Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 13 of 13
  1. #1
    e-Biker
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
    My Bikes
    Gary Fisher, Strong GT-S eBike
    Posts
    951
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    FAQ: What is an electric bike or e-Bike?

    General Definition

    Simply put; an e-Bike is just a regular bicycle with an electric motor, controller and battery added on.

    e-Bike kits vs. pupose built e-Bikes

    e-Bikes started a very long time ago when someone decided to put an electric motor onto a regular bicycle. Eventually someone got the idea of selling do it yourself (DIY) kits so anyone could convert their bike into an e-Bike. These days you local bike shop (LBS) can install the kits for you; provided that they sell the kits of course.

    e-Bikes have grown in popularity a lot over the last few years with the introduction of more effecient and maintenance free motors as well new battery technologies. As a consequence several start-ups as well as well established major corporations have started to build their own pupose built e-Bikes from a mix of custom parts and off the shelf bicycle components.

    e-Bike myth #1 - e-bikes are for lazy people
    Because of the nature of pedaling required on all e-Bikes, it's obvious that e-bike riders aren't that lazy at all. While some e-bikes have throttles which allow the operator to run on power without needing to pedal, most riders eventually end up pedaling anyway. They soon find out that pedaling with assistance will increase their range.

    And ask yourself this: if the e-biker really is lazy, wouldn't he/she be riding in a car, scooter, moped or motorcycle instead?

    e-Bike myth #2 - e-bike riders are cheating

    Most e-bike riders I know aren't out there to race. So who are they cheating against? Themselves? Not really, most e-bikers will begin to pedal their bikes at some point and will be getting more exercise the more they ride. Are they cheating you? Why would anyone think that? It's not a race out there. And while you may feel cheated because of all the hard work you put in and some guy/girl on an e-Bike goes flying by you, you have to ask yourself: who are you biking for anyway? Yourself or for the other guys/girls out there? If it's for yourself, what do you care if an e-biker flys by you? If it's for others, then again, what do you care?

    e-Bike myth #3 - e-bikes are for old people or unhealthy people
    Even healthy people, like athletes can benefit from e-bikes. Some e-Bike systems like the Bion-x even have a generator system which can make the e-bike even harder to pedal than a normal bike; for those people who really want a workout.

    Many e-bikes are targeted towards old people but these days there are plenty of sportier models being sold that are aimed at younger crowds.

    Some manufacturers even sell special police versions. It's not that Police officers on bikes are unhealthy, it's just that with power assist kits they can go faster without exhausting themselves. That sure comes in handy if they have to chase down some biker that just ran a stop light.

    e-Bike myth #4 - e-bikes take away any exercise benefit

    Take this graphic from the Bionx Website.



    What the graph shows is the push from the left and right legs on the crank and how it equates to the actual power going to the ground. The green bars are what the human does. The blue bars are the extra power assist given off by the Bionx system. You can see the assist level on the left from 1 to 4. Left leg on the left, right leg on the right. The graph is simply applied power over time. X axis is merely time and Y axis is power. Timespan is one crank revolution starting with the left left at the top.

    You'll notice that the right leg is more powerful than the left leg (55% vs. 45%). Most people are right handed and also right leg dominant. Also of note is the dead zones at each end and in the middle. This is where the crank ends up being vertical with your propulsion leg at the bottom.

    You can clearly see how the Bionx system makes real bike propulsion much smoother. And you can also see how the Bionx just assists the biker with extra propulsion. It helps make a ride much smoother while not taking away any exercise benefits.
    Last edited by Zeuser; 05-24-07 at 12:18 PM.

  2. #2
    Calixfornia dreamin' thimblescratch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Indiana
    My Bikes
    old one, mtn bike, Volta e-bike
    Posts
    88
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Cost:
    Many e-bike batteries (lead acid) take about 4 hours to charge, at a cost of about .05 per day.
    E-bikes can cost a thousand dollars, but Ebay is a great place to find electric bikes for much less than retail prices. Finding one for around $300 - 400 is fairly normal.

  3. #3
    Banned
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    2,296
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Isn't an electric bike the same thing as an electric moped?

  4. #4
    ǝıd ǝʌol ʎllɐǝɹ I JeanCoutu's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    518
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    An electric bike is really just a bicycle with an electric helper motor tacked on. Some places limit the weight to around 35-40 kgs and power to 250-750w with a 15-20 mph motor cut off speed depending. You can pedal along meaningfully as they're going bicycle speeds, and really should if you want to go somewhere any faster then 20mph, or if you want to go far. Most all of them need some pedalling to go uphill even given full throttle. Also, they end up looking mostly like bicycles. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck...

    Mopeds are built as lightweight motorcycles, they've got motorcycle tires with terrible rolling resistance, heavy weight, a motor that makes it go around 30mph and symbolic pedals tacked on. Symbolic partly because of the weight and rolling resistance, but compounded because they're geared unusably low and you can't really use them due to the position, or if you managed to you'd end up hurting your knees and such. In effect they're really just used to make it legal as a moped, although some need to be started by pedaling from a corner. They tend to look somewhat odd, or I'm not used to them, but they definitely don't look like bicycles.

    The next category up is LSM (limited speed motorcycle) something like a scooter falls into this category, limited to around 70km/h. Beyond that you're riding a full blown motorcycle.

    BTW, I know a guy who got a criminal citation riding a two wheeler he described as being an "ebike", even though it did not correspond to such... Guess that's something to think of for people who like to call their motorcycles "ebike" despite it going >40mph on it's own power for example... Call it what you will, but that's not an ebike...

  5. #5
    Banned
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    2,296
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by JeanCoutu
    An electric bike is really just a bicycle with an electric helper motor tacked on. Some places limit the weight to around 35-40 kgs and power to 250-750w with a 15-20 mph motor cut off speed depending. You can pedal along meaningfully as they're going bicycle speeds, and really should if you want to go somewhere any faster then 20mph, or if you want to go far. Most all of them need some pedalling to go uphill even given full throttle. Also, they end up looking mostly like bicycles. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck...

    Mopeds are built as lightweight motorcycles, they've got motorcycle tires with terrible rolling resistance, heavy weight, a motor that makes it go around 30mph and symbolic pedals tacked on. Symbolic partly because of the weight and rolling resistance, but compounded because they're geared unusably low and you can't really use them due to the position, or if you managed to you'd end up hurting your knees and such. In effect they're really just used to make it legal as a moped, although some need to be started by pedaling from a corner. They tend to look somewhat odd, or I'm not used to them, but they definitely don't look like bicycles.

    The next category up is LSM (limited speed motorcycle) something like a scooter falls into this category, limited to around 70km/h. Beyond that you're riding a full blown motorcycle.

    BTW, I know a guy who got a criminal citation riding a two wheeler he described as being an "ebike", even though it did not correspond to such... Guess that's something to think of for people who like to call their motorcycles "ebike" despite it going >40mph on it's own power for example... Call it what you will, but that's not an ebike...
    People should be careful about what they call these things. It appears that, in Maryland at least, an ebike is a moped:
    Quote Originally Posted by Maryland Vehicle Code 11-134.1
    "Moped" means a bicycle that:
    (1) Is designed to be operated by human power with the assistance of a motor;
    (2) Is equipped with pedals that mechanically drive the rear wheel or wheels;
    (3) Has two or three wheels, of which one is more than 14 inches in diameter; and
    (4) Has a motor with a rating of 1.5 brake horsepower or less and, if the motor is an internal combustion engine, a capacity of 50 cubic centimeters piston displacement or less.
    http://www.sha.state.md.us/exploremd...bike_laws4.pdf

    ...subject to all the same laws as a regular bicycle with two exceptions:
    1. You need a license to ride it (driver's license or moped license).
    2. You can't ride on the sidewalk.

  6. #6
    ǝıd ǝʌol ʎllɐǝɹ I JeanCoutu's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    518
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Looks more like Maryland is ******** in that they've not yet recognized that ebikes exist. That doesn't make ebikes mopeds, and if you're willing to think that then you may as well just lump all two wheeled vehicles in a single category while you're at it...

    While it would be possible to turn a bicycle into a moped, if you're willing to go that route then a bike purpose built from scratch really comes into the picture. Thing is bicycles don't have VIN's, and getting one is really non-trivial.

  7. #7
    e-Biker
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
    My Bikes
    Gary Fisher, Strong GT-S eBike
    Posts
    951
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by makeinu
    People should be careful about what they call these things. It appears that, in Maryland at least, an ebike is a moped:

    http://www.sha.state.md.us/exploremd...bike_laws4.pdf

    ...subject to all the same laws as a regular bicycle with two exceptions:
    1. You need a license to ride it (driver's license or moped license).
    2. You can't ride on the sidewalk.

    Federal Rules & Regulations
    These are Federal regulations, which supersede any state law which is more stringent

    Section 2085. Low-speed electric bicycles (a) Construction Notwithstanding any other provision of law, low-speed electric bicycles are consumer products within the meaning of section 2052(a)(1) of this title and shall be subject to the Commission regulations published at section 1500.18
    (a)(12) and part 1512 of title 16, Code of Federal Regulations
    (b) Definition For the purpose of this section, the term ''low-speed electric bicycle''
    means a two- or three-wheeled vehicle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts (1 h.p.), whose maximum speed on a paved level surface, when powered solely by such a motor while ridden by an operator who weighs 170 pounds, is less than 20 mph.
    (c) Promulgation of requirements To further protect the safety of consumers who ride low-speed electric bicycles, the Commission may promulgate new or amended requirements applicable to such vehicles as necessary and appropriate.
    (d) Preemption his section shall supersede any State law or requirement with respect to low-speed electric bicycles to the extent that such State law or requirement is more stringent than the Federal law or requirements referred to in subsection (a) of this section.
    A00071 Memo:
    TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to the definition of electric assisted bicycle
    PURPOSE: This bill clarifies the vehicle and traffic law to define electric assisted bicycles; establish that electric assisted bicycles, as defined, are bicycles, not motor vehicles; and establish safety and operational criteria for their use.
    SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 of the bill adds a new Section 102-c to the vehicle and traffic law, defining electric assisted bicycles as: A bicycle with two or three wheels which has a saddle and fully operative pedals for human propulsion, and also has an electric motor. However, the electric motor should not have a power output of more than one thousand watts, and should be incapable of propelling the a speed of more than twenty miles per hour on level ground. The electric motor should also be incapable of further increasing the speed of the device when human power alone is used to propel the device at or more than twenty miles per hour. Section 2 adds an exception in section 125 of the vehicle and traffic law to the statutory definition of motor vehicle for electric assisted bicycles.
    Section 3 adds a new section 1240 to the vehicle and traffic law, the rules, regulations and provisions of the vehicle and traffic law applicable to bicycles applicable to electric assisted bicycles; makes the federal equipment and manufacturing requirements for bicycles or motor driven cycles applicable to electric assisted bicycles; and adds the following operational and safety requirements for electric assisted bicycles: electric motor disengagement criteria; all operators and passengers are required to wear bicycle helmets; and no-one under the age of 16 may operate or as a passenger on an electric assisted bicycle and establishes the civil fine and enforcement procedures for failure to wear a helmet. Section 4 is the effective date.
    EXISTING LAW: None.
    JUSTIFICATION: Defining and establishing operational criteria for electric assisted bicycles will clarify for authorities that these vehicles are more akin to bicycles than motorcycles. This will assist in interpreting the application of the appropriate vehicle and traffic laws to operators and passengers of these vehicles.

    EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.

    Rules and regulations regarding use of light electric vehicles vary from state to state. The information below is from the Federal, Maryland, DC, and Virginia governments. For more detailed information, contact the local officials in your area.

    * National Highway Transportation Safety Administration: 49 CFR Part 571, [Docket No. NHTSA 98-3949], RIN 2127-AG58
    PRECIS OF SUMMARY: (for full text of Summary, see 63 FR 33913). Responding to a growing public interest in using small 4-wheeled passenger vehicles to make short trips within retirement or other planned communities, NHTSA has issued Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 500 Low-speed vehicles (LSV) based on its January 1997 proposal. Standard No. 500 requires basic safety equipment including lights, windshields windshield wipers, and seat belts on motor vehicles, other than trucks, whose maximum speed is between 20 and 25 miles per hour. The rule is effective June 17, 1998. The principal vehicle in this class is the Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV). The rule does not apply to golf carts because their speed, as manufactured, is less than 20 mph. However, if any golf cart is modified on and after June 17, 1998, so that its maximum speed is over 20 mph, it must be conformed to Standard No. 500.
    * Federal Highway Administration: TEA-21 Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century - Public Law 105-178
    Definitions [1202(a)(7)]
    o Clarifies the permissibility of motorized wheelchair use on trails and pedestrian walkways that otherwise prohibit motorized use and also permits the use of electric bicycles on these facilities where State or local regulations permit.
    o Electric bicycles are defined as any bicycle or tricycle with a low-powered electric motor weighing under 100 pounds, with a top motor-powered speed of 20 miles per hour.
    See the underlined bolded parts. I think Maryland may be in the clear in regards to electric bikes.

  8. #8
    Banned
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    2,296
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    It seems to me that Maryland recognizes ebikes, they just call them mopeds. The Maryland vehicle law says specifically that mopeds are not motor vehicles, but bikes and that they are not subject to the regulations of motor vehicles, but the regulations of bicycles.

    As far as I can tell the only differences between that federal definition of an ebike and the maryland definition of a moped are:
    -Fed says 1HP limit, Maryland says 1.5HP limit.
    -Fed is strictly electric motors less than 100 pounds. [Although I don't see why this should be a determining factor in terms of lawful operation. Doesn't a hummer obey the same laws as Prius?]
    -Fed gives a 20mph cap. [A bit silly in light of the fact that even pedalcycles can occasionally edge past 20mph.]

    In any case, I was just pointing out the fact that people have to be careful. Ebikes appear to be well recognized in Maryland, but there's that one rule about requiring a license that could get some people in trouble if they aren't aware of the fact that Maryland uses the term "moped" instead of "ebike". Other than that you can treat an ebike in Maryland just as you would any other bike (except for sidewalk riding, but many states don't allow bikes on sidewalks anyway).

  9. #9
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    1
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks for posting the laws.



    Quote Originally Posted by makeinu View Post
    People should be careful about what they call these things. It appears that, in Maryland at least, an ebike is a moped:

    http://www.sha.state.md.us/exploremd...bike_laws4.pdftirescars

    ...subject to all the same laws as a regular bicycle with two exceptions:
    1. You need a license to ride it (driver's license or moped license).
    2. You can't ride on the sidewalk.

  10. #10
    put our Heads Together cerewa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    southeast pennsylvania
    My Bikes
    a mountain bike with a cargo box on the back and aero bars on the front. an old well-worn dahon folding bike
    Posts
    3,149
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Zeuser -

    in the USA the federal law does not supersede state law in regards to what is an electric bike.

    disclaimer:Ask a lawyer if you want the definitive answer, but as far as i know

    the state decides what is an electric bike for the purposes of road-going vehicles, licensing & insurance.

    the federal law decides what is an electric bike for the purposes of "is this product regulated by consumer product safety laws, or by highway transportation safety laws?"

    In other words, it could be that you have a motorcycle as far as the "is this allowed on streets/what lights does it need/what insurance" question is concerned, but an e-bike as far as the "who regulates new-product safety features on this machine". It could also be the other way around.

    The state law side of things more often applies to individual riders and the federal law side of things mostly applies to dealers/manufacturers.
    Some awesome folks who are working to give Haitians the ability to manage their safety and their lives:
    Haiti Partners

  11. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    My Bikes
    '72 Schwinn Sports Tourer, '73 Schwinn Super Sport, '79 Schwinn Twinn Sport 10sp tandem
    Posts
    163
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Zeuser View Post
    Simply put; an e-Bike is just a regular bicycle with an electric motor, controller and battery added on.
    That's the usual rider's definition, and it's a good one.

    Then there's the legal definition, which is different for different states.

    California, for example, defines two different classes of e-bikes: those with a top speed of 20mph on flat ground, and those with a top speed of 30mph on flat ground.

    The 20mph ones have few restrictions: You must be 16 or older to ride on a public street, and you must wear a helmet. That's a bout it.

    The 30mph ones have more laws: 16 years and a helmet. Plus you must have at least a moped permit (written test at DMV), register your ebike with the state (one-time form and $18 fee, they send you a little license plate and an ID card), and the bike must have headlight, taillight, brakelight, side reflectors, a rear mirror, and a horn.

    Other states have other laws, YMMV.
    '72 Schwinn Sports Tourer, original except for seat and 116psi tires
    48V 1000W black unbanded rear hubmotor kit from YXM Corp, 48V 20Ah LiFePO4 batt
    '79 Schwinn Twinn Sport 10sp tandem, 47#, now 14-speed with 12/34, aero wheels
    '07 Trek 7700 hybrid, 27sp, 20" frame, Conti UltraSport 700Cx28 116# tires, sweet
    '04 Trek 7500 hybrid, 17.5" frame, soon to be 48V 1000W rear-hubmotor electric bike

  12. #12
    Senior Member nwmtnbkr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    1,054
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Zeuser View Post
    See the underlined bolded parts. I think Maryland may be in the clear in regards to electric bikes.
    I'll say it again. The only federal laws in the US pertain to safety standards imposed on ready-made e-bikes sold to the public. Prior to 2001, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration asserted authority to impose moped/motorcycle safety standards on electric bikes. In 2001, the US Congress (in response to lobbying) passed legislation that defined two categories of ready-made e-bikes for purposes of safety regulations, "low-powered" electric bicycles and other electric bicycles that don't fit this category (Public Law 107-319). The term "low-powered" electric bicycles is defined as a bicycle with an electric motor of no more than 750W and speeds no more than 20 MPH. Those ready-made e-bikes that meet this definition only have to meet consumer bicycle safety standards set forth in regulations issued by the Consumer Product Safety Administration. Other, more powerful ready-made e-bikes with motors over 750W or speeds over 20 MPH must meet safety standards for mopeds/motorcycles set forth in regulations issued by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The more powerful e-bikes must have beefier frames and better brakes as well as signal lights and headlights and tail lights. At present, conversion kits aren't covered, but I expect that to change in the near future as more powerful hub motors continue to become available. The Congress has left it to the 50 states to decide whether to allow electric bicycles to be operated on public roads and whether to require licensing and insurance. One state, New York, has a complete ban on riding e-bikes on public roads. (There is legislation pending in the NY Legislature that would overturn this ban, but it's stalled in the Senate.) Many states treat e-bikes that can travel over 20 MPH as moped and require them to be licensed and insured.

  13. #13
    Administrator Allen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Atomic batteries to power; turbines to speed
    My Bikes
    Salsa La Raza, Panasonic Electric, Bria, Bamboo touring, Bamboo cargo
    Posts
    4,707
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    May wish to notice the start date on this thread.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •