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  1. #1
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    Question Is an electic bike too heavy to ride in "bike" mode?

    So, as stated in my previous post I am looking for a bike to go out with my little one in a trailer behind me, and I figured an ebike is like two bikes in one. However, I've been told that an ebike might be too heavy to ride without using the electric feature. I'm looking for a bike to use it mainly to pedal/exercise, but I like the idea of having the electric feature on different excursions. I'm trying to avoid having a regular bike, and an electric bike, or just two seperate things, BUT if I can't get what I need from an ebike makes I'd prefer to just have a regular bicycle and get a scooter, not an ebike. Scooters I've noticed are cheaper than ebikes (the ones I've been looking at) and I think a scooter would offer more power. Should I just get a regular bike and a scooter, or an ebike? Keep in mind I'll be pulling a bike trailer with a 25 pound passenger.

  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Motor and battery are what they are, and do weigh a few pounds.
    on the flat , its probably not an issue..

    Elec assist IE stop pedaling and the assist stops,
    then you probably dont need the DMV paperwork

    If it goes without pedaling, then it's a motor vehicle ..
    license, reg an insurance are involved.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 11-17-11 at 04:43 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member DarthSensate's Avatar
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    I've ridden my ebike without power and my kids "co-pilot" AND a two kid trailer of the back of the co-pilot several times. On the flats is no problem. I would never intentionally try to climb a hill with all that... but I have.

    Direct drive hubs add a little bit more resistance to pedaling while geared drives freewheel when no under power. Curb hopping with the extra weight of the front hub can be annoying.
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  4. #4
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    Depends on the ebike, some are heavier than others.

  5. #5
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    I ride my Xtracycle with heavy loads all the time and it doesn't have electric power and I live in a very hilly but small community- it's all about low gearing. My Ecospeed and Electroportal electric assist recumbent bikes ride just fine without the assist if need be. Some of these less expensive ready to buy ebikes look like they would be monsters to pedal without power assist.

  6. #6
    put our Heads Together cerewa's Avatar
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    On my bike, I have one of the heaviest bolt-on ebike kits in existence. It's a 48v20ah battery plus a hub motor. It isn't that much harder to pedal. I have a hilly 12 mile commute ... riding my ebike with no electric assist the entire 12 miles is do-able (i've done it once) but it adds 10 minutes to what would be a 1-hour commute.
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  7. #7
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    That was one of my concerns ..... the weight of the system was to unmanageable in city traffic and then you had to add panniers.... I might as well have gotten a scooter that worked better for the purpose. Ad geared drives do add friction when pedaling... I found it very cumbersome.

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    Senior Member Ypedal's Avatar
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    depends on the bike, the individual and the terrain...

    Performance riding an ebike without the power on, forget it... leisure riding an ebike without power is easy... pedaling along with the motor 50/50 is a beeze and effortless, greatly extends battery range..

    I often go on group rides with my neighbors, she likes to go 10 kph max and enjoy the scenery, i take one of my ebikes and leave the battery at home, pedaling at this pace is not hard for me at all.. even with a direct drive motor..

    Motoring along without pedaling is a blast but takes the battery to do it .. specially if you want to go fast.. i have a rust-bucket BMX with a rear hub motor running on 100v, no chain, battery in a backpack, it's a 10km range at 75 kph rush...

    different strokes for different folks !

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    I love my eBike (Trek FX+) but I wouldn't ride it withouth the assist. It's just too heavy to be enjoyable compared to my other bikes. That being said, it is fine to ride if I leave the assist on at level one. At that level, it seems to kind of balance out. I don't feel like I'm getting any real boost over what I can get by riding my regular bike, but I also don't feel penalized for the excess weight. It seems like level 1 was built to offset the added weight.

    It works great, but does have a limit of somewhere between 40-50 miles.

  10. #10
    Senior Member dougmc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    Elec assist IE stop pedaling and the assist stops,
    then you probably dont need the DMV paperwork

    If it goes without pedaling, then it's a motor vehicle ..
    license, reg an insurance are involved.
    The specifics you've given here will obviously vary from state to state.

    For example, Texas law has no such distinction between electric assist and electric powered. (There are other limitations put on electric bikes, however.)

  11. #11
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    I converted a Giant Cypress Bike with Hub motor and Lithium Ion Battery. Before Conversion Bike mass was 15.8 kg and after 24.8 kg. Without the battery which is quickly removed with key the bike mass is 20.4 kg. When you add my 72kg the difference isn't great < 5%.

  12. #12
    Senior Member geebee's Avatar
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    It depends on the set-up, I just finished one that adds 3 and a bit kilos including batteries to the weight of the bike, hub freewheels nicely so pedalling is no problem.
    If you shop around you can do a front hub for 1.6 kg and an 8 ah LiPo for another 1.1kg so under 3kg is definately doable with out breaking the bank.
    A lot of the production ebikes are insanely heavy.
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  13. #13
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    My full sized bike is a big pain to just pedal. I have had to do it a few times because of various issues that have come up. It's really a dog though and will go like 10 mph or so while pedaling. It's slow. This is a bike that has a Crystalyte HS3540 + 48v 20ah lifepo4 battery. It's also a lot of weight on that back wheel.

    On my small folder, it's still fairly light with only a 350w rear hub motor and usually only running 12s2p lipo. It's not too bad to pedal on that bike.
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  14. #14
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    There's a lot you can do to make an ebike easier to pedal. If it has knobbly tyres these can be swapped for one's with lower rolling resistance, these are generally lighter and by reducing weight getting rid of heavy battery chemistry ie SLA sealed lead acid. I dropped 3/4 kilo of tyre weight and 5 1/2 kilo of battery weight. When you have to pedal the weight it's very noticeable especially on hills and getting the bike into motion.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Folding-Bikes's Avatar
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    Depends where the engine is located.

    On frame? OK.

    On the wheel?(hub etc) no way!

    1kg on the wheel =2kg on the frame.

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  16. #16
    Senior Member dougmc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Folding-Bikes View Post
    Depends where the engine is located.
    On frame? OK.
    On the wheel?(hub etc) no way!
    1kg on the wheel =2kg on the frame.
    1 kg on the wheel = 2 kg on the frame only if you're looking at weight on the outside of the wheel -- your tire and your rim come pretty close to that. Spoke weight comes in at about a 1:1.5 ratio, and your hub weight is pretty close to 1:1.

    And these ratios apply only to inertia -- which only really matters when accelerating or de-accelerating, and not to things like just humping it up a big hill. For anything other than inertia, 1 kg = 1 kg.

    A hub motor is, as the name suggests, mostly at the hub. Therefore 1 kg of hub motor weight is equivalent (for purposes of rotational inertia ONLY) perhaps 1.3 kg or so -- the exact figure depending on just how close most of the weight is to the hub.

  17. #17
    Senior Member GTALuigi's Avatar
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    quite a few times i've come across the very same problem the OP is pondering about

    and yes, an average 20 lbs bike can turn into a 36 lbs brick easily once the battery juice is out

    and you are stuck pedalling at like 6 to 9 mph, which is a major drag if you a long way from home, or the nearest power plug

    sometimes it feels almost faster pushing/running the bike than trying to ride it when the battery is out

    for that very same reason, i'm now in the process of researching battery extensions, and other alternatives to recharge the battery while riding

    regardless of what people says, the regen power thing, does not work in real life situations, unless you have a very very long hill to ride down slowly like at 10 mph so you can take a good charge

    but no sane mind will waste a good hill to go down at top speed, so you don't have to pedal as much on the up hill on the other end of the valley

    what comes down, must go back up

    the regen energy works great in a lab, or if you don't mind being a slow poke riding at the slowest speed to recharge your battery, which I've tried it does work, but it takes a painful 10 miles to only get barely a 6 min boost or 1~2 bars that will go away in a swift as you hit the throttle
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