Gas vs. Electric

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by jmcoon, Jun 7, 2015.

  1. jmcoon

    jmcoon New Member

    I am a retailor of Electric Bicycles and scooters, so obviously I am a bit bias tward electrics, but I'de like to hear what everyone else thinks and why..

  2. KCvale

    KCvale Motorized Bicycle Vendor

    I build with 2-stroke, 4-stroke and electric in-frame power sources.
    I don't do hub motors or over the back wheel engines because I just don't like either, and neither is a better choice than what can be done..
    Drive train gearing is my thing, you can get a lot from a small power source with gears and the above are direct drive.

    Assuming budget is not the main factor it goes like this for me:

    1. What power source will even fit.

    There are some darn cool bikes with no room in the center cavity even for a little 2-stroke.
    They all however do have room for a mid-mount electric.




    2. How far and fast does it need to go before refueling/recharging.

    If you need to travel 20+ miles on a given average one way ride daily I like 4-stroke.
    Oil in the engine not fuel, pull start and auto clutch, and they will run all day long day after day.

    To me this is an ideal cool looking and comfortable almost mindless gas machine for real commuting.


    3. What is the owners size and mechanical skill.

    And there is the second rub with a custom build...
    The ideal bike for a 5' 2" 50 year old woman to commute 3 miles to work may be a 2-stroke, but if she has zero mechanical skill and can't support a heavier 4-stroke she gets that electric girls bike above.

    Most any regular American sized adult can ride a 26" with a 2-stroke, and they are the most cost effective from the start, but they are dirty machines that require special care just to fuel.

    4. Will it ever need to be anything but upright on its wheel.

    Simple, you can turn an electric upside-down if you want to, lay a gas bike even on it's side and you have a mess.

    Lots of pluses in the electric world if budget is not a factor, I like 'em, but for long distance hard running 4-stroke is my thing.
    2-strokers are hobby bikes to me now.
  3. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    I gotta admit, our pal KCVale makes some good points and posts some great bike photos. Those are really sweet looking builds.

    Myself, I like cheap. So I go with cheap 2 strokes on cheap bikes. One day I might want to spend more on quality. And I might buy a bike from a guy like KC when that day comes.

    But in the meantime I want to spend about $350 or so on a build. If it gets wrecked or stolen I'm not even gonna care a whole lot. I'll just build another.

    I don't know if this really answers your question. But I guess it's one take on the matter.

    I'd probably prefer an electric if I didn't have to spend about $1000 to get something that's really up to the task at hand.
  4. butre

    butre Well-Known Member

    I'm not into electric. the 3 things you're after are low weight, long range, and low cost and with electric you can only have one or two of those. 2 stroke bikes have it all. you're only sacrificing reliability if you ride like an ass or you bought a lemon.
  5. KCvale

    KCvale Motorized Bicycle Vendor

    ...and cleanness, ease of starting, ease of re-fueling, ease of operation, and ease of transport.

    2-strokers have more Cons than anything short of maybe steam power and you know it.

    Sure they have a lot of plusses, you can soop them up, they have excellent power to weight ratio, and very cheap to start with, but it's all the Cons that kill Joe Blow just looking for easy reliable transport.

    There is no one perfect machine for everyone, but everyone has one perfect machine for them, those are the motorized bikes I build for a living and fun because it's something different every time ;-}

    If the opportunity arises Burte you might want to expand your options with different power systems, you might be surprised with the offers you get from a whole different kind of potential buyer.
  6. LR Jerry

    LR Jerry Well-Known Member

    I prefer gas for the simple reason I'm a large person and live in a mountainous region. An electric simply wouldn't give me much riding time here. Tennessee has a 50 cc limit also so gears is a must for me here.
  7. butre

    butre Well-Known Member

    4 strokes just aren't my thing. I'll do whatever a customer asks for, but my personal bikes are all getting 2 strokes.
  8. MotorBicycleRacing

    MotorBicycleRacing Well-Known Member

    Out of curiosity I took a gander at your website seeing that
    I am getting more interested in ebikes.

    You do not give any specs on the batteries which is one of the most important
    factors in how well an ebike works.

    Correcting the many spelling mistakes would also help your credibility,

  9. KCvale

    KCvale Motorized Bicycle Vendor

    Gears are a must for me too.
    All my electrics have gears, even the trikes.

    I am not against 2-strokers, they are ideal for many people.
    A 2-stroke 3-speed shifter does make for a very nimble and responsive machine, I have this 2-stroke 3-speed in the build bay now.


    The Fito came with a 7-speed derailleur, the customer wisely opted for a 3-speed internal so that was swapped in to the wheel, ~$155 with the bike shop lacing it up for me.

    It dropped in nice, and it is amazing how long those wheels spin whit just a quick push, the bearings are flawless and the momentum of those 3" Kenda's just keep going, like the Energizer bunny, good thing has dual disc brakes to stop it ;-}
  10. LR Jerry

    LR Jerry Well-Known Member

    You always do great builds KC. I often send people to your forum when they ask about builds especially electrics. However with someone my size and the 20%+ grade hills, lots of them. Even with shifting 2 hours of riding time may be all I could get with an electric. That's why I prefer gas.
  11. Slogger

    Slogger Member

    KC's bikes are always the coolest ones. Awesome. They're all mean and clean.

    I like the little two strokes because they were designed from the get go to be mounted on a bike. My beach cruiser bike is very narrow, with narrow cranks. Even still the 2 stroke will mount up and is so narrow it has good clearance. The engine mounts are part of the cases, no heavy plates needed. The clutch works great, the carb is so simple it surprised me, and the little guy can pull my large self up to 30 even with a too tall gearing. It burbles along at 24 without any strain.
    I bring the oil bottle and a measuring cup to the gas station to fill my gas can, so that's no bother.
    If you like fiddling with small engines, the maintenance isn't so bad. The thing looks like a mini motorcycle engine, which to me eye is better than a square lump 10 inches wide.
    For a couple hundred, they ain't bad.
    The world needs a 4 stroke 50 that has a more vertical cylinder, manual clutch built in and is very narrow. A 4 stroke China Doll.
    I'd be on that like a rat on a cheetoh.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2015
  12. JunkyardDog

    JunkyardDog Active Member

    For me a gas engine will always be superior until someone comes up with an electric bike with unlimited range for the same price. By the way KC, aren't you the one that is having our rights to ride motorized bikes threatened here in AZ by trying to get the legislature to raise the speed from 20 to 30 mph. I am actually in favor of having it lowered to 15 mph. I do not believe it is safe to ride in the bike lanes at 20 mph, especially on some Chinese Walmart bike with a crappy Chinese engine kit, and almost nothing for brakes, a tin foil/screen door roller chain tensioner, that in many cases was thrown together by someone that had no idea what they are doing. Irresponsible builders/riders are constantly trying to get the rights taken away from all all riders. Just because it has an engine doesn't mean it should be allowed to go faster than a pedal bike was designed to go. If you want speed, get a scooter or motorcycle.
  13. KCvale

    KCvale Motorized Bicycle Vendor

    Indeed I am the one that has been lobbying to relax some of AZ law for 5 years.

    My proposed change is here
    And 375 people in AZ have signed my petition and this year I have the ear of Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton to lobby the state for better smarter regulation.

    You want to force Everyone in Arizona regardless of their machine or location to commute at school zone crosswalk speed at all times everywhere?
    That is just sadistic in my mind.

    Tell that to the Spandex bike riders that can and do ride over 30 MPH in bike lanes and traffic lanes on a daily basis.
    Do you want them limited to 15MPH too?

    Ya, that will get more people to ride a bike and not drive their car.
    Apparently you don't follow current events.
    There is a huge push to get more bikes and less cars using Arizona roadways.

    I totally agree with you.
    Absolutely no motorized bike is safe without front and rear brakes.
    That is why my amendment adds a requirement for front and rear brakes over 20MPH and NOTHING I build ever leaves without at least 2 brakes.

    Sure there is a lot of home built crap that gets sold and re-sold until it ends up in a boneyard, but I have been slowly changing that too.
    I set a high quality and safety bar and other builders are coming around.

    What you propose is not just let this 49cc 4-stroke remain illegal, but limit it to 15mph on a nice wide 35mph roadway with a bike lane?


    Ummm, which one are you?
    Seems to me you are the one that want's the whole state to only be capable of riding low power e-Bikes in school zones.

    You wouldn't happen to have an interest in changing law to suite your business interests would you?
    I have read about a big e-Bike lobby trying to neuter sate laws to favor only their machines.

    I certainly lobby for my business, but also for more freedom for practical safe transpiration, not restrict a persons ability to get around in a safe and timely manor.
    15mph top speed for everything?

    Live your transportation life at 15mph for a week regardless of type even your car and get back with us on that.
  14. HeadSmess

    HeadSmess Well-Known Member

    :( i cant believe someone said this :(

    my puter is running on are my lights, my house, the whole darn town, city... world in fact, other than wind and PV cell generation etc.

    its just a shame that people visualise THIS when they hear the word "steam power"( the train was too obvious...)

    and when the word "bicycle" is added you get this...

    which is rather sad, because they are both really good examples of primitive engineering...

    rather than visualising things like THIS

    or possibly even this?

    though i admit your first point does remain... only for the mechanically apt and virtually impossible to make idiot proof...

    me, because electric sucks and because i now legally have no other option, have to say steam power :)

    electric is high initial expense if you want to travel, and gets heavy for range/power. and how can you go camping in the middle of national parks for two weeks without a really long extension lead? its quiet, which means people tend to not notice you...and try to run you over. or walk in front of you. or similar bizarre human quirks. they dont like water very much, so there goes all season commuting.

    they CAN make gobs of torque/power etc, but its always at a price. those power packs. those cells. those lil bundles of electrons...batteries. they eventually need replacing, incurring the high cost again... at rather short intervals if one is really USING them.

    petrol has all its disadvantages too. some are safety, some are health, some are just the engine side itself...

    until the powers that be stop hoarding their wealth and preventing certain technology from getting out for public uses, for the better of all mankind, electric will forever remain a joke. of course, this wont happen until theres no longer any humans left.

    think about this...IF there is any intelligent life "out there"... that has conquered space, time, gravity etc...they would be smart enough to have conquered any primitive savage tendencies like war, money, religion or any other petty little things us humans squabble about... they certainly would NOT be thinking of colonising a barren planet (mars) and think they can make it habitable, whilst they turn their OWN planet into a desert when it was formerly habitable... why are we digging up our childrens future and DESTROYING it?
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2015
  15. crassius

    crassius Well-Known Member

    wishing this thread hadn't strayed so far from topic, as I have a basic question about electrics

    how.why is electric top speed (as advertised) limited to 20mph - is this actual top speed?, is it controlled in motor or controller or somewhere else?, does it also apply to DIY electric kits?, can the 20mpn be maintained up steep hills?

    customers have asked about electrics and I can't tell them they'd be good for commute if they only go 20mph, and can't go uphill
  16. troyg

    troyg Member

    Electrics top speed is a governed thing, you have to account for every but of juice, but if you have/use all the power up front, it will sap your length of "run time", so it's a trade off.If you take off the reg-gov you can go up hills like crazy, but your range will decrease, also you come close to burning a cell in the pack (means buying a new crazy $$ pack), burning up your motor, turning the wires into makshift fuses and burning.Petrol is superior (with a quality engine, CG's do not qualify), said it before, and here it is again, show me a commerical passenger plane that runs on electric, just one.When that happens, I'll be swapping over, I bet I die before that day comes.
  17. crassius

    crassius Well-Known Member

    thanx for that info - I'm guessing I won't be recommending these until I start seeing ads for modded regulators somewhere - distances here are long, hills are steep, and everyone is in a hurry
  18. HeadSmess

    HeadSmess Well-Known Member

    brushless rc motors, and lipo controllers with 50+C discharge ratings...

    simply use a servo tester modified to suit a twist grip...

    7992 watts... thats 10 hp+... more than a 110cc honda. gear it right and youll leave everyone for dead.

    but all the above applies... charging batteries, carrying the things, dealing with lipos that are simply nasty... and expensive. they DO explode if abused :eek:

    all batteries wear out and require replacing sooner or later.
  19. JunkyardDog

    JunkyardDog Active Member

    The reason I want an electric bike (with good range, don't care about speed, as long as it will do 10 mph) is so I can legally ride it on bike paths, where gas powered bikes are prohibited (I agree with this, these paths are used by bike riders, pedestrians, people walking dogs, etc., and the last thing they need is someone flying along on a noisy smoking gas powered bike) When I was riding pedal bikes, my average speed (on a cruiser type bike) was about 7 mph. My VeloSolex moped tops out at 20 mph on flat level ground, and will not climb hills, because it is friction drive, and has only one gear ratio. I also have a homebuilt gas powered bike, with a Robin-Subaru engine on a Staton friction drive kit. These are high quality parts, and it works fine, and has been for years. Due to a lack of gears, it also has problems climbing. I have a bike computer on it, and will not exceed 15 mph in town. That's faster than 99% of the people riding pedal bikes in a bike lane. When I come up behind them, I slow down and stay there until there is no traffic coming from behind, and I can move all the way over to the center of a traffic lane to pass. Pedal bikes have the right of way in bike lanes. I have absolutely no problem with gas powered bicycles. I love them. Way more than electric. It's just that for certain places, electric is the only option.

    I also have no problem with riding a motorized bike outside the city limits on the shoulder of rural roads. I have had a number of factory made mopeds (Tomos, Puch, Motobecane) that topped out at 30 mph, and I rode them all day on the shoulder of rural roads. Mr. Vale, I'm sure you are aware of all the nice roads south of Phoenix, around Coolidge, Florence, Maricopa, Casa Grand, and the Pinal Pioneer Parkway that goes from Florence to Tucson. I live in Chandler, and have ridden thousands of miles on these roads on mopeds and motorized bicycles. I also had a 49cc Honda Ruckus scooter that topped out at about 40 mph on a flat level road. I rode that to Tucson many times, on the shoulder. But neither mopeds nor small scooters are allowed in the bike lane. They are extremely dangerous in town, because they must be ridden in a traffic lane, and will not even come close to keeping up with traffic on 45 mph roads.

    Many do not know how lucky we are in AZ to have the rights that we do to ride motorized bicycles. Just try riding one in CA and see what happens. We have these rights mostly because of a guy named Roland Bosma. He used to be the owner of Spooky Tooth Cycles in Tucson, and later moved to Bisbee (beautiful little town by the way, like going back in time) then sold the business to someone else. I met Roland twice. He was a very nice guy, but broke the rules of the law he was largely responsible for getting passed (HB 2796) in the first place, with his organized "Death Races" and other activities. The "spandex" crowd were outraged when this law was passed, and they have a lot of political clout.

    The "48cc" limit was used to exclude 49cc factory built mopeds and scooters, and because that is the displacement of most of the Chinese engine kits, including the Grubee Skyhawk. I personally have no issue with engine size. I always thought Whizzers, back when they made them, should be considered motorized bicycles. They had much larger 4 stroke engines, but were very slow due to the ancient engine design.

    I still remember the days of gopeds and pocket bikes being ridden in the bike lanes and on sidewalks. I would be cruising along at 7-10 mph on my pedal bike, and one of those things would go flying by doing about 30 mph, just inches away. Most had performance exhausts on them, and you could hear them coming from a mile away. Finally there were enough complaints and kids getting hurt and killed on the things that they were outlawed. They should have never been legal anywhere but private property anyway.

    "Motor assisted" bicycles, which is what HB 2796 refers to, are supposed to be for transportation purposes. They were never intended to be souped up street racers, ridden by hooligans who put regular bicycle riders and pedestrians in danger. They is no reason for a bicycle to go 30 mph in town. If you want to go fast, get a street legal scooter big enough to keep up with city traffic. But of course that requires registration, plates, insurance, and a motorcycle license, which I have. I actually think it would be cool to have closed course racing for motorized bicycles, where you could build them to go as fast as possible. But machines like that certainly should not be allowed on the street. An engine built to go 50 mph would be so high strung it would be practically unrideable at 20 mph.

    The thing to keep in mind is that the law applies to home built motor assisted bicycles, not motorcycles. I own and ride motorcycles and have for over 40 years. But I do it legally. I don't ride recklessly, and I have quiet stock pipes. But riding a motorized bicycle is a whole different experience than a motorcycle.

    I still believe 30 mph is an unsafe speed for anything ridden in the bike lanes in the city limits. Despite the law, there are a lot of people doing it already. And considering all the complaints that have been received about recklessly ridden motorized bicycles, and the cyclists lobby, I'm afraid we are in danger of losing what we already have. Asking for more is likely to just **** of the politicians, and rather than try and regulate such a complicated mess, they will outlaw motorized bicycles altogether. The old saying "offer someone a foot, and they try to take a mile" applies here. Be happy with what we have rather than pushing for more and more until we lose it all. Getting greedy can and probably will ruin everything. Again, if you want to go fast, then get a vehicle suited for that purpose, and deal with all the expenses and red tape that goes along with it.
  20. 2old2learn

    2old2learn Member

    Speed is not inherently dangerous. It is dangerous when done in an unsafe manner based on conditions. This then requires good judgement which generally requires experience. A very difficult thing to measure or regulate. In addition, the bike itself also impacts the speed versus safety equation. It makes it difficult for regulators to get it right.