Author Topic: E-bike for commuting.. Am I just being a consumer sucka?  (Read 4416 times)

ROY2007

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E-bike for commuting.. Am I just being a consumer sucka?
« on: August 09, 2016, 05:14:15 PM »
I live in the Midwest and work at a local bike shop approximately 13 miles from my home. My commute is on hilly and quiet country roads. I commute by bike approximately once a week on a steel frame touring bike. I enjoy the ride, but it's pretty exhausting. Of course, working in a bike shop has its perks. I get a huge deal on new bikes. I'm looking at the Trek XM700+ which retails for $3,500. I could get it for $1,700. I'm also hoping my wife will replace some car trips with the e-bike and eventually we'll go down to one car. Am I being a consumer sucka? Do I just need to buck up and use old fashioned leg power?


Bruinguy

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Re: E-bike for commuting.. Am I just being a consumer sucka?
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2016, 05:18:48 PM »
Yes, would be a consumer sucker if you did.

A little more seriously though, I wouldn't factor in your wife using the bike to cut out car trips unless she is enthusiastically in favor of the plan.

ROY2007

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Re: E-bike for commuting.. Am I just being a consumer sucka?
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2016, 05:28:32 PM »
To clarify: She does like the idea of an e-bike. She would use it. However, as of now she is not convinced that owning one would rid us of the need for two cars.

Miss Piggy

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Re: E-bike for commuting.. Am I just being a consumer sucka?
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2016, 06:42:00 PM »
Have you considered a 49cc scooter, such as a Honda Metropolitan? Similar price...a lot cuter and more fun!

ROY2007

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Re: E-bike for commuting.. Am I just being a consumer sucka?
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2016, 07:24:15 PM »
Have you considered a 49cc scooter, such as a Honda Metropolitan? Similar price...a lot cuter and more fun!

I feel like e-bikes have a lot of advantages over scooters. No insurance, no registration fees, you still get some of the health benefits of biking, and I don't think a 49cc scooter would be legal on a 55 mph road. Right?

Uturn

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Re: E-bike for commuting.. Am I just being a consumer sucka?
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2016, 07:44:27 PM »
At that level of discount, I would buy it and sell for what I paid if it doesn't work out.  I paid more than $1700 for a lesser ebike and have no regrets. 

Rocket

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Re: E-bike for commuting.. Am I just being a consumer sucka?
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2016, 08:15:38 PM »
If you have a bike you like do a mid drive conversion for much less.  If you dont like it, sell it and you have your regular bike back.

I have a emotion ebike I use to commute and have a regular mountain bike I use on weekends for exercise on trails.  I highly recommend an ebike, but I also would do a conversion if I had to do it over again.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2016, 08:17:33 PM by Rocket »

ROY2007

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Re: E-bike for commuting.. Am I just being a consumer sucka?
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2016, 11:02:34 PM »
At that level of discount, I would buy it and sell for what I paid if it doesn't work out.  I paid more than $1700 for a lesser ebike and have no regrets.

That's a good point. I could probably resell it for close to what I paid for it if it doesn't work out.

mountains_o_mustaches

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Re: E-bike for commuting.. Am I just being a consumer sucka?
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2016, 06:21:28 PM »
If the E-bike will get you commuting more frequently then it's worth it.  And why do you own 2 cars if work is bike-able??  I think the 2 cars is being more of a consumer sucka than buying the e-bike.  Sell the car, use part of the profit to buy the e-bike, and you'll still be ahead $$-wise and that's not even figuring in the money you'll save on gas when you e-bike commute to work!

ulrichw

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Re: E-bike for commuting.. Am I just being a consumer sucka?
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2016, 06:55:10 PM »
If you're willing to DIY, consider getting a conversion kit.

I don't know how fit you are, but a low-power front wheel conversion is fairly easy to install and goes for less than $600 shipped from China.

I recently installed one on my roadbike for my 10 mile commute, and I'm very pleased with it.

I'm fairly fit so I wasn't that slow to begin with - I cruise around 22mph on level ground without the motor - but the motor has made me 20% faster, and saves a lot on fatigue.

This is on a kit that has a nominal 350 watt maximum. (Note: I went for a motor with gearing that suits itself for higher speeds, since I spend a lot of time at 25+ mph with the assist - if you have a lot of hills, then you may want to opt for a motor with a lower top speed but better low-end torque).

I bought a Q100 kit (328rpm) from a site called bmsbattery.com

Syonyk

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Re: E-bike for commuting.. Am I just being a consumer sucka?
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2016, 07:22:42 PM »
$1700 for that is a nice price.

And, yes, you'll use it a whole lot more than you expect.

They're much closer to an open air car replacement than a bicycle.

Don't get a front wheel drive bike, though.  They have all sorts of Very Unique handling issues if you put any serious power up there, and doing it such that you don't break your forks (which will hurt a lot) is a bit tricky, and often involves replacing forks with rigid ones.

tallen

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Re: E-bike for commuting.. Am I just being a consumer sucka?
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2016, 04:51:22 AM »
I built an ebike a couple weeks ago and love it! I use it for work the commute every day and even went exploring on it for a couple hours on my day off. I say get it, as others have said your getting a great discount so if you change your mind you can recoup your investment if you decide to sell it.

mskyle

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Re: E-bike for commuting.. Am I just being a consumer sucka?
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2016, 08:00:39 AM »
Have you considered a 49cc scooter, such as a Honda Metropolitan? Similar price...a lot cuter and more fun!

I feel like e-bikes have a lot of advantages over scooters. No insurance, no registration fees, you still get some of the health benefits of biking, and I don't think a 49cc scooter would be legal on a 55 mph road. Right?

First, I think that e-bike sounds like a good deal and you should probably go for it if you'll really use it for commuting, and as others have pointed out, you can probably sell it for what you pay for it if you find you don't use it.

Second - the advantages/disadvantages of scooters really depend on your jurisdiction. Where I am a 49cc scooter can qualify as a moped even if it's really more of a scooter (has to meet various other requirements). I have a Yamaha Vino with a legal moped sticker, but a very similar-looking Vespa doesn't qualify for the sticker for reasons I don't understand. Insurance is optional (and about $100 a year) and the registration is $40 for two years. You can't ride it on bike paths, but you can ride in on-street bike lanes (I do it as little as possible because cyclists tend to yell at me, but if it's the difference between waiting three light cycles and none, and there aren't any angry-looking cyclists watching, I go for it). And you can take it anywhere except limited-access highways where bicycles are prohibited. But that's in Massachusetts; I know it's different even just across the border in New Hampshire.

GuitarStv

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Re: E-bike for commuting.. Am I just being a consumer sucka?
« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2016, 08:45:43 AM »
I don't get it, what's preventing you from just getting into better shape and riding the 13 mile commute?  Are your rock hard abs causing discomfort for your significant other during love making?  Have your bulging quads recently exploded your favourite pair of pants?

My commute is 11 miles each way in busy city conditions on a steel touring bike.  It was exhausting and very hard when I started . . . but after doing regular 70 - 80 mile rides on weekends this summer it has suddenly become an awful lot easier, and much more comfortable.

If you have valid other reasons to get an ebike, then knock yourself.  It sounds like your primary reason for wanting one right now is that you're afraid to really commit to making yourself tougher.  That's a shitty reason.

kenaces

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Re: E-bike for commuting.. Am I just being a consumer sucka?
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2016, 10:48:20 AM »
I have never tried an E-bike so feel free to ignore me.

If you are trying for FIRE put the $1700 into the stache, start cycling to work every other day and in 6 weeks it will be easy ride :)

One of the things I loved about the extreme early retirement was multipurpose stuff just like this - ride bike to work = save $1700 + gas/tolls/insurance/maintenance + get fit and save on gym membership + being health saves tons on healthcare.......

dam I knee to go buy a bike :)

ROY2007

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Re: E-bike for commuting.. Am I just being a consumer sucka?
« Reply #15 on: August 11, 2016, 09:02:50 PM »
I don't get it, what's preventing you from just getting into better shape and riding the 13 mile commute?  Are your rock hard abs causing discomfort for your significant other during love making?  Have your bulging quads recently exploded your favourite pair of pants?

My commute is 11 miles each way in busy city conditions on a steel touring bike.  It was exhausting and very hard when I started . . . but after doing regular 70 - 80 mile rides on weekends this summer it has suddenly become an awful lot easier, and much more comfortable.

If you have valid other reasons to get an ebike, then knock yourself.  It sounds like your primary reason for wanting one right now is that you're afraid to really commit to making yourself tougher.  That's a shitty reason.

I think that's probably what I needed. I have no physical limitations that would prevent me from using my own leg power to get to and from work. The commute will get easier over time.

BrooklineBiker

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Re: E-bike for commuting.. Am I just being a consumer sucka?
« Reply #16 on: August 12, 2016, 08:06:34 PM »
I don't get it, what's preventing you from just getting into better shape and riding the 13 mile commute?  Are your rock hard abs causing discomfort for your significant other during love making?  Have your bulging quads recently exploded your favourite pair of pants?

My commute is 11 miles each way in busy city conditions on a steel touring bike.  It was exhausting and very hard when I started . . . but after doing regular 70 - 80 mile rides on weekends this summer it has suddenly become an awful lot easier, and much more comfortable.

If you have valid other reasons to get an ebike, then knock yourself.  It sounds like your primary reason for wanting one right now is that you're afraid to really commit to making yourself tougher.  That's a shitty reason.

I think that's probably what I needed. I have no physical limitations that would prevent me from using my own leg power to get to and from work. The commute will get easier over time.
Hi,
How is the snow in your area in winter? Would your commute become impossible if your ride a racing bike with skinny tires in the winter? Or would an ebike running wide knobby tires make it possible for you to get to work, get exercise via pedaling, & avoid owning a second car?

HappyHoya

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Re: E-bike for commuting.. Am I just being a consumer sucka?
« Reply #17 on: August 13, 2016, 08:55:51 AM »
I don't get it, what's preventing you from just getting into better shape and riding the 13 mile commute?  Are your rock hard abs causing discomfort for your significant other during love making?  Have your bulging quads recently exploded your favourite pair of pants?

My commute is 11 miles each way in busy city conditions on a steel touring bike.  It was exhausting and very hard when I started . . . but after doing regular 70 - 80 mile rides on weekends this summer it has suddenly become an awful lot easier, and much more comfortable.

If you have valid other reasons to get an ebike, then knock yourself.  It sounds like your primary reason for wanting one right now is that you're afraid to really commit to making yourself tougher.  That's a shitty reason.

I think that's probably what I needed. I have no physical limitations that would prevent me from using my own leg power to get to and from work. The commute will get easier over time.

The "over time" part is critical though. I'm not opposed to regular biking but with a ~12 mile commute, a job on a fixed schedule, and occasional morning meetings, is it realistic for you the commit to doing that? No one was going to give me time off work, stop scheduling 8am meetings, and I wasn't prepared to drug myself to need less sleep so I could make more time in the day. For those of us who aren't FIREed yet we have to look at these things differently.  An ebike saves time, both in the terms of initially toughening up and day to day. If you're really going to be biking using your own power in the meantime, great. An ebike doesn't prevent you from using your own power to toughen up, if that's your goal. Heck, since ebikes are generally heavier, you can toughen up even more than with a road bike if that's your goal. But it also basically eliminates and legitimate excuses for not biking. For a lot of people the cost might not be worth it, but you're getting a great deal and also in a situation where you could easily reseal. I don't see a big downside here. If you decide against the ebike, track when you use the car instead of your own muscle power and see what you spend on not biking when you could have been ebiking. You might be surprised!

dodojojo

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Re: E-bike for commuting.. Am I just being a consumer sucka?
« Reply #18 on: August 13, 2016, 12:00:30 PM »
I've been in e-bike window shopping mode lately.  I don't have a car and sometimes you want to show up without being drenched in sweat.  Unfortunately, I'm just one of those people who squeezes out moisture like a waterfall.  Sweating when you arrive at Home Depot?  Okay.  But for a dinner party or meeting up with friends at the cinema...That's where the e-bike would come in handy.  And I want to be able to dress up a bit without worrying about the sweaty mess part.

At the moment, I have made a deal with myself--I need to bike more and throughout the year and if that happens, then I can seriously consider an e-bike in a year or two.

Syonyk

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Re: E-bike for commuting.. Am I just being a consumer sucka?
« Reply #19 on: August 13, 2016, 12:13:30 PM »
My commute is 11 miles each way in busy city conditions on a steel touring bike.  It was exhausting and very hard when I started . . . but after doing regular 70 - 80 mile rides on weekends this summer it has suddenly become an awful lot easier, and much more comfortable.

So, you have the freedom to commit ~20+ hours/wk to your "commute" (~40 minutes plus endpoint each way, if not more, depending on the city, and 4-5 hours a weekend on rides).  Cool.  Not everyone does.

Quote
If you have valid other reasons to get an ebike, then knock yourself.  It sounds like your primary reason for wanting one right now is that you're afraid to really commit to making yourself tougher.  That's a shitty reason.

And so yet another person probably keeps commuting in a car, because they don't have the time to commit to a pure bike commute, and isn't in shape for what is a fairly long bike commute.  And will probably come up with excuses to not ride for a variety of reasons, until they're back to where they started.

Cool.  I'm glad that approach is working well for you, but I've seen the result of the past 30 years of "Hardcore Bicycling or Nothing" folks trying to get people on bikes, and it doesn't work.

And, really, I'm sick of that attitude towards electric bikes from all directions.  Not everyone is in a position to dedicate 2 hours a day to their commute (which is reasonable for a 13 mile commute with time to shower or cool down, assuming that their office has locker rooms or showers), and saying "Suck it up and deal with it, buttercup!" isn't particularly likely to work.  Even on this forum.

Electric bikes for a commute, especially a longer commute, are a whole lot better than a car (can you at least agree on that?), and offer solutions to quite a few bike commute problems.

You don't arrive sweaty if you don't want to, which means that if your office doesn't have showers or locker rooms, it's not a big deal.  If you have bad weather, you can wear nicer rain gear without sweating, which means that even in pretty hardcore rain, one is still dry when arriving, instead of being either soaked by rain or soaked by sweat.  You're still out moving in the air, which I absolutely love, and it eliminates a lot of the excuses.  You can carry plenty of good lighting, carry a backpack or panniers a whole lot more easily, and if one has hills, they're no longer a churning, grinding, sweaty mess to climb.  Yes, I get that some people love that, and those people should realize not everyone does.

I pure-bike commuted for about a year, and it wasn't that fun.  It was 5 miles, which is far enough to get sweaty, meaning that I had to either shower at work, cool down, or show up to meetings slightly sweaty.  Coming home, I lived on top of a pretty darn large hill, which meant I showed up utterly soaked in sweat and exhausted, even after getting used to it for a year.  It took me about half an hour to become useful again, and I pretty much stunk all evening.  My wife wasn't a fan.

Compare that to an electric bike commute, which I then did for about 2.5 years (after 6 months of riding a motorcycle and deciding that, no, this was worse than a bicycle in Seattle traffic and there had to be something better), and my commute was as short as driving, I didn't show up sweaty, I could still work out if I wanted to, and I wasn't utterly wiped after climbing the hill.

So, yes, it's a viable option, and I would encourage people who are currently driving to, yes, absolutely, get an electric bike with sufficient range, because it's going to be cheaper and healthier than driving a car, and it means that they'll actually use it, instead of coming up with excuses to drive.

I think that's probably what I needed. I have no physical limitations that would prevent me from using my own leg power to get to and from work. The commute will get easier over time.

If that facepunch works, and you actually bicycle to work, great.  If not, might I suggest the electric bike, since it's gobs cheaper to run than a car, and will allow you to bike to work even if you're not in the greatest shape right now?

I've been in e-bike window shopping mode lately.  I don't have a car and sometimes you want to show up without being drenched in sweat.  Unfortunately, I'm just one of those people who squeezes out moisture like a waterfall.  Sweating when you arrive at Home Depot?  Okay.  But for a dinner party or meeting up with friends at the cinema...That's where the e-bike would come in handy.  And I want to be able to dress up a bit without worrying about the sweaty mess part.

Yup!  Not everyone has showers at work or a place one can change and towel off.  I would take my ebike somewhere in a suit without thinking twice (not that I have places to go in suits very often).  If you get a powerful enough one, it's quite variable effort, and if you need to show up somewhere in a hurry without sweating, that's entirely possible.

Quote
At the moment, I have made a deal with myself--I need to bike more and throughout the year and if that happens, then I can seriously consider an e-bike in a year or two.

I generally suggest people get the ebike, and buy it with twice the range they think they need, because it's so much more fun than driving that it will replace radically more driving than people assume.

GuitarStv

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Re: E-bike for commuting.. Am I just being a consumer sucka?
« Reply #20 on: August 15, 2016, 10:19:10 AM »
I don't get it, what's preventing you from just getting into better shape and riding the 13 mile commute?  Are your rock hard abs causing discomfort for your significant other during love making?  Have your bulging quads recently exploded your favourite pair of pants?

My commute is 11 miles each way in busy city conditions on a steel touring bike.  It was exhausting and very hard when I started . . . but after doing regular 70 - 80 mile rides on weekends this summer it has suddenly become an awful lot easier, and much more comfortable.

If you have valid other reasons to get an ebike, then knock yourself.  It sounds like your primary reason for wanting one right now is that you're afraid to really commit to making yourself tougher.  That's a shitty reason.

I think that's probably what I needed. I have no physical limitations that would prevent me from using my own leg power to get to and from work. The commute will get easier over time.
Hi,
How is the snow in your area in winter? Would your commute become impossible if your ride a racing bike with skinny tires in the winter? Or would an ebike running wide knobby tires make it possible for you to get to work, get exercise via pedaling, & avoid owning a second car?

He's not using a racing bike, he's using a touring bike.  I fit 32 mm tires on mine for snow during the winter, and there's plenty of space to go wider if desired.