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Got scolded today

Old 11-23-08, 05:21 AM
  #1  
recumelectric
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Got scolded today

I went looking around for another bike to put my Bionx on today. (I've had in on a bent, which is proving to be too much for me knees.)

In one shop, a salesperson came out and told me that they wouldn't do any work on it if I installed a motor. I described the motor (inside the wheel hub, 250 watt, limited to 20 mph, about 13 lbs., relies on my effort for intitial torque), and I got a big lecture on how dangerous and what a stupid idea it was. I wanted to talk about some modifications that have nothing at all to do with a motor, and the guy said. "No, too much impact." WTH? It's like he wasn't even hearing me.

I am fully aware that a motorized bike is not a motorcycle. I assumed that the one I got was compatible with the whole bicycle scene. From the brags on this forum, I assume that I'm going slower than many without a motor.

I got a more neutral response at another shop. They said they couldn't install it and wouldn't warranty the bike with a motor, but were willing to listen to what I had and wanted to do. They were also willing to change out a seat and/or handlebars according to my wishes.

Is the idea of a pedal-assist motor that shocking and offensive to the "true" cyclists?
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Old 11-23-08, 07:48 AM
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It's all part of the "I'm better than you" syndrome. This can manifest itself in so many ways, we've all run into it on many occasions, it's just the way that we humans make ourselves feel better about our poor selves. Find a shop that sells Giant or Schwinn electric bikes, they may be ignorant about other manufacturers, but at least they have shown they have an open mind.

It seems like a lot of folks on these forums that put hubmotors on bikes favor cheap, heavy frames. Well, in the recumbent world, there are no cheap frames. Some are less expensive, some are heavy, but very few are "Walmart cheap". I'd think a crank forward bike would make a great assist bike - strong enough and no tiny seat jammed up your clacker, or maybe a steel framed Sun. Should be able to find an EZsport or something similar at a righteous price. Happy hunting, and remember
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Old 11-23-08, 09:47 AM
  #3  
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Originally Posted by recumelectric View Post
Is the idea of a pedal-assist motor that shocking and offensive to the "true" cyclists?
To the "true" and "serious" cyclists, almost anything that doesn't fit within their narrow definition is shocking and offensive. At least you found another shop that's open to your ideas and willing to work with you. I think that's kinda crappy that they won't warranty the bike, but whatever.
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Old 11-23-08, 10:33 AM
  #4  
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I don't have anything against them and think they may be a fine choice of transportation in some situations.

But I don't think they are bicycles and I'm confused by owners who want to be included in bicycling groups, use bicycle paths, and so on. The essence of a "bicycle" is that it is self-powered by pedaling. Eliminate that and we don't really have a bicycle anymore - we have a moped.
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Old 11-23-08, 11:10 AM
  #5  
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Originally Posted by pacificaslim View Post
I don't have anything against them and think they may be a fine choice of transportation in some situations.

But I don't think they are bicycles and I'm confused by owners who want to be included in bicycling groups, use bicycle paths, and so on. The essence of a "bicycle" is that it is self-powered by pedaling. Eliminate that and we don't really have a bicycle anymore - we have a moped.
Nah. Turn off the motor or run out of gas/electricity, and what happens to the thing? It can be used as a regular, pedaled bicycle. Also, I don't really see any reason to restrict the definition of bicycle to a human-powered only thing. Seems rather snobbish and pointless to me.
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Old 11-23-08, 11:20 AM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by Foofy View Post
Nah. Turn off the motor or run out of gas/electricity, and what happens to the thing? It can be used as a regular, pedaled bicycle. Also, I don't really see any reason to restrict the definition of bicycle to a human-powered only thing. Seems rather snobbish and pointless to me.
How is actually defining a thing snobbish and pointless? A bicycle is a human powered vehicle, slap a motor on it and it's a moped. Why would you find this offensive?
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Old 11-23-08, 12:03 PM
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I think it's fair to say that there's some grey area between what a "bicycle" is and what a "moped" is, and that there are cases where despite having a small motor installed, the vehicle can still be called a bicycle. I think bicycles with electric hub motors added are a perfect example. They don't necessarily go that fast, and many users still pedal. I'm sure some snobs and safety obsessed people will disagree with me, but I don't think a bike with a hub motor should be banned from MUPs and bike paths.

I'm okay with the definition of what a bicycle is being restricted in sport and racing organizations. For example, prohibiting the use of installed motors on bikes in the Tour De France is certainly fair.
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Old 11-23-08, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Foofy View Post
I think it's fair to say that there's some grey area between what a "bicycle" is and what a "moped" is, and that there are cases where despite having a small motor installed, the vehicle can still be called a bicycle. I think bicycles with electric hub motors added are a perfect example. They don't necessarily go that fast, and many users still pedal. I'm sure some snobs and safety obsessed people will disagree with me, but I don't think a bike with a hub motor should be banned from MUPs and bike paths.

I'm okay with the definition of what a bicycle is being restricted in sport and racing organizations. For example, prohibiting the use of installed motors on bikes in the Tour De France is certainly fair.
Why do you feel the need to call a bicycle fitted with a motor (motor + pedal = MoPed) a bicycle? It's totally unclear to me why you can't accept that that mopeds and bicycles are two different things.
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Old 11-23-08, 12:33 PM
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Seems that a decent shop would say something like, "sir, if you have a hub motor installed, we won't, for libility reasons (or just because they're ignorant), be able to work on any (?) parts (ie, drive train, wheels, cranks, bbs, whatever part) but we'll be happy to warranty and work on all the other parts."

I can see if they're not used to electric motors, and don't want to get into that arena. However, some parts of a bike are still a bike, and are still subject to manufactures warranty. The stress put on it by a 250w motor can still be much less than a very inshape cyclist.

I'd say find another shop, and keep looking til you find a good one.

Just my $.02
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Old 11-23-08, 04:25 PM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by Tourezrick View Post
It seems like a lot of folks on these forums that put hubmotors on bikes favor cheap, heavy frames. Well, in the recumbent world, there are no cheap frames. Some are less expensive, some are heavy, but very few are "Walmart cheap". I'd think a crank forward bike would make a great assist bike - strong enough and no tiny seat jammed up your clacker, or maybe a steel framed Sun. Should be able to find an EZsport or something similar at a righteous price. Happy hunting, and remember
I've already got it on a Sun. I need to switch back to upright.
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Old 11-23-08, 04:31 PM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by Ziemas View Post
How is actually defining a thing snobbish and pointless? A bicycle is a human powered vehicle, slap a motor on it and it's a moped. Why would you find this offensive?
Actually, it's a hybrid vehicle, depending on both human and electric power. The motor on mine gives pedal assistance, boosting my human power. I also have the option of disengaging the motor for bike trails and MUPS.

A moped crosses into the motorcycle zone (in my mind) because you can't really pedal it. The pedals are more like a "kick starter." I've tried to pedal one, and it's pretty non functional; easier to walk it if it runs out of gas or something.

I have seen a guy around here who has some type of lawnmower motor hooked up to his. He uses the motor while riding on the sidewalk. My guess is that he's going to get cited by the cops pretty soon.
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Old 11-23-08, 04:37 PM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by CollectiveInk View Post
Seems that a decent shop would say something like, "sir, if you have a hub motor installed, we won't, for libility reasons (or just because they're ignorant), be able to work on any (?) parts (ie, drive train, wheels, cranks, bbs, whatever part) but we'll be happy to warranty and work on all the other parts."

I can see if they're not used to electric motors, and don't want to get into that arena. However, some parts of a bike are still a bike, and are still subject to manufactures warranty. The stress put on it by a 250w motor can still be much less than a very inshape cyclist.

I'd say find another shop, and keep looking til you find a good one.

Just my $.02
Yep. I will not buy a bike from the guy who got an attitude with me. I really wanted to go through that shop, too, since it's a local business.

As for the other place, I agree that they should be willing to work on the bicycle parts. I understand that they can't warranty them with a motor; since they don't deal with motors, they don't know what this particular motor will do. ...I'm still considering buying a bike there because I liked what I tried. It seems that the shops around here specialize in certain brands, and I may not find that one anywhere else nearby. ...There's another shop a mile off from there that will install the motor for me.
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Old 11-23-08, 05:43 PM
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FWIW, the idea of calling these vehicles "motorized bicycles," or just bicycles that happen to have a motor, is a relatively new one. I suspect it was started by manufacturers in an effort to get their vehicles allowed in places "bicycles" are and thus increase sales. The word moped was coined to describe basically the exact same vehicle though - motors added on to bicycles in the 1950s. Later in the 70s such vehicles had evolved to stronger motors and the pedals were indeed mainly for starting up, but mopeds were originally basically just like today's "motor assisted bicycles".
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Old 11-23-08, 08:28 PM
  #14  
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Many bike shop employees get defensive if you ask them about things they don't know much about, try asking about hub brakes for example. Anyways that's the general drift I get from op's story. Suggestion: Go find a bike shop that doesn't suck.

Also, to the haters in this thread: It's irrelevant if you like it or not, ebikes are legally bicycles. Suck it.
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Old 11-23-08, 08:56 PM
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What do you mean "legally"?

Wikipedia says:

"The legal definition and status of motorized bicycles varies by jurisdiction. Legal terms for motorized bicycles include "Power Assisted Bicycle (PAB)" (Canada), MOPED, "Electrically assisted pedal cycle (EAPC)" (United Kingdom), or (commonly) "electric bicycle", frequently abbreviated as "ebike". In comparison some custom designs of electric bike have a range of up to 40 miles (64 km) and a maximum speed of +55 mph (89 km/h).
It is possible to register a Cyclemotor or motorized bike for legal use on the UK's roads.[citation needed] If the machine is from a known manufacturer such as Rudge or Francis-Barnett this is a fairly simple procedure.[citation needed] It becomes much more complicated if this is not the case with current law requiring an SVA (Single Vehicle Approval) test for each individual machine.[citation needed]
In the United States low-speed electric bicycles (top speed under 20 mph and under 50 cc's or in the case of electric models 750 watts) are not considered motor vehicles by the federal government and are subject to the same consumer safety laws as unassisted bicycles[6]. Their legality on public roads is under state jurisdiction, and varies; see the main Electric bicycle laws article for details on the law in individual states.
Eight provinces of Canada allow electric power assisted bicycles. The province of Ontario introduced a three-year trial ending October 2009 for these bicycles. In seven of the eight provinces, e-bikes are limited to 500W output, and cannot travel faster than 32 km/h (20 mph) on motor power alone on level ground. In Alberta the maximum output is 750W, and the max speed is 35 km/h[6]. Age restrictions vary in Canada. All require an approved helmet. Some versions (e.g., if capable of operating without pedalling) of e-bikes require drivers' licenses in some provinces and have age restrictions. Vehicle licenses and liability insurance are not required. E-bikes are required to follow the same traffic regulations as regular bicycles. The rules for bicycles assisted by a gasoline motor or other fuel are not included in the regulations government ebikes. These are classified as motor cycles regardless of the power output of the motor and maximum attainable speed.
Generally they are considered vehicles (like motorcycles and pedal cycles), so are subject to the same rules of the road. In a few jurisdictions, motorized bicycles must be licensed and display vehicle registration plates. Regulations may define maximum power output and for electric bikes may or may not require an interlock to prevent use of power when the rider is not pedalling. In some cases regulatory requirements have been complicated by lobbying in respect of the Segway HT."
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Old 11-23-08, 09:57 PM
  #16  
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We're not talking about mopeds, or one's semantic IMHO definition of what mopeds are.
Mopeds are regulated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, since they are federally considered motor vehicles.



We are really talking about low-speed electric bicycles.
They are regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, since they are federally considered bicycles. I don't know where the OP is posting from, but I'll assume the US since he writes in mph.




This is from US federal law HR 727:
...(b) For the purpose of this section, the term `low-speed electric bicycle' means a two- or three-wheeled vehicle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts (1 h.p.), whose maximum speed on a paved level surface, when powered solely by such a motor while ridden by an operator who weighs 170 pounds, is less than 20 mph...

...For purposes of motor vehicle safety standards issued and enforced pursuant to chapter 301 of title 49, United States Code, a low-speed electric bicycle (as defined in section 38(b) of the Consumer Product Safety Act) shall not be considered a motor vehicle as defined by section 30102(6) of title 49, United States Code...




Please keep in mind that almost all 50 states have their own personal ideas and definitions of bicycles, mopeds, scooters, motorized bicycles, low-speed electric bicycles, low-speed electric vehicles, motorcycles, motor vehicles, etc. , etc. and they can override federal law. But in the absence of state law, we have federal law, and per that law,
ebikes are legally bicycles.

This might be where the bike shop salesman's concern was coming from. It sounds to me like he's been living under a rock for the past 20 years.

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Old 11-23-08, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by pacificaslim View Post
FWIW, the idea of calling these vehicles "motorized bicycles," or just bicycles that happen to have a motor, is a relatively new one. I suspect it was started by manufacturers in an effort to get their vehicles allowed in places "bicycles" are and thus increase sales...
I partially agree with this, because Segway is guilty. The state I live in had a state "motorized-bicycle" definition in place IIRC in 1983, only to be perverted in 2003 by Segway lobbyists.

https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q...earch&aq=f&oq=

But I don't agree that any other manufacturers have any influence on law or linguistic tendencies. All these bike kits are from China, and most manufacturers are barely proficient enough in English to put up a web site to sell their product, let alone lobby the gov.

Last edited by JinbaIttai; 11-23-08 at 10:32 PM.
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Old 11-23-08, 10:33 PM
  #18  
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Mo Peds were and still are immensely popular world wide and for good reason, they allow a large segment of the population to move about while using the advantage of a small motor that is regulated in to the low speed category via displacement, yet still able to keep up with the flow of traffic in cities and most urban environments. However although equipped with pedals they are heavy ponderous vehicles to propel by pedaling.

The most popular nation for Mo Peds is China. Years ago they were powered by 2 stroke engines and the resulting noise and pollution brought forth government regulation that banned the use of gas engines. Now they use electric engines and by the hundreds of thousands. These electric mo peds are the same as the gas ones they replaced in regards to how they pedal, poorly.

The emerging technology is less mo ped, but ped mo I think. The new breed of bikes with small motors are actually bikes that can be pedaled in a normal fashion that also handle like a bicycle as the weight is not compromised too badly. The motor allows for an assist that can be advantageous for many people in many ways, but wil not be the answer for everyone. However the bike industry and its staunchest supporters will poo poo this type of idea and drag its feet kicking and screaming until someone starts to make some money with the concept and some good press starts to flow. Then it will be "Here is our newest 2012 save the earth model blah, blah, blah."

I have been involved with a few of the latest industry upheavals, the Mtn. Bike back in the early 80's and the more recent 29" wheel phenomenom which came about in 1999. Both of these concepts were slow to take hold yet the sheer determination of a few to start brought both to the forefront within 10 years. I am seeing the exact same resistance to change as the prior two instances, from the industry and their disciples that will not give any credence to any other available options of emerging technology than the ones that they see fit to believe in. Like 10 spd cassettes for example.

Oh well, here we go again! And one word of advise to the naysayers of which there will be many in the coming years. Don't knock it until you have tried it!

Last edited by Mabman; 11-24-08 at 08:08 AM. Reason: Additional text
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Old 11-23-08, 11:07 PM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by pacificaslim View Post
FWIW, the idea of calling these vehicles "motorized bicycles," or just bicycles that happen to have a motor, is a relatively new one. I suspect it was started by manufacturers in an effort to get their vehicles allowed in places "bicycles" are and thus increase sales. The word moped was coined to describe basically the exact same vehicle though - motors added on to bicycles in the 1950s. Later in the 70s such vehicles had evolved to stronger motors and the pedals were indeed mainly for starting up, but mopeds were originally basically just like today's "motor assisted bicycles".
Hey, don't forget, you're posting in the ebike section. An electric bike is a bike... it's an assisted bike and I for one pedal 95% of the time and use the assist only when needed to stay up to speed to complete my journey.

Now having said that, I hope you're not a troll, because trolls would go to an electric bike forum and try to churn up the s##t. If you are doing that, get lost. If you show more flexibility and are not trying to start something..ok...

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Old 11-23-08, 11:45 PM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by pacificaslim View Post
the idea of calling these vehicles "motorized bicycles," or just bicycles that happen to have a motor, is a relatively new one.
These bikes were invented in the 1890's (over 110 years ago). None of us can claim to remember the terms originally used but we know for certain that "moped" (a neologism coined in 1952) wasn't one of them. The early patents have titles like "Electrical Bicycle" and "Motor for Bicycle". Lest you think these were toys, Wikipedia claims that one of these early patents specified a 1000 watt motor.

in the 70s [mopeds] had evolved to stronger motors and the pedals were indeed mainly for starting up, but mopeds were originally basically just like today's "motor assisted bicycles".
Whatever they were 50 years ago, mopeds have strayed too far to be called bicycles and the name now describes a very different sort of vehicle. Wikipedia states: "mopeds mostly have pedals for emergency use or because of legal requirements and these are not normally used." Most of the ebikes we discuss here are bicycles - with a motor added. For my part, I pedal 99% of the time when the motor is running. Some ebikes only supply motor assist while pedaling. Suggesting that low power ebikes should be called "mopeds" is confusing and silly.

I suspect it was started by manufacturers in an effort to get their vehicles allowed in places "bicycles" are and thus increase sales.
Just as likely by riders who want to be able to discuss their bikes without confusing people.

One last thought. I personally think the term hybrid bike (human-electric hybrid, that is) may be the most informative description of our low power ebikes. After all, we are talking about honest to goodness bicycles that optionally use assistance from an electric motor.
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Old 11-23-08, 11:49 PM
  #21  
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^^^^

What is the percentage of time you folks spend pedaling to the amount of time used riding with the motor running?
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Old 11-24-08, 01:11 AM
  #22  
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Probably about 150% for me, as I don't run the motor by itself.

An electric bicycle is still a bicycle. Its just another utility bicycle, much like my folder.

Why should it bother anyone?

These bicycles aren't threatening any competitve riders or entering any competitions, they're being used by individuals who want to ride, but have some additional utility and use their bicycles for more, or for distances or routes they wouldn't be comfortable with.

Personally, I wouldn't be riding every day without mine anymore. I ferry bicycles and tools between my home and my bike shop regularily, over hilly terrain with a permanent knee injury. Better the electric than a truck, any day.

Hardcore? No.

A good way to expand the horizon for the bicycle, reaching out to more people?

I think so.

I don't require anyone to recognize my electric as a bicycle, even if I use it as one. Whats more important, is that they recognize that we ride the same streets with the same goals, in the same way. And even those who will think of them as mopeds should try to recognize that. Cyclists don't have a lot of friends out there on the road, choosing to alienate a group who rides and lives in such a similar manner isn't doing favours for anyone.
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Old 11-24-08, 01:57 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Ziemas View Post
^^^^

What is the percentage of time you folks spend pedaling to the amount of time used riding with the motor running?

I use the throttle to control how much assist is applied. I imagine it feels very similar to being able to control how hard the other rider on a tandem bicycle pedals, and I don't ride full throttle all the time.

My round-trip commute:
On the downhill, no motor & no pedaling for 15 minutes, at 30 mph.
On the flat, where I hold the motor's throttle depends on my mood, the weather, and the wind.
It ranges from full throttle & no pedaling, to half throttle & half pedaling, for 30 minutes, at 15-25 mph.
On the uphill, pedaling and full throttle motor for 30 minutes, at 5-15 mph.

I think my numbers are a little off, but they are proportional.

Last edited by JinbaIttai; 11-24-08 at 07:21 AM.
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Old 11-24-08, 03:57 AM
  #24  
recumelectric
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I'm generally pedaling 100% of the time. The only issue is how much assistance I use.

I did try to ride it with just throttle one time, just to see how far it would go. I ended up pedaling for various portions of the ride. Since my power is pedal activated, I have to pedal just to start the motor. Plus there were points where I wanted more speed, so I pedaled. Also, because it is a bicycle, I need to pedal some just to maintain balance; it feels pretty unstable to me while just riding on the throttle. ...I went about 11 miles on that "test journey" while primarliy using throttle. Probably about 4 were with pedaling; relying on throttle alone really drains the juice out fast. It's really designed to be a hybrid.

Last edited by recumelectric; 11-24-08 at 04:06 AM.
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Old 11-24-08, 08:31 AM
  #25  
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You can get all caught up in the technical terms, but the fact is people are riding their bikes/moped/whatever you want to call it, instead of driving their car in a lot of cases. It's a huge step in the right direction. If it takes an electric assist to get people out and to be active, and help them get fit then that's great. If they decide to go further with it than they'll realize they don't necessarily need the extra weight or the assist.

I ride A LOT (near 7000 miles for the year), and I have an electric assist (bionX) that helps me tow my trailer full of groceries home, and helps my wife keep up with me when we go for a ride together. It's not for everyone and I use mine only 1% of the time (and pedal assist ONLY), but the bigger picture is people aren't out there driving their car on the short trips.

Now a short comment on the bike shops. A bike shop can easily be sued by any failures that a bike may have that's why you sign your life away when you buy a bike from a bike shop, add an electric motor to the bike and there is just more to go wrong. The bike manufacturers limited lifetime warranty is very LIMITED, and ANYTHING added to the bike could lead to the warranty being void. Anything added to the bike by a shop that could lead to this failure is grounds for a lawsuit. Many bikes are not tested for the additional load and of course a failure could occur so many avoid it all together.
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