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  1. #1
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    Electric bikes with only 1 speed for pedaling?

    I am living in Southeast Asia, and have looked at many electric bikes available here (most built in China or Taiwan, I think). All of them have one huge design flaw: when you are using them as a pedal bike without the electric, you only have one speed. This is so stupid it makes me scream. The manufacturers are assuming that people who buy electric bikes just want a motorbike that doesn't need petrol. But some people who might buy an electric bike, such as me, like to pedal and just want the electric to help get over hills or to carry a passenger.

    I often see unfortunate people whose battery has run out of power, pedaling their electric bikes. They can only go a little faster than walking speed.

    Are the electric bikes that are available in the west the same way or do they offer different gear ratios/ pedal speeds?

    I want an electric bike that is a good versatile bike that just happens to have electric assist. Surely I'm not the only one?

    Another thing that bugs me is that the passenger pads on these electric bikes are so narrow nobody but a child could sit on them comfortably. But, of course, style is much more important than substance, everybody knows that.

    The world is conspiring to drive me crazy with idiotic, minimally functional designs...not just with bikes, with everything!

  2. #2
    put our Heads Together cerewa's Avatar
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    The world is conspiring to drive me crazy with idiotic, minimally functional designs...not just with bikes, with everything!
    Scooter style e-bikes with only one pedal speed are functional IF you intend to use them without pedaling.

    Bicycle style e-bikes are much better for people who want to pedal most of the time while e-biking. However, if you also want to carry a passenger, a bicycle style e-bike might not be for you.

    The Xtracycle is highly recommended by many people, if you want to retrofit a bicycle to be able to carry an adult passenger. Or you could buy one of the pre-made long-bicycles like "yuba mundo", "kona ute", or "surly big dummy". You could retrofit one of those as an e-bike.

    Adding an e-bike kit (like the goldenmotor.com kit) to a bicycle will get you a much better pedal bicycle than buying a scooter style e-bike.
    Some awesome folks who are working to give Haitians the ability to manage their safety and their lives:
    Haiti Partners

  3. #3
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    Okay, thanks Cerewa. But why can't the scooter style bikes allow for different pedaling speeds? Is there a reason the manufacturers don't give them this capability? I mean, does the electric drive mechanism make it impossible to put a gear speed thingy on the wheel?

    Is it the same with the scooter bikes in the west?

    These scooter bikes are the only kind they sell here, so modifying a regular bike would be necessary. Why can't they just make machines that function??? Why am I always "modifying" things to make them functional?

  4. #4
    Senior Member blippo's Avatar
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    I wouldn't want a single speed electric bike. It would be brutal if it would quit working miles away from home pedaling on hills with the heavy weight

  5. #5
    Senior Member Solar.110mb's Avatar
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    I had a Garrelli moped when I was young, and the pedals were worthless, barely walking speed.

  6. #6
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    funny thing.....all the ebikes in the west are from........CHINA!

  7. #7
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    Just take your favorite bicycle and add a hub motor kit. That is the easiest method even here in the U.S. You can't take a electric scooter and expect it to act like a bicycle.

  8. #8
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    what about using a nexus hub and chain drive motor?

  9. #9
    It's easy being green. recumelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crackerdog View Post
    Just take your favorite bicycle and add a hub motor kit. That is the easiest method even here in the U.S. You can't take a electric scooter and expect it to act like a bicycle.
    + 1
    What led me to electric bikes was my search for an old-fashioned moped that I thought would allow either pedal or motorized options. I had the same frustration as you in finding what amounted to mini-scooters that had pedals as a kick start. As far as being used for traditional pedaling purposes, the pedals were a joke.

    I finally gave up hope of trying to find what I wanted and started researching actual scooters. Ironically, during that research, I ended up stumbling into the concept of electric-assisted pedaling, which is what I wanted in the first place. A website that was helpful for me was:

    http://www.electric-bikes.com

    They have information about all kinds of electric vehicles, including the pedal assist technology that you want. They give information on various companies to order motors and bikes from, as well. Not saying to use any of those, but it's a good starting point for research. I still ended up going back there to make my final decision and bought products that were recommmended by that site.
    Last edited by recumelectric; 09-14-08 at 04:19 PM.
    When I ride, the troubles just roll off my back.

    Originally Posted by Cody Broken :
    Every ride is a mission, a race, an adventure, a quest.
    Every bike is noble steed, a stalwart machine, a clever device, a stealthy speedster.

  10. #10
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    While it's nice that one can add electric capabilities by buying a kit (and the kits are rather expensive, aren't they?) the question is, why aren't the damn manufacturers visionary enough to realize that people also need a fully functional pedal bike, not just an electric scooter? Isn't that, like, friggin' obvious? Why are we forced to make major modifications by ourselves? Some of us aren't particularly technically inclined.

    But one also may as well ask why the damn manufacturers still make small uncomfortable crotch-wedging seats when we know how to make them right, it's no mystery. And why they still put style ahead of function with such things as handlebars (the stick handlebars look cool, but the old fashioned handlebars that bent toward the rider at 90 degree angles were far more user-friendly, and put far less pressure on the crotch and arms.)

    Why aren't recumbents being mass produced? Why do manufacturers seem to cling forever to old ideas when there are new, better ones?

    I have started exploring that site, electricbikes.com. Thanks for the link. But maybe someone can help me on this: are there ANY electric scooter style bikes on electricbikes.com, or anywhere else, that offer a multi-speed pedaling feature? Recumelectric, you misunderstand me. I don't want pedal-assist technology. I mean, I'll take it as an extra, and imagine it would be nice to have, but what I want is to pedal, unassisted, often, in order to get a good workout and strengthen muscles. And I want the bike to allow that to be done efficiently, with multiple pedaling speeds. And I want the electric assist only for when I have to climb a hill or have a passenger. Even for people who don't want to pedal, the fact is that sometimes the battery runs out and you're far from home, and then you're really screwed with existing bikes.

  11. #11
    Senior Member misslexi's Avatar
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    I think these guys have the right idea, I'm having one of their kits put on a recumbent right now. It's the best of both worlds; the rider and the motor have access to the gears and either, or both, can supply the power, or coast. The only downside I see is their mid-drive is limited to recumbents and one or two semi-recumbents, I'm sure if someone got creative they could make it work for a regular bike. I guess it's not cheap either, c'est la vie.


    http://www.ecospeed.net/

  12. #12
    put our Heads Together cerewa's Avatar
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    I mean, does the electric drive mechanism make it impossible to put a gear speed thingy on the wheel?
    No. But they are made for people who don't want to pedal.

    Any e-bike that is designed to be pedaled should weigh 100 pounds (45kg) or less; preferably less than 60 pounds (27kg). If it's heavier than that, then any time you pedal uphill or try to accelerate you will feel like you're doing a lot of work for nothing.

    It doesn't make any sense to try to make a bike that looks like a scooter but works well as a pedal bicycle - the body work, the wheels, etc all make it more heavy and uncomfortable than a bicycle.

    The scooter style e-bikes in the west and in china have these same drawbacks.
    Some awesome folks who are working to give Haitians the ability to manage their safety and their lives:
    Haiti Partners

  13. #13
    It's easy being green. recumelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beelz View Post
    While it's nice that one can add electric capabilities by buying a kit (and the kits are rather expensive, aren't they?) the question is, why aren't the damn manufacturers visionary enough to realize that people also need a fully functional pedal bike, not just an electric scooter? Isn't that, like, friggin' obvious? Why are we forced to make major modifications by ourselves? Some of us aren't particularly technically inclined.
    It wasn't that major for me. The boys at the bike shop had mine installed in 2 hours. If I weren't such a techno-peasant, I might have done it myself.

    Quote Originally Posted by beelz View Post
    But one also may as well ask why the damn manufacturers still make small uncomfortable crotch-wedging seats when we know how to make them right, it's no mystery. And why they still put style ahead of function with such things as handlebars (the stick handlebars look cool, but the old fashioned handlebars that bent toward the rider at 90 degree angles were far more user-friendly, and put far less pressure on the crotch and arms.)
    I have never figured that one out. It's the reaosn I have ridden a Beach Cruiser until now, and the reason why I don't totally push BF to ride a bike. I don't want any damage done to those naughty parts!

    Quote Originally Posted by beelz View Post
    Why aren't recumbents being mass produced? Why do manufacturers seem to cling forever to old ideas when there are new, better ones?
    Recumbents are slowly taking hold. I'm seeing decent used ones on Craigs List for well under $1000. the more people who buy them, the more that will be produced.

    Quote Originally Posted by beelz View Post
    I have started exploring that site, electricbikes.com. Thanks for the link. But maybe someone can help me on this: are there ANY electric scooter style bikes on electricbikes.com, or anywhere else, that offer a multi-speed pedaling feature? Recumelectric, you misunderstand me. I don't want pedal-assist technology. I mean, I'll take it as an extra, and imagine it would be nice to have, but what I want is to pedal, unassisted, often, in order to get a good workout and strengthen muscles. And I want the bike to allow that to be done efficiently, with multiple pedaling speeds. And I want the electric assist only for when I have to climb a hill or have a passenger. Even for people who don't want to pedal, the fact is that sometimes the battery runs out and you're far from home, and then you're really screwed with existing bikes.
    I'm able to set my Bionx at a low level of assistance. (You'll want some assistance just to counteract the weight of the motor and battery.) Then I can hit the throttle if I want to climb hard hills, speed through an intersection, fight wind, or carry a bunch of stuff. ...It's not your ideal of only having the motor when you want it, though. I was a little frustrated by this at first, because I wanted to throttle all the way to work and then pedal home.

    As things stand, I throttle heavily on the way to work, and then pedal home a lot faster than I ever could have before. I am still building a lot of muscle mass. My butt and legs are the best they have ever been, and I eat like a starving refugee on some days.

    Plus, the pedal assist makes hills a breeze. I don't even have to hit the throttle to get the effect. Have you ever coasted up a little hill or part of a hill without getting a run on it? It's pretty cool.

    ...It's not as bad as you think. However, I would suggest that you try out some of the technology before buying, so you can get what you really want.
    When I ride, the troubles just roll off my back.

    Originally Posted by Cody Broken :
    Every ride is a mission, a race, an adventure, a quest.
    Every bike is noble steed, a stalwart machine, a clever device, a stealthy speedster.

  14. #14
    It's easy being green. recumelectric's Avatar
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    Some companies sell a motor that directly powers the wheel by pushing against it in a circular motion. When you don't want to use it, you can lift it up with a lever and lock it into inactive mode. I've seen a few of these, both gas and electric. They are cheaper than the full blown electric set-ups. (I don't favor the gas ones, though, because they are basically stinky ole lawnmower motors that pollute and leave you smelling of fumes.)
    When I ride, the troubles just roll off my back.

    Originally Posted by Cody Broken :
    Every ride is a mission, a race, an adventure, a quest.
    Every bike is noble steed, a stalwart machine, a clever device, a stealthy speedster.

  15. #15
    Senior Member BMX Race Bikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cerewa View Post
    Scooter style e-bikes with only one pedal speed are functional IF you intend to use them without pedaling.

    Bicycle style e-bikes are much better for people who want to pedal most of the time while e-biking. However, if you also want to carry a passenger, a bicycle style e-bike might not be for you.

    .
    I agree your opinion !!
    I bet you almost have as much experience as me in biking !

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