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Electric bikes

Old 09-09-19, 07:16 AM
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oldacura
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Electric bikes

My wife (Stoker) and I have been riding various types of bikes for a long time: single road bikes, single mountain bikes, road tandems, etc.

Our team age is now 120+ and we decided to try electric bikes. We rented some and then bought a pair (we now own 9 bikes).

After riding for a bit I noticed that e-bikes solve the same problem that tandems do - just in a different way: They allow 2 people with different abilities to ride together.

The e-bikes we bought are sort of "hybrid" bikes. They are the Faraday brand. These are not really true road bikes and they are not mountain bikes. They are more like upright bikes that can do well on roads as well as bike paths and gravel paths (not suitable as true mountain bikes). They have 26 x 1.5" tires, belt drive, a Shimano Alfine 8 speed internally geared hub, disc brakes and a front hub motor.

They have pedal-assist and the assist can be switched from none to low to high. Most of the time we ride with the motor turned off. When we approach a moderate hill, we can turn them to low boost. For a steeper hill we can switch to high boost. Riding these bikes makes us feel like kids again. The type of riding we do on them is "exploring". We still alternate with our road tandem but the ride is very different. We can go out for a 25 mile ride and only use about 25% of the range.

Sometimes when we climb a long hill, I can switch to low boost and my wife will switch to high boost. I can crank up the hill and not be able to catch her. We both get a workout at our own pace. It is really fun to be able to ride side-by-side and each of us get the workout we want.

Many bikers say they would never ride an e-bike. Several years ago we thought the same. However, never is a long time and at the point one gets where their choice is to ride an e-bike or not ride at all, would they really choose to not ride?

We did consider motorizing our tandem but being able to ride side-by-side is a completely different experience. For now we will keep our tandem as human powered and ride our e-bikes in different venues and times.

Other experiences?
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Old 09-09-19, 06:59 PM
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Tandem ebike

Originally Posted by oldacura View Post
My wife (Stoker) and I have been riding various types of bikes for a long time: single road bikes, single mountain bikes, road tandems, etc.

Our team age is now 120+ and we decided to try electric bikes. We rented some and then bought a pair (we now own 9 bikes).

After riding for a bit I noticed that e-bikes solve the same problem that tandems do - just in a different way: They allow 2 people with different abilities to ride together.

The e-bikes we bought are sort of "hybrid" bikes. They are the Faraday brand. These are not really true road bikes and they are not mountain bikes. They are more like upright bikes that can do well on roads as well as bike paths and gravel paths (not suitable as true mountain bikes). They have 26 x 1.5" tires, belt drive, a Shimano Alfine 8 speed internally geared hub, disc brakes and a front hub motor.

They have pedal-assist and the assist can be switched from none to low to high. Most of the time we ride with the motor turned off. When we approach a moderate hill, we can turn them to low boost. For a steeper hill we can switch to high boost. Riding these bikes makes us feel like kids again. The type of riding we do on them is "exploring". We still alternate with our road tandem but the ride is very different. We can go out for a 25 mile ride and only use about 25% of the range.

Sometimes when we climb a long hill, I can switch to low boost and my wife will switch to high boost. I can crank up the hill and not be able to catch her. We both get a workout at our own pace. It is really fun to be able to ride side-by-side and each of us get the workout we want.

Many bikers say they would never ride an e-bike. Several years ago we thought the same. However, never is a long time and at the point one gets where their choice is to ride an e-bike or not ride at all, would they really choose to not ride?

We did consider motorizing our tandem but being able to ride side-by-side is a completely different experience. For now we will keep our tandem as human powered and ride our e-bikes in different venues and times.

Other experiences?
I did put a 500w front hub motor on our Periscope two years ago and it's wonderful! It's like a constant tailwind, and the assist going up hills is nice too. The 36v ,13ah battery gives us a range of 50 miles if the terrain is not too hilly,think rail trail,with panniers carrying our clothes on week long trips.I usually keep it on the first level of assist,and only use the throttle starting out on a hill or from a stop. Now if it's hilly the range drops,so you have to pedal more and use the assist less.With my wife recovering from a new knee,which happened 3 months ago,the assist makes it possible for tandeming to be enjoyed by both of us. So for us it's a win .
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Old 09-10-19, 05:55 AM
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Originally Posted by oldacura View Post
My wife (Stoker) and I have been riding various types of bikes for a long time: single road bikes, single mountain bikes, road tandems, etc.

Our team age is now 120+ and we decided to try electric bikes. We rented some and then bought a pair...

... Other experiences?
I fully agree to what you’ve written. Recently we had some tours with friends who would not have been able to ride with us with their normal bikes any longer and we totally enjoyed the ride together: We ride our “Soulmate” (tandem, no motor) and they have their KTM-bikes (electrified). They are patient with us going up some steeper passages and we are trying not to exceed their max. speed (25 km/h, that’s about 16 mph) in the plain: Everyone is happy.

So, I’m somewhat a fan of E-bikes without even riding one. And I hope to ride with own (muscle) power as long as possible plus looking forward exceeding our active lifetime by having that electric support too...sometimes…
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Old 09-10-19, 11:56 AM
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A little over 2 years ago, I converted our Calfee Tetra to an E-Tandem, I had full technical support from Rob Baird at Calfee.

We now have over 12,000 miles on the conversion and for us there is no turning back, it has made riding together even more enjoyable. We now ride where we want to go without having to take the wind direction into account. If the wind is strong I increase the assist level, our system has 9 levels of assist, it does not have a top speed limit and it is equipped with a throttle. We normally ride in level 2.

Our typical ride is between 30 and 40 miles and we average around 20MPH. Our top pedal speed is limited by our gearing 48/11 and our cadence, stoker does not like going over 90. We can ride at 30 without and problem. The bike will run 36 with just the throttle.

We are able to stay with any group ride and recently rode with an ultra marathon group and did a large percentage of the pace setting.
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Old 09-10-19, 02:33 PM
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This is timely as we too are are in the 120+yr experience and are about to take our long planned trip to Hawaii. We have decided to not hassle bringing our travel tandem as we will only have 1 or 2 opportunities to ride. My stoker will not ride solo and the only rental tandems seem to be beach cruisers so we are going to rent an electric beach cruiser tandem to try it out. We both are experienced enough to know what to expect from the heavy bike and are looking forward to seeing what possibilities electric would offer us.

My only fear is we won't want to go back to organically propelled.

We'll post our impressions.
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Old 09-10-19, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Alcanbrad View Post
This is timely as we too are are in the 120+yr experience and are about to take our long planned trip to Hawaii. We have decided to not hassle bringing our travel tandem as we will only have 1 or 2 opportunities to ride. My stoker will not ride solo and the only rental tandems seem to be beach cruisers so we are going to rent an electric beach cruiser tandem to try it out. We both are experienced enough to know what to expect from the heavy bike and are looking forward to seeing what possibilities electric would offer us.

My only fear is we won't want to go back to organically propelled.

We'll post our impressions.
I am almost positive that once you experience the flexibility of the electric bike you will not even want to go back. We can ride ours with the motor off, but why would we want to, it is so much more fun with the motor on.
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Old 09-10-19, 08:17 PM
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My stoker and I have been riding together for 40+ years. Most of our together riding has been on tandems since 2000, until this past Spring, when she got a Trek Verve+, a class I e-assist hybrid. Cuts out at 20mph, no throttle. She had been advised by a cardiologist to limit her riding to aerobic exercise, only, which took us towards the e-bike. We have been alternating between riding our tandem and riding single bikes together. When we encounter steepish climbs, if we are on the tandem, I kick up my efforts, and if we are on single bikes, she goes up a level on the assist. She loves the Trek, and I enjoy riding with her on one of my recumbent singles. We're finding our tandem rides are averaging a couple of mph slower than when riding singles together. I'm generally riding as fast as I wish, and am challenged to keep up on climbs.
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Old 09-11-19, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Alcanbrad View Post
This is timely as we too are are in the 120+yr experience and are about to take our long planned trip to Hawaii. We have decided to not hassle bringing our travel tandem as we will only have 1 or 2 opportunities to ride. My stoker will not ride solo and the only rental tandems seem to be beach cruisers so we are going to rent an electric beach cruiser tandem to try it out. We both are experienced enough to know what to expect from the heavy bike and are looking forward to seeing what possibilities electric would offer us.

My only fear is we won't want to go back to organically propelled.

We'll post our impressions.
What island(s) are you going to?

Sixteen years ago we went to Maui with our coupled tandem and rode up (and down) Haleakala. Our team age at the time was 92. It was the hardest ride we have ever done. 10,000 vertical feet of climbing in about 40 miles. No support. It took us 9 hours to get up (7 hours of pedaling). About 2 hours riding down. I was so exhausted when we got down I could hardly sit up to eat dinner.

Later this month we are going to Kauai. There aren't many roads I would choose to ride on in Kauai. Only 1 road around the island with a lot of tourists driving rental cars. We may rent some single bikes in Kapaa to ride along the bike paths on the east side of the island. I don't think there are any e-bikes to rent.

Let us know how it goes for you.
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Old 09-11-19, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by oldacura View Post
What island(s) are you going to?

...

Let us know how it goes for you.
We're starting in Kauia, then a big island, and then Maui. Our only target to ride is on Maui. Most, if not all of our vacations have been cycling centered, we're trying something different this time, though, I will get a ride or two in on a half bike and We'll try the electric tandem.

Will report back! Enjoy your trip as well.
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Old 09-11-19, 11:24 AM
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Not been to the Big Island. We're staying on the north shore in Kauai. On the east shore is the town of Kapaa. In Kapaa is Kauai Cycles. They rent bikes. I think they have a non-motorized beach-cruiser tandem. There are some pretty good bike paths north & south of Kapaa. I wouldn't suggest riding on the highway around Kauai (too busy).

In Maui is West Maui Cycles. I have never been there but I hear they rent bikes (maybe tandems). I'm not familiar with cycling on Maui except for Haleakala. I've heard that the West Maui Mountains make for good riding. Lots of traffic around the tourist areas of Maui. Riding down to Hana would be a real challenge (and maybe not recommended). I would think that West Maui Cycles would have some good recommendations on where to ride.

Good luck & have fun.
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Old 09-17-19, 12:16 PM
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A late datapoint:

In our area one of the rider's was diagnosed with a heart condition and advised to maintain his heart rate below a certain threshold.

Not wanting to give up his friends or sport he bought an e-bike and now sits in the pacelines with everyone else.

E-bikes are nice tool for certain problems.
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