Author Topic: Electric bikes  (Read 77098 times)

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #50 on: April 15, 2015, 06:25:28 AM »
Yeah, I get the whole 'What about muscle vs motor?' thing as well. Although, MMM has indicated in his article that it's a gateway drug, a good way to get people riding who otherwise wouldn't (older, live in hilly areas, longer commutes, etc). Insisting on a manual bike in that situation might be a case of letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.

I started commuting via (regular) bike a month or so ago. Originally I was going to keep taking the tram and then convert the bike to electric for bicycle commuting in the spring (currently mid autumn). Instead I decided just to ride anyway and build my fitness up, and now I'm riding in work clothes without an issue (although the cooler weather has helped there too).

I'm still kinda keen on riding an electric bike and maybe buying/building one, but some of them are expensive. I may be keen on an ebike conversion, but not if the conversion costs almost as much as a brand new 125cc scooter. Some kits are cheaper (~$700 or so) though. Here they need to be no more than 250W to be road legal.

I often compare the price of my bike(s) with cars (or scooters) like you have with scooters and its not pretty.  I have a $10K van, but just paid $7K for two electric bikes, and have about $7K more in other pedal bikes.  However, I use them almost daily and keep them for years.  They all have many thousands of miles on them and yes I save the world one pedal stroke at a time and I'm in shape, but there is something else that I get from riding as opposed to twisting a throttle or pushing a gas pedal (e-assist or not) and that is the freedom to be out of an automobile or off my motorcycle.  Sometimes I feel trapped when I drive.  However, on the bikes I can take just about any route I want, my mind is not stressed - ever - as compared to the auto or motorcycle (less so with that).  I'm really feeling this difference lately as I normally commute 15 miles by bike.  However, I am having to drive 1 hour in the morning (about 30 miles) in tough traffic and then since I have the auto I have to drive home.  I miss my bike commute.

On comparing costs with a scooter make sure you factor in the maintenance, license, insurance, etc.  Not saying they are a bad idea, just that there are extras involved.  Once you buy a bike you are usually done for a long time.

True, there's all of those other costs associated with a scooter, and they can't go on bike lanes/paths, but I guess I just baulk at the idea of paying over $1500 (even over $1000) for an ebike. My conventional push bike was $350 new.

With my ~4.5 mile, fairly flat commute, an ebike isn't really necessary though (it takes about 30min on my current bike). However if I end up buying a place in a couple of years, property prices in this city will necessitate me moving further out, and then an ebike may come into its own.

Still would be fun to have one, though. Maybe I'll just have to think of it as an expensive toy that's saving wear and tear on my car. :)
« Last Edit: April 15, 2015, 06:27:32 AM by alsoknownasDean »

Rollin

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #51 on: April 15, 2015, 07:42:14 AM »
Yeah, I get the whole 'What about muscle vs motor?' thing as well. Although, MMM has indicated in his article that it's a gateway drug, a good way to get people riding who otherwise wouldn't (older, live in hilly areas, longer commutes, etc). Insisting on a manual bike in that situation might be a case of letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.

I started commuting via (regular) bike a month or so ago. Originally I was going to keep taking the tram and then convert the bike to electric for bicycle commuting in the spring (currently mid autumn). Instead I decided just to ride anyway and build my fitness up, and now I'm riding in work clothes without an issue (although the cooler weather has helped there too).

I'm still kinda keen on riding an electric bike and maybe buying/building one, but some of them are expensive. I may be keen on an ebike conversion, but not if the conversion costs almost as much as a brand new 125cc scooter. Some kits are cheaper (~$700 or so) though. Here they need to be no more than 250W to be road legal.

I often compare the price of my bike(s) with cars (or scooters) like you have with scooters and its not pretty.  I have a $10K van, but just paid $7K for two electric bikes, and have about $7K more in other pedal bikes.  However, I use them almost daily and keep them for years.  They all have many thousands of miles on them and yes I save the world one pedal stroke at a time and I'm in shape, but there is something else that I get from riding as opposed to twisting a throttle or pushing a gas pedal (e-assist or not) and that is the freedom to be out of an automobile or off my motorcycle.  Sometimes I feel trapped when I drive.  However, on the bikes I can take just about any route I want, my mind is not stressed - ever - as compared to the auto or motorcycle (less so with that).  I'm really feeling this difference lately as I normally commute 15 miles by bike.  However, I am having to drive 1 hour in the morning (about 30 miles) in tough traffic and then since I have the auto I have to drive home.  I miss my bike commute.

On comparing costs with a scooter make sure you factor in the maintenance, license, insurance, etc.  Not saying they are a bad idea, just that there are extras involved.  Once you buy a bike you are usually done for a long time.

True, there's all of those other costs associated with a scooter, and they can't go on bike lanes/paths, but I guess I just baulk at the idea of paying over $1500 (even over $1000) for an ebike. My conventional push bike was $350 new.

With my ~4.5 mile, fairly flat commute, an ebike isn't really necessary though (it takes about 30min on my current bike). However if I end up buying a place in a couple of years, property prices in this city will necessitate me moving further out, and then an ebike may come into its own.

Still would be fun to have one, though. Maybe I'll just have to think of it as an expensive toy that's saving wear and tear on my car. :)

That's sounds about right!  I have pedalled to work since 1986 (not exclusively) and only went to e-assist recently.  Do I need it - no.  I like it though and ride it to do errands and socially waaay more than I would ride my pedal bike.  Also, in the summer here you can just stand outside at 6 AM and start to sweat, so no matter how slow I ride to work I get there moist.  The e-assist helps, and when I really want to not to sweat I just hit the "red" button and fly along at 20 mph with no effort at all.
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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #52 on: April 15, 2015, 09:30:37 AM »
I like it though and ride it to do errands and socially waaay more than I would ride my pedal bike.

This pretty much covers my experience as well - I ride the ebike a lot more than I rode my pedal bike, and longer ranges as well.  Being able to run to the store in the summer and not come back dripping with sweat because it's 90F out is nice (living on a hill, pretty much anywhere I go involves grinding up the hill at the end of my ride).  Also, I'll ride the ebike in jeans, because putting out power is less important, so I can just jump on and go without changing into something more appropriate for bicycling.
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Mirwen

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #53 on: April 15, 2015, 07:23:59 PM »
Starting in the fall I will need another vehicle to take my oldest to kindergarten while my husband is at work.  I haven't ridden a bike or exercised seriously in about 10 years and I'm pushing 40.  I didn't want to buy a second car, so I ordered an electric bike last night.  His school is 3.3mi steadily uphill from my house.  I'll need to carry two children with me and I don't really want to get heat stroke trying this during the Las Vegas afternoon August heat on a standard pedal bike.  I'm hoping an electric bike would make the impossible possible for me and eliminate the need for a second car.  I'll have time to make some practice runs this summer before I depend on it for daily transportation. 

I agree with the view of the e-bike as a gateway drug to bike commuting.  I really wouldn't consider it seriously at all without the motor assist.  Maybe one day I'll be buff enough to do it without the motor, but that day is not today and I'll get there a lot faster by riding an ebike instead of riding in a car.

For those interested I bought an IZip Path (original not plus) for $799 plus shipping.  I'm worried the frame might be too large, but I couldn't pass up that price.  I'll report back once I do some range tests with the bike trailer and precious cargo.  I'm excited about my new toy.  It should pay for itself after 7 months by my calculations (assuming $.50 per mile for car use).
« Last Edit: April 15, 2015, 10:04:21 PM by Mirwen »

Syonyk

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #54 on: April 15, 2015, 07:44:43 PM »
Good luck. I'll be interested to hear how it works.

My experience so far is that a cheap ebike is not worth getting, especially for towing, but they are getting better.
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Mirwen

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #55 on: April 15, 2015, 08:15:43 PM »
The Izip Path was originally priced at $1600 but has been discontinued.  It has a 24V 10Amp system with lithium battery.  The newer model has the 48V battery that seems to be the standard now.  The range is only 15-25 miles and I'm expecting to have to pedal, but I think it will be enough to get me 7 miles with cargo.  If I run out of power the return trip is all downhill : ) .  It's my understanding that the main issue with the smaller battery and power is top speed and range.  I'm not interested in going very fast with an infant in a trailer anyway.  If there are other issues I should be aware of, please let me know.

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #56 on: April 15, 2015, 08:19:05 PM »
That should work. I didn't realize it was a blowout price - the retail price is sane for something low power but decent. There have been a lot of "cheap awesome ebikes" on crowd funding sites lately that seem questionable.
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Syonyk

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #57 on: May 12, 2015, 09:42:00 PM »
My random project blog - ebikes, DIY, fans, and more: http://syonyk.blogspot.com

Mirwen

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #58 on: June 11, 2015, 02:46:23 PM »
As promised, here is my report on switching from a standard bike to an electric bike:

Background:  I'm 36, overweight, and out of shape.  I don't exercise regularly.  I'm generally healthy and eat well, but I'm just not strong.  My goal is to be able to bike 3.3 miles up the hill to my son's charter school with 5yo and infant in tow.

I first tried biking with an standard hybrid commuter bike I had without the trailer.  I got about halfway or 1.5 miles up the hill before I felt I should turn around.

I finally bought an electric bike.  The first deal fell through and I bought a Diamondback Lindau step-thru instead.  It is a 48V 8.8Ah battery with 500w motor, so it's about twice as powerful and only cost a couple of hundred more than the Izip Path.  I believe it to be a rebranded version of the Path Plus.  There is a problem reading the battery status and Currie technical support has been amazing.  I'm really impressed.

So, with the new bike and Burley Bee I've been able to go the entire 3.3 miles including the steep hill at the end.  I had to pedal as hard as I could up the hill (the bike couldn't do it alone) but we made it.  By the time we got back I was very hot and red faced and it took me a long time to cool off.  It was only 90F outside.  I'm a little concerned about doing this in late August and early September, but it does seem possible.

Verdict:  Yes an electric bike can turn an out of shape car clown into a bike commuter overnight!

Syonyk

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #59 on: June 11, 2015, 02:51:35 PM »
Woohoo!  You made it, with a trailer! :D

It only gets easier from here!

Remember to drink a lot of water.
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Rollin

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #60 on: June 11, 2015, 03:09:48 PM »
Awesome!

i feel like no matter how you ride (or don't) and electric bike will increase you time on two wheels!  I do many thousands a year.
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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #61 on: June 11, 2015, 03:52:14 PM »
I certainly take my ebikes places I wouldn't take a normal bike. Especially in the hotter weather, I don't enjoy sweating heavily while shopping or at work.

Mine are genuine car replacements for most of my needs. Even heavily loaded. I'll get 50 lbs of groceries in a hiking backpack and not think twice. I wouldn't do that on a regular bike. Living on top of a hill has it's downsides.
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Faraday

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #62 on: June 12, 2015, 08:55:27 AM »
Syonyk - thanks, very interesting. I've been off the forums for a while - is there a thread, or somewhere off forum, where you describe how you built your ebike? I'd love to know more.

Erica, here's my commuter ebike build thread on endless-sphere. There are many threads like this where people document building their own ebike.  http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=45993

Synonk commented that E-S is sometimes silly, and I think he's got a point. Some E-S members think building an ebike for the daily commute is mundane and boring - they go for building light motorcycles with gobs of power and publish stories about those builds that usually end in destruction of the bike. However, there's a ton of great information here - what the good ebike conversion kits are, what to look for in a bike to convert (dropouts need to be large and flat, steel frames are best) and more importantly, what things DON'T work.
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Syonyk

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #63 on: June 12, 2015, 02:00:00 PM »
My problem with ES is that a lot of the information, especially about batteries, is dangerous and harmful. It's hard to tell the difference without knowing an awful lot.

If the phrase "Bulk charging b-grade hobby lipos" doesn't strike a good bit of fear into you, for instance, you shouldn't be following ES battery directions.
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Thegoblinchief

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #64 on: September 01, 2015, 08:02:51 PM »
Resurrecting this thread in case anyone on the forums wants to talk about the latest MMM post. I'm not in the market (yet) for one but I love reading about them:

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2015/08/31/electric-bike-reviews/
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Syonyk

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #65 on: September 01, 2015, 08:09:36 PM »
Still loving mine. :)

They do breed, though... I'm up to 3 plus a full BionX kit I'm rebuilding the battery pack on (going from 9.6AH to 13.5AH in the process).
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Thegoblinchief

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #66 on: September 01, 2015, 08:11:51 PM »
Still loving mine. :)

They do breed, though... I'm up to 3 plus a full BionX kit I'm rebuilding the battery pack on (going from 9.6AH to 13.5AH in the process).

At least you have the excuse that you're resurrecting formerly dead bikes ;)
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Syonyk

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #67 on: September 01, 2015, 09:30:59 PM »
Yup!  With one exception, all of mine were obtained stone dead (that exception being my commuter, which I built from parts).  I've rebuilt one BionX pack for profit, and this other one is going to be (hopefully) sold for a tidy profit as well once I get it rebuilt.  I'd like to get more packs to rebuild, since there are some serious economies of scale I can leverage if I'm rebuilding a lot.

The Tailwind is probably going to get loaned to a friend for use to replace his car, and to get some test miles on it - it doesn't have the range or hill climbing ability for my commute (even with the motor, the internally geared hub doesn't go low enough for one of my climbs, and it's hell on my knees), but it is a useful test mule, and I might get around to building a replacement pack for it that's more general.

Overall, I'm really pissed at Schwinn, though.  They've released a bunch of different ebike variants, and don't support any of them.
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Faraday

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #68 on: September 01, 2015, 09:41:45 PM »
Yup!  With one exception, all of mine were obtained stone dead (that exception being my commuter, which I built from parts).  I've rebuilt one BionX pack for profit, and this other one is going to be (hopefully) sold for a tidy profit as well once I get it rebuilt.  I'd like to get more packs to rebuild, since there are some serious economies of scale I can leverage if I'm rebuilding a lot.

The Tailwind is probably going to get loaned to a friend for use to replace his car, and to get some test miles on it - it doesn't have the range or hill climbing ability for my commute (even with the motor, the internally geared hub doesn't go low enough for one of my climbs, and it's hell on my knees), but it is a useful test mule, and I might get around to building a replacement pack for it that's more general.

Overall, I'm really pissed at Schwinn, though.  They've released a bunch of different ebike variants, and don't support any of them.

Oh, The Tailwind! I still have a soft spot in my heart for that ebike.

Performance Bike carried them for awhile and toward the end, they went on CRAZY DISCOUNT. I could have had one for, like, $399. I almost bought one. I'm sure eventually I would have changed out the motor and/or upgraded the pack to get it to do something reasonable....

Performance Bike now carries a Diamondback-branded rear hub motor ebike and it's a very nice ebike. I would consider one except I'm not able to put money toward that right now - I think it's $1500 on sale right now.
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Syonyk

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #69 on: September 01, 2015, 10:06:29 PM »
It's... not very good.  IMO.

I need to write up a blog post on it sometime here soon, now that I've had time to play with it, but I don't really understand it.  It's a bunch of neat ideas woven into an incoherent whole, with iffy performance and a very small battery pack.

I wouldn't push much more power through the front forks.  The 250W is plenty, and it already messes with the steering if it's working hard.  And you can't use a mid-drive or rear-drive on it without radically reworking the bike.
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Faraday

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #70 on: September 02, 2015, 01:42:28 PM »
It's... not very good.  IMO.

I need to write up a blog post on it sometime here soon, now that I've had time to play with it, but I don't really understand it.  It's a bunch of neat ideas woven into an incoherent whole, with iffy performance and a very small battery pack.

I wouldn't push much more power through the front forks.  The 250W is plenty, and it already messes with the steering if it's working hard.  And you can't use a mid-drive or rear-drive on it without radically reworking the bike.

You mean the old Tailwind, right? No, it wasn't a very good ebike.
But the Diamondback they are now selling is pretty nice and a good value for an $1500 (on sale) ebike....
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Syonyk

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #71 on: September 02, 2015, 02:15:07 PM »
You mean the old Tailwind, right? No, it wasn't a very good ebike.
But the Diamondback they are now selling is pretty nice and a good value for an $1500 (on sale) ebike....

Yeah, the 2008-2009 era Tailwind.

Which Diamondback?  Is that a Schwinn brand?

I can't say I'd touch anything Schwinn and electric with a ten foot pole anymore.  They literally do not stand behind their bikes.  After they've stopped selling it, they pretty much wipe all knowledge of it and tell you to go away if you ask for any parts/information.

They're just a pain to deal with. :/
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Faraday

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #72 on: September 03, 2015, 07:53:50 AM »
You mean the old Tailwind, right? No, it wasn't a very good ebike.
But the Diamondback they are now selling is pretty nice and a good value for an $1500 (on sale) ebike....

Yeah, the 2008-2009 era Tailwind.

Which Diamondback?  Is that a Schwinn brand?

I can't say I'd touch anything Schwinn and electric with a ten foot pole anymore.  They literally do not stand behind their bikes.  After they've stopped selling it, they pretty much wipe all knowledge of it and tell you to go away if you ask for any parts/information.

They're just a pain to deal with. :/

I thought Diamondback was a subsidiary of Giant - something they could give to stores that would not violate the sales channel agreements with those who sell Giant?

I honestly can't tell you WHO "Schwinn" is any more - I thought the original company has long ago winked out of existence and the name was bought by a holding company and is now stuck on chinese and taiwan import bikes.

About 4 years ago, the Performance Bike store I frequent trotted out an aluminum touring bike with the Schwinn name on it: a 2008 "World Adventure" that had been forgotten in a warehouse somewhere. Original list on the bike was, like, $1400. It has full-hydraulic Avid Juicy BB7's and similar super-high-qual stuff on it like a Truvativ bottom bracket, trigger shifters and a Shimano Alivio internally-geared rear hub. It's a spectacular heavy-tourer that I've enjoyed a great deal. Recently added a SON B&M high-end dynamo powered headlight and taillight, and right now it's my favorite grocery-getter and long-distance slow-and-heavy rider. The Vittoria Randonneur tires have performed spectacularly. (knock on wood)

http://www.performancebike.com/reviews/performance/power/pwr/product-reviews/Specials/Spin-Doctor-Pro-Bike-Build/SCHWINN/p/30__1409-Schwinn-World-Adventure-Commuter-Bike-U-S-Exclusive.html

They call it a "Commuter" in the ad, but it has all the braze-ons for front and rear racks and all the stuff you would need in the main triangle. Quality of the frame build seems to be very, very good: the welds are all big, robotic, flawless welds and the frame members meeting around the bottom bracket are gigantic.

Some reviewers call it "the best bike I have ever owned". While that may be true for myself, my old Trek 1220 is still my favorite, by far, because it's faster than this bike by at least a good 2 or 3 mph over the same identical route. But the Trek is just a straight-up aluminum road bike with reasonable rim brakes and lacks all the braze-ons and heavy lift capability of the Schwinn.

Performancebike is selling the HELL out of "bike store lower-grade" bikes labeled Schwinn. They aren't what I shop for these days but they seem good value and reasonable for what they are.

I'm not a big fan of Diamondback - they have lower-qual versions I've seen in Wal-Mart and Target. But the ebike product PerformanceBike is selling looks pretty darn good. I recognize all the components, they seem to be of the mid-slightly-lower stratum, the $600-$1000 bike range. The motor, display and controller look to be Bafang. The frame and componentry looks awful similar to their $600-or-so hybrid bike with the cable-operated disk brakes.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2015, 08:26:26 AM by mefla »
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CanadianMike

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #73 on: September 03, 2015, 01:42:42 PM »
My 22km commute is moderately hilly, and I've started being tired enough at the end of the weeks that I take the bus in the rain instead. And I've got some longer trips planned, but usually after a 100km day I'm too tired to do much of anything. I'm thinking an ebike kit is right up my alley, but I have two issues;

1) Price. I'd like to stay in the 600-900$ CAD range, but from what I hear, that gets you poorly made garbage. Wait a year or three? Strong preference for LithiumIon batteries. Does EndlessSphere have a "Suggest a Bike Kit" type thread?

2) Theft. My current commuter is a beat up 70's raleigh frame with chipped paint, so despite having some nice parts on it, nobody looks twice at it. I suspect with an ebike kit people would look twice at it --- in particular, stealing the battery the battery. I already find carrying paniers around somewhat annoying sometimes when they're fully loaded...so I don't particularly want to add the weight of the battery. Are there batteries that you can solder directly to the bike, then charge via extension cord?

synonym

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #74 on: September 03, 2015, 02:40:51 PM »
for kits around that price i'm still pretty happy with my Dillenger kit http://dillengerelectricbikes.com/electric-bike-kits/350w-electric-bike-kit-10ah-upgraded-by-dillenger.html
I've put around 800 miles on it with no problems. It probably can't do 100km without some serious assist, but since you're already cycling that amount it should provide a good amount of tailwind

CanadianMike

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #75 on: September 03, 2015, 05:03:50 PM »
Unfortunately, with exchange rate and shipping, that'd probably run 1200$, which is outside the range I'm looking for.

Lian

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #76 on: September 03, 2015, 05:32:03 PM »
To be honest, I never thought an e-bike could be for me until I read the post. But eventually, I will retire, my old beater car will die, and I will no longer need to commute across town in all kinds of weather. An e-bike will actually suit my needs and budget better than a car will. I think I'm on my last car.

Faraday

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #77 on: September 03, 2015, 05:55:58 PM »
Unfortunately, with exchange rate and shipping, that'd probably run 1200$, which is outside the range I'm looking for.

Dude...Canada is home to the "North American Ebike Capital City": Vancouver, BC!

I have two suggestions:

1) Go to http://www.ebikes.ca/ and shop awhile. Then give those blokes a call and let them lay some of that ebike mojo on ya!
2) http://www.goldenmotor.ca/ You can also call those folks too and they have great ebike mojo!

Both vendors have been in business for a long time and know there stuffs! Hoohaa!
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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #78 on: September 03, 2015, 06:13:36 PM »
for kits around that price i'm still pretty happy with my Dillenger kit http://dillengerelectricbikes.com/electric-bike-kits/350w-electric-bike-kit-10ah-upgraded-by-dillenger.html
I've put around 800 miles on it with no problems. It probably can't do 100km without some serious assist, but since you're already cycling that amount it should provide a good amount of tailwind

Any thoughts on something like this?

http://dillengerelectricbikes.com/electric-bike-kits/1000w-electric-bike-kit-10ah-upgraded-by-dillenger.html

$900 for the entire package (incl battery + charger), rear wheel, disc brake compatible, twist grip throttle -- looks pretty good to me.  I could convert an existing 26" mountain bike with this kit, easily.

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #79 on: September 03, 2015, 06:20:21 PM »
1) Price. I'd like to stay in the 600-900$ CAD range, but from what I hear, that gets you poorly made garbage. Wait a year or three? Strong preference for LithiumIon batteries. Does EndlessSphere have a "Suggest a Bike Kit" type thread?

Pretty much, at least if it's a full bike.  If you have an existing bike, you can probably get a conversion kit for something around that and be OK, though you may have to charge at work.

Quote
2) Theft. My current commuter is a beat up 70's raleigh frame with chipped paint, so despite having some nice parts on it, nobody looks twice at it. I suspect with an ebike kit people would look twice at it --- in particular, stealing the battery the battery. I already find carrying paniers around somewhat annoying sometimes when they're fully loaded...so I don't particularly want to add the weight of the battery. Are there batteries that you can solder directly to the bike, then charge via extension cord?

There exist battery mounting systems that are keyed, though they're rare.  The BionX pack attaches to the bike with a key, and with the pack in the mount, you can't access the screws needed to remove the mount.

But, really, people don't mess with ebikes that much.  Battery theft just doesn't seem to be a big problem, at least with the people I know.

The 48V/10AH/1000W kit looks like a decent enough bit of hardware - it should work fine.
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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #80 on: September 03, 2015, 06:20:38 PM »
for kits around that price i'm still pretty happy with my Dillenger kit http://dillengerelectricbikes.com/electric-bike-kits/350w-electric-bike-kit-10ah-upgraded-by-dillenger.html
I've put around 800 miles on it with no problems. It probably can't do 100km without some serious assist, but since you're already cycling that amount it should provide a good amount of tailwind

Any thoughts on something like this?

http://dillengerelectricbikes.com/electric-bike-kits/1000w-electric-bike-kit-10ah-upgraded-by-dillenger.html

$900 for the entire package (incl battery + charger), rear wheel, disc brake compatible, twist grip throttle -- looks pretty good to me.  I could convert an existing 26" mountain bike with this kit, easily.

It looks good. I've never bought from the Dillenger guys but I'm familiar with the componentry and nothing sounds the alarm. Also, if synonyk says "it's good", I trust him! He's been up to his elbows in ebike stuff probably more than I have....
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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #81 on: September 03, 2015, 08:35:30 PM »
Thanks for the input - might have to pick this up. It'd save a decent amount on gas $ for my un - Mustachian commute.

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #82 on: September 05, 2015, 06:18:03 PM »
Hey Synonyk! Looks like we've won Pete over to "our side"!!!

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2015/08/31/electric-bike-reviews/

It appears, after a year of testing, eBikes Pass Muster. Yay!

I love his blog posting: I'm in total, 100% agreement with what he writes and I use my ebike the same way he describes using his.

The "bike" part of it is equally as important as the "e" part.  I don't want an electric scooter. If I wanted one, I'd make one. I want an electric BIKE. Plus, the ebike does NOT replace my non-electric bikes. I gladly use them when time and speed are not as important.

EDIT: Here's MMM's original posting where he discovers the ebike idea and begins his testing and evaluation:
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2014/09/30/electric-bikes-gateway-drug-to-bike-commuting/
« Last Edit: September 05, 2015, 08:22:43 PM by mefla »
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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #83 on: September 05, 2015, 07:18:41 PM »
I saw that. I still like my bike lane legal motorcycle. :) Though I pedal plenty.

For me, it's more about consistent commute times.

Also, if anyone in the Seattle area is interested, I'm rebuilding a 350W BionX kit. 13.5AH to replace the stock 9.6AH.
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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #84 on: September 05, 2015, 08:11:58 PM »
I saw that. I still like my bike lane legal motorcycle. :) Though I pedal plenty.

For me, it's more about consistent commute times.

Also, if anyone in the Seattle area is interested, I'm rebuilding a 350W BionX kit. 13.5AH to replace the stock 9.6AH.

Hey, no contradiction there. The "consistent commute times" aspect is essential to me. I cannot use my manual bikes for my commute, would just take too freakin long.
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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #85 on: September 06, 2015, 04:34:08 PM »
Anyone have any experience with mid-drives? I'm thinking about putting a Bafang BBS02 on my road bike for my 26 mile round-trip commute. Then maybe moving the kit over to a more comfortable commuting bike after I've saved enough money by bike commuting to pay for the new bike. Thoughts?

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #86 on: September 06, 2015, 04:49:37 PM »
They're popular and efficient. Pay very close attention to chain stretch or you'll be replacing sprockets frequently.
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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #87 on: September 06, 2015, 05:56:58 PM »
Anyone have any experience with mid-drives? I'm thinking about putting a Bafang BBS02 on my road bike for my 26 mile round-trip commute. Then maybe moving the kit over to a more comfortable commuting bike after I've saved enough money by bike commuting to pay for the new bike. Thoughts?

I have a kit in the garage right now that I'm doing same with - putting it on a flat-bar road bike with a Shimano Nexus sealed hub. The bike is already built-up to be a commuter, with a rear rack, fenders and lighting.

There's an Endless-Sphere member in Ireland who has the 250 watt BBS02 on her road bike and regularly does 100 mile rides, using the motor only for uphill to keep her pace and average speeds high.

Synonyk's advice is good, you have to watch carefully for drivetrain wear if you run the mid-drive at higher power. I bought the 750w motor but plan to run it at wimpy amounts of power, like 250-350 watts for that very reason. I don't want to be replacing chains, I just want a little more help and speed on the bike.

I'll probably do a build thread over on Endless-sphere.com, will edit and post the link here if you want.
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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #88 on: September 06, 2015, 06:35:52 PM »
(on a proper keyboard now)

Personally, I think you're better off with a rear hub motor than a mid-drive for "general commuter use."  There are absolutely good uses for mid-drives (cargo bikes hauling heavy loads up hills, pedal taxi type workloads, etc), but I'm not convinced the benefits are worth the cost in increased chain wear for "daily commuter use."  And have argued this in my blog.

If, like mefla is doing, you're going to use an internally geared rear hub and a "straight" chainline with a thicker-than-usual chain (I think BMX chains are generally stronger), this can make sense.  But if you're going to use it with a multiple sprocket rear cassette/freewheel, the chain stretch & chain wear seem like a lot to deal with.  I see many people happy to get 1000 miles/chain out of mid-drive bikes, and with a 26 mile round trip, that's a chain every month and a half.

A rear hub motor has several advantages for a commuter:
- The load is not run into the chain, so the chain/sprockets last longer.  At about $40-$50 for a chain and set of rear sprockets, this adds up.
- You have two independent drive systems.  If you snap a chain, the motor will still drive the bike.  If the motor fails, the pedals still work.  With a mid-drive system, a chain failure leaves you sitting there, and depending on how the motor is designed, it may interfere with pedaling if it fails (though this is less likely).

There are advantages and disadvantages to both setups, but I just don't see "regular daily commuting" being the strong point for a mid-drive setup.

If you have a lot of hills, get a geared rear hub motor (better torque, less top speed), and if you're doing a lot of high speed riding, go with a direct drive rear hub motor (less torque, more speed).
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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #89 on: September 06, 2015, 06:53:15 PM »
(on a proper keyboard now)

Personally, I think you're better off with a rear hub motor than a mid-drive for "general commuter use."  There are absolutely good uses for mid-drives (cargo bikes hauling heavy loads up hills, pedal taxi type workloads, etc), but I'm not convinced the benefits are worth the cost in increased chain wear for "daily commuter use."  And have argued this in my blog.

If, like mefla is doing, you're going to use an internally geared rear hub and a "straight" chainline with a thicker-than-usual chain (I think BMX chains are generally stronger), this can make sense.  But if you're going to use it with a multiple sprocket rear cassette/freewheel, the chain stretch & chain wear seem like a lot to deal with.  I see many people happy to get 1000 miles/chain out of mid-drive bikes, and with a 26 mile round trip, that's a chain every month and a half.

A rear hub motor has several advantages for a commuter:
- The load is not run into the chain, so the chain/sprockets last longer.  At about $40-$50 for a chain and set of rear sprockets, this adds up.
- You have two independent drive systems.  If you snap a chain, the motor will still drive the bike.  If the motor fails, the pedals still work.  With a mid-drive system, a chain failure leaves you sitting there, and depending on how the motor is designed, it may interfere with pedaling if it fails (though this is less likely).

There are advantages and disadvantages to both setups, but I just don't see "regular daily commuting" being the strong point for a mid-drive setup.

If you have a lot of hills, get a geared rear hub motor (better torque, less top speed), and if you're doing a lot of high speed riding, go with a direct drive rear hub motor (less torque, more speed).

synonyk, I need to confess to you: I'm talking about building up a bike with a mid-drive, not a rear hubmotor. Yes....I'm considering dabbling in the darkside. But it is single-speed on the crankset and a rear nexus internal hub, so the chainline is simple as it gets and it's a relatively big chain, not a 9-10 speed chain....

Everything you've said about mid-drive is true. It's really not the optimal solution for commuting. Indeed, I've broken a chain already on the commute home from work and used the motor to get to the bike shop. It was a godsend to have the two independent systems. But I'm gonna build up the bike and give it a try, see what it's like. I'll report back on what I find out....

Maybe our poster could try a front-drive hubmotor. I know that's non-optimal also, but it provides the benefits of a hubmotor without the pain of dealing with rear-drive complexity....
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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #90 on: September 06, 2015, 07:13:23 PM »
synonyk, I need to confess to you: I'm talking about building up a bike with a mid-drive, not a rear hubmotor. Yes....I'm considering dabbling in the darkside. But it is single-speed on the crankset and a rear nexus internal hub, so the chainline is simple as it gets and it's a relatively big chain, not a 9-10 speed chain....

Did you read my post? :p  I explicitly mention what you're doing as a reasonably sane way to do a mid-drive bike.  A straight chainline with a single speed chain and an IGH is about the only sane way to do a mid-drive, IMO.  Though I still wonder how the insanely expensive geared hubs will hold up to the power, long-term.

Mid-drive is a great solution for some things, and (in my current opinion) a bad option for other things.

Quote
Everything you've said about mid-drive is true. It's really not the optimal solution for commuting. Indeed, I've broken a chain already on the commute home from work and used the motor to get to the bike shop. It was a godsend to have the two independent systems. But I'm gonna build up the bike and give it a try, see what it's like. I'll report back on what I find out....

Mmhmm.  And... AntiochOG wants to do a 26 mile round trip commute.  So, "not the optimal solution for commuting" seems like something less than optimal for commuting. :)

I'm quite interested in what sort of chain life you get on that setup.  I don't know anyone who has put thousands of miles on a single speed/IGH setup, so hurry up and finish it!  Then ride it a ton!

Quote
Maybe our poster could try a front-drive hubmotor. I know that's non-optimal also, but it provides the benefits of a hubmotor without the pain of dealing with rear-drive complexity....

Have you ever ridden a front-drive bike?  Even with 250W, the steering gets really floaty and vague when climbing hills.  Higher power front hub motors are well known for spinning the front wheel, and most front forks won't take the torque of a moderately powerful motor for very long before they fail.  You have to be really careful with torque arms & such, and a front dropout failure generally means you're going over the bars without warning.  A rear dropout failure is radically easier to "ride out" and remain upright to low speed.

I do not think a front hub motor is a good solution for pretty much anyone.  Most of the weight is on the rear wheel.  Drive the rear wheel with a motor, one way or another.  Then, perhaps, consider a front drive for a 2WD hill climber, but you simply won't get much traction down from the front wheel on a bicycle.
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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #91 on: September 06, 2015, 08:06:55 PM »
Syonyk and mefla, thank you for your replies. It sounds like  a rear hub motor will be a better fit for me. I'll probably go with direct drive, as the only real hill in my commute is the one I live on, and I don't mind working hard and getting sweaty on the way home.

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #92 on: September 06, 2015, 08:16:51 PM »
Are you looking for a prebuilt kit, or are you more of a DIY/wire it up yourself person?
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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #93 on: September 06, 2015, 09:46:54 PM »
Are you looking for a prebuilt kit, or are you more of a DIY/wire it up yourself person?
Probably a prebuilt kit. Reading your blog has convinced me I probably don't want to use my existing road bike either, and should probably buy a mountain bike frame to base my build on. I guess I'll have to keep saving. :(

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #94 on: September 06, 2015, 09:57:55 PM »
I mean, if all you have is a road bike, you can certainly convert it - it's going to be slightly more efficient.  But for dedicated builds, I strongly prefer mountain bike frames.  However, I'm also focused on a build for an area with a lot of hills, so things are a bit different from your commute.
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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #95 on: September 07, 2015, 01:29:30 AM »
synonyk, I need to confess to you: I'm talking about building up a bike with a mid-drive, not a rear hubmotor. Yes....I'm considering dabbling in the darkside. But it is single-speed on the crankset and a rear nexus internal hub, so the chainline is simple as it gets and it's a relatively big chain, not a 9-10 speed chain....

Did you read my post? :p  I explicitly mention what you're doing as a reasonably sane way to do a mid-drive bike.  A straight chainline with a single speed chain and an IGH is about the only sane way to do a mid-drive, IMO.  Though I still wonder how the insanely expensive geared hubs will hold up to the power, long-term.

I know what you been doing, you been sniffing the fumes from the silver solder again?!?!? :-) Here's your blurb:

Quote
If, like mefla is doing, you're going to use an internally geared rear hub

I don't own an internally geared rear hub. Up to now, I've only used rear direct-drive motors. I'm too big and I carry too much stuff to go with anything besides rear direct drive.

Which, actually goes to your point to the OP. When it comes to my money, it's always been a rear direct-drive hubmotor. This thing I'm doing with the mid-drive is an experiment with a bike that, if I can't make it any more useful than it is right now, I might as well get rid of it. So it's a last-ditch effort to preserve a bike that has some sentimental value to me.

BTW: my dream bike would be a Surly Disc Trucker. Full fenders, racks, a CA3, Lyen controller and rear DD motor. A motor so small and lightweight that with panniers, you can't tell it's an ebike.
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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #96 on: September 07, 2015, 06:16:03 AM »
Hi, there, looking for some advice.  Appreciate reading through all the comments to date from you e-bike experts!

My current commute is a soul-crushing 32 miles one way in DC.  (Husband refuses to move and give up his 1.5 mile biked commute, and I can't quit or change jobs since I'm in the military.)  The drive takes about 55 min in the mornings, and 75 min in the evenings.  I've biked it a few times but even hauling-butt I can't get there faster than 2hr 15 min.  I'm in great physical shape.  But I don't have 4.5-5 hours a day to bike.

So I'm wondering if an e-bike would be a solution for me. I'd be satisfied if I could get the ride down to 1.5 hours each way.

So my questions:  Is this possible?  Is range going to be an issue?  Will charging during the work day be adequate?

If I can make it work, I'm thinking I'd replace my Tues afternoon and Weds morning commute - or something like that, leaving my car at work.

thanks!

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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #97 on: September 07, 2015, 10:39:33 AM »
I know what you been doing, you been sniffing the fumes from the silver solder again?!?!?

Nah, just the good stuff.  Lead-free solder is miserable to work with. :p

Quote
I don't own an internally geared rear hub. Up to now, I've only used rear direct-drive motors. I'm too big and I carry too much stuff to go with anything besides rear direct drive.

I'm confused.  You said:

I have a kit in the garage right now that I'm doing same with - putting it on a flat-bar road bike with a Shimano Nexus sealed hub. The bike is already built-up to be a commuter, with a rear rack, fenders and lighting.

Unless I'm badly mistaken, the Shimano Nexus is an internally geared rear hub?  *confused*

Though I think you're referring to a geared hub motor, which is distinct from an internally geared rear hub (like the Nexus).  I'm saying a mid-drive combined with an internally geared hub makes sense, since you can use a straight chainline and hopefully avoid some of the wear/stretch you'd otherwise suffer.
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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #98 on: September 07, 2015, 11:28:12 AM »
My current commute is a soul-crushing 32 miles one way in DC.  (Husband refuses to move and give up his 1.5 mile biked commute, and I can't quit or change jobs since I'm in the military.)  The drive takes about 55 min in the mornings, and 75 min in the evenings.  I've biked it a few times but even hauling-butt I can't get there faster than 2hr 15 min.  I'm in great physical shape.  But I don't have 4.5-5 hours a day to bike.

Oof.  Wow.  I'm sorry. :(  That sounds like a good working definition of hell.

Quote
So I'm wondering if an e-bike would be a solution for me. I'd be satisfied if I could get the ride down to 1.5 hours each way.

What does your ride look like?  Is it a lot of steady speed running on roads, a lot of bike trails, or heavy start/stop on surface streets?  What does the elevation profile look like?  Lots of hills, or mostly flat?

In any case, you should be able to cut a lot of time out with an ebike.  Getting down to 1.5 hours is probably doable, though it will probably involve speeds under motor power that, strictly speaking, may not be legal (20mph is technically the fastest you're supposed to have a motor assist, though... just don't draw attention to yourself and you should be fine a bit faster).  You'd need to average 21mph, which is entirely doable, especially if you're on some sort of road bike that you've modified.

If your run is on stretches where you can cruise at 30mph for long distances, you could probably even get it below 1.5h.  If you're in shape, with the right paths, you might be able to run close to your evening commute times.

Quote
So my questions:  Is this possible?  Is range going to be an issue?  Will charging during the work day be adequate?

Possible?  Yes.  Cheap?  Less so.  Range isn't a problem, it's just a matter of "how much battery do you want to pay for?"  You could easily do a round trip without recharging, if you want to carry enough battery, but if you've got somewhere to plug in at work, plan for about a 40-45 mile range (battery packs degrade with time) and you should be fine.

Quote
If I can make it work, I'm thinking I'd replace my Tues afternoon and Weds morning commute - or something like that, leaving my car at work.

Lame. :p  Bike every day!  It beats the hell out of sitting in traffic.  Seriously.

==========

Depending on the conditions of your commute, your needs might be well suited to a road bike with a motor in the back (probably a direct drive motor for higher speed running).  A mid-drive motor would give you better speed through the gearing, but you'll be replacing a chain about every month if you do that, so I'd suggest going with a rear motor.  What are you riding now?

A speed-unlocked BionX kit (you'll have to find an older one) would work well, though it's a bit pricey, and you *might* not have the range you desire with the stock pack on those.
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Re: Electric bikes
« Reply #99 on: September 07, 2015, 01:12:04 PM »


What does your ride look like?  Is it a lot of steady speed running on roads, a lot of bike trails, or heavy start/stop on surface streets?  What does the elevation profile look like?  Lots of hills, or mostly flat?

Yeah, that's the key there, isn't it.  So the route I usually take is mostly a series of bike trails connected by a few urban areas (think stop lights, stop signs).  A portion of the trail close to home (maybe first 5 miles?) has a posted 15 mph speed limit on the trail.  Not sure if it's really enforce or not.  And then there are some portions that are just rather twisty, at times going over wood bridges, etc.  These are mixed use bike trails shared by joggers, etc.  So can't really go a lot faster on those portions than I already am.  However, I'm thinking once I get within 11 miles of work I could get on a highway and maybe get up to 30mph w/ and make up for lost time.

Quote
  Possible?  Yes.  Cheap?  Less so.  Range isn't a problem, it's just a matter of "how much battery do you want to pay for?"  You could easily do a round trip without recharging, if you want to carry enough battery, but if you've got somewhere to plug in at work, plan for about a 40-45 mile range (battery packs degrade with time) and you should be fine.

awesome, thanks.  I'm not too worried about cheap.  I'm a lousy Mustachian, as evidenced by my commute :)

Quote
If I can make it work, I'm thinking I'd replace my Tues afternoon and Weds morning commute - or something like that, leaving my car at work.

Quote
Lame. :p  Bike every day!  It beats the hell out of sitting in traffic.  Seriously.

==========

Depending on the conditions of your commute, your needs might be well suited to a road bike with a motor in the back (probably a direct drive motor for higher speed running).  A mid-drive motor would give you better speed through the gearing, but you'll be replacing a chain about every month if you do that, so I'd suggest going with a rear motor.  What are you riding now?

A speed-unlocked BionX kit (you'll have to find an older one) would work well, though it's a bit pricey, and you *might* not have the range you desire with the stock pack on those.

Agreed.  Lame!  Okay, I'll try to do more.  you have to admit 3 hrs a day of biking 5 days a week is a lot for a full-time employed mom of 3 toddlers, though, right?  but so is 2+ hrs of clown car commuting, sigh. 

I have a few options for bikes to mod at home.  My *nice* bike is my all carbon Specialized Rubaix which I bought new several years ago when I was a triathlete prior to kids.  (with insurance money after my former road bike got totalled along with my face in a car vs. bike collision)  It sits in the basement on my trainer which I get on about once a week.  In the attic, we have my husband's even less used road bike we bought at a pawn shop, it's a Fuji.  I also have a Trek 7.2 hybrid got off craigslist, used for hauling kids in trailer, occ grocery shopping and other in town errands, trips to gym, pool, etc.

thanks for the advice and helping me think through this!