Engine required to assist disabled person - DIY or Full Bike Purchase?

Discussion in 'Electric Bicycles' started by varaonaid, Apr 11, 2012.

  1. varaonaid

    varaonaid New Member


    I'm 35 and found out a few years ago that I have a genetic disorder called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) which affects the connective tissue or "glue" which holds the body together. Because the tissue is flawed and so much of the human body is comprised of collagen (connnective tissue), the affects on body systems can be varied and extremely widespread, as in my case. I have some life threatening complications but am scheduled for several surgeries including brain surgery and an experimental airway transplant. My life expectancy is unknown (I was told last year that I wouldn't live through summer of 2012). I'm planning to prove that wrong. :)

    I need to find things to enjoy in life and I really miss cycling. We were at a local bike shop and tried an e-Zip because it's what they had and I fell in love with it. being able to ride again with the assistance is amazing. (I'm on a walker and O2 dependent so it was a big deal). I wanted something as close to a crank forward/flat foot design as possible for stability reasons and found the iZip E3 Vibe which is as close as I can find to that but has the engine already built in. The other option is a DIY kit (my husband is very capable with construction etc but our knowledge of advanced bike components is minimal) with a flat foot bike (Trek Pure, Giant Suede, Electra, etc). Funds are an issue as my ongoing medical expenses are a constant drain but my husband wants to find a way to do this for me.

    So, my question is, if it were you, would you go for a ready to go iZip or put a flat foot/crank forward together with a kit. We live in VT so we do have hills but I also live in town so most rides are 0.5mi to 4mi max (one way). I will be getting a dog trailer because I have a service dog that will have to accompany me. I can pedal lightly (and want to for the strength it will build and help me with upcoming surgeries) but I can't be the primary source of uumph for the bike. I need a step through frame and would like to stick to tires that can handle roads/sidewalks as well as some off road trails (truly trails...loose gravel etc but not real mountain biking). I don't see the iZip as lacking in the range for what I need but I do wonder if it is lacking for what I'll *want* (ie enjoying it so much that I want to go on longer rides). It seems to me that a year or so ago, I saw several reasonably priced electric motor kits for bikes but they don't seem to exist at that price range any longer (I was seeing $300-$600 for a good setup). I'm guessing the gas prices have affected that. But I still would love advice and opinions on which route you'd take and if DIY, which motor kit you'd look at. (to give you some idea, I haven't seen ANY Bionx kit that we can come close to affording).

    So, what do you think?? I really need this as a break from constant medical appoints and treatments and a taste of a simpler life again without all of that. My drs are really concerned that I'm able to get something like the biking for those reasons. I can link to a site to verify my genetic condition and subsequent other illnesses and injuries (www.helpRachelBreathe.com) but if that poses a problem to have in here, please just delete it. It's a non commercial site (obviously :) ).

    Thanks in advance for your advice and thoughts. I can't wait to hear!!!

  2. DeathProof

    DeathProof Member

    i wish u many many years of a happy life! id suggest something like a 3 wheel motorized bike for you for safety reasons. :scooter:
  3. varaonaid

    varaonaid New Member

    Thanks! That's a good suggestion. :)
  4. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Active Member

    I'd also suggest a trike - specifically, a motorized tadpole recumbent or semi-recumbent design. Take a look at AtomicZombie's site - there are many intriguing designs there, and if you fiind one you like but need to modify to make it more a crank forward semi-recumbent design, I'll happily help you with such a design.

    Tadpole trikes, properly designed and constructed, are inherently more safe than are conventional delta trikes. They are also simplicity itself to motorize, with a full range of possible choices. Rather than electric, have you considered a Golden Eagle Bike Engines belt drive kit? With a 4 stroke engine properly placed a GEBE can be inconspicuous, quiet, and give you greater range than most electrics.

    If you are interested, PM me.
  5. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Active Member

    Quick Model Crank Forward 12 inch high Step-Thru

    Here is a quick sketched model of a crank forward design, with room under the seat for an EHO35 35cc Robin/Subaru 4 stroke, or on the rack. Seat height is intended to be at the horizontal line on the 2/2 main spar, which gives a pedal to seat distance of 22" at crank center.

    I started this sketch after the post above was made.

    Attached Files:

  6. DeathProof

    DeathProof Member

    your welcome :smile:
  7. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Active Member

    Taking the design forward

    Attached is a pic of a 3D model using the crank forward design above to make a tadpole trike. As shown, the front wheels are 10" with exaggerated shock type forks I had designed for a different project, but any wheel size could be accomodated 20" to 26" depending on fork choice. The design is pretty flexible, and could fairly readily be made a "leaner" trike with some modifications.

    I hope this is useful.

    Attached Files: