Author Topic: Electric Bikes  (Read 6634 times)

LLCoolDave

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 103
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Vagabonding
Electric Bikes
« on: October 18, 2014, 05:01:23 PM »
Hi all, I've been inspired by MMM's recent post on electric bikes. Now I'm considering one for my commute. I work 15 miles from work and I work nights in Vegas. After a grueling shift where I spend all my time on my feet the last thing I wanted was to ride home on a bike. The electric bike gives me this option. For those who have them, did you use a conversion kit or buy a purpose built bike? Also I'm more of a road bike guy so I'd prefer a bike without any shocks but I would consider a front shock with a locking fork. Just looking for some reviews and input. Looking at my gas and insurance costs my break even point with a $3500 bike would be about a year. Most bikes on amazon are folding design and retail at $1500.

Also, did you buy from a bike shop or an e-commerce site like amazon?

Thanks,

Dave
« Last Edit: October 18, 2014, 05:07:33 PM by LLCoolDave »

bo_knows

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 814
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Fairfax, VA, USA
    • The Crowdsourced FIRE simulator
Re: Electric Bikes
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2014, 06:48:45 PM »
I came on tonight to post about electric bikes, so I'll tag along with this post.

I have about a 14mi fairly hilly commute, which Google Maps tells me would take a "normal" bike 1hr 20mins to complete.  Now, compared to my 25-30min drive, and the fact that time is very important to me (I have a compressed work schedule and want to be home to see my son a lot), 1hr and 20mins just doesn't appeal to me.  BUT...  After reading MMM's article on e-bikes, I was intrigued.  I ran the numbers on a conversion kit, from both the site that MMM mentions and www.em3ev.com.  It seemed like even if I just commuted by bike on dry days that were over 40F, I'd be saving lots of money (I wouldn't fully ditch my car... yet).

As I kept pondering this, I was really torn because I didn't know how long it'd take me to do the commute on an electric bike.  Man I wish there was a way to RENT an electric bike.  Well, apparently in DC there is a way.  I rented a 350W hybrid commuter bike today for an unmustachian $69, just to be sure that my larger investment would work.  I rode my commuting route this afternoon... and clocked in at 50min exactly.  Now, the battery on this bike was small, and at 350W it's not as powerful... so I could probably shave off a couple of minutes.

That being said... it was so damn fun!  Using the throttle is like having a freakin motorcycle, and using the "assist-mode" is like you're being cybernetically enhanced or something.  Zoom!  I'm going to do some research and try to have everything ready by Spring and make 2015 a bike commuting year.  I'm eyeing the 500W or 750W system on em3ev.com with a slightly larger battery.  The battery I used was 36v/9aH = 324 amphours. It got me the 14mi commute, and half way home.  I was not running it hard.  I want a battery that I can make it there and back with the option of running it hard :)

Thegoblinchief

  • Guest
Re: Electric Bikes
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2014, 09:55:35 PM »
FWiW I work on my feet all day and a similar length commute. No problem at all being wiped out once I got in shape.

The problem with e-bikes is that they're only fun when the battery has charge. So suddenly you need a separate recreational/exercise bike.

It's better than driving a car, but consider trying it out the hard way. Depending on traffic lights and whatnot, 15 miles is ~60 minutes or less.

gooki

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2376
  • Location: NZ
Re: Electric Bikes
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2014, 01:56:30 AM »
Can you charge you bike at work? I got a kit from China ($500 delivered including lithium ion battery). Fitted it to my single speed road bike. 40km/h, 30km range. Great fun, I'd highly recommend doing the kit over buying a cheap electric bike. $200 - $500 for a new/used bike and your looking at well under $1,000 all up.

Send me a private message if you want more info

LLCoolDave

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 103
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Vagabonding
Re: Electric Bikes
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2014, 03:31:37 AM »
I'm looking at a prodeco x2 at $1500 and x3 at $1900. Any thoughts on these bikes?

Rickk

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 81
Re: Electric Bikes
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2014, 06:33:28 AM »

I have about a 14mi fairly hilly commute, which Google Maps tells me would take a "normal" bike 1hr 20mins to complete. 

I'm eyeing the 500W or 750W system on em3ev.com with a slightly larger battery.

I have a MAC motor system from em3ev.com.  I had great luck working with them (it seems to be a one person shop - he is active on endless-sphere - look up cellman).  The one thing that messes it up is the cost of buying from HongKong with shipping and money conversion rates.  If I was going to do it again I would be more careful and perhaps purchase somewhere else to lower the cost of both. I have a 20AH battery - it is way heavier than I would prefer.

For me a commute of 13.5 miles takes at least 40-45 minutes when really booking. (Driving is 20 minutes)  A more slow ride home takes around an hour.  I rode 71 days my first year (2013) and only around 10 this year (2014).  I found that the kids needed picking up quite a bit this year (so I needed to get there earlier than riding home could do).  Also I found that the extra time for riding was taking a large chunk of my day that I wanted back - so it wasn't proving as much fun as the first year.  I am not selling yet - I will probably try again next year.

bo_knows

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 814
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Fairfax, VA, USA
    • The Crowdsourced FIRE simulator
Re: Electric Bikes
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2014, 07:00:32 AM »

I have about a 14mi fairly hilly commute, which Google Maps tells me would take a "normal" bike 1hr 20mins to complete. 

I'm eyeing the 500W or 750W system on em3ev.com with a slightly larger battery.

I have a MAC motor system from em3ev.com.  I had great luck working with them (it seems to be a one person shop - he is active on endless-sphere - look up cellman).  The one thing that messes it up is the cost of buying from HongKong with shipping and money conversion rates.  If I was going to do it again I would be more careful and perhaps purchase somewhere else to lower the cost of both. I have a 20AH battery - it is way heavier than I would prefer.

For me a commute of 13.5 miles takes at least 40-45 minutes when really booking. (Driving is 20 minutes)  A more slow ride home takes around an hour.  I rode 71 days my first year (2013) and only around 10 this year (2014).  I found that the kids needed picking up quite a bit this year (so I needed to get there earlier than riding home could do).  Also I found that the extra time for riding was taking a large chunk of my day that I wanted back - so it wasn't proving as much fun as the first year.  I am not selling yet - I will probably try again next year.

Yeah. Over the last couple days, I realized the shipping costs of em3ev.com stuff.  At the very least, I know that the Bafang BBS02 750w kit (sans battery) is sold in a variety of places.  I'd just have to find a good battery stateside.

Your family situation sounds pretty close to mine.  Before I had a kid, I commuted by bike to another facility (14mi each way) and it took about 65mins.  I didn't mind it, because time wasn't as important to me.  But, now, time is a premium.  That being said, my son is currently at home, and I think the extra bike commute time could be worth it (plus it's so damn fun).

evolutiongts

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 16
Re: Electric Bikes
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2014, 11:53:17 AM »
BBS02 is a great mid drive kit, although you want to keep costs down.

This was the kit I started with: http://www.ebay.com/itm/48V1000W-26-Rear-Wheel-Electric-Bicycle-LCD-Display-Motor-Kit-E-Bike-Conversion-/371176180899?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item566bd30ca3

Currently its on my fiance's bike, but it will do 30mph on 48v and 46mph on 75v. Direct Drive so its Reliable and cheap.


mozar

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2965
Re: Electric Bikes
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2014, 03:05:30 PM »
OMG, where can you rent a bike in DC?

LLCoolDave

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 103
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Vagabonding
Re: Electric Bikes
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2014, 04:18:00 PM »
I found a pretty handy site electricbikereview.com I ended up going with the Volton Alation. $2200 48v with 500w rear hub motor. This bike offers a lot of value. It should be here the middle of next week. I plan on a 17 mile each way, year round commute. I found a bike path on google maps that will get me most of the way there. Ill review the bike once I've spent some time on it.

Thanks to all for the comments and info.

caseyzee

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 99
Re: Electric Bikes
« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2014, 07:14:48 AM »
Following...

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3851
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: Electric Bikes
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2014, 02:15:08 PM »
I'm of the opinion that electric bicycles are quite awesome, having been commuting on one for about a year now (second ebike - first one was a cheap proof of concept I bought from someone and rode for 10 months, then built a good one based on what I had learned).

I'm doing ~10 miles round trip in the Seattle area (so basically solid hills).  I can take a muscle-powered bike if I care to, but in the dark and traffic, having more speed and more lighting is quite nice.  I'm doing it mostly because it's the least-miserable option I've found for commuting 5 miles through essentially stopped traffic (estimates of time home are frequently far longer than my ebike ride).

Several bits of advice if you're considering an ebike:
- Build it yourself (or have a bike shop do some of the tricky bits if you're not comfortable with them).  You can get a far higher quality bike for a lot less than buying one, though you do lose some of the integration.  The prebuilt units are nice, just about 2x the cost of a similar DIY bike.
- If you live in the flatlands, 250W or 500W is fine.  For a hilly area, 750-1000W is nice.
- Don't bother with any battery packs that aren't lithium based.  I'm a fan of LiFePO4 due to it's general safety and long cycle life (the pack doesn't degrade quickly with cycles).
- You can add a lot of lighting.  If you're riding at night, do it.

If you already commute on bicycle, then there's really no advantage to an ebike unless you've injured yourself somehow.

If you're not already commuting on a bicycle, building an ebike is a great way to have a far longer range on a bicycle than muscle power, and you can always reduce your assist level.

Be aware that in many areas, ebikes are not legal to ride on paths/trails.