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Discussion Starter #1
> I have long advocated the use of electric bicycles, eBikes, as a means of
> dealing with energy
> issues. Since I now have more than a year of experience with my electric
> bike under a variety of
> (non-freezing) weather conditions (including heavy rain and substantial
> winds), terrain
> (including very steep hills) and activities (carrying up to 20 lbs of
> groceries) I would like to
> share my thoughts on how best to promote the use of eBikes.
>
> One of the major problems I see is that electric bicycles that are of
> sufficient quality to really
> make eBikes a success are difficult to find and purchase with confidence.
> It is not that quality
> eBikes are too expensive (I have seen really good ones that sell for $1100
> to $1500), but that the
> ones that appear to meet my criteria are very hard to find and appear on
> web sites that don't
> provide the confidence, in the areas of billing, returns, and reviews, that
> one finds on major
> retail sites such as Amazon.
>
> All the sBikes that I have seen on places where people are comfortable to
> buy, such as Amazon,
> appear much inferior to the eBikes I describe below. Either they are
> underpowered (usually 250
> watts), or require pedaling at all times, or use un-geared hub motors on
> 26" wheel bikes, or are too
> heavy, and often they are rather expensive. Such eBikes might produce a
> negative view of what
> affordable ebikes can do. So I am looking for ideas on how quality eBikes
> can be made available on
> sites that instill confidence.
>
> Hear are my opinions on quality eBikes:
>
> (1) The bicycle is the most energy and material efficient form of transport
> known to man or
> nature, including mass transit. It may be that electric bikes are even more
> energy efficient than
> human powered bikes in terms of the calories consumed, although most
> Western diets don't suffer
> from insufficient calories! See:
> http://www.ebikes.ca/faq.shtml#quiz3
> for a reference. This makes eBikes a natural goal for radical reductions in
> energy.
>
>
> (2) Un-powered bikes will likely never fill a significant role in
> transportation in this country
> as the physical demands are too high, along with the inconvenience of
> arriving at work drenched
> with sweat, the unpleasantness of peddling while tired, sick, injured, or
> with a headache or a
> cold, etc. But a properly designed electric bike, along with the
> appropriate clothing and
> equipment, can overcome most of these problems, and can make eBike
> commuting acceptable, and even
> enjoyable.
>
>
> (3) Commuting to work and errands are probably the most important areas
> where ebikes can contribute
> by replacing a great deal of automobile use, and so the characteristics of
> ebikes that serve those
> roles are the most important ones to consider.
>
>
> (4) There are two main ways of powering an eBike: so-called pedelecs which
> require you to pedal
> and often use a torque sensor in the motor to multiply your power, and
> throttles which power the
> bike by the motor alone or in combination with your own pedaling. While
> there are some who are
> adamant that pedaling is mandatory and the motor should only be used to
> multiply your own power,
> for the purposes of commuting to work I strongly disagree.
>
> For one thing, torque sensors provide a very un-natural assist with a small
> built in delay that
> does not accurately mimic your own application of power, and I also find
> that even on maximum
> assist I end up sweating going up steep hills. I much prefer a throttle
> which provides a smooth
> flow of power which I can then very effectively augment by moderate
> pedaling which remains the

same on flat or very steep terrain and does not generate any sweat.

(5) Good hill climbing ability is probably the single most important feature
of ebikes, although
range and speed are also significant. There are three types of motors that
are frequently used:
direct (un-geared) hub motors, geared (often using a planetary gear) hub
motors, and mid-drive
motors that directly drive the main sprocket and chain and so use the
gearing provided by the
bike itself. In my experience, a 350 watt direct drive motor is sufficient
for small wheel (20"
wheel size) eBikes, where the small wheels provide extra torque.

For example, I have been able to determine the slopes of local hills using
Google Earth, and find
that my BIONx 350 watt motor with my 20" inch wheels will get me up hills
with a 10 degree grade
at 10.5 MPH w/o pedaling and 12.5 MPH with moderate (no sweating) pedaling;
a 12.5 degree grade at
11.5 MPH with moderate pedaling, and a (frighteningly steep) 18 grade slope
in low gear at 7 MPH
with substantial but not exhausting pedaling. This should be sufficient for
hill climbing for the
great majority of commutes.

However, for larger 26 inch wheels, the torque drops by 30%, and so a direct
drive 350 watt hub
motor would not be sufficient. However, hub motors with planetary gears
appear to offer an
average of 50% more torque than direct drive hub motors (based on a
reference that I can no
longer find), and so a 350 watt geared hub motor should be adequate for a
full size 26 inch wheel
bike. Mid-drive motors that drive the main sprocket/chain offer the
ultimate in hill climbing
ability, although they cause somewhat more wear and tear on the sprocket and
chain, but are
useful for handling very steep hills.

(6) Folding eBikes are very good if you need to transport your bike a lot.
In particular,
folding bikes can usually be carried inside buses, allowing buses to carry
far more bikes than
the standard two that are now allowed. Since most folding bikes use small
20" wheels, a direct
drive 350 watt rear hub motor should be sufficient, but a 350 watt geared
hub motor is better and
lighter.

However, small wheel folding eBikes are much less stable than standard
bikes, so you normally
need to grasp the handle bars with both hands, and riding hands-free is
nearly impossible.
Also, light weight is very important for folding bikes if you need to carry
them a lot in buses
and cars. My Dahon Mariner with the BIONx 350 watt motor and 350 WH Lithium
battery weighs 47.5
lbs, and is rather a burden to carry up steps. For an additional $800 a
Dahon MU SL with a better
placement of the battery would probably drop the weight to about 40 lbs.

Since standard size bikes are more stable, less expensive, and are not as
weight sensitive as
folding bikes, a non-folding 26" wheel bike, with a geared 350 watt motor or
a 350 watt mid-drive
should make an excellent eBike for the purpose of commuting to work.

So, any advice on how we can get major sites, such as Amazon, to advertise
the quality eBikes
would be welcome.

-- Larry

--
Larry Gales
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Discussion Starter #2
> Since standard size bikes are more stable, less expensive, and are not
as
> weight sensitive as folding bikes, a non-folding 26" wheel bike, with
a
> geared 350 watt motor or a 350 watt mid-drive should make an excellent

> eBike for the purpose of commuting to work.

> So, any advice on how we can get major sites, such as Amazon, to
advertise
> the quality eBikes would be welcome.

To start, an answer to your question: Why Amazon doesn't sell these?
Well, have YOU started selling them on Amazon? Just about anybody can.
Are there specific eBikes/brands that you recommend? If there aren't
any, then... the question becomes can you compete with the low-end? You
can buy the Sanyo Eneloop for $2k on Amazon --
http://www.amazon.com/Sanyo-Eneloop-Electric-Bicycle-CY-SPA600NA/dp/B003
7IW7EY it meets many of my desired factors outlined below.

I read your post with great interest, as eBikes are becoming a passion
for me (even though I don't have one yet, the Twike doesn't qualify as
it is overpowered from a legal standpoint).

For me, I think that a folding eBike is the holy grail as it easily
allows transportation mode shifting (going from bicycle to train/bus
back to bicycle/car is one example). I see the eBike as the perfect
around-town/commuting mobile, however if you get to work and it starts
raining cats and dogs at 4:30pm... fold it up, take it on the bus/train.
Most buses only have one or two spots for bicycles on their racks, which
fill up quickly when it rains. Many train systems do not allow bicycles
on them during peak hours (rush hour). A folder gets around both of
these issues, and it doesn't take up much space in an apartment, can
easily go up an elevator, can go into the coffee shop with you so you
don't have to lock it up/risk it getting stolen/vandalized...

If you need a full-sized folder, there's this one:
http://www.montaguebikes.com/ The tidalforce wavecrest was based on
their paratrooper model...
http://www.electrikmotion.com/Tidal%20Force%20Electric%20Bike.htm
Stick a Magic Pie by Golden Motors on one of those and you've quickly
got a WaveCrest TidalForce again... you've still gotta figure out
lighting and fenders though... Tidalforce *WAS* one of those quality
eBikes, and they couldn't make it financially apparently.

There are several factors that I've yet to see on eBikes that makes
*none* of them qualify as "the perfect ride" in my book, which if you
try to solve them after the fact it results in a stuck-on/tacked-on
look:

* Lack of integrated lighting system -- I've had my lights
ripped off more often than I can count
* Lack of integrated locking system... (folding solves this
mostly)
* No front fairing (optional -- this dramatically improves
comfort & efficiency as shown by
Craig Vetter, inventor of the motorcycle fairing)
* No cruise control. The Twike has cruise and it's awesome!
Cruise is the most efficient way to ride.
* Poor Center of Gravity, due to placement of batteries usually
on the back rack or
* Sanyo eneloop does a good job on this
* The [email protected]#[email protected] cross-bar/top tube: I have a good friend who
bicycles all the time, and he said if he had
to go to just one bike, it'd be his folder cause while he's
spry and fit, he's also older and swinging
his leg up over the crossbar is getting more difficult
* Derailleurs. They stink. Internal hub system like the
NuVinci CVT while less efficient that a perfectly
in-tune derailleur, keeping a derailleur perfectly maintained
is difficult -- reliability is one of the factors
behind the fixed gear movement (bicycle messengers)
* Lack of basic features, like chain guards, fenders, mud flaps,
etc.
* the inheirient unstableness of a 2-wheeler that you can't
easily put your feet down
(recumbents and/or Trikes solve this)

I look at eBicycle conversions much as I do eCar conversions -- it's
only worth doing if you're in love with the base vehicle first, else you
might as well build it from the ground up as you'll get a better
performing and looking vehicle -- I've yet to see an eBike that doesn't
look like things are just 'tacked on' to a regular bike. The Sanyo
Eneloop comes the closest. One such option is the "beach cruiser"
electrified -- these people aren't "real bicyclists" they are "real
people". Real bicyclists don't buy bicycles with motors on 'em -- go to
any bicycle shop and you'll figure that out really quickly.

The 1950's era Beach Cruiser bicycle often already had things like chain
guards, fenders, mud-flaps, integrated lighting systems (update to
LED)... no derailleur, lower top tube, better suspension (fat tyres)...

[email protected]

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Discussion Starter #3
I looked at your Sanyo eneloop bike below and found its specs: the bike
weighs 50 lbs but its battery is only 144 WH and its motor is only 250
watts, compared with my folding eBike that has a 350 watt motor and a 350 WH
battery, and only weighs 47 lbs. Now I have found two eBikes that look
really good to me but they are not on Amazon level sites:

A 350 watt geared hub motor mountain bike with 350 WH battery for 50
lbs and $1100 at:

http://www.hightekbikes.com/peb-350m.html

and a 350 watt mid-motor (drives sproket/chain) ebike with 350 WH
battery at 46 lbs for $1500

http://www.hightekbikes.com/htb_midmnt.html

If they were on a site I was sure about I would snap them up right away.

-- Larry

On Thu, Nov 18, 2010 at 12:24 PM, Childress, Matthew
<[email protected]>wrote:

> > Since standard size bikes are more stable, less expensive, and are not
> as
> > weight sensitive as folding bikes, a non-folding 26" wheel bike, with
> a
> > geared 350 watt motor or a 350 watt mid-drive should make an excellent
>
> > eBike for the purpose of commuting to work.
>
> > So, any advice on how we can get major sites, such as Amazon, to
> advertise
> > the quality eBikes would be welcome.
>
> To start, an answer to your question: Why Amazon doesn't sell these?
> Well, have YOU started selling them on Amazon? Just about anybody can.
> Are there specific eBikes/brands that you recommend? If there aren't
> any, then... the question becomes can you compete with the low-end? You
> can buy the Sanyo Eneloop for $2k on Amazon --
> http://www.amazon.com/Sanyo-Eneloop-Electric-Bicycle-CY-SPA600NA/dp/B003
> 7IW7EY<http://www.amazon.com/Sanyo-Eneloop-Electric-Bicycle-CY-SPA600NA/dp/B003%0A7IW7EY> it meets many of my desired factors outlined below.
>
> I read your post with great interest, as eBikes are becoming a passion
> for me (even though I don't have one yet, the Twike doesn't qualify as
> it is overpowered from a legal standpoint).
>
> For me, I think that a folding eBike is the holy grail as it easily
> allows transportation mode shifting (going from bicycle to train/bus
> back to bicycle/car is one example). I see the eBike as the perfect
> around-town/commuting mobile, however if you get to work and it starts
> raining cats and dogs at 4:30pm... fold it up, take it on the bus/train.
> Most buses only have one or two spots for bicycles on their racks, which
> fill up quickly when it rains. Many train systems do not allow bicycles
> on them during peak hours (rush hour). A folder gets around both of
> these issues, and it doesn't take up much space in an apartment, can
> easily go up an elevator, can go into the coffee shop with you so you
> don't have to lock it up/risk it getting stolen/vandalized...
>
> If you need a full-sized folder, there's this one:
> http://www.montaguebikes.com/ The tidalforce wavecrest was based on
> their paratrooper model...
> http://www.electrikmotion.com/Tidal%20Force%20Electric%20Bike.htm
> Stick a Magic Pie by Golden Motors on one of those and you've quickly
> got a WaveCrest TidalForce again... you've still gotta figure out
> lighting and fenders though... Tidalforce *WAS* one of those quality
> eBikes, and they couldn't make it financially apparently.
>
> There are several factors that I've yet to see on eBikes that makes
> *none* of them qualify as "the perfect ride" in my book, which if you
> try to solve them after the fact it results in a stuck-on/tacked-on
> look:
>
> * Lack of integrated lighting system -- I've had my lights
> ripped off more often than I can count
> * Lack of integrated locking system... (folding solves this
> mostly)
> * No front fairing (optional -- this dramatically improves
> comfort & efficiency as shown by
> Craig Vetter, inventor of the motorcycle fairing)
> * No cruise control. The Twike has cruise and it's awesome!
> Cruise is the most efficient way to ride.
> * Poor Center of Gravity, due to placement of batteries usually
> on the back rack or
> * Sanyo eneloop does a good job on this
> * The [email protected]#[email protected] cross-bar/top tube: I have a good friend who
> bicycles all the time, and he said if he had
> to go to just one bike, it'd be his folder cause while he's
> spry and fit, he's also older and swinging
> his leg up over the crossbar is getting more difficult
> * Derailleurs. They stink. Internal hub system like the
> NuVinci CVT while less efficient that a perfectly
> in-tune derailleur, keeping a derailleur perfectly maintained
> is difficult -- reliability is one of the factors
> behind the fixed gear movement (bicycle messengers)
> * Lack of basic features, like chain guards, fenders, mud flaps,
> etc.
> * the inheirient unstableness of a 2-wheeler that you can't
> easily put your feet down
> (recumbents and/or Trikes solve this)
>
> I look at eBicycle conversions much as I do eCar conversions -- it's
> only worth doing if you're in love with the base vehicle first, else you
> might as well build it from the ground up as you'll get a better
> performing and looking vehicle -- I've yet to see an eBike that doesn't
> look like things are just 'tacked on' to a regular bike. The Sanyo
> Eneloop comes the closest. One such option is the "beach cruiser"
> electrified -- these people aren't "real bicyclists" they are "real
> people". Real bicyclists don't buy bicycles with motors on 'em -- go to
> any bicycle shop and you'll figure that out really quickly.
>
> The 1950's era Beach Cruiser bicycle often already had things like chain
> guards, fenders, mud-flaps, integrated lighting systems (update to
> LED)... no derailleur, lower top tube, better suspension (fat tyres)...
>
> [email protected]
>
> _______________________________________________
> | REPLYING: address your message to [email protected] only.
> | Multiple-address or CCed messages may be rejected.
> | UNSUBSCRIBE: http://www.evdl.org/help/index.html#usub
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> | OPTIONS: http://lists.sjsu.edu/mailman/listinfo/ev
>



--
Larry Gales
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Discussion Starter #4
"I've yet to see an eBike that doesn't look like things are just 'tacked on' to a regular bike. The Sanyo Eneloop comes the closest. One such option is the "beach cruiser"
electrified -- these people aren't "real bicyclists" they are "real people". Real bicyclists don't buy bicycles with motors on 'em -- go to any bicycle shop and you'll figure that out really quickly."

How about this one?

http://www.evalbum.com/2679

Chip Gribben




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Discussion Starter #5
I should clarify that what I meant was a production/semi-mass produced
eBike -- most of these are built by bicycle companies that tack on
eBicycle components to their existing lineups and don't rethink the
vehicle as per the market segment they're trying to reach -- as an
example, many require you to still pedal, the center of gravity is way
off and they don't have cruise control. Here in the middle of Illinois
there are days due to heat and humidity where if you pedal at all,
regardless of how much effort you will be soaked.

The one in the album looks nice, * admire the clean lines and artistry.
There's a bit of wire clutter still there -- would prefer to have
internal frame routing -- while I could never ride one, I love the clean
cable-less look of a fixie --
http://www.trackosaurusrex.com/pblog/images/ILD_Fixie_2.jpg Of course
this is the opposite of "tacked on" as most stuff has been stripped off!
I'd like the look but WITH the options ;-)

While it lacks a lot of what I listed necessary for a commuter bicycle
(fenders, built-in lighting system), I recognize and admire that crusing
was its purpose, not commuting. Of course if you're cruising at
night... ;-) Many (most?) of the eBike systems I've seen require
separate battery systems for the lights, and that's, well, ugly and
inconvenient.

[email protected]

-----Original Message-----
From: [email protected] [mailto:[email protected]] On
Behalf Of Chip Gribben
Sent: Friday, November 19, 2010 3:25 PM
To: [email protected]
Subject: Re: [EVDL] How to promote the use of electric bicycles (eBikes)

"I've yet to see an eBike that doesn't look like things are just 'tacked
on' to a regular bike. The Sanyo Eneloop comes the closest. One such
option is the "beach cruiser"
electrified -- these people aren't "real bicyclists" they are "real
people". Real bicyclists don't buy bicycles with motors on 'em -- go to
any bicycle shop and you'll figure that out really quickly."

How about this one?

http://www.evalbum.com/2679

Chip Gribben




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