Author Topic: Current (pun intended) state of e-bikes?  (Read 708 times)

BlueMR2

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Current (pun intended) state of e-bikes?
« on: August 19, 2018, 02:11:22 PM »
I've seen a couple of people out on e-bikes recently and my wife is now interested.  We'd looked into scooters before, but even the smallest scooter (and even moped) requires a full blown motorcycle license (which she is NOT interested in obtaining).  E-bike looks like it may be a way around that.  Her commute is only about a mile each way and can be done 95% residential streets.  Such a waste to do it with a car, but she needs to not be arriving at work all sweaty from walking or cycling from human power.

So, what's out there and how's the reliability looking?

Arbitrage

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Re: Current (pun intended) state of e-bikes?
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2018, 04:05:58 PM »
Well, if you want a thread discussing some of this, here's one:

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/share-your-badassity/making-the-commute-switch-e-bike-on-the-way!/

I'm not an expert, but if she's talking about a 1 mile commute, a Level 3 bike with a big battery is probably a waste of money.  I'd think that a conversion kit would be a much more frugal option, but I haven't done it before.  Some on this forum have. 

Long-term reliability of a purpose-built e-bike might be better than a conversion kit (frame theoretically is designed to handle the extra weight/speed), but with such a short commute just about anything should work.  Many thousands of miles should be expected, with reliability similar to that of a regular bike.  Worst-case scenario, something goes wrong with the electric components, and she has to pedal a heavy bike for half a mile.  In general, it's a lot more likely that something goes wrong with the 'bike' part of the e-bike than the 'e-' portion.  Regular bike maintenance needed as for any bike. 

You might check out electricbikereview.com if you want to read up on a lot of e-bikes.  Dedicated forums there as well. 

FINate

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Re: Current (pun intended) state of e-bikes?
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2018, 04:35:04 PM »
I've seen a couple of people out on e-bikes recently and my wife is now interested.  We'd looked into scooters before, but even the smallest scooter (and even moped) requires a full blown motorcycle license (which she is NOT interested in obtaining).  E-bike looks like it may be a way around that.  Her commute is only about a mile each way and can be done 95% residential streets.  Such a waste to do it with a car, but she needs to not be arriving at work all sweaty from walking or cycling from human power.

So, what's out there and how's the reliability looking?

Wait...unless you're climbing a massive hill, how can anyone get sweaty cycling 1 mile?

BlueMR2

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Re: Current (pun intended) state of e-bikes?
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2018, 03:49:15 PM »
Wait...unless you're climbing a massive hill, how can anyone get sweaty cycling 1 mile?

Humidity is something fierce here in the Summer.  It doesn't get over 95 F all that often, but humidity will go sit at 90%+ for weeks on end.  You can get sweaty in a minute or 2 doing anything other than sitting in a chair...  If we can make it a moving chair, problem avoided.  :-)

FINate

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Re: Current (pun intended) state of e-bikes?
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2018, 04:16:39 PM »
Wait...unless you're climbing a massive hill, how can anyone get sweaty cycling 1 mile?

Humidity is something fierce here in the Summer.  It doesn't get over 95 F all that often, but humidity will go sit at 90%+ for weeks on end.  You can get sweaty in a minute or 2 doing anything other than sitting in a chair...  If we can make it a moving chair, problem avoided.  :-)

I lived in Singapore for a summer (well, really it's always summer on there) so I know humid. And riding a bike there, on the flats, would not be an issue w.r.t. sweat. Biking on flat ground is way less difficult than walking, so I would suggest at least giving it a try first.

But, if you decide you really want an ebike: At just 1 mile you can get by with a very small and very cheap battery. And you don't need an expensive new ebike. Instead, take an old bike you already have and add a cheap hub motor kit. Should be less than $500 all said and done.

BikeFanatic

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Re: Current (pun intended) state of e-bikes?
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2018, 06:17:26 PM »
I think in 95% humidity you will sweat going in, and an Ebike could give you a nice cool breeze. If you get one,  a low wattage 250 watt -500 watt Ebike will suffice unless you have a huge hill. I like the rear drive Hub motor Ebikes. The battery will  utilize  about one amphour round trip, depends on how fast you go. So if you get a smaller battery you will be able to get by with a 5 AH battery and maybe only charge twice a week. Do they make batteries that small I do not know.