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Old 09-06-08, 05:19 PM   #1
cedricbosch
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Long-range touring using electric assist



I love bike touring and I'd like to be able to cover more distance in even less time. I happened upon the idea of attaching an electric hub motor to my BOB trailer, with a couple batteries on the trailer itself.

My question is this- I found this website which sells pre-built e-trailers. They claim a range of 15-20 miles with "nominal pedaling" on a 10ah battery. Now, I can already cover 100 miles in a day under my own power. If I doubled the batteries (now a range of 35 miles "with nominal pedaling"), how far do you think i could go?

I'm not too familiar with electric motors but if it were a gas engine, you could gear it for a higher top speed, say 22mph, so it would be only adding 4 mph or so to your regular speed.

Any suggestions?

Thanks!

Link- http://www.thunderstruck-ev.com/motobob.htm
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Old 09-06-08, 08:27 PM   #2
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Cool idea. I wonder if one of the big foldable solar panels could recharge one of(or maybe both) the batteries while you are riding during the day. Might be able to double the distance or more depending on how long it would take the solar charger to charge up the battery.

I wonder how the trailer effects the bike on technical mtn climbing under power?
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Old 09-06-08, 08:32 PM   #3
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I don't have a problem with running an electrical assist, I have wondered whether it would be practical. It would at least double the weight of baggage, and tie you to a necesarry recharge every day or else you would be lugging a ton. I don't think solar would rebuild the power fast enough in most environments.
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Old 09-08-08, 02:02 PM   #4
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Bad idea. Looking at where the drive wheel is on the trailer, it seems tailor made to cause a jackknife.
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Old 09-09-08, 01:08 PM   #5
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I think if an electric assist device mounted on a trailer was safe and effective we would see more dealers offering the option.

Even the link to the THUNDERSTRUCK web site specifies that they no longer sell that setup.

There is one record of a long distance trip by a journalist who traveled along the Mississippi:

http://www.pedelecs.co.uk/articles/5...t-1/Page1.html

He used an eZee Torq ... which is designed by the manufacturer as a touring platform.

Since the battery needs to be charged every night, this bike seems like a reasonable option for a credit card tourer, who's in a motel room every night. Not a good choice for stealth campers hiding out in the bushes.
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Old 09-09-08, 09:29 PM   #6
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ugh, that looks horrible
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Old 09-10-08, 02:42 PM   #7
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why not just buy a motorbike then u can do all the miles u want
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Old 09-10-08, 03:24 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Peterpan1 View Post
I don't have a problem with running an electrical assist, I have wondered whether it would be practical. It would at least double the weight of baggage, and tie you to a necesarry recharge every day or else you would be lugging a ton. I don't think solar would rebuild the power fast enough in most environments.

A solar panel would not come close to keeping up with the drain of a 300+watt motor. A 5 Watt solar panel is also about the size of a TV tray. You will also not get the full 5 watts unless it is direct sunlight.
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Old 09-10-08, 03:35 PM   #9
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Long-range touring using electric assist

Supposing it works, the extra weight and space is going to be more of a nuisance than assistance. The best motor for a bicycle is the rider on it. You. Train it to do longer distances, that's the whole idea of bicycle touring.
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Old 09-10-08, 07:16 PM   #10
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That's no 10 amp hour battery on that trailer.That box is big enough for 1000+ amp hours.The 6 amp hour battery for my bike lights will fit in a shirt pocket.You could get a rough estimate of time,if you know what the motor draws and how much weight it will have to push and how many amp hours you have to draw on.

I don't see why pushing the bike should be a problem.They have those city busses around here that are jointed in the middle,engine in the back pushing,they seem to work OK.
Patently false cruft on BF? Perish the thought!

Look, Mac, An amp-hour is a misleading measurement for total energy content because it is only useful for comparison at a constant voltage. An amp-hour is a unit of total charge, NOT a unit of energy. A watt is a unit of instantaneous power, and a watt-hour is a unit of energy, the amount of energy it takes to supply one watt of power for, drumroll plz, one hour. The relationship between these units is the equation volts X amps = watts.

And so, while your little bike light may have 6ah of juice, it is running at somewhere around a volt. A 10ah electric bike battery, on the other hand, is running at 24, 36, or for some serious hot-rodding, 48 volts, and therefore has many, many times the energy content.

I know we all love seeing our words in print, but please refrain from commenting on things you know nothing about.
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Old 09-10-08, 11:20 PM   #11
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No need to be so harsh. But to the question - the battery-electric drive won't add much value. If you fill that battery box you will have added about 75 lbs, plus the weight of the drive motor, wheel, trailer - presto - 100lbs additional weigh to move. You have just rendered the option of actually pedaling the bike almost impossible, or much slower in any case. Recharging with solar is out of the question. The only fuel that contains enough energy to really help you out here is gasoline - a small gas motor would provide a lot more payback without as much weight. But what's the point?
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Old 09-11-08, 06:14 AM   #12
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Hey to each their own. Some people find it evil, but if its for you then there appears to be sources. Check out this site. http://www.bicycle-power.com/index.htm
The gas assist bikes look to have possibility for long distance touring.
Scott
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Old 09-11-08, 06:39 AM   #13
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I had the experience to try an electric assist bike and I was left VERY unimpressed. While fun to zip around on using the motor, it really was no longer an acceptable bicycle. The weight penalty was way beyond what I would consider acceptable. I don't see how the trailer version would be any better and suspect it would be worse in some ways. If you would tour where power were unavailable it would be a real chore to ride once the batteries were dead. I can only imagine how miserable it would be to be in some remote place with a dead battery and a mountain pass to climb.

The solar option probably isn't very workable. It would take quite a bit of solar panel area to keep it charged which would add even more weight. Enough solar panel would undoubtedly be way too much to use while underway, so you would have to set them up while stopped and while the sun was still high in the sky. So with limited time to charge it means even more panel area and even more weight. Then there are cloudy days and short daylight hours in the Fall, Winter, and Spring...

You might be able to make it work in places where power was sure to be available., but why? The benefit does not seem to be great enough to out weigh the negatives.

That and it seems to at least partially defeat the whole idea of bicycle touring. If you want a motor, I would say better to just motorcycle tour. That is fun too but in a different way.
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Old 09-11-08, 06:50 AM   #14
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The gas assist bikes look to have possibility for long distance touring.
Scott
They offer some of the same disadvantages, but the motors are much lighter and gas is readily available. Also a battery is heavy even when dead while an empty gas tank is fairly light. Still wouldn't be my cup of tea, but gas is probably more practical.
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Old 09-12-08, 10:44 PM   #15
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Here in South Australia we race solar-electric bikes every other year. Generally using faired recumbents. The speeds aren't in the same league as RAAM, but the bikes are still quite interesting and fun.

If you build a motor to run at the most efficient speed you should manage something like 50% electrical efficiency. With monocrystaline (not folding) pannels, on a BOB trailer you ought to manage something like 30W. So only 15W continuous power to the wheel. This compares to 50-80W from your legs.

But nobody tours continuously, if you were to carry two pannels, and put them both out during lunch brakes, icecream stops etc, then you might be able to get a boost of 30W during the riding time, which is probably quite nice. If you are able to re-charge the battery at night then it would be even better.

Of course this would all be rather silly if you haven't already taken such measures as low rolling resistance tyres, tail fairing, etc. You might want to read the recumbent forum if any of this is news.

Have fun
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Old 09-14-08, 10:41 PM   #16
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They offer some of the same disadvantages, but the motors are much lighter and gas is readily available. Also a battery is heavy even when dead while an empty gas tank is fairly light. Still wouldn't be my cup of tea, but gas is probably more practical.
I agree, a 2 cycle engine weighs very little. The only problem is that you cannot just push a button and have the engine kick in like electric. You will have to bring the bike to a stop, push the primer bulb a few times, close the choke and pull the starter 2 or 3 times then open the choke if you heard a sputter. Then you will have to get back on the bike and pedal for a while until the engine is warm. There are 2 cycle engine kits out there already. I saw a guy on a bike with a 2 cycle engine going past my work as I was heading out for lunch in my car a month ago. The problem with those kits that I see is that they are Chinese engines....I'd find a way to hook up a 3 horse Zenoah G260RC engine to a bike. Japanese made and bullet proof.
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