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Old 05-15-09, 04:49 PM   #1
Greengoer
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Biggest concerns, problems, and faults with Ebikes today?

I'm looking at getting a ebike, i know little about them, and was wondering what are the biggest problems with them? Lack of storage, weight, looks, etc etc?

Just looking to find the weaknesses in ebikes to try and narrow down my search. Thanks
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Old 05-15-09, 06:40 PM   #2
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I'm looking at getting a ebike, i know little about them, and was wondering what are the biggest problems with them? Lack of storage, weight, looks, etc etc?

Just looking to find the weaknesses in ebikes to try and narrow down my search. Thanks
The issues with ebike are heavy weight of the motors and batteries. We will feel like you are carrying another bike on top of the existing one with you. Secondly, there will be more rolling resistance due to drags if the component and/or setup are not appropriate. Also, you will not feel the same when turning & braking so might defeat the fun factor if you used to brake hard & sharp turns. Lastly, no ebikes are perfect. You have to either accept the fact of a typical ebike weight around 70 lbs or scarify for range. It's kind of like comparison between a full hybrid Toyota Prius and a mild hybrid Honda Insight.

If money is not a concern, this best ebike I could dream of is got to be a 12 lbs carbon fiber road bike with a lightweight motor/battery kit and keep low under 30 lbs. Just my 2 cents as a e-roadie.
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Old 05-15-09, 09:34 PM   #3
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I'm looking at getting a ebike, i know little about them, and was wondering what are the biggest problems with them? Lack of storage, weight, looks, etc etc?

Just looking to find the weaknesses in ebikes to try and narrow down my search. Thanks
I think that the #1 problem with all motorized bicycles in the US is lack of consistent laws allowing their use.

There's not much innovation on the gas-engined side because such setups are more difficult to do, and there's no guaranteed widespread market to serve. With e-bikes there's more variety because electrical motors are easier to add on to a regular bike--but then--e-bike systems lack the range that gas setups can easily have.

Before you buy anything, you may want to find out if it's even legal to use on public roads where you live.
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Old 05-16-09, 06:47 AM   #4
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The issues with ebike are heavy weight of the motors and batteries. We will feel like you are carrying another bike on top of the existing one with you. Secondly, there will be more rolling resistance due to drags if the component and/or setup are not appropriate. Also, you will not feel the same when turning & braking so might defeat the fun factor if you used to brake hard & sharp turns. Lastly, no ebikes are perfect. You have to either accept the fact of a typical ebike weight around 70 lbs or scarify for range. It's kind of like comparison between a full hybrid Toyota Prius and a mild hybrid Honda Insight.
Of my two ebikes, one a BionX the other an eZee, the kits only add about 18 lbs to each bike both of which weigh in around 27 lbs. Thus my bikes weigh in around 45 lbs. Crystalite kits tend to be pretty weighty with their motors weighing in around twenty lbs, IIRC. Kits that utilize SLA (sealed lead acid) batteries will also be heavy.

Handling on my Bionx/Dahon Cadenza is fantastic. The lions share of weight distribution is on the rear (210 lb rider + 9 lb hub motor) and can cause the front wheel to lift off the ground (especially when climbing a short sharp incline) at full pedal & power but it not an issue and rarely happens. Hell, I probably do it intentionally nine times out of ten.

Storage-wise the Cadenza/BionX combo is fantastic. Looks like a regular bike but folds up nicely and tucks away beautifully. Comes in damn handy.
The Cadenza/BionX PL350 combo is fast, efficient, has excellent range and looks damned good to boot.

My eZee bike also handles quite well but feels a little cumbersome at times. 700C wheels with a front hub motor isn't the best combo. It feels a little wobbly sometimes. Other than that it has served me very well as my regular commuter bike. Again, like the Cadenza/BionX it's fast, efficient and has excellent range.

My advice: find the bicycle you love that best suits your riding style and needs then find the kit that best suits you: front hub or rear hub? Nimh or Lithium batteries (SLA may be cheaper but, in my opinion, there are too many drawbacks to make the cheaper price worth the purchase. SLA is an ebike deal breaker for me). Regenerative braking capable (BionX/Crystalite) or freewheel (eZee - no regen on freewheels)? Intelligent pedal assist (BionX - rear hub app. only) or crank sensor (pedal first start) or thumb throttle (my eZee) only?

Best of luck!
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Old 05-16-09, 10:49 AM   #5
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I see three problems: technical, social, and infrastructure. These issues are not truly separate as they tend to mesh with one another.

The technical problems come down to weight, range, and cost. As e-bikes ride on the coattails of other high power battery users, these issues will slowly be resolved. Batteries are getting better and cheaper. Just as important, controllers are getting better. I still cannot plan on a e-bike for my commute; but it keeps coming closer.

I still expect to see e-bikes split into two divisions; the first would focus on lightweight. The second division would focus on range. There may be a day that we will have both in the same e-bike; but, I doubt it because they appeal to different audiences.

The second issue is social; there is still the perception, oddly enough, even in the non-riding public that riding an e-bike is somehow “cheating.” I think the reason that this persists in non-riders is that it removes one of their primary reasons for not riding and leaves them with no other response than “… well, that’s cheating.”

Avid bicycle purists also tend to use the same expression, claiming it to be cheating. No one seems to be able to identify just what about it is cheating. It is not cheating; it is playing a different game.

The trouble is that even the small amount of grudging respect and accommodation that bicycling garners is cast aside in the case of e-bikes. By way of example, at the campus I am attending to finish my MBA e-bikes are not permitted to park in bicycle racks and must be parked in a motorcycle space with a motorcycle-parking permit. This leaves no way to secure an e-bike. Very simply, it is a backdoor way of forbidding e-bike usage. The social aspect of this is that the school bicycle groups (who have proven to be pretty ineffective anyways) are not interesting in lobbying for acceptance of e-bikes.

It is interesting to see people’s reactions when they see that a bicycle has an assist motor. It is almost uniformly negative. Even the Pedi-cabs are forbidden, by city statute, from employing assist motors.

The last aspect is infrastructure. There is a lively debate about wither e-bikes belong in bike lanes, where they are slightly faster than the predominate traffic, or on the road lanes, where they are significantly slower than the predominate traffic. This debate can be seen more as a social issue; however, it serves as an example of why the existing infrastructure does not fit e-bikes.

Parking becomes an issue. As said, in some places e-bikes are classed as motorized bicycles and are not permitted to access push bike facilities. An improved infrastructure would have, reasonably priced, charging facilities next to the bike racks. This would be an example of infrastructure change.

The examples here are not a detailed listing of all of the issues that surround e-bikes. They are merely examples of the three basic areas that contain hurdles for e-bikes. I really do not see why people will not use e-bikes for the 1-5 mile trips that are the most commonly made (do not waste time telling me that a push bike is better suited for these trips. The facts are most people use autos and light trucks for these trips). I come up with cost (technical), ingrained behavior patterns (social), and the “fear-factor” (infrastructure).
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Old 05-16-09, 11:33 AM   #6
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Thank you all,

Weight seems to be a big problem with ebikes, and range of battery...

I was looking at A2B bikes, but now I am not too sure.

Please anyone else feel free to chime in.
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Old 05-16-09, 06:12 PM   #7
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If you stay within the distance range of your eBike, the extra weight should not be an issue. Machines worth considering will all pull more than their own weight, otherwise what's the point?

Now if the extra weight affects handling of the machine, that's another problem.

Range is simply not an issue for me; I can take at least 3 rides before recharging, many time four rides. Total range is 50+ miles so I just plug in if a big one is coming up. That said, I have no desire to ride 50 miles in one setting.
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Old 05-16-09, 06:44 PM   #8
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Security from theft. They will attract bike theft with their higher value. You may feel uncomfortable leaving it in places you would a normal bike. I have a motion sensor siren alarm plus a pretty thick lock and I still don't feel right leaving it in some places.
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Old 05-16-09, 08:06 PM   #9
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It all depends on what your needs are. If you need to take it on a bus or train, then weight may be an issue, if you need to go far, then batteries are an issue, etc. What are you going to use it for?
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Old 05-17-09, 10:35 AM   #10
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Thank you all,

Weight seems to be a big problem with ebikes, and range of battery...

I was looking at A2B bikes, but now I am not too sure.

Please anyone else feel free to chime in.
The A2B is a nice bike, but quite expensive. I actually test rode one several weeks ago and was very impressed. But over $2500 is kind of pricey for most people.

As other posters have mentioned, weight is only an issue if you exceed the range of your ebike. And if you invest in higher quality Li-Ion batteries the weight will be reduced significantly, making pedaling much easier (if required).

You never mentioned what type of range / requirements you're looking for??? This will help members make the appropriate suggestions...
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Old 05-17-09, 03:58 PM   #11
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Torker t400e just came out. 45lbs front wheel drive 30-40 mile range and 1500 retail.
http://www.torkerusa.com/
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Old 05-29-09, 03:02 PM   #12
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The A2B is a nice bike, but quite expensive. I actually test rode one several weeks ago and was very impressed. But over $2500 is kind of pricey for most people.

As other posters have mentioned, weight is only an issue if you exceed the range of your ebike. And if you invest in higher quality Li-Ion batteries the weight will be reduced significantly, making pedaling much easier (if required).

You never mentioned what type of range / requirements you're looking for??? This will help members make the appropriate suggestions...
I really like the A2B too pricey though, and the speed limit thing at 20 mph, so I went out and bought a WalMart Mongoose Snare ~$240 and I will eventually add a e-motor after I research it to death.



but I found this A2B on e-bay Very good deal! Includes an extra battery for list price!
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...:X:RTQ:US:1123
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Old 06-01-09, 07:28 PM   #13
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The bigest problems i have. is not being able to ride it all of the time.lol
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Old 06-01-09, 09:54 PM   #14
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I'm looking at getting a ebike, i know little about them, and was wondering what are the biggest problems with them? Lack of storage, weight, looks, etc etc?

Just looking to find the weaknesses in ebikes to try and narrow down my search. Thanks
the only fault i find is weight.

but you can't get enough power with less weight

so that's the trade off sacrifice you must choose.

long distance = more weight

short distance = less weight

other than that, ebikes are 100% perfect
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Old 06-02-09, 06:25 AM   #15
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Weight is probably the biggest issue.
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Old 06-02-09, 03:15 PM   #16
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- Acceptance. Once they become accepted, people won't think of themselves as being lazy for getting one. This will drive the market towards better bikes!

- 20 mph speed limit law. Why limit the motor with a law? It's ridiculous. Cars don't have that law. Otherwise, the engine should cut out after 65. An out of control car going 100 is much more dangerous than an out of control bicyclist going 30.
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Old 06-03-09, 07:57 AM   #17
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- 20 mph speed limit law. Why limit the motor with a law? It's ridiculous. Cars don't have that law. Otherwise, the engine should cut out after 65. An out of control car going 100 is much more dangerous than an out of control bicyclist going 30.
The issue with the speed limit is one of both safety and classification. I work in state government on vehicle-related issues and have had conversations about e-bikes and other low speed electric vehicles with our motor vehicle agency. Generally speaking, vehicles designed for higher speeds have to meet more stringent safety standards. If you want a two-wheeled vehicle rated for highway speed, then you need to be able to stop safely with good brakes, have proper lights and signals to warn other drivers of your faster movement and have tires rated for your speed range. That's called a "motorcycle." Oh, you want it to have pedals and less stringent safety requirements to make it less expensive? That's called a "moped" and they're limited to lower speeds. Bottom line is that e-bikes can get away with virtually no safety standards at all beyond the basic CPSC bicycle requirements BECAUSE they impose a maximum speed.

We're dealing with an analagous situation with Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs). These are basically glorified, enclosed electric golf carts that go 25MPH. Some are capable of higher speeds and people say, why not? Because the golf carts aren't required to have seat belts, air bags, crumple zones, etc., and pass a crash test. Just like a high speed e-bike, they're perfectly safe - until you crash.

All that said, my daily commuter is an Electrec. On the motor it will do 16MPH and I can pedal it to maybe 25MPH on a good downhill, so the speed limit isn't a problem for me.
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Old 06-03-09, 10:47 AM   #18
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Smile Weight Distribution - Safe riding practise

Weight is not really a factor unless you are talking about how to attach those heavy lead batteries to a bike made for pedalling. A properly constructed Ebike will have the same handling characteristics as a regular bike which translates to larger tires - better suspension - and good braking power. You cannot just strap a motor and battery on a regular bike and expect the same safety factors. An electric bike if constructed properly will actually be safer = Can ride on gravel shoulders away from traffic with no extra effort then a regular bike on pavement - Can take curbs and potholes without loosing control - can cross at intersections quickly and avoid that get out of the way or get run over feeling. Too many people that convert a bike to electric figure that once the kit is strapped on that this is it! Don't try to save a few pounds/kg by getting an aluminum frame bike - these were built light for the same reason that Ebikes are built solid - for the riders safety. Buy a frame that is solid (usually less expensive = go figure) and get LiFePO4 batteries and mount them so that the frame weight distribution does not change. This usually means that - batteries on back - motor on front. Note that a front mount motor has less chance of spills on gravel. Also get puncture resistant tubes for the tires which means the rims should be strong construction. Suspension on the front is a must for control - the rear spokes can usually take and displace most shock to the front forks - makes mounting batteries and controller easier. And DO NOT FORGET mirrors and a flashy wind breaker = I am still alive at 58.
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Old 06-03-09, 03:30 PM   #19
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You just described a good MTB or road bike + a BionX kit

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Weight is not really a factor unless you are talking about how to attach those heavy lead batteries to a bike made for pedalling. A properly constructed Ebike will have the same handling characteristics as a regular bike which translates to larger tires - better suspension - and good braking power. You cannot just strap a motor and battery on a regular bike and expect the same safety factors. An electric bike if constructed properly will actually be safer = Can ride on gravel shoulders away from traffic with no extra effort then a regular bike on pavement - Can take curbs and potholes without loosing control - can cross at intersections quickly and avoid that get out of the way or get run over feeling. Too many people that convert a bike to electric figure that once the kit is strapped on that this is it! Don't try to save a few pounds/kg by getting an aluminum frame bike - these were built light for the same reason that Ebikes are built solid - for the riders safety. Buy a frame that is solid (usually less expensive = go figure) and get LiFePO4 batteries and mount them so that the frame weight distribution does not change. This usually means that - batteries on back - motor on front. Note that a front mount motor has less chance of spills on gravel. Also get puncture resistant tubes for the tires which means the rims should be strong construction. Suspension on the front is a must for control - the rear spokes can usually take and displace most shock to the front forks - makes mounting batteries and controller easier. And DO NOT FORGET mirrors and a flashy wind breaker = I am still alive at 58.
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Old 06-04-09, 07:33 AM   #20
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The second issue is social; there is still the perception, oddly enough, even in the non-riding public that riding an e-bike is somehow “cheating.” I think the reason that this persists in non-riders is that it removes one of their primary reasons for not riding and leaves them with no other response than “… well, that’s cheating.”

Avid bicycle purists also tend to use the same expression, claiming it to be cheating. No one seems to be able to identify just what about it is cheating. It is not cheating; it is playing a different game


You know this whole "cheating" thing is really ironic every time I see it, and you're right that they never seem to be able to identify why it's cheating. As a former long distance runner, I used to think that people riding regular (non-e) bikes for exercise were "cheating" for using the mechanical advantage of the gears and wheels of a traditional bicycle to go faster and farther than a runner while exerting less human energy/mph than a runner (which is essentially what e-bikers are doing vis a vis non-e-bikes - using the advantages of a battery and motor to travel faster and farther while exerting less human energy/mph). Using the traditional non-e-bikers logic, they are themselves as much "cheating" in their workout routines against the runners as the e-bikers are "cheating" against them.

So where is the line? Are traditional bikers cheating compared to runners? Are e-bikers cheating compared to traditional bikers? Hello, Pot and Kettle!

The reality as you say though, is that it's playing a different game. Running, Biking, e-Biking, whatever....It's all a matter of perspective.

Last edited by pavers; 06-05-09 at 11:26 AM.
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Old 06-04-09, 10:49 AM   #21
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BUGS.


As in insects.


You're usually clipping along pretty good on an e-bike.


BUGS.
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Old 06-04-09, 10:56 AM   #22
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e-bike = cheating?

Cheating schmeating.

I use it to commute to work on nice days. I get some exercise, I save gas, and it's almost as quick as driving. (10 min. by car vs. 15 min. by bike).

If you ride an unassisted bike and you don't like me riding an e-bike, all I have to say is; you look absolutely, friggin' ridiculous in that Lycra outfit.
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Old 06-04-09, 09:04 PM   #23
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hmm... lets see, driving my sports car to work takes me average 1.5 hr (no traffic) to 2 hrs in traffic rush hour

e-biking to work takes me always 1.5 hr on normal pedalling, or a little over an hour if i hammer it hard.

is that cheating?
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Old 07-02-09, 01:33 PM   #24
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what about safety problems ? batteries burning, chain connected to the motor getting torn and whipping the rider....

by the way , ebikes are not cheating because there is no winners and losers when it comes to bicycles - everyone wants different things from their bikes, fun is one of them.

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Old 07-02-09, 02:10 PM   #25
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what about safety problems ? batteries burning, chain connected to the motor getting torn and whipping the rider....
that doesn't happen in real life, you are describing a motorcycle not an e bike
e bikes, doesn't even operate like that
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