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 Post subject: Electric bikes!
PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 7:11 pm 
MacRetro rider
MacRetro rider

Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:55 pm
Posts: 481
Location: glasgow
Have they been discussed here before? If so, forgive me.

Yesterday I spent the afternoon tootling around Appin, on the west coast. My GF & I hired 2 bikes and had a brilliant time zipping around the Appin Loop - our first experience of electric bikes, and it was super fun! I was shocked by how exhilarating it was steaming up steep coastal roads with hardly any effort. Of course the bikes were like tanks, and probably too heavy to have any fun with when not powered up, but I'm not sure that matters.

[url][url=http://www.flickr.com/photos/stllsman/8635568230/]Image[/url]
IMG_1322 by stllsman, on Flickr[/url]

It helped that the folks who hired us the bikes were lovely and trusting enough to hire us the bikes without boring paperwork or deposits - and they were very good value at only £5/hour. It helped that it was a beautiful day - and the coastal road virtually car free. What surprised me was how easily the bikes took on hills and headwinds - it was so strange, you feel like you are cycling, but you are hardly expending any energy.

Does anyone know or care about electric bikes and care to share their experience here? I'm curious now!

[url][url=http://www.flickr.com/photos/stllsman/8634462419/]Image[/url]
IMG_1239 by stllsman, on Flickr[/url]


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 Post subject: Re: Electric bikes!
PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 2:51 pm 
MacRetro rider
MacRetro rider

Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:55 pm
Posts: 481
Location: glasgow
from uk government website

The requirements are:

the bike must have pedals that can be used to propel it
the electric motor shouldn’t be able to propel the bike when it’s travelling more than 15mph
the bike (including its battery but not the rider) must not be heavier than 40 kilograms (kg) if it’s a bicycle, or 60kg if it’s a tandem or tricycle
the motor shouldn’t have a maximum power output of more than 200 watts if it’s a bicycle and 250 watts if it’s a tandem or tricycle
the bike must have a plate showing the manufacturer, the nominal voltage of the battery, and the motor’s power output

So the bike I hired was, how shall I put it, very capable of doing 15mph+, it weighed approx 25kg, had 8 gears and was propelled through the cranks, rather than the hubs. As per the rules, the power only kicks in when you are pedalling.

Its bloomin' great fun! But maybe not for the retro bike crowd?


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 Post subject: Re: Electric bikes!
PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 6:49 pm 
MacRetro rider
MacRetro rider
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2008 11:58 pm
Posts: 4434
Location: Third stone from the sun.
Not my thing at all but i can understand the appeal and usefulness to some, had a wee go of the neighbours electric shopper, felt wierd at first but was soon getting used to it, novelty would quickly wear off for me though.


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 Post subject: Re: Electric bikes!
PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 6:58 pm 
MacRetro rider
MacRetro rider

Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:55 pm
Posts: 481
Location: glasgow
http://www.stealthelectricbikes.com.au/bomber.html

Totally ridiculous - but I would love a shot


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 Post subject: Re: Electric bikes!
PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:51 pm 
MacRetro rider
MacRetro rider
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2008 11:58 pm
Posts: 4434
Location: Third stone from the sun.
nelly wrote:
http://www.stealthelectricbikes.com.au/bomber.html

Totally ridiculous - but I would love a shot


Holly Crapola 80kp/h :shock: , that would need a motorbike licence shurely ?, probably weighs as much as a motorbike too, imagine crashing and the monster landing on top of you :shock:


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 Post subject: Re: Electric bikes!
PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 9:40 am 
MacRetro rider
MacRetro rider

Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2007 4:16 pm
Posts: 8658
Had one when my ME was bad, before I joined retrobike. Good for commuting as they helped alot with hills but mine was the lead acid battery type that weigh a great deal so not good without power. New high tech battery versions are much better. They are a useful transport solution but they're just not bikes in the true sense.


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 Post subject: Re: Electric bikes!
PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 9:55 am 
MacRetro rider
MacRetro rider

Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:55 pm
Posts: 481
Location: glasgow
I know they don't seem like bikes - but my main point is how much fun they were - definitely a fun option if you are on holiday as we were. Also they must be a viable option for touring now - the range on may bikes is now heading towards 50 miles. And they are only going to get better.


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 Post subject: Re: Electric bikes!
PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:54 am 
MacRetro rider
MacRetro rider

Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2007 4:16 pm
Posts: 8658
No use for touring if your not moving between charging points plus they cost as much as chinese built motorbikes. Further if they do go wrong, who do you seek out for repairs, a bike mechanic or an electrician ?
One day they will be common with a good dealer network but currently most are imported by the container load without back up or knowledgeable mechanics.
Dont get me wrong, I think they are a great idea but be careful who you buy from as currently in many cases back up is non existent.
Giant Twist is a good option if you want reputable company and backup, Giant have been in the pedelec game a long time.


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 Post subject: Re: Electric bikes!
PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 3:36 pm 
MacRetro rider
MacRetro rider

Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:55 pm
Posts: 481
Location: glasgow
Was looking at the new Kalkhoff bikes - so yeh they are pricey - £3k'ish - but the range is claimed to be way above 50 miles, which I would find acceptable. Surely you could just charge where ever you bed down for the night - campsite, hostel etc.

As for servicing - isn't Ben at Kinetics an expert in these matters? I think the point I am trying to make is that the technology is approaching a tipping point where it works and it is affordable. And remember there are many places you can ride a bike where motorcycles cannot - and that is the real advantage - getting away from the traffic!

I can't emphasise enough what a kick playing on one of these things was - though I am naturally lazy, so perhaps its something only I find attractive.


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 Post subject: Re: Electric bikes!
PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 4:24 pm 
MacRetro rider
MacRetro rider

Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2007 4:16 pm
Posts: 8658
Dont get me wrong, they are fun to ride and when my ME was bad they kept me cycling plus my girlfriend also had one and thought them great.

Just i'm not convinced we've reached the tipping point as 3K for an electrically assisted bicycle is ridiculous if compared to a new £500 moped that out performs in every way bar the access to cycle only routes.

Once quality goes up to motor vehicle levels, remember they have strict legal requirements to adhere too, and prices come down, such as a Chinese built moped (the electric bikes are likely chinese built too) then I certainly would own another.

Most of the current crop just look like a bike with a battery shoe horned in somewhere. Personal experience suggests that the models with suspension will cope far better with the excess battery/motor mass than the rigid models. Mine was rigid and the overbuilt frame resulted in a very harsh ride that occasionally vibrated/knocked connectors off resulting in break downs.

Your money, your choice :wink:


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