the wet. You must have bought cheap :shock:
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: What is the point of the motor assistance?

Postby Nobody » Sat May 14, 2011 9:24 pm

treborfifty8 wrote:A 200 watt hub motor with six average gears doesn't get up hills where i live i have to get off and walk it up
Might be worth waiting for a 250W kit and then add it to your road bike, or find a better Ebike with a higher torque motor. Like:
http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/category/ ... -11-44637/

treborfifty8 wrote:Also something noone has mentioned they warn you not to ride Ebikes in the rain thats great if you live in Melboune and get caught in a sudden downpour.
That shouldn't be the case. I suggest it may be worth looking for something better. I believe there are plenty out there.

http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/category/ ... k-11-44785
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