Visiobike

VISIOBIKE

visiobike
Another Crowd Sourced Bike – the Visiobike shows where the very best e-bikes will be

To quote Visiobike : “We wanted Visiobike to be a stunning blend of futurism and elegance. So we designed an innovative frame that contains and hides the electronics and drivetrain. The motor and battery are artfully integrated under the naked carbon fibre skin.”

This is another following the idea “how would be make an e-bike if we had no preconceptions and were starting from scratch”

It is another project to be funded by the “crowd”

It is a neat design and has the very best available components, and as such represents a high tide mark for future e-bikes with

  • built in central motor with claimed 45kmh
  • battery within frame with claimed 100km range
  • belt drive
  • continuously variable gears
  • wifi controls to mounted phone including rear view, GPS, Google maps, speed and travel data, bike lock, emergency call
  • rear view camera with automatic accident recording
  • carbon fibre frame
  • automatic lights

I don’t expect many of you will ever get this one at 5050euro for 250W (~$au7500) or 5550euro for 500W plus the cost of shipping one to Australia, but it does show where the future of e-bikes is going.  The website is worth a look. Maybe you can contribute $50 for a T-shirt for support.

 

Gi e-Bike, Another KickStarter Project

Gi E-BIKE, ANOTHER FUTURE E-BIKE

When you start to design an electric bike without any preconception of what an electric bicycle should look like (and more and more seem to be doing that) and only knowing that it should have a seat to sit on, pedals somewhere within reach of that, a wheel, or 2 or 3 or 4, a motor somewhere somehow making a wheel go around, a battery somewhere to power it, and maybe some way of steering the bike, you might come up with something like this :

So far we’ve seen bikes having
wheels without axle like Yike Bike
(also has steering behind the seat)
single strut forks that makes the folded bike more compact (Jive Bike, this Gi, and others)
batteries within the frame (this Gi and others)
motor completely hidden within the frame (Vivax)
motors replacing bottom bracket (this Gi, first BionX and now many other mid drive central motors, Bafang BB replacement kits)
shaft or rubber belt drive, and even no drive
powered pedals ( Britt pedals)
motor, battery and controller all within a wheel, and without wires (FlyKly wheel, Copenhagen wheel, Wize e-bike)
autonomous power control by tiltmeter and torque sensor (Copenhagen)
wireless control by wifi to/from phone (some of the above) for
speed, distance, GPS, readouts and locking of the bike by the same phone
vertical plane folding (Jive, Gi, and others)
what next?
a bike with wings? maybe even that . [ I was posting some “spun” articles (!!!yes, I know) and was amused by the result when “trip on my bike” was changed to flight on my bike]
here’s the story of Gi bike under development by KickStarter (more and more seem to be produced by the crowd) . You could subscribe and be one of the first to get one, for about $3300, which seems to be the price for top notch these days.

Check out the Gi bike here

excerpts :

Folds quickly

Then wheels along like a suitcase

It only takes 1 second and one motion to fold. After folding, it is easy to carry, like a wheeled-luggage, you just grab the handles and go.

Smart controls

Smartphone integration, GPS, social networking, a full control of Gi’s features and an integrated USB port connects you to your city like no other.

Easy to lock, easy to share. The Gi-Bike's integrated anti-theft lock has a feature that locks automatically once you walk 10 feet away from your bike. You can also add users to your Gi, so it’s super-easy to share with friends and family.

a wheel rim that glows

Highest percentage of urban bicycle accidents are car side-hits. Gi’s frontal wheel smart LED lights turn on at night, gaining visibility in darker hours thus making the safest ride possible.

and more

If you go and subscribe to support the project you can get an earlybird bike for about $3300, or about $330 less than the production bikes.

A pair of pedals that ARE an electric bicycle conversion

Convert a Bike by adding a pair of pedals!

I just found out about this, and I think it’s a brilliant invention. Wish I’d thought of it. See the image below : a pair of pedals that ARE an electric bike. The pedals turn the bike into an electric bike. but how?

pedal e-bike conversion
these pedals convert a bike

Have you ever had a pedal jam and not rotate? It’s annoying. As the crank goes around the stuck pedal rotates under your foot and makes it hard to pedal. These pedals have the opposite effect. The motor inside makes them rotate with respect to the crank but your foot keeps them horizontal, and that forces the crank to rotate.
Obviously there are limitations in getting motor plus battery into something as small as a pedal. If you have seen my post on the Vivax Assist motor that has 200 Watt motor within a seat tube you know that getting a motor small enough is not such a problem, but getting a battery small enough, and useful enough is.
Therefore these will not replace a 250 Watt conversion nor go as far as a typical 36V 10AH battery but will give some “help”…an extra one third of your power and for 15km they say.
The main benefit of these pedals is that they can easily be added to a bike, any bike, and taken off and put on another bike, and require no battery or wiring. This is similar in effect (but less clever or powerful) to the all-in-one wheel conversions such as FlyKly wheel that I mention in another post here.
Another advantage is that the pedals are in effect a “central motor” because they work on the chain and through the bike’s gears as a central motor does.
The on/off happens by flipping the pedals over. So they are alway on, or always off. There not being a throttle or PAS is a disadvantage.
Find out more about these at Britt technologies

LATEST ON THE FLYKLY WHEEL and WIZE BICYCLE

 

REPORT FROM THE DEVELOPERS OF THE FLYKLY WHEEL AND WIZE BICYCLE

FlyKly’s mission is to promote cycling around the world, help grow a strong cycling community and make cities more bicycle friendly. Our goal throughout has been to develop the best possible products of the highest quality and offer you the best service you could wish for, as well as establish a strong production.

We have progressed wonderfully with our App, as well as with the Smart Light. When it comes to the Smart Wheel, our primary goal is again to give you the product of truly the best possible quality. This is why we have decided to use the technology of ZeHuS, the company that has done a fantastic job with developing Bike+ technology.

With your great support this project become a reality and as a result, FlyKly now offers 4 products: Smart Wheel, Wize Bicycle, Smart Light and the App.

SMART WHEEL

From the start, the concept of the Smart Wheel was a lightweight and highly efficient all-in-one design pedal assist wheel that fits on practically any bicycle. That’s what the old Smart Wheel was and the new Smart Wheel represents. The difference is that the new Smart Wheel comes with big improvements in design, materials and technology, thanks to the patented innovative solutions developed by ZeHuS. It makes the initial concept even more to the point. It’s a lightweight, highly efficient pedal assist wheel. We are proud to present to you a new and improved Smart Wheel.

Old Smart Wheel & New Smart Wheel
Old Smart Wheel & New Smart Wheel

NEW FEATURES

Size

The new Smart Wheel is smaller and lighter, in fact it’s 50% smaller and 30% lighter. It only weighs 3 kg and measures 180mm in diameter. Riding with the new Smart Wheel, you do not feel you have any extra weight or drag on the bicycle because most of the parts are stationary. Also, it’s so small that it can barely be noticed on the bicycle, so the appearance of your bicycle does not change.

It fits on practically any bicycle. The dropout stays the same, 120mm – 135mm, as well as the wheel sizes available; 700C (28”), 26”, and 20”.

New FlyKly Smart Wheel powered by ZehuS
New FlyKly Smart Wheel powered by ZehuS

Range & Speed 

Extensive testing and research have shown that the majority of people don’t ride their bicycle for more than 30 km a day, so we’ve realized it would be much better to have a lighter, smaller Smart Wheel with a 160Wh lithium battery with 30 – 40 km range, than a heavier and larger Smart Wheel with more range. It has proved more efficient, because this way you do not carry around the large battery, with the extra energy and weight.

The top speed Smart Wheel assists you with is 25 km/h. This is required by law in many countries around the world. This means that the Smart Wheel will assist you until you reach 25 km/h. Once you go over the 25 km/h, the Smart Wheel motor will turn off and let you pedal on your own. You can continue to pedal and increase the speed; there is no limit to how fast you can go. But once you get back to 25 km/h, the motor turns on and starts to assist you again.

Housing 

The new Smart Wheel comes with the aluminium housing. To be exact, 6082-T6 aluminium. It’s much sturdier and weather proof. The aluminium helps to cool the motor and the batteries.

Tracking / Security 

The App enables you to track and map your rides. If you wish, you can anonymously share your ride info with the city officials to help build more bicycle friendly cities. This feature uses the GPS from your smartphone. The App also locks your Smart Wheel. This is the first step in security.

In case the Smart Wheel gets stolen, we have previously been planning to install GPS in the wheel. Instead, we have developed a superior security system. All the Smart Wheels will be registered to their users. FlyKly customers will need to create an account, register the Smart Wheel and connect it with the App. So in case your Smart Wheel gets stolen, the thief will need to connect the App to the Smart Wheel with the pin code in order to use it. When connecting the App and the Smart Wheel, we will receive the thief’s info and location from their smartphone. This way, we will be able to track your Smart Wheel by location and by who is currently using it. This is a much more secure, elegant system, with no bypass.

Bluetooth

We have secured all the certificates, so the new Smart Wheel comes with the Bluetooth 2.3. This opens a much broader range of smartphones available to be used with the Smart Wheel.

Brakes

The new Smart Wheel comes with a much improved motor brake. This is possible due to the technology provided by ZeHuS. When you start pedaling backwards, the motor slows down the bicycle with the regenerative braking. While, braking the motor also regenerates energy. This is a great feature but by the law the bicycle has to be equaled with at least one mechanical brake in the front or back. Incase you would like to have the rear brake, the Smart Wheel works with the v brakes. Disc or coastal brakes do not work with the Smart Wheel.

https://vimeo.com/92347308Video: Regenerative braking, charging & riding uphill.

Colors

The new aluminium housing is perfect for colors and the most popular colors so far are white, silver and glow in the dark.

In the Box

FlyKly Smart Wheel powered by ZeHuS already assembled and fitted to a wheel rim of your choice, along with a bicycle tube and a tire. FlyKly Smart Light with an adhesive surface for holding your smartphone and a dynamo generator included. An electric charger for charging the Smart Wheel.

At Glance

WIZE BICYCLE 

FlyKly bicycle with the Wize hub powered by ZeHuS is state of the art in terms of technology and efficiency. It is the first product of its kind on the market. The Wize hub comes with all the features of the Smart Wheel plus the Bike+ technology, which enables the no-recharging function. Bike+ just won a prestigious golden prize for innovation in China Cycle 2014. This is truly a breakthrough in the development of electric vehicles.

Wize Bicycle #000
Wize Bicycle #000

The Wize hub 

The Wize hub is packed with the patented technology called Bike+ developed by ZeHuS and inspected by Extra Energy Lab. It’s not just pedal assist: it’s a technology that measures your effort, motor effort and the slope assistance. Special formula developed by ZeHuS makes calculations to provide the proper assistance and recharge the battery when the assistance is not necessary.

In other words, Wize Hub assists you by working with your body, assisting when you need it and regenerating the energy when you are going down a slope, braking or can sustain the speed on it own. Although there is a charging plug, there is no need for external sources of energy, the Wize hub has no range limit.

Regarding the battery, the depletion depends on the conditions of the ride. In some conditions (constant speed) the assistance is limited, and in other conditions (typically long ascents) the battery can get deployed. This can also happen when you chooses the pedal assist mode, which gives you the maximum assistance and the battery level will decrease. The App allows you to set the levels of assistance and regeneration. The subservience of the Wize hub is 90% max and the regeneration is 80% max. Read more

Smart Technology 

The Wize hub holds several international patents.

Bicycle 

Wize hub needs to be preinstalled on a bicycle. Special mounting is required, therefore we do not offer the Wize hub separately. We developed a bicycle that fits best with the Wize hub and we offer it as a complete product.

In the Box 

Wize hub assembled on the bicycle. Bicycle with all the necessary components. FlyKly Smart Light with an adhesive surface for holding your smartphone and dynamo generator included. An electric charger for charging the Smart Wheel.

APP

We have updated the iOS app with new updates. Thank you all for your feedback so far. The Android app is in the works and will be available through Google Play soon.

The SDK Kit is also on its way and will be available in July 2014. Backers who got the SDK Kit will get a special access to our serves and direct contact with our development team. We are looking forward working with you and have you on the team. We can’t wait to see what you will be working on. We would be happy to hear and discuss any ideas / plans with you so please reach out so we can start working together.

SMART LIGHT

The Smart Light is in production and is shaping out nicely. We’ll write more about the Smart Light in the following updates.

PRICING / OFFER

We increased the price of the Smart Wheel and introduced the new Wize Bicycle last week. The new price for the Smart Wheel is $800. The price for the Wize Bicycle is $1800.

You, our backers, will not be affected by the price increase. You will receive the new Smart Wheel at the price you pledged: $550 Early bird, $590 and $700 SDK kit.

If you are interested in Wize Bicycle, you can use your pledge towards the price of the Wize Bicycle and pay the difference. In the next update, we will also explain the registration process and how to choose the product you want in more detail.

SHIPPING 

The production was moved to Italy. Extra shipping costs might apply, but we’ll have more information on this in the following updates.

PRODUCTION / DELIVERY TIME 

Production of the Smart Wheel and Wize Bicycle is located in Italy. We already have most of the tools ready to start the production. The final part we are waiting on is the molds for the aluminium housing. It will be ready in July. The app is in the final stages of development and testing. Certificates for most of the components were approved. In the following updates, we will take you behind the scenes of our production and show you how things are made.

Delivery time has moved and we will start to ship in September 2014. The delivery of the Wize Bicycle will start in December 2014. The SDK kit app will become available in July 2014.

We decided to offer you the new Smart Wheel instead of the old Smart Wheel now, because we didn’t want to deliver the old Smart Wheel to you and in 3 months offer a new, much improved Smart Wheel. We want to provide you with the best product and service and we believe that offering the new Smart Wheel and Wize Bicycle to you now is great.

We are very happy about where we stand today. We have improved and better products, a production to produce the highest quality products and a team to innovate and improve our products even further. The concept of the Smart Wheel is now a reality and very close to becoming a part of our everyday life. In a long road of bringing this concept to life, we are at the final step: the production! It wouldn’t be possible without your support and help and we really appreciate it! We have come a long way together.

In the following update #14, we will introduce the process of registering as a FlyKly customer and choosing the product. In the following updates, we will focus on the production and report to you the user experiences from our test drives. We have test drives available in our offices in Milan, Italy. If you would like to come visit us, please let us know. Some of the backers already scheduled the visit. In May we will have test drives available in New York City, San Francisco & Los Angeles. After that we will do more test drives, so please let us know where would you like to see us.

Best Regards,

FlyKly & ZeHuS

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VIVAX ASSIST 4.0

VIVAX ASSIST 4.0
Central drive conversion motors are becoming more talked about. I see a lot of lookers for the Bafang unit. That’s quite discreet but here is a very much neater and “invisible” conversion.
With this motor installed it is not at all obviously an electric bike. The motor is completely hidden within the down tube and secretly drives the pedal axle . In order to do that the makers (Gruber Antrieb GmbH)

Vivax Assist - an invisible conversion
Vivax Assist – an invisible conversion

have designed an extremely thin motor…so thin that it fits in a bike’s down tube. 200 Watts in such a thin motor is quite an achievement. Not all bikes though have a tube thin enough. The tube needs to be 31mm clear, and maybe it needs to be filed at the junction with the bottom bracket. In keeping with the secret motor the battery hangs from the saddle and looks like a bike tool bag. One little problem with that is that the battery …30v and 5.5AH … has only less than half the capacity of a typical 36v 10AH bike battery. Though, the whole conversion, motor and battery is etremely light at a hardly noticeable 1.7kg!.
I can’t see these being installed on any ordinary bike. Why? The recommended price is EUR2550 and EUR159 to install. That’s over $AU4000! Well, it’s the ultimate sneaky conversion for anyone who doesn’t want to look like they are riding an electric bike.

SITTING TOO LONG

Are you sitting for long hours each day?
I certainly am, I know. So many hours working on this website, and others. And, I spent many years as a public servant in various government departments. Public servants in Australia, particularly in Canberra, the federal capital, are called “shinyarses”. You can guess why their bureaucratic bottoms get so shiny.
This story gave me a real shock, having so much of my life sitting on plastic government seats, and so many hours at computers (ever since there ever was a PC).
Those of us former or present shinyarses, addicts for playing games or you-tubing (even if you don’t admit it), or TV soaps and un-reality shows, long distance truck drivers…take note!
There are some serious health issues from sitting so long…but take heed!
You can make amends and you can add years of healthier happier and more mobile later in life… when such is so precious it is priceless…compared with an earlier onset of bad health, and mobility, and the grumpiness that affects you and those you love… if you continue your sedentary ways.
When you work at any job that requires long hours sitting at a computer – programming, accounting, writing, or driving, or at home playing games, you-tubing, facebooking, or watching TV – it is so very easy to stay in that one position for eight to nine hours every day.
Sure, you might stop or get up for a pee break, a tea break, stop for a highway burger, or go to the fridge for a beer but between times you may be sitting in the chair or lounge for several hours.
Killing Yourself by Sitting
Yes, but I’m not going to go on and on about the good years you are losing, or say you should quit the hours in front of a computer or TV screen, or an office desk or a driving wheel. I just want to urge you to take frequent breaks…to get up and walk around for, say 5 minutes, every hour… for any reason, or for no other reason than to walk around.

I know a lot of you have no choice about sitting. If you can arrange to do office work, design work, studies, or computer or gaming standing up, then it will do you good to do that some of the time.

It will do you good to reduce the length of time spent sitting. There are long term studies show sitting too long can impact the big four – cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

Overall – You will die a years earlier, or at least your latter years will be unhealhtier, unhappier, (grumpier) and less mobile, for you, and of course those around you that you love.  Thinking about that!
Many studies now consistently (as with tobacco) that being physically inactive leads to a whole list of health problems that will kill you. Taking everything into account, the World Health Organization reports that being physically inactive comes in fourth as a leading risk factor for an early death.

Just how much of a difference can it make? Well, a study published in the March 26th issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine found that after taking a large cross section of 200,000 people into account, there was a clear “association” between the act of sitting and “all-cause mortality”. Bottom line – sitting over eleven hours a day results in a 40 percent higher chance of dying from any cause at all. That’s crazy.
The WHO report mentioned above solidifies this finding. Inactivity was found to be the main cause of about a quarter of breast and colon cancers, 27 percent of diabetes cases, and 30 percent of heart disease cases.
The study in the Archives of Internal Medicine came from researchers at the University of Sydney, who reported that going to the gym or taking a walk is well and good, but that prolonged sitting may actually be eliminating the health effects of that workout entirely.
It seems like every week there is another cause of cancer found or suspected…But sitting? Yes! Sitting increases your risk of getting cancer in a very big way. The American Institute for Cancer Research held its annual conference early in 2012 and highlighted at that conference were specific research findings showing that 49,000 cases of breast cancer and 43,000 cases of colon cancer in the U.S. could be linked to inactivity.
It seems like such a cop-out doesn’t it? Like, researchers can’t find a specific correlation so they point at the fact that most of the people that got cancer sat around a whole lot. Researchers, such as Dr. Christine Friedenreich, PhD, the leading epidemiologist at Alberta Health Services-Cancer Care who presented at the AICR conference, reported research results that physical activity may actually reduce the small inflammations that become cancerous or arthritic.
The good news is that experts give you a very clear path to wipe out the risk starting right now. Take a break! The AICR responded directly to the research by urging readers to take a break from sitting every single hour – taking a couple of minutes to walk around, stretch, get a drink – whatever – can literally save your life.
There is a solid, proven benefit to taking those breaks. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) published its research findings in the European Heart Journal showing that for 4,757 participants in the study, short periods of light activity – even just a minute at a time – could reduce waistline, increase levels of good cholesterol, and even increase insulin resistance. This is really serious stuff.
That Chair May Give You Diabetes and Heart Disease
Okay, so you know if you don’t give yourself at least a minute break every hour or so, you could be in for some trouble down the road with the C word, but is cancer the only concern (as though that’s not bad enough on its own)?
Well, unfortunately, Diabetes is the other risk factor when it comes to sitting around for hours at a time.
One study by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, took into account published scientific studies dating from 1970 all the way to 2011 and found that collectively, the data from those studies reveal a clear correlation between more than two hours of TV viewing time and risk factors for type 2 diabetes, as well as cardiovascular disease. The risk of heart disease increased by 15 percent. For diabetes, the risk increased by 20 percent for people that watched TV more than two hours a day. 20 percent!
Yet another published in the Journal of Applied Physiology in August of 2011 revealed that when people lower their activity from over 10,000 steps a day to less than 5,000 steps a day, physical changes in the body directly increase that person’s risk of type 2 diabetes.
Obviously, the opposite must hold true. If you get up from from that desk every 40 minutes and take a good 10 minute walk, and then take a nice 60 minute walk after work, the odds are pretty good that you could achieve a daily goal over 10,000 and significantly reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes.
There are many other studies, like the one out of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst that showed that “1 day of sitting elicits large reductions in insulin action”, and another study from the University of South Carolina that found a direct correlation between time spent sitting and riding in a car, and cardiovascular disease death.
Sitting Too Long and Obesity
It should come as no surprise to anyone that if you sit too long during the day, you’ll get fat. So I’m not going to bore you with research that proves that, it’s pretty obvious. However, there was one particular study related to obesity and sitting too long that really threw me for a loop.
Clearly, the inactivity of sitting burns fewer calories and most people likely are not cutting down on calories just because they’re sitting so long (in fact, they’re probably snacking more), so that positive calorie balance will go directly to your bottom – or for some people, their spare tires.
But did you know that the mechanical pressure on your backside itself literally forces the cells in your arse to transform into larger fat cells? Crazy right? It’s true. Gives validity to “get off your arse!”
Researchers at Tel Aviv University found that the preadipocyte cells, which are the cells in your body that turn into fat cells, will actually transform into fat cells faster when they are put under long periods of “mechanical stretching loads”.
This means – my dieting friends – that you can try and cut calories, but if you plan to continue sitting behind that desk for three or four hour stretches at a time without a single break, the odds are pretty good that you’re going to have some major junk in the trunk.
Unfortunately, the list doesn’t stop there. During my escapades through literary journals and University research websites, I discovered studies showing links between sitting too long and everything from increased risk of kidney disease, to a high risk for blood clots in the legs. In fact, the blood clot issue related to excessive computer use is becoming known in medical circles as “e-thrombosis”.
So, now that you know sitting on that chair for several hours at a stretch is nearly as bad for your health as smoking, what are you going to do? I’ll tell you what I’m going to do. I’m going to install an Android timer on my tablet, set it to go off at work every 40 minutes, and take a 5 minute walk. It may not sound like much, but those breaks could literally save your life.
Some recent reported studies of many thousand people over many years have shown that regular moderate exercise (like brisk walking or riding a bike) for half to one hour a day can increase your healthy life by up to 10 years.
Do you have any ideas how to take some pressure off your backside during the day? What do you plan to do – if anything – to make a change?
Make the Change
Get off your arse and take breaks several times during each sitting session – at least.
Get regular moderate exercise. If that is not practical at work then brisk walking or riding bike to and from work (or train station) is good regular exercise, and purposeful.
If that is too much exercise, or that you cannot do, start with an electric bike and reduce the assistance as you become fitter.

Electric Bicycles are good for you…Because

Electric bicycles are good for your health AND gift you years of happier, active more mobile life

Yes, it is odd that something that reduces your effort can actually increase your activity, and so improve your fitness. But electric bicycles do do just that. The simple fact that because it is easier it is more enjoyable and you are more likely to ride it and go somewhere.

If you have a bike at home you know it doesn’t get used as much as it could. If you do go out for a good solid workouts on your bike, fast, with some hills, then that’s excellent, and you are likely to be a very fit person. You can be a quite fit also with more modest, but regular, exercise. And this is what you are more likely to do when you have an electric bike.

You don’t have to put in such a big effort to get up the hills or to get along at a good 25kmh, about as fast as an average bus trip and you won’t arrive at the shops or school or uni or work hot and sweaty, nor be exhausted when you get home.

With an electric bike you put in as much effort as you are comfortable with, and that effort is boosted by the bike. You will feel the real boost like a strong tail wind pushing you along. It is the effort that you do put in that is good for you.

Many medical reports confirm that modest regular exercise is the biggest, and easiest, mprovement you can make to your health, some recently reporting that it can add 10 years of good active and happier life. To me, and to you too I expect, that is priceless!…you won’t be poor old Grandpa away in a Home somewhere, but surrounded by and doing enjoyable things with your family…which is worth far, far more than the mere $ benefits below.

Going to work, school, uni, or to shops on a bicycle for half an hour or so on most days is just the sort of modest regular exercise that will give you those extra active years to enjoy, happier and more mobile…plus riding a bicycle is also more effective and economical than the alternative…gym workouts plus driving the car…and it gets you to somewhere you want to go, for fun and for free.

(AND you can lose weight by riding your bicycle!)

I would like to see you all riding a bicycle, but I know many of you would only be able to ride a bike if was an easier-to-ride electric bicycle.

Electric bicycles save you money

After using all the energy in the battery after about 50km a recharge will cost about 12 cents and you should allow about 50 cents towards an eventual battery replacement. That works out at a cent and a bit per kilometre. No other transport comes close to that! Using your car for the same trips costs many times more, plus more for the parking costs.

And all those short public transport trips? Over time they add up and would pay for a bike. In most cities any short ride is about $3-$3.50, or $60 for 5 return trips per week.

Electric bicycles are good for the environment

E-bikes are a very environmentally friendly, especially if you would otherwise use a car. Your riding produces about one thousandth of the CO2 than would you and the car, and the other noxious stuff, than comes from a typical 200KW 1500kg car.

That’s not counting all the huge car manufacturing factories to make it and the hugely expensive engineering for the bridges, earthworks, flyovers, property resumption, needed for increasing numbers of cars wanting to go somewhere, or the increased congestion where new freeways are not possible. Every extra car adds to the marginal cost of the whole road system, and the whole of that is paid by us all.

It is so much the better if by riding a bike you can do without a car (or second car).

10 Reasons to have an Electric Bicycle

Why you should get an electric bike

An electric bicycle is one of the lesser known great marvels of today’s exercise and commuting world. The e-bike can turn almost any situation, for anyone, into a fun filled, trailblazing session of excitement.

Today’s electric bicycle features are a laundry list of high tech gadgets (like rechargeable batteries) and simple pleasures that should make anyone who enjoys a bike ride (and even some of those that don’t) want to cruise around town. You don’t have to completely take my word or the electric bike specs for granted either, because here are 10 great reasons to win yourself over with:

1. Fun & Safe - You can’t really beat the all star, 1-2 punch of an electric bicycle being fun and safe. Just about anyone that hops on one of these beauties and gets to feel the ease of peddling mixed with the comforting hum of a powerful electric motor is sold on it’s fun factor. Turning the simplest jaunts into an electric cruise that will keep the wind in your hair and a smile on your face, you will find that no one takes just one ride. Electric bikes are a great way to keep exercise simple and safe too.

With a variety of designs and features, e-bikes can really branch out an athletic arm to even the most apprehensive person. From too young, to injured, to just a little older and less confident about their strength, the e-bike offers a safer and easier environment to get exercise in, without any of the fears and limitations of an only manual-powered bike.

2. Reduce Pollution - In today’s world, you won’t get very far without considering or being persuaded to consider making decisions that are more “green,” or in other words, better for our environment. The e-bike is about as green as it gets. With rechargeable battery packs, on top of the already green, human-powered design of a bike, the e-bike will get you to most places a car will but with much less of a carbon footprint. Start doing your part now and help keep the green where it should be.

3. Save Money – Who doesn’t want to save money with the recession we are in? I know I do, which is why I look to an e-bike. With an e-bike there are huge costs that you can avoid. From as big as actually avoid buying a car and replacing it with an e-bike, to just using an e-bike to supplement your existing transportation modalities, there is money to be kept in your wallet. The rechargeable battery pack will go far in both saving the environment, but more importantly, saving you trips to the gas station. I know I’m glad I have my e-bike before gas prices rise again for summer!

4. Commuting – Want to save time and money commuting? As mentioned above, we know that an e-bike will save you money that would be spent on gassing up your car, but do you know it will also save time? The average bike ride to work is faster or as fast as the equivalent driving commute, except you get to take away all of the frustration and even add in some mood-elevating, endorphin-driven, exercise to your daily routine.

5. Parking – To follow up the ways that an e-bike will relieve commuting, don’t forget about the dread of every commuting experience – finding parking at your destination. Even if you have a reserved parking structure, it is often nice to avoid the beautiful concrete monstrosities and be able to ride right to the door of where you are trying to go.

We also can’t forget those who have to pay for parking, or who have a lot of meters around where they live. We all could use cheaper and easier parking options, or if nothing else, at least a reprieve from parking tickets.

6. Control Over Pace – Now it might sound a little wordy, but what I am trying to say here is that an electric bicycle offers you great versatility in HOW you exercise. Want to just get the blood flowing on your way to work without getting your clothes sweaty? Done. Want to take your favorite scenic route but you are afraid of that one super steep hill on the way home? Taken care of!

With the ease of mixing in a motor power to match or replace your peddling, let yourself be in control of how much exertion you give and lose all those fears and anxieties about exercising!

7. Spending Time Outdoors – As sad as it may sound, do you know that some adolescents in America are being diagnosed with Rickets? If you don’t know what that is, it is a Vitamin D deficiency that will cause poor bone development. This is happening because the kids love staying indoors, mostly endlessly on youtube or gaming online, and not getting the necessary daily sun exposure. While there is always a necessity to also be careful of getting too much of the Sun’s UV, some exposure is essential. Get yourself or your kids on an e-bike and make sure that they don’t mind a daily cruise through the magnificent outdoors. Going to school that way also serves a useful purpose.

8. Less Requirements – Simply put, an e-bike takes less to get up and running than other forms of transportation. A car, truck or motorcycle requires driver’s licenses, let alone registration and insurance for them, which is something an e-bike will never expect you to have. Whether physical or personal, the ease of avoiding a car can be fully utilized if you own an electric bicycle.

9. Less Maintenance – An e-bike also is going to be cheaper and longer lasting in the need-to-repair department. While an e-bike or its components might not seem that cheap at first glance, you have to realize what kind of expenses it will be able to replace. An untimely car breakdown can be an expensive and time consuming venture, and one that might be completely avoided with an electric bicycle.

10. No More Excuses – Probably my favorite reason, but also the most amorphous one. At the end of the day, if you wanted me to give you the most important reason to get an e-bike it is so that you don’t have any more excuses. If you are wondering – what does he mean no more excuses? I am referring to verything. From the reasons listed in items 1-9 and more, an e-bike can take away so much of the hesitation and frustration of daily exercise, commuting, or errand running, and even add more fun to those activities than before. You won’t ever be too tired, too hurt, too lazy, too young, or even too old to hop on an e-bike and take a spin around the block.

21 things you can do with an electric bike

So many things you can do with an electric bike- 21 and counting

  • You can get fit (or fitter). Yes, you can. Just like going for a walk…but it’s more fun and you go about 3 or 4 times faster and further.
  • You can commute to work and hitch your horse, the bike, at the front door.
  • You can take your commute vehicle, your bike, to the train, onto the train, and away from the train.
  • You can go faster than the bus, and not need to wait for it, nor pay the fare.
  • For fun and excitement you can go steep and fast on a high power mountain bike.
  • You can glide past the traffic jam and wave to those waiting, waiting for it move.
  • You can park all day where the signs say “no” and not get a ticket, and do it for free.
  • You can drive without a licence, and drive without bothering to get registration or roadworthy certificate.
  • You can live years longer because of the riding and because of not sitting in a car.
  • You can yelled at or run off the road by hoons.
  • You can get wind in your hair and love it, and get soaking wet and not love it.
  • You needn’t pay the harbour Bridge toll, or the London city toll.
  • You can get exercise riding to the gym and back, without going inside.
  • Your vehicle can pay for itself infinitly faster. That is one year divided by never.
  • You can get home after the last bus has gone.
  • You can stow a folding electric bike easily in your car, caravan, yacht or light plane and go riding when you get to wherever you get to.
  • You can get rid of a second car when you realise all those short trips are best done on a bicycle.
  • You can ride back alleys, shortcuts, laneways and tracks where a car cannot go.
  • You can be glad to be greener than them in their cars.
  • If the family that rides together stays together it’s better if the young ones have some etra power to keep up.
  • You can keep enjoying good mobility and doing all manner of nice things years after cohorts are stuck in a chair with wheels and unable to do those nice things. And I am looking forward to that!

Feel free to suggest more things we can do with an electric bike, especially things that those without cannot do.

The Pope and his new Electric Bike

I recently posted Alexei Sayle and his new electric bike.  It’s good to see well know people adopting and electric bike and using it.

Other celebrities that have been caught on an E-bike? Ed Begley jr, Darryl Hannah, William Shatner, Prince Charles, Leo DiCaprio, Arnold Schwartzenegger, Adam savage (from “Mythbusters”), Miley Cyrus…

It’s good to see an actual posting.  A few months ago Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG (the parent corporation of Mercedes Benz) personally delivered an electric bicycle Pope Francis…a Daimler Smart E-bike. (which is of course a very smart electric bike)

Pope Francis and his new electric bike

Pope Francis has rejected expensive personal luxury lifestyle that previous popes had been criticized over, and has been very vocal about encouraging the people of the world to embrace a more sustainable lifestyle. Good on him for that. I hope he gets around the vatican well on that and also that he ventures out onto the streets of Rome on it and mixes with the dare devil scooters. May he go further and be as humble as His Holiness The Dalai Lama, (and may the Dalai also adopt an e-bike to get around the steep hills of Dharamsala).

10 x 10 ELECTRIC BICYCLE … Fastest, Secrets, Pleasures, and more

10 Electric Bicycle 10 ofs Fastest, Crashes, Tips and more

I look for interesting articles about e-bikes. There are not many sites or blogs that have articles about electric bicycles (specifically). The best source I know of is www.electricbike.com. That is a site for information, not selling, and it is worth going through the monthly archives.

Sometimes an interesting article about electric bicycles appears on a site for bicycles or new or green technology in general.

Here is a collection of 10 ofs that I found on www.electricbike.com

10 E-Bike Crashes Caught on Tape.

These videos are mostly of riders making avoidable mistakes. Noone gets seriously hurt (the guy at the top with chalk line all around looks serious, but there's comedy after that) and so these are G rated videos.

10 Secret Intrinsic Benefits of an Electric Bike.

This is for the more wholesome hippy and happy among you wanting to get out into nature, save the environment, ride with your children. To quote : "Riding an electric bike is nectar for the soul. It also makes you a more content, self-actualized person in ways impossible to quantify in words…" I like that.

10 bikes designed by Auto Makers.

Some fancy looking bikes here , but will any make it in their own right - other than as an expensive accessory to an expensive car? Actually, yes, the Smart is now in production.

10 Fastest Production Electric Bikes.

Up to 100kph, and that's nice! These are actually in production, but none are legal on a road, anywhere, even in US, and the only one you might see here is the Stealth bike... because it is made here. Nothing over 250w can be imported. Bikes are reviewed and ranked for speed, sexiness, stealth, weight and (high) price.

10 fastest home or garage made e-bikes

. In contrast these speedsters are made by real enthusiasts. To eliminate false claims and get their bragging rights they needed a YouTube vid to prove their claim for legend status

10 Dangers Unique to Electric Bikes.

Most of these won't apply to any bike on this site, especially if you are sensible. Note that the second can easily happen, but that scary looking fire in the fourth is very unlikely to happen with factory made lithium batteries, especially LiFePO4 batteries.

10 Hedonistic Pleasures of Riding an Electric Bike

"This list is all about how an electric bike can make your life more pleasant and comfortable. Warning, this list is for selfish thinkers who are not married with kids" .From flattening the hills, to getting delightfully slim
hill flatten poster

flatten the hills San Francisco style

10 Turn Key Cruiser Electric Bikes

For the very style concious - no dorky city style e-bikes here!
beach cruiser e-bike

Beach Cruiser California style

10 High Costs of Fast E-bikes

not that you'll ever have one, but fast e-bikes have to overcome drawbacks such as not only do you not look like a regular bike, you won't sound like one. So, if your goal is to fit right in with the other bicycle riders, you should not aspire to own a fast electric bike 

10 Tips for Buying an Electric Bike

All good sense, but relating to US or Europe where e-bike shops are more common. They are less common in Australia and you are more likely to buy an e-bike and have it sent to you by a shop that does send them to all parts of Australia r your text here...

E-BIKES MADE BY CARMAKERS

an electric bike from VW

VW E-bike

An e-bike from Toyota

Toyota E-bike

An electric bike produced by Smart (division of Mercedes)

Smart E-bike

An ordinary e-bike from porsche

Porsche E-bike Come on Porsche give us an eb-911! -

An E-bike from Mercedes. The Smart e-bike is smarter

Mercedes E-bike

An e-bike from Lexus.

Lexus E-Bike

A folding E-bike from Honda

Honda E-bike

An electric bike from Ford

Ford E-bike

An E-bike from BMW

BMW E-Bike - will it fit in your SLK? - yes

Audi E-Bike

Audi E-Bike

1. SMART ELECTRIC BIKE

I’ve seen reference to about 10 electric bicycles concepts or planned productions by carmakers – Audi, VW, Mercedes and other european makers plus Ford.

It beats me why car makers want to make electric bikes. Cars and bicycles are as different from one another as are washing machines and refrigerators.

Two are “transportation” and two are “appliances”. Maybe it’s branding in the same way Gucci can sell perfume or a handbag and Hermes a scarf or a briefcase. Either way they make a lot of money – more than the no name brands can dream of. So don’t expect a low priced e-bike from Audi or Mercedes.

It seems to me that the biggest departures from what has been the usual bike shapes that have slowly evolved over the last century and more have come from designers outside the bicycle industry.

Car makers too are likely to design a bicycle with a fresh perspective.
This is what Smart say on their site :

smart stands for innovation, functionality and joie de vivre. Our smart products have an unconventional design, high technology demands and are your ideal companion in urban regions.

No doubt there are some brilliant and unconventional  designers in the Daimler-Mercedes-Smart group. What can they come up with for an electric bike?

Here is video of Smart e-bike being made

Apart from the usual specifications for a european e-bike (PAS with 25kmh limit) it has some interesting trending features

  • the usual bike chain is replaced by a belt drive
  • control and a multitude of functions by smart phone – and immobilised without it
  • automatically varying gear ratio
  • regenerative braking

GUIDE TO BUYING AN E-BIKE

Guide to Buying an Electric Bicycle

If you have decided to buy an electric bicycle, that’s great. I’ll do my best to help you.
If you are just curious or thinking you might buy an e-bike think about reasons like saving money, enjoying life, but above all think of an extra 10 years of good and happy health and good mobility, and that’s priceless. I have pages here to add a bit of gentle persuasion.

In case you did know realise it, you can DIY convert most bikes to be electric bikes. There’re many YouTube videos about doing that.

Warnings

2nd hand e-bikes on e-bay, garage sales and ads.
As increasing number of e-bikes become a few years old there will be more 2nd hand bikes for sale.
These will be cheap but beware that the battery may need to be replaced. It is quite likely that the main reason that the bikes are for sale is because of the expense of getting a battery replacement. As batteries get older the distance they can take you gets less. An old battery can be charged and “going” but will die in a short distance.

So if the bike is “going” make allowance for replacing a battery, and find out from where you can replace it. If the bike is not “going” do make a good assessment of what will be needed. If you can’t do that talk to someone who can.

Replacement parts, especially batteries and controller
These are the parts most likely to fail, and also the parts most difficult to replace. Some batteries are quite “generic”. That is their shape and means of fixing is the same for some different bike brands. These are easier to replace even if some things such as input and output sockets are different. Some batteries are specific to a bike brand. (That is a battery has to be a battery FOR that bike.)

Imported e-bikes are imported with a battery installed in the bike of course. Replacement batteries are expensive, and quoted prices vary a lot. Importing batteries by air freight is expensive, and an importer has to order many in a shipment or pay a premium for one or a few.

You should ask whoever sells your bike these questions about replacement batteries :

  • are they generic or specific to the bike?
  • are there replacements in stock, or available quickly, and what do they cost?

Controllers for the motor are usually different from one brand to another, and often from one model to another. They look similar but there are very many different arrangements of the sockets for the many wires coming from and going to them. I know this is a problem because many people ask me for a controller for a bike they bought from somewhere else.

A motor should last many years. Unless it is a unique design they could be replaced by a similar generic motor.

Other electric parts, throttle and brakes, are usually generic and replaceable.

The non electric parts are usually replaceable by any bike shop, though many bike shops are loathe to fix e-bikes (that will change).

Is the bike legal?

On the road power must be less than 200 watts, or 250 watts if it has no throttle.
A fueled motor must be registered as a moped.
Last year Australia changed its E-Bike rules to match those of Europe.
The effect of the new rules is that :

  • Bikes already in Australia that comply with the old rules can be used.
  • E-bikes now cannot have a throttle independent of pedallling.
  • Pedalling faster than 6kmh is necessary and assistance must cease at 25kmh.
  • Allowable continuous power output is increased from 200 watts to 250 watts, subject to those provisos.

For more about the laws see the new laws or see EN 15194

Electric Bicycle Frames and Styles

Selecting an electric bike to buy is no different to selecting an ordinary bicycle, except that they have a motor to help you and some controls for the motor.
You should keep in mind your preferred style of riding and what you will use the bike for.

Heavy or light?

This is the major factor. A light electric bike weighs about 21 Kg. A heavy one weighs about 38 Kg. That is a big difference, and it is very noticeable.

Why such a difference? The main reason is the battery. A 36v lead-acid battery weighs about 14.5 Kg and a 36v lithium battery weighs about 4 Kg.

Bikes with lithium batteries usually have a light aluminium alloy frame.

Bikes with a lead-acid battery usually have a heavier steel frame.

All electric bikes are heavier than a similar non electric bike would be. The battery and motor are quite heavy. Usually about 9 Kg.
E-bikes with lead-acid batteries.

They make a lot of electric bicycles in China. More than 25 million each year! But about 90% of them are heavy bikes with lead-acid batteries. Why ? Because they are cheap, very cheap in asia,
so nearly all electric bikes there are the heavy ones.

Several million of the lighter electric bikes get exported to the rest of the world – because that is what they prefer there.

I used to have both types but found that if I offered two similar style bikes side by side : one heavy, and one light, customers preferred the light ones – at twice the price. So, I don’t have the heavy ones any more. Very few people wanted them.

There are some heavy e-bikes about. Any new electric bike selling for less about $700 is probably a heavy one (a 36v lithium battery costs about $400). They are cheap but heavy.

A warning about their batteries. They don’t last as long as lithium batteries. The battery case will probably be specific the the brand of bike. If so, the case will probably be hard to replace unless the place you buy it from has spares. If so and if you need to replace the battery you will probably need to replace the batteries within.
The batteries inside are 12v brick shape batteries wired in series.
The 12v batteries are very cheap in China, and are imported installed in a bike. Replacements can be bought at autoparts and battery shops, but are much more expensive to buy in Australia.
They are much smaller than a car battery but not so much cheaper.

Lightweight electric bike frames

The frame shapes of electric bicycles are similar to those of ordinary bicycles. You can get (just about) whichever type suits you…
(If you don’t know which that is, you should try a few friend’s bikes).

If you sit and watch the stream of bikes in Amsterdam, or Copenhagen, or other big bikey european cities you will see that nearly all the bikes are “city” type bikes and that the riders are sitting upright. I think that as more people here adapt their ways to bike riding “city” style of bike will become more common than “road” or “mountain” bikes, especially for short rides, or commutes.

Of course anyone who has difficulty get over a frame with a high bar will like the city or “step through” frame.

If you are very style conscious there are some very stylish, and very expensive, electric bikes coming from european designers…and some cheaper California inspired “cruisers” from China.

Also worth considering are folding electric bikes, which are most commonly “city” style with smaller (20″) wheels.

Folding Electric Bikes
I am finding that folding electric bicycles are becoming much more popular because many people either do, or plan to take the bikes on their travels in their car, or mobile home.

They can stow them easily and don’t need an expensive bike carry rack. Not only that but they stow away in home or office and can be taken on a lot of public transport. Those who
“don’t like” folding bikes can just forget that they do foldup until they need to be folded up.

Range – how fare does an e-bike go?

The energy available (which translates, other factors being equal, to how far you can go) is proportional to voltage V of the battery X the Ampere-Hour (AH) of the battery. The most
common combination is 36v and 10AH and this battery is suitable for motors up to 500 watts.
There are some 24v 250 watt electric bikes, which are 1 or 2 kg lighter but have range about 2/3 of the 36v bikes.
As a rough guide a 36v battery in a 250w electric bicycle going about 25kmh should go about 35-40 km.
The bike factories in China quote a “range” for their bikes, and bike shops generally quote that range in their description. I find that this quoted range is usually quite optimistic – possibly because they assume people will extend the range by pedalling.
Of course, you can extend the range by pedalling, and I hope you do, and get that beneficial exercise, but comparisons should be made on what the is range with battery alone.
There are many factors that affect the range of a bike. These are mentioned in Notes below.

Electric bicycle motors

The cheap and heavy electric bikes common in asia usually a have brushed motor.
Brushed motors are a little bit cheaper. The lighter more expensive electric bikes would now have “brushless” DC motors, commonly called BLDC.
There are 2 types of BLDC motor – larger diameter motors that are (internally) ungeared and have power from 300w to 1000w, and more compact motors have internal gears (that make a low whirring sound) and have power up to 300w. The bigger ones are about 2kg heavier and run more silently.

E-bike Power

Bikes, and conversions, can have motor power from 200 watts to 1000 watts. The higher power 1000w motors should (sometimes must) have 48v battery.
Depending on what country you are in anything above 250w may be illegal (on a road).
In Australia, for instance, the legal limit is 250w whereas in US it 750w, and other places are either in between, or don’t care.
There is some confusion about the “watts”. The chinese suppliers quote the motor’s power as watts of “input” and most bike shops repeat the input watts in their description of the e-bike. The authorities regulating these are concerned about “output”.
This matters particularly in australia where the limit is 250w “output”.
Electric motors do not have a fixed upper power limit and the output power can exceed nominal power. A higher voltage gives higher power. All motors are somewhat inefficient, ie they lose energy between input and output, and the electric motors are at best 80% efficient.
The cost difference between low and high power motors is very little, but the cost of batteries to support them does vary – roughly in proportion to V x AH, higher V and/or AH being needed for high power motor.

What power of bike would be suitable for you?

For most people and most purposes – that is travelling about 25-27kmh on ordinary streets and roads in ordinary suburban terrain a 250 watt bike is quite adequate.
Suggestion : If you do ride an electric bicycle that has more power than is allowed, do, at least, pretend to be pushing on the pedals.
(Better still, do push on the pedals, and get that very beneficial exercise)
For comparison between your efforts and the bikes’s power – 250w is about what you can produce if you are reasonably fit. If you are a competition road cyclist you could put out twice or more of that- but you wouldn’t want to go electric would you?
(If you are on a 500w bike and overtake a road cyclist on a hill please be polite.)

The cost of an e-bike?

The prices quoted for electric bicycles varies a lot. Generally $1300 to $2500 for an alloy frame, and about half that for a steel frame.
The Chinese are not concerned about recommended prices so beware of any fictitious “save $$$” on RRP. (nothing much sells for recommended price these days anyway)
Compare like with like. The quality of components varies a lot…within China, and more so when they use parts from Taiwan instead of Chinese parts.
Compare frame features such as whether the fork has dampers, the handlebar post is adjustable. Compare also quality of, or presence of items such as basket or rear rack, front or rear lights, seats, mudguards, chainguards, tyres and tubes (brand, thorn resistant, reflecting strip). The cost difference between a good and inferior – say pedal or seat – is not a lot in China, but they do try to have a cost advantage over one another rather than a quality premium, so look for quality parts.

E-bike Batteries

Batteries are the most expensive component in an electric bike, about 40% of the total.
There has been, and I believe still is, a very big difference in the performance of batteries between the many places that make them.
Eventually I hope the lesser quality ones will get weeded out, and the better quality makers will increase business. The batteries all look the same, but one doesn’t know how long or how well they will go until they have, or have not, done or gone as they should.
There are several formulations generally called “Lithium-ion” or “li-ion” and others with LithiumIronPhosphate (or LiFePO4, or LFP) cathode.
The li-ion and LFP batteries are usually quoted as having a “life” of 800 and 2000 charges respectively. This quoted “life” comes from the battery supplier who may (or may not have) at some time done a test on a battery. Such test would have been done by rapid repeated charge/discharge cycles until the battery’s energy was reduced by 20%.
In practice, in real use, you may get half of that, but in any case the LFP batteries should last twice or more as long as li-ion batteries because they are much more resistant to the things which degrade all lithium batteries, vibration and shock, (especially) heat, and time itself.
LFP batteries are not common (probably because of cost saving by the factories), but are becoming more common. Even though the energy contained is a little less than in a same size li-ion battery and that they cost more it is worthwhile getting LFP batteries.
However, LFP is a bulkier cathode and any size of battery will contain less of it (and thus energy/distance) than a similar sized battery with Li-ion. For instance 11AH Li-ion and 9AH LFP are often the same size and A 10AH LFP battery will be taller than a 10AH Li-ion battery.

E-Bike Controls

Outside of Europe (where they can’t have one) electric bikes will most likely at present have
a hand throttle. There may be some now, possibly made for europe, that don’t have a throttle.
These will have “pedal assist” or PAS. With this starting, or stopping, pedaling turns the motor on, or off. An improvement to PAS, which many bikes have now is selectable amount of “assist” which you can vary by a handlebar mounted electronic device.
Many bikes will have both PAS and throttle. And that’s nice…but maybe illegal.

And now a word about how the “assist” works.
It does not matter whether your bike is powered by the front wheel or the rear wheel, you can add your own effort to the going, but only if you “get ahead” of the motor, whatever speed it is going. What I mean by that is that you need to pedal faster than you would to go at the same speed if the motor was not working. When you do that you put some tension in the chain. The motor “notices” that and reduces its output.
The more effort you make the less the motor makes until it feels it is not needed, and then you will be doing all the work.
All electric motors have a maximum possible speed, and an optimum efficiency range (rpm) about the middle half (about 1/4 to 3/4 of the maximum) within which they will be operating close to their maximum efficiency. On hills at speeds lower than about half the maximum speed it is best if you add enough power of your own to maintain that speed (using the gears). If the motor slows down and “struggles” it will be sucking a much larger current from the battery. This will shorten life of the battery, and may cause the controller to burn out.

Benefits to you? A lot!

If you need convincing think of the benefits…
Good for the environment, and saves you money, and most important of all – good for YOU!
Whether you go for a walk, or ride a bike, a small amount of daily exercise has a huge effect on your health, fitness and happiness in later life, and has been shown to add years to your life compared with a sedentary and sitting down lifestyle.
A win-win for all, don’t you think? Go find a good electric bike, and start enjoying it!

Notes

Gears, or not for an e-bike?
Most electric bikes have at least 6 gears and one chainwheel cog.
Most of the time (if the power is on) you won’t need more than the top gear or two anyway.
Unless you will be a serious unpowered cyclist some of the time you won’t need 18 or more gears – 6 will be more than enough.

The speed?
Generally the smaller 250W motors will have maximum speed on flat streets of about 25-27kmh.
A 500W motor would travel about 5 or 6kmh faster (not twice as fast). The maximum speed is not directly proportional to power, but is more closely proportional to power when climbing hills at slower speeds. (Because wind resistance increases rapidly at higher speeds and eats up the extra power, whereas the energy needed to fight gravity is proportional to speed).

The range?
The range of an electric bike depends on…
The bike, the battery, the terrain, the ride, the day, and you, it’s rider :

  • 1.The bike….it’s weight, its condition, whether the tyres are fully pumped, and whether the wheels spin freely, and the brakes don’t drag.
  • 2.The battery….its voltage, its AH, the ampere-hours, and its age…(the product of the V and the AH is watt-hours, and that is the energy available to make the bike go, although there will always be some energy left that can’t be used). The capacity of any battery reduces with its age (more so with li-ion, less so with LFP).
  • 3.The terrain….hills have a very big effect.
  • 4.The ride….the speed, the stopping and starting.  Any use of brakes destroys energy that first came from the battery and has to be replaced to get going again. The distance that you would have gone if you coasted to a stop is that much less range – possibly up to several hundred metres. The get-going reduces range because the motor is inefficient at low speed. At full speed the range could be a third less than it would be at around two thirds of max speed – because the efficiency of the motor is much less when it is running close to its maximum speed.
  • 5. The day….less if it’s windy, or very cold and
  • 6 you, the rider…how much effort you contribute yourself – As a guide, a fit cyclist could sustain about putting out energy of about 200W, and the more energy from you the less is needed from the battery.

Tips for getting a greater range from battery.

  • 1. keep tyre pressure up (this also reduces the chance of a puncture)
  • 2. accelerate slowly, and
  • 3. anticipate stopping and use the momentum to glide to a stop.

LOSE WEIGHT THE E-BIKE WAY

you can lose weight and get fit for free *

Never mind all the spam stuff with exotic extracts and bogus celebrity endorses -
this is something you can do that is good for you, and everyone else!

Suppose you are an average person and travel to school, uni, work shops and back every day and you hop in the car to go those places or you catch a bus tram or train…

Have you ever considered an alternative?
Walking? no, too far, too long
or jogging to work maybe?
Great..but O what an effort!
It would keep you fit but you’d arrive hot and sweaty
Biking? the same?

NO, not anymore
There are electric bikes now
And you ride them like a bird on the wing
with the wind behind you

but wait on…
how can that make you fit?

ah, but that’s the secret
it’s because it’s easy you will do it…and enjoy it.

You’ve got (we’ve all got) a bike on the back verandah and (be honest) you don’t use it but you will now when you think about this…

Just 10 km each way in a car everyday will cost you over $600 in an average car per year (apart from the cost just to own register and insure) and a single section bus tram or train ticket at $3 or more twice a day will cost you over $1500 per year.
And gym fees maybe as much again!

You can save most of that.
Buying a new electric bike can pay for itself in 12 months
and, after that time your travelling is effectively free.
That’s fine, but here’s the real bonus…

you get fit for free and you lose weight for free
You see, it works like this…
with an electric bike you make the effort that you are comfortable with…
that may start off small but becomes more…
the bike makes the extra effort needed to go so, you only make half, or less, effort than it takes to go anywhere, but you know you are 10 times as likely to go anywhere and then to go 10 times as far.
Such as riding a bike to or from work, not once, but five times a week
when in reality you are not likely to do it even once.

So that’s the secret …
you are so much more likely to do it
you can get into the habit of doing regular exercise…
and hardly know you are doing it.

Frequent regular exercise like walking is reported to be
better than occasional workouts in a gym…
and it’s a good and pleasant thing to do…
but to actually go anywhere?
If it would take 2 hours to walk to work …
you could get there in 20 to 30 minutes on an electric bike…
that is a few minutes more than in a car,
but quicker than the bus.

And for those who go a long distance there is now the option of
riding a light fold-up bike to the train and taking it with you and
resuming riding when you get off.

And some nice littles bonuses are…
no looking for a park,
nor paying for one,
and getting right close to the front door
(almost for free after the payback),
no need for the gym, or the running
(but you can still do that) ,
use a lot less fuel and so,
you save the environment.

But better than that..
You get fit and you lose weight.

And much, much better than that…
you could have an extra 10 years of…
more active, more mobile, happier and healthier life…
and that is priceless !…no amount of $ can buy that…

now get on your bike – an e-bike from Value-e-Bikes
www.value-e-bikes.com.au

* this story may not be for everyone…
just those who use a car or bus tram or train most days

FAQ QUICK ANSWERS

FAQ-QUICK ANSWERS

  • No, you do not need to register your electric bike (some provisos ).
  • No, you do not need compulsory third party insurance.
  • No, you do not need a car or moped license.
  • Yes, normal bicycle rules apply : yes to helmet, hand signals, bike lanes, lights at night. No to anywhere a bicycle is not allowed.
  • Yes, the bikes have a battery strength indicator so you will know when battery is nearly flat.
  • No, it does not matter at what stage you recharge the battery.
  • Yes, you can recharge it from a powerpoint as you do for a laptop computer, and with a similar charger.
  • No, it doesn’t matter if it rains while riding (no more so than for an ordinary bike).The electrics are sealed and water runs off the battery and motor. Of course one has to be careful with wet roads but puddles or wet roads are not a problem because the bike is electric. Just avoid deep water, (not close to controller box).
  • Speed? Up to about 25kmh, or about 10kmh faster than most people ride an ordinary bike.
  • Price? That depends more than anything on the batteries. There are two types : lead or lithium. Lead is heavy and cheap, and usually comes with a heavy steel frame, and so e-bikes with lead battery are cheap, but heavy. Lithium is light, and usually come with aluminium frame, so e-bikes with lithium battery are much lighter, and to be light is worth much more.

HOW MUCH POWER IS NEEDED FOR HILLS

HOW MUCH POWER IS NEEDED FOR HILLS
More power does not give proportionally higher maximum speed but it does mean more speed going uphill. Just as with a car’s motor in any gear there is a speed range where the motor performs most efficiently while at much lower or higher speeds the motor will either struggle or max out. Electric motors have various performances,
as fuelled motors do.
As you travel the three main forces you have to overcome are wind resistance, rolling resistance and gravity. The least is rolling resistance. The effect is like you are constantly riding up a gentle slope. If you roll down a gentle slope at a steady speed (not gaining) then that slope is the rolling plus wind resistance at that speed.
Bearings condition, brakes rubbing and low tyre pressure affect the rolling.
Wind resistance goes up rapidly at increased speed. 50% faster causes about twice the wind resistance. As does sitting upright. That’s why racing riders tuck down low.
Power needed for climbing hills is of course proportional to the slope.
Neglecting other resisting forces you can work out approximately how much power you need for a hill :
Watts = weight (kg) x speed (M/sec) x 9.81 x gradient (%)
or 100kg at 20kmh at 5% (maybe that’s 4% hill + 1% w+r) = 272W
100kg at 28kmh at 7% (maybe that’s 5% hill + 2% w+r) = 534W
That is approximately what you can expect from 250W and 500W motors.
Note that wheel size and torque are not in the equation.
There is some confusion (and people trying to confuse) about power and torque.
It is power that gets you up a hill, not torque.
Smaller wheels and/or a motor driving the chain, along with lower gears may allow a motor to work more efficiently and so provide more power.

HOW MUCH ASSISTANCE

THE AMOUNT OF ASSISTANCE
We (in Australia) used to be allowed to have 200 Watts of assistance. That has now been increased to 250 Watts, with some provisos. These are that a throttle is not allowed above 6kmh and the assistance must stop at 25kmh.
As a comparison a reasonably fit cyclist can sustain 200-250 Watts unassisted. (A Tour de France cyclist could manage double that,  and for 4 hours, but not you or I).
So what can 250 watts do? On a flat road 250 watts will go about 25kmh, and of course less on hills, depending on the slope. On a moderate hill (about 3 or 4%) the motor alone may slow down to about 15kmh.
You should not let the motor slow down any more than that because it will be running inefficiently and taking a much higher current from the battery, and that will reduce battery life.
You should pedal at least enough to keep the speed up to, or more than, 15kmh. If you have gears you should be able to get up most suburban hills, with you helping the motor. And you will do that several gears faster than you would without the motor.
Extra power does not give a proportional increase in speed – because wind resistance increases rapidly, and motor loses efficiency at higher speeds, but on hills at lower speeds the extra speed is more nearly proportional to the extra power.

JIVE ELECTRIC BIKE

JIVE ELECTRIC BIKE

This is another available soon that is following the trend away from bicycle frames as we have known them.

Jive Electric Bicycle
Jive Electric Bike

Jive say that this bike will be available to the first 100 people who sign up and take delivery in London about end of March. This is another crowd sourced project. Crowd sourcing for innovative designs is becoming more common. (the FlyKly wheel was another).

The design is more a work of art than a typical bike frame. Much thought has been put into making a neat design. It’s light at 15kg and at 25kmh as fast as is allowed in europe. The range is said to be 32km, so I guess the lithium battery is about 7AH. The drive train is a notable departure. It is a folded shaft within the frame. Jive may expect that the customers won’t be the type who will do their own servicing, so they will service the apply some grease to the drive train for them every year.

The design is all the more neat for there being just the cable to the motor and no other electric wires showing. It’s not that they are tucked inside : it’s because the controls and feedback are wifi-ed to and from a smart phone on the handlebar.

The folding is also very neat, with the added advantage that the folded bike can be pushed along.

Jive bike folding
Jive bike folding

Jive-5 Jive-6 Jive-7Jive electric bicycle being folded

At 1500 pounds ( ~ $Au2830) it would be too elite for all but a few aussie buyers so I’ll keep to my 20″ folding bikes at less than half the price and greater range.

E-BIKES RANGE or HOW FAR WILL THEY GO

HOW FAR WILL AN E-BIKE GO ?

…On one charge of the battery

That depends on…
The bike, the battery, the terrain, the ride, the day, and you, it’s rider

  • The bike….it’s weight, its condition, whether the tyres are fully pumped, and whether the wheels spin freely, and the brakes don’t drag
  • The battery….its voltage, its AH, the ampere-hours, and its age…(the product of the V and the AH is watt-hours, and that is the energy available to make the bike go, although there will always be some energy left that can’t be used). The capacity of any battery reduces with its age and treatment (a separate topic)
  • The terrain….hills have a very big effect. Going slowly up a hill causes a bigger drain on the battery than going fast on the flat.
  • The ride….the speed, the stopping and starting. Accelerating fast causes a bigger drain on the battery than does getting going more slowly. Frequent braking wastes the energy that got you going. Going at moderate speed could give about one third more range than going at full speed (and vice versa).
  • The day….less if it’s windy, or very cold and 
  • You, the rider…how much effort you contribute yourself - As a guide, a fit cyclist could sustain about putting out energy of about 150-250W, which is comparable to the motor’s usual 200-250W. However it doesn’t work like 200W from the motor plus 200W from you, because the more effort you make the less the motor makes.     

Tips for getting a greater range.

1. keep tyre pressure up (this also reduces the chance of a puncture)
2. accelerate slowly, and
3. anticipate stopping and use the momentum to glide to a stop.

 

E-BIKE-BENEFITS

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF AN E-BIKE ?

TO YOU

Your health and fitness and weight now , and extra years of  good health and mobility in later years.

Your convenience, especially for short trips.

Your big cost savings compared with car or public transport.

TO THE ENVIRONMENT

A lot less CO2 (and other noxious stuff) in the air, and more fuel staying in the ground

  • 2 cents/km compared with 30+cents/km
  • Not paying $3.40 for even short bus/tram trip
  • It’s so easy to ride, you will ride, and you will enjoy it
  • Medical experiments prove that moderate regular exercise does greatly extend longevity and active and happy good health.
  • Get exercise while getting to where you want to go, gentle or hard, as you choose

 

E-BIKE RUNNING COST

THE COST OF RUNNING AN ELECTRIC BICYCLE

Every kilometre you ride an e-bike saves you 20 cents or more if your alternative is to drive a car. Putting that aside let’s look at actual cost.

The battery needs to be topped up. A typical battery is 36 V (volts) and has current delivery of 10 AH (Ampere Hours, ie 10A for 1 hour H). The energy content of the battery is one times the other. That is 36 x 10 = 360 watt-hours or 0.36 kwh, the units on your power bill. One kwh costs about 28 cents now, so  0.36 kwh costs 10c. Actually we need to add about 30% to allow for losses in the charger and for the battery voltage being actually about 42V . Say 13c. If that takes you 40 km then that’s 0.3 cents/km.

That’s small but the greater cost is allowing for eventual replacement of the battery. If you get 750 recharges of 40 km and a new battery will cost $360 ( I expect battery costs to go down) that comes to 1.2 cents/km.

Tyres, tubes and maintenance may cost 0.5 cent/km. ( you would be paying that to run an ordinary bicycle anyway – same for insurances etc), So cost to run an electric bike is about 2 cents/km

FACTORY MID DRIVE E-BIKES

10  19 FACTORY MID DRIVE E-BIKES

This article by Electric Bike .com is well worth reading by anyone interested in mid drive e-bikes. These bikes will become more common in the more expensive bikes and conversion kits.

There are many factory mid drive e-bikes appearing now. Many of the best e-bike brands now have or will have models with a mid drive. These are highly priced e-bikes…because the mid drive motors that are installed are much more expensive than a hub motor, and because the factory takes one of the top models and modifies the frame to incorporate the mid drive motor.

Almost all of the mid drive motors replace the usual bottom bracket. The frame tubing is cut back from where it would join a bottom bracket and is welded to the case of the much larger motor.

The  factories making the bikes will have a supply contract with one of the factories making the mid drive motors. For instance Cannondale and Trek and many european bike brands choose a Bosch motor.

E-BIKES WITH MID DRIVE MOTORS INTEGRAL WITH FRAME

By that I mean that the e-bike has been designed around the motor.

Optibike,  Hanebrink

Optibike
Optibike

MID DRIVE MOTORS REQUIRING MODIFICATION OF THE FRAME.

That is almost all of them.

Bosch, Kalkhoff, eProdigy, Continental (the tyre maker), Panasonic, MPF 5.0, Electrgil Acron, Conway, TranzX, Yamaha, Cevedale, Evation, Bionicon, and Protanium Diavelo.

Bosch Mid Drive
Bosch Mid Drive incorporated into a Trek

MID DRIVE MOTORS REQUIRING MODIFICATION AT THE CHAINWHEEL

There are factories in China making large numbers of a cylindrical motor with a worm reduction gear that drives a chainwheel. This is a much cheaper arrangement than the integral mid drive motor and chainwheel incorporated into the frame. The brands with this arrangement of mid drive motor include HiTek, Evelo and Aseako.

Chainwheel Mid Motor
Chainwheel Mid Motor

MID DRIVE MOTORS REQUIRING NO MODIFICATION OF FRAME.

These motors have integrated motor and chainwheel and can directly replace the pedals and chainwheel of most bikes. The motors are made by AEG and Bafang. Bafang BBS02 is being made in thousands and will appear in some brands and is available singly for individual e-bike conversion.

Bafang BBS02 Mid motor
Bafang BBS02 (without chainwheel and cranks)

PS . I have a 250Watt and 350Watt BBS02 that I am trying. I’ll sell them soon. See Conversion Kits

10 FASTEST HOMEMADE E-BIKES

a-fast-homemade-e-bike

10 FASTEST HOMEMADE E-BIKES

Another 10 of from Electric Bike.com.

In contrast to the 10 fastest electric bikes in production these speedsters are made by real enthusiasts. To eliminate false claims they needed a YouTube video to prove a claim. There would probably be many who have posted on endless sphere, and bragged about, their fast e-bike that came out of their garage. Let them prove theirs is faster.  

The 10 bikes are rated 1 to 10. The number 1 is Liveforphysic’s “Death-Bike” claiming 129 kph. Hey, are you pedalling that bike?

bike-of-doom

10 FASTEST PRODUCTION E-BIKES

10 FASTEST PRODUCTION E-BIKES

A-fast-e-bike

10 Fastest Production Electric Bikes

One of the many list of 10 of from Electric Bike.com.
Up to 100kph, nice! These are actually in production, but none are legal on a road, anywhere, even in US, and the only one you might see here is the Stealth bike…
because it is made here. (Nothing over 250w can be imported.)

The bikes are reviewed and ranked for speed, sexiness, stealth, weight and (high) price. Scroll through and wonder what are pedals on these for? Ah, yes, so they can be called a bicycle.

 

CONCEPT 1865

CONCEPT 1865
PennyFarthing-1retro-1What would the first pedal cycle have looked like if its 19th-century pioneers had enjoyed access to today’s advanced materials? This modern version of an 1865 design was a demonstration by German chemical giant BASF of the wide range of modern materials they produce. 1865 was the year of BASF’s founding.
It’s a one-off. You can see videos of it being ridden
but they are not likely to go into production.
This modern version incorporates a detachable battery in the seat
and 24 innovative new materials.

“Penny-farthing” type e-bikes are not likely to be e-bikes of the future. Not only are they ungainly but they are inherently slow…
(and don’t try going uphill on one…you’d need a big, big push on the pedals). One turn of the pedals on most modern bikes will turn the bike’s wheels about 3 times, but for a penny-farthing it is obviously only one turn of the big wheel. That big 39″ wheel is 50% larger than a 26″ wheel so one turn of its pedal will take the bike about half as far as one turn of the pedal of a 26″ bike.

Read more :  Concept 1865 – Rethinking Materials

or imagine your self riding this

MANDO FOOTLOOSE

MANDO FOOTLOOSE MandoMando-2

From Isuu.com, a Korean company.

Their description claims they want to promote “a new way of moving”, “a mobility lifestyle, not just another vehicle”, “human focussed design”.

It is a neat elegant design for an electric bicycle but I think they are being a little too hypey. I think their claim of “cruise up 21 degree hills effortlessly” is an exaggeration, as is their claim to have the world’s first chainless e-bike. In their case “chainless” because pedals in the usual place drive a generator,  not a chain, and that charges a battery which runs the motor.

So, like many other e-bikes, pedaling is optional (quite evidently so in the videos). “Stylish fitness” they say, but it is a very stylish exercise bike – the first e-bike you can sit on and charge the battery.

It was designed as a “commuter vehicle for regular humans, not bicycle enthusiasts” and (so) has top speed of about 25 kmh and range of about 30km. (36v 8AH battery). They claim their riders have unique choice of pedal assistance or throttle.  That is very common, but it does have an intelligent automatic gear change,  and that is unique. It folds neatly, and rolls like a suitcase when folded.

Production status and price is not said, but expect about $4000, if it is produced. Read more :  the maker’s description or  article by Atlantic Cities with some videos of people riding, and folding the bike

Ue A BIKE FOR COMMUTERS

Ue A BIKE FOR COMMUTERS

Commuter-1

Commuter-2
(Model Ue from Conscious Commuter – otherwise as yet unnamed)

Designed by Gabriel Wartofsky to be attractive to all potential commuters.
It has a gender-neutral look with a low step-over height.
It’s another chainless e-bike. In this case driven by a shaft to rear hub.
The (small) battery is hidden in the frame.
It is light for an e-bike at only 12kg.
It folds easily, without a chain in the way, and is easily carried. It is a practical e-bike for riding to or from train or bus and taking it on the train or bus.
It’s not in production yet but some start up money has been raised on Kickstarter and is in “pilot construction” by Conscious Commuter in Oregon (quite a centre for eco-environment conscienseness and e-bike development).
It’s projected to cost about $3000.
A limitation seems to be having a small battery – therefore small range.

Read more: ( article in Atlantic Cities)

or on website of Conscious Commuter

 

E-Bike Conversion – the basics

Yes you can convert just about any ordinary bicycle into an electric bicycle.

In US about half of the e-bikes on the road were once an ordinary bicycle. (In europe less so, because they are less DIY there)

Many brands of electric bike were made as on ordinary bike frame and the electric bike factory added motor and the battery.

You need to think about where to put the motor and battery.

If you have any rear wheel gears other than the very ordinary screw on gears then you probably won’t want a rear hub motor.  There are not many rear hub motors that can keep your casssette gears ( if you have those) and they are more expensive. 

If you have rear sprung suspension then you can’t add a rack above the wheel to hold the battery.

Otherwise you can have the motor in front or rear wheel, or centrally near the pedals ( See E-Bike Motors – front, rear or mid) and the battery on a rear rack or attached to down tube, seat post or anywhere else it fits.

There some forums where enthusiastic devotees of DIY conversion describe (brag about) their conversions. For instance Endless Sphere

There are countless videos on YouTube about bike conversion. Just search those words and there are so many to choose from. If you need to you can get confidence from a few of those. But probably you won’t need to because converting your bike with a basic front or rear wheel conversion kit is quite easy.

There are many shops selling a basic conversion kit. There are also many on EBay. Many of those will not be in stock locally and will come from China. You can get a conversion kit direct from many sites in China yourself, but do make sure about what you order.

You will see a picture like this

electric bike conversion kit
electric bicycle conversion kit

These include a hub motor and a “controller” that connects to it and either or both a throttle and a pedal assist sensor. One or a pair of brake levers are usually included. They replace the brakes that you had and are added safety because they stop the motor when you brake. They are not essential but recommended for safety. If you have a brake and gear shift combined you can keep them but they won’t stop the motor. Increasingly an LCD screen showing speed, distance and more is included. 

Most of the conversion “kits” will include a battery. However most shops will sell the wheel and controls separately from the battery. The battery is the most expensive component of a conversion. In general any battery of appropriate voltage and capacity can be matched to the controller of the motor. You are likely to get a better total price if you shop for battery (and rack or attachment) separately.

I have conversion kits with front or rear hub motors, or bottom bracket replacement central motors here and various electric bike batteries and racks here (all at a good price)

This year 2014 “smart wheels” will start to be produced. These are all-in-one conversions and may be a suitable simple easy conversion for some. See Smart wheels – a simple easy conversion

Next posts : E-Bike Conversion – Front or Rear Hub

E-Bike Conversion – Central Motor

E-BIKES THE PAS

E-bikes -the PAS assistance
Just about all electric bicycles in Australia have had “pedal assistance”. With that control the motor kicks in when you have started pedalling and turns off soon after you stop pedalling.

The simplest control for that is a cadence sensor. This is a small sensor on the bottom bracket. Close to that would be a disc with a ring of magnets on it. As the pedal turns the sensor with detect the magnets moving. Some controllers will measure the rotation speed the pedal and increase or reduce the level of assistance – in steps. Some will just detect the pedal moving or not moving and will give assist or not assist.

Some controls are not very subtle. Sometimes when you just want to give the bike a nudge or to dawdle to manoever the PAS will give you a sudden surge which you were not expecting. The better ones only activate after several turns of the pedal. On the other hand, if you do want a quick take off you need to pedal hard. A throttle was (is) useful for that.

Many e-bikes now come with a handlebar device with which you can select the amount of assistance that the PAS will give you, and you may be able to turn it off. The control may reduce the speed at which the motor cuts out, or reduce the power available.

On the more “top end” e-bikes, particularly european ones, there will be a more sophisticated sensor that measure your actual effort by measuring the strain on the frame or the torque you apply to pedals.

Up till 2013 we had another means of varying the assistance from the motor : a common throttle. That’s not the case anymore… unless the bike has power not over 200 watts.

The europeans, particularly in Holland or Germany, like riding their bikes, so when electric bikes came it was decreed that the motors should only “assist” the rider and not drive the rider. And so it was that all european electric bikes must have assistance only when they are being pedaled. In 2013 those who make the rules decreed that electric bike riders in Australia should be like the europeans. And so allowable power is increased to a big 250 watts and throttles are not allowed…unless the bike complies with the old 200 watt rule.

That is unfortunate. I’ve found that all the customers would prefer to have a throttle.

So, if we are limited to 250 watts, how much is that? If you get on one of those machines at a gym that tell you how hard you are working out you would find 250 watts is a good workout – for most people. It is about what a fit person can sustain. Tour de France guys can do twice that, but that is not you or I. On a flat road 250 watts will take you to about 25 kmh with minimal effort on your part. And at 25 kmh the motor is supposed to cut out. (Speed uphill is another topic).

E-BIKE MOTOR Front, Back, or Mid?

Where best your e-bike motor – front wheel, rear wheel, or in between?

Until now the majority of production electric bikes have had a hub motor in the rear wheel. The more powerful (ie “offroad”) will stay with rear wheel drive, either hub motor or chain motor, because they need all the traction they can get, and there is more weight on the rear wheel.

For bike conversions you can choose either front wheel or rear wheel drive. Several factors influence your choice.

If you ride tracks a rear wheel drive is better because even the lower power 250 watt bikes with front wheel drive lose traction on sandy or loose tracks.

If you have “cassette” gears and not a screw on gearset and you’d prefer to keep those then you (may) need a front wheel motor, because rear wheel motors mostly have provision for screw on gears. There are only few motors for cassette gears, and they are more expensive.

If you are likely to be swapping your powered wheel and original wheel then it’s easier to do that with the front wheel.

Mid mounted motors for conversions are possible and there are some kits for that. These have used a motor attached by a bracket to the bike and driving the chain with a small sprocket. That arrangement is more difficult to install.  Motors that integrate the chainwheel and cranks that fit into the bottom bracket (where pedal axle is) are now available and they are easier to install.

The difference between front wheel and rear wheel drive for a bicycle is much the same as it is for a car.  It’s a personal choice.

There’s a trend away from rear motor towards front wheel hub motors or mid mount chain driving motors in production bikes. 

The hub motors for a front wheel are very similar to the ones for a rear wheel. They need to fit into a 100mm space between the forks instead of 135mm for a rear fork. Usually a motor is designed to fit either front or rear so the only noticeable difference is that the front motor is missing the lug which gears attach to and has a shorter axle. There is very little cost or weight difference.

More brands of electric bikes are now being produced with a motor between the pedals or adjacent to the pedals. This is achieved 3 ways.

  • Integrated pedal, chainwheel and motor in specially designed frame. The motors are made by Panasonic or Bosch. They are welded to the bike frame and they completely replace the bottom bracket. The systems are expensive, and so are the bikes that incorporate them, but are becoming common in Europe with many brands having a mid drive motor, especially Bosch. The Europeans are much more accustomed to paying a high price for a bicycle and they do expect quality parts.
  • A separate motor attaching to chainwheel or pedal axle. Some bikes from China have these systems. They are much cheaper – similar in price to the hub motor bikes from China.
  • A motor incorporated into the bottom bracket inside right pedal crank.These are made by Bafang in China (a motor of good repute)These can be fitted into bottom bracket of (most?) bikes replacing chainwheel and pedals and so can convert (most?) ordinary bikes to e-bikes. I see one big e-bike brand in US will be selling bikes with these motors. The cost for this system is a little more than the systems with separate motor and much less than the Bosch or Panasonic systems. I expect they will be more reliable and simpler to operate than the cheaper systems with separate motors

You can read about the pros and cons for these mid drive systems elsewhere.

What kinds of motor in e-bikes?

What kinds of motors does an e-bike have?

The short answer is BLDC where BL means “brushless” and DC means “direct current”.

Direct current means that the current always goes in one direction, that is from positive (red) to negative (black) as opposed alternating current (AC), as in household supply, where the current reverses direction 60 times per second. DC motors can use power from a battery or AC to DC transformer.

To make an electric motor turn the current has to go to different segments of the ring of wire coils inside the motor. Until recently most DC motors had a “brush” to do the switching. The brush is in contact with a metal ring with 2 segments and so the brush switches current to two halves of the coil every revolution of the motor. Anyone with an old power tool or car starter motor may know the brushes wear out.

Brushless means without brush, of course, and brushless motors are different inside. There are many more segments of the coils and they are wired as groups of three. Power is sent to the groups in turn by an electronic switch within what is called a “controller”. That is usually a separate metal box. The current going to the motor coils needs to be “in sync” with the motor and for that there is feedback from 3 sensors within the motor to the controller. These are called Hall sensors. The controller has other functions than to send power to the motor coils. It interprets signals from the throttle or pedal assist system (PAS). Some controllers also send signals to (and get signals from) a control panel – for instance, motor speed (hence bike speed) and the level of assistance.

In Asia many of the cheaper electric bikes have brushed motor. Some older electric bikes here may have a brushed DC motor.

There are two types of BLDC motors powering electric bikes. Ungeared (or direct drive) and geared. The difference being having gears (usually internal) or not having gears.

The ungeared motors are larger diameter (usually about 250 to 350mm and pancake shaped). The larger diameter enables the motor to have more power and rotate slower. The motor rotor is fixed to the axle and its speed IS the wheel speed and there are no other moving parts inside other than the rotor. Hub motors more than about 350 watts are usually ungeared motors.

The geared motors have smaller diameter and spin much faster. Because the motor spins 5 to 10, or more, times faster than the wheel (or the equivalent for motors driving the chain) there needs to be a gear system to reduce the speed of the power output shaft. Most geared motors will have internal gears. Some of the motors driving the chain or pedal axle will have external gears outside the actual motor case.

You may see mention of “torque”. Sometimes that is confusing, and meant to exaggerate the claimed power of the bike. It is irelevant. A large ungeared slow revving motor may have 10 times the torque of a small geared fast revving motor, yet both having same power output. That is because power = torque X motor speed. That is 10 times the torque with one tenth of the speed is the same power.

In nearly all cases a bike that’s legal in Australia will have a small geared motor. Either in hub of front or rear wheel, or centrally located near the pedals. (That’s a separate question). There are few ungeared hubmotors with 200 or 250 watts.

AUSTRALIAN E-BIKE LAWS

What’s a legal e-bike and what’s not?

What is legal for an electric bicycle in Australia has changed. Not a lot. Just a little. Electric bikes now have to comply with European Standard EN15194 You can read it. (pdf file)

Changes to the Law

  • Pedalling is now necessary (A standing start from 0 to 6kmh without need of pedalling is allowed).
  • Assistance to rider (by PAS) must reduce as speed increases up to 25 kmh and cease beyond 25kmh.
  • The motor must stop within 2 metres of your stopping pedalling.
  • Allowable power is increased to 250 Watts, with these provisos.

It follows from that that the e-bike cannot go faster than 6kph with only its own power, and cannot assist you to go faster than 25kmh…
Although there is no limit to your speed with your own unassisted pedalling.

The previous rule required “not capable of more than 200 watts”
The new rule allows “continuous rated power output of 250 watts”…
but “peak power” can be higher, and
there is allowance of 15% for transmission losses between motor shaft output (if power output is measured there), otherwise it is “on the road” power that counts),
and there is a 5% tolerance in test results.
This effectively means that a motor rated as 300 watt input might comply.

Other Changes to the Law

There are very many other provisions in EN 15194 covering

  • The Battery and the electric system – including cables, sockets and connections.
  • The frame – construction standards, strength
  • Safety – braking performance
  • Testing – of all the above.

Note that changes will affect bikes imported in future and that electric bicycles that are already here that comply with the old rules can be used and sold.

Any e-bike not complying with EN 15194 is limited to 200 watts, and may have a throttle usable at any speed. That would be most e-bikes imported under the previous rules.

There may be different interpretations of the rule. “Bicycle” is not well defined, and neither is “assistance”, “capable of” and even ” a road”, and whether adjacent footpaths or bikeways are part of it. Unusual shaped bikes and ineffective pedals could be challenged as not being a “bicycle”.

Many Parks and forests have “no motorbikes” signs but don’t specify electric bikes.

The rules declare that a bicycle with any fuelled motor is a moped and must be registered as such, although that is not likely to be possible in practice.

In other countries the rules, or lack of rules, varies.
In US the legal limit is 750 watts and seems to be not enforced.
In most of Europe the philosophy has been that riders should be pedalling but may be assisted, but they should not be going faster than 25kmh anyway, and so they should not be helped to go faster than 25 kmh. That is fine for compact, dense, slow moving and generally flat cities like Amsterdam, London, Paris and Berlin but not so for more hilly, spread out, faster moving cities like Sydney or Brisbane. In adopting the European Law Australian governments adopted the European thinking.

In Asia there the cities are so congested that limits would have no effect.

In Switzerland and Canada they have a more reasonable compromise –  500 watts but with 25kmh speed limit. Maybe if enough bike riders say something to their politicians Australia may have that too.

 

SMART WHEELS – simpler electric bicycle conversion

Anyone who has ever messed with electric bike conversion kits will be familiar with the controller with its tangle of wires and sockets, and attaching a battery somewhere on the bike frame.

There has been some progress in simplifying the procedure. The number of separate socket pairs for the wiring up  has been reduced. The 8 wires going to the motor are now commonly connected by a single multipin socket, and sensorless motors needing only 3 wires are now available.

Golden Motor has been producing motor wheels for several years that have the controller within the wheel. For those the throttle, brakes and power lead connect directly to the motor wheel.

I have electric bikes that have their battery within the rear wheel hub in a case like the case of a direct drive motor.

The logical next step would be to have battery, controller in with the motor in its case around the hub. That had to happen and now several companies are producing, or about to produce, such an integrated all-in-one motor wheel.

These “smart wheels” make a simple neat e-bike conversion…for just about any bicycle. As well as being simple you get to keep the old bike, so to speak. There is no battery, controller, rear rack, and wiring to remove. You can simply swap out the smart wheel for the old wheel, and un-convert your bike. 

There is not even the wiring from handlebar to the controller in the wheel because the wheel is smart enough to get its control and send its feedback (and as much data as you’ll ever want) by wifi either to a smart phone or device mounted on the handlebar.

THE ELECTRON WHEEL

electron wheel
Electron wheel

The first wheel of this type to be actually produced is available now from Currie Technologies (www.currietech.com) in US at $US999 ($Au1120 + shipping) and I don’t think it is available anywhere else. At present it is only made for 26″ front wheels. It is less sophisticated communication wise than the wheels by other companies that will be available later in 2014.

There is no throttle as with most conversions and the other all-in-one wheels. The wheel has “a mind of its own”. Sensors within the wheel detect your accelerating and your going uphill and THEN add power,
and vice versa reduce power when you slow down or go downhill.

The assistance is always there, more or less. If you want to ride without assistance you change back to the original wheel. (which is easy and quick). Another limitation is the range. The system is 24v and the 10AH battery has less range than the 36v wheels.
For more about this wheel including video : www.electronwheel.com

FLYKLY WHEEL

FlyklyWheelThe next wheel likely to be available is Flykly. They are getting this into production by crowd sourcing from Kickstarter. They say it is only 4kg and that is 4 or 5 kg less than the usual battery + motor. Given that there is no way of reducing the weight of a lithium battery of any given voltage and AH that implies that the range will also be less.

This version of the all-in-one conversion wheels is 26″ rear wheel. (20″ version may be available). This wheel has onboard sensors and also wifi connectivity to your phone. It comes with a handlebar light which has a mount for your smart phone, which becomes your interface with the motor. You get the usual readouts of speed and distance etc and you control the assistance you want.

Enough people pledged to put money upfront for a wheel and now it will soon be in production with the first wheels going to those who pledged – in May, they say.  You can read about them and see video at www.kickstarter.com/projects/flykly/flykly-smart-wheel

COPHENHAGEN WHEEL

Copenhagen Wheel
Copenhagen Wheel

A similar more sophisticated wheel called the Copenhagen Wheel will be produced in 2014. As with the FlyKly wheel this version also has wifi phone controls, also including locking, GPRS tracking, and various sensors of noise and pollution.
To quote from the Copenhagen Wheel website:
 “Smart, responsive and elegant, the Copenhagen Wheel is a new emblem for urban mobility. It transforms ordinary bicycles quickly into hybrid e-bikes that also function as mobile sensing units. The Copenhagen Wheel allows you to capture the energy dissipated while cycling and braking and save it for when you need
a bit of a boost. It also maps pollution levels, traffic congestion,
and road conditions in real-time”.

You can read about this project and see a video at www.superpedestrian.com

The Copenhagen Wheel is also now available for pre-order (US$699 + US$79 delivery) with delivery said to be around March 2014.

yike-1

A Yike Bike

O that name. They must have wanted anything rhyming with bike. This was designed in Christchurch, New Zealand.  Their very informative website lists many dealers in many countries, www.yikebike.com

There are more than 20 videos linked on the site. They do want you to see people using and having fun on a Yike Bike.

The Yike Bike is a very neat well thought out design, and incorporates innovations that we will see more of in future.

The most obvious innovation is the hubless wheel. That is re-inventing a wheel. The concept has been around but in a production vehicle is new (apart from the big hamster wheel vehicles with rider wholly inside). It is the rim that is driven and the weight is transferred directly to rim.  So there is no chain, gears or pedals.

Ergonomically the Yike Bike is more a motorised chair than a bicycle.
It’s a mini penny-farthing type but with with “handlebar” behind the rider. Posture is more like a chair also, as is getting on or off.

So, not having pedals, and having footrests this is not a bicycle in Europe, Australia and…most places, and therefore cannot legally be ridden on a road. In Australia it could not even be ridden on a footpath, or public space (like Segway type scooters)

It is very compact folding, light and easily carried, and thus probably would be accepted on public transport. If it weren’t for its inherent illegality it would be good for getting to/from both ends of a public transport commute, or short rides of a kilometre or two.

It is mid expensive at about $4000, but compared with a Segway it is
less than half the price, much lighter and transportable, more stable,
more useful, and more fun to ride.  Many cities in Europe have Segway Tours – maybe they can now offer Yike Bike tours.

Watch a Yike yiking

 

Future Electric Bicycles

Things change (to say the obvious)

Sometimes they stay the same for a long time and then change happens faster and faster.

The first cars were rather like the buggies they replaced and now are changing quickly into many shapes and types from Feraris to Smarts, from Rollers to Micras, from Teslas to Leafs.

The first computers were basement monsters with the mental capacity of an ant, much less than a basic phone, and computers now can be wearable and maybe soon will be smarter than you or I. At the pace that has continued for the last 50 years computers (we won’t call them that any more) will be intelligent specks that are all around us, on us, inside us, and do many tasks for us.

The first bicycles were either penny farthings that one was astride high up and pedalled a big wheel with little pedals or a velocipede that one was astride with feet on the ground pushing. Now they can be very fast, very light, very expensive or slow, heavy and cheap, or in between.

The first electric bikes were essentially an ordinary bicycle with an added motor and battery. For most of the electric bikes produced so far that is still the way they are. Particularly the many millions of them in China. Now that is starting to change. There are many purposefully designed electric bikes on drawing boards, or as prototypes,  and some are being produced, in as yet small numbers.

To design an electric bicycle without constraints is a very good exercise for students of design, as it involves ergonomics, novel materials, and production practicalities. Some design classes have been given that task, and many concepts and some prototypes have resulted from that. I’ve seen maybe a hundred proposed designs that are significantly different. Some will get into production, most won’t.

I will mention in posts here a few electric bicycles that are “different” and are being produced. What I aim to do is write about concepts that have some chance of making it. I’ll look for significant points of difference…for there are very many of a kind…city bikes, mountain bikes, 20″ folding bikes…that are different in only small ways.

 

anything you wanted to know about electric bikes