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  1. #1
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    big beautiful woman considering ebike

    I am right at 300 lbs and am tired of sitting in the house. I would like to get out and see the world and think an electric bike might be the answer. I would be using it for recreation and wonder what the best one would be? Should I be considering this? I would like to pedal but also would need the motor when tired. Am I whistling dixie??? It would be used for bike trails and riding with my grandchildren. Does it need to be pedaled to get up to a certain speed before motoring?

    Please help with info.

    thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member abstractform20's Avatar
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  3. #3
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    I bet some folks in the Clydesdales/Athenas forum will have tips for you! Best of luck getting your bike!

  4. #4
    Senior Member 15rms's Avatar
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    WOW that was really tacky dizzy101

  5. #5
    Senator from Secret Ivandarken's Avatar
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    I have a friend with and electric bicycle. It is fun to ride and has an electric assist... which means you do some of the work and the bike does some. Find out what your local bike shop has to say... but remember they are trying to sell you things.

    My feeling is that 300lbs is not too much for you to ride a standard bike. If you get something that is simple to maintain you will probably get out there and ACTUALLY ride it. The electric bikes have to be charged and eventually the battery life drops off. That is when you stop riding it and you just wasted a lot of money and you aren't getting the exercise you hoped for.

    Not to be preachy, we all tend to see new purchases as things that will make us happy and change our lifestyle (that is why I have 20 bikes and am still just as happy as when I had just one) but the truth is only hard work, loving family, one often ridden bike, and possibly a chihuahua will actually make us happy.

    Electric bikes are okay... but good ol' comfortable pedal it yourself bikes can't be beat.

  6. #6
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    you have lot of options - don't worry about preachy people that don't really answer what someone asked.

    If you're not handy - nycewheel have bunch of assembled ebikes (http://nycewheels.com/bikes.html)

    If you're handy - then you could purchase a kit from Ebike.ca (and others) and fitted into your own bike (or one from your local bike store).

    Most bikes can handle 300lb (plus ebike gears). Just make sure you ask the vendor about your weight. They will be glad to help you with wheel selection/bike.

    By the way, lots of people started their active lifestyle with an ebike - its really fun and assisted riding do burn calories - then move up to next level when ready.

  7. #7
    P7 Fanboy JinbaIttai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by donna1813 View Post
    . . . Am I whistling dixie??

    Not at all. If you get a decent ebike kit, you won't stay 300lbs for very long. You might not notice the weight melting off because you'll be having so much fun! I can't say that I'd agree that a non-ebike would be as fun, more of a challenge really.

    As for battery life dropping off, that is only the cheap sealed lead acid batteries. I recommend going with a LIFEPO4 battery. Much less weight, and it lasts almost too long (good for 1000+ charges and like 1/3 the weight). They are more expensive though.

    Are you handy with tools or do you have kids/family that can put a kit on a bike for you?

    I know the ampedbikes.com kits can handle some weight. This guy is 280+ lbs and the kit is working out for him.

  8. #8
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    Donna - based on the dixie question I'm assuming that you are American, so I'll give you my humble opinion based on what is available in the US.

    e-bikes sold in the US usually work in two modes:
    1. Pedal assist - the motor kicks in after you start pedaling and disconnects as soon as you stop pedaling.
    2. Throttle - you use a throttle to determine the amount of power you use from the motor.
    Some bikes have both systems side by side.

    Based on what you are describing it sounds like you want to pedal yourself most of the time and just need assistance to extend your range and go up hills.

    A bike with a throttle (and no pedal assist), might work better for you as long as you are disciplined enough to use only a little throttle and pedal along. This is especially the case if your main goal is to use the bike for recreation and exercise. Of course when you're tired the throttle could be used exclusively without pedaling.

    A pedal-assist system will force you to keep your legs moving all the time, but might give you more power than you want from the bike and make you feel like you are not contributing any effort at all.
    These systems are mostly designed for Europe where throttles are not allowed.

    The ideal motor/battery combinations should depend on your expected range/speed/terrain needs. A lot of guys here like to buy bikes that can go pretty fast but have to use them with larger and more expensive batteries. If you are content with traveling at 10 to 15 Mph you might be happy with a less powerful motor. On balance, if you live in a hilly area you might need more power to overcome those hills.

    Hope this helps

  9. #9
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    Take it from a big ugly guy

    You will definitely ride an ebike more than if you just had a regular bike. I think you do need to get the best battery you can afford. It's not cheap, but I think you'll ride more often and farther.

    I have a Bionx PL350 on a Diamond Back hybrid 18 speed bike. I'm pretty big and it works fine, however, steep hills are still a bit of a challenge.

    It is fun and it is exercise - what's not to like? And you'll probably dust your grandchildren in a race.

    Go for it and good luck.

  10. #10
    Member RustyBarnacle's Avatar
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    Donna, I'm 315lbs and I dug my old bike out of the basement and put a motor on and am having a blast.

    I use a Crystalyte 5304 motor, a 36V 18AH Nickel Metal Hydride battery and a 35A controller that I ordered from ebikes.ca. It took a little time to put it all together but if you're handy or have a handy friend it can be done easy enough. You will need a rack and bag for the back to put the battery in. I'm using a Top Gear MTX trunk bag for that which is working nicely.

    A lithium battery will be signifigantly lighter, but the Nickel Metal Hydride fit my budget much better. The battery is 23lbs and the motor is 26lbs which adds signifigant weight but the only time I find this an issue is when trying to wrangle it through doors into the office or home since I am already a heavy person as it is.

    Hope that helps.

  11. #11
    eBiker alfonsopilato's Avatar
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    Hi Donna, I was attracted to your post and had to click

  12. #12
    Senior Member blippo's Avatar
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    This is an excellent idea for you to get an electric bike.

  13. #13
    Devil's Advocate andychrist's Avatar
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    Good for you, Donna!

    Dunno how much you are considering spending, but you might want to check out Eco Speed. They make a bunch of different systems to fit a variety of bicycle designs, including recumbents, which is another option that might be of interest to you.


  14. #14
    Senior Member misslexi's Avatar
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    Most recumbents will not support a 300 lb rider + motor + battery, I suspect because the frames are so long.

    That said, Ecospeed is coming out with kits for upright bikes soon.

  15. #15
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    Get an electric rather than a conventional bike because you will ride longer and get out much more often and have more fun.

    Avoid lead-acid (SLA) batteries at all costs!

    Get a pedalec (pedal activated) electric bike so it forces you to pedal to get the assist. If you have a throttle, you'll rely on it too much and forget to pedal it sometimes.

    Don't ask a conventional bike shop about electric bikes. They just look down on those things.

    I'd recommend one of these bikes.

    http://nycewheels.com/gianttwistfree...ybridbike.html

  16. #16
    Hrumph! El Duderino X's Avatar
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    Hi Donna,

    I was up around 260lbs when I started riding my first ebike and I'm now down to a svelte (for me!) 210lbs.
    You're getting some great advice in this thread but I'll throw in my two cents anyway.
    Keeping things as simple as possible I would suggest you first pick your perfect bike then fit it with a BionX kit (provided you're going with a motorized rear wheel set up).
    BionX.ca
    It's a closed system, no modifying allowed, but simple to use, clean looking and so far, for me, very reliable. It is expensive though. Very expensive. $1,700.00 CDN (for the PL350), I believe. I'd suggest a BionX PL350 but largely because I don't know how well a BionX PL250 will handle a 300lb rider. That'll be a temporary state though. Once you're down to your ideal weight the PL350 may feel like power overkill. Then again that may very well make it that much more fun to ride!
    The key will be to find a BionX dealer who really knows the product and can install and set it up correctly. Look for a shop that specializes in ebikes. They'll take some care and pride in the install, setup and support of the bike & system.

    eZee is a nice Lithium powered option. The motors are well constructed, can be mounted on the front wheel and still have room for a disc brake set up but internally they use nylon gears (which may one day need to be replaced - hassle time - BionX and Crystalyte are both direct drive brushless motors so they are relatively maintenance free but will produce a small amount of drag when not under electric power.) and freewheel (no regenerative braking option but no drag produced when used solely under human power). I have an eZee front hub kit on my other ebike and I'm quite happy with it just not quite as happy as I am with my BionX.

    Crystalyte (C'lyte) are fine, cost less but very heavy, more so overall if you use cheaper SLA (sealed lead acid) batteries. the motors can weigh up to twice that of a comparable BionX or eZee motor.

    Batteries.

    Don't go SLA! They're a deal breaker for me. They're heavy and have chemical composition restrictions on them regarding drain and recharge that will eventually affect the life of the battery.
    NiMh (nickel metal hydride) are much less expensive than Lithium variations but more expensive than SLA. NiMh batteries weigh more than Lithiums but less than SLA. They're a good middle ground if Lithium (for instance BionX PL250 & PL350) are too pricey but the NiMh variations (BionX P250 & P350) fit your budget better. NiMh batteries can develop charge memory losing stored energy capacity over time. They'll also produce less power as they're depleted unlike Lithium batteries which produce the same amount of power right up to the end.
    NiCad are another option and, like the SLA, a deal breaker. Far too easy to develop charge memory until you've got a freshly charged battery that will only hold a tiny bit of energy.

    Throttle versus pedal assist.
    My freewheeled eZee has a throttle and no pedal assist so... I tend to be on the throttle maybe equally as often as not. The freewheeling aspect makes human powered propulsion very simple, like riding a regular bike (a 47lb bike!!!).
    So, it's moot where that bike is concerned. A non-issue. I throttle when and where I need to (or want to) and pedal on my own the rest of the time.
    The BionX has a fantastic proportional pedal assist with 4 settings (25%, 75%, 100% and 200%) based on your input as read by the strain gauge sensor which informs the controller. My PL350 has a throttle also. I rarely use it. Again, a non-issue. I pretty much always pedal. Sometimes with the assist turned off. that's where drag comes in. Again, a 47 lb bike with a 210 lb rider, without assist, is akin to riding a bike with slightly lowered low tire pressure. No big deal though I wouldn't want to try and hump it up a hill without the assistance of the motor.
    There's also the regenerative braking, stock on a BionX and, I believe, possible to set up on a Crystalyte. Great for added braking (my brake pads may last forever, we'll have to see) and okay for returning energy to the battery.

    So there you go. Go out, ride a few bikes, talk to a few people, take your time and make the right decision for yourself. Hope I've been of help.

    B!
    Jive won't get you no zen!
    - unknown
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by 15rms View Post
    WOW that was really tacky dizzy101
    I didn't take it that way. The C/A subforum says in part: "Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful."

    Looks positive and helpful to me. I'll take a peek there, too, as my own weight has been creeping up as I increase in years.



    Donna: welcome! I'll try to address some of your ???s. I am a newbie so keep that in mind.

    > I would be using it for recreation

    I just got mine and use it for recreation, small grocery runs, etc. The motor assist lets me get as much exercise as I feel comfortable contributing at that moment. Sometimes I choose to work hard. Sometimes I choose to coast. That's the beauty of the things.


    > and wonder what the best one would be?

    That's a tough one. I can tell you what I bought (in my sig below) but that might not be of any use to you.


    > Should I be considering this?

    You bet.


    > I would like to pedal but also would need the motor when tired.

    On my ezip bike[s] there is a selectable mode using a handlebar button:

    PAS (pedal assist): motor provides assist while pedaling (starts after a few seconds of peddling and continues to run basically as long as you pedal. I usually do it this way. You don't have to pedal hard, the pedals just have to be moving at decent pace. I pedal but I don't put a lot of effort into it most of the time. :-)

    TAG (twist and go): motor provides thrust anytime you twist the throttle. Sometimes I'm on even ground and just don't want to pedal for a while. I'll swap to TAG mode and let it pull me for a minute or so. By then my legs are rested a bit and actually welcome returning to some action. I'm one of those people whose legs hurt if they stay in the same position (imagination? phantom pain? restless leg?) so the gentle pedaling relieves that discomfort. Again, I get to choose how much effort I put in and how much motor assist to dial in with the throttle.

    On mine the throttle is a twist-grip like a motorcycle. Some have a little pull-trigger like a wetbike or something.


    > It would be used for bike trails and riding with my grandchildren.

    Sounds perfect. There are a few good practices to learn about charging (keep 'em topped off!) but I think an eBike would be great for that.

    > Does it need to be pedaled to get up to a certain speed before motoring?

    Depends on the bike. In the TAG mode described above mine will pull away from 0mph but it's hard on the batts and the motor I suspect. In PAS mode there is no bike MPH but a small sensor in the pedal crank detects sufficient rotation (maybe 1 rotation/second, really easy to do in the lowest gear) and engages the motor.

    I hope this has been of some use. If not, ask more and we will try to deliver.

    Remember, not all of us are spandex gods out there on the road. I totter around, puffing away, out of shape, sweating, with a big ol' smile on my face. I'm having as much fun on the eZip as I did on my first bike as a kid.
    Last edited by fratermus; 06-14-09 at 07:08 AM. Reason: s/peddle/pedal/g
    His: 2008 eZip Trailz Mountain (target.com, $299 + free shipping)
    Hers: used 2008 eZip ladies Trailz
    BatteryMINDer 24041 24v charger

  18. #18
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    The words from Fratermus:

    Remember, not all of us are spandex gods out there on the road. I totter around, puffing away, out of shape, sweating, with a big ol' smile on my face. I'm having as much fun on the eZip as I did on my first bike as a kid.


    Those words absolutly sum up the way I started when I converted my old faithfull mountain bike, that
    had been stored in an outside shed for over 5 yrs. Electrifying it got me moving again!!
    Some days I do most of the pedalling, some days the motor does a lot of work, depends on how I
    feel.

    The most important thing is that I am out there in the fresh air, and moving again!!

  19. #19
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    Note: There are several types of control of the bikes:

    Pedal Assist (power is proportional to how much you pedal) aka PAS, Pedelec (Bionx is this type)

    Twist and Go - Start Immediate. Throttle from standing start - requires Hall Sensored motor (like Crystalyte)

    Twist and Go- Pedal First - Throttle doesn't kick in until bike is moving slowly (usually under 3 kph). Removes need for Hall sensor connection which can fail in wet climates, and makes bike more reliable than start-immediate type. Also a bit safer as you can't accidentally throttle the bike without it moving. A given hub motor like Crystalyte can work with either start immediate or pedal-first controllers, and come with the hall sensors ready to go. I've had to replace two start-immedate controllers with pedal-first types, after the Hall's became problematic due to wet conditions.

    People in wet climates using direct drive, non-geared brushless hub motors like Nine Continents or Crystalyte, which are subject to hall sensor issues, should probably choose Pedal first type controllers.

    Ezee and Bionx are quite waterproof motors.

  20. #20
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    re

    Quote Originally Posted by andychrist View Post
    Good for you, Donna!

    Dunno how much you are considering spending, but you might want to check out Eco Speed. They make a bunch of different systems to fit a variety of bicycle designs, including recumbents, which is another option that might be of interest to you.

    What a beautiful bike! I wanna have one.

  21. #21
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    Hi Donna,

    I have an Elegance commuter model from Ecobike, it's a great bike and has worked out fantastic for me. I weigh just over 250lbs. The bike I have is easy to ride, has pedal assist and throttle only modes. It is reasonably priced too. You might want to check out their website to see if this bike will work as well for you as it has for me....www.ecobike-usa.com I hope you find the right bike soon!

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