Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > >

Electric Bikes Here's a place to discuss ebikes, from home grown to high-tech.

User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 08-23-06, 01:25 PM   #1
FreddytheFish
The Burninator
Thread Starter
 
FreddytheFish's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Bikes:
Posts: 18
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Electric Commuters - love or hate?

Hi All,

I'm usure about how to feel about the proliferation of electric powered/assisted bikes that are showing up on local bike paths/bike lanes. I'm hoping to get a few points of view from both the "love 'em" crowd and the "hate 'em" folks.

Here's how my thoughts go:

Pros:

1) Better for the environment than driving a ICE scooter/motorcycle/car
2) The more advocates for quality bikes lanes and bike paths the better
3) Health benefits from a less stressful commute

Cons:

1) They have motors! Shouldn't bike paths/lanes be reservered for human powered traffic.
2) People are locking them up in bike racks. This takes space away from regular cyclists and may prevent some people from riding (ie. they can't find a place to lock up their bike).
3) Electric power/assist offers very few exercise benefits.

Full disclosure: I've tried to see both sides for this post but I personally hate 'em. When I see an electric scooter busting around in the bike lane my blood starts to boil. There's a very clear like between bicycle and motor vehicle, if it has a motor it belongs to the latter and therefore should stay off the bike paths and out of bike lanes.
FreddytheFish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-06, 01:40 PM   #2
beingtxstate
Disgruntled grad student
 
beingtxstate's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Champaign, IL
Bikes:
Posts: 443
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Though I have no use for one, I don't mind them.

I go to a school where it is actually up-hill both ways, though never snowing. The people I see riding e-bikes need them to climb the 2 mile hill home.

A good friend and prof. here at the school has a disability, one leg is 2-3inches shorter than the other. He wants to ride for joy, less stress, health, and environmental protection/preservation, but he lives up a two mile 10-15% grade hill. I can't climb it w/o having a heat stroke, he is in his 60's

W/o the e-bike, he would be driving. For this reason alone I don't despise them. I don't really have any issues with them, but they aren't for me personally.

I am just glad to see other ppl riding!
__________________
1990 Trek 330
2006 Trek 7.2FX
2006 Trek 7.3FX (Wifey's Steed)
beingtxstate is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-06, 03:04 PM   #3
bbonnn
No-Pants Island
 
bbonnn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: South Bay of SF
Bikes: 2007 Trek Pilot 2.1 WSD & 2001 Specialized Crossroads
Posts: 425
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
There was another thread on here about motor scooters (the low-horsepower, step-through kind), and I discovered that in California, you HAVE to drive them in a bike lane if one is present. That changed my perspective. Less blood boiling.

I guess you have to figure out what benefits of the bike path or bike lane are being compromised when these types of vehicles use them. Such as noise from a motor disrupting the relative nature-ish peace of a multi-use path, or someone going too fast on an MUP, or riding annoyingly aggressively around peds*. With other aspects -- like if they keep to a speed limit of 15mph on the MUP, or whatever -- I've no objections.




* Um, cuz, you know, cyclists never do that.
bbonnn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-06, 03:15 PM   #4
AlmostTrick
Yabba-Dabba-Doo!
 
AlmostTrick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Bedrock, IL
Bikes: 1968 Schwinn Orange Krate, 5 speed stick shift
Posts: 4,782
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
I see very few so I can't really say I love or hate them. I will say it's fun when you can pass 'em without a motor!
AlmostTrick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-06, 03:29 PM   #5
Old Dirt Hill
Bring That Beat Back
 
Old Dirt Hill's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: I lost my legs
Bikes:
Posts: 937
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
They're welcome in my book. I think.
Old Dirt Hill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-06, 03:44 PM   #6
Erick L
Lentement mais sûrement
 
Erick L's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Montréal
Bikes:
Posts: 2,139
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
They're still quite rare and I'd rather see them than cars. I'll probably get one when I get older. Heck, sometimes I'd like one for those difficult mornings.
Erick L is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-06, 03:59 PM   #7
MicahWedemeyer
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Bikes:
Posts: 15
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Erick L
They're still quite rare and I'd rather see them than cars. I'll probably get one when I get older. Heck, sometimes I'd like one for those difficult mornings.
Agreed. I hope I see more of them. I'm worried that electric cars will replace gas-powered cars and we'll all still be in a car-centric world. My hope is that before e-cars become viable, most (many? some?) people will have tried something totally different and the face of transportation (commuting, at least) may have changed for the better.
MicahWedemeyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-06, 04:08 PM   #8
ryanparrish
Life is short Ride hard
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: In the middle of nowhere
Bikes: not enough
Posts: 1,114
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
maybe if you ran climate controlled tubes through the city that have no steep elevation climbs with security and waste management crews to keep the area clean and secure on staff 24/7 then I think people would ride a bike. Why do most people drive car it is "safe" nobody "attack" me it is comfortable it doesn't require work with e-bike xtra cycles and and 31'st century "tubes" more people will ride bike
ryanparrish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-06, 04:50 PM   #9
new_dharma
\,,/(^_^)\,,/
 
new_dharma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Bikes: Surly 1x1 Xtracycle, '01 Haro Flair Dave Mirra
Posts: 869
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
when I was a student at the U of MN, there were folks riding on the bike path across the Washington Ave bridge, going the wrong way, and they wouldn't move! This usually isn't a problem...just move over and let the fool pass (with some kind words )...but when it is nice outside, and the bridge is full of people walking across, it becomes a problem. http://www.phototour.minneapolis.mn.us/pics/2955.jpg
__________________
You know you're getting old when you look at a beautiful 19-year-old girl and you find yourself thinking, "Gee, I wonder what her mother looks like?"
new_dharma is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-06, 05:00 PM   #10
branman1986
Eternal Cat3 Rookie
 
branman1986's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Atlanta, GA
Bikes: 2004 Giant TCR2 Composite & 2006 Fuji Touring
Posts: 1,167
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Motorized bikes aren't allowed on the MUPs here in Atlanta thankfully.

On the street, I think it's a fine compromise
branman1986 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-06, 05:01 PM   #11
zowie
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: North Jersey
Bikes:
Posts: 744
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I don't have a problem with them, but I strongly question whether they're really as environmentally friendly as people assume. The electricity has to come from some place and frequently it's from burning coal, sometimes even oil.
zowie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-06, 05:11 PM   #12
krazygluon
Mad scientist w/a wrench
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Chucktown
Bikes: none working atm
Posts: 760
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Coal-fired electricity is arguably cleaner than gasoline power: the fed mandates and regulates and checks up on every coal plants emissions much more regularly than most people check the emissions on their cars. (hell, you can chop your catalytic converter out of your car within 24 hours of buying it here and as long as the car isn't too loud, no one would be the wiser or ever find out)

The bigger concern I have with e-bikes is the pollution involved in the production,disposal/recycling of the batteries. that said, I'd rather see e-bikes than cars any day.

The gas-powered scooters/motorcycles otoh, I'm not so happy with because unless you're in California, there's NO environmental regs on them, and with the resurgence of chopper-mania, truly efficient motorcycles are becoming less and less popular.
krazygluon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-06, 05:19 PM   #13
Falkon
The quieter you become...
 
Falkon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Huntsville, AL
Bikes: 1973 Raleigh Superbe, 2006 Trek 4300 with no original parts, 1984 Ciocc, Custom Keith Anderson
Posts: 1,283
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I personally don't have any problem with anyone using one as a bike. I don't like them myself, because even the moped ones are more scooter than bike. If you use it like a bike without the motor, it just feels heavy.
Falkon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-06, 07:29 PM   #14
Allen
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Bikes:
Posts: 4,752
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Ok, I'm qualified to speak to this. I have a Giant Lite/Twist electric assist bicycle (uber fred in my sig). First, not all electric bikes are created equal, they come in two basic verities mopeds, and electric assist bicycles, there is a difference. Mopeds, even though they may have pedals, like the old vespas, and early motorcycles, are too heavy and impractical to pedal. An electric assist bicycle you impart more energy to moving you forward than does the motor. True some have throttles, and you can run on the motor alone, but you will neither go very far or very fast.
The law (generally) describes an electric bike as one that has a top assisted speed of around 20 mph, most cut out around 16-18 mph, anything more is a moped and must be licensed and tagged. My bike conforms to Japanese standards which are more rigorous than either North American, or European standards. Mine has no throttle, you must pedal to make it go, and a range of anywhere from 18-35 miles depending on your load and terrain. It's mopeds that are not allowed on the MUPs in Atl, btw, my bike is legally a bicycle in the state of Georgia, and not banned from bike lanes or paths.
I did originally purchase mine because I had to do strength training after breaking my neck, but have since come to the conclusion that trauma, age, extreme weight, etc. are not requisites for purchasing one. I've over 3,000 miles on my bike, and it's the greatest town bike I could imagine. Fantastic for hauling loads, I can get on it through an intersection, even with 200 lbs. of groceries. This summer, although hellish, was doable every day, and sometimes it's just nice to take it easy.
A common reaction to electric assist bikes is as if they carry the plague, and usually from those who have never ridden one, or if so only in a parking lot. They are bicycles. Going up a 12% grade, you are going to have to work some to get up the hill, push it hard, and you are going to work hard. Relax, just keep the pedals moving, and let the motor do the work, you will get up the hill, but slowly (often nice to do when you are carrying a full trailer).
They have a Fred factor of epic proportions. Damn right I have a basket on mine, front and back. But I use it as a town bike, one needs baskets. What I'm getting to in a long tooth fashion is bicycles are highly specialized tools. One would not use a BMX in the Tour de France, nor would a time trial bike be of much use touring the cobblestone streets of Ireland. The assist bike, either as a commuter or fitness machine, is extremely capable.

--A
Allen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-06, 09:02 PM   #15
donnamb 
tired
 
donnamb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Portland, OR
Bikes: Breezer Uptown 8, U frame
Posts: 5,652
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I think power assist bikes have a place. Like here, for instance. That's a lot of cargo to take up a hill.

donnamb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-06, 09:19 PM   #16
chephy
Two H's!!! TWO!!!!!
 
chephy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Toronto, ON
Bikes:
Posts: 4,221
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
They are better than a car.

Just about anything is.
chephy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-06, 10:11 PM   #17
Citabria
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Bikes:
Posts: 31
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I love to pass them going up hills

But seriously.. I cannot complain. Fewer cars on the road. Some folks may have physical limitations that would prevent them from any sort of hill climbing and this is a solution that gets them riding. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

About bike racks: Well, so what? They're the same size as bicycles, no?
Citabria is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-06, 04:33 AM   #18
gbcb
J3L 2404
 
gbcb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Shanghai
Bikes: 2007 Jamis Nova
Posts: 1,075
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm in favour of them, too. Much better than cars in general, and much better for urban air quality than crummy gas-powered mopeds. Unfortunately, there has been talk of regulation in China to ban them in the run-up to the Olympics because they're seen as a "backwards" mode of transportation, and not one becoming of the world-class city that is Beijing (cough!).

The ones here top out at 20-30 km/h, and they're nice to draft when you're riding into a nasty headwind. None of the guilt associated with drafting off a cyclist, and none of the exhaust of a moped/motor scooter.

I don't object to electric bikes at the bike rack any more than I object to the fair weather cyclists who steal my favourite bike-rack spot at the beginning of spring. I get a bit annoyed that there's less space for me, but I'm glad to see people out of cars and using more efficient transportation options.

Edit: And the Stokemonkey electric-assist gadget on that Xtracycle in the photo is the coolest thing ever. It's worth reading about the design principles behind it, and how it's meant to *supplement* rather than *replace* human power on a bike. I have a lot of respect for Todd, the guy behind it -- I just wish the word would get out more!
gbcb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-06, 04:39 AM   #19
NeezyDeezy
Senior Member
 
NeezyDeezy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Bikes:
Posts: 880
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I like them.
NeezyDeezy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-06, 05:14 AM   #20
bike2math
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Texas
Bikes:
Posts: 959
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Funny finding this thread. On yesterdays morning half of the commute I saw four of these going the other direction on the MUP.

All were going slower than your average road bike and were, to tell the truth, probably slower than the 15 mph limit. Only one had a helmet.

I'm ambivalent towards them:

1. The ranking in my mind goes suv << devil's bus << standard auto << compact car << motorcycle <<
scooter << electric assist bicycle << god's rickshaw << bicycle

2. So long as they are as quite as a bicycle (and these four were; each one was different and I couldn't figure out until they were past me what it was that made them creepy) I'm okay with them on the path. Heck they were quiter than the college kids with the rust encased drivetrain I see everyday.

3. The speed is the real issue. If they are using the path their speed should not be much faster than the road bikes, the path is only 5 feet wide in parts, and has many blind corners.

4. On the other hand i do find the idea of going up a hill without pedalling is somehow very creepy.
bike2math is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-06, 11:12 AM   #21
n4zou
Scott
 
n4zou's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Bikes: Too Many
Posts: 2,393
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Here is the link to Public Law No: 107-319 concerning electric bicycles.
http://www.cpsc.gov/businfo/frnotices/fr03/low.html
This law is subject to local and state regulations so if your state outlaws motors on bicycles then your not going to be able use your electric bicycle in that state. A notable example is New Jersey. Other states may mandate additional equipment like lights and a helmet. Alabama considers any bicycle with an attached motor, gas or electric, to be classified as a motor-driven cycle and requires a brake light, illuminated headlight, and a motorcycle type approved helmet be worn. In actual operation the police in Alabama don’t enforce the motorcycle helmet requirement and a bicycle type helmet is acceptable but you must have a brake light and an illuminated headlight anytime the motor-driven cycle is moving even if the motor is not being used.

I have some experience with electric bicycles having installed a few electric bicycle kits for the neighbors.
Electric bicycle operators find out quickly that high-speed equals reduced range so typical operating speeds are around 10 miles per hour, which extends the range 4 times that of full throttle operation. Pedaling with the electric motor extends the range even more.
I have no problem with electric bicycles on the bike paths as there slower than the Roadies blasting down the path in excess of 20 MPH.
n4zou is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-06, 11:26 AM   #22
marqueemoon
or tarckeemoon, depending
 
marqueemoon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: the pesto of cities
Bikes: Davidson Impulse, Merckx Titanium AX, Bruce Gordon Rock & Road, Cross Check custom build, On-One Il Pomino, Shawver Cycles cross, Zion 737, Mercian Vincitore, Brompton S1L, Charge Juicer
Posts: 7,020
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Citabria
I love to pass them going up hills

But seriously.. I cannot complain. Fewer cars on the road. Some folks may have physical limitations that would prevent them from any sort of hill climbing and this is a solution that gets them riding. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

About bike racks: Well, so what? They're the same size as bicycles, no?
That pretty much sums up my feelings on them.
marqueemoon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-06, 12:08 PM   #23
rajman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Toronto
Bikes: Miyata 600, Marin Larkspur, Marin Muirwoods, GT tequesta, Fuji Ace
Posts: 970
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I have no objection to the electric bicycles in the lanes. I wish there were more of them around. I considered one for myself, but couldn't see the use of it vs. my other bikes. If I had one, it would be the trike, for major cargo haulage. Bionx sells a kit where you can just exchange the rear wheel of your bike for the power assist, and you get regenerative braking - or you can even charge the batteries by pedaling if you choose the correct setting.

For some reason, I don't like to see scooters or vespas in the MUP's, on the streets fine, but they are too wide for the paths. This is hypocritical, since I don't resent the trikes and trailers in the same place...
rajman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-06, 12:25 PM   #24
jyossarian
SERENITY NOW!!!
 
jyossarian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: In the 212
Bikes: Haro Vector, IRO Rob Roy, Bianchi Veloce
Posts: 8,756
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm cool w/ them as long as it's an assist motor, not a motorbike w/ pedals.
__________________
HHCMF - Take pride in your ability to amaze lesser mortals! - MikeR



We demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!
jyossarian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-06, 12:41 PM   #25
San Rensho 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Bikes:
Posts: 5,540
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
I personally wouldn't use one, but the more slow moving two wheeled vehicles there are on the road, the more acceptable bicycling becomes to car drivers.
__________________
Il faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace

1980 3Rensho-- 1975 Raleigh Sprite 3spd
1990s Raleigh M20 MTB--2007 Windsor Hour (track)
1988 Ducati 750 F1
San Rensho is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:28 AM.