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Old 05-23-06, 12:30 PM   #1
pricklycommute
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Gas and Electric Bicycle

I have been contemplating my new commute, and am really getting stuck on the distance - about 80 miles roundtrip. At this point I am have been planning on driving part way, and then riding the rest on my regular commuter. After digging around, however, I may have come up with another plan. This wouldn't be the greatest for exercise, but for gas prices it starts to look pretty good.

First of all is this:

https://www.revopower.com/

This is an in-wheel 23cc gas motor for the front wheel. Their website actually looks really nice. If the motor lasts more than a couple thousand miles, it would pay for itself. Top speed of 20 mph, gas consumption (according to them) of about 200 mpg.

Then for the bike itself, use one of these. Heck, even buy the 48V set-up for a top speed of 26 mph. This electric bike runs off the rear wheel, so "The Wheel" from revopower.com could also be installed. Maybe even equip a Bob Trailer for clothing and tools storage with a photovoltaic top?

http://www.speedbykes.com/LashOutCycle.html

Between the gas motor and the 48V electric, I could probably do a 80 mile round trip commute once or twice a week. To be honest, it would be tough to make it completely economical, even with high gas prices, but still a lot of fun. Longevity worries me the most I think. I do have a 48cc 2-stroke on a bike now though, and it is still ping-pinging away.

What do you guys think?
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Old 05-23-06, 12:46 PM   #2
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I didnt look too much at the links, but I like them. I used to build and sell gas bikes at my last job, we were a ATV/scooter shop. If you have long distances and you get tired quick(if it is up hill) They are a great idea.

If you live in MI, I can give you the nmae of a shop that sells bikes like those
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Old 05-23-06, 01:09 PM   #3
pricklycommute
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrimsonEclipse
having both would decrease the efficiency of both.

Stick with the gas. Electrical, for now, is limited for short range.
Why not buy a more powerful, higher quality 4 stroke that'll take
you to about 30 mph with greater range?

Look at it like this, every day you commute, try to use the engine
less and less until you are riding 80 miles a day. Then ditch the
engine(s) all together.

CE
Well, I don't think I could ride 80 miles a day, especially commuting. I don't know, but that would probably be 5.5 hrs of riding a day - not a whole a lot of time for anything else.

If the gas motor in the wheel is reliable enough, it may be a decent option on its own. 20 mph isn't fast, but maybe it could be geared up a tad. I also wonder how much friction there is when off. The 48cc 2-stroke that I have now works great, but there is no way I would take it on a 40-mile trip - I'm just not confident enough in it. The drive sproket attachment to the spokes is not ideal.

What 4-strokes are you referencing? Anything in particular?
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Old 05-23-06, 02:23 PM   #4
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Agree, 80 miles is too far. Any time looking at one way being further than 70 minutes one way, means biking is not the answer. Suggest looking at other solutions:

1. is bike to public trans, load bike and then unload to ride to destination a possibility?
2. I'd do the biking on weekends and evening. And replace the human powered cycling with motor powered cycling. The last time I looked Yamaha made a nice cross between a motorcycle and a motor scooter. Motor cycle chains can be real messy and 2 stroke engines are a pain. Worst case, cough, cough, is consider a used car.
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Old 05-23-06, 02:26 PM   #5
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Can you find some people to carpool with?

Bike in, carpool out.
Carpool in, bike out.

Or bus, or train. Even better if you can take the bike with you home.

40 miles per day, not 80. Still a lot of biking!
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Old 05-23-06, 05:39 PM   #6
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I've been looking a lot into power assist bikes. The in-hub gas motor is bad-ass but I'd be real concerned with an unproven design. The price is right, but you'll have to wait till next year.

As for electrics, the range is very limited. You have to deal with very heavy batteries or very expensive lithium-ion cells. Even with these, most have a 15-20 mile range depending on rider and terrain.

As for your choice of rear drive electric motor, you can get these much cheaper if you mail-order these from Target under the moongoose brand. One warning about these motors, they've been known to wear out/loosen spokes. 600 watts is a lot of power for an electric assist bike. 250-350 watts is plenty for true assist. That makes the motor lighter and keeps from wasting a lot of juice by torquing to speed but not getting very far.

You can also get hub motors, brushed and brushless in various power configurations. If you use the hub motors in the rear, you often loose a few gears. So far, Bionx has the cleanest hub that will allow for an 8 speed freewheel hub. Bionx is very expensive, however.

There are bunches of gas solutions with friction drive or even chain drive systems. One that is of interest (clean design) is MX5 Super Bike Engine.htm but it only fits very specific downtubes (see diagram).

Do a lot of homework to choose your ultimate solution for power assist biking. It can be a very frustrating journey but better if you haven't yet spent the money.

Also, most legal power assist bikes are limited to 18mph. Above that they need to be licenced as do you.

Things to consider:
noise factor: 4 strokes are often quieter than 2 strokes.
hassle factor: know how your 2 stock engine does the oil mixing (injector or premix)
Battery life: electric batteries wear out and most annoyingly, die slowly.
Brushed motors have an approximate 8000 mile life (I'd realy question bearing quality for this long a life too)
weight! What do you want to lug around when you don't want the power.
Budget: "how much do you have, send it in"
restrofit or buy the bike to suit the motor choice: you may have limitations that will make a retrofit undesirable.

...and on...and on...and on....

Good luck
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Old 05-23-06, 06:26 PM   #7
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I think I'd just opt for a Vespa scooter (or something similar). You could probably do the entire commute on one of those, and it'd probably be a lot of fun.
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Old 05-23-06, 06:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DigitalQuirk
I think I'd just opt for a Vespa scooter (or something similar). You could probably do the entire commute on one of those, and it'd probably be a lot of fun.
I can see that as a very viable solution. Here, at G.I. Joe's, they have a Vespa like scooter for only $799-. It does require registration and license.
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Old 10-13-07, 09:48 PM   #9
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Check out Lightfoot recumbents. They do a engine assist. Expensive but really a nice rig. 1.5 horsepower subaru engine. The engine drives the chain giveing you all 8 gears. Comfortble to ride.
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Old 10-14-07, 10:38 AM   #10
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I dunno about the scooter. My commute currently has a lot of highway; a scooter would be much slower.

I've seen a number of those gas-assists on eBay, and I'm left wondering about just how good they are. I mean, I suspect that they will wear out fast, plus, who can repair them? If it conks out halfway to work, are you stuck?

Is there a park and ride nearby? Or a Walmart that you can leave your car at, and bike 10 miles or whatever? I'm just dubious about the alternative options (gas, electric bikes) really saving money over the long run. I mean, if you are going to keep a car around anyhow, it winds up being cost per mile analysis, plus hassle/day analysis.

Really really out there question: if your commute is too hairy on the work end, what about finding a coworker's house where you could leave your car overnight; and then bike to/from home to their house? Still biking, still keeping some miles off the car.
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Old 10-14-07, 11:05 AM   #11
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Personally, I would be looking for something like a 350 cc and up motorcycle, complete with lights, horn, and highway legal.

knotty
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Old 10-14-07, 11:59 AM   #12
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Old 10-17-07, 08:58 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pricklycommute View Post
I have been contemplating my new commute, and am really getting stuck on the distance - about 80 miles roundtrip. At this point I am have been planning on driving part way, and then riding the rest on my regular commuter. After digging around, however, I may have come up with another plan. This wouldn't be the greatest for exercise, but for gas prices it starts to look pretty good.
...
What do you guys think?
I would look at getting a scooter, something first-rate from one of the big companies. Honda, Kawasaki or similar--not the Chinese stuff.

I have a motorized bike, the gas ones can get that far easily but aren't real dependable.
~
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Old 10-18-07, 06:23 AM   #14
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It would probably make more sense to move closer to work.

Or just get a small motorbike, or scooter.
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