Author Topic: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!  (Read 5250 times)

Arbitrage

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Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« on: February 26, 2018, 08:13:40 AM »
In the process of shifting my (and DW's) thinking for early retirement, and I bit the bullet for my first big lifestyle change - commuting via electric bike.

In the near term, it's not going to save me much - if any - money, since I bought a $1700 e-bike plus necessary accessories (lock, panniers, safety gear, etc.)  I plan to document my riding and credit myself per mile biked rather than driven.  I did start by riding my regular bike a few places this past weekend, including a trip to the library I normally would've driven, and a test ride for my future e-bike commute. 

Incidentally, I (obviously) do have a perfectly functional bike, but the sweat factor would be tough to get around in my office job.  Commute is about 6.5-7 miles one way.  I'm planning on mostly coasting on the way in to work, then working hard on the way home, with minimal boost, picking up the kids, and walking them home.  Can't do it yet safely, but once my daughter is out of preschool and at the kindergarten near our home, it's on.  Come June, the old beater car will only be for the odd trip and those days where the bike won't quite cut it (e.g. need to drive somewhere for work, have a doctor appointment somewhere far, etc.) 

I plan to credit myself $0.50 per mile of driving avoided to hold myself accountable on the costs/savings.  While I'm driving a fairly Mustachian car at the moment, I was going to replace it soon, likely with a new car.  This will allow me to defer that purchase much longer...and who knows what or when I'll buy in the end.  In fact, I took the much-needed step of cancelling my Tesla Model 3 reservation shortly before jumping in and making this purchase.

MasterStache

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2018, 08:53:28 AM »
Congrats! Considering an e-bike purchase myself. Wouldn't really save me any money since I don't commute to work. But it would reduce my around the town driving. Also, as I haven't seen it mentioned, if your car insurance company requires you to enter annual miles driven for quoting purposes, make sure you knock that number down. I did that and saw a decent savings on our car insurance.

Arbitrage

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2018, 09:09:11 AM »
Congrats! Considering an e-bike purchase myself. Wouldn't really save me any money since I don't commute to work. But it would reduce my around the town driving. Also, as I haven't seen it mentioned, if your car insurance company requires you to enter annual miles driven for quoting purposes, make sure you knock that number down. I did that and saw a decent savings on our car insurance.

Thanks.  I was actually just talking with my wife about the insurance last night; I just re-negotiated our car insurance and Friday but will do it again after starting the new commute. 

Polish_Hammer

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2018, 09:07:25 AM »
Looking to do the same. 7.5 mile commute.  Still looking for the right used ebike on ebay

Just Joe

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2018, 09:25:20 AM »
I built a midrive Bafang (Lunacycle) kit last year.

It does the 14 mile hilly ride round trip with plenty of miles to spare.

I think you'll love having an ebike. I went the ebike route b/c of the hills and traffic here.

I didn't want to crawl up the hills at pedestrian speeds increasing my time on dangerous parts of my commute. Now I can tackle the hills at ~15 mph or more with flat ground speeds of 20+ mph. Still plenty of exercise to be had. 

Edit: corrected my round trip mileage
« Last Edit: February 27, 2018, 03:09:15 PM by Just Joe »

JimmyFry

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2018, 02:41:56 PM »
Congrats! I'll be interested in hearing about your favorite aspect of the ebike.  The speed is fun, but my favorites were the net-infusion of cash (DW and I sold one car since the eBike covered short trips), reduced auto insurance (1 car instead of 2), and spending more time outside.  Win all the way around!

Just Joe

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2018, 03:21:25 PM »
Favorite aspect: not climbing hills at pedestrian speeds. I feel safer b/c it minimizes the time spent on a hill. I have a couple of hilly streets that I must travel on but don't want to travel on.

I don't have to arrive at work spent and sweaty. The silent push of the electric motor as compared to a two cycle motorbike conversion of a bicycle. No odors or vibrations. Plenty of range with a 12Ah 48V Panasonic 18605GA cell battery.

Downsides: I worry about the bike when I park it places. Safe town here but (now) expensive bike.

Drivers see a bicycle here and expect it to be traveling at some speed much lower than it is so they will pull out in front of you. Sometimes you just have to act like a scooter or motorcycle and dominate the space around you to force other drivers to be safe for you. That's been rare for me.

Slightly more maintenance. If you are a big person with a mid-drive you will be truing the rear wheel from time to time. Spokes break and spokes stretch. Not difficult. Just watch YouTube videos and buy $3 spoke wrench. Buy a bag of 50 spokes on eBay for cheap. You'll need to learn what spokes you need.  Bike shop charges ~$40 to do this for me. May relace the wheel with heavier diameter spokes at point in the future. Rim is a heavy duty off-road rim.

Mid-drives wear out pedal chains every thousand miles or so (not expensive). The bike brake pads wear out sooner too (depends on your weight, not a big expense though). 

30+ mph on a bicycle is very different than 30 mph in a car. You'll notice every imperfection of the road. ;)

I'm running an "offroad" motor capable of much more speed than is legal. I hardly ever use that much power but it is handy to have on the steep hills here. No police can know how much power/speed I have on tap. No labels to prove anything for or against the rules. The police here don't care about me. I can ride places where a scooter or two-cycle powered bicycle can not b/c my motor is "invisible" (no noise, speed kept low near pedestrians and I look like a bike to other people).

~700 miles on the bike. I want to double or triple that this warm season.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2018, 03:27:51 PM by Just Joe »

ysette9

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2018, 03:31:02 PM »
Has anyone pulled a trailer/transported kids on a ebike? How about biking on unpaved trails? I’m trying to brainstorm about whether it would even be possible for me to consider a switch.

Mountainbug

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2018, 03:40:36 PM »
Iím also interested to hear if anyone has used an ebike/trailer combo with kids. I live on a very steep hill and have basically stopped biking because I canít haul the extra 60 lbs of kiddos up with me. Ebike shave always interested me but I could never justify pulling the trigger. Does anyone know how they hold up in rainy areas? PNW?

Kmp2

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2018, 04:04:07 PM »
E-bikes/conversions are definitely awesome for towing/carrying heavy cargo! I have a few acquaintances that have added battery assist to their cargo bikes as their kids have grown, and now that my kids are 70+lbs only hubby can pull them up the hills in our neighbourhood. It's quite demoralizing when your kids are yelling 'faster mommy' and someone walks up the hill faster than you, and there is an old man on a porch who applauds when you get to the top of the hill...

You can definitely pull a trailer with one, just be aware of the brakes (cargo e-bikes, and cargo bikes in general tend to have disc brakes for a reason).

I have seen e-bikes used here all winter in the snow, cold, slush and salt. A mid drive conversion seems to be the best option for poor weather. (ie stoke monkey)... but the Copenhagen wheel seems to be easiest to install. I really really wish the Copenhagen wheel came in a 20" wheel size for easy conversion for my cargo bike... although then I'd never keep up with hubby even when he was weighed down by both kids!

Congrats OP, and enjoy your daily dose of awesome - I mean bike commute ;)

Freedomin5

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2018, 04:19:24 PM »
 I bring my three year old to school on my e-bike. School is about an hour away by bike. She has her own seat behind me. It works well, but I do have to avoid big potholes or cracks in the sidewalk since she feels very bump, pretty much, though I think the shocks are softened for her because the seat is ďsuspendedĒ because I use a detachable seat. Itís kind of hard to describe. I ride a $400 Yunbike (I think itís also registered as UMA) with smaller, skinny road tires...so not a diehard bike enthusiast. Just your typical mom. If my bike had fatter tires, I think it would be fine on unpaved /poorly paved roads.

I contemplated attaching a bike trailer, but decided against it as I live in a heavily populated city in China and worried that the cars and scooters may not see the low-riding trailer and may hit her. Attaching seats to the backs of bikes is common; trailers are not and would therefore be unexpected. Also, a trailer means less maneuverability, which i need since Iím competing with scooters, bicycles, taxis, and people on the road.

Iíve also never had any trouble riding in the rain, though I do have to ride slightly more slowly because the roads are more slippery. In China the max speed is 20km/hr. In the sun Iím usually riding 20-23 km/hr. In the rain, Iím usually at 15-20 km/hr.

ysette9

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2018, 04:24:07 PM »
I would prefer a seat instead of a trailer for the same reasons you mention, but I have two sprogs now.

Freedomin5

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2018, 06:21:12 AM »
In China, sometimes people attach one seat to the back and one seat to the handlebars or do the bar in front of the seat (so your smaller kid is sitting between your legs). Not sure if that makes sense. I Iím really not a big biking enthusiast so I donít know the proper names for all the bike parts. I think a picture is worth a thousand words, so something like this...

https://b2b.hc360.com/viewPics/supplyself_pics/252446826.html

Couldnít figure out how to insert a picture using my iPhone.

This one attaches to the handlebars but I think the ones that attach to the post that holds up your seat and the bar that connects the front and back of the bike is safer, like this one:

http://wap.go007.com/huhehaote/gujugusi/ed69c04b71bf48dd.htm
« Last Edit: February 28, 2018, 06:30:06 AM by Freedomin5 »

furrychickens

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2018, 06:57:43 AM »
I find e-bikes interesting but donít have a huge use case for one. Pretty flat here so for solo trips I like the extra exercise of the non-motor bike and for trips with kids either theyíre close enough and/or bike friendly enough that they are biking on their own with my youngest on the trail a bike (this year weíll get him off training wheels) or Iím piling them in the minivan.

A few years ago I had the use case for one (lots of commuting, only one car, kids were young enough to all fit in a modified trailer) but didnít have the money.

sixup

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2018, 07:16:38 AM »
...How about biking on unpaved trails? Iím trying to brainstorm about whether it would even be possible for me to consider a switch.

I use my ebike daily on about 6 miles of dirt/gravel unpaved trail. It's a hybrid bike with front suspension, 29" wheels. It does fine. Fastest I have gone on the trail is about 25 but only on the smoother spots. Typically keep it around 17-20 on trail just because much faster feels like I'm really pounding the bike.

I've put almost 2k miles on mine so far since October 2017. Chain is fine but I clean and lube it weekly. Brakes are probably getting close to needing some attention.

No problems in rain, though I do get paranoid about the electronics. If it's really coming down I'll cover the battery, display, and throttle with plastic just for peace of mind.

E-bikes rule! Congrats to the OP.

furrychickens

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #15 on: February 28, 2018, 07:30:07 AM »
@Syonyk is a great e-bike resource, both in posts heís done here as well as on his blog.

Arbitrage

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #16 on: February 28, 2018, 08:46:28 AM »
Favorite aspect: not climbing hills at pedestrian speeds. I feel safer b/c it minimizes the time spent on a hill. I have a couple of hilly streets that I must travel on but don't want to travel on.

I don't have to arrive at work spent and sweaty. The silent push of the electric motor as compared to a two cycle motorbike conversion of a bicycle. No odors or vibrations. Plenty of range with a 12Ah 48V Panasonic 18605GA cell battery.

Downsides: I worry about the bike when I park it places. Safe town here but (now) expensive bike.

Drivers see a bicycle here and expect it to be traveling at some speed much lower than it is so they will pull out in front of you. Sometimes you just have to act like a scooter or motorcycle and dominate the space around you to force other drivers to be safe for you. That's been rare for me.

Slightly more maintenance. If you are a big person with a mid-drive you will be truing the rear wheel from time to time. Spokes break and spokes stretch. Not difficult. Just watch YouTube videos and buy $3 spoke wrench. Buy a bag of 50 spokes on eBay for cheap. You'll need to learn what spokes you need.  Bike shop charges ~$40 to do this for me. May relace the wheel with heavier diameter spokes at point in the future. Rim is a heavy duty off-road rim.

Mid-drives wear out pedal chains every thousand miles or so (not expensive). The bike brake pads wear out sooner too (depends on your weight, not a big expense though). 

30+ mph on a bicycle is very different than 30 mph in a car. You'll notice every imperfection of the road. ;)

I'm running an "offroad" motor capable of much more speed than is legal. I hardly ever use that much power but it is handy to have on the steep hills here. No police can know how much power/speed I have on tap. No labels to prove anything for or against the rules. The police here don't care about me. I can ride places where a scooter or two-cycle powered bicycle can not b/c my motor is "invisible" (no noise, speed kept low near pedestrians and I look like a bike to other people).

~700 miles on the bike. I want to double or triple that this warm season.

Definitely concerned about the security aspect of it.  I did buy an expensive Kryptonite lock with 1 year of built-in insurance, but there are still places (my local Target and regular grocery store) that I don't think I'd want to park it outside of.  Might give me an excuse to ride it a bit further to go to those stores in less sketchy neighborhoods. 

I bought a hub-drive rather than a mid-drive, so there shouldn't be extra wear on the chain/gears from the motor, but nonetheless I'm going to have to bone up on bike maintenance, both on the regular components and any e-bike specific parts.  Thanks for the tip on the spokes - mine is a dedicated e-bike rather than a conversion, and has larger gauge spokes to compensate, but I'm sure that's a still a useful skill to develop. 

And...as I was typing this, I just got the email that the bike is out for delivery!

Goldielocks

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #17 on: February 28, 2018, 11:45:52 AM »
Has anyone pulled a trailer/transported kids on a ebike? How about biking on unpaved trails? Iím trying to brainstorm about whether it would even be possible for me to consider a switch.

Yes- Living on a hill and two kids in a trailer was the exact reason I bought the first ebike kit.  This was in 2001.  It was a hub kit with a Lead Acid battery and even that was so amazing, my DH started an ebike kit import business.    We have also attached a trail a bike easily to this.  I did not like it with the child seat carrier because the weight balance is odd.


Unpaved trails -- This will depend on your bike.  I rode mine on good gravel trails, and it is great.   With a hub motor, because of the extra weight / balance (heavy wheel) it does not work for jumping curbs and jumping roots / trees...

The problem is when you have more than just typical dirt road / gravel trails with a lot of impacts / drops.  It's the weight of the hub motor that causes problems, especially without suspension on your bike, you will feel it.   A mid drive with suspension should be no problem.

Goldielocks

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #18 on: February 28, 2018, 11:58:20 AM »
So, we just got our car insurance renewal notices and gulp!  Insurance went up dramatically for everyone this year.

The most basic insurance, with third party $200k liability only, the mandatory minimum, starts at $1000 here for any type / age of car for a driver with full discounts (10+ years no accidents).

DH  wants to talk about going down to one car this year, and I am thinking about getting a mid-drive kit for my bike if we do that.  We will have 4 drivers in the house soon, one car.   Decisions..   

MasterStache

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #19 on: February 28, 2018, 12:03:22 PM »
So, we just got our car insurance renewal notices and gulp!  Insurance went up dramatically for everyone this year.

The most basic insurance, with third party $200k liability only, the mandatory minimum, starts at $1000 here for any type / age of car for a driver with full discounts (10+ years no accidents).

DH  wants to talk about going down to one car this year, and I am thinking about getting a mid-drive kit for my bike if we do that.  We will have 4 drivers in the house soon, one car.   Decisions..

I've been seeing this for the past couple years. Our cars get older and less valuable, my spouse and I have perfect driving records for 20+ years, yet insurance has increased nearly 20% each year for the past 2 years. F'n ridiculous! I shop around but it somehow still beats other places. I wish I could just get rid of the car.

Just Joe

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #20 on: March 02, 2018, 12:18:53 PM »
I would prefer a seat instead of a trailer for the same reasons you mention, but I have two sprogs now.

I would be an investment to be sure but there is a Dutch? bike - well let me show you:

http://dutchcargobike.com.au/product-category/bakfiets/

Just Joe

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #21 on: March 02, 2018, 12:27:41 PM »
...How about biking on unpaved trails? Iím trying to brainstorm about whether it would even be possible for me to consider a switch.

I use my ebike daily on about 6 miles of dirt/gravel unpaved trail. It's a hybrid bike with front suspension, 29" wheels. It does fine. Fastest I have gone on the trail is about 25 but only on the smoother spots. Typically keep it around 17-20 on trail just because much faster feels like I'm really pounding the bike.

I've put almost 2k miles on mine so far since October 2017. Chain is fine but I clean and lube it weekly. Brakes are probably getting close to needing some attention.

No problems in rain, though I do get paranoid about the electronics. If it's really coming down I'll cover the battery, display, and throttle with plastic just for peace of mind.

E-bikes rule! Congrats to the OP.

It was suggested to me that shower caps are great for covering the display. My experience is similar to sixups.

I'll also second the brakes and trailer comment above. My brakes overheated on a very steep hill here years ago while I was towing our first child in a trailer. It was tense at the intersection at the bottom of the hill. Cheap bike, cheap brakes. Could not fully stop but i was able to make the turn (T-intersection) safely. My current entry level brand name bike has much better brakes that would have stopped that bike trailer without so much drama. I've gotten the brakes hot enough to smell (hot rubber) but they still stopped me.

When you need brake pads next time just buy a quality replacement brand. Some folks have disc brakes. I still have old fashioned rim brakes.

My ebike is happiest at 15-20 mph and tops out at 45 mph on downhills - and that's scary to me. Am running Schwalbe "ebike rated" touring tires. Very durable so far, quiet, and good grip. Have ridden on pavement dry and wet, and mulch or chipped stone paths. No drama. Test your bike in your spare time to see how well it stops and turns.

A friend built himself a 48V hub motor rear drive bike and loves it. In a short drag race to 15 mph they seemed to be about the same. If I build DW an ebike I'll likely build a rear drive hubmotor bike for her. Less maintenance, lower cost. Plenty of power depending on which one you buy.

Arbitrage, which voltage and wattage kit did you buy? What kind of battery?
« Last Edit: March 02, 2018, 12:36:36 PM by Just Joe »

JustAnotherBadass

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #22 on: March 02, 2018, 04:02:39 PM »
Rad Cycles makes an affordable cargo bike that can carry kids:  https://www.radpowerbikes.com/

Something like this:


TomTX

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #23 on: March 03, 2018, 03:08:09 PM »
Rad Cycles makes an affordable cargo bike that can carry kids:  https://www.radpowerbikes.com/

Something like this:

So, my 4 year old loves riding on the back of my RadWagon - but I didn't spend the extra $250 or whatever for that extra contraption + plate replacement. He just rides on the back - there's a built-in handle hanging under the seat.

Marmotinha

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #24 on: March 04, 2018, 08:05:12 AM »
Rad Cycles makes an affordable cargo bike that can carry kids:  https://www.radpowerbikes.com/

Something like this:

So, my 4 year old loves riding on the back of my RadWagon - but I didn't spend the extra $250 or whatever for that extra contraption + plate replacement. He just rides on the back - there's a built-in handle hanging under the seat.
Another radwagon user here. I do use the kid carrying contraption, but I carry two kids, 3 and 5 years old since they were 2 and 4. I also have modified the bike in several ways to suit my needs better. Like others in the thread, I got the bike because I live in a monster hill and I just can't get up with the kid weight without assist. With kids I also really appreciate having the assist when crossing busy roads, so I can get out of traffic quickly. My commute is 7 miles each way to take them to preschool and the kids love it.

I feel the radwagon is one of the best value electric cargo bikes out there. I did spend an additional $700 dollars or so over a couple of years on some modifications such as exchanging one of the brakes for a hydraulic version, changing the handlebars and, changing the motor for a mid drive. Part of this is just that I like tinkering though...

Sent from my Redmi Note 4 using Tapatalk


TomTX

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #25 on: March 04, 2018, 07:41:29 PM »
Rad Cycles makes an affordable cargo bike that can carry kids:  https://www.radpowerbikes.com/

Something like this:

So, my 4 year old loves riding on the back of my RadWagon - but I didn't spend the extra $250 or whatever for that extra contraption + plate replacement. He just rides on the back - there's a built-in handle hanging under the seat.
Another radwagon user here. I do use the kid carrying contraption, but I carry two kids, 3 and 5 years old since they were 2 and 4. I also have modified the bike in several ways to suit my needs better. Like others in the thread, I got the bike because I live in a monster hill and I just can't get up with the kid weight without assist. With kids I also really appreciate having the assist when crossing busy roads, so I can get out of traffic quickly. My commute is 7 miles each way to take them to preschool and the kids love it.

I feel the radwagon is one of the best value electric cargo bikes out there. I did spend an additional $700 dollars or so over a couple of years on some modifications such as exchanging one of the brakes for a hydraulic version, changing the handlebars and, changing the motor for a mid drive. Part of this is just that I like tinkering though...

Sent from my Redmi Note 4 using Tapatalk

How's the battery pack doing?

MasterStache

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #26 on: March 05, 2018, 07:59:54 AM »
I've been contemplating the RadWagon for a few weeks now. Problem is my daughter is 8 and I am hoping she will start riding her own bike (she say she wants to) to gymnastics practices. It's really only a couple miles but has a couple large hills she will struggle with. And I am afraid doing it once will turn her away from wanting to do it again. I would like to get something that can carry quite a few groceries as well. It's about a 7 mile round trip to Aldi and back. So still thinking a trailer would work well. Ahh decisions...decisions!

ketchup

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #27 on: March 05, 2018, 08:44:01 AM »
My commute would be 16 miles one-way by bike (more distance than by car), all on bike paths except for the first two miles and last four which are on potentially hair-raising roads but nothing awful.

Am I completely insane for hoping a decent e-bike would let me do that in 30~40 minutes?  I probably wouldn't consider it if it took longer than that (which is why I've ruled out normal biking, that's definitely not happening at that pace).  Are e-bike rentals common? Or do any offer returns?  I feel like I'd know 100% the answer after trying it once.

EDIT: Also, do e-bikes commonly have removable battery packs?  I'd probably want to unhook it and bring it inside to charge during work.

Just Joe

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #28 on: March 05, 2018, 11:39:50 AM »
You might want to bring the battery pack inside b/c it costs $400 by itself. ;) Also leaves the bike unpowered and heavy for a thief. Yes, most of the ebikes I have seen have an easily detachable battery. Mine locks to the bike with a key. Similar to the picture of the Radwagon in the thread above. You can see the lock tumbler in the pic.

furrychickens

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #29 on: March 05, 2018, 12:33:22 PM »
I've been contemplating the RadWagon for a few weeks now. Problem is my daughter is 8 and I am hoping she will start riding her own bike (she say she wants to) to gymnastics practices. It's really only a couple miles but has a couple large hills she will struggle with. And I am afraid doing it once will turn her away from wanting to do it again. I would like to get something that can carry quite a few groceries as well. It's about a 7 mile round trip to Aldi and back. So still thinking a trailer would work well. Ahh decisions...decisions!

@MasterStache is she big enough for a 20Ē bike? If so, thatís the smallest size that has multiple speeds, should help with the hills depending on how bad they are.

Arbitrage

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #30 on: March 05, 2018, 04:37:51 PM »
My commute would be 16 miles one-way by bike (more distance than by car), all on bike paths except for the first two miles and last four which are on potentially hair-raising roads but nothing awful.

Am I completely insane for hoping a decent e-bike would let me do that in 30~40 minutes?  I probably wouldn't consider it if it took longer than that (which is why I've ruled out normal biking, that's definitely not happening at that pace).  Are e-bike rentals common? Or do any offer returns?  I feel like I'd know 100% the answer after trying it once.

EDIT: Also, do e-bikes commonly have removable battery packs?  I'd probably want to unhook it and bring it inside to charge during work.

16 miles in 40 minutes is 24 miles/hour.  A Level 3 e-bike is limited to 28 mph max.  In my state (CA), bike paths are only accessible by 20-mph e-bikes (Level 2).  Other states have different laws/regulations.  I'd say that it's dubious you'd be able to achieve the numbers you're hoping for, particularly on bike paths and/or if you need to deal with stop signs, traffic lights, etc.

Blissful Biker

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #31 on: March 05, 2018, 05:37:16 PM »
I was excited to see this thread.  I too have an ebike on the way and am really looking forward to riding it everywhere.

In BC, we have a Scrap-It program where if you have an old vehicle to scrap you get rebates on a variety of clean alternatives including $850 for an ebike!  https://scrapit.ca/incentivechoices/

We are getting a fat tire ebike that the whole family can share and ride all year round.  Although I get first dibs.  :)

BikeFanatic

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #32 on: March 05, 2018, 07:33:20 PM »
Ketcup- I commute by Ebike on 50% bike trails and 50% road. It takes me 25 minutes to go 5 miles in the city. Lots of stops and starts, and I have to be very careful on the bike paths with Peds and squirrels, can not go faster than 20 MP on the bike path.

I think your commute would take about an hour- you could try it on your bike and figure it will be a little fast by ebike maybe 15 minutes faster.

MasterStache

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #33 on: March 06, 2018, 05:58:41 AM »
I've been contemplating the RadWagon for a few weeks now. Problem is my daughter is 8 and I am hoping she will start riding her own bike (she say she wants to) to gymnastics practices. It's really only a couple miles but has a couple large hills she will struggle with. And I am afraid doing it once will turn her away from wanting to do it again. I would like to get something that can carry quite a few groceries as well. It's about a 7 mile round trip to Aldi and back. So still thinking a trailer would work well. Ahh decisions...decisions!

@MasterStache is she big enough for a 20Ē bike? If so, thatís the smallest size that has multiple speeds, should help with the hills depending on how bad they are.

It's funny that you ask that because I mentioned something to my wife about getting her a small e-bike possibly in the near future. She isn't big enough now. She is tiny for her age. But definitely something to think about.

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #34 on: March 06, 2018, 07:49:27 AM »
I've been contemplating the RadWagon for a few weeks now. Problem is my daughter is 8 and I am hoping she will start riding her own bike (she say she wants to) to gymnastics practices. It's really only a couple miles but has a couple large hills she will struggle with. And I am afraid doing it once will turn her away from wanting to do it again. I would like to get something that can carry quite a few groceries as well. It's about a 7 mile round trip to Aldi and back. So still thinking a trailer would work well. Ahh decisions...decisions!

@MasterStache is she big enough for a 20Ē bike? If so, thatís the smallest size that has multiple speeds, should help with the hills depending on how bad they are.

It's funny that you ask that because I mentioned something to my wife about getting her a small e-bike possibly in the near future. She isn't big enough now. She is tiny for her age. But definitely something to think about.

Yeah, my 8 year old is also very small for his age. Itís taken until this year that he finally was big enough to take the training wheels off the 18Ē  bike we bought him because he grew much slower than I anticipated and weíd already sold the smaller bike heíd been on before. I thought heíd have been ready last year but couldnít get his feet close enough to the ground to feel comfortable until this spring.

robtown

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #35 on: March 06, 2018, 08:46:39 PM »
Congratulations on your new commute.   You'll find the exercise, fresh air, and sunshine make a big difference in your work days.   I'll start soon, but probably only 2 - 3 days a week.

I just started a job 12 miles from home via bike.   I've done the commute before.   Since I'm out of shape I picked up an ebike so that I can get started sooner in Spring.   I do have a fast eTrike but have to work on a bad battery cell,  which may take some time to figure out.

Apostrophe

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #36 on: March 07, 2018, 09:48:28 AM »
My commute would be 16 miles one-way by bike (more distance than by car), all on bike paths except for the first two miles and last four which are on potentially hair-raising roads but nothing awful.

Am I completely insane for hoping a decent e-bike would let me do that in 30~40 minutes?  I probably wouldn't consider it if it took longer than that (which is why I've ruled out normal biking, that's definitely not happening at that pace).  Are e-bike rentals common? Or do any offer returns?  I feel like I'd know 100% the answer after trying it once.

It's not insane to hope for that, but you will need to be realistic about your bike and your route.

Bikes
My first ebike was a RadRover, and I averaged about 17 mph on that. While top speed was 20 mph, traffic, stop lights, etc. made an average of 17 about all I could do.

My current ebike is a Haibike xDuro, with a Bosch mid-drive. I put a performance chip in it, so I have no speed limiter, and generally travel at 26-27 mph, with an average commute speed of 24 mph over 18 miles. Best ever was an average speed of 24.9 mph, and I was cranking hard the whole way to work. I have a shower at work.

Route
Route will make a massive difference in your average speed, and could easily double your ride time from an 'ideal' state. My commute is 15 miles of paved canal trail with very light cycling traffic, no intersections, and no stops. The final 3 miles is on surface streets with bike lanes with the occasional stop light. If I'm really hustling home, I will often clear 30 mph for a mile or two on some sections of my ride.

I have nearly 5,000 miles on ebikes now, nearly all commuting miles. Including a reasonable value on my current bike, my average costs have been about $.13/mile.

The RadRover was fun, but the miles I was putting on it really beat it up quickly. After 1,400 miles I had replaced the front fork, had the wheels trued up several times, replaced the tires, etc. It felt like a lot of maintenance. To be fair, it is a heavy bike with huge tires and I was using it as a long distance commuter. Just not the right tool for the job.

The Haibike I have now has been phenomenal. Quality is excellent, I trust all the components, and with 3,400 miles or so on it I have proven its reliability. I jump off curbs with it, ride at 30 mph frequently with the chipped motor, and generally have a blast of a time on it. I would buy it again in a heartbeat.

Good luck!




TomTX

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #37 on: March 10, 2018, 08:25:47 AM »
My commute would be 16 miles one-way by bike (more distance than by car), all on bike paths except for the first two miles and last four which are on potentially hair-raising roads but nothing awful.

Am I completely insane for hoping a decent e-bike would let me do that in 30~40 minutes?  I probably wouldn't consider it if it took longer than that (which is why I've ruled out normal biking, that's definitely not happening at that pace).  Are e-bike rentals common? Or do any offer returns?  I feel like I'd know 100% the answer after trying it once.

EDIT: Also, do e-bikes commonly have removable battery packs?  I'd probably want to unhook it and bring it inside to charge during work.

20MPH is top speed on the RadWagon, and realistically you aren't going to maintain that speed. Plus you probably have various traffic signals or other mandatory "stop" time.

Arbitrage

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #38 on: March 10, 2018, 04:04:41 PM »

Arbitrage, which voltage and wattage kit did you buy? What kind of battery?

I bought an as-built e-bike, not a kit.  Juiced Bikes Crosscurrent S.  It's listed at 650 W, peaking at 750 W, but really will peak at 1000 W with both throttle + pedelec engaged.  Battery is 48V/12.8 Ah.  I did my longest outing so far yesterday, about 15 miles, and the battery meter had barely budged, so the claimed range of 50-100 miles seems reasonable. 

Absolutely loving it so far, and really looking forward to when I can commute on it.  My biggest concern is theft (self-imposed, since the bike itself is outside of a mustachian price range), and I've been loading up on security gear.  Kryptonite Mini-7 with $2500 insurance, plus wimpy cable for the front wheel, but I'm finding some difficulty locking it up.  Just bought a heavy-duty chain for peace of mind and easier locking for those areas I'm more concerned about; won't need it for work but might for errands. 

Also decided to get some accessory locks for the seat post, handlebars, front wheel: Hexlox.  Pretty cool little magnetic gadgets that fit inside of hex sockets and prevent unbolting.  PM me if you are interested in them, and I can get you a referral for 10% off.


BikeFanatic

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #39 on: March 10, 2018, 04:32:01 PM »
Quote
bought an as-built e-bike, not a kit.  Juiced Bikes Crosscurrent S.  It's listed at 650 W, peaking at 750 W, but really will peak at 1000 W with both throttle + pedelec engaged.  Battery is 48V/12.8 Ah.  I did my longest outing so far yesterday, about 15 miles, and the battery meter had barely budged, so the claimed range of 50-100 miles seems reasonable.

That bike sounds interesting, I would like a link , just PM me, if you don't mind.
 I have alot of experience with Ebikes and I can tell you I get 20-25 Watts per mile ( going fast like 20-22 MPH) unless I pedal 50% then it is like 15-16 watts a mile( and that means speeds of 15 MPH)- so my calculations is that you can get 30 miles out of that pack and up to 40 with 50% pedal power.

MasterStache

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #40 on: March 12, 2018, 08:31:15 AM »
Well, after several weeks of debating I took the plunge. My new RadWagon will be here by the end of the week. Just in time for some warmer weather and my current  work assignment ends today or tomorrow. So I will have plenty of time to enjoy riding. My daughter is super excited as well and can't wait to ride on it to gymnastics.

If anyone decides to buy a Rad Power Bike feel free to PM me and I can offer a referral. We'll both get a $50 Amazon GC.   

robartsd

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #41 on: March 12, 2018, 12:33:51 PM »
I have nearly 5,000 miles on ebikes now, nearly all commuting miles. Including a reasonable value on my current bike, my average costs have been about $.13/mile.

The RadRover was fun, but the miles I was putting on it really beat it up quickly. After 1,400 miles I had replaced the front fork, had the wheels trued up several times, replaced the tires, etc. It felt like a lot of maintenance. To be fair, it is a heavy bike with huge tires and I was using it as a long distance commuter. Just not the right tool for the job.

The Haibike I have now has been phenomenal. Quality is excellent, I trust all the components, and with 3,400 miles or so on it I have proven its reliability. I jump off curbs with it, ride at 30 mph frequently with the chipped motor, and generally have a blast of a time on it. I would buy it again in a heartbeat.

Good luck!
My guess is that you were jumping off curbs with your RadRover and it was not up to that abuse. The maintenance you mention (wheel truing and replacing front fork) are not likely a result of miles on a paved path but likely a result of hard hits over uneven terrain. Of course tires will wear out even on the best paved surface and choosing fat tires increases that expense. Glad your Haibike is working out for your riding style.

Arbitrage

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #42 on: March 14, 2018, 08:27:06 AM »
Well, after several weeks of debating I took the plunge. My new RadWagon will be here by the end of the week. Just in time for some warmer weather and my current  work assignment ends today or tomorrow. So I will have plenty of time to enjoy riding. My daughter is super excited as well and can't wait to ride on it to gymnastics.

If anyone decides to buy a Rad Power Bike feel free to PM me and I can offer a referral. We'll both get a $50 Amazon GC.

Congrats!  I'm envious, since thus far I just have to look longingly at my bike all week - my current work/family schedule keeps me busy from 5:15 am-9 pm during weekdays without much opportunity to ride in there.  I've been riding a lot on weekends, but it's hard to wait until I can start commuting on it in July.

Apostrophe

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #43 on: March 14, 2018, 11:02:29 AM »
I have nearly 5,000 miles on ebikes now, nearly all commuting miles. Including a reasonable value on my current bike, my average costs have been about $.13/mile.

The RadRover was fun, but the miles I was putting on it really beat it up quickly. After 1,400 miles I had replaced the front fork, had the wheels trued up several times, replaced the tires, etc. It felt like a lot of maintenance. To be fair, it is a heavy bike with huge tires and I was using it as a long distance commuter. Just not the right tool for the job.

The Haibike I have now has been phenomenal. Quality is excellent, I trust all the components, and with 3,400 miles or so on it I have proven its reliability. I jump off curbs with it, ride at 30 mph frequently with the chipped motor, and generally have a blast of a time on it. I would buy it again in a heartbeat.

Good luck!
My guess is that you were jumping off curbs with your RadRover and it was not up to that abuse. The maintenance you mention (wheel truing and replacing front fork) are not likely a result of miles on a paved path but likely a result of hard hits over uneven terrain. Of course tires will wear out even on the best paved surface and choosing fat tires increases that expense. Glad your Haibike is working out for your riding style.

Solid guess, but no - the RadRover is a nice entry level bike, but I was just putting too many miles on it. It's almost 61 lbs, and far too heavy to be jumping it anywhere. At the time, I was riding just over 25 miles each way to work at close to top speed the whole time, and it was just not the right bike for that sort of constant use. I bought it from the original Indiegogo campaign, so it was probably one of the earliest models. I know the fork they sent me as a replacement was the new version, and all the current bikes they were shipping had it installed already.

robartsd

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #44 on: March 14, 2018, 04:53:36 PM »
I have nearly 5,000 miles on ebikes now, nearly all commuting miles. Including a reasonable value on my current bike, my average costs have been about $.13/mile.

The RadRover was fun, but the miles I was putting on it really beat it up quickly. After 1,400 miles I had replaced the front fork, had the wheels trued up several times, replaced the tires, etc. It felt like a lot of maintenance. To be fair, it is a heavy bike with huge tires and I was using it as a long distance commuter. Just not the right tool for the job.

The Haibike I have now has been phenomenal. Quality is excellent, I trust all the components, and with 3,400 miles or so on it I have proven its reliability. I jump off curbs with it, ride at 30 mph frequently with the chipped motor, and generally have a blast of a time on it. I would buy it again in a heartbeat.

Good luck!
My guess is that you were jumping off curbs with your RadRover and it was not up to that abuse. The maintenance you mention (wheel truing and replacing front fork) are not likely a result of miles on a paved path but likely a result of hard hits over uneven terrain. Of course tires will wear out even on the best paved surface and choosing fat tires increases that expense. Glad your Haibike is working out for your riding style.

Solid guess, but no - the RadRover is a nice entry level bike, but I was just putting too many miles on it. It's almost 61 lbs, and far too heavy to be jumping it anywhere. At the time, I was riding just over 25 miles each way to work at close to top speed the whole time, and it was just not the right bike for that sort of constant use. I bought it from the original Indiegogo campaign, so it was probably one of the earliest models. I know the fork they sent me as a replacement was the new version, and all the current bikes they were shipping had it installed already.
OK, if the fork that failed within 1400 miles was recalled (or equivalent), then it's not so bad.

Wheel maintenance might be improved if the wheels were re-built by an expert wheel builder. The specs say it comes with 12 gauge spokes (lighter 14 or 15 gauge spokes are more common for regular bicycles). According to expert bike mechanic John Allen optimum spoke tension is about 1/3 yield strength. Because the cross sectional area of a 12 gauge spoke is 60% larger than that of a 14 gauge spoke, the force required to develop this tension is 60% greater. This could be a problem if the eyelets on the rim or hub are not strong enough to take the force.

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #45 on: March 16, 2018, 08:29:35 PM »
You might want to bring the battery pack inside b/c it costs $400 by itself. ;) Also leaves the bike unpowered and heavy for a thief. Yes, most of the ebikes I have seen have an easily detachable battery. Mine locks to the bike with a key. Similar to the picture of the Radwagon in the thread above. You can see the lock tumbler in the pic.

We have done a boat & bike tour in the Netherlands, and when we got off our bikes, we took our batteries with us, as well as putting on an inexpensive wheel lock.

MasterStache

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #46 on: March 17, 2018, 12:29:32 PM »
The Radwagon is assembled and I am anxiously awaiting a test ride (raining/storming today). The bike is bigger than I thought, but not as heavy as I imagined. I think I'll be taking the battery with me inside whenever I go somewhere. Looking forward to some warmer weather, if it ever gets here!

TomTX

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #47 on: March 18, 2018, 08:51:15 AM »
The Radwagon is assembled and I am anxiously awaiting a test ride (raining/storming today). The bike is bigger than I thought, but not as heavy as I imagined. I think I'll be taking the battery with me inside whenever I go somewhere. Looking forward to some warmer weather, if it ever gets here!

Took my Radwagon and kid out yesterday, we ended up getting rained on - but it was all fine.  Reminds me I need to turn off the box fan I had blowing on it in the garage to dry out.

Note that the(dual) kickstand is close to the balance point of the bike (slightly toward the rear.) When you're working on the rear end (or even just cleaning/lubing the chain) - you can hang something off the front to get the rear wheel to stay off the ground. I haven't gotten around to buying a stand yet, this works fairly well.

MasterStache

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #48 on: March 19, 2018, 09:41:28 AM »
The Radwagon is assembled and I am anxiously awaiting a test ride (raining/storming today). The bike is bigger than I thought, but not as heavy as I imagined. I think I'll be taking the battery with me inside whenever I go somewhere. Looking forward to some warmer weather, if it ever gets here!

Took my Radwagon and kid out yesterday, we ended up getting rained on - but it was all fine.  Reminds me I need to turn off the box fan I had blowing on it in the garage to dry out.

Note that the(dual) kickstand is close to the balance point of the bike (slightly toward the rear.) When you're working on the rear end (or even just cleaning/lubing the chain) - you can hang something off the front to get the rear wheel to stay off the ground. I haven't gotten around to buying a stand yet, this works fairly well.

Thanks for the tip!

Weather has been crappy here but today is beautiful. Took the RedWagon up to the library to return some books and then over to the post office to mail out a package. The two very daunting hills I encountered where a piece of cake this time around. All together about 10 miles of errands, good exercise (mostly kept in PAS 1 with exception of the hills), and fresh air in the lungs. Feels awesome!!

I just ordered the Deckhand as it finally came back into stock. My daughter is eager to ride up to gymnastics on the bike.

Edit: Forgot to add I received a compliment on the color of the bike while waiting at a cross walk from a very cute jogger.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2018, 09:43:21 AM by MasterStache »

netskyblue

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Re: Making the commute switch - e bike on the way!
« Reply #49 on: March 19, 2018, 10:13:29 AM »
I would love to HAVE an e-bike, but I have two other nice bikes already.  (Well, nice as in not junkers, not "top of the line" nice.)  Nicer than I need for the 5-6 times a year I take a bike ride.

I just can't get on board to commute to work on a bike.  I'd be turning an 8 minute drive into a 35 minute bike ride (not accounting for traffic).  The difference there adds up to 180 hours a year, not counting time I'd be wasting to go home, get the car, and make the grocery trips, rather than doing so on my way home from work.  180 hours at my salary (which isn't all that high) is over 4 grand.  Of wasted time. 

I drive a paid off car, spend $300 on insurance for the whole year, and drive <7000 miles a year.  My time is just too valuable to spend an hour a day extra on commuting.  (And, no.  I don't spend that time exercising anyway.)