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  1. #1
    Senior Member DigitalQuirk's Avatar
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    Electric bike - what do you think?

    Canadian Tire has a new product; an electric bike that goes by the name Strong GT-S210. Looks like this:



    Link: http://gateway.canadiantire.ca/drive...5524443288843_

    I walked up to this bike in the store, and tried to pick it up. I consider myself a reasonably strong man, and I have lifted very heavy items before...but this bike weighs a LOT. So much so, I did not feel safe lifting it in the store. I cannot possibly see what use the pedals would be, except on a downhill run.

    On the other hand, they do indicate a 100 km range, and a top speed of 28 km/h. Which appears impressive, except for the fact that I can average that same speed on my Miele without too much effort, and a moped can usually get up to 50 km/h. So, what I'm wondering is, what is the point of this bike? Would people use it as a viable "Clean" alternative for daily commuting?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    It's just a whole different paradigm. It has nothing to do with the reasons that I bicycle. It looks to me like it embodies all of the things that I don't like about bicycling (too slow to keep up with traffic, exposed to the weather, where do you park it, still need a car) with none of the advantages.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Nermal's Avatar
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    What Grouch said.
    Some people are like a Slinky ... not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs.

  4. #4
    I'm made of earth! becnal's Avatar
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    Because you can't lift it doesn't mean it won't pedal well.

  5. #5
    Senior Member chicbicyclist's Avatar
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    I was actually surprised it was on the front page when I went to that website from a link in one of the threads here.

    Here's a couple of points:

    1. It's considered a bike in most areas of North america, so no hassle of all the legal stuff you have to go through with mopeds.

    2. It is not for the fitness crowd of bicycling, but for the practical/utility crowd.

    3. It's heavy and acceleration suffers, but you have a motor, use it.

    4. It's easier, resulting in more people being on a "bike".

    5. Climbs hills easier. No reason to not use a "bike" anymore.

    6. Easier to navigate in traffic than a conventional bike because you are "faster" without putting in too much effort so you pay more attention to the road.

    7. It's not for weight weenies, but you can get a sub-40 lb electric bike for a price(use Li-ion or NiMh battery packs which are more expensive, and lighter motor)

    8. A moped is powered primarilly by the motor, human effort is second.

    9. Electric bikes are ideally primarilly powered by you, with the motor "assisting" you.(there are two types of e-bikes, power on demand and "electric assist", POD can be used as a power assist, but no the other way around)

    10. You park it in bike racks.

    11. It can absolutely replace a car.

    12. It does pedal well once you're up to speed so use your motor to accelerate then turn it off, most systems do this.

    13. Best of all, it would make more people that would not otherwise ride a bike other than for recreational purposes, use it for commuting/utillity/errands.

    14 Did I mention that it runs on electricity? Most mopeds run on gas, and are decidely more polluting.
    Last edited by chicbicyclist; 04-30-06 at 04:50 PM.

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    Senior Member swifferman's Avatar
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    Well said chicbicyclist.

    Also, in Ontario, Canada (so most likely other parts of North America) these are banned from the roadsand sidewalks so I don't really see where you can possibly use it if they are banned in your area.

  7. #7
    I'm made of earth! becnal's Avatar
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    How many gears has it got? 24?

  8. #8
    Airborne Titanium EricDJ's Avatar
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    If I wanted to not pedal,I'd put the g towards a vespa.

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    It looks like they've reinvented the moped. I haven't seen one of those since the 80's.
    When all else fails, read the directions.


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  10. #10
    Senior Member geebee's Avatar
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    There is a few different reasons for an electric bike like the one at the start of the thread, as someone else pointed out, it would make a good utility bike, grocery getter etc, they can get people on bikes that may not be fit enough initially to cope with their local terrain, or have arthritis or dodgy knees as you can put more load on the motor and off your joints on bad days.
    I ride all types of human powered bikes and electric assist bikes, one of my favorites is a really low powered (250 watt) electric assist bike with the motor running through the derailiers, how many lowriders do you see that can cruise at 40~50 kph and blow cars off at the lights? to achieve this requires a massive amount of pedal input and is more exhausting than riding a moutain bike up a mountain but it's a real rush and much more comfy than a road bike.
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    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    In fact, the weight is only a detriment when accelerating and when going uphill. Otherwise, weight has very little impact on the amount of energy to keep the bike rolling.

    Thus, if rider used the electric motor feature to zip up to a respectable traffic speed and then maintained it by pedaling, Even the below average bicyclist could use a bicycle very effectively for transportation.
    Mike

  12. #12
    Senior Member DigitalQuirk's Avatar
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    Great responses. Personally, I'm torn and still on the fence. My job is very physically demanding; I'm not entirely sure I could also handle the bicycle commute, though I enjoy riding in my free time and using my bike to scoot to the store to pick up smaller purchases. I do plan on trying the commute, though.

    We keep hearing about how we're running out of oil in the world, and watch as the price of gas continues to rise. Meanwhile, there's talks about the creation of more CANDU nuclear reactors in Ontario. The message I'm getting is that nuclear electricity is going to be the fuel of the future. This electric moped (which is, effectively, what it is) may be a sign of things to come. If it truly has a 100 km range without pedaling, that would prove that electric vehicle technology has matured enough to be considered a viable alternative.

    My only concern would be, how long would the battery last before needing replacement? Where would one dispose of the battery, and attain a replacement?

  13. #13
    Plays in Traffic 1ply's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DigitalQuirk

    My only concern would be, how long would the battery last before needing replacement? Where would one dispose of the battery, and attain a replacement?
    I seem to remember that the battery is rated for 300 full charges. So if you use it often enough that may be good for 3 years and then you have to replace the battery. I also remember that they sell a battery for around $300.... (changing screens) and...

    28km/h is the MAXIMUM speed at which it can travel on battery power alone, of course they say nothing about the weight of their test rider. Here's the specs on the battery: The battery is good for 300 complete charges/drains. After this it's $199 PLUS SHIPPING for another battery, if you want a LiIon battery it's $450 plus shipping. Um, $450 is almost 1/2 the cost of this bike...
    2006 VFRfive less than 5000k for sale. 2011 MB FantomCross 105
    Originally Posted by Pig_Chaser: Obesity epidemic, Global warming. If only there were a common solution. B'ah that's crazy talk.

  14. #14
    Pat
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    Well I think the electric bike has a ways to go. With an average speed of 17 mph for 60 miles, it is not very impressive. A fit cyclist can do that without an assist. Even a not so fit cyclist can average around 15 mph.

    The range and max speed would have to go up and the weight to come down to make this one very compelling.

    As far as green goes, again it is not compelling. Electric is ultimately fossil fuel. Sure it will take less than an automobile or a motorcycle and maybe even less than a Vespa but still it takes some. A human powered vehicle is based on renewable resources and is far greener plus it makes you fitter and thinner. So why go with very little more performance, less green and less healthy?

    Pat

  15. #15
    Recumbent Evangelist
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    I agree that electric bikes have a ways to go, but they are still a great idea. If an electric bike will get a commuter out of his/her car and onto a bike, then I say HUZZAH. Consider it a "gateway drug" to a completely motor-free lifestyle.

    I must admit though, that I have been toying with the idea of adding a motor to a trike so I can sustain 60km/h and keep up with traffic... Hmmm...
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  16. #16
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    They Can not give you a good distance and speed measurement. Most of those things give an optimum condition with pedal assist ratings. In the "sales copy" not technical information.

    The bike puts out a given number of watts for a given amount of time, period ! If it's windy, hilly, stop and go, a heavy load, low tires etc. the distance and speed changes all over the place. Some of them list the top speed, but then list the distance it will go at a lower speed. Pedaling one with a dead battery is lot of work, A 150 lb bike DOES pedal harder than a 35 lb bike..... a lot harder. It's not impossible, but picture riding home with a 75 lb. child on the back of your bike, it's similar to that.

    If you accelerate a lot you will run down the battery faster.

    This stuff about no difference at a steady rate with a heavier bike is absurd.

    Many people can't feel a small change in weight, or it is a small change in a short distance if a bike is just a little heavier. For some it is not important, for others it is. The laws of physics still apply to bikes, every gram makes a difference. 75 lbs is a big deal. Try riding it.
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  17. #17
    . bbattle's Avatar
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    Check this out: The Stoke Monkey by Cleverchimp



    It's an electric assist motor. It works with your pedalling to get you and your load up a hill. You can't use the motor by itself; you have to keep pedalling.

    http://cleverchimp.com/products/stokemonkey/
    Last edited by bbattle; 05-01-06 at 10:40 AM.

  18. #18
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbattle
    Check this out: The Stoke Monkey by Cleverchimp



    It's an electric assist motor. It works with your pedalling to get you and your load up a hill. You can't use the motor by itself; you have to keep pedalling.

    http://cleverchimp.com/products/stokemonkey/
    There are many variations on that theme. They've been around for years.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member chicbicyclist's Avatar
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    More couple of points:

    1. Do not trust the manufacturer to give you what the actual mileage is(the same way you do not trsut any other salesman), more often than not, they give out the mileage under ideal conditions(hey, like you're car mileage), and sometimes do not mention how much pedalling you have to do. The truth of the matter is, 2manybike is right. It depends on your terrain, and other variables. Expect more range on flat, less so on hilly ones. For me, at 36 volts and 12 amps, with moderate hills, I can go about 25 miles on a single charge with moderate to heavy pedalling.

    2. An electric bike is prohibited to go more than 20 mph(on motor power alone) in the States and Canada, and even lower in Europe when used on the road.

    3.
    Pedaling one with a dead battery is lot of work, A 150 lb bike DOES pedal harder than a 35 lb bike..... a lot harder. It's not impossible, but picture riding home with a 75 lb. child on the back of your bike, it's similar to that.
    Of course, you're using extreme examples to illustrate your point. An electric bike rarely goes over the 100 lb mark(mine is 75 lbs, including the bike), and again, it is not intended for long distance Lance Armstrong Wannabes. Anybody who does centuries on this thing knowing the limitations of the battery technology deserve to haul around that much weight, unless you bring your charger and plug in to wherever you're going, effectively doubling your range.

    4.
    Well I think the electric bike has a ways to go. With an average speed of 17 mph for 60 miles, it is not very impressive. A fit cyclist can do that without an assist. Even a not so fit cyclist can average around 15 mph.
    It's still hard, no matter how you say that it isnt. You know why Americans don't ride more for transportation? That's one of the reasons why.

    5.
    The range and max speed would have to go up and the weight to come down to make this one very compelling.
    I agree with range, not with speed. Again, there's a legal limit. As for weight, there are batteries available other than SLAs, and smaller motor(There's one available for 7 lbs! Couple that with a 15 lbs NiMh, and you're set to go).

    6.
    As far as green goes, again it is not compelling. Electric is ultimately fossil fuel. Sure it will take less than an automobile or a motorcycle and maybe even less than a Vespa but still it takes some. A human powered vehicle is based on renewable resources and is far greener plus it makes you fitter and thinner. So why go with very little more performance, less green and less healthy?
    Electricity in the USA is majorly from Coal(most factories are fitted with "scrubbers" before realsing it into the atmosphere), Natural Gas(which is decidedly less polluting than oil and coal without the scrubber), Nuclear(zero emission, drop the waste into Hawa'ii's volcanoes or something), hydroelectric(zero emission), and then theres the renewable. Basically, we generate electricity using about 70% fossil fuels(50% coal, 17% natural gas, 3% oil) and the rest, renewables, compared to more than 95% fossil fuel usage on your internal combustion engines.

    Also, the fact that it is easier to retrofit and adapt the electric grid system to run on renewables than cars that run on the oil economy(you have to change every last gas station to deliver the new energy, and tweak every last car to run on it).

    And since you said that human power is renewable, please take into account that what you eat(oil is used for transport), what you wear(synthetic fabrics are made from petroleum) and basically all the comforts of life(electricity) is still touched by fossil fuel, like it or not.

    Did I mention that electric bikes get at least 500 miles per gallon(some figures give twice that) of an equivalent gasoline used to produce the electricity it runs on?

    Last point, to those of us who lives in hilly countries and aspire to have a bike friendly city like Amsterdam and Copenhagen, electric bikes are very compelling.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    On a decent road bike on level ground with no wind it takes an effort to keep your speed below 15MPH.

  21. #21
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    I think the ideal buyer is older, someone who commutes, or shops within a 10 mi radius of where they live. On level ground the extra weight probably does not cost you much. The motor will get you up hills. I was in Italy last year and saw a fair number of such bikes. It would be neat if they had regenerative braking. It is not a novelty or a fad. It fills a niche between a bicycle and a moped. It is probably alot cleaner than a moped.

    OT, Anyone who thinks they need a new hi teck technology bike, about 25% of the bikes I saw chained in Italy were old heavy touring bikes with metal chain enclosures. They also liked those generator head lights. The bikes were clearly owned by people who used them regularly, and who I assume could afford better if they needed it.

  22. #22
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    A 60 mile range is actually really good. The last time I looked at the Giant electric bikes I think they advertised a 30 mile range. I know about the battery specifics (maybe it's just marketing hype), but my wife would commute on one of those in a second, while a regular bike for 20 miles roundtrip she probably wouldn't go for near as often.

  23. #23
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geebee
    There is a few different reasons for an electric bike like the one at the start of the thread, as someone else pointed out, it would make a good utility bike, grocery getter etc, they can get people on bikes that may not be fit enough initially to cope with their local terrain, or have arthritis or dodgy knees as you can put more load on the motor and off your joints on bad days.
    I ride all types of human powered bikes and electric assist bikes, one of my favorites is a really low powered (250 watt) electric assist bike with the motor running through the derailiers, how many lowriders do you see that can cruise at 40~50 kph and blow cars off at the lights? to achieve this requires a massive amount of pedal input and is more exhausting than riding a moutain bike up a mountain but it's a real rush and much more comfy than a road bike.
    so is Harley

  24. #24
    Senior Member Nermal's Avatar
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    Okay, (insert light bulb icon) I think I got it. It has a motor. It has pedals. This is what they mean by Hybrid Bicycle!
    Some people are like a Slinky ... not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs.

  25. #25
    Senior Member chicbicyclist's Avatar
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    Since we're all being smartasses here, I wanna ask a question. Why ride bike if you can walk instead?

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