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Ebike car free question.

Old 01-02-19, 06:49 PM
  #51  
jon c. 
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Originally Posted by Buglady View Post

Nothing lasts forever, and to be honest, even a non-electric bike from ten years ago will, in most cases, be approaching the end of its design lifespan.
That's really not true. At least not with steel bikes. Mine is 37 years old and isn't approaching the end of anything. If I don't crash it, it will be still be going strong when I'm no longer strong enough to ride it.
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Old 01-02-19, 07:17 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by Buglady View Post
Nothing lasts forever, and to be honest, even a non-electric bike from ten years ago will, in most cases, be approaching the end of its design lifespan.
Originally Posted by jon c. View Post
That's really not true. At least not with steel bikes. Mine is 37 years old and isn't approaching the end of anything. If I don't crash it, it will be still be going strong when I'm no longer strong enough to ride it.
Very useful and informative post ... right up until the last line.

I own two bikes that old, a 1983 Cannondale and a 1984 Raleigh. (As it happens I use an iPhone 4S and I have a couple ten-year-old computers that I use--one runs the TV, the other i use for gaming and back-up for my work computer ... which would be ten years old if it's predecessor had been that durable. This one is four years old. I own a 2004 Honda and a 2001 Toyota---both run very, very well and with minimal maintenance except oil changes and stuff like brakes.)

In any case ... any major piece of machinery expected to have a ten-year lifespan is not a piece of machinery I plan to buy. Three grand for an E-bike and then, when I am really old, deep into retirement, and need every penny ... it craps out?

The rest of the post was very informative and I thank you. That last line was very informative and I curse the people making such trash.
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Old 01-02-19, 07:53 PM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by jon c. View Post
That's really not true. At least not with steel bikes. Mine is 37 years old and isn't approaching the end of anything. If I don't crash it, it will be still be going strong when I'm no longer strong enough to ride it.

I actually do agree with you that good steel frames are lovely and they are very long lasting, but they are not the main kind of bicycle frame on the market these days, and they have not been for a long time. Steel frames are a specialty item now. You can't compare them to e-bike frames - it's apples to oranges.


Aluminum has been the dominant frame material in the recreational and utility sector for decades, and is the main material for purpose-built e-bike frames. Aluminum frames do have a shorter lifespan than steel, just because of the different characteristics of the metal. Over time it does become more brittle. That's been an acceptable trade off for the stiffness and (relatively) light weight, as well as the ease of manufacturing and relatively lower cost.
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Old 01-02-19, 08:37 PM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by Buglady View Post

Aluminum frames do have a shorter lifespan than steel, just because of the different characteristics of the metal. Over time it does become more brittle. That's been an acceptable trade off for the stiffness and (relatively) light weight, as well as the ease of manufacturing and relatively lower cost.
I think the lifespan of an aluminium frame depends on the manufacturing process and quality control...I have an aluminum framed MTB with a rigid steel fork, it's 12 years old and has been ridden very hard, both off-road and on-road including tons of exposure to road salt during winter and the frame is still solid with no signs of failure.
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Old 01-02-19, 08:58 PM
  #55  
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My golf partner rides a Technium from the 80s.
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Old 01-02-19, 10:08 PM
  #56  
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I happen to have an E-Assist bike that I put together about 7 years ago, and it's still going strong... With over 11,000 Km on it, So yes it IS possible to get a good E-Assist for $3,000 to $4,000 and not worry about it being garbage within 3 or 4 years...
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Old 01-02-19, 10:26 PM
  #57  
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My 1983 Cannondale is aluminum .... weren't All Canondales aluminum up until the 6-13 or something? And that 1983 Cannondale is as strong as any bike i own.

There is a lot of ignorant hysteria on this site about aluminum frames failing, but the actual evidence is lacking ... because fact is, an AL frame will last just fine. Any kind of frame Can fail.

Look, there are AL framed cars and airplanes Much older than ten years old ... doing just fine thanks. Go watch some Vintage and Historic Racing.

Anyone with an AL bike ten, twenty, thirty years old who is afraid to ride it can send it to me.

Also, @Buglady ... I am not attacking you or your shop. But i am not pleased with factories who build appliances and other machinery with planned obsolescence in the designs. There is no need beyond the economic interest of selling more products .... the "make it disposable and say it is convenient" thought which litters the land with stuff which will last for centuries except one or two essential parts which can no longer be replaced.

there is no question that a bike can be made to last more than a decade ... but there is the choice not to. And I do not like people who make that choice. Purely personal to me, and in no way reflecting upon you as a person. I am still very pleased with your response.
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Old 01-04-19, 01:17 PM
  #58  
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I'll just point out that the aircraft maintenance industry has extremely strict guidelines on component lifespan, with testing and replacement intervals specified, because aluminum DOES have a different metal fatigue profile than steel, titanium, etc.

i'm not saying every aluminum bike frame will crumble at the 10 year mark; I AM saying they were designed with a certain lifespan (as is every single manufactured item on the planet, whether people like it or not, because physics and entropy) and that the longer they are in use, the higher the chance of failure.

Please, everyone, go ahead and ride any bicycle you want for as long as you want. I am still going to inspect every aluminum frame that comes into my hands with extreme care. And I'm going to ride my own aluminum e-bike very happily for several years, though I do plan to sell it on eventually and upgrade to whatever the next evolution is.

Tangentially related: I acquired a 65 year old Elna Supermatic sewing machine yesterday. It is gorgeous inside, fully mechanical, incredibly well built, and once I replace the brushes and re-wire the motor, it will probably sew for another fifty years. But it weighs 20 pounds without its case, and when it was new, it cost a full month's wages for a middle class earner. (Retail price was ~$200 in 1956 - online inflation calculator estimates that at $1850 in 2018). Its user manual is 50 pages long and operating it takes a lot of practice. Modern sewing machines with the same features weigh less than half as much, are extremely easy to use, and cost under $200 in *today's* dollars. No, the new machines won't last 65 years, but they work well and are accessible. That does count for something. The world has changed immeasurably in the last few decades.
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Old 01-04-19, 02:07 PM
  #59  
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If eBikes cost $200 I wouldn't mind the lifespan.

Rode my 35-year-old Raleigh the past two nights .... it actually weighs 26 pounds, and as with the sewing machine, the new plastic alternatives weigh ten pounds less. But even though it didn't come with a manual, it is pretty easy to operate.

Really, I only want stuff to last until I am done using it ... but that might be for as long as I live.
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Old 01-11-19, 01:12 PM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by Domromer View Post
Hey Guys, Just curious have a lot of car free or car lite people bought electric bikes? Just curious if this market segment were into ebikes. It seems like it would make car free living that much easier. If this subject has been beaten to death here already I apologize. I've not been on this forum in the past few years.
I am already as car-lite as I'm likely to get, because my wife has no interest in ditching her car, so there will likely always be one car in our family. But for my part, I've been without a car for several years now, and there's no e-bike in the picture, but I have thought about one. I can see how it would help someone transition to a car-free lifestyle. I don't want to trade in my bike for an e-bike. I value the exercise I get as well as a sense of freedom and accomplishment that I get from traveling under my own steam. But I can see where an e-bike might help out in a few situations. For the most part I get everywhere I need to go with my bike, along with transit when it's available. But every now and then there's a situation where time and/or distance make a trip unfeasible without a car. These are almost always optional trips, and I just generally opt out, but I could opt in more often if I had an e-bike. I have an idea that I'd like to build up a cargo e-bike to combat both the time, distance, and capacity issues that crop up every once in a while when relying on a bike. For instance, two nights ago there was a show downtown that went until after the busses stopped running. I don't mind biking between home and downtown, but it can take close to an hour, and I do need to get some sleep before work in the morning. In this case, my wife was off work, and I took her car, for the second time in recent memory. If I hadn't taken the car, I would have had to choose between staying home and getting to sleep even later than I did. With an e-bike, the trip would have till taken more time than the car, but with a combination of motor and pedaling, I think the time difference would have been in the neighborhood of 15 minutes, rather than 30 to 40 minutes. For an old, tired man who has to be up in the morning, that's significant. The other time I used the car was for an event in a town 35 miles from home. I've biked it before, but never there and back in the same day. The distance is easily within my limit for a day's riding, but it would require a good chunk of time. That's about 7 hours of riding for me, and half of those would be after 11pm when the event was done. Again, an optional event, and I would never have considered it without a car. But if I had an e-bike with that range, I might consider it. Yes, it would still be a longer trip than with the car, by a fair amount, but it wouldn't be the all-day affair that biking there and back would be. There is probably one event every month or two that takes place in a neighboring town in the 20-30 mile range that I am interested in, but don't attend because the event ends after transit stops, and I don't want to be riding for hours at a time after midnight. It's not a tragedy. In fact it's helped me become better attuned to what my own town has to offer. I am not starved for entertainment by any means. And it's certainly not worth buying a car for. In fact, one reason that I got rid of my car was because I was using it so infrequently that keeping it running was more trouble than it was worth. But an e-bike would fill that niche for those times when I would use a car. So, this car-lite person definitely has an interest in e-bikes, and may get one some day, but it would be purely a luxury purchase. I can't even claim that it would help curtail the driving I do, because that's really only a few times a year, so it's difficult to use that as an excuse for anything.
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Old 01-11-19, 07:34 PM
  #61  
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If you want an e-bike that will last decades, get a good steel frame bike and put your own kit on it. The reality is that as time progresses batteries will get lighter, cheaper, and last longer. Motors will get stronger and more durable. Even if you can't do repair or upgrade work on your own, as e bikes become more common you can expect repair shops to open dedicated to them. No matter what e bike you get, you will have to replace batteries every 2-4 years (until new tech develops) and thats a pretty good expense. Motors will last longer if taken care of properly. But no e-bike is going to be inexpensive to maintain...but it will be a whole lot cheaper than a car! Btw, one of my bikes is a Bike Friday (handmade steel frame) that is 20 years old and it's just perfect =)
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Old 01-13-19, 06:56 PM
  #62  
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It's because of my e-bike that i don't need a car. Its a swb tandem, I take my kid to school on it. It has 4x 50L army pannier bags (thanks to the length) so it can take all my shopping.

Admittedly I live in a town built from scratch with a separate cycleway/pedestrian system so I don't cycle on roads - without this place, if I had to use roads, I'd drive.
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Old 01-17-19, 09:31 PM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by linberl View Post
If you want an e-bike that will last decades, get a good steel frame bike and put your own kit on it.
This is the route I'm going to take.

I'm going to buy the electric wheel an either install a DIY kit on the rear. There are too many companies making electric bikes at the moment and you're seeing a number of them go out of business or simply move to a different frame the following year. What happens when you need parts for your 3 year old frame? I'm seeing a number of batteries built into the frame but who's going to support your bike once the company moves to a different frame whose battery won't fit your bike?

Case in point, it wasn't long ago Bionx was selling high quality DIY kits but they went bankrupt. Their products are still being sold on the market and with so many companies jumping into the field, who knows how long they intend to be in the e-bike business?
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Old 01-17-19, 10:14 PM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
This is the route I'm going to take.

I'm going to buy the electric wheel an either install a DIY kit on the rear. There are too many companies making electric bikes at the moment and you're seeing a number of them go out of business or simply move to a different frame the following year. What happens when you need parts for your 3 year old frame? I'm seeing a number of batteries built into the frame but who's going to support your bike once the company moves to a different frame whose battery won't fit your bike?

Case in point, it wasn't long ago Bionx was selling high quality DIY kits but they went bankrupt. Their products are still being sold on the market and with so many companies jumping into the field, who knows how long they intend to be in the e-bike business?
GM went bankrupt too didn't they...???
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Old 01-18-19, 04:24 AM
  #65  
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If you do decide you build your own, be careful: https://www.bikeforums.net/road-cycl...gh-flames.html
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Old 01-18-19, 10:33 AM
  #66  
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Moral to the story: use quality parts and don't buy anything proprietary. Make sure you know what you are doing or get someone who does to work with you. There are a lot of home made kits out there working fine (endless sphere is a great source of info). I'm not capable of doing it from scratch but I applaud those who can. Otoh, I can fit a well designed prepacked kit onto my own bikes, so that's the middle ground. Stick with good gear, bfun, crystalite, well respected names and don't cheap out on the batteries.
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Old 01-18-19, 12:00 PM
  #67  
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As far as e-bikes ... I ma most imp[ressed by the motorized wheel set-up. Maybe because I haven't looked closely, I don't know ... but the idea of being able to pop off a wheel and pop in a motorized wheel pleases me.
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Old 01-20-19, 06:52 AM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
As far as e-bikes ... I ma most imp[ressed by the motorized wheel set-up. Maybe because I haven't looked closely, I don't know ... but the idea of being able to pop off a wheel and pop in a motorized wheel pleases me.
As you allude to, the exact definition of preparing your bicycle for such "popping" and the proximity of a wheel to pop when you need one being a little bit in question.
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Old 01-20-19, 11:37 AM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by Walter S View Post
As you allude to, the exact definition of preparing your bicycle for such "popping" and the proximity of a wheel to pop when you need one being a little bit in question.
Why? I can pop my rear hub wheel off my E-Assist, and have my regular wheel on there in 5 minutes getting my regular bicycle to ride any time I wanted... and yes you would need access to both wheels...
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Old 01-20-19, 12:24 PM
  #70  
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The only thing about all-in-one wheels I don't like is so much is proprietary with customized controller, unique battery, etc. If something goes wrong or the battery dies, you are dependent upon the manufacturer still being in business to deal with it (unless you are an electrician). And these businesses are not the most stable, even the big guys fail (bionx). Given the expense, a component system seems like a safer bet imo. You can still "swap a wheel" which has a hub motor, and the battery unit usually can be removed easily, but seems like longevity is more assured. Copenhagen wheel for example is super pricey, and is completely dependent upon them sticking around if stuff goes wrong.
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Old 01-25-19, 10:42 AM
  #71  
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Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
GM went bankrupt too didn't they...???
GM went bankrupt but Bionx was a closed system that made it very difficult to replace their batteries or controller. I see too many companies jumping into the e-bike band wagon to make an extra buck but the industry is too young to determine who will stay in the long run.

Unlike a car, you won't find many or any company that will resolve issues specific to your e-bike and don't count on your LBS to stock parts or repair electronics.
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Old 01-25-19, 12:52 PM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
GM went bankrupt but Bionx was a closed system that made it very difficult to replace their batteries or controller. I see too many companies jumping into the e-bike band wagon to make an extra buck but the industry is too young to determine who will stay in the long run.

Unlike a car, you won't find many or any company that will resolve issues specific to your e-bike and don't count on your LBS to stock parts or repair electronics.
So... What can you "count on"... No mater what you buy, it will go out of style, out of warranty, out of parts eventually, it will fail eventually, or someone buys BionX and everything is copasetic again… It's how thing usually work.
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Old 11-30-19, 04:21 AM
  #73  
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Sure, why not? I'd think it's definitely a+. I built up one for a long ride I was doing to next town over; I don't do that ride anymore, and actually haven't been using e-bike this year as I've been enjoying my road bike, but it's good to have. I converted my Trek hybrid and built my own lithium battery pack--though I'd suggest probably just to buy one already assembled. The only negative I have encountered is if for whatever reason the bike stops running on power you've got to pedal the extra weight of the electric motor and battery pack which can be a real drag
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Old 12-03-19, 02:17 PM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by alpharalpha View Post
Sure, why not? I'd think it's definitely a+. I built up one for a long ride I was doing to next town over; I don't do that ride anymore, and actually haven't been using e-bike this year as I've been enjoying my road bike, but it's good to have. I converted my Trek hybrid and built my own lithium battery pack--though I'd suggest probably just to buy one already assembled. The only negative I have encountered is if for whatever reason the bike stops running on power you've got to pedal the extra weight of the electric motor and battery pack which can be a real drag.
Or, not so much... It really depends on your bike and the weight of the E-Stuff, my bike weighs 21Lbs, the E-Stuff weighs almost 20Lbs so not too bad, and as far as any drag from the system when not being used I can not really feel a bit of difference at all, rides like a normal bicycle...
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Old 12-03-19, 07:04 PM
  #75  
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And my bike WITH motor and battery is 23.5lbs. One major benefit of a friction drive =). And no drag or contact unless I'm using it.
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