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  1. #1
    It's MY mountain DiabloScott's Avatar
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    Passed On Diablo by One of These

    Neo Cross | Road Electric Bikes at Cycling Made Easy



    Definitely one of the cooler electric bikes I've seen. The guy looked like he was getting a good workout, AND going fast. It wasn't noisy at all either... I had to really look to convince myself it was electric at all.
    http://diabloscott.blogspot.com/

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    I agree it's pretty cool looking and probably really good for commuting when you just want to get to work without sweating too much. However, I'm old enough to remember the heyday of mopeds (Puchs, Vespas) which were really popular in late '70s. I had one and really liked it. Originally owning one was just like having a bicycle as pertaining to the vehicle code. With their increasing popularity registration & insurance requirements were enacted which really killed them off (along with lower gas prices). I can see a similar situation arising with electric bikes if they start to get really popular.

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    Senior Member gpelpel's Avatar
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    Saw one last week on Mt. Diablo Blvd. in Lafayette. I was first intrigued because the guy, probably in his 50s, was pedaling super easy and going super fast. I then got a good laugh when he passed a young guy on a race bike with complete racing kit. The young guy gave a look that said a lot, he just couldn't believe what was happening to him.

    I agree the bike has a nice design with curves la Specialized Roubaix. It looks sleek.

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    these guys are going to be taking strava KOM's soon

  5. #5
    Family, Health, Cycling Lanceoldstrong's Avatar
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    KOM will now stand for Kilowatt On (the) Mountain.
    In Escendo Est Verum

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    The question is does it have enough battery to get to the top? I would imagine your ride ends as soon as the battery gives out

    Battery capacity is listed as 324 W*h, so if you're running at 200 W, you've probably got enough to make it to the top (depending on rider+bike weight).

  7. #7
    It's MY mountain DiabloScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsa103 View Post
    The question is does it have enough battery to get to the top? I would imagine your ride ends as soon as the battery gives out

    Battery capacity is listed as 324 W*h, so if you're running at 200 W, you've probably got enough to make it to the top (depending on rider+bike weight).
    Wow, a 200W boost would be awesome. It appears to weigh about 7kg more than a normal bike so that's a big hit.

    I don't think the market is commuters though... people who don't commute already by bike aren't going to be swayed by one of these. That guy on Diablo looked like he was really enjoying himself. I think the market for these bikes might be folks like me except maybe with some physical issue or just age that prevents them from 100% human power.
    http://diabloscott.blogspot.com/

  8. #8
    don't try this at home. rm -rf's Avatar
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    I saw a family riding three electric bikes yesterday, on the pedestrian and bike bridge near downtown. The father had one of these vertical banners, saying "Ask me how to rent this electric bike"

    Like the ones on the right, it was about 6 feet above the bike. It was really eye catching.
    feather-flag-sizes.gif

  9. #9
    blt
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
    Neo Cross | Road Electric Bikes at Cycling Made Easy



    Definitely one of the cooler electric bikes I've seen. The guy looked like he was getting a good workout, AND going fast. It wasn't noisy at all either... I had to really look to convince myself it was electric at all.
    I test rode that model a few months back when there was a demo day for E-Motion at Endless Cycles in Castro Valley. It was a lot of fun. My favorite part was that I just didn't care about losing momentum at a stop light or a stop sign, I could get back up to speed so fast and so easily. It also kind of fun taking the steep hill on Heyer going from Cull Canyon back towards center street with less work than I usually need to do. I also test rode a mountain bike that the rep for some reason thought was "even more fun" but I guess I'm not a mountain bike guy, it was fun, but not more fun.

    Yes, there are limits to how far the battery will take you, but at least on that E-Motion bike you can almost double your riding range by carrying an extra battery, it is really easy to swap out batteries. Sure, it adds 5 or 6 pounds to the ride, but you're on a pretty darned heavy e-bike already, the motor will take care of the extra pounds, and yes, due to the extra weight you can't QUITE double the riding range you would have if you weren't carrying the extra battery, but it is pretty close. Heck, the engine on my regular bike weighs 15 pounds less than it did last August, so what's another 5 or 6 pounds on the e-bike?

    Not too long after my test ride, I was riding Pleasanton heading into Dublin on the Alamo Creek trail, a recumbent entered the trail just ahead of me on Johnson Drive, I wondered who would go faster once he was up to speed -- should I pass him before he got up to speed because I'd pass him eventually anyway, or hang back because if I passed him, he'd pass me back? After only a brief moment of pondering, the question became moot. ZOOM!! He was off. There was only a brief second of "How on earth could he accelerate that fast, and all of a sudden be going 20 miles an hour?" before I realized he had to be on an e-bike. An e-bike bent. Interesting.

    The feds, and currently the state, consider these to be "low speed electric bicycles," and they are exempt from classification as motor vehicles so long as they have pedals, an electric motor of less than 1 hp (750W) and satisfy the speed restrictions. Using motor only, they can't go over 20 miles an hour. When it is in an assist mode, the motor will provide less assistance as speed goes up. I'm pretty sure the E-motion rep said they will provide no assistance beyond 24 mph. These speed and motor restrictions may help keep them from getting to where they need registration and insurance.

    It really is a good commuter bike for people who don't want to sweat too much on the way to work, and if you have a lot of stop lights or stop signs on a commute route, the ability to get back up to speed fast and easily could make a big difference. I know someone in Kansas City who bought one for that purpose (and the Kansas City area has more rolling hills than you might think), he says he can now ride to work without needing to shower when he arrives. I also talked to someone at the demo day in Castro Valley who had one for mountain biking, she likes the beauty of getting far away on trails, and now she can still get a good workout plus go farther and see more of what she wants to see with the e-bike.

    I'm not planning to get one anytime soon, but it would be fun to rent one sometime for a day of riding, especially with a second battery to nearly double my riding range.

  10. #10
    Champion of Simplicity
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    Quote Originally Posted by SClaraPokeman View Post
    I agree it's pretty cool looking and probably really good for commuting when you just want to get to work without sweating too much. However, I'm old enough to remember the heyday of mopeds (Puchs, Vespas) which were really popular in late '70s. I had one and really liked it. Originally owning one was just like having a bicycle as pertaining to the vehicle code. With their increasing popularity registration & insurance requirements were enacted which really killed them off (along with lower gas prices). I can see a similar situation arising with electric bikes if they start to get really popular.
    I agree, these bikes seem to have found a loophole in that a lot of them now like the Specialized Turbo only assist, they don't propel the bike. My brother in law has the turbo and it will assist him to 28 miles per hour. But since it only assists when he's pedaling, and the motor is 250 watts, it's not considered a motorized bicycle, and no M2 endorsement is needed. But once they get more popular, and the DMV can charge a fee related to it, it will happen. This is California.

  11. #11
    The Left Coast, USA FrenchFit's Avatar
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    I put a Hill Topper on my wife's bike, 250 torquey watts, not all that fast but it does the job on inclines. A wonderful solution allowing is to ride together. We'll see up Northgate in the fall.

  12. #12
    blt
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    Quote Originally Posted by murdockspencer View Post
    I agree, these bikes seem to have found a loophole in that a lot of them now like the Specialized Turbo only assist, they don't propel the bike. My brother in law has the turbo and it will assist him to 28 miles per hour. But since it only assists when he's pedaling, and the motor is 250 watts, it's not considered a motorized bicycle, and no M2 endorsement is needed. But once they get more popular, and the DMV can charge a fee related to it, it will happen. This is California.
    The no assist is limited by law to 20 mph for a person weighing 170 lb. There would have to be legislation to change things from the way they are, this can't be done just by DMV fiat, and I'll be surprised if those lobbying for a change would outweigh those who would change against it, especially in this day where climate change matters in the State of California. A gas powered motorized bicycle? A problem. A low speed electric bicycle that doesn't perform that much differently from a bicycle, except that people in lousy shape can ride without exerting on the flats about half as fast as racers can? I'll also be surprised if they get so popular that the legislature worries about it anytime soon, but we shall see.

  13. #13
    The Left Coast, USA FrenchFit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blt View Post
    except that people in lousy shape can ride without exerting on the flats about half as fast as racers can?
    I believe there about 10 million adult disabled/impaired in California, a fair percentage disabled/impaired vets. Some can ride a bike and climb hills with a little assist, and are cardio stars. It would be a mistake to think the customers for a pedal assist bike are exclusively the "lousy shape" crowd, but even if that is indeed true it would represent a step in the right direction.

  14. #14
    Senior Member patrickgm60's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsa103 View Post
    The question is does it have enough battery to get to the top? I would imagine your ride ends as soon as the battery gives out

    Battery capacity is listed as 324 W*h, so if you're running at 200 W, you've probably got enough to make it to the top (depending on rider+bike weight).
    Does that equate to, say 162 W (1/2 of 324) for 2 hours? If so, one could enjoy a pretty brisk 2-hour commute at only ~110-130W of pedaling, average, recharge at the office all day, then return home with the same capacity. Interesting.

  15. #15
    blt
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrenchFit View Post
    I believe there about 10 million adult disabled/impaired in California, a fair percentage disabled/impaired vets. Some can ride a bike and climb hills with a little assist, and are cardio stars. It would be a mistake to think the customers for a pedal assist bike are exclusively the "lousy shape" crowd, but even if that is indeed true it would represent a step in the right direction.
    Perhaps I didn't make my point clear. Actually, I include myself in those in "lousy shape" because I can't maintain 20 mph on the flats for a very long period of time.

    My point wasn't about who the customers are for the bike. My point was about who might ride differently enough so that those interested in government regulation might take notice. I have already said that I think the market includes people who would like to commute to work without needing a shower upon arrival at the office, and I'm sure there are a variety of others that would be interested in e-bikes.

    Others in this thread have suggested that increased popularity will lead to e-bike riders needing license and insurance (i.e., e-bikes being defined as motor vehicles). I'm not so sure. The observer out on the roads can see, for instance, that a moped is different from a regular human powered bicycle. Except for those (lousy shape or good) who are cruising along flats in motor only mode, not pedaling yet going up to the limit of 20 mph, I don't think that the casual observer will realize that someone is on an e-bike and start thinking, "Oh, man, those people should have licenses and be required to have insurance to ride those things." And I don't think a 20 mph limit on something that looks like a bike will be a concern.

    I would guess that the disabled/impaired you are talking about won't be operating bikes in any obviously different way from the rest of those out on the road on bikes that are solely human powered, and probably won't be riding up hills faster than the regular recreational riders who pass me on the road all the time. People won't be watching the disabled/impaired on their e-bikes and thinking, "Look at how they're riding, they need license and insurance to do that," except perhaps the people who already think that about bicycles powered solely by humans.

    The motor only speed limit of 20 mph is pretty close to what you'll see from a lot of human powered bikes out there on the road. Racers go a lot faster than that. Most human powered bikes out there are going a little slower than that, but drive around on the weekend and you'll find plenty of groups of riders going at a pace at or above 20 mph. Even in assist mode, people aren't going crazy fast so that people driving around think they are going faster than those riding at a brisk pace. Those riding uphill, at best people will be deluded into thinking someone is in really good shape. When I was watching the Tour of California Diablo climb, the announcers were talking about how the racers would get slowed down to 20 mph on the climb, maybe even 15 mph on the brutal ramp at the end. Those climbing in assist mode may seem to those of us grinding along uphill at 3-4 mph like they are going fast, but compared to those guys? No, not fast. When I did my test ride and climbing the steepest hill I did, I was probably going about 8 mph while still doing some work but thinking, "Man, this is a lot easier than my bike," but nobody driving by was saying, "Hey, a guy bombing uphill on a bike like that should have a license and insurance."

    Under current government regulations, an e-bike will still do a whole lot less than what a human powered bike can do in the hands of elite riders, even if a good recreational rider climbing a hill in assist mode can leave other good recreational riders in the dust. As currently defined by the feds, I don't think that "low speed electric bicycles" will end up being changed to motor vehicles requiring licenses and insurance, even if they become a lot more popular. I think this is especially the case in California, because "low speed electric bicycles" are quite an environmentally friendly mode of transport, and I can't see the California legislature doing anything to discourage that unless it was really necessary. I've been wrong before about what the state legislature or Congress would do, however, so who knows.

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    was passed by one of troad2.jpg on Diablo.

  17. #17
    Erect member since 1953 cccorlew's Avatar
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    You were passed by a MOTORcycle. That's what these are.
    People with (possibly, and in my mind likely) no clue, no license riding at 20 mph (or more) with weighty machines, interacting with bicycles and pedestrians? How can that turn out well?
    I don't mind people having them, but they need to be treated as what they are, MOTORcycles. Go up Diablo? Fine. But don't think you are riding a bike. And stay out of the bike lanes and off the MUPS.
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    Hell, why not just be done with it buy an actual motorcycle?
    Quote Originally Posted by gaucho777 View Post
    I know people hate seeing bikes on cycling-related forums, so my apologies for that.
    No single raindrop considers itself responsible for the flood.

  19. #19
    Erect member since 1953 cccorlew's Avatar
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    Let me back off just a tiny bit. If I could have an electric motor, hidden, say in my seat tube, that no one could see, or even know about.... And I could be the only person to have that device... well..,

    Bike with engine (doped bike) and Cancellara (Roubaix - Vlaanderen) - YouTube
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  20. #20
    Senior Member gpelpel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cccorlew View Post
    If I could have an electric motor, hidden, say in my seat tube, that no one could see, or even know about....
    Aren't Di2 systems a hidden motor disguised as an electronic shifter? No wonder why so many pass me up any hills these days.

  21. #21
    blt
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    Quote Originally Posted by cccorlew View Post
    You were passed by a MOTORcycle. That's what these are.
    People with (possibly, and in my mind likely) no clue, no license riding at 20 mph (or more) with weighty machines, interacting with bicycles and pedestrians? How can that turn out well?
    I don't mind people having them, but they need to be treated as what they are, MOTORcycles. Go up Diablo? Fine. But don't think you are riding a bike. And stay out of the bike lanes and off the MUPS.
    In a sense you are absolutely right. After one experience of seeing an e-bent zip off on the MUP, I would agree that they should stay off, or at a minimum obey the speed limit on the MUP, and I've never seen a speed limit over 15 mph. I'll have to think about the bike lanes issue.

    On the other hand, I've encountered plenty of people riding regular old human powered bicycles at 20 mph or more with (possibly, and in my mind likely) no clue. In my time on the road, I've feared for my life more from those riding bicycles than I have from those riding cars. I find descending Diablo somewhat terrifying due to the fact that I've some near collisions with those on bicycles passing me who just aren't alert to the fact that there may be cyclists ahead of them who just don't descend as fast as they do. I do stay pretty much to the right as much as practical when I'm descending, and I don't really worry about cars, not many of them are going fast enough to pass me, and I can almost always hear them coming. Those cyclists, on the other hand, they do go fast enough to pass me, I can't hear them coming, and there are too many who are clueless. We all know stories. Pretty much everyone knows the story of the guy on a bicycle who killed a ped in SF. A couple of months ago, the brother of a friend of mine, a very experienced rider, blew a stop sign at a T intersection going pretty fast on a downhill and was killed by a van. Yes, the body damage to the van wasn't too serious, and nobody in the van was injured, but the emotional trauma of being behind the wheel witnessing someone being killed by his vehicle will last a very long time for that driver. Good thing that guy never collided with another bike or a ped. Could a 48 year old guy really be that clueless? Well, he paid the price. Fortunately, most cyclists who want to go fast stay off the MUP's, but there are enough clueless ones who want to go 25 that they do endanger other peds and cyclists. In general, too many cyclists endanger other cyclists and pedestrians. It isn't the majority, but it is too many.

    Sure the e-bikes are heavier, but combining the weight of the rider and the bike, there isn't a huge practical difference in the damage they can cause. Yes, they let people who are not in as good physical condition ride faster than they could otherwise, but they are still going to be riding a lot slower than a lot of clueless cyclists out there who are going 20 mph or more, and much, much more in the case of riders descending a lot of the hills in the Bay Area. The limits on range using only the motor, and the limits on range using maximum pedal assist power will limit how much people are going to be going very fast out there. In the end, I'm not sure the potential danger from e-bikes is really more serious than the danger from hardcore cyclists. Sure, some e-bike riders will endanger other cyclists and pedestrians, but that doesn't make them different from those riding bicycles powered solely by human power.

    If the motor alone is powerful enough to get you over 20 mph, then the motorized bicycle is only legal for off-road, it has no VIN number, it doesn't have standard on-road safety equipment. But people can zip along roads on their human powered bicycles at 40-50 mph heading down hills, and unless they are breaking the speed limit, there is no regulation of any kind.

    I haven't really seen anything that convinces me that legislation has things wrong about what is classified as an on-road motor vehicle, what is classified as an off-road vehicle, and what is allowed on the road without regulation. E-bikes are gaining popularity due to increasing traffic congestion, aging populations, and concern for the environment. With all those who wish to help ease traffic congestion, help aging populations be able to use bikes easier and help the environment, I can't see the feds or state governments changing things any time soon.

    All that aside, however, you are right that they shouldn't be though of as identical to human powered bicycles. They are not. People should not think that they are riding something that is the same as a human powered bike. People shouldn't ride like clueless people out there on e-bikes any more than people should ride as clueless people on their bikes without motors. E-bikes are cycles with motors, people should treat them as such even if they are limited to 20 mph without pedal assist, and even if pedal assist gets more limited the faster you go and cuts out altogether at 24 mph or whatever it is. On the other hand, I do think that e-bikes can encourage some people to better obey traffic laws. The main reason bicyclists blow off traffic laws is the pain in the butt of losing momentum, and on an e-bike, it really doesn't matter, because the biggest pedal assist is in starting from a stop.

    I'm with you, however, I'm not getting a motor for my bike until I get one that is hidden, say, in my seat tube, that no one could see, or even know about.

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