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Old 06-10-03, 08:12 AM   #51
closetbiker
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Originally posted by junebride
in japan and europe they are used more frequently than here in the states (probably because we have such a "car culture" here). people would still need to deal with all the problems of bike commuting on roadways just as they would with a regular bike, which may be why more people aren't using them yet.
Bingo! I think the "car culture" is the reason why as well. There seems to be an irrational fear of being out on the road unless you're in the biggest, baddest vehicle on the road.

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Originally posted by junebride
but you won't be an automatic speed demon on these bikes. here in WA there's a law limiting the top speed electric bikes can acheive at 18 mph. once you and the bike together reach 18 mph, the motor will shut off, and you're on your own until you get below 18 mph again. it really only acheives that kind of speed on flats (with work from me) or descents. and i've been passed going up hills on the eletric bike by racers in training.
This is what stops my interest in e-bikes. I cruise on my bike faster and I don't have to deal with the extra problems of a battery and motor.
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Old 06-10-03, 12:16 PM   #52
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You can't take Ebikes on the ferry I ride, so it's an automatic out for me.
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Old 06-10-03, 01:42 PM   #53
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A bike shop around my way had the Giant La Free. I couldn't believe how heavy that E-Bike was. The owner told me the battery alone must have weighted 40 pounds. I think the whole bike must have been around 65 or 70 pounds as I could barely lift it.

I couldn't see anyone owning this bike who lives in an apartment. You would need a house and park it in the garage as there is NO WAY you're going to carry this monster up six flights of stairs every day.

Otherwise. It looked cool.
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Old 06-10-03, 02:18 PM   #54
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Originally posted by Dahon.Steve
Otherwise. It looked cool.
Yup, I test rode one in a Saturn dealer's parking lot a few years back. Kinda fun. But I the frame looked substandard. I asked about the life of the battery, and I think he said about a year or two (commuting 150 miles/week.)

I'd rather slap a $500 kit on a lighter, better quality bike, maybe something from a garage sale.

But I liked the concept, especially the giant front and rear lights, complete with brake lights, signals and horn. Hey, it's all in the package.

Maybe they'll rework it by putting a lighter battery on a lighter, better quality frame.

Anyway, I still like the human powered concept. It makes life so much simpler (mechanically speaking.)
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Old 06-10-03, 02:40 PM   #55
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OH..! I agree I would like to see more people put there autos away and get a electric bicycle or ordinary bicycle.
Just because you have a electric bicycle doesn't mean you can't peddle it whenever you want?
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Old 06-12-03, 01:33 PM   #56
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Check out the "Sportped" model here: http://www.rhoadescar.com/jumpshow.htm

What would that classify as? Hmmm...
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Old 08-13-03, 10:43 PM   #57
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I recently bought a Giant LaFree electric bike to commute with. My work is about 4 miles away. I wanted to bike to work, but didn't look forward to the hills every day. The LaFree is an amazing bike for many reasons. First, it's extremely comfortable, with an upright riding position. Secondly, there's plenty of power to assist me and I still get whatever kind of workout I want. It has seven gears and the motor assists in all seven gears. I usually peddle at a moderate pace and get to work in about 16 minutes. So I average about 14 mph. I look forward to jumping on my bike everyday. It's incredibly fun. There are a lot of people who say they would like to bike to work but rarely do. The electric bike is addicting. I'm disappointed when I have to drive to work.

Do I think the electric bike will catch on? Not for a while. First, people think that electric bikes are cheating (Sooooo!) Secondly, they are expensive. Thirdly, most electric bikes are still very heavy, with the exception of the new LaFree lite, which is 39 lbs without the battery, and 48 lbs with the battery. Mine is the other LaFree (Sport )and weighs 73 lbs. I can honestly say that the weight does not bother me in the least. It's a solidly built bike with enough power to climb any hill. I flick off the motor on all downhill runs and peddle like hell in 7th gear, just for the absolute joy. Speed is always a beautiful thing. Then, I flick back on the peddle assist motor, and charge up the hills with fervor.

Within a couple of years, electric bikes should be in the 37 lb range and the battery will have a longer range and life. What will sell electric bikes is when the new buyer can jump on, feel like they are riding a normal weight bike, and then experience the joy of added power and speed. Lighter bikes make most riders feel in control. The price also needs to drop to under $600 as well. The new LaFree lite sells for $1199. Definitely not enough competition to bring the price down yet.

In the meantime, I can't wait to ride my bike to work tomorrow, even if I do get some weird looks. I bought mine used for 1/2 price ($500). I guess I could still use my old Takara 12 speed, which is a fabulous and fast bicycle. Naaaaaaaa!
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Old 08-14-03, 12:42 AM   #58
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Hi Baker!

Glad to hear that you are enjoying the LA Free - I've not ridden one but know they are great quality bikes. I too ride an electric-assist bike (Merida PowerCycle) and also look forward to my ride. As you say, it is really nice to be able to adjust my workout based on my preference and not on the terrain I'm riding.

As for them catching on: Keep on riding and telling all the people that ask what an awesome way to get around it is and they'll catch on!

Happy (e)Biking!
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Old 08-14-03, 02:55 AM   #59
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Check out this electric bike
http://www.apriliaenjoy.com/eng/fuelcell.htm

I saw a battery powered version in a motorbike shop this weekend. The whole structure seems to be a bit heavy and primitive, with plenty of room for improvement. They are building it like a powered vehicle, with lots of unneccessary stuff like non-structural plastic covering panels.
The fuel cell version weighs in at 24kg/ 53lbs, which seems kind of excessive.
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Old 08-14-03, 10:05 AM   #60
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I too have debated using a power assisted bike for commuting purposes. I believe in a few years these bikes will grow in popularity and see greater use. From an economic perspective, they make a lot of sense. Every cost associated with automobile ownership continues to increase while thier functional usefullness continues to decline. Once engineers find a way to make the electric bikes lighter, the gas powered ones quieter, and perfect the feul cell variety, I believe they will really take off.
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Old 08-14-03, 10:15 AM   #61
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SURE..There great people don't need gas driven stuff all the time,look at the people with dissabillities there chair is electric driven and they wokk great and good for many miles..A electric bike would be no differant your good for so many miles then recharge...why not
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Old 08-14-03, 09:28 PM   #62
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It is interesting to me to think about the concept and purpose of any form of transportation. To get from one place to another requires some form of movement. What do we look for in any means of transportation? Reliability, efficiency, quality of ride, and speed of transport. But what about fun? What about the feeling of power and control? The problem with the automobile is that it gives you all of these great sensations when it is new. But soon after, car transportation is quickly reduced to getting from one place to another. How many people do you see in beautiful expensive cars that are smiling and happy, enjoying their riding experience? What happens to that initial joy of the new car?

I would suggest that riding in a car is much more of a passive experience, with mostly routine and mundane maneuvers that present not much of a challenge. The thrill disappears as the desire to drive is reduced to a desire to "get there". Why else do we see such impatience among drivers? We don't really enjoy just being in our cars.

The bicycle requires much more alert action and active interaction between the rider and the bicycle and the environment. And you experience so much more of the environment because you are always outside in the elements. Bicycling is always an active, physical, and challenging experience that requires effort and push. Therefore, the joy of the ride just from feeling alive and kickin, and the sense of accomplishment when the journey is complete gives the bicycle rider an overall invigorated feeling of satisfaction and well-being. When commuting, the morning bike ride wakes you up in a way 3 cups of coffee could never do.

All of us have had the experience at amusement parks of feeling our hearts pounding while feeling a little fearful and a lot excited as we are ascending up a rollercoaster ride. On a bike, our daily path becomes the rollercoaster, with winding and hilly roads and pathways, giving us the thrill of speed, the challenge of constantly avoiding large and small obstacles, and the sense of calm relief when the ride is through. That's what makes the whole experience of riding a bike fun.

Everyday I feel a little quilty as I commute to work. Perhaps I shouldn't be starting my day with this much fun.
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Old 08-14-03, 09:41 PM   #63
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Quote:
Originally posted by baker symes
Everyday I feel a little quilty as I commute to work. Perhaps I shouldn't be starting my day with this much fun.
Of course you should.



(Great piece of writing.)
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Old 09-08-03, 10:56 PM   #64
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I have Currie electrics.
Electrics are a fun toy, and great for short radius transportation.
Great on hot days over 90F since you can get cooling air circulating with little effort. Also great for headwinds since you have the extra torque with no more wind resistance.

Helpful at starts, but when you are up to speed little assistance is given, though not a lot is needed. Most lead acid systems add around 25 lb to the bike. Therefore, more pedaling effort is needed for use at higher speeds-above that at which the electrics operate. The motor helps on slight upgrades, but for steep upgrades the weight reduces any advantage.

NickBMXr- if slightly beyond 1 way range, you can pedal. If you know your going to exceed you range by more than 50%, better off taking a non electric so you arenít pedaling your 50-75 lb. Bike too far. You can recharge your bike as I do. One person on an EV thread Iíve lost track of used to keep a fast charger at work for an 8 hour full charge and a standard charger for overnight use at home (slow charging results in more longevity to the battery). You can also carry range extending battery packs.

Weight: NiMH is the current best solution, but it is more expensive that lead acid.

D*Alex: Gearing is not an issue any more than a non-electric. It just depends on your gearing package. If you can have a nonelectric with poor gear choices.

RainmanP - the device you described is the Zeta III- a Malcolm Sinclair enterprise the same guy who came out with the Timex Sinclair computer. Zeta has been around over 20 years, with Heinzman, Panasonic, and Palmer, have probably been in the business longest. Itís a very light weight (10 lb) but lowpowered (170W) British system. Has a belt drive which engages the tire when in use, else sits above the tire for no idle rolling resistance. Low speed (10mph) and range (8 miles), but light weight and before May 9 the Brits had a 200 W limit to meet the electric bike legal exception from motor vehicle classification.

Loyal/LittleBigMan/Junebride- Currie is not a Hub motor. The Currie uses a chain to drive a separate sprocket on the left side of the rear axle (or front axle on Currie e-trike). Hub motors have the motor in a hub assembly about the axle (some front, some rear drive) in the center of the spokes. Heinzmann, SPARC, Sanyo are examples of hub motor systems.

Koffee-Recumbents: several electric bike dealers do conversion.
You could make your own conversion from kits.
Personally, current electrics are heavy and electrics slow you down at typical bent speeds.
But with a NiMH battery pack and a hub motor, that could change.
The new Sanyo kits at 5 lbs, small NiMH batter and regenerative braking could be a good bent electric package for getting up a hill. My thumb sometimes subconsciously goes for the power switch on my recumbent when I slow on hills/ramps I frequent on the electric. The front motor hub could be quickly taken on and off and switched with a non-electric front when you want e-bent vs. lighter bent. I was going to order a Bikit system for my folder, but since my folder and bent have the same diameter front tire, I could probably try it on the bent sometime.

Mekki Ė Pedelecs do not always have torque sensors. Often there is merely a magnetic hall effect sensor sensing pedal movement. Some use centrifugal switches on the crank assembly.

Steve.Dahon The Dahon Roo El has been the lightest electric bike on the market, it uses the SPARC system replacing the standard lead acid batteries with NiMH batteries (havenít seen any weight figures for the Sanyo Enacle Gene 27, but as light as their kit is their complete bike might be in the Roo El neighborhood). The Panasonic is also in the weight range. The standard SPARC system only adds 10 lbs, thatís with a 12V 7 AH lead acid battery.

The Aprilia looks like the magic cure for electrics. Is that fuel cell or bike in the US market yet?
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Old 01-14-04, 09:56 PM   #65
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www.synergycycle.com

if any of you guys are looking for an awesome commuter, you should check out that bike. i purchased it for my commute and I love every thing about it.

and i agree, i was turned off by a lot of "cincy" electric bikes like the currie and e-bike but let me tell you, after test riding and picking through the componentry on this synergy bike...it is SOOOO much better than the rest. Just one ride quells and doubt about it. You cannot even compare the synergy to any other electric bike on the market.

a side note: i love this message board. i have been searching for a good one for a while and i definately like this one. glad to be aboard!
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Old 01-16-04, 03:39 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by csvt
www.synergycycle.com

if any of you guys are looking for an awesome commuter, you should check out that bike. i purchased it for my commute and I love every thing about it.

and i agree, i was turned off by a lot of "cincy" electric bikes like the currie and e-bike but let me tell you, after test riding and picking through the componentry on this synergy bike...it is SOOOO much better than the rest. Just one ride quells and doubt about it. You cannot even compare the synergy to any other electric bike on the market.

a side note: i love this message board. i have been searching for a good one for a while and i definately like this one. glad to be aboard!
Wow, it is great to have such detailed replies by people who are actually using the battery bikes.

I looked at the synergy cycle on the website. Not much to it,really, and maybe it doesn't need to be complicated. The synergy bike looks like a regular bike with a clunky box battery strapped to the inside of a diamond frame and a motor attached to the rear dropouts. They could use some help in the style department; not that it affects function, but well, I dunno. I was hoping somebody could come up with form and function... ah well.

Is there any reason why the bike itself would be better than, say, a high-end bike with the same drive components added to it?

Here is the synergy bike:
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Old 01-16-04, 03:43 AM   #67
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For your interest and entertainment, check out this home-made motorized bicycle I saw in China last year:
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Old 01-16-04, 02:21 PM   #68
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Wow, it is great to have such detailed replies by people who are actually using the battery bikes.

I looked at the synergy cycle on the website. Not much to it,really, and maybe it doesn't need to be complicated. The synergy bike looks like a regular bike with a clunky box battery strapped to the inside of a diamond frame and a motor attached to the rear dropouts. They could use some help in the style department; not that it affects function, but well, I dunno. I was hoping somebody could come up with form and function... ah well.

Is there any reason why the bike itself would be better than, say, a high-end bike with the same drive components added to it?

Here is the synergy bike:
Mike-well all I can say is that like with almost ANY product on the market, pictures do NOT do this bike justice. The battery is NOT simply "strapped" on there. It actually has a custom mount on the frame that it locks into. The strap is only for that added security.
As for the motor attachment, if you look at almost any other electric bike on the market, they use a "special" designed wheel where the motor plate spins into it. So basically....if you bust a wheel on a curb, railroad track, etc you have to buy a whole new special wheel from the company and 9 times out of 10 wait FOREVER. Now with the synergy, it uses the adaption from a rear disc brake conversion. So basically, if you bust this rear wheel....you can get a new wheel at almost ANY bicycle shop.
And again, I love the Synergy basically because of the way it looks. It is so non-chalant if you will that it doesnt stand out like ANY other electric bike on the market. Its like the ioccoca E-bike with all the extra crap that frankly looks like dog doo-doo.
As far as buying a high-end bike and attaching a kit: Currie is the only company I know that makes a decent bolt on kit. However, there are SOOOO many restrictions with that kit. The bike has to be a certain size to accept the battery pack. And, the wheels have to be a certain size. It cant have the "trigger" gear shifters, etc. Basically, you would want to stick with a bike that was made to be electric as it is all designed to work with each other. But again like I said before, this bike (minus the motor kit) is well built. Its not like a cheap walmart bike. You basically have to see this bike in person to respect its quality.

Check out www.electricrecbikes.com to find a dealer near you so you can test ride one.
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Old 01-16-04, 07:11 PM   #69
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Well, csvt, your review of the synergy is certainly compelling.

Do you find that the bicycle itself is also of superior quality and workmanship?

How fast can you go on the bike without pedalling?

I would really like to hear more about your electric bicycle experience.
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Old 01-16-04, 07:33 PM   #70
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Well, csvt, your review of the synergy is certainly compelling.

Do you find that the bicycle itself is also of superior quality and workmanship?

How fast can you go on the bike without pedalling?

I would really like to hear more about your electric bicycle experience.
Mike-
Yes, I feel that the actual bike is of awesome quality and workmanship. Without the battery, the frame of the bike is incredibly light. I can easily pick it up..heck my wife can easily pick it up and she only weighs 130lbs. Keith has told me that he has yet to have anybody have a problem with their bike and he has been selling them for about 4 months now. THe welds are well done and the componentry is high quality and trouble-free. The shifter is made by Shimano, so they didnt go cheap with them.
The top speed with NO pedaling is about 18mph. The battery life will last 20 miles if driven with only the motor and no pedaling. of course this depends on the terrain, hence 20 miles uphill is going to deplete the battery much quicker. But I reiterate again, what makes this bike so utilitarian is that you dont want to just sit on the motor the whole time. With pedaling AND the motor....i can get my bike up to around 25-26 mph on the straights (and im not incredibly athletic But what makes the bike even better is that say Im riding and I come to a large hill. Of course the weight of the motor system would make pedaling the whole thing impossible, that is when the motor system plays its most valuable part. I just click down to an easier gear, and integrate the motor slowly until I get the speed/exercise that I so desire at that time. So that is just what makes the bike so awesome. I, the RIDER choose WHEN I want the power and HOW MUCH power I want to use. I have gone on bike rides for MUCH more than 20 miles and have returned home with at least 50% power left in my battery. In fact, I took a ride from West Cliff in santa cruz all the out on Wilder Ranch (if any of you are familiar with this area, its just beautiful which is about a 40 mile ride round trip. When i returned I still had about 70% battery life left. Did I feel good about myself because I exercised? OF COURSE. Was I tired as hell and dead? OF COURSE NOT. The thing is, had I not had the motor, I would have been very tired by the end, and that ultimately would have probably swayed my opionion on whether or not I wanted to make the ride.

Hope this helps Mike. I would love to see my helpfulness on this matter sway your opinion on purchasing one of these awesome bikes. (or at least a friend or family member.)
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Old 01-17-04, 06:29 PM   #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by csvt
Mike-
Yes, I feel that the actual bike is of awesome quality and workmanship. Without the battery, the frame of the bike is incredibly light. I can easily pick it up..heck my wife can easily pick it up and she only weighs 130lbs. Keith has told me that he has yet to have anybody have a problem with their bike and he has been selling them for about 4 months now. THe welds are well done and the componentry is high quality and trouble-free. The shifter is made by Shimano, so they didnt go cheap with them.
The top speed with NO pedaling is about 18mph. The battery life will last 20 miles if driven with only the motor and no pedaling. of course this depends on the terrain, hence 20 miles uphill is going to deplete the battery much quicker. But I reiterate again, what makes this bike so utilitarian is that you dont want to just sit on the motor the whole time. With pedaling AND the motor....i can get my bike up to around 25-26 mph on the straights (and im not incredibly athletic But what makes the bike even better is that say Im riding and I come to a large hill. Of course the weight of the motor system would make pedaling the whole thing impossible, that is when the motor system plays its most valuable part. I just click down to an easier gear, and integrate the motor slowly until I get the speed/exercise that I so desire at that time. So that is just what makes the bike so awesome. I, the RIDER choose WHEN I want the power and HOW MUCH power I want to use. I have gone on bike rides for MUCH more than 20 miles and have returned home with at least 50% power left in my battery. In fact, I took a ride from West Cliff in santa cruz all the out on Wilder Ranch (if any of you are familiar with this area, its just beautiful which is about a 40 mile ride round trip. When i returned I still had about 70% battery life left. Did I feel good about myself because I exercised? OF COURSE. Was I tired as hell and dead? OF COURSE NOT. The thing is, had I not had the motor, I would have been very tired by the end, and that ultimately would have probably swayed my opionion on whether or not I wanted to make the ride.

Hope this helps Mike. I would love to see my helpfulness on this matter sway your opinion on purchasing one of these awesome bikes. (or at least a friend or family member.)
I like the idea of a fs electric.
Sierra used to be the Schwinn high end bikes with Currie electrics available through Schwinn bike shops. Are these Schwinn frames through Synergy or is Synergy building their own? This looks to be a better base bike.

That looks like the 24V 10AH battery pack (I have one Currie with a 24V 10AH pack and another with a 24V 12AH pack). Is that what you have?

My unsuspended bikes weigh 53 and 56 lbs respectively with 400W silver can motors in vogue when the older federal nonmotorized bike definition had a 400W limit. How much does your Sierra weigh? IS that a 21 speed? Tires are 26x????

To qualify as a nonmotorized vehicle, electric assist is not supposed to work above 20 mph (a couple of states have 25 or 30 mph thresholds). Mine freewheels above 18 mph.
Your motor controller is pulsing at the same frequency as mine so max motor rpm with no load should be the same. Unless you have a different gear ratio with the 600W on the electric drive, you would freewheel at the same road speed. Even if the stock bike 19T pinion were replaced with the largest available 22T and the stock 54T rear were replaced with he smallest 48T available, the unit would freewheel at 22 mph. Itís not unreasonable to think there might be a slight ratio difference with the bigger 600W motor, but manufacturers design their systems with an eye on that 20mph limit. I suspect you probably are freewheeling the electric drive at 25 mph and just didnít realize it. There is a change in sound when the electric drive freewheels, you wonít feel the threshold since you are at a low torque speed.

Iíve tested range at about 10 miles on level ground without pedaling, Iím 230 lbs. Most electric bike manufactures are known to exaggerate range.
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Old 01-17-04, 10:16 PM   #72
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Meb-
Im really not the person to talk to about the in-depth stuff. You really should call Keith Hogdson down at Electric Sierra Cycles. 1-831-425-1593. He is the guy to talk to about for this stuff. give him a call.
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Old 01-17-04, 11:19 PM   #73
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Check out the Rietti GTX. Very cool looking.
http://shop.store.yahoo.com/igadget/te4371.html
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Old 01-20-04, 06:21 PM   #74
meb
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike
Wow, it is great to have such detailed replies by people who are actually using the battery bikes.

I looked at the synergy cycle on the website. Not much to it,really, and maybe it doesn't need to be complicated. The synergy bike looks like a regular bike with a clunky box battery strapped to the inside of a diamond frame and a motor attached to the rear dropouts. They could use some help in the style department; not that it affects function, but well, I dunno. I was hoping somebody could come up with form and function... ah well.

Is there any reason why the bike itself would be better than, say, a high-end bike with the same drive components added to it?

Here is the synergy bike:
No reason you couldn't equip a high end bike with electric drive components. The Currie drive system on the Synergy is available in kit form. There is some price savings on getting an integrated bike over combining a kit with a comparable bike. There is usually some time savings integrating the equipment. The kits use bloting U-clamps to mount the battery to the downtube/top tube and the chainstay/seatstay instead of flanges welded on the frame. The drive mounts to the spokes instead of a disc brake hub. The Currie kit is very adaptable.

Zap and Bikit kits won't work with suspension on the drive wheel.
Hub motor systems would drop in as a replacemnt to your existing wheel, and on a high end bike the top of line Heinzman systems or SRAM/SPARC for those which internal gear hub are probably the way to go. There may be some very nice Sanyo systems with regenerative braking coming in a few months and Honda and Yamaha displayed some long range and ultralight systems at a show in Tokyo earlier this month, though Yamaha and Honda may not bother with the US market.

The Tidalforce paratrooper's folding mountain bike has mounted batteries in the front hub for quick unfoldiing and gives a low cg, might be hard to get that as a kit but complete bike is available. Its the same folding mountain bike frame that Montague integrated with a Currie drive on their paratrooper's bike.

Some of the Bottom Bracket-crankbox drive systems such as Panasonic might not bolt on well with a bike not designed to accept the drive, but I've never seen those sold seperately as kits.
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Old 01-20-04, 07:55 PM   #75
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I noticed "Synergy Cycles" was based in Santa Cruz, CA. I remember reading that Santa Cruz had offered a large rebate ($300?) on every electric bike purchased by a Santa Cruz County resident. Is that true?
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