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Old 06-03-2010, 06:39 AM   #1
OL
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Default Powered by legs and magic. E-bikes

Riding behind an old woman going a steady electric-assisted 15mph on my commute today, I started looking what kind of equipment is on the market.
Turns out there's a gajillion different manufacturers selling E-bike conversion kits, complete E-bikes, batteries and what have you.

I know there's at least one OTter with an E-bike he built, but sold (?) shortly thereafter.

Personally I'd love to have a bike that adds, say, 10-15mph to what my legs can push, combined with decent range and at a negligable recharge cost.

Anyone here quietly whizzing around town?
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Old 06-03-2010, 06:43 AM   #2
KingGalantVr4
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I put quite a few miles on a Trek and was very impressed. Easy to use, good power, excellent battery life.
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Old 06-03-2010, 06:47 AM   #3
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Electric powered bicycles, sheesh. Back in my day, you only had half a gear so you had to pedal twice as hard!
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Old 06-03-2010, 07:16 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobturismo View Post
Electric powered bicycles, sheesh. Back in my day, you only had half a gear so you had to pedal twice as hard!
At least you had pedals!

--kC
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Old 06-03-2010, 07:22 AM   #5
OL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingGalantVr4 View Post
I put quite a few miles on a Trek and was very impressed. Easy to use, good power, excellent battery life.
Can you say how much $$? What range did you get out of it?

More importantly, was it limited in speed?
What annoys me most about e-bikes sold here is that they can't go faster than 15mph or they are regarded as mopeds. This means you need to insure them, and while I don't mind that, I'd like to go quite a bit faster than 15mph. Hell, I average 20+ on my own
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Old 06-03-2010, 08:04 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KC View Post
At least you had pedals!

--kC
At least you had a bicycle seat.
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Old 06-03-2010, 08:36 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OL View Post
Personally I'd love to have a bike that adds, say, 10-15mph to what my legs can push,
So if you can average 20mph unassisted you're talking about a top speed of 30-35mph?

Unfortunately a huge amount of energy goes into overcoming wind resistance at those speeds. Let me see what I can dig up.
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Old 06-03-2010, 08:43 AM   #8
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I see these around here every once in a while, but I don't think its available

http://senseable.mit.edu/copenhagenwheel/

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Old 06-03-2010, 09:02 AM   #9
markman
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IIRC you can order an e-bike from target.com for like $500 or something like that... probably not the greatest bike though.

EDIT:
It's $400.
http://www.target.com/Currie-Trailz-..._com_brand-bin
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Old 06-03-2010, 09:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pheasant Plucker View Post
So if you can average 20mph unassisted you're talking about a top speed of 30-35mph?

Unfortunately a huge amount of energy goes into overcoming wind resistance at those speeds. Let me see what I can dig up.
Yes, I'm very aware that power/speed isn't linear, but at these low(ish) speeds that shouldn't be such a huge issue since I see 40mph motor-only kits being offered...

Let's say the motor gets me to 20mph, and I push the bike to a steady 30mph.
Realistically this is what I'd like to accomplish, with something like a 50 mile range..

Im not really interested in a complete bike.
More like a motor+battery+control pack
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Old 06-03-2010, 09:14 AM   #11
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Old 06-03-2010, 09:39 AM   #12
OL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pheasant Plucker View Post
That's pretty good stuff, thanks.

Following that article I'm producing just shy of 0.3bhp, which is about 0.2kW. To get from 20 to 30mph I'd need an additional 0.5bhp, or .35kW. (that is more than I thought)

50 miles at that speed is 1.6 hours, or 0.56 kWh.
At 24V that's a 23Ah battery, which is what, about the size of a car battery?
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Old 06-03-2010, 10:29 AM   #13
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Meh, just get a moped already.
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Old 06-03-2010, 10:35 AM   #14
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Old 06-03-2010, 10:38 AM   #15
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eBikes, how do they work?
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Old 06-03-2010, 10:39 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richde View Post
Yes, that was the OTter that came up in my search whom I was referring to.
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Old 06-03-2010, 10:43 AM   #17
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Another:
http://journals.pepublishing.com/con...m3757h2170x1g/

I can email you the .pdf if you're interested.
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Old 06-03-2010, 03:35 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OL View Post
Yes, that was the OTter that came up in my search whom I was referring to.
Yup, that'd be me. I built it around April 2008 and sold it in August 2010. It was my only form of transportation besides buses and the odd use of Zipcar here and there from April 2008 through June 2009. I commuted to work on it basically every day except for two weeks when there was snow and ice on the ground.

I sold it because I don't have room for it here in NY vs. out west, and because my commute is all of 0.3 miles... on foot.



It sure was nice to be able to jet up a hill at 18 mph, passing the roadies... while in full rain gear, sitting up, with flat pedals, a practical (heavy) rear rack, and two waterproof panniers.

If you ride purely for recreation and exercise then adding juice doesn't make sense, sure. If you ride for practical purposes and have enough of a nerd streak to build your own (or deal with the often-slow and crappy commercial ones out there, like the $300 Walmart bikes) then e-bikes might be the ticket.
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