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Old 05-18-08, 09:43 AM   #1
papaslides
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Question Electric Commuter Bike

Hello all, I am brand new to this forum but was hoping to get some advice.

I live in Ann Arbor Mi, and commute about 7 miles to work (if anyone is familiar with Ann Arbor that means there's a lot of hills). With gas costs skyrocketing I want a cost efficient alternative way to get to work. Besides the hills, the problem is that I am a stockroom manager for pottery barn (or will be soon) which means 8 hours of heavy lifting, climbing ladders, etc. etc., so riding a traditional bike home after that long day would be somewhat insane for me (I'm not in THAT good of shape). First I will list what my requirements are and then what ideas I've had, hopefully there already exists a solution that I need.

Requirements:
Speed: I know there are laws about this, so I'm gonna say the max 20mph (it already takes me 20 minutes to get to work with all the traffic signals, I'm not sure I'd like a 45 minute commute)
Range: at least 15-20 Miles (in case I can't charge it at work)
Cost: I was hoping to keep it under 600$, because of snow I would only be able to use it 50-75% of the year, so the gas savings paying for itself is far less efficient than say a similar project in California (where gas prices are higher and you can ride it almost all year baring crazy rain)

Ideas:
1. Electric Bike: All but one of the commercial electric bike's I've seen are very very pricey for me
2. Electric Conversion: I've seen a lot about this, but I don't own a bike anymore (since I moved to Michigan) so the cost of a new bike is a factor as well.
3. I've also thought about an electric or biodiesel moped (something that runs on vegetable oil)

I'm not terribly mechanically inclined (or at least trained) but I love to tinker and learn new things. Any ideas on how to build an affordable commuter vehicle that will not set me back more than I can feasibly save in gas in a year would be GREATLY appreciated. Thank you.
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Old 05-18-08, 10:02 AM   #2
crackerdog
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The most efficient is probably buying a used EZ-1 recumbent off Craigslist and putting on a motor kit from Electroportal (easy to install). I have some of these and it does what you are asking. I live in Port Townsend, a very hilly place (steep hills). The used bike will cost between 200 and $400 and the kit is about $600. It would pay for itself within 2 years and would help get rid of your work related stress by the time you got home.
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Old 05-23-08, 09:45 PM   #3
succeedpeople
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I think the cost of good ebike is over than USD600.
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