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Thread: Optibike 800Li

  1. #1
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    Optibike 800Li

    Has anyone tried one of these? I realize they are very expensive, but looking at testimonials and videos they look awesome. They have a unique no hub design. Problem, No Dealers in US to try one out. And at that price, I would definately want to test ride, although they say they have a 30 refundable policy.

    http://www.optibike.com/index.php?pa...art&Itemid=100

  2. #2
    put our Heads Together cerewa's Avatar
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    $9000 will buy a heckuva motorcycle.

    800 watts aint nothin compared to a regular motorcycle.

    It's also kind of overkill for something that's designed like a bicycle. The bike's probably really nice, if you're in to that sort of thing at that sort of price, but $9000 could also buy 3 or more really nice bikes with even higher power crystalyte hub motors.... but nobody sells those fully assembled.
    Some awesome folks who are working to give Haitians the ability to manage their safety and their lives:
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    Senior Member blippo's Avatar
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    That bike is for someone with a lot of disposable income

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    If the bike just wouldn't say "steal me", the $9000 could last longer. I'd like to see a lighter, less powerful, more modest version of their bottom bracket driven bikes.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Snowsurfer's Avatar
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    I could build something I would enjoy much more for a quarter the cost.

    For that price, I would probably opt for a motorcycle instead.

    I also don't think that thing looks very nice either [/shallow]

    I would rather settle for a Montague Paratrooper with a Crystalyte 5XXX, than to get that thing.

  6. #6
    adrenaline junkie
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    I have a 1 week old 800Li. What do you want to know?

    The most obvious advantage of Optibike's design over hub motors is reducing unsprung mass and keeping the center of gravity low, producing a bike with great handling on and off road. It also offers good efficiency on ridiculous climbs. But for me, the deciding factor was that it is engineered as a complete system. For example, the battery management will yield years of extra useful life for the lithium ion packs, compared to hobbyist charging systems. The motor is oil cooled. The controller senses battery and motor temperature, preventing overheating during both use and charging. I am impressed by their engineering, and I am not an easy guy to impress.

    If cerewa and Snowsurfer are trying to say the Optibike is overpriced by comparing it with motorcycles, they are right, but that's what you'll have to pay to be an early adopter. In other respects, the comparison is silly. Blippo is correct: sane buyers of the 800Li can afford it and a motorcycle. For my part, I don't want a motorcycle, but there are days when I need some help if I am going to ride a bike.

  7. #7
    grand wazoo
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    no
    no
    no
    bike worth $15ooto $2000 at a bike place nothing special trek y copy old lame design
    less for street valu 200-500$ (bike alone)
    and its real tru valu ....
    under 50$
    you would not even get that at a scrap metal place
    even new 6061 1 inch tubing at 1/16th is a mere $1.50 to buy


    nicest ive seen though good intent! but wayyyy overpriced (a'rnt they all!?)


    you can get a 6000 thousand watt moter (not 600)thats a little bigger than a pop can with a 110amp continuos controller plus a whole bunch of monitoring devices for under a g

    buy a nice bike and spent the other $4to5 grand on machining tools and set yourself free
    Last edited by bdcain; 09-24-08 at 12:07 PM.

  8. #8
    adrenaline junkie
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    Do I detect a slight note of jealousy?

    Regarding your observations:

    With high end components and a custom frame, the 800Li without any electronics would retail for at least $3000, possibly $5000 dollars or more. You don't have to like it. I'm not suggesting you buy it. But that is the market price.

    A monocoque frame is the right way to go for an ebike, providing the best protection for battery and electronics. Is Optibikes frame as good as my Titus? I seriously doubt it! But it is an effective solution. Other choices tend to leave the battery and power wiring exposed and vulnerable, and their mass placed high and off the CG. Purpose built frames just make sense for ebikes.

    The 800W rating for the 800Li Optibike is a nominal rating. Believe me - it provides very acceptable acceleration during start up (the first 5 seconds, before the controller switches to its steady state operation mode). On www.robotmarketplace.com, the only brushless motor matching you description (>6000W continuous duty) is 8" in diameter and weighs 22lbs - not exactly a pop can. What motorare you thinking of? (Note that brushless motors are the way to go if efficiency is a priority.)

    Oh yeah - I have machine tools (lathe, CNC mill, bandsaw, etc.) in my workshop. I think I'm better off not using them in this case. I want dependable transportation I can use today, tomorrow, and every day for years to come, not another project that will never be truly finished. Freedom for me is having a bike that I can truly use for my everyday needs.

  9. #9
    grand wazoo
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    not jealous at all heres my 12 year old bike all chris king!


    and heres my single speed


    and my freeride is going electric (motor system tuckedbehind seat tube then later into a trike for the wife!


    and my 2 year olds



    and look at the headset on my 13 foot cargo triler chris king!
    with a graphite tuff two race face stem oddy 4130 therm cro mo forks



    as to motors you are looking in the wrong places
    is valu what somebody is willing to pay or the sum of its parts?


    zappa rules!
    Last edited by bdcain; 09-24-08 at 02:12 PM.

  10. #10
    It's easy being green. recumelectric's Avatar
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    I've looked at the YouTube videos of people riding those. Boy, did it look like fun!

    ...However, as another poster pointed out, you could probably get more power and distance from a scooter or motorbike and spend less money. If you're really into electric, you can get electric scooters and motorbikes, too.

    If you're wanting to just get extra power in your pedals, consider getting a 350W or above kit to put on your regular bicycle. The stories I'm reading indicate that these work just fine. ...I'm doing fine with 250W, but I think I'd like to get 350W later down the road. I'd like a smidgen more power, but I don't need 800W.
    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.

  11. #11
    grand wazoo
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    What happens when your accelerating at a high speed
    and your derailer messes up or you chain gets sucked into the spaces between frame /hub/wheel/cranks?

  12. #12
    adrenaline junkie
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    [edited for formatting]

    Recumelectric: You're absolutely right. 800W is more than enough power. I often use the 250W setting while riding around town (n.b. the controller still provides high power when accelerating under this setting). What is 800W good for? Quick acceleration while riding in traffic is the big one. Also ridiculous hill climbs become possible. Yesterday I rode up a steep access road in the mountains - 1700' of elevation gain in 4 miles - in 25 minutes. That's about 1/3 the time it takes stronger riders than me. Going up sucked about twice the normal power (8.8 amp-hours). Going down overheated the brakes!

    bdcain: Letting go of the throttle when shifting seems obvious to me - mostly to reduce gear wear but it mostly eliminates your concern as well. I suppose you could still hit something with the derailleur and end up out of luck. For what its worth, there is a beefy milled plastic chainguard which should keep the chain on the (single) front gear. The use of a single front chainwheel makes the rear derailleur's job that much easier. Overall I see the risk as lower than on my mountain bike.

  13. #13
    grand wazoo
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    well best case (in the worstcase) is youl snap a hanger or derailer /chain
    or at worst tear out a chunk/bend of chainstay or frame
    thats not taking into account the damage to you if you jam in a intersection or any other bad place to be when it happens
    you might know how to shift gears and keep your system tuned but the next person might not
    any system sold to the public should be fool proof
    I am not here to piss on your parade just debating

  14. #14
    put our Heads Together cerewa's Avatar
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    Recumelectric: You're absolutely right. 800W is more than enough power.
    800w is more than enough, but if you want to be able to climb ultra-steep terrain or go 50 miles per hour, you could just run a crystalyte "5" series motor with a ~5000 watt (5kw) setup instead.
    Some awesome folks who are working to give Haitians the ability to manage their safety and their lives:
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  15. #15
    adrenaline junkie
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    Chain drive systems have advantages and disadvantages. Are you really surprised about that? This has been discussed at some length in the chain drive thread. Overall opinions regarding chain drives seem favorable.

    I think you (bdcain) are looking for problems where they don't exist. At least not significant ones. If it isn't jealousy, my next guess is you resent Optibike's high price. Guess what - it is overpriced. If that bother you, then don't buy one!

    Specifically, chain suck happens on non-motorized bikes too. I don't see significant added risk here - sure the chain is pulled harder and could theoretically get stuck harder due to that, but wedged tight is wedged tight, whether from human power or a motor. FYI, the motor cuts out when stalled and won't likely tear the bike to pieces as you suggest.

    As to the notion that anything should be considered foolproof, I think Douglas Adams said it best: "A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools."

    By the way, you can't "piss on my parade." I'm loving my 800Li, and I'm not seeking acceptance here to validate that. You did get one thing right, though: having a machine shop is a very nice. I'm heading there now to make a better throttle.
    Last edited by unime; 09-26-08 at 02:55 PM.

  16. #16
    grand wazoo
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    well I would never buy one
    I am making a (imoa) better one thats more suited for my demands
    although I am making it a trike (think can am) http://spyder.brp.com/
    it's for my wife (who's in a wheelchair)
    and after doing so i can go onto other projects
    I have torn a few derailers off,few hangers and messed up a few hangerless frames
    in my35 years of riding
    you say you seek acceptance.. well this is a forum sorry that I differ.
    i would be happy to direct you to my guru
    he is verry inspiring to the do it your selfer/modifier
    his page is great!
    Last edited by bdcain; 09-26-08 at 02:34 PM.

  17. #17
    grand wazoo
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    they could of done it in shaft drive or rohloff but i digress
    ps where is the frame made?
    and yes I resent the price as with all prices in the bike or e bike or world pricing
    Last edited by bdcain; 09-26-08 at 02:43 PM.

  18. #18
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    I would think that when you shift on a chain drive system, it'll snap really hard to the next gear. When I accelerate on my bike, I take a little weight off whenever the chain is in the middle of shifting. The average Optibike rider probably doesn't know that and is likely wearing their chain and rear cogs out faster.

    Also, the higher tension should mean quicker chain wear and stretch.

  19. #19
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    unime, just realized you own one of these. Nice!

    So, hope you don't mind. I have a few questions. You're the first Optibike user I've come across on the boards.
    - As I posted above, how is shifting under load? Do you turn off the motor briefly for shifting?
    - How's the noise? Is there an audible high pitch whirring sound?
    - How's the cadence at high speeds? The default gear ratios don't make it easy to add pedal power at the higher speeds (25mph or higher)
    - How many watt-hours per mile do you say you typically use? I have a Bionx system and I generally use about 8-9 wh/mile usually averaging about 20mph (battery capacity in watt-hours / total miles traveled on single charge).

  20. #20
    grand wazoo
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    well if they speced it right all the rear cogs on the casset will be cro mo or ss
    and all most all frames flex under human power
    addin if you are at the top or bottom of the cassete you have a bad chainline!
    give some good bumps and...

  21. #21
    adrenaline junkie
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    It is cool! But I will happily say the same about more modest ebikes. Anything that gets you out there earns my respect.

    ---- First ----

    When you drive a car with a manual transmission, you don't force the shifter to a new position while flooring it. There is a process coordinating clutch, throttle, and shifter. The same goes for bicycles with standard derailleurs. Yes?

    So yes. Of course I ease up on the throttle when shifting. It is a mistake to assume average optibike owners are ignorant because they are willing to spend a lot of money. While you might see this as an error, I see it as supporting a local business as an early adopter. In any case, I figure Optibike buyers are far more likely than not to be lifelong cyclists with a clue or two to spare.

    ---- Second ----

    According to the folks at the factory, the gears wear out at about the same rate on both Optibikes and similarly equipped mountain bikes - about 3000 miles average life. I usually replace chains at 1000-2000 miles, and expect the same on the Opti.

    Forgive me for nitpicking, but bicycle chains do not stretch. The overall elongation is caused by wear rather than deformation of the steel.

    ---- Third ----

    hope you don't mind. I have a few questions. You're the first Optibike user I've come across on the boards.
    Not at all - that's why I posted here.

    - As I posted above, how is shifting under load? Do you turn off the motor briefly for shifting?
    Shifting up under light load is fine, but generally I back off as explained above.

    - How's the noise? Is there an audible high pitch whirring sound?
    There is some gear noise from inside the bottom bracket. Not bad, but enough to keep you honest :-)

    - How's the cadence at high speeds? The default gear ratios don't make it easy to add pedal power at the higher speeds (25mph or higher)
    Optimal cadence is 70-90 RPM. There is plenty of room to spin faster going 35mph with the stock chainwheel.

    - How many watt-hours per mile do you say you typically use? I have a Bionx system and I generally use about 8-9 wh/mile usually averaging about 20mph (battery capacity in watt-hours / total miles traveled on single charge).
    I have been using about 1 amp-hour/mile with the internal 40V pack, maybe more. That should work out to 20 miles range of aggressive city riding. Not quite the 30 miles advertised, but I've been running errands, towing my son, and generally testing the capabilities of the bike.

    I'm not sure I recommend this much power. The 600 watt model seems much more reasonable, and 400 watts is clearly enough for typical electric assist needs. For me, well let's just say I'm not planning on switching.

    ---- Fourth ----

    I don't know whether the frame is built in the Boulder, CO factory or somewhere else in the country, but they definitely say "made in America". There is a slide show on the Optibike web site that shows some picture of the frame being built.

    ---- Errata ----

    In a previous post, I meant to write that I am not looking for acceptance here. It has been corrected.

  22. #22
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    Thanks for answering my questions. I'm hoping Optibike will have a cyclocross type of frame in the future with pedal activation instead of just throttle in the future. But from my last e-mail correspondence with them, nothing like that is planned so far.

  23. #23
    grand wazoo
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    oh another major mistake is a suare taper spindle
    isis is the way or 48 spline like profile racing
    as they use a unified rear (nice looking production piece)
    they should of used a smaller(size ) motor aft of the mast instead of doing a intergrated bb
    and ran a modded profile racing drive bi rear hub with total frewheel capibility
    if i read right 24 pounds for a crystal lite seres 5 wow holy@#$^ at close to 4 pounds a 12kw motor is a little more reasonable

    ps can we see a pic?
    Last edited by bdcain; 09-26-08 at 07:21 PM.

  24. #24
    adrenaline junkie
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    Enough trolling, m'kay?

    Your assumptions about the Optibike are completely wrong, your engineering sense has enormous blind spots, and I'm not going to dignify your ravings with detailed explanations.

    Anyone who thinks bdcain has even one valid point, post your thoughts and I'll explain where he went wrong.

    Have a nice day.

  25. #25
    grand wazoo
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    checkmate http://www.icare-rc.com/plettenberg_terminator.htm 6kw read em and weep
    http://www.wisil.recumbents.com/wisi...er/default.htm
    read and feel the goosebumps this guy is headed in right direction
    ps hate me but dont hate reality
    Last edited by bdcain; 09-26-08 at 08:20 PM.

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