E-bikes worthwhile???

Discussion in 'Electric Bicycles' started by r5579, May 29, 2008.

  1. r5579

    r5579 Member

    Hello all,
    I'm pretty new to all of this, but not new to bike riding at all.

    I like the idea of riding my bike more places, but am wondering if an e-bike is the right choice? I'm specifically looking at the kits so I'd just upgrade my mountain bike that I've already turned into a commuter with street tires, etc.

    The advantages I see are: quiet, cheap to recharge, and they sound pretty easy on the maintenance side of things.

    I'm 6'2 and 200 pounds so I don't know if I'm even a good candidate for an e-bike. I live in Southwest Missouri, but the places I'd be using it are relatively flat, and no more than 12-15 miles per day.

    The other option I've been looking at is a 49cc scooter. These can keep up with traffic where I'd be driving and could possibly be used in more instances as range wouldn't be as big of a factor.
    Plus I think it'd be easier to sell a scooter if I decide that it isn't for me.

    Can anyone give me their opinions on their e-bike, how you use it and like it, etc.?
    Also, what kind of kits are the best, what to look for, etc. I've looked over a ton of information already, and want a kit that has everything if I'm going to buy one.

    Thank you for any help.
    Randy
     

  2. skyl4rk

    skyl4rk Guest

    I commute by electric bike using a mountain bike with a Wilderness Energy kit:

    http://wildernessenergy.com/product_info.php?cPath=24&products_id=31

    I have a brushed front wheel hubmotor with a 36V 12aH lead acid battery. It will run about 17 mph.

    The range is a little under what you are looking for. If I do not pedal, I get about 10 miles on a charge. If I pedal it is about 12 miles or more if I only use the motor selectively, not all the time. The bike is more difficult to pedal than a bike with no motor on it. It is also much heavier.

    Except for the range issue, this kit would get the job done for you. Personally I would like to upgrade to a 48V 20aH LiFePo battery pack. The brushed Wilderness Energy controller apparently can handle at least 48V, probably more, even 60V. From reports of others, using the lighter weight lithium batteries is a major, major improvement over lead acid batteries. So if you can get over the price of lithium batteries, that is the way to go.

    I really like the Yamaha C3 scooter (don't have one though), however a scooter and electric bike are not the same animal. With the electric bike I can ride on trails, sidewalks and downtown, and am treated as if I were riding a pedal bike. With a scooter, you are pretty much treated as a mini motorcycle and you would get a lot of law enforcement attention if you try to ride bike trails and sidewalks.

    I'm not sure I would recommend the kit that I have. It has been reliable and has been a good product for about 3 years now, but the performance is relatively low and it is heavy. Maybe if I get a $600 lithium battery pack it would be a real performer. I definitely would not get a 36V system, 48V is the minimum I would get. If I were buying another kit I would get a hub motor and controller from here:

    http://www.electricrider.com/crystalyte/index.htm

    I would probably go with a rear wheel "Road Runner" hubmotor with a 48V, 20aH system. It is important to go with rear wheel hubmotors when you start getting into the higher powered systems.

    I would look around the net to find a good 48V LiFePo battery pack with smart charger and power management. Maybe a Ping "duct tape" lithium battery but I would check out comments on the net before buying.

    Or I might go with a similar system running 72 volts for more power.

    I haven't priced it out lately but I would guess that the 48V hubmotor kit would run about $600 and the battery would also be about $600. If you can get over that kind of investment, that would probably be a good way to get into electric biking.
     
  3. darwin

    darwin Well-Known Member

    Ebikes

    I like the idea of an ebike but it seems the claims for their ability to go any distance on the websites is contradicted by actual riders. Alot of threads Ive read it seems a 200 lb rider is doing good to get 20 miles and for the money I would need at least a 50 mile range to be satisfied. I see if you spend alot of $$$$ you can do it but 2k[?] is alot more than im willing to invest. In time when these fancy battery prices come down thatll be the way to go just not right now for me.
     
  4. SirJakesus

    SirJakesus Guest

    I bought an ezip trailz with extra battery pack and charger for $500 total and by my tests I have about a 24mile range with light pedaling and I live in a very VERY hilly part of New Hampshire. If you only have to ride 12 miles a day an ebike is definitely the way to go. They're really easy to maintain and relatively cheap even compared to gas bikes. They dont have as high a top speed or as great a range but that all depends on how much money you want to put into them. When I have to replace all 4 of my 10ah SLA batteries it'll cost me around $150. Not too shabby considering I should be able to get around 300-400 recharges out of them depending on how they're treated. I probably spend $150 on gas for my car in a month easy so swapping out batteries every year is cheap cheap cheap!
     
  5. skyl4rk

    skyl4rk Guest

    Range is the big issue. If you can charge at work, you are golden for commuting. 10 to 15 miles between charges is do-able. More than that and you start to push the limits of what batteries can do. If you need to go 20 miles between charges, I'd say gas powered is a better way to go. You can buy batteries that can go 20 miles but you don't want to over-discharge your batteries on a regular basis.
     
  6. darwin

    darwin Well-Known Member

    The issue with me is say you have a 20 mile range on the bike and one trip you go 4 miles then another 3 miles..........you need to keep up with it and then you need to go to work your screwed. To my knowledge these batts arent like car batts where theyre designed to be constantly topped off and Im pretty sure if your always charging them just at half way its not good for the batts. Just my issue right now with them.
     
  7. SirJakesus

    SirJakesus Guest

    No it's actually better for most batteries to be kept at full charge. Running them down to nothing and then leaving them that way is when they start to degrade. I think you're thinking about the older NiCad chemistry that had memory problems if you charged up without fully discharging first.
     
  8. JemmaUK

    JemmaUK Guest

    I personally wouldnt go the electric route full stop...

    However the reason for that is I sometimes do long journeys and I need to get there in a reasonable time - so its either a standard IC kit or a massively over-rated and overblown electric kit that costs lots of money.

    I know of one custom ebike that will top out at 57mph and had a useful range at more sensible speeds- but from memory it cost the builder over $3000...

    The problem is always going to be range - if you buy an e-bike of whatever kind you are always limited by battery power - and you can guarantee that you'll forget to put it on charge at least once.. and be pedalling for 10 miles.

    at the moment - just on flexibility alone I would have to say IC bikes every time if you want to use the thing on a regular basis... of course that is just my personal opinion (and nothing to do with the fact that as far as electrics go I am the kiss of death lol)

    Good luck with whatever you decide.. there's plenty of advice to be found on here :)

    Jemma xx
     
  9. r5579

    r5579 Member

    update

    Just an update...

    I've decided whole-heartedly that the 49cc scooter is out. I rode one and while it was kind of fun, I feel way more comfortable on my bike.

    I have checked out the "electricrider.com" kits, and like the top of the line Phoenix and the Roadrunner systems, both in the 48V.

    But on the other hand I like the GEBE and Titan kits.

    Sure all of them have their cons, I just haven't determined which route is going to be best for me right now. And of course I only want to do this once in the next few years (can't afford to build 2 completely different bikes).

    I need:

    a range of 12-15 miles without damaging any batteries (if I do electric)

    a 4 stroke (if I do gas) so I'm not pre-mixing oil/gas combinations

    relatively ease of operation and maintenance

    And I don't want it to be too annoying in the sound department. I had a sportbike a few years ago with upgraded exhaust, and I hate loud exhaust. Can't understand how anyone could sit on a harley for hours. :smile:

    I'd like to stay under the $1,000 mark.

    Does anybody have an suggestions?
    Thank you all for your time.

    Randy
     
  10. skyl4rk

    skyl4rk Guest

    Under 1000, go with GEBE or Titan.
     
  11. Simon_A

    Simon_A Member

    I like the idea of electric bikes, but a proper setup is so damm expensive.

    A decent 48v setup, Lipoly 24v battery packs (x2) $750 per pack.

    And thats without the hub motor, speed controller, throttle, etc.

    Your up for $1500-$2000 for a decent setup.

    I'd seriously love an electric bike, but with the cost of 2 strokes so cheap, I cant justify it myself.
     
  12. vegaspaddy

    vegaspaddy Member

    yeap,

    i have gebe 2 stroke setup which i use 3 to 4 times a week to commute around 10 miles each way, the good quality engine setups are worth the investment and are reliable out of the box.

    i have an electric hub motor running on my wifes trike and i have a front wheel hub rigged up to a cheapo bike, both are running on sla batteries as i cant afford to buy the lip-ion packs yet, they work great but they way a ton and i just don't trust them for long trips.

    hopefully with the demand for alternate transportation these packs will start coming down in price a bit.
     
  13. ozzyu812

    ozzyu812 Member

    E-Zip rider

    I own a e-zip on Sirjakesus good advice. Its a very good bike and was perfect for my budget. It also would be very good on relatively flat land. They have been sold out since I bought mine 3 weeks ago. I've been checking every few days out of curiosity.

    If I had your budget of $1000. I would have got a cyclone. http://www.cyclone-tw.com/order.htm. Beware of the shipping cost! The crank freewheel is an essential part. I downloaded and circled the part off the website. It took me a while to find it. LOL

    I don't think it will work with a suspension frame. It may take some ingenuity.
    I brought a used mongoose xr 250 a year ago, switched to a ridged frame with suspension forks and seat post 6 months ago. I haven't ridden the xr 250 since. the partial suspension bikes are lighter, faster, and just as comfortable.:D

    You say you want 12-15 mi range, but you I think you should get a good enough battery for 20 mi. That way you have plenty of power though the whole trip.

    Personally, I'm not a fan of the hub motor design. What if you get in a wreck, what is the most vulnerable part of the bike? The hub! The cyclone's location seems pretty secure there. As an added bonus you can use your rear gears to shift with the cyclone.

    Good luck!
    Please tell us which way you go!
     

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    Last edited: Jun 22, 2008
  14. SirJakesus

    SirJakesus Guest

    Yeah cyclones are the way to go if you want an ebike that can change gears. The only thing I dont like about the izip trails is the voltage sag when you load the engine for a long time up a hill. This is just the cheap SLA batteries fault though. It could be easily fixed with upgrade NIMH or Lithium batteries once these ones wear out.
    I was looking at bikes in the super walmart in amherst and they're actually carrying the currie bikes in stock now. Its about time. I bet they're selling like hot cakes.
     
  15. ozzyu812

    ozzyu812 Member

    Great!

    :D Great! one of my wife's co-workers wants one! :D
    BTW, Still out of stock online
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2008
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