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Anyone into electric cycling? Electric Bicycles

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 4:06 pm
by Boomer23
On a whim, while at Alt Car Expo in Santa Monica last Friday, I tried riding an electric bike. I was amazed. Since testing a couple of e-bikes inside the event center, I've visited a couple of shops and tried riding on the street and up hills. They have "pedal assist" which magnifies each of your pedal strokes so strongly that you feel like you have bionic legs. You can ride up a steep hill like it's flat. It's a real rush. And many of the e-bikes also have a throttle so you can be lazy and ride it like a little motorcycle.

You still get exercise because you need to pedal to get the assist, and you can vary the assist down to zero for more effort. And some of the bikes can be set on training mode so that you can pedal against the motor's regen resistance and charge the battery. The regen also works on downhills, but it's pretty minimal.

Of course, I'd heard about electrified bikes for years, but just considered them a dorky, low tech, slow and boring fad.

I've been a cyclist for the past 25 years, but I've let myself get older (not sure if I could have prevented THAT :cry: ) and out of shape, so the hills and long distances, as well as keeping up with fitter companions, are intimidating. I'm thinking that having an e-bike will get me back out there in nature, open up some hilly routes that I've always rejected as too challenging, and be a lot of fun.

I'm about to pull the trigger and have a BionX kit installed on my mountain bike. It's expensive, like $2,000, but cheaper than a good quality complete new e-bike.

Anyone else into this fun hobby?

Re: Anyone into electric cycling?

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 4:23 pm
by GRA
Boomer23 wrote:On a whim, while at Alt Car Expo in Santa Monica last Friday, I tried riding an electric bike. I was amazed. Since testing a couple of e-bikes inside the event center, I've visited a couple of shops and tried riding on the street and up hills. They have "pedal assist" which magnifies each of your pedal strokes so strongly that you feel like you have bionic legs. You can ride up a steep hill like it's flat. It's a real rush. And many of the e-bikes also have a throttle so you can be lazy and ride it like a little motorcycle.

You still get exercise because you need to pedal to get the assist, and you can vary the assist down to zero for more effort. And some of the bikes can be set on training mode so that you can pedal against the motor's regen resistance and charge the battery. The regen also works on downhills, but it's pretty minimal.

Of course, I'd heard about electrified bikes for years, but just considered them a dorky, low tech, slow and boring fad.

I've been a cyclist for the past 25 years, but I've let myself get older (not sure if I could have prevented THAT :cry: ) and out of shape, so the hills and long distances, as well as keeping up with fitter companions, are intimidating. I'm thinking that having an e-bike will get me back out there in nature, open up some hilly routes that I've always rejected as too challenging, and be a lot of fun.

I'm about to pull the trigger and have a BionX kit installed on my mountain bike. It's expensive, like $2,000, but cheaper than a good quality complete new e-bike.

Anyone else into this fun hobby?

I'm intrigued by them, but as I'm still capable of doing my normal errands and the occasional extended ride under my own power, I have no reason to switch. I've definitely been mentioning them to people who have <10 mile one-way commutes, and who are considering a Leaf or other EV and don't want to do all the work themselves.

Re: Anyone into electric cycling?

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 4:30 pm
by adric22
I've often wondered about them and wish I could give one a try. Where I live there are hills everywhere in every direction. Riding a bike is torture because the hills are soo long and difficult to climb in the bike. My fear, though, is that the e-bike battery won't be good enough to actually make it up the hill.

Re: Anyone into electric cycling?

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 4:35 pm
by KeiJidosha
Boomer23 wrote:...Anyone else into this fun hobby?


I also like the BionX. I'm looking at a conversion for a Dahon Vitesse D7 using a 20" BioniX hub motor as discussed in Re: Anyone carry a folding bike in their LEAF? a good tool for cruising around while the EV is on a public charger. BMW i3 also showed folding bike option that would charge with the car.

Are you looking at Electric Cyclery in Laguna Beach?

Re: Anyone into electric cycling?

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 4:36 pm
by Boomer23
GRA wrote:I'm intrigued by them, but as I'm still capable of doing my normal errands and the occasional extended ride under my own power, I have no reason to switch. I've definitely been mentioning them to people who have <10 mile one-way commutes, and who are considering a Leaf or other EV and don't want to do all the work themselves.


The commute thing is a good idea. Because you don't need to get sweaty, e-bikes can be a real option for a work commute. Fifty million Chinese can't be wrong, right? :D

Re: Anyone into electric cycling?

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 4:37 pm
by AndyH
Welcome to the dark side, Boomer! :lol:

http://www.endless-sphere.com/forums/

Ebike across Canada - Pacific to Atlantic
http://www.endless-sphere.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=29&t=7134

Re: Anyone into electric cycling?

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 4:40 pm
by Stoaty
Boomer23 wrote:Anyone else into this fun hobby?

I thought about it seriously a year or two ago, but ended up buying a short wheel base (SWB) recumbent bike to complement my long wheel base (LBW) recumbent bike. The SWB bike is faster and more nimble (and thus more fun), so I haven't ridden the LWB for quite a while.

Re: Anyone into electric cycling?

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 4:41 pm
by Boomer23
adric22 wrote:I've often wondered about them and wish I could give one a try. Where I live there are hills everywhere in every direction. Riding a bike is torture because the hills are soo long and difficult to climb in the bike. My fear, though, is that the e-bike battery won't be good enough to actually make it up the hill.


It's worth finding a shop that gives test rides or rentals, and try it on the hills. I found that you definitely need to pedal and use the pedal assist mode up hills, but like I said, the assist absolutely flattens steep hills. You won't likely be able to use the throttle for uphills because the power isn't strong enough for steep hills, you use up the battery quickly and I think it can be hard on the motor. But with the pedal assist, you feel like a superhero and just step up those hills like they're flat.

Re: Anyone into electric cycling?

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 4:48 pm
by Kataphn
I am still getting around with my "big" GT city bike for my daily ride and my recently acquired folding Xootr bike. The place in El Segundo, CA that I bought the Xootr mainly sells E bikes so I got a good look at them there. http://www.electricbikesla.com/component/virtuemart/?page=shop.browse&category_id=6I like the features of the Pedego. Also I see REI now carries E bikes. For sure, I see myself eventually transitioning to the E bike. I prefer daily biking to walking...cooler, sense of speed and movement makes it much more appealing to me.

Re: Anyone into electric cycling?

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 4:49 pm
by Boomer23
KeiJidosha wrote:
Are you looking at Electric Cyclery in Laguna Beach?


Yep, I sure am. Kevin there is really great and they have a policy of fitting the BionX to your existing bike for free! So that eliminates the issue of me not being much of a bike mechanic.

I'm just trying to choose between putting the BionX on my existing low-end ($650) GT mountain bike or ponying up an extra grand for something super cool looking like a Stromer.

I'd rather have the better dashboard display that the BionX has over the Stromer's basic LED panel, and I like that the BionX throttle can be used at any time, but with the Stromer, you have to switch on the fly between pedal assist and throttle.