I'm new to electric bikes, and fairly new to bikes in general. I'm looking for a decent quality electric bicycle that will let me commute 3 miles and back, including going over a bridge. This should all be unassisted, and if possible, on the bridge ramp as well. I would like an e-bike that is good for the incline of the ramp but also gives me control to keep it at a safe speed, around 12 Mph maximum for me.
My question is, what power motor should I get, e.g. is 500W good for hills, but will it give me too much power to control?
I am looking at the IZIP Zuma, but it seems too heavy. This GBE GTO Beach Cruiser looks good, and only 52 lbs, and has a LiFePO4 battery.. Does anyone have it, or can anyone recommend another model?
None of the ebikes in this price range are too powerful. Your range is also so low that any bike on the market should be adequate. However the hill may be something that begs for more torque. I ride this http://www.juicedriders.com/shop/
That bike has tons of torque but alot more battery range than you need.
Thanks. How can we tell how much torque to expect from an ebike? By the battery specs? I have a folding Dahon, but for an electric I am looking for something that looks like a more traditional bike with larger wheels, though I understand that adds more weight.
There are basically 3 common ebike drive types.
1.Mid-drive: This is the best most expensive intricate and loudest. This will take advantage of the bikes gearing.
2.Direct drive hub motor: This the cheapest and most simple drive. They do not have much torque but work very very well in flat places. The are also the most quiet of the 3.
3.Geared hub motor: These have about twice the torque of a direct drive. They make more noise than the direct drive.
For a hub motor bike your Dahon would actually do very well. A small 250w geared hub would add little weight and have some torque too. The 20inch wheel will improve the torque situation. The guy that designed my bike used a 20 inch folding bike as part of the inspiration for the one he marketed.
Too many to list, some I built myself including the frame. I "do" ~ Human-Only-Pedal-Powered-Cycles, Human-Electric-Hybrid-Cycles, Human-IC-Hybrid-Cycles, and one Human-IC-Electric-3way-Hybrid-Cycle
There is a HUGE difference between the 200-250watt geared hub motors and the 500watt geared hub motors. Based on the bike you linked too using the bigger 500 watt geared hub-motor which is only made by a few manufactures and tends to be a higher quality unit then the cheapo dime a dozen 200-250watt geared hub-motors along with the fact that at least from the pictures the bike you linked too appears to have pretty good components for the actual bike parts I'd say that is a very fair price and it would be hard to put together the same bike from parts for the same price.
If I were in the market for a ready made e-bike and I didn't insist upon putting everything together myself because I like to customize everything then I would go for that bike you linked too. I would get the orange version which is both a little cheaper and also offers much better visibility and cars will be more likely to see an orange bike then a brown one.
As to going up-hill without having to pedal to help the motor out. The 500watt geared hub motors have a fairly good reputation for having decent torque and being able to pull cargo loads and climb hills fairly well (almost as good of torque as a 1,000watt direct drive because their internal gear reduction allows them to have better torque at lower speeds then a direct drive hub motor) but depending on how much you weight and how steep the hill is you might still have to pedal a little bit to help the motor out climbing some hills. Provided your not a disabled person who can't pedal this really shouldn't be a problem and even if you don't have to pedal to climb the hill you will often find yourself doing so in order to stay going fast while climbing the hill and not having the hill slow you down. At least that is what most people I know who ride e-bikes or (IC) motorized-bikes do that I know. Me personally, well I tend to pedal almost all the time to go as fast as possible and make the battery last as long as possible whether I'm going up a hill or not.
As a side note: In response to zydeco's post mid-drives don't necessarily have to be loud. The Stokermonkey mid-drive is quieter then a geared hub-motor and my GNG which uses a toothed belt instead of gears for the first reduction stage isn't bad at all especially since I'm running it on 36V instead of the original design voltage of 48V which really tames it down. With mid-drives most of the noise is from the first stage reduction off of the motor (running at very high RPM's) which is usually gears which is what makes all the racket especially non-helical rough cut metal gears. Mid-drives that use either low RPM motors that don't need a two stage reduction (StokerMonkey) or those that use a modified geared hub motor with its quieter running nylon planetary gears (GNG type 2 and a few others) or those that use a toothed rubber belt instead of gears or a chain for the high RPM first stage reduction (High Power GNG brushless) are much quieter then conventional mid-drives which use gears running at high RPM for the first stage reduction (Cyclone, etc. . . ).
The specs are similar, but they are more $ and do not use the LifePO4 battery type, but do have 48V versions available. I think "gearless" hub motor may mean "Direct drive" .... Could anyone tell me if this is worth the price?