Gasoline or electric.

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by motorbikemike45, Dec 26, 2011.

  1. In the Spring I will be selling my white e-bike. That will give me the funds to start my next motored bike. I love the e-bikes for the smooth, silent, effortless, maintenance-free riding. I dislike the lack of range and heavy weight when I carry it up stairs. I like the gasoline bike's nearly unlimited range(as long as there is a gas station every hundred miles, or so), the lighter weight, and the cheap original price. The electric eventually catches up to gas in cost in the long run as they are so cheap to operate. The other drawback is it is very unsafe and stupid to store or work on a gasoline engined bike in a living space. A real drawback because working in an unheated basement in the Winter just plane sux. Comments? Opinions?

  2. 5-7HEAVEN

    5-7HEAVEN Active Member


    My first bike was electric; it ran 27mph. It had a range of 54 miles with 80lbs of lead batteries.

    If I didn't have to carry the bike upstairs everyday, I would've kept it.
  3. motorpsycho

    motorpsycho Active Member

    gasoline, 2 stroke all the way!
    but then again, i have a garage.
  4. Definitely gasoline, 2 or 4 stroke. If you get a rear mounted friction or chain drive with a high quality engine, such as the Robin-Suburu EHO35 or the Honda GX35, it will last longer than the $500+ battery pack on an electric, so to me the cost of a high dollar electric will never pay for itself compared to a gasoline engine, as the batteries have a limited lifespan, and cost more than the gasoline engine. Also the range of an electric bike is simply unacceptable if you cannot pedal, which is why I am riding an MB in the first place.

    As for where you want to work on it, a bit of background on my situation. I am divorced, with 2 grown daughters, the oldest of which is married. The younger one spends a lot of time with me. She has her own room. But, since I otherwise live by myself, I removed all the furniture from my living room (most of it went to other rooms, while the dining set and a couple of chairs went to Goodwill. I removed the carpet in the living room, and replaced it with 1/8" thick commercial grade VCT (vinyl composition tile), the really tough stuff like they use in stores, hospitals, and some offices, only in a nicer color. There is no furniture in what used to be in the living room. It is now the bike room. I have a Genuine Stella, a Yamaha Vino 125, a Honda Rebel 250, and my MB stored in there, and sometimes bring my Yamaha XT225 and Kawasaki Ninja 500 in there to do work on them. My Goldwing obviously won't fit through the door. I have never had any issues doing this. I only run them in there with them backed up to the front door, and the door open, so the exhaust can go outside. Motorcycles, scooters, and now motorized bikes are my main hobby. I live in the Phoenix AZ area, where summer time temperatures can reach well over 120 in the sun, and 115+ in the shade. It is virtually impossible for someone in my condition (medical issues) to work on anything in temperatures like that. I keep it at 70 degrees F in the summer in the house, so I can work on the bikes where it is nice and cool. I have done this for over 10 years, and never had the slightest problem. All the bikes in my living room, or bike room as it now is, have gas in the tanks, though I do not work with open containers of gasoline inside. If I need to put gas in a bike, or drain gas out, I do take it outside.

    But, I am an auto mechanic, and have worked around gas, grease, oil, brake fluid, antifreeze, trans fluid, WD-40, carb cleaner, and a lot of other car/bike chemicals all my life. I come home everyday soaked in the stuff. It has yet to do me any harm. I have seen people put on rubber gloves to put gas in their car, I have taken a bath in it to get all the grease off. Different people are different, and you will have to do what you feel is right. If you feel you can't have a gas powered bike in the house, that is up to you. But they have it all over electric in every aspect except noise. I wish they were quieter.

    There is no smoking in my house BTW, I quit over 10 years ago.
  5. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    Small, efficient ICEs for now but electric is the future and it won't be long. Lithium air is about to become a reality.
  6. toojung2die

    toojung2die Member

    The power for small model airplanes has been taken over by electric motors for many years. The ubiquitous Cox .049 engines of my youth are no longer made and sold as collectors items on eBay. The airplane electrics surpass the old nitro motors in power, reliability and flight time. When the demand for electric powered bicycles is sufficient the technology will meet the demand and smoking, leaky, dirty gas engines will become collectors items too. Buy a BGF motor and stash it in the closet for you grandkids.
  7. 5-7HEAVEN

    5-7HEAVEN Active Member

    LOL, not in my lifetime.

    In the now, my Tanaka engine rarely smokes. I cleaned up its leak, and I just love the way it carries my old butt past the cyclers, past the waiting bus patrons and past gridlocked traffic.

    While I'm laying on my deathbed, I will remember what fun I had with my motorized bikes.

    I'm glad I terminated my electric bike. That 140-pound bike went 27mph and my 70-pound gas bikes go 45mph.

    ICE addict forever!
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2011
  8. toojung2die

    toojung2die Member

    You're 100% right - "In the now". I have a buddy who's into electric motors and batteries big time. He's always knocking my love of the two-stroke and urging me to get into electric. "Not now" is my answer to him but maybe in our lifetime. Electrics don't yet have the power or range and cost too much. The gas motors currently dominate. For now.
  9. 5-7HEAVEN

    5-7HEAVEN Active Member

    I just made 65, so maybe my 30yo son will see your prediction.:grin5:

    My e-bike had a 54-mile range, but its lead batteries weight 80 lbs!
  10. motorpsycho

    motorpsycho Active Member

    you mean buy a 2 stroke bike engine and put it away for your grandkid's grandkids.
    do you realize how long it would take if all gasoline engines were phased out?
    everyone seems to think that everything is collectable and will eventually be worth money some day.
    something is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.
    if gasoline engines are eventually phased out, that means at that time there will not be any gasoline, so what good would a gasoline engine be without the fuel to run it?
  11. I have already purchased the next bike I will motorize. It is a Genesis Saber 2600 alloy framed, full suspension, mountain bike. The only non-alloy part is the front fork which has steel lowers. It seems a very well made bike and I may replace the heavy front fork with a rockshox unit with magnesium lowers, even though it will cost about the same,or even more, than the bike did. Without the heavy front fork, the bike is very light. I prefer electric and I think I could build an acceptably light e-bike by replacing the steel front fork and using a lighter 7 lb. 350Watt geared rear hub motor instead of the 17 lb. 500-750W direct drive hub motors I used in my first 2 e-bikes. I would still use the 17 lb. LiFePo4 48V, 15ampHr. battery I used on my green e-bike. I would expect a top speed of around 22mph, a range of 30-35 miles, but not great acceleration or hill climbing power.

    I would keep my green e-bike with as much power and performance as the last gas powered bike I owned, but with a range of only 25 miles.

    The gas choice, GEBE+RS 35cc, 1.6 horse, is a little cheaper and I would likely keep the heavy front fork, saving even more $. I like to ride in Critical Mass each month, but some of the other riders complain about the noise and smell of the gas engined bikes. There have been no complaints since I've been riding the e-bikes, just the usual good natured kidding about cheating and curiosity about electric bikes.

    I do feel electric bikes are the logical future of motored biking. The cost will come down some and I hope technology will make batteries lighter with the same, or even more range, in time. Hybrids are heavy for everyday use, but a trailer with a gas engined generator to extend range for long trips may be an excellent compromise.
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2011
  12. I'm 52, and quite sure electric bikes will not be practical during my lifetime. Nor in the 100 years after that, unless some totally new technology comes along. I looked at electric bikes, and some had what seemed to be unrealistic mileage claims. If you read the fine print, those mileage claims are "with normal pedaling" If I could pedal, I wouldn't need an MB.

    You are claiming a 54 mile range. I have done a lot of research, and have never heard of a range like that. I am assuming you are talking about a several thousand dollar bike (or at least batteries) and the range is "with normal pedaling"

    My $600 total Cranbrook with a Staton friction drive R-S EHO35 and a China tank for extra fuel capacity has unlimited range, is not extremely heavy, and being a 4 stroke, runs fairly clean, though I have to admit I am not that concerned about emissions from bicycle engines, 2 or 4 stroke, they are simply too small and too few in number to make any difference.

    I would actually like to have an electric bike. I live by a canal that is 27 miles long, and has a bike path the whole way along the bank. Electric bikes are allowed, but gas powered bikes are not. This path is shared with pedestrians. I would like to be able to ride on it, but there is no such thing as an electric bike that will go that far, and if there were, it would cost as much as a car.

    I would not look for gasoline engines to go away in the foreseeable future. The world economy is dominated by oil, and doing away with gasoline vehicles would destroy the worlds economy. Yes, they are making token efforts, but that's all they are, more for publicity than anything else.

    Anyone who thinks electric or hybrid vehicles are "green" needs to do some research. Not only does that electricity have to be generated by some kind of fuel, but these vehicles carry around hundreds of pounds of very toxic batteries, but it makes far more pollution to manufacture one than it does a conventional gasoline vehicle. That hybrid vehicle would have to last 3 times as long a conventional vehicle before you broke even on the pollution created by manufacturing it.
  13. I have built a motored bike a year for 6 years now.
    #1 was a Steel Schwinn Jaguar with a Staton friction drive mounting a RS EHO 35. It was in most ways a very good set-up, but as an engineering type, I was looking for a more elegantly engineered MB. It was sold last Spring.
    #2 was a full suspension aluminum framed bike with a Staton outside chain drive and another SR EHO 35. It was excellent and bullet proof with the only drawback the pain in the neck task of fixing a rear flat. Some one offered me insane money, so I sold it.
    #3 was a POS aluminum framed MTB from ToysRUs. It got a GEBE geared belt drive with yet another SR EHO 35(why not keep using a near perfect engine?). The problem was not the drive or engine, it was that awful bike. Nothing worked well, and after an encounter with a car, it only got worse. When the frame showed cracks in the welds on the front tube(likely started in the accident) I scrapped the frame and moved the good stuff(wheels, tires, BB7 disc brake, new rockshox fork to replace the one bent in the accident, GEBE drive, and engine to................
    #4, a Kent Avalon 7 speed full(but limited travel rear) suspension and partially aluminum framed comfort bike(front and rear forks were steel). It was comfortable, smooth, reliable, fairly quiet and a great value for the dollars spent. If I still had it, I may have stopped building bikes and just rode it. It was stolen from my basement because I can't store a gas engined bike in my aptartment.
    #5 is my first e-bike, the white bike. It is a Steel framed Schwinn Landmark 7 speed comfort bike with no suspension. I made no effort to make it light and so it is very heavy. It has an e-bikekits 500Watt(nominal) front hub direct drive motor weighing 17 pounds and has a Ping LiFePo4 36 Volt, 20ampHr battery that also weighs 17 pounds mounted on a rear rack. It will go 22mph, plus a touch more, and has a range on a single charge of 35 miles on level ground with NO PEDALING.
    #6 is another Kent Avalon( less than $100.00 new is nothing to laugh at) alloy framed comfort bike I call green bike, with a 17 pound rear DD 500 Watt hub motor with a 7 speed casset and a 17 pound Ping LiFePo4 48 Volt, 15ampHr battery. I made a bit of an effort to hold weight down by replacing the steel crank, steering head, and handlebar with light alloy parts. The results are good. The bike is much lighter than the white bike and it has great performance, rivaling the gas bikes I've owned. Top speed is 28mph, but range is down to 25 miles on the flat with no pedaling.

    Now I want to build another. These things can be as addictive as crack. If I go super light with an electric bike I think I can keep the weight down and the performance "adequate" with a range near 35 miles. Gas is the other option. None of the MBs I've built cost me more than $1,700.00. I will be asking $1,800.00 for the white bike in the Spring. White bike's 35mile range is real, not a fluke. I have duplicated it many times (on my usual long route) around Presque Isle State Park's bike path. I have to use a shorter route when I ride green bike. Gas engined bikes have recently been banned from all Pennsylvania State parks and that will be a major factor in my decision, gas or electric. I have pix of all of them on my page as photo albums.
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2011
  14. 5-7HEAVEN

    5-7HEAVEN Active Member

  15. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    A visit to innovative eTech sites like endless-sphere might offer some difference in opinion as to the practicality of current, one-off, eBikes with numerous examples built there with extended range. eBikes are also being mass produced, I was recently reading where upwards of 120 million eBikes are being used on the roads today in China with gas bikes all but extinct.

    IMO, the case for small, efficient and fairly quiet 4 stroke utility engines like the EHO25/35 or GX25/35 can be made convincingly and they happen to already fit well within many of the established regulations in states where definitions currently exist. They are however a small percentage of the engines chosen in the overall motored bicycle scene. I've got absolutely no love affair with ICEs, it's just what I'm currently familiar with. However any argument over ICE vs electric may soon be rendered moot on issues other than technology.

    I'd guess the inexpensive, China 2 stroke kit engines are the most widely used since that's where many got their start, but also now something of a 'mission creep' has set in with inexpensive, made in China 4 stokes of anywhere from 100cc up to 200cc. I doubt lawmakers and representative authorities, or the general public for that matter, are going to make much of a distinction between ICEs. They'll all simply be lumped together as a class if motored bikes are viewed as a way to skirt the law to make what they see as illegal motorcycles and people dodging the regulations and requirements that other motored vehicles are subject to such as licensing, registrations and liability.
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2011

  16. You may very well be right, and if so, I will have no choice but to go with an actual moped of some type, probably something like a Tomos ST or Sprint. These only require a drivers license, though I do have a motorcycle license, they cost less than $100 a year to insure, and in my state, a moped registration is $12 a year.

    But again, as I said in another post, it is a real shame that people riding illegal MBs are likely to ruin it for everybody. The same thing is happening with mopeds in my state, and in fact all over the country. Legally a moped cannot displace more than 49cc, and cannot exceed 30 mph. But there is an entire subculture of moped tuners out there, and plenty of aftermarket parts, to make these bikes go between 50-60 mph. And the same thing is happening with 50cc 2 stroke scooters in many places, although in my state a 50cc scooter (without pedals) requires a motorcycle license to ride anyway, in many states they only require a drivers license.
  17. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    Understood and I happen to agree, and not to make excuses for it but at least with the case of the mopeds/scooters guys who are tweaking the daylights out of them, are doing so for the most part with what essentially remains a 50cc jug and they have the benefit of a more road worthy frame, suspension, braking system and speed rated tires.
  18. toojung2die

    toojung2die Member

    I can think of a few things that were in common usage for generations and have become obsolete within my lifetime. Typewriters, land line phones and film cameras for instance. I may still have one of each but there are better solutions available. I'm of the opinion that electric power for bikes will replace gas power when the weight, range and cost problems are worked out and I don't doubt they will be resolved.
  19. marc

    marc New Member

    if you guys would run opti-2 thear would be no ugly smoke or mess.every one would be happy time.
  20. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    Yes, absolutely. Google 'lithium air battery', it's not there yet but close.
    Also, the rate that technology has entered the mainstream has accelerated over the last few decades, particularly given more is now open source. Here's a chart I came across recently: