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  1. #1
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    Are these missions possible on an e-bike?

    Mission #1: My daily commute. Approximately 15 miles each way, over suburban Metro Atlanta roads. The terrain is moderately hilly. I fully expect to pedal, but don't have a shower at work and can't get sweaty in the morning. In a car, I average 25 mph in the morning, and about 20 mph in the evening. Lots of stoplights both ways, and lots of traffic in the afternoon.

    Mission #2: Hang gliding retrieve vehicle. I fly a hang glider at Lookout Mountain Flight Park in northwest Georgia, USA. It would be nice to have a retrieve vehicle that I could carry on the back of my car, so that I could leave the car in the landing zone and get back up to the mountain launch. The distance is approximately five miles. The first two miles start flat, then is gently rolling up, then a moderate climb up. Next up is approximately two miles of a 8 to 9 percent grade, then a quarter mile of 14 to 17 percent grade. The last half mile is a rolling climb that is more modest in steepness. Total climb is 1300 feet. Again, I expect to pedal.

    I have ridden #2, once. Total time was 57 minutes, which included two episodes of pushing the bike, one in part of the 9 percent grade, the second being all of the 14 - 17 percent grade.

    Are either both possible on an e-bike, or is this a job for an internal combustion engine?
    Last edited by FormerFF; 05-01-09 at 08:50 PM. Reason: Added climb distance
    Only mad dogs, Englishmen, and triathletes go out in the mid day sun.

  2. #2
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    I would say yes, to both.

    You're in the South. You're going to get sweaty doing any amount of work outside in the heat, but the ebike will be much easier and faster than a regular bike. 15 miles would probably take you about an hour or less. Wear comfortable clothes for biking and bring fresh clothes to work in.

    You should bring your charger to work and recharge for the ride home.

    It should also work quite nicely for the hill climb. Going uphill, I think you'll average about 12 miles per hour. Faster on the not so steep sections and a little slower on the steeper sections, but depending on your weight and fitness you probably won't have to dismount and push the bike.

  3. #3
    Senior Member misslexi's Avatar
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    Are you thinking one eBike for both chores or one for each?

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Allen's Avatar
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    Are you planning on carrying your hang glider up Lookout on the bike?
    If so I'd recommend a Stokemonkey on a Big Dummy or Xtracycle fitted frame.
    Last edited by Allen; 05-02-09 at 07:30 AM.

  5. #5
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    Are you thinking one eBike for both chores or one for each?
    Preferably one. I suppose I could do one for each and use the same battery pack, but I'd rather not have the extra bike. (already have three, one of which would become the ebike)

    Are you planning on carrying your hang glider up Lookout on the bike?
    If so I'd recommend a Stokemonkey on a Big Dummy or Xtracycle fitted frame.
    Nope, just me. (165 lbs) What I'd do is to unload the glider off of my car at the mountain launch, then drive the car to the landing zone, and use the bike to get back up to the mountain launch. After flying, I'd put the glider back on the car, take it to the mountain launch, and pick up the bike. Usually we get a chain of pilots getting people up the hill, but I like to go earlier than most so I can get a morning flight in as well as an afternoon or early evening one.
    Last edited by FormerFF; 05-02-09 at 11:29 AM. Reason: typo
    Only mad dogs, Englishmen, and triathletes go out in the mid day sun.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator Allen's Avatar
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    Then you can get by on most any ebike.
    You may have to charge the battery in the afternoon on some of the smaller battery capacity bikes.

    I plan on being up at Lookout sometime this summer.
    I haven't jumped off the hill in several years.
    (I live near Athens BTW)

  7. #7
    Senior Member misslexi's Avatar
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    The hill climb is the tough one. I would look at one of the geared hub motors, something skewed more towards torque than top end. Since it sounds like it will be a retrofit to a regular bike frame that pretty much rules out any sort of mid-drive. Stokemonkey or pushcart are great ideas but it's one more thing you have to haul around. Since you aren't coming down the hill I'd say regen is not a big plus for you. If you can plug in at work that will be a huge battery saver.

    Assuming there are no traction issues on the hill climb, like a dirt road, you could go either front or rear hub motor, else rear may be better. I like the concept of battery on the back, motor on the front for weight distribution.

    Since you will be bike racking it, I'd go for a Topeak-style removable bag for the battery so you don't have to lift the battery and the bike onto the rack. I guess these days theft is a concern for many so sometimes a bolted on battery is the only choice.

    Anyway, my 2 cents, good luck.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by AllenG View Post
    Then you can get by on most any ebike.
    You may have to charge the battery in the afternoon on some of the smaller battery capacity bikes.

    I plan on being up at Lookout sometime this summer.
    I haven't jumped off the hill in several years.
    (I live near Athens BTW)
    Cool! Hope to see you up there.
    Only mad dogs, Englishmen, and triathletes go out in the mid day sun.

  9. #9
    Accept no substitutions Kingofgreens's Avatar
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    I just got a sweet BMC geared brushless hub. They make 2 models. 1 is high speed & the other is torque. I picked the high speed model & got a 40 amp controller & it has enough torque to pull my fat old but up some serious hills with little or no pedaling so if you get the torque model & a nice strong controller also, you just may be able to pull your glider up the hill after all if you were to fabricate some kind of a trailer for that purpose.

    The problem I see is that you'll need a really serious battery to be able to get 30 miles a day round trip & still have the torque for those hills. If you can charge at work then you should be able to get away with about a 12-15ah but I just don't see a 10ah getting both of those jobs done well.

    I'm still really new to E-biking & am still learning new things about them every day, but in retrospect, I wish I'd gotten something bigger than my 10ah.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingofgreens View Post
    I just got a sweet BMC geared brushless hub. They make 2 models. 1 is high speed & the other is torque. I picked the high speed model & got a 40 amp controller & it has enough torque to pull my fat old but up some serious hills with little or no pedaling so if you get the torque model & a nice strong controller also, you just may be able to pull your glider up the hill after all if you were to fabricate some kind of a trailer for that purpose.

    The problem I see is that you'll need a really serious battery to be able to get 30 miles a day round trip & still have the torque for those hills. If you can charge at work then you should be able to get away with about a 12-15ah but I just don't see a 10ah getting both of those jobs done well.

    I'm still really new to E-biking & am still learning new things about them every day, but in retrospect, I wish I'd gotten something bigger than my 10ah.
    I'm not really concerned about having to pull the glider back up the hill with the bike. When broken down and in its bag, it's 18 feet long, and would be awfully cumbersome, plus I'd have to deal with a trailer. Since I have to drive to the flight park anyway, it's not an important option.

    I measured my route to work today, and it is exactly 11.8 miles from the school bus stop. This morning, there was a light rain falling, and traffic was a little worse than normal, so it took me 45 minutes, whereas 38 or 40 would be more normal. That's an average speed of 15.7 mph - that borders on car abuse. On a more normal day, I would average around 18 mph. There are a couple of stretches where I can go 45 mph, but they're probably a total of 3 miles, so I'm not sure I'll be giving up all that much in the way of trip time on an assisted bicycle.

    There's almost no flats on the route either. I'd need the motor assist for climbing hills, I can handle the downhills myself. Something biased towards climbing would work for both missions. I suppose I could consider getting two different front hub motors if necessary, one for commuting and one for the hang gliding retrieve. All my riding is on good quality paved roads, so traction isn't an issue.

    As far as build options go, I'd rather spend some extra money up front and get what's needed to do the job well, so a bigger battery would be no problem.
    Only mad dogs, Englishmen, and triathletes go out in the mid day sun.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by FormerFF View Post
    Mission #1: My daily commute. Approximately 15 miles each way, over suburban Metro Atlanta roads. The terrain is moderately hilly. I fully expect to pedal, but don't have a shower at work and can't get sweaty in the morning. In a car, I average 25 mph in the morning, and about 20 mph in the evening. Lots of stoplights both ways, and lots of traffic in the afternoon.
    Depends on the weather of course and how you dress. Just make sure you feel a little uncomfortably cold at the beginning of the ride. Though you won't be dripping sweat, you will bead up a little once you stop riding (and the wind isn't blowing) and you WILL feel a little sticky and maybe even a little smelly all day. But your clothes won't be wet from sweat.

  12. #12
    put our Heads Together cerewa's Avatar
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    Mission #2: Hang gliding retrieve vehicle. I fly a hang glider at Lookout Mountain Flight Park in northwest Georgia, USA. It would be nice to have a retrieve vehicle that I could carry on the back of my car, so that I could leave the car in the landing zone and get back up to the mountain launch. The distance is approximately five miles. The first two miles start flat, then is gently rolling up, then a moderate climb up. Next up is approximately two miles of a 8 to 9 percent grade, then a quarter mile of 14 to 17 percent grade. The last half mile is a rolling climb that is more modest in steepness. Total climb is 1300 feet. Again, I expect to pedal.
    If you're pedaling, each trip up the hill should use no more than 200 watt hours. A 36V10Ah lithium iron phosphate battery should have enough energy storage for two trips. (this is assuming that you aren't going super fast or super slow, either of which will give you bad efficiency).
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