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Safety Dance
Sep 10, 2007

Five degrees to starboard!


As brushless electric motors and batteries have gotten smaller and cheaper, the idea of taking an electric motor and whacking it on a bike has moved from weird niche hobby to consumer product. Nowadays ebikes readily available and somewhat affordable, with reasonable examples starting around $1000 and going up to a lot more than that.

Ebike classes

In the USA, there are four classes of ebike:
- Class 1: Top speed of 20mph, no throttle (that is, pedal assist only)
- Class 2: Top speed of 20mph, with a throttle
- Class 3: Top speed of 28mph, with a throttle, but the throttle must cut out after 20mph
- Class 4: technically a motorcycle

Top speed here means that the motor stops providing assistance after that speed. If you can propel the bike faster on 100% muscle, go for it. Class 1-3 ebikes in the US are capped at 750w

In the EU, there are two classes:
- L1e-A: Capped at 1000w, top speed of 25km/h, with a throttle
- L1e-B: Capped at 2000w, top speed of 45km/h, no throttle

Legality of these bikes and where you can ride them varies from country to country, state to state, and city to city. Be sure you do your research before you spend a bunch of money on one.

Edit: more locations, more regulations!

Canada: Capped at 500w, top speed of 32km/h, yes throttle
Australia: Capped at 200 - 250w, top speed of 25km/h, yes throttle

Ebike styles

Once you've decided how fast the bike should go, you need to decide where to put the motor. There are three major schools of thought:

- Front hub drive

The motor is crammed into the front wheel hub. This shifts some weight forward, but most bikes typically keep most of the weight over the rear wheel. Also complicates things if you need to remove the front wheel.

- Mid drive

The motor goes where the bottom bracket would normally go on a bicycle. When you pedal, the motor senses how much force you're inputting and provides some additional force. The motor's weight is nice and low, and the front-rear balance is more traditional.

- Rear hub drive

The motor is mounted in the rear hub. This shifts a lot of weight and a lot of complication to the rear wheel. On the other hand, the rest of the bicycle is basically a traditional bicycle.

Generally speaking, hub motors are capable of regenerative braking (although this feature may or may not be present from one bike to the next). But, hub motor bikes need to have sensors in the bottom bracket that tell them how much power to add. These sensors include torque sensors that measure how much force you're putting on the pedals, and cadence sensors that measure how fast you're spinning the pedals. Of these, cadence sensors are cheaper but less well liked -- riders will oftentimes feel the motor kick in after half a crank or so.

Mid-drive systems have the motor and sensors in the same package, so this is less of a concern.

Once you've decided on where the motor goes, you gotta put the battery somewhere.

- Down tube



Lower end ebikes will use off-the-shelf battery packs that clip onto the down tube. Some higher end manufacturers integrate the battery into the down tube, but that can be quite expensive.

- Rack

Cramming the battery inside a custom rear rack is very popular among step-through ebikes. This can raise the center of gravity significantly, so the bike will be harder to walk (especially if you're trying to push it up some stairs)

- Other

Weird cargo ebikes often have design considerations that limit where the battery can go, and they'll cram it any old place. Some have multiple batteries. The sky's the limit with these things.

But aren't ebikes just for weird fatties and manhattan delivery drivers?

Yes, but also no. It's a bicycle, just more electric and heavier. That can mean a lot of things to a lot of people.

- Bike extension

It's a bike that can go faster and move more stuff. The battery adds to your leg power. For a bicycling newbie, that's about it. You're out there, enjoying the sunshine, getting exercise. The only difference is that a steep hill isn't the impediment it would be on a regular bike, and maybe instead of going 15 miles you can go 30. An ebike makes the hobby of bicycling more accessible to more people.

- Car Replacement

Some trips are not long enough to really be worth firing up a car, but you have to haul stuff or not arrive sweaty. The ebike really shines here. I can ride to the grocery store and pick up a week of groceries. I can meet friends for drinks on the other side of the East River. When These Uncertain Times are over, I can ride to work and not be dripping with sweat or that weird guy who shows up in a lycra bib and changes in the bathroom.

Why the thread?

I couldn't find any other electric bike specific thread. There are two regular bike threads in YLLS, and they're cool, but I think that adding a motor is more about enjoying outside than shaving tenths of a second off of your Col des Ares time. Do you have questions about ebikes? Do you own an ebike? Did you ride somewhere cool today?

Safety Dance fucked around with this message at 00:05 on Jul 18, 2020

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DELETE CASCADE
Oct 25, 2017

i haven't washed my penis since i jerked it to a phtotograph of george w. bush in 2003


alright i have been thinking about getting one of these. i live in california (bay area) and i like to ride my bike. however i am fat and out of shape, so while i can ride in the flat valley just fine, i have a hard time climbing some of the steep hills that lead into more enjoyable rides. i want a pedal-assist bike that makes me feel like i am riding a regular bike except i am superman, not a throttle like a motorcycle. what brands should i be looking at? what are the quality differences at various price points?

your comment about the e-bike turning your ride from 15 miles into 20 miles kinda worries me. i have higher hopes for it than that. riding an extra 5 miles on my regular bike is just a matter of sucking it up, but i want something that will open up whole new rides to me. the road i live on is something like an 8% grade for 2 or 3 miles. will i suddenly be able to climb this?

Safety Dance
Sep 10, 2007

Five degrees to starboard!


Personally, I have a Gazelle NL C8 HMB



It's surprisingly tall and surprisingly heavy weighing around 30kg, but I like the cargo capacity and the upright riding position. It's got a Bosh mid-drive motor and a Shimano Nexus 8-speed internally geared hub. I got it in the first week of June, and already I've put about 170 miles on it.

I started riding bikes about a year and a half ago, and I put about 600 miles on New York City's bike rental bikes before deciding to take the plunge and buy one of my own. I decided on an ebike because I live in midtown manhattan and don't own a car. If I had a car, then a traditional bike would make sense. In fact, if I had space in my apartment for multiple bikes, I'd probably own at least one normal road bike. I don't though, and I wanted to get a car-replacement stuff hauler that was fun to ride and I could get some exercise on but also not sweat through my clothes on the way to work once commmuting to work becomes a thing that most normal people do again.

It's got it's ups and downs. It is, like I said, tremendously heavy. The swept back dutch style bars bonk into my knee when I'm turning, and that's less than optimal. It's got no bottle cages. The internally geared hub can't be shifted if you're spinning the pedals (I discovered that by snapping my shift cable right in front of the bike shop immediately after picking it up for the first time).

But, it can go 55+ miles in Eco mode on a fresh charge. I find that I tire myself out after about 20 miles, and I'll bump the motor up to Tour mode for the ride back (for comparison, on a NYC rental bike, 25 miles was the absolute limit of my range).

Safety Dance
Sep 10, 2007

Five degrees to starboard!


DELETE CASCADE posted:

alright i have been thinking about getting one of these. i live in california (bay area) and i like to ride my bike. however i am fat and out of shape, so while i can ride in the flat valley just fine, i have a hard time climbing some of the steep hills that lead into more enjoyable rides. i want a pedal-assist bike that makes me feel like i am riding a regular bike except i am superman, not a throttle like a motorcycle. what brands should i be looking at? what are the quality differences at various price points?

your comment about the e-bike turning your ride from 15 miles into 20 miles kinda worries me. i have higher hopes for it than that. riding an extra 5 miles on my regular bike is just a matter of sucking it up, but i want something that will open up whole new rides to me. the road i live on is something like an 8% grade for 2 or 3 miles. will i suddenly be able to climb this?

I probably undersold it in the original post, and I'll modify that. I live in Manhattan, and it's mostly flat here. My normal regular bike loop was about 12 miles, and I could do that in about an hour without feeling like death. 25 miles and I felt like death. On the ebike in mostly-eco mode, I can do a 30 mile tour of Manhattan including some of the worst hills in the city and feel pretty good after.

Depending on what kind of motor you get for pedal assisting, an 8% grade for 2 or 3 miles is definitely doable, but it will probably take a noticeable bite out of your battery capacity. As you build leg muscle, however, you can take more of that effort on yourself. I'm also pretty far out of shape, but I've built a lot of stamina riding over the last 1.5 years.

As far as brands go, Rad Power Bikes - radpowerbikes.com up in Seattle makes a bunch of bikes in the $1200 - $1500 range. I think they all have 750 watt motors. I almost bought one, but from what I've heard quality can be a little hit or miss and I wanted to buy from a local shop.

Van Moof - vanmoof.com is kinda the next step up. Their S3 and X3 bikes are $2k, and they're really quite nice from what I've heard. They have a store in San Fransisco. I didn't go with one because I thought the two-speed automatic rear end would be weird. I'd get one for my mother if she asked me what ebike to get.

I wound up paying $2500 for mine, and I think a lot of that is paying for the Bosch name.

Propel Bikes - propelbikes.com sells a bunch of very good bikes that start around $2k and get more expensive from there. They put out a video recently detailing bikes for heavier riders (you and me included) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kf1-9UJmURA . I think if I did it again, I'd have gotten a Tern GSD ($3200) as opposed to the Gazelle. Nonetheless, it's holding up well thus far.

The other bike I'd consider up in the >$3k range is the Yuba Boda Boda https://yubabikes.com/cargobikestore/electric-boda-boda/ .

right arm
Oct 29, 2011



I own a surface 604 shred and have 2500mi on it last I checked. commuted 5 days a week up in portland and road it out to hillsboro like a dipshit several times just to say I did it. it is now solely used for mtb duties on plus size 27.5 tires here in nashville now

e bikes rule and you should absolutely get one with a torque sensor cause itíll make you feel like super man

PoorPeteBest
Oct 13, 2005

We're not hitchhiking anymore! We're riding!

Replaced my car with an Aventon Pace 500 a year and a half ago and I ainít looking back. Round trip is about 35mi each day with moderate hills. Before I would half rear end commute on my touring bike but this pushed me over the edge to full-time. Ebikes do indeed rule.

uvar
Jul 25, 2011


College Slice

Like DELETE CASCADE I've long wanted an e-bike but haven't been able to justify it yet, though it sure would be nice to not have to use the car for my short-but-steep work commute.

OP post was a fascinating way to discover that Australian e-bikes are piddly in comparison to US ones though! We're apparently limited to 200W with no cutout, or 250W with no assist about 25km/h (~15mph). Or maybe both versions cutout there.

Safety Dance
Sep 10, 2007

Five degrees to starboard!


Yeah, my bike is a class 1 over here in the US. 500w motor, no throttle, and the motor cuts out at ~32kph.

Edward IV
Jan 15, 2006



I have an e-JOE Epik SE.



Don't mind the 28" wheels haphazardly strapped to the cargo rack with homemade hemp rope and a bungee cord that I was transporting for a friend.

I mainly got it to be able to play Pokemon GO within a particular area and lets me get around more quickly than walking and avoids dealing with the inconvenience of driving around, trying to find parking and still needing to get out and walk those last several yards to get to my location. Obviously I don't play while riding; this is just to get me around though I will stop if something interesting shows up hence the disc brakes.

I wanted something electric so I can have a cheat mode if I need to get somewhere fast, especially up a hill, and I wanted a folding bike so I can store it inside my car instead of having to deal with bike racks and it lets me always have it where ever I drive. (I do take the battery out and either store it in an insulated bag or take it out of the car with me at the end of the day so that I don't cook it.) The fact that it's electric does help with some of the shortcomings of a folding bike with small wheels like limited gearing and the inability to power through corners lest the pedals strike the ground. The latter still gets me from time to time as I got it last fall.

For the most part, I don't use the motor or power assist since it's generally flat in my part of NJ and I would like to able to burn some calories while I'm at it. Also, it lets me conserve the battery until I really need it. It's supposedly good for 30-40 miles or something like that but I've never pushed it past it's limits. The closest that I have was taking it on the shoreline portion of the Henry Hudson Trail in both directions which is about 12 miles each way and I remember the battery coming close to empty using just the lowest power assist.

waloo
Mar 15, 2002
Your Oedipus complex will prove your undoing.

Are these suitable for riding in all weather conditions? I've been a bike commuter for a while and while I'm probably terribly mistreating my bike by riding it in rain and muck or whatever, I get home and rinse it off a bit and it is generally not too much worse for wear.

What special consideration would one need to take to use an electrified commuter rain or shine?

Safety Dance
Sep 10, 2007

Five degrees to starboard!


waloo posted:

Are these suitable for riding in all weather conditions? I've been a bike commuter for a while and while I'm probably terribly mistreating my bike by riding it in rain and muck or whatever, I get home and rinse it off a bit and it is generally not too much worse for wear.

What special consideration would one need to take to use an electrified commuter rain or shine?

I can only speak for Bosch electronics, but they should be okay. That is to say, I skimmed through the warranty and the manual. They don't reference any kind of water ingress rating, but they do discuss wet weather riding and how you should go slower to not crash. I've ridden in light rain a couple of times with no ill effects, but I keep the bike in my apartment.

The general gist of what most people say is it's fine to ride in the rain, but maybe cover up the display with a plastic bag to keep water from getting under the screen or in the buttons. Other than that, standard bike stuff like making sure your chain is clean and lubed and so forth.

Edward IV posted:

I have an e-JOE Epik SE.



For the most part, I don't use the motor or power assist since it's generally flat in my part of NJ and I would like to able to burn some calories while I'm at it. Also, it lets me conserve the battery until I really need it. It's supposedly good for 30-40 miles or something like that but I've never pushed it past it's limits. The closest that I have was taking it on the shoreline portion of the Henry Hudson Trail in both directions which is about 12 miles each way and I remember the battery coming close to empty using just the lowest power assist.


The Henry Hudson Trail looks like a lot of fun! There's a ferry from Manhattan that could drop me off in Atlantic Heights. I might have to do that when it gets a little cooler this fall.

I've also been wanting to ride parts of the Delaware and Raritan Canal trail. It runs from New Brunswick down to Trenton. It's 70 miles, so longer than my bike's range, but it might be interesting to think about bringing a charger with me to try to add some range during a lunch break.

https://www.traillink.com/trail/delaware-and-raritan-canal-state-park-trail/

Safety Dance fucked around with this message at 03:42 on Jul 18, 2020

pointsofdata
Apr 25, 2011



Ebikes are awesome, something like 1/2 of all new bikes in the Netherlands are ebikes, and they know what they're doing!

right arm
Oct 29, 2011



waloo posted:

Are these suitable for riding in all weather conditions? I've been a bike commuter for a while and while I'm probably terribly mistreating my bike by riding it in rain and muck or whatever, I get home and rinse it off a bit and it is generally not too much worse for wear.

What special consideration would one need to take to use an electrified commuter rain or shine?

yeah I commuted 5 days a week in portland (even during snowpocalypse). you can be a bit proactive and seal your connectors with dielectric grease, but Iíve had zero electrical issues with my surface 604 or the old sondors thin I had and I probably put close to 1000mi on that bike

really all you need is a fender and youíre golden for commuting in the rain

mystes
May 31, 2006



Safety Dance posted:

The Henry Hudson Trail looks like a lot of fun! There's a ferry from Manhattan that could drop me off in Atlantic Heights. I might have to do that when it gets a little cooler this fall.
I don't know if it's really worth trying to get to from New York, but the Henry Hudson Trail is really nice if you're in northeastern New Jersey because the northwest side end of the trail is fairly easy to get to (by car that is, since unfortunately it's basically impossible to get around there by bike) and you can bike all the way to the beaches at Sandy Hook.

mystes fucked around with this message at 14:14 on Jul 19, 2020

Safety Dance
Sep 10, 2007

Five degrees to starboard!


I was going to go for a ride this morning, but it was too drat hot. I have the feeling that New York is basically going to suck until Friday. Instead, here's the grocery haul from last night. Probably 20 or 30 lbs + the paper towels, but the motor made it nice and easy.



And this morning I was feeling productive so I swapped my bars for some that were a little less swept back.



The dutch bars were great for a perfectly upright riding position, but they were too cramped and I couldn't make low speed turns with them. I'll see how these feel later this week when it's not a frillion degrees outside.

Gazelle didn't think too hard about how people were going to work on their bikes. The Bosch and Shimano parts use 3mm hex, the grips use 4mm hex, the brakes need a T25 torx, and the bar clamp uses a single 6mm hex.

Next step is going to be buying a bottle cage, maybe one that will just strap onto my downtube. I normally ride with a big hydroflask in my Ortleib bag, but it'd be nice to be able to grab a drink at a stoplight rather than having to dismount


mystes posted:

I don't know if it's really worth trying to get to from New York, but the Henry Hudson Trail is really nice if you're in northeastern New Jersey because the northwest side end of the trail is fairly easy to get to (by car that is, since unfortunately it's basically impossible to get around there by bike) and you can bike all the way to the beaches at Sandy Hook.

Honestly, any excuse to ride the ferry: https://seastreak.com/ferry-routes-and-schedules/between-new-york-city-sandy-hook-beach-nj/

Safety Dance fucked around with this message at 17:15 on Jul 19, 2020

Grooglon
Nov 3, 2010

You did the right thing by calling us.


waloo posted:

Are these suitable for riding in all weather conditions? I've been a bike commuter for a while and while I'm probably terribly mistreating my bike by riding it in rain and muck or whatever, I get home and rinse it off a bit and it is generally not too much worse for wear.

What special consideration would one need to take to use an electrified commuter rain or shine?

I commuted daily in the Seattle winter with my e-bike and had no issues -- you can just rinse it off as usual. Obviously I would store it indoors or under cover, but for rides rain and puddles weren't problems.

I have a RadCity commuter bike from Rad Power, my husband has a RadWagon cargo bike, and we've been super happy with both. The cargo bike can hold up to 300 lbs, is bright orange, and gets a ton of random compliments where ever we go.

Edward IV
Jan 15, 2006



Safety Dance posted:

I can only speak for Bosch electronics, but they should be okay. That is to say, I skimmed through the warranty and the manual. They don't reference any kind of water ingress rating, but they do discuss wet weather riding and how you should go slower to not crash. I've ridden in light rain a couple of times with no ill effects, but I keep the bike in my apartment.

The general gist of what most people say is it's fine to ride in the rain, but maybe cover up the display with a plastic bag to keep water from getting under the screen or in the buttons. Other than that, standard bike stuff like making sure your chain is clean and lubed and so forth.



The Henry Hudson Trail looks like a lot of fun! There's a ferry from Manhattan that could drop me off in Atlantic Heights. I might have to do that when it gets a little cooler this fall.

I've also been wanting to ride parts of the Delaware and Raritan Canal trail. It runs from New Brunswick down to Trenton. It's 70 miles, so longer than my bike's range, but it might be interesting to think about bringing a charger with me to try to add some range during a lunch break.

https://www.traillink.com/trail/delaware-and-raritan-canal-state-park-trail/

Yeah, the shoreline portion is nice. Granted you only see the shore for 1.5 miles and only that stretch in the northern terminus but you do pass through a number of marshes so it's not all biking past everyone's backyard. I live in Aberdeen and the trail heads is only a couple miles from me so I can bike to either portion of the trail without having to drive my car.

One of these days I want to bike the entirety of the southern portion. I've actually jogged about 2.25 miles down from the northern end and it was dreadfully dull and you get scorched by the sun since it's paralleled by high tension power lines for most of that length. At least it'll go by faster on the bike.

I should also get around ride the shoreline portion again with as little power assist as I can get away with and make it all the way to Sandy Hook.

Stalizard
Aug 11, 2006

Have I got a headache!

I have a regular bike that I like to ride places but my wife's knees don't work at all so she can never ride with me. She had a couple early in life surgeries done by North Georgia Squidbilly Doctors and it's all held together with chewing gum and safety pins in there. Last time she pedaled about a half mile she couldn't walk for a couple days.

Realistically, what's the price range we should be looking at for an e bike with more than just pedal assist that isn't garbage? Are there reasonable e bikes out there that you don't actually have to pedal at all?

Safety Dance
Sep 10, 2007

Five degrees to starboard!


It sounds like your wife wants a class 2 ebike, with a throttle. If you want a more *bikey* bike for your wife, check out the Rad Mission ($999, not for sale yet) or Rad Rover ($1199, on backorder) from Rad Power Bikes. Either of those would support 100% throttle riding, or she could pedal a little if she felt comfortable.

She could also check out a Razor E300S or Razor EcoSmart, which are basically electric Razor scooters with seats in the $300-450 range. I'm less familiar with those, and my brain tells me they'd be really rough to ride, but it's worth investigating.

Edit: I forgot: Segway makes an electric scooter called the KickScoot (Ninebot KickScoot?) and you can get a seat accessory for that. I think you'd be like $650 all in for that.

I also see people zipping around NYC on cheaper looking bikes that look like someone hit "I'm Feeling Lucky" on AliExpress. Don't know the price point, but I'm guessing $cheaper. I guess they work until they don't.

Safety Dance fucked around with this message at 02:59 on Jul 20, 2020

AriTheDog
Jul 29, 2003
Famously tasty.

DELETE CASCADE posted:

alright i have been thinking about getting one of these. i live in california (bay area) and i like to ride my bike. however i am fat and out of shape, so while i can ride in the flat valley just fine, i have a hard time climbing some of the steep hills that lead into more enjoyable rides. i want a pedal-assist bike that makes me feel like i am riding a regular bike except i am superman, not a throttle like a motorcycle. what brands should i be looking at? what are the quality differences at various price points?

your comment about the e-bike turning your ride from 15 miles into 20 miles kinda worries me. i have higher hopes for it than that. riding an extra 5 miles on my regular bike is just a matter of sucking it up, but i want something that will open up whole new rides to me. the road i live on is something like an 8% grade for 2 or 3 miles. will i suddenly be able to climb this?

I'm in the bay area also and yes, you will feel like a superman with just about any e-bike. You'll be able to climb any road if you have a decent motor, and you'll improve your fitness as you ride more and get stronger because you'll turn down the assist to conserve battery when it doesn't feel hard.

That said, what bike do you currently ride and what is the gear ratio? You may be able to add a wider cassette to your bike for cheap and make it up those same hills (very slowly) without a motor, if all you want is leisure rides and exercise. I say this as someone who got back into biking not all that long ago and can remember the hills around here seeming impossible at first.

waloo
Mar 15, 2002
Your Oedipus complex will prove your undoing.

Thanks all for the responses about wet weather. When I actually start leaving my home again I'll probably be back on the hunt for getting something electrified to ride.

Rocko Bonaparte
Mar 12, 2002

Every day is Friday!


The whole industry is in something of a Renaissance right now but there's a serious fanboy culture and lack of introspection that I think makes it riskier than it should be for somebody to get into it. All reviews tend to be positively biased and criticism can be particularly rough. Some aspects to consider in an industry where returns can be hard to do if the bike just doesn't do what you need it to do:

Speed: The wattage of the motor isn't everything. They could be putting in a 750W motor but the controller doesn't take advantage of it. They could be putting in a 500W motor and letting the controller zap it up to 750W in bursts. They could do some voodoo about claiming it's, like a 350W motor with comparable performance to a higher wattage motor. The other things that can affect speed independent of the rider: any gearing inside the motor, the bike's transmission (particularly for mid-drive), the controller, and the tires. The tires apparently don't matter that much compared to those other factors. Note that if you're planning to go at class 3 speeds regularly (20-28mph) that you want to try to find a bike that's specifically a class 3 e-bike or catch some videos of people zipping around at those speeds on the bike you're interested in. Most are being sold as class-2 e-bikes and even if they can be set to go faster than 20mph, they might not be designed to even reach 20mph in the first place.

Range: Most range numbers are complete garbage. It's a scandal. The high ranges usually are calculating from the lowest possible pedal assist. You'll notice it helping you a bit when running with the lowest assist, but it's mostly paying for the extra weight of the bike in the first place. A rule of thumb I got from a blogger was to expect to eat 1Ah of battery per mile you want to ride. That's not the whole picture because a battery is a function of its amp-hour rating and its voltage, so I turned that into 50Wh (volt * Ah) per mile. So if you have a 48V, 21Ah battery then that's 1,008 Wh of riding or about 20 miles of pretty well-boosted riding.

The bikes also don't perform consistently across that charge, but that calculation is "somewhat" consistent. For the first bike I tried, I had asked if I could do a 12-mile round-trip just holding down the throttle and go over 15mph and the company said it would. That was for a 48V, 14Ah battery. I learned that's ... just impossible. In reality, having medium assist for that trip had the motor just about dead in the last 4 miles of the return trip.

Capacity: There's a notion to drag some more stuff along because now you have a motor. Most of the racks aren't any better and can be surprisingly low-rated. The Aurora Limited I was riding had a rear rack that was completely welded on and integrated into the frame with thick-rear end struts. It's weight rating was something like a meager 25kg and I couldn't replace it. One of the other ones I was considering was similar. The one I got at least can be replaced with one of the chonky touring racks. Cargo bikes can also be alarming about this. I saw a poor review of a Radwagon cargo bike. It's supposed to hold 350 pounds, but was grinding itself to pieces when some girl would try to rid it with her friend. Speaking of the community, their response to this was to call them fat.

I ultimately bought a Bolton Foxbat. This makes me a Bad Boy because it technically has a 1000W motor; most places have a 750W limit for motors. I could do some crazy (and notably illegal!) speeding if I took off all the governors and pedaled like a maniac, but I'm happily humming along the exburbs here in the bike lane--where there is one--all to myself staying well below 28mph. The bike is ugly as hell but all the fundamentals are good. I was able to modify the order for a pair of 48V, 21Ah batteries and now can do the extended trip I had in my original plan. I got overly paranoid after my first attempt with an Evelo Aurora Limited as disappointing. The motor was supposed to be of comparable power to the electric trike I got for my wife but it was ultimately slower and the range was disappointing. I concluded a lot of it was the continuous-variable transmission and the Dapu motor. The trike has a Bafang motor in it and can sustain 20mph with my wife pedaling and me awkwardly spilling out of the back (it was a test).

One other good point for Bolton is that the sell upgrade kits for some common ebikes--especially Radpower's stuff--if you have been underwhelmed. They are one of the companies that likes to put 500W motors in bikes and claim it's a 750W bike.

Leng
May 13, 2006

One song / Glory
One song before I go / Glory
One song to leave behind


No other road
No other way
No day but today


E-bike thread!! Came in here to post that if we hadn't put a Bafang conversion kit on our Orbea Katu I would find it extremely hard to go out and about with a toddler.

We completely forgot to charge it after the last outing though, so I found myself on Saturday morning trying to make it up a 6% grade long hill on the last flickers of the battery. Thankfully it lasted but it was a close one.

I made my husband swap bikes with me on return leg because I had absolutely no hope without the electric assist.

Levitate
Sep 30, 2005

randy newman voice

YOU'VE GOT A LAFRENI»RE IN ME


very weird thread title

Safety Dance
Sep 10, 2007

Five degrees to starboard!


Leng posted:

E-bike thread!! Came in here to post that if we hadn't put a Bafang conversion kit on our Orbea Katu I would find it extremely hard to go out and about with a toddler.

We completely forgot to charge it after the last outing though, so I found myself on Saturday morning trying to make it up a 6% grade long hill on the last flickers of the battery. Thankfully it lasted but it was a close one.

I made my husband swap bikes with me on return leg because I had absolutely no hope without the electric assist.

I did the same thing a few weeks ago -- went out with less than half charge and got my range display confused with the tripodometer. Finally figured it out after 13 miles, 7 miles from home, and my range said 6 miles. I wound up muscling the bike crosstown with the motor off, and using eco mode to get me up some of the worse hills on the ride back only.

Share a photo of your bike!


Rocko Bonaparte posted:


I ultimately bought a Bolton Foxbat. This makes me a Bad Boy because it technically has a 1000W motor; most places have a 750W limit for motors.

Post a pic of your bike too!

I agree with you on the speed and range considerations. That's why ebikes can get up into the $6k range and beyond -- Anyone can slap a brushless motor on a Trek clone, but if you're willing to spend the money you can get a bike that's engineered to deliver the performance it says on the box.

Do you know the failure mode the two girls experienced on the Radwagon? Someone on Linus Tech Tips did a review of one where he loaded it down to 350lbs, and he found out that the spokes worked their way loose after some miles. That's one of the reasons I bought from a local shop: basically I wanted to be able to throw my crap pile through a window if it breaks unexpectedly.

I think some of the proper electric cargo bikes (Yubas, Terns, Urban Arrows) are gorgeous -- I think I'll go in that direction when we move and have kids and I'm ready to upgrade from the Gazelle. I believe their capacity numbers.

Guido Merkens
Jun 18, 2003

The price of greatness is responsibility.

Rocko Bonaparte posted:

a high quality post
This is enlightening, I wouldnít have considered several of the points you made, so thank you. Iíve been weighing the options of buying something new OR trying to modify my Giant with a kit, but I think youíve talked me out of the kit on the logic that it wasnít designed to be an e-bike.

Looking at the Bolton site, it looks like all of the bikes have fat tires. Is that necessary for the weight of the components, or just the hip new thing?

Rocko Bonaparte
Mar 12, 2002

Every day is Friday!


Safety Dance posted:

Do you know the failure mode the two girls experienced on the Radwagon? Someone on Linus Tech Tips did a review of one where he loaded it down to 350lbs, and he found out that the spokes worked their way loose after some miles. That's one of the reasons I bought from a local shop: basically I wanted to be able to throw my crap pile through a window if it breaks unexpectedly.

I think some of the proper electric cargo bikes (Yubas, Terns, Urban Arrows) are gorgeous -- I think I'll go in that direction when we move and have kids and I'm ready to upgrade from the Gazelle. I believe their capacity numbers.

I think they had problems with the spokes too. Otherwise, it was squealing and grinding in a way that was expressing disapproval. The newer Radwagon has smaller tires and that's been a rare point of e-bike criticism. I suppose that could make the wheels sturdier and lower the center of gravity. However, the bike doesn't have a suspension so that makes it a smooth road queen.

I've been surprised by the cargo bikes not really having much for a suspension leaning towards rear-hub components but I suppose that's offsetting the cost of having such a bizarre frame (?).


Hawley-Smoot Tariff posted:

Looking at the Bolton site, it looks like all of the bikes have fat tires. Is that necessary for the weight of the components, or just the hip new thing?

Bolton is into them but I don't think they're particularly hot in the e-bike community. As far as wheels and tires go in particular, fat tires are hip but I didn't see it taking over all the bikes I was looking at. It makes getting a cargo rack more complicated due to the width. The other two bikes I was considering had either a more normal hybrid/mountain tire set or leaned more towards road bike tires. I would have expected fat tires to be a thing with cargo bikes.

On the positive side, the bike is really smooth compared to the other ones I have tried and that has mattered at speed. They've been very useful for the parts of my trips that are beside highways with at best a lovely, rocky dirt trail grooved into the ground. I've heard that repairing them is a lot easier; they're so wide and big that you can kind of just slip them off by hand. The effect on speed and range is apparently negligible--not like that motor particularly cares.

My main concern with it really is just aesthetics. It kind of screams "Check out this rear end in a top hat on his electric bike!"

Safety Dance
Sep 10, 2007

Five degrees to starboard!


Fat tires are stronger, but it's largely a hip new thing. Regular bicycle wheels are quite strong as is.

n8r
Jul 3, 2003

I helped Lowtax become a cyborg and all I got was this lousy avatar

I was out on a big backcountry ride yesterday and had a guy on an ebike haul rear end past me. I was pretty jealous. A thing that holds me back from an e-MTB is charging it away from home. Any ideas on this? I'll go for riding weekends where I'll camp for a night and ride two days. I could see this stretching into 3-4 days. How on earth do I charge an e-MTB in this situation?

Safety Dance
Sep 10, 2007

Five degrees to starboard!


My bike's charger is like 20% larger than an old laptop power brick, and weighs maybe a pound. It would fit very nicely into a pannier bag. My plan for range extending has always been to take a leisurely lunch at a place that will let me plug it into an outdoor outlet (haven't tried this yet due to ongoing pandemic). You could do the same at a tent campsite with an electric hookup, or maybe even just lock the bike up at a visitor's center.

Leng
May 13, 2006

One song / Glory
One song before I go / Glory
One song to leave behind


No other road
No other way
No day but today


Safety Dance posted:

Share a photo of your bike!

OK! Here's an old pic from new bike day in the bike commuting thread:



My husband hadn't installed the e-conversion kit yet, but just imagine a large battery bolted to where the water bottle usually goes.

Safety Dance posted:

I did the same thing a few weeks ago -- went out with less than half charge and got my range display confused with the tripodometer. Finally figured it out after 13 miles, 7 miles from home, and my range said 6 miles. I wound up muscling the bike crosstown with the motor off, and using eco mode to get me up some of the worse hills on the ride back only.

That sounds horrific!!! One of my fears about taking an e-bike out is getting stuck somewhere without power and no bike friendly public transport options to short cut the trip home.

To be fair, it's ok without the electric assist so long as the terrain is pretty flat. But I find extended climbs even if the grade is pretty minor is just kinda hell because I am not fit enough to power a heavy bike plus load on my own. Changing back to my own bike felt like a breeze!!

Rocko Bonaparte
Mar 12, 2002

Every day is Friday!


n8r posted:

I was out on a big backcountry ride yesterday and had a guy on an ebike haul rear end past me. I was pretty jealous. A thing that holds me back from an e-MTB is charging it away from home. Any ideas on this? I'll go for riding weekends where I'll camp for a night and ride two days. I could see this stretching into 3-4 days. How on earth do I charge an e-MTB in this situation?

Somebody else did mention the chargers are not too bad. Beyond this, most batteries are easily removed. There are a few brands trying to make the bikes look less like obvious electric bikes that are making this complicated. They will build it into the frame. I only ever saw road/commuter bikes pulling that stunt but you'd want to verify with a mountain bike. If it looks like a black chunk hanging off the frame then I've never seen one that can't readily be popped off. So you can take that over to wherever to charge it up, and you can bring more than one. Those are a lot chunkier than the chargers. I got two batteries when I ordered mine, but I can't really deal with transporting the second one yet until I get my panniers. I guess this gets harder if you're really hauling on some rough terrain and don't want to deal with a rack.

I saw two different people gloating about solar charging, but they were both living off the grid and were million-year-old graybeard flower children. Hats off to them, but you're probably wanting to be riding in a forest during the day.

Final thing here is to make sure the places you want to take the bike are okay with you using it there. I haven't been following this closely because it isn't my jam, but I heard something about US National Parks opening up for electric bikes recently. State and lower parks are a crap shoot. I've wondered about this even cutting through a neighborhood to ride around. You'll see a sign about no motor vehicles and wonder if you're going to get poo poo about it. There's a common set of laws they're trying to get passed around the country that would exempt electric bikes of the typical classes in the OP from this, but some hardass can still hardass.

stephenthinkpad
Jan 2, 2020




Reporting in. I have a Voltbike Urban folding bike I use to commute 13 mile each way to work for the last two years.

As for reason I get a 20" non fatbike folding bike, I live in a small NY apartment and doesn't want a full sized bike that take up too much of the space. If I look for a new folding bike now I would get the 48v variant of this bike which is the ejoe epik se.

I do watch a tons of ebike review videos because I am into ebike/eboards/scooters/EUC. For people who is in the market now and is looking for a good full sized, sensible priced commuter/hybrid bike in the $1500 range, I would recommend the Ride1up 700 or the Aventan Level. They have the same frame and same battery size which is a big 14AH 48v battery. I really like how the battery is intergrated into the frame. They just look so clean and "smart".

My bike

My work bike rack, I don't even bother to lock it anymore

Bonus clown bike

stephenthinkpad fucked around with this message at 14:39 on Jul 21, 2020

stephenthinkpad
Jan 2, 2020




n8r posted:

I was out on a big backcountry ride yesterday and had a guy on an ebike haul rear end past me. I was pretty jealous. A thing that holds me back from an e-MTB is charging it away from home. Any ideas on this? I'll go for riding weekends where I'll camp for a night and ride two days. I could see this stretching into 3-4 days. How on earth do I charge an e-MTB in this situation?

If you don't get the fancy Bosch middrive, and look for Chinese solution , most of their batteries can be brought for $400-600 separately. So just get a 2nd battery for the road trip. Also what you describe doesn't require a full suspension eMTB.

Frankly, most of the non MTB need can be met by Radbike's lineup, and their batteries are all interchangeable.

stephenthinkpad fucked around with this message at 13:28 on Jul 21, 2020

Epoxy Bulletin
Sep 7, 2009

delikpate that thing!


Thanks for the thread, great timing as I'm taking a hard look at venturing into the wide world of electrified cycles and really looking for some wisdom. Shopping for something mainly for my commute and grocery trips, maybe some light travel and the occasional camping trip or mountain trail if I feel bold.

My commute is not too long but includes steep hills, roughly paved roads, and seasonally, deep snow and heavy rain. My body is large and goonish.
I've been getting by with a mountain bike for the last few years, but the frame is a little short and can be awkward to pedal, and often leaves me with sore legs. I've also broken spokes, bent the gears, worn down treads (rear tire much more than the front, presumably owing to the weight), and snapped a few chains. Maybe that's normal for an everyday bike over a couple years(I honestly wouldn't know), but at this point, I've put about as much money onto the thing in repairs and servicing as it cost in the first place, so I'm feeling ready to upgrade to something a little more rugged that gives me an easier ride, especially on the uphill legs.

I got to borrow a fat-tire model for a week, and I was really impressed. It was a Japanese make, so assist crapped out around 25kph (~15 mph?), which did feel a little underpowered (I very quickly got up to speed on flat ground and then got frustrated with the weight when the assist cut out), and the frame was definitely too short, but I was pretty impressed with the overall feel, so I'm thinking I'd like a fatty, particularly when I account for the snow. Also on the lookout for a generous weight allowance.

Whatever I settle on, I'll be needing it in Japan so I'm also open to suggestions regarding shipping options. I wouldn't mind a Japanese-market bike of course, but pretty much all of them I've seen are a little short for me, and most models are either capped around 15mph or just lose the pedals and make the leap into full-blown electric scooters, and I don't think either of those are really what I'm looking for. I've tried to do some research, and from what I've seen, it looks like I might be on the hook for $2500~3000 for a solid number that checks my boxes without going Insano Mode on the horsepower? Any suggestions or advice on what to look out for is welcome, I'm not much of a gearhead.

FBS
Apr 27, 2015

The real fun of living wisely is that you get to be smug about it.



How are you guys not completely paranoid all the time about these things getting stolen?

Literally Lewis Hamilton
Feb 22, 2005

#JusticeForBreonnaTaylor
#BlackLivesMatter
#StillIRise
#Blessed




Yeah not locking a 4 figure investment seems like a bad decision.

stephenthinkpad
Jan 2, 2020




FBS posted:

How are you guys not completely paranoid all the time about these things getting stolen?

It's just around 1k-2k. A gas powered scooter cost more than that. You should spend 1/10th of your bike's value on locks though.

Every NYC delivery guy ride a $1700 ebike. They all park them outside of every Manhattan restaurant, nobody is stealing them.

SilvergunSuperman
Aug 6, 2010



That's crazy to me, in my city even your lovely $100 special has a great chance of getting stolen with a lock on it.

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Rocko Bonaparte
Mar 12, 2002

Every day is Friday!


Epoxy Bulletin posted:

My commute is not too long but includes steep hills, roughly paved roads, and seasonally, deep snow and heavy rain.

I got to borrow a fat-tire model for a week, and I was really impressed.

Japan.

I can't help directly here since I don't know what's available in Japan, what could be shipped to Japan, or even what can be bought outside of Japan and brought in. Most e-bikes can be configured to cut off at a lower speed, but I think you're in a legal frontier if software capping is insufficient.

You're in more need of fat tires than I am, that's for sure. They apparently were first a thing for snow and beach cruising. The typical suggestion when it comes to hills is to get a mid-drive system so the motor is using your transmission. You then have to make sure the transmission is suitable for the kind of hills you're climbing. If you have a lower speed cap then this is probably not a problem and you might even have a good time with those hip automatic transmissions. They're not so good for zipping around 20+ mph. The down side is the motor will strain your chain because it's using it too. The next step up if you're just not having luck with chains is to switch to a belt system. I don't know anything about chains to say anything better.

One thing I can point out about Japanese e-bikes is that Dapu is a Japanese company despite apparently a Shanghai address--the factory is in China like most e-bikes and their components. Their reputation is getting dinged; the gossip is that the leadership has turned to poo poo and it's trickled down to the motors. I know I had a bad experience with their motors.

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