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  1. #1
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    Stock e-bike ??????

    Are there any manufacturers that make a small, light, fast e-bike suitable for commuting that is stock - right off the shelf?
    If it folds, that would even be better. Thank you.

  2. #2
    Senior Member nwmtnbkr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by poz12 View Post
    Are there any manufacturers that make a small, light, fast e-bike suitable for commuting that is stock - right off the shelf?
    If it folds, that would even be better. Thank you.
    Sure, there are quite a few. Some are no-name, generic Chinese, some are generic Chinese branded for an importer. Most of the major bike brands that you're familiar with have electric models, including Schwinn, Giant, Trek (in 2010), etc. Most of the major brand name e-bikes will carry a premium price tag. If you're looking for an affordable model, that will get you into e-biking (if you get bit by the bug, be forewarned that you may begin a search for more speed, power and distance) then I would suggest you start by looking at Currie's products. They've got entry level as well as more expensive Lithium battery models; they've got models with non-hub motors or hub motors. And yes, they do have a folder but it's rather expensive. Here are the sites to their two brands--the Ezip and Izip.

    http://www.izipusa.com
    http://www.ezipusa.com

    This is their folding model, the Via Mezza.



    Good luck. Shopping can be a big part of the fun. Just take your time and try and test ride models if at all possible.

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    Thank you. I would appreciate any advice. I would like a small bike, stealthy, that flies. Is there such an animal?

  4. #4
    Senior Member nwmtnbkr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by poz12 View Post
    Thank you. I would appreciate any advice. I would like a small bike, stealthy, that flies. Is there such an animal?
    About any hub model would be rather stealthy since they are quiet and the hub motor is in the wheel. Rear hub motors are considered a bit safer than front hub motors. (Aluminum drop outs break due to hub motor torque and even steel drop outs can fail due to torque. Make sure any bike you might buy with a hub motor has torque arms, even for a rear-mounted hub motor.) Like any bike purchase, you need to decide what your budget is, whether this will primarily be a commuter, how many gears you want, whether you want an internally-geared-hub (IGH). Schwinn has a commuter model (the Tailwind) with an 8-speed IGH hub and new Toshiba-proprietary LiION batteries that charge incredibly fast (SCiB)--30 minutes with the standard charger and 10 minutes with an optional industrial charger. It's expensive, though. Also, you'll find that most e-bikes won't travel all that far on the standard batteries provided without a significant amount of pedaling. You need to take time, do your research and do test rides on any model you might be interested in. In the long run, you may need to factor in the purchase of additional batteries to extend your mileage when calculating how much your purchase will cost. Trek is coming out with an electric model in their 2010 line that supposedly will use Bionix technology. I would think that it's price will be high, too. Many who have installed Bionix kits on bikes attest to good mileage, but it's a pedal assist system. I don't know if Trek will use the exact same technology or whether it will have been modified for Trek. Good luck.

  5. #5
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    Your wonderful advice has contributed to my total confusion as to choice, cost, etc. I was really hoping that I could easily find one that could do at least 20 mph with a 20-30 mile range, be quiet, and come at a price point where I wouldn't have to mortgage my house.
    I see your moniker is a shortened mountain biker - well, I have a fabulous Marin Team FS3 mountain bike, circa 1996 or 1997. I was thinking about doing a front hub motor that I could take on or off at will. The bike was roughly $1500 when new - 21 speed so I would hate to lose to permanently. Could you advise as to what brand, type of battery, controller, etc. I would love to go really fast, if possible, exceeding street legal criteria. I live in the New York City Area and there are some great off road spots. Thank you again for your thoughts and advice.

  6. #6
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    The Via Mezza is pretty neat although slow with a limited range. The price point is great though. Thank you.

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    Although not a turnkey solution I think these guys are at the top of the game for eBike knowledge/kits:

    http://e-bikekit.com/index.html

    I think an employee/friend posts here from time to time? I'm sure they could hook you up with a reputable installer in your local area and help you make good decisions regarding youir eBike goals.

    I'm not affiliated in any way but I've been following their battery pack development over the past several months and it is the ONLY pack I would consider currently in the marketplace specifically designed for eBikes.

  8. #8
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    Thanks Joe. I was hoping to be able to go faster than 20mph. $534 for a battery. And I would love 2 of them..

  9. #9
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    $534 plus another $100 or so for a charger - don't forget that! I know it sucks but consider the same pack would have been closer to $800 last year, if it were available - and it wasn't , things are getting better all the time!

    I've been at this a few years - take my advice and call those folks. Nobody in this business for the long haul will advertise systems capable of speeds above 20MPH in the current legal climate but some equipment is very capable of doing so if you approach it with the mindset of a hobbyist and are willing to do your homework - which you are already doing.

    'Yes, I know you want turnkey - but good luck finding something in retail stores capable of speeds above 20MPH? And unless you get into the couple thousand dollar range - good luck finding ANYTHING that will rival a kit-built bike using quality components.

    You will no doubt find very similar "looking" battery packs in the marketplace for couple hundred less but believe me - you get what you pay for when it comes to emerging battery systems. For starters - ask if they use cylindrical cells in their packs?

    Buy good ones and take care of 'em they readily convert to cash if/when you need it over a couple years. Buy cheap stuff - prepare yourself for substandard performance and little, if any, resell value if they even work after a few months.

    I really don't know these folks and I've never bought from 'em but I know some people in this hobby who have and they're very pleased with their products and support. if you do call please report back your experience? All the best, joe

  10. #10
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    Thank you again. Your experience and advice is appreciated.

  11. #11
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    If you want to go beyond speed limit of 20, you'll have to build your bike with a kit. Check the speeds on crystalyte and bmc. With 26 tires, I bet you could get yourself up to 40-50 if you really wanted. BMC 1000watt rear motor, 72v ping batteries, and a solid controller. It'd be enough to make you lose your breakfast.
    Here's a link with info on various kits out there. Mind, it's not exhaustive, but I certainly learned a lot when researching kits. I ended up with an Amped kit, 500w. Price was right. I'm going 22-24 on 700c wheels (on the flats) with a 36v15ah.
    '02 Fuji Finest AL
    '97 Trek Multitrack w/Amped rear 500w 36v15ah Ping
    13 mile roundtrip commute, 150 days/school year

  12. #12
    Senior Member nwmtnbkr's Avatar
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    poz12,

    At present, there is a complete ban on the use of electric bikes on public roads in NY. Some members here have stated that the police in NYC turn a blind eye on the ban and don't enforce it. However, the law is on the books and riding an electric bike could present adequate grounds for the police to pull you over. There is legislation pending in the NY legislature that would lift the ban and I would encourage you and all other e-bike enthusiasts to write their elected officials in the state legislature urging them to vote for legislation currently before the NY Legislature that will make use of e-bikes on public streets legal.

    If you want to convert your existing bike using a front wheel hub motor, make sure the fork is steel. Even if it's steel, use torque arms. Be prepared for sticker shock, to go 20-30 miles with little or no pedaling, you need to invest significant money in batteries, unless you want to go with SLAs (sealed lead acid). However, you pay a penalty for the low cost of SLAs with weight and shorter battery life. Take your time and research, research, research.

    I looked for several years. I retired to the far northwestern Rockies and needed lots of torque to help me handle the hills due to knee issues. I also wanted to keep my cost low. I opted for the Currie conversion kit, which uses a non-hub motor. It's got awesome torque, it came with 1 24V SLA battery pack and cost $299 with free shipping. I love it and it's enabled me to start riding my bike regularly without knee pain. If you take your time, you may find the kit that matches your needs at a price point that you're happy with. Good luck.

  13. #13
    Lost? No, seeing America.
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    Huh... I wonder if I forgot to paste the link I had called up... http://www.electric-bikes.com/bikes/kits.html
    Yeah, NY specifically outlaws motorized bicycles. I've passed cops on mine. Of course, I wasn't breaking the speed limit (30), so I imagine they didn't take too close a look at my bike, which is stealthy anyway.
    '02 Fuji Finest AL
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  14. #14
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    Great info. I wasn't aware of the NYC situation. I really appreciate all of your help. Thank you.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by nwmtnbkr View Post
    poz12,

    At present, there is a complete ban on the use of electric bikes on public roads in NY. Some members here have stated that the police in NYC turn a blind eye on the ban and don't enforce it. However, the law is on the books and riding an electric bike could present adequate grounds for the police to pull you over. There is legislation pending in the NY legislature that would lift the ban and I would encourage you and all other e-bike enthusiasts to write their elected officials in the state legislature urging them to vote for legislation currently before the NY Legislature that will make use of e-bikes on public streets legal.

    If you want to convert your existing bike using a front wheel hub motor, make sure the fork is steel. Even if it's steel, use torque arms. Be prepared for sticker shock, to go 20-30 miles with little or no pedaling, you need to invest significant money in batteries, unless you want to go with SLAs (sealed lead acid). However, you pay a penalty for the low cost of SLAs with weight and shorter battery life. Take your time and research, research, research.

    I looked for several years. I retired to the far northwestern Rockies and needed lots of torque to help me handle the hills due to knee issues. I also wanted to keep my cost low. I opted for the Currie conversion kit, which uses a non-hub motor. It's got awesome torque, it came with 1 24V SLA battery pack and cost $299 with free shipping. I love it and it's enabled me to start riding my bike regularly without knee pain. If you take your time, you may find the kit that matches your needs at a price point that you're happy with. Good luck.
    Outright ban? I haven't heard about that... How do they get around the Federal blanket law that supposedly outranks state & local laws? Not that I don't believe you but can you provide me a link to discussions and/or NY gov statutes that confirm this?

    Aluminum forks generall not good for hub motors and torque arms are required equipment in my book. I used to be a "must have disc brake" guy but honestly if you maintain a reasonable speed & weight I'm not so conviced that discs are that much superior. I've seen a few disc brake hubs now and they tend to place a lot more stress on the spokes since powering and braking exert forces in both directions of the wheel.

  16. #16
    Senior Member nwmtnbkr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BroadwayJoe View Post
    Outright ban? I haven't heard about that... How do they get around the Federal blanket law that supposedly outranks state & local laws? Not that I don't believe you but can you provide me a link to discussions and/or NY gov statutes that confirm this?

    Aluminum forks generall not good for hub motors and torque arms are required equipment in my book. I used to be a "must have disc brake" guy but honestly if you maintain a reasonable speed & weight I'm not so conviced that discs are that much superior. I've seen a few disc brake hubs now and they tend to place a lot more stress on the spokes since powering and braking exert forces in both directions of the wheel.
    There is a mis-perception held by many e-bike enthusiasts in the US; that there is some kind of federal law allowing the operation of e-bikes on public roads. There isn't. There are simply definitions that dictate which federal agency's safety standards apply to e-bikes sold in the US. Those electric bicycles sold in the US with speeds under 20MPH and a motor under 750W have their safety standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Administration rather than the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration under the rationale that they're a consumer product, not a "motor vehicle." Those bikes with specs exceeding those standards that are sold in the US have to meet the more stringent safety standards for mopeds and motorcycles set by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

    Congress has left it up to the individual states on how to regulate the operation of electric bicycles on public rights of way, including licensing. With respect to federally-funded pedestrian/bike trails and walkways, Congress issued a prohibition on their use by electric bicycles unless a State has authorized such use by "electric bicycles". (See the permanent amendments to Section 217(h) of Title 23 of the United States effective upon enrollment of Public Law 105-178.)

    From the NY DMV:

    You cannot register any of the motorized devices from the list below in NYS. You cannot operate these devices on sidewalks, public streets or highways in NYS. These devices are motor vehicles, but they do not have the correct equipment or design for operation on roadways.

    * Motorized Scooter - a device with a motor attached and a handlebar for a standing rider. An example of a motorized scooter is the device called the Go-pedŽ.
    * Mini-bike - a small, motorized device with two wheels and created for off-road use. A mini-bike does not qualify as a moped, a motorcycle or an ATV.
    * Dirt Bike - a motorized device like a motorcycle, but created for and used for off-road use. Some "dirt bikes" qualify as an ATV. These vehicles can register and operate off-road as an ATV.
    * Go-Kart - a small, motorized device with four wheels, created for off-road use. You cannot register a go-kart as a motor vehicle or ATV because a go-kart does not have the same equipment.
    * Motor-assisted Bicycle - a bicycle to which a small motor is attached. A motor-assisted bicycle does not qualify for a registration as a motorcycle, moped or ATV and does not have the same equipment.

    These devices are not allowed on any street, highway, parking lot, sidewalk or other area that allows public motor vehicle traffic. You are subject to arrest if you operate one of these motorized vehicles and do not have a registration, driver license, inspection, insurance or correct equipment. The DMV can not provide any information about operation of these devices on private property. Contact the local authorities and property owners.

    http://www.nydmv.state.ny.us/dmvfaqs.htm#motor
    Last edited by nwmtnbkr; 11-29-09 at 01:11 PM.

  17. #17
    xtrajack xtrajack's Avatar
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    I am not sure about the law in the state of Maine regarding electric and electric-assisted bikes. I do know that I haven't had any issues with LEO's.
    But, then again my ride is about as stealth as it gets. The hub motor isn't very noticeable between the front panniers. Most of the time if anyone even notices the motor, they think it is a generator for my lights.

  18. #18
    Senior Member nwmtnbkr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xtrajack View Post
    I am not sure about the law in the state of Maine regarding electric and electric-assisted bikes. I do know that I haven't had any issues with LEO's.
    But, then again my ride is about as stealth as it gets. The hub motor isn't very noticeable between the front panniers. Most of the time if anyone even notices the motor, they think it is a generator for my lights.
    New York is the only state that has a total ban; let's hope other states don't emulate them. Here's a wiki with some information on state laws, I don't know how out-of-date it is. It doesn't have information on all 50 states (your state is one of which the wiki's lacking information about).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electri...#United_States

  19. #19
    xtrajack xtrajack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nwmtnbkr View Post
    New York is the only state that has a total ban; let's hope other states don't emulate them. Here's a wiki with some information on state laws, I don't know how out-of-date it is. It doesn't have information on all 50 states (your state is one of which the wiki's lacking information about).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electri...#United_States
    Thank you for the link, it is a good place to start. I did notice one line that caught my attention:

    No known federal regulations apply to the manufacture of homebuilt electric bicycles

    To my poor uneducated mind that says at a Federal level; If I have guts enough to build it and ride it, I can. At the state level, perhaps not so much.

  20. #20
    Senior Member nwmtnbkr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xtrajack View Post
    Thank you for the link, it is a good place to start. I did notice one line that caught my attention:

    No known federal regulations apply to the manufacture of homebuilt electric bicycles

    To my poor uneducated mind that says at a Federal level; If I have guts enough to build it and ride it, I can. At the state level, perhaps not so much.
    You're right, kits aren't regulated by the feds at this point. States, however, may well categorize an electric bike as a moped and require licensing and insurance if it can go above a certain speed. As more e-bike hobbyists import larger and faster motors, I worry that it will only take several serious accidents to flip pubic opinion against e-bikes and possibly spawn laws that more strictly regulate or outright ban their riding on public roads. I hope I'm wrong.

  21. #21
    xtrajack xtrajack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nwmtnbkr View Post
    You're right, kits aren't regulated by the feds at this point. States, however, may well categorize an electric bike as a moped and require licensing and insurance if it can go above a certain speed. As more e-bike hobbyists import larger and faster motors, I worry that it will only take several serious accidents to flip pubic opinion against e-bikes and possibly spawn laws that more strictly regulate or outright ban their riding on public roads. I hope I'm wrong.
    I do know that if I was to use a gas engine assist, above a certain point, (I think it is 50cc in Maine) legally it becomes a moped with all the attendant issues and/or hassles.

    "I worry that it will only take several serious accidents to flip pubic opinion against e-bikes and possibly spawn laws that more strictly regulate or outright ban their riding on public roads. I hope I'm wrong."

    I hope you are wrong as well.

  22. #22
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by xtrajack View Post
    I do know that if I was to use a gas engine assist, above a certain point, (I think it is 50cc in Maine) legally it becomes a moped with all the attendant issues and/or hassles.

    "I worry that it will only take several serious accidents to flip pubic opinion against e-bikes and possibly spawn laws that more strictly regulate or outright ban their riding on public roads. I hope I'm wrong."

    I hope you are wrong as well.
    Yes, NYS DMV has had that up there for a long time but a couple executive orders have made Albany very uncomfortable sending cops on a campaign to harass & cite e-bikes in NYC. The attitude most of us have had for past several years is that it wasn't so much a BAN as it was simply not very well defined. And at the time NYS adopted the no GoPed language that had more to do with kids riding/crashing gassers @ 45 MPH or more.

    For electric riders it's more of - it's only illegal if you get caught type thing. Anybody who knows NYC knows that people walk against lights all the time - just as long as it's safe and completely clear cops aren't worrying about that unless they're training a group from the academy - otherwise, they do it too. I think stabbings on the subway are a much more pressing concern and rightfully so.

    But more recent developments seem to be headed in the right direction:

    http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=A02393

    BILL NUMBER: A2393

    TITLE OF BILL : An act to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in
    relation to the definition of electric assisted bicycle

    PURPOSE : This bill clarifies the vehicle and traffic law to define
    electric assisted bicycles; establish that electric assisted bicycles,
    as defined, are bicycles, not motor vehicles; and establish safety and
    operational criteria for their use.

    SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS : Section 1 of the bill adds a new Section
    102-c to the vehicle and traffic law, defining electric assisted
    bicycles as: A bicycle with two or three wheels which has a saddle and
    fully operative pedals for human propulsion, and also has an electric
    motor. However, the electric motor should not have a power output of
    more than one thousand watts, and should be incapable of propelling
    the device at a speed of more than twenty miles per hour on level
    ground. The electric motor should also be incapable of further
    increasing the speed of the device when human power alone is used to
    propel the device at or more than twenty miles per hour.

    Section 2 adds an exception in section 125 of the vehicle and traffic
    law to the statutory definition of motor vehicle for electric assisted
    bicycles.

    Section 3 adds a new section 1240 to the vehicle and traffic law,
    making the rules, regulations and provisions of the vehicle and
    traffic law applicable to bicycles applicable to electric assisted
    bicycles; makes the federal equipment and manufacturing requirements
    for bicycles or motor driven cycles applicable to electric assisted
    bicycles; and adds the following operational and safety requirements
    for electric assisted bicycles: electric motor disengagement criteria;
    all operators and passengers are required to wear bicycle helmets; and
    no-one under the age of 16 may operate or as a passenger on an
    electric assisted bicycle and establishes the civil fine and
    enforcement procedures for failure to wear a helmet.

    Section 4 is the effective date.

    EXISTING LAW : None.

    JUSTIFICATION : Defining and establishing operational criteria for
    electric assisted bicycles will clarify for authorities that these
    vehicles are more akin to bicycles than motorcycles. This will assist
    in interpreting the application of the appropriate vehicle and traffic
    laws to operators and passengers of these vehicles.

    PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY :

    2007-2008: A189 - Passed Assembly 2005-6: A71 - Passed Assembly

    FISCAL IMPLICATIONS : None.

    EFFECTIVE DATE : This act shall take effect immediately.

    I also remember seeing something about NYC law taking effect Dec 1 that requires building landlords to allow people to bring bicycles inside buildings. Anybody, see or hear anything concrete about that? I know there's been a HUGE increase in people looking for lightweight eBikes...

    Thanks for the discussion and information - always a pleasure!

  23. #23
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    I wrote to my rep (senate? where ever it is stuck right now)... basically that bill is in a holding position in committee until such time as that committee sees fit to present it for vote. And there are more pressing matters (according to them). I wrote back, again, and encouraged them to do all they could to see the bill through. In the meantime, I will continue riding my ebike.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by lucasgo View Post
    I wrote to my rep (senate? where ever it is stuck right now)... basically that bill is in a holding position in committee until such time as that committee sees fit to present it for vote. And there are more pressing matters (according to them). I wrote back, again, and encouraged them to do all they could to see the bill through. In the meantime, I will continue riding my ebike.
    It has passed one of the major bodies by overwhelming support (1 vote against) so once they get beyond this fiscal crisis facing the state we should see progress. In the meantime - like you I will hope that sensible enforcement will continue to prevail. I often talk to the traffic beat cops and they would love nothing more than a city full of eBikes instead of the fast, heavy, often out of control hurtling machinery they get to work with all day. Ride pro and 999/1000 welcome the effort to reduce congestion and reliance on foreign oil.

    If I have to pay a couple fines I will but so far, knock on wood...

  25. #25
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    Have you considered this model from ebike? It has 20" wheels and folds.
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