Electric VS Just Highly Efficient Regular Bike?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
itaa
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Electric VS Just Highly Efficient Regular Bike?

Postby itaa » 26 Mar 2020, 10:08am

Currently have sub 10kg boardman hybrid pro that I picked up for £250 in new condition some years ago, best bike I have ever had , love it and with the GP4000 tyres there's almost no rolling resistance, if keeping under 15km/h when there is no aero drag compared to bikes others ride there's almost no need to pedal as it just glides itself.

I don't commute on bike nor use it for competitive stuff ,just have one to go to places and cruise around, not even for exercise, most of the time I just stay at around 15km/h speed so there's almost no need to pedal but you can just enjoy the view.

Now to get a decent used electric bike you need to spend ~£1k to get something which has been £2-2.5k new and play russian roulette with used battery,and the components on those won't even be any better than What I already have + twice the weight.

I'm only considering electric so that I don't have to pedal/walk up the hills (not huge ones ,just regular inclines) and to get home easily when I'm tired as I'm pretty much banned from even riding a bike due to health problem (where I can't get tired too much)

Just wondering if perhaps someone already had a nice bike which would just roll itself when there's no aero drag and than got an electric bike?
Was it even worth for the stuff that I plan to use it for? Don't really even want another bike that much, only I have never ridden one so can't really compare to what I already have.

thatsnotmyname
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Re: Electric VS Just Highly Efficient Regular Bike?

Postby thatsnotmyname » 26 Mar 2020, 10:10am

You think a light bike will go uphill on its own? You still have to pedal it.

reohn2
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Re: Electric VS Just Highly Efficient Regular Bike?

Postby reohn2 » 26 Mar 2020, 10:26am

An electric conversion kit on your present bike will flatten out hills for you and you can switch it off or put it on minimum assist on the flat bits.
Mid drive units such a Bafang seem to be the best.
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Brucey
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Re: Electric VS Just Highly Efficient Regular Bike?

Postby Brucey » 26 Mar 2020, 11:14am

if you fit an electric conversion kit you may think you will have the best of both worlds; 'you can always turn it off' etc. Well IME pedalling any bike with such a kit fitted, but turned off, is worse than pedalling the least good BSO you have ever swung a leg over. And the bike will probably be heavier than said BSO too.

By all means try it out for yourself but IMHO if you have a typical electric kit fitted the bike will only ride sensibly if you have the thing turned on. When attached to a 10kg lightweight, you would have to worry about the wheels etc; the electric kit will be a bit like carrying a full touring load, and nothing beats the wheels up worse than dead weight strapped rigidly to the bike.

A suggestion; if you can't afford to get too tired then fit lower gears and perhaps use a pulse meter to help gauge your effort. It is possible to climb most hills even with a small amount of power on hand; it just needs low gears and the right approach.

cheers
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Cunobelin
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Re: Electric VS Just Highly Efficient Regular Bike?

Postby Cunobelin » 26 Mar 2020, 1:47pm

reohn2 wrote:An electric conversion kit on your present bike will flatten out hills for you and you can switch it off or put it on minimum assist on the flat bits.
Mid drive units such a Bafang seem to be the best.


There is a "third way"


Some kits allow you to simply drop out the front wheel and replace it, just leaving the loom in place

This can allow you to remove it and use a "normal" wheel" saving the weight of motor and battery

Flat, easy trip - normal, couple of hills - electric

Jamesh
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Re: Electric VS Just Highly Efficient Regular Bike?

Postby Jamesh » 26 Mar 2020, 1:58pm

I've had a couple of clients turn up to my group rides on thier electric bikes and they have helped them keep up with the others.

One chap challenged me to a race up bingley 5 rise locks! It was a draw so they are powerful!

His was a Carrera MTB e bike about £1000. Really impressed by its power and price.

Cheers James

reohn2
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Re: Electric VS Just Highly Efficient Regular Bike?

Postby reohn2 » 26 Mar 2020, 2:07pm

Cunobelin wrote:
reohn2 wrote:An electric conversion kit on your present bike will flatten out hills for you and you can switch it off or put it on minimum assist on the flat bits.
Mid drive units such a Bafang seem to be the best.


There is a "third way"


Some kits allow you to simply drop out the front wheel and replace it, just leaving the loom in place

This can allow you to remove it and use a "normal" wheel" saving the weight of motor and battery

Flat, easy trip - normal, couple of hills - electric

Agreed but IMO front wheel conversions aren't ideally powered conversions for solos,especially when climbing and moreso in wet weather when the front wheel is unloaded as it is when climbing.
Fast cornering needs care too in wet conditions with a powered front wheel.
I'm not saying they're problems that can't be overcome but can cause problems
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gxaustin
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Re: Electric VS Just Highly Efficient Regular Bike?

Postby gxaustin » 27 Mar 2020, 11:56am

Several riders in my club have E-bikes. They use just enough power to help them up the hills and keep with the group, or else the range is limited. They just want to get out on their bikes so I don't think they want to do much fast cornering in wet or dry. We have seen no problems as yet - just big smiles.

MikeF
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Re: Electric VS Just Highly Efficient Regular Bike?

Postby MikeF » 27 Mar 2020, 3:30pm

reohn2 wrote:
Cunobelin wrote:
reohn2 wrote:An electric conversion kit on your present bike will flatten out hills for you and you can switch it off or put it on minimum assist on the flat bits.
Mid drive units such a Bafang seem to be the best.


There is a "third way"


Some kits allow you to simply drop out the front wheel and replace it, just leaving the loom in place

This can allow you to remove it and use a "normal" wheel" saving the weight of motor and battery

Flat, easy trip - normal, couple of hills - electric

Agreed but IMO front wheel conversions aren't ideally powered conversions for solos,especially when climbing and moreso in wet weather when the front wheel is unloaded as it is when climbing.
Fast cornering needs care too in wet conditions with a powered front wheel.
I'm not saying they're problems that can't be overcome but can cause problems

Maybe this is what Cunobelin was thinking https://www.cytronex.com
Wouldn't fast cornering be downhill rather uphill?
"It takes a genius to spot the obvious" - my old physics master

reohn2
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Re: Electric VS Just Highly Efficient Regular Bike?

Postby reohn2 » 27 Mar 2020, 5:09pm

MikeF wrote:Maybe this is what Cunobelin was thinking https://www.cytronex.com
Wouldn't fast cornering be downhill rather uphill?

I understand what Cunobelin meant by a front hub motor,I was giving my opinion of such a system's potential problems.
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al_yrpal
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Re: Electric VS Just Highly Efficient Regular Bike?

Postby al_yrpal » 27 Mar 2020, 5:16pm

reohn2 wrote:
MikeF wrote:Maybe this is what Cunobelin was thinking https://www.cytronex.com
Wouldn't fast cornering be downhill rather uphill?

I understand what Cunobelin meant by a front hub motor,I was giving my opinion of such a system's potential problems.


Pal of mine dumped his front hub conversion because of these and torque steer problems and got a Bosch. He's happy now. You arent wrong.

Al
Touring on a bicycle is a great way to explore and appreciate the countryside and towns you pass through. What do you do to make a difference?

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Cunobelin
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Re: Electric VS Just Highly Efficient Regular Bike?

Postby Cunobelin » 27 Mar 2020, 7:07pm

reohn2 wrote:
MikeF wrote:Maybe this is what Cunobelin was thinking https://www.cytronex.com
Wouldn't fast cornering be downhill rather uphill?

I understand what Cunobelin meant by a front hub motor,I was giving my opinion of such a system's potential problems.



It was meant as a suggestion to resolve a particular issue. There is no perfect system, but this is the only way to easily reverse the conversion

Biospace
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Re: Electric VS Just Highly Efficient Regular Bike?

Postby Biospace » 27 Mar 2020, 8:26pm

I've tried various combinations of electric bike as I was curious and having experimented, for me torque sensing is the one thing an electric bike must have.

Beyond that, chain drive mid-mounting allows the motor to be geared but I've been surprised there hasn't been a bigger difference over hub motors given the gearing - electric motors are highly flexible in their power delivery. The chain and sprockets wear quickly and trying to change down through the gears up a hill can cause problems as you disengage the assistance. On paper it's the best approach, reality doesn't quite match the theory.

Front (hub) motors are reputed to cause traction issues and instability through corners, yet my experience has been the very opposite of that. With both wheels driven by a similar amount of power, there is a planted feeling wherever you go. Add in the flexibility to quickly replace the wheel with an unpowererd one and this is the best way to go, especially if you're converting an (already decent quality) existing bicycle - imo. I

Rear hub motors are supposed to be more stable yet even with grippy, 38mm tyres I've had to back off the power too many times through fast corners as the rear end has started to move in a way you don't want.

All three ebikes have been reasonable quality, but the thought of converting a suitable bike with properly good frame and forks appeals immensely, one day. Long, exposed straights into a steady breeze are just magic!

rmurphy195
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Re: Electric VS Just Highly Efficient Regular Bike?

Postby rmurphy195 » 29 Mar 2020, 11:04am

Hi itaa -

Have you though of trying to get the gearing lowered?

From your description of what your local hills are like, and our need to simply go up them without getting out of breath, you might be able to have fewer teeth at the front an/or more teeth on the sprockets.

Have a chat with your LBS to see what's possible. Much depends on what changers are fitted etc.

At the extreme, the equivalent of a tourer or hybrid "granny" gear would allow you to sit up and twiddle the pedals with little or no effort to get you up the hills, albeit rather slowly (walking pace, even!)
Brompton, Condor Heritage, creaky joints and thinning white (formerly grey) hair
""You know you're getting old when it's easier to ride a bike than to get on and off it" - quote from observant jogger !