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E-Bikes: A Gateway Drug?

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E-Bikes: A Gateway Drug?

Old 05-23-19, 06:15 PM
  #1  
radroad
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E-Bikes: A Gateway Drug?

I insist on (almost) always test riding a bike before buying. So far, there hasn't been an e-bike that I thought was so compelling that I'd want to drop several K on it.

However, I'm staring to develop a taste for, even an addiction to speed. 20 mph ebikes are great; certainly more than adequate for short trips. Of course, I'd want a 28 mph class for longer trips or for commutes where I want to keep up with traffic.

But why not a 35-40 mph unrestricted e-bike? I certainly wouldn't want to travel at those speeds consistently on a bike but for short bursts of power, or for open stretches of road, especially on longer trips, absolutely. For example, I want to be able to complete 100 mile round trip day trips out of town.

Now, we find ourselves in a quandary. Why not just get a motorcycle then? The main factors are safety and convenience. I haven't examined the stats, but I'm often told that motorcycles entail enormous risk. However, the more e-bikes I ride, the more speed and range I want, and the only practical 'solution' to max out speed and range is a motorcycle.

There's no affordable option for this right now, but eventually I want an e-bike with 2K to 2.5K watt hours which can easily cover 100 miles at 20 mph average speed.

But do any of you see e-bikes as a gateway drug to gas powered dirt bikes, motorcycles, or even electric motorcycles? Much of the target demographic seems to be older riders who want to get back into cycling, so it doesn't seem like it. But there must be some riders who develop a speed addiction as result of riding e-bikes.
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Old 05-23-19, 08:54 PM
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Check endless sphere; those that do just build faster bikes, but need to upgrade some parts (wheels, tires, ...). Others build something in the 35 mph class which is inexpensive, easy and doesn't require more robust parts. However, 100 miles @ 20 mph would require (20 - 25 wh/mile X 100 mi = 2,000 - 2,500 wh) or a 52V, 40 -50 ah battery. If you could find space for it, the weight would be 30+ pounds.
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Old 05-24-19, 12:05 AM
  #3  
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Mine's capable of near 50mph, but I spend 90 percent of the time under half that.

Two reasons really - I don't cycle on roads. My town was designed from scratch with a fully comprehensive MUP system. Such speeds aren't practical or legal.

Secondly, 20mph is nice. I sit quite upright and enjoy the scenery and ride. There is nothing enjoyable about 40mph. The wind turbulence is very intrusive, causing me to have to crouch forward. Uncomfortable. It's inefficient and unsociable.

The plan was to go 96 volts and 70mph, but since hitting 49mph just once, I've left it at 48v.

This experience has actually turned me off the idea of a motorcycle. I don't even want a cycle helmet, I certainly don't was a full face one.
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Old 05-24-19, 06:44 AM
  #4  
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I've got a class 1 that looks pretty much like a standard hybrid ebike, not quite mountain, not quite road. I got it because I absolutely suck at hills. I work 50-60 hours a week and just can't ride more to get in better shape. On my standard bike I was spinning up hills, dropping to like 3 mph and practically worn out by the time I make it up. An ebike makes that a lot easier.

I like long rides, speed not so much. I can turn the assist off and use it when going up hills, the back off. I can go 100 miles easy by using it only when I need it. I'm getting a better work out because I am riding more. Before I would NOT ride my standard because I didn't want to wear myself out on the hills. Now I ride with confidence and do all the rides I want to do.

I'm not interested in speed but my overall average speed has risen nearly 5 MPH since I am not spinning up hills slow as molasses. I'm also not having to take it slow after a hill trying to recover from the ascent I just made. And I can complete a ride in less time, which is important in early spring and late fall when the sunrise and set make the days shorter.

The bike was ~$2500 and worth every penny to me. I ride more, ride longer and ride further that I did on my standard bike.
Now if the weather would only cooperate, it's been the wettest, coolest spring I've ever seen.
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Old 05-24-19, 07:47 AM
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If you're after speed, why not just get a motorscooter? A 150cc scooter will get up to 60 MPH. A 50cc moped might get up to 42 MPH. The reason for ebikes are available bicycle paths, exercise, and a boost. Legally, if your bike exceeds 20 MPH C1, 28 MPH C3, it would be considered a motorized vehicle that requires insurance. I ride a motor scooter and my bicycle to work. The ride to work on the bicycle is more peaceful. People in general are better drivers than you give them credit for. Commuting does change the relationship with cars and perception when compared to weekend warriors. Funny thing is that my motorcycle gear is cheaper to buy than bicycle gear.
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Old 05-24-19, 08:51 AM
  #6  
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The plan was to go 96 volts and 70mph, but since hitting 49mph just once, I've left it at 48v. when
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Old 05-24-19, 09:10 AM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by radroad View Post
Now, we find ourselves in a quandary. Why not just get a motorcycle then? The main factors are safety and convenience. I haven't examined the stats, but I'm often told that motorcycles entail enormous risk. However, the more e-bikes I ride, the more speed and range I want, and the only practical 'solution' to max out speed and range is a motorcycle.
I find it hard to believe that a motorcycle, at motorcycle speeds, is going to be less safe than a bicycle at those same speeds. A motorcycle is probably going to have better brakes and suspension, many times it will have ABS. It will also have tyres that are designed for higher speeds (yes, there are eBike rated tyres, I use them, but they are still not the best choice for motorcycle speeds).

Frankly, for going fast, you will have a hard time beating a motorcycle with an eBike. The only advantage a high-speed eBike offers is a path to skirting taxes, insurance, parking, and other motor vehicle rules.

Very simply, motorcycles and eBikes are different in both design and use. All that being said, if going fast on an eBike is your hobby (and we all should have at least one crazy hobby) then the advise to ask on endless sphere was a good bit.
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Old 05-24-19, 10:34 AM
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"why not to get motorscooter"
On my ebike I can ride and pedal at 50kmh
I am on the top of the motor, my pedalling increase this 50kmh to 52kmh.
Some people have a problem to comprehend this.
For me speed does NOT mean motorscooter.
I still pedal.
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Old 05-24-19, 03:34 PM
  #9  
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I think an electric bike with a top speed of 35-40 mph might be a good compromise. My build would ideally look something like this:

1K+ watt hour battery or batteries, frame integrated would be ideal, but highly unlikely with current tech

Throttle (unrestricted)

Top speed of up to 40 mph

At least 9 speed cassette

I'd even like to turn the bike into a two seater modding an exceptionally sturdy rear rack. Full sus would be awesome too. Of the commercially available builds, an FLX Blade might be pretty close. Perhaps a full suspension Frey with Bafang Ultra Max:


Last edited by radroad; 05-24-19 at 03:43 PM.
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Old 05-24-19, 04:35 PM
  #10  
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Also, check out M1Sportechnik.
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Old 05-25-19, 09:11 AM
  #11  
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I've had the same internal dialogue. I have a weekend place where there are lots of old logging roads, lots of hills and some long distances. Its fun on a regular bike but its just too much work and takes too long to get anywhere, if you are combining it with a hike for instance.

So if you scale up to an ebike that can handle all that, why not just get a motorbike? A motor cycle has to be safer than souping up a bicycle to go 60 km/h.

Anyway I am going to modify an old mtn bike to an ebike and see how that goes.
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Old 05-26-19, 12:19 PM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by radroad View Post
....But do any of you see e-bikes as a gateway drug to gas powered dirt bikes, motorcycles, or even electric motorcycles? Much of the target demographic seems to be older riders who want to get back into cycling, so it doesn't seem like it. But there must be some riders who develop a speed addiction as result of riding e-bikes.
My take on this; Seeing this forum is mostly aimed at cyclists ( people who like to pedal ) I think most of the people who ride an ebike are more concerned about just being able to ride and being able to enjoy riding like they used to when all they used to own were regular bikes. I can't speak for others but for me speed has nothing to do with it. What does matter to me is the effort I have to expend in order to ride a bike and still enjoy doing so. I just want something that is a little easier to pedal. Some of the places I used to ride have some monster hills. Because of concerns for my health I had to stop doing those rides. The ebike allows me to do those rides without the worry of killing myself on the big hills.

Sure, sometimes the speed is fun but too much speed on any kind of bike can be dangerous ( especially if you ride a lot at night ). With the e-bike I own the electrical assist cuts off at 20 mph. I can ride faster but then I'm using just my own legs. I now can ride flat areas around 18-20 mph with the same effort I used to ride about 13 mph. On the moderate hill climbs I used to sometimes only poke along at about 5 mph. Now on the same hills I can easily ride twice as fast and when I get to the top I don't feel like I'm completely drained. I'm just happy I can ride again. For me speed is not a major issue.

If I had my wish I'd lose about thirty pounds. Back in the day I used to be able to lose weight without too much effort. Once I reached my mid forties all of that changed. I still dream of finding the right diet program that has me losing the weight I need to lose. Not just for the sake of cycling but for my over all health concerns. In the mean time I can't do some of the things I used to love. My mind is willing but I no longer have the fitness level or energy level I used to have when I was younger. Such is life when you get older. We all get older and at some point your body changes enough that riding under your own power just becomes prohibitive. Sucks that it happens. Also sucks that it takes the fun out of riding. If you ride an e-bike you may never again return to riding a regular bike but at least you can still continue to ride and if that riding gives you pleasure....more power to you.
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Old 05-27-19, 02:26 PM
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Interestingly, e-bikes are far more popular in Europe than in North America, yet E-bikes are restricted to 250 watts and 25kph (15.5mph) in the EU. In other words, there is an enormous market for bikes that are EASIER to ride, but are not necessarily any faster than a standard bicycle. I do not fit into this category.

I tend to believe that once people ride a class 3 (28 mph), they'll want one, and a significant percentage will want more speed than that. I assume in the EU, commuters will simply opt for scooters and motorcycle (or cars or trains for that matter) if they absolutely require more speed. I like the idea of a fast 35+mph bicycle, but it looks like I'm in the minority on this forum at least.
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Old 05-27-19, 03:55 PM
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Perhaps the minority because "bikes" faster than Class 3 (28 mph, PAS-only) are classified as mopeds/motorcycles (depending on factors that I haven't studied) and require license & insurance. Problem in certain litigious areas (like Orange County, CA where I reside) is if one has an accident and isn't covered, it could be very expensive. FME, now, the police seem to ignore bikes as long as the rider is "pedaling".
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Old 05-27-19, 04:39 PM
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I came to ebikes by way of motorcycles, actually. After coming to motorcycles by way of bicycles. I love them all.

I live on a popular route for both bicycles and motorcycles and when I am home I like to sit on the porch and watch them go by. And it seems to me that bicycles and motorcycles are converging in some ways. An e-fatbike looks an awful lot like the hundred year old motorcycles in the museums, from the days when bicycles and motorcycles came out of the same workshops. They really are close kin. And all these machines with different configurations, recumbents and trikes and folding bicycles and escooters. It’s like the days when it was all being invented for the first time, before the safety bicycle conquered all. People are more adventurous than they were 20 years ago.

With the popularity of electric, motorcycles and bicycles are melting back together into something really neat. It is a great time to be a cyclist of any kind. So many possibilities! And I am thrilled to take ideas from both sides of the family tree.
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