Cranky Comedians e-bike 101

Positive discussion on ebikes and pedal assist bicycles

Cranky Comedians e-bike 101

Postby Comedian » Sat Jul 23, 2011 9:08 am

I started riding with an e-bike kit because I thought 12k to and from work was too far for me to ride without help... LOL.

The kit didn't work out because it caused a number of problems with the bike and drivetrain even though it was one of the best kits on the market (a geared drive motor). As a result - I gave up on it after only a couple of weeks. In hindsight this is one of the very best things that has happened to me in my life.

I now realise that the extra weight and complexity of the kits outweighs their usefulness by far. I found that if I used the throttle a lot on my kit then I could run out of battery in less than 25km (my return commute). If I didn't use full power to maximise the battery life then I was barely getting enough return from the system to make up for the added weight of the system.

What's more, once the electrics were discarded I very quickly gained fitness and lost weight. To give you some idea, the very best trip I had with the electrics was an average of 21kph or 40m for my commute. On Thursday this week I rode the same route to work on my road bike and I averaged 29.9 kph and completed the trip in less than 30 minutes.

The obvious question is how fast would I be able to go with my current fitness on an ebike? I see this as quite a moot point because A) my current fastest speeds are limited by safety and traffic considerations and B) I would never have gained my current level of fitness if I rode my ebike instead.

So, despite what you think I've actually got a far better idea about ebikes than most. I've test ridden a lot of them (including the very best). I like them and I think they have a limited place as a necessity for those who live in hot climates/don't have end of trip facitilies and for old/infirm people. For everyone else, the only reason is laziness.

Now I'm totally cool with the laziness thing if that means one less car. I really am. I just hope people who buy them understand that there is a significantly greater environmental cost to an e-bike, that they have significantly higher maintenance costs (charging them is the smallest input) than a normal bike, and that their added complexity can mean reduced reliability. I also think that laziness is not reason enough to allow by law for people to ride electric motorcycles (in the guise of pushbikes) on our bike infrastructure so they can avoid paying rego and bypass licencing rules. :) Sorry. I also think that bigger motors are just a slippery slope that goes nowhere useful. If you want an electric motorcycle, buy one. Sorry. :eek:

If I were to buy a e-bike I would buy a good quality one like the Gazelle or a similar big factory engineered bike. These are reliable, works well and a pleasure to ride. They are not and attempt at electric motorbikes like most of the kits and for many people are a genuine car alternative. I probably wouldn't bother with a kit because for most the added complexity and maintenance will outweigh the benefits.

Well, that's Comedians ebike 101. I'm hunkered down with my flame suit on. :)

Discuss :mrgreen:
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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by BNA » Sat Jul 23, 2011 9:22 am

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Re: Cranky Comedians e-bike 101

Postby Max » Sat Jul 23, 2011 9:22 am

I've got some corn kernels here. The heat from this thread ought to be enough to turn it into nice, hot popcorn! *pulls up a chair* :D

:mrgreen:

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Re: Cranky Comedians e-bike 101

Postby rkelsen » Sat Jul 23, 2011 10:22 am

Comedian wrote:For everyone else, the only reason is laziness.

Don't underestimate laziness. It is very a big thing in modern Australian society. My wife's Italian cousins refer to us as "i gonfiati"... (the swollen ones).

There is a person who works in my office building and lives less than 3km away from it. This person will wait at the tram stop outside their house for 20 minutes to catch a tram to work. It is excruciatingly frustrating to hear her inane stories of, "how long I had to wait for the tram this morning." FFS. I live 21km from work and ride my bike most days, only missing 8 days so far this year. What is wrong with you people?

As an aside, I think laziness is another reason why Australians are struggling to deal with climate change. Most people don't think that they can survive without their cars. Of course, we know that most of them can, but there is no telling some people.
Comedian wrote:I probably wouldn't bother with a kit because for most the added complexity and maintenance will outweigh the benefits.

I couldn't agree more. Get off your lazy butts people!
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Re: Cranky Comedians e-bike 101

Postby cachexian » Mon Jul 25, 2011 9:37 pm

My opinion differs from yours.

One of these days, I'll ride my non-electrified bike to work and compare trip times to the Ebike. I am quite certain that with my EVS motor conversion kit the power benefit more than makes up for the weight deficit - but I am fitter now than I was when I first started commuting to work so I might be able to keep up with my personal best time on the Ebike. I'll let you know.

I'm not lazy just time poor. If the bike trip time is significantly longer than the car commute I am unlikely to leave the car at home.
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Re: Cranky Comedians e-bike 101

Postby cachexian » Mon Jul 25, 2011 9:41 pm

Comedian, you wrote "the very best"...

What do you consider to be the very best? In a post elsewhere you wrote previously that you were enamoured with the Gazelle Innergy? I looked into that one but dismissed it due to unnecessary excessive weight. It does have some other very nice features but unfortunately a hefty price tag to match.

In the end, I converted my own bike. It's not quite as neat as some of the "off the shelf" models but it is lighter and therefore better up the hills.
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Re: Cranky Comedians e-bike 101

Postby the grid » Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:43 pm

Comedian I was looking at "elation 200w" for my commuter as its a 28k one way commute and I find the first 8k (hills) I only average 15kph or less. hence a very long commute I don't ordinarily have time for. Would elation increase my average through hills and make this commute do-able? I can understand that on the flat fitness be better then electric assist?
I think read in an earlier post you had used Elation previously.
Thanks
Last edited by the grid on Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Cranky Comedians e-bike 101

Postby cachexian » Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:46 pm

Hi thegrid.

Where do you live?

Cachexian.
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Re: Cranky Comedians e-bike 101

Postby the grid » Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:50 pm

Gold Coast You?
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Re: Cranky Comedians e-bike 101

Postby Xponti » Wed Jul 27, 2011 3:07 pm

the grid wrote: hence a very long commute I don't ordinarily have time for.


Why don't you have time? Why can't you leave earlier/wake up earlier? We all have "time", it's just the way we choose to use it that differs.

@max - get ready for that popcorn... :twisted:
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Re: Cranky Comedians e-bike 101

Postby the grid » Wed Jul 27, 2011 3:17 pm

Umm three kids 0600 rowing most mornings, shift work blah blah blah
Can't fit in 3-4 hrs commute and changing at work. If e-bike could cut ot 30-40 mins that would make it do-able
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Re: Cranky Comedians e-bike 101

Postby Xponti » Wed Jul 27, 2011 3:22 pm

the grid wrote:Umm three kids 0600 rowing most mornings,


I see time wisely you use it my biking Padawan. An E-bike suitable for you it would be..... :oops:
There is no peace only Passion (for cycling), through Passion I gain Strength (in my legs), through Strength I gain Power (watts), through Power I gain Victory!

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Re: Cranky Comedians e-bike 101

Postby the grid » Wed Jul 27, 2011 3:25 pm

The force is strong with you !
My 6 yo calls himself Annikan should I be worried about him going to dark side?
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Re: Cranky Comedians e-bike 101

Postby cachexian » Wed Jul 27, 2011 4:31 pm

I'm in Sydney and commute 23k across Sydney including some very steep hills.

If you have three kids, you really don't have the time for a long commute!

Elation should be good on hills because you can use all the gears on the rear derailleur in the same way as you would without the electric assist. That also means that the elation kit will still give you assist at high speeds on the flat (unlike as you may have read with my hub drive). The only thing to consider is the additional chain and cog wear that will occur with the additional torque and force of the Elation kit.

I have a hub drive and find it really good. The main reason I opted for hub drive was to reduce noise and to make the bike look less like an Ebike. I find the Elation kit is very visually intrusive. My small hub motor is quite subtle. Hub motors are also a lot quieter than the chain drive units.

The hub motor vs chain drive motor is covered quite extensively on other forums (Endless Sphere, Pedalec) and good reviews of Elation kits are here:
http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=10867&hilit=elation&sid=4498fd94a2956f7c2d630fe0a309d85a

In any case, if you have a search around on Endless Sphere you may find an Aussie in Gold Coast who will let you ride their bike for a test ride. From memory, Alan (of Elation kits) is located in QLD so you may be able to visit him to try one out.
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Re: Cranky Comedians e-bike 101

Postby the grid » Wed Jul 27, 2011 5:59 pm

Great advice thanks
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Re: Cranky Comedians e-bike 101

Postby eldavo » Wed Jul 27, 2011 10:50 pm

I'd hardly call this a 101 unless it was retitled "Cranky Comedians Opinions on the World and Everything, with a tiny scenario involving e-bikes"

Saying your short one time, one place experience should be applied to everyone everywhere, is a bit like our premier Colin Barnett here saying "I don't have air conditioning in my house so don't see why anyone else should".

Like lots of decisions that don't work out, you had an assumption, it was wrong, and you've moved on.
I see loads of all sorts of consumer goods, cars, bicycles, tricycles, and e-bicycles go for sale because the premise they were bought for, never eventuated, e.g. "bought for my wife but she doesn't like it" -> why didn't you check with her first, take it for a test ride etc.

I bought a second e-bike cheap to try MTB frame versus road, rear hub versus front, for the cost of battery value alone. It was advertised as "bought for friend after he lost his license (read the embarrassed seller) but he didn't really like bicycling to work, used twice"

As for laziness, why aren't you cyclists off of those lazy vehicles and running 20kph average speed, because that's the pace my cycling/jogging manager does, so everyone must do it, and really I can't understand why Comedian isn't doing it too, he must be lazy. The environmental burden of using a bicycle is criminal compared to running. Go bury yourself now.
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Re: Cranky Comedians e-bike 101

Postby lethoso » Tue Aug 09, 2011 10:40 pm

eldavo wrote:The environmental burden of using a bicycle is criminal compared to running. Go bury yourself now.


Cycling is arguably more environmentally friendly than running, as you burn much less energy for the same distance (and therefore don't need to eat as much). There is the initial production of the bicycle, and the wear of components to take into account, but I think it'd stack up pretty well against running even once that's taken into account, running is very inefficient.
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Re: Cranky Comedians e-bike 101

Postby eldavo » Tue Aug 09, 2011 11:02 pm

haaha, well you could write a PhD about it I'm sure, but I'd still suggest burying yourself to stop thieving oxygen.

Everyone knows runners live on a celery stick a day anyway, and you can't even light their farts they're so efficient.
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Re: Cranky Comedians e-bike 101

Postby lethoso » Wed Aug 10, 2011 11:39 am

welp, I just stumbled across this - http://www.pietzo.com/storage/downloads ... epaper.pdf . Turns out someone is a big enough nerd to have actually calculated most of this stuff.

The results show that walking to work releases 37 grams of CO2 per mile traveled.


we find that bicycles require 319 kJ of energy input and releases 33 grams of greenhouse gases per passenger mile traveled


So riding a bike is probably not significantly more efficient than walking to work, once we take into account maintenance (possibly less). It'd stack up better against running, but that's not something the author examined. Interestingly though:

The energy input required for an electric bicycle is 12% higher than that of a conventional bicycle, but actually results in exactly the same amount of emissions.


So ride your ebike guilt free ;)
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