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Why do you think Ebikes haven't caught on for bicycle commuters in North America?

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Why do you think Ebikes haven't caught on for bicycle commuters in North America?

Old 04-29-15, 02:14 PM
  #1  
InTheRain
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Why do you think Ebikes haven't caught on for bicycle commuters in North America?

I just started commuting with an ebike. It's fabulous. Especially when the weather is not ideal for a bike commute. I still enjoy riding my human powered bicycle also. However, in about 7 years of bicycle commuting, I've only seen an ebike on my route one time. It has me wondering, why isn't this catching on. I've asked a few people and these are the responses that I get:

The cost for an ebike is too much.
Perfectly happy with a regular bike.

I must have been in the same camp at one time. However, my first ebike ride had me hooked. It was a few years ago, and I couldn't get the thought of an ebike off of my mind. I did a lot of research. I finally pulled the trigger a few months ago and bought a kit for my commuter. I can't believe I didn't do this sooner. I actually prefer an ebike commute to a car commute... even in the rain.

I really hope this takes off in North America. I really saw a lot of ebike vendors at this year's Seattle bike expo.
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Old 04-29-15, 03:39 PM
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<insert Opinion Here> IDK.
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Old 04-29-15, 03:51 PM
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Cost of a "good" one? or the battery not good enough for the job on the "affordable" ones?... JMO
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Old 04-29-15, 04:20 PM
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I brought the e-bike idea to the business start-up at my local college and the organizers saw it as third-world transportation. To the majority of people, the only way to get around is by car. In fact, a fellow student said he'd have to loose both his legs in order to stop driving and never would try out an e-bike. The people I talked to about using an e-bike see it as a step down in their social/monetary status.

Unless people take the initiative or are forced by some other reason such as cost to own/use a car; they will not switch.

My second prototype e-bike; however, is changing the above perceptions.
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Old 04-30-15, 11:09 AM
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I think the question should be for, the people who thought of getting an E-bike and didn't... Why not? People who bought an E-bike and are on here usually just love them...
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Old 04-30-15, 12:06 PM
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all the above reasons are pretty much why eat bikes haven't gained popularity in this country.
for people who do not have a lot of money they think and electric bicycle is too expensive and would rather go for a gas powered one.
for people who do have a good amount of money again like someone said before it's not up to their economic/social status..
for some people they think it is a third world country type of transportation.
I can tell you in my area, that poor people think it's really cool and want one and then when I tell them how much it costs they say it is too expensive for them.
The more affluent people in my area look down on me as if I am some kind of social reject because I do not have a car.
The pure fact is that we are in an auto-centric country.
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Old 04-30-15, 12:10 PM
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Oh and you also have those carbon fiber $5000 bicycle riders that look down on you as if you're "cheating" somehow.
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Old 04-30-15, 12:23 PM
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I ride bicycles. If you put a motor on a bicycle, it is a motor-cycle. If I want to ride a motorcycle, I find gas powered ones are much more fun.
Also, e-bikes sold in my province are limited to 32 km/h, and I can usually ride faster than that on a standard non-e-bike (a me-bike?), except for going up hills.
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Old 04-30-15, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Wilfred Laurier View Post
I ride bicycles. If you put a motor on a bicycle, it is a motor-cycle. If I want to ride a motorcycle, I find gas powered ones are much more fun.
Also, e-bikes sold in my province are limited to 32 km/h, and I can usually ride faster than that on a standard non-e-bike (a me-bike?), except for going up hills.
There you go, I suspect that is the main reason most people get an E-bike, even tho they really want to ride just (a me-bike)... I like that term....

Last edited by 350htrr; 04-30-15 at 12:47 PM.
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Old 04-30-15, 01:08 PM
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ebikes occupy a no-man's land between an actual motor vehicle and a bicycle. I think they appeal to a very narrow segment of people.
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Old 04-30-15, 01:19 PM
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I'd like to weigh in.

These are the facts from our company's results:

Average age of our E-bike owners is over 40.
Business owners or higher income.
Use the bikes for alternative transportation & recreation.
The average price of the bike $3,500+
100% satisfaction.

The question of why they haven't caught on yet?
Every reason above in the discussion plus the main one we here daily:
"I didn't know a bike like this even exists." Once they know about it and get a ride, almost everyone wants one.

I've been called a cheater by a guy in a skin suit riding a very expensive time trial road bike... LOL the only thing I'm cheating is the wind. My old knees appreciate it too.

Yes good ebikes cost real money, just like everything else good in life.
Last time I checked a nice vacation wasn't cheap.

What's going to jump sales? Let me know when you find out.
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Old 04-30-15, 01:24 PM
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Spend time in Europe last Year, Ebikes are alive and well there, specially Switzerland. US always a bit slow with change, lots of testosterone and ignorance in the way.
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Old 04-30-15, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Cyclosaurus View Post
I think they appeal to a very narrow segment of people.
Originally Posted by The_Equalizer View Post
Every reason above in the discussion plus the main one we here daily:
"I didn't know a bike like this even exists."
I think the market for them is bigger than Cyclosaurus thinks, but the subset of avid traditional bicyclists who would also adopt e-biking is probably not that large. People who have already invested the time and effort into getting comfortable on a traditional bike and using it for utility or commuting are less likely to go for an e-bike. People who don't see cycling as a viable method of transportation (and therefore haven't done the research into bikes that would reveal e-bikes as an option) are much more likely to want them and use them, IMHO.

I have tried them (although it was a few years back, and technology may have made them much better since then) and they are a hoot, but like I said, except for hills, the speed of an e-bike is not impressive compared to a regular lightweight bike and a fit rider.
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Old 04-30-15, 01:31 PM
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A friend wanted to get an electric bike so she could go riding with us.
Only problem is that we go 16-18mph for 50 or 60 miles and the ebike only goes about 12mph and bogs to a crawl on any serious incline and would need to be recharged half way through the ride.

Also to add, people inclined to ride ebikes are mostly out of shape and heavy, thus going even slower on an ebike with limited wattage.
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Old 04-30-15, 01:44 PM
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For me: too slow, too expensive.

Too slow is not necessarily technological. At some point in top end speed it's classified as a scooter, or a motorcycle. But the niche there between a bicycle and motorcycle is narrow and already occupied by scooters or mopeds.

1000 watt hub motor 700c wheel would just about do it, but is that even legal without a speed limiter? Can we even register such a thing as a motorcycle? Is there a road bike geometry e-bike with that power or greater? Could such a thing be achieved for 5 or 6 hundred dollars? Any "no" answer is a show-stopper for me.

I think these concerns are why they haven't caught on with cyclists. For non-cyclists, why an e-bike instead of a moped?
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Old 04-30-15, 01:57 PM
  #16  
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My daily commute is 110 miles. Public transportation would help, but sadly none is available.
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Old 04-30-15, 02:09 PM
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I'm an avid cyclist, with a life time mileage of over 200K miles. During the decade plus of racing and training years, I"d ride my bikes over 15k per year, for those of you that can't understand what the life was like. I wasn't very good either. The pros I"d train with did way more than me.

NOW- I'm old and fat. My knees are worn out, but I love the wind in my face. I still ride my standard touring bike but it's no longer my favorite.

My electric fat tire bike gets over 70 miles on a charge using the ECO mode, in Normal & Power Mode, goes 22.5 MPH. I've ridden it over 40 miles at those speeds on a single charge. So the technology has arrived to make a replacement or at least an alternative to cars.

What is a fact:
if you read this is and call me BS... until everyone with that knee jerk reaction understands that it is fact not fantasy these bikes will not be mainstream.

The real problem:
The main stream ebike companies are BS. They use standard bike frames with rack mounted batteries.
There is no such thing as a geared hub motor with over a 500 watt rating. So when they claim 600 watts or 750... they are just feeding more power to that 500 watt motor. What happens then... HEAT, WEAR, DAMAGE. Luckily their batteries have so little capacity that the damage is limited to small amounts. But it eventually adds up.

I've read elevated Professional Reviews on a few bike review sites about these very bikes so who do you trust? Don't go by my word, go try one out. IF I got hooked you better be careful or there might just be an E-bike in your future. LOL
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Old 04-30-15, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
For me: too slow, too expensive.

Too slow is not necessarily technological. At some point in top end speed it's classified as a scooter, or a motorcycle. But the niche there between a bicycle and motorcycle is narrow and already occupied by scooters or mopeds.

1000 watt hub motor 700c wheel would just about do it, but is that even legal without a speed limiter? Can we even register such a thing as a motorcycle? Is there a road bike geometry e-bike with that power or greater? Could such a thing be achieved for 5 or 6 hundred dollars? Any "no" answer is a show-stopper for me.

I think these concerns are why they haven't caught on with cyclists. For non-cyclists, why an e-bike instead of a moped?
No, no, no, no, no... I guess you're not getting an ebike in the near future.

ebikes are limited in speed, hence the speed limiters. This makes them legal to ride on the street.
They are faster than a traffic jam.
Moped vs. Ebike
I've had both. The moped had small wheels and a high center of gravity. I crashed it.
E-bike with standard 26 or larger wheels rides better - quiet - clean (no emissions) - costs less to run - much safer depending on ebike (ie - battery placement: bikes with a centered battery placement and a low center of gravity).
Fit: I barely fit on the moped with my knees in my chin. My ebike fits properly.
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Old 04-30-15, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by The_Equalizer View Post
No, no, no, no, no... .
You mean "no" answers every question?

Originally Posted by The_Equalizer View Post
I guess you're not getting an ebike in the near future.

ebikes are limited in speed, hence the speed limiters. This makes them legal to ride on the street.
They are faster than a traffic jam.
I mentioned the the speed limiters - 20 mph in this area. Sorry, but that's just too slow. If I'm to have a motor, it must be faster. Yet to achieve that, in this state it will be considered to be a moped, or registered as a motorcycle (motor scooter) depending on speed. The top speed limit (legally) for mopeds is 30 mph.

The top speed for a moped is about my minimum acceptable speed for an e-bike, so the best case for me would be an e-bike "moped". With a strong enough motor, and just a little advance in the future with batteries or fuel cells, and priced significantly lower than the significantly better performing alternatives, it's something I'd look into. But that's the worst of both worlds in a sense because "mopeds" have some extra restrictions, yet 30 isn't really fast enough to be seamless in urban and suburban traffic.

An actual "motor scooter" resolves those issues. But for an e-bike to qualify as a "motor scooter" (same as motorcycle) you have to clear a few hurdles - maybe such a thing exists but I've never seen it. Electric motorcycles exist, obviously, but not a two- or more HP motor strapped on a road bike, "designed for highway use" and then registered.

So in a nutshell, that's why I don't have one and I'm pretty confident that it's a problem in general. Performance. 20 mph would seem like a lot to a non-cyclist who gets on a bike once every year or two, but it's a crawl compared to every registered motor vehicle. And 20 mph along with the typical range isn't very impressive to an avid cyclist. It's hard to see where the niche is, in the current form. Cyclists who want help on hills (and I can appreciate that), or who sometimes want an effortless store run, but who else? That's a very small market.
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Old 04-30-15, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
You mean "no" answers every question?



I mentioned the the speed limiters - 20 mph in this area. Sorry, but that's just too slow. If I'm to have a motor, it must be faster. Yet to achieve that, in this state it will be considered to be a moped, or registered as a motorcycle (motor scooter) depending on speed. The top speed limit (legally) for mopeds is 30 mph.

The top speed for a moped is about my minimum acceptable speed for an e-bike, so the best case for me would be an e-bike "moped". With a strong enough motor, and just a little advance in the future with batteries or fuel cells, and priced significantly lower than the significantly better performing alternatives, it's something I'd look into. But that's the worst of both worlds in a sense because "mopeds" have some extra restrictions, yet 30 isn't really fast enough to be seamless in urban and suburban traffic.

An actual "motor scooter" resolves those issues. But for an e-bike to qualify as a "motor scooter" (same as motorcycle) you have to clear a few hurdles - maybe such a thing exists but I've never seen it. Electric motorcycles exist, obviously, but not a two- or more HP motor strapped on a road bike, "designed for highway use" and then registered.

So in a nutshell, that's why I don't have one and I'm pretty confident that it's a problem in general. Performance. 20 mph would seem like a lot to a non-cyclist who gets on a bike once every year or two, but it's a crawl compared to every registered motor vehicle. And 20 mph along with the typical range isn't very impressive to an avid cyclist. It's hard to see where the niche is, in the current form. Cyclists who want help on hills (and I can appreciate that), or who sometimes want an effortless store run, but who else? That's a very small market.
Here in CA. we have horrible traffic, even with 12 lanes of roadway 20 mile commutes can take an hour. Which just so happens to be the balance point. An hour drive can be very stressful whereas a bike ride is well I think you understand. This is only getting worse so alternate means of transportation are needed. The ebike slow compared to my motorcycle, is fast compared to sitting in a traffic jam.

Every aspect of the ebike has a reason. You feel the speed is insufficient but it is for that reason that no license is needed, no insurance is needed, no registration is needed. For a typical person those expenses add up. Making the ebike more inviting.

I've spent most of my life on 2 wheels so the fact that I can combine 2 of the things that I love in one is a blessing. I still pedal my ebike and believe me I do get my work out. But its those times during my ride that my knees start burning that the "motor" aspect is my favorite. I'll take a break for a few seconds and back to human power with a little help from my friend. Which is funny because as I ride my ebike i feel like I have a friend with me - alive and helping. As for the people that say they are as fast or faster than a current ebike, maybe for the first couple miles. I've done over 40 miles averaging over 20 MPH. I haven't done that for years under my own power.

So is 22.5 MPH fast enough to ride in traffic? I do it almost every day. No, I'm not traveling 40, but when the traffic jams I'm going 22 mph faster than the cars.

I call it Motor Bicycling.

I got a chance to ride the new Electric Harley Davidson at last years Long Beach Motorcycle Show. It was the only e-bike that I liked more than the one I have. It went way faster than 40 hehe.
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Old 04-30-15, 09:33 PM
  #21  
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I don't consider my ebike as a replacement for a car. I don't consider my ebike as a replacement for my scooter. I don't consider my ebike as a replacement for my carbon bike. However, my ebike has become my main commuter just as my touring bike (which is now the ebike) used to be the main commuter. It's an option that I prefer for my commute to work. I keep getting the feeling that it's the cost... to have so many different options when just having a car gets the job done in most every situation. I guess what forced me into the ebike option is having 3 drivers... two cars. Yes, I could have continued to commute on my traditional bicycle, but I have found the ebike to be a better option... less physical effort, a little less sweat on each end of the commute, and I don't really think about making the load lighter so I carry every possible convenience for the ride and for what I may need at work for the day. I get less exercise, but that's not what this is about... it's about commuting. I have my road bike, gym membership, and other activities for exercise.

I'm hoping that many others can discover this option... and be able to afford it. It's a lot of fun. Some people talk about speed. It's plenty fast for me. My ebike (bionx conversion) cuts pedal assist at 20 mph. That's still faster average speed than I have ever been able to maintain on a commute (even with a very light load on my carbon road bike.) I'm sure I'm not as fit as many. Even I am wanting more speed. I could have gone with an ebike that topped out at 28 mph. However, the cost was prohibitive and the range was cut down significantly. I'm excited for the improvements coming in the future... especially battery technology that will allow for much longer range and faster charging.
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Old 05-02-15, 02:41 PM
  #22  
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I got a bicycle when I was 5 yrs old and have been riding ever since. Just recently I acquired an ebike and love it! I don't know what is all the fuss about with these ebikes, they are eco friendly, fast, fun and very helpful when your legs get tired from climbing a hill. By the way, I'm 5'9 and weigh 145lb and consider myself healthy and fit. In fact, I'm getting much more exercise and fit than I normally would now that I have an ebike.
Back to the subject, in North America we just don't ride bicycles as much as other places like Europe or Asia. If there was more marketing and advertising of ebikes and make them more affordable, it will eventually catch on. I see a lot of ebikes especially the ones sold in the USA are way over priced. This kind of pricing will turn off any middle even high class citizens! I got my lithium powered ebike for only $750 and the speed and range I'm getting is on par with $1200 and up ebikes.
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Old 05-02-15, 05:05 PM
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So, can you provide us a link to where you got your bike for only $750?
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Old 05-02-15, 10:47 PM
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Originally Posted by SpecialX View Post
So, can you provide us a link to where you got your bike for only $750?
www.electrobikeworld.com

I got the Trail Maker model, I'm getting 20mph top speed and my longest trip so far has been 28 miles and still had some battery juice left when I got home. They are having a special use coupon code "electrobikeworld" during checkout and you get $10 off, everything is free shipping.
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Old 05-03-15, 06:02 AM
  #25  
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Why are they so expensive in the states? Panasonic, etc make all sorts of e-bikes here in Japan and they aren't as expensive as the prices I am seeing thrown around in here. Every girl riding to school has one. They are not exciting designs over here (very generic looking) but they go from point a to b and you don't sweat up the hills.
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