Moving to the (electric) dark side

Electrically assisted bikes, trikes, etc.
Ivorcadaver
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Moving to the (electric) dark side

Postby Ivorcadaver » 6 Aug 2017, 11:36am

I have been pondering over an electric bike. My 13 mile each way commute is getting a bit much for my ageing knees and body, especially the ride home which is uphill (Manchester to the edge of the Pennines in Bolton) and usually with a headwind (or thats what it feels like). As usual in this modern age the choice is bewildering: from the Rolls Royce (or rather the Mercedes) option of very nice looking German Kalkhoff bikes with motors in bottom bracket, hub gears, belt drives, more computing power than Apollo 11 etc etc. I am sure they are great but £3,000 is a lot of cash and as I do around 4000 miles a year, how easy (and costly) are they to maintain when parts wear out. At the other end of the spectrum there are bikes for less than £1,000, presumably Chinese, with hub motors, cheap derailleurs, as elegant looking as a hippo and small capacity batteries. But these might do, upgrades to components wouldn't be too costly. Given that my commute to work is downhill and I usually average 15-16 mph, I need something that rides nicely without the electric assist (that cuts out at 15 mph). I am a fan of disc brakes, need mudguards and a rack. Integrated lights would be nice to have. I keen to hear any suggestions or other members' experiences of the dark side.

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gaz
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Re: Moving to the (electric) dark side

Postby gaz » 6 Aug 2017, 11:42am

Whilst I'm sure you will get some replies here, you may wish to consider a post on http://www.pedelecs.co.uk/forum/.

Cycle Feb2016 reviewed a couple of £2K models. May give some pointers on things to consider.
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Ivorcadaver
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Location: Bolton

Re: Moving to the (electric) dark side

Postby Ivorcadaver » 6 Aug 2017, 12:00pm

Thanks Gas, was not aware of Pedelecs forum.

reohn2
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Re: Moving to the (electric) dark side

Postby reohn2 » 6 Aug 2017, 12:12pm

Have you thought of converting your present bike?
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gaz
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Re: Moving to the (electric) dark side

Postby gaz » 6 Aug 2017, 12:20pm

On which subject, Cycle Aug/Sep 2017.
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Ivorcadaver
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Re: Moving to the (electric) dark side

Postby Ivorcadaver » 6 Aug 2017, 3:52pm

Pedelecs forum useful, up to a point. It seems to be industry sponsored with manufacturers recommending their product which is obviously not unbiased comment. Useful info on maintenance; crank drives obviously difficult/impossible to repair by a home mechanic and some friction drive motors need servicing every 2000 miles - no thanks! Why do all these bikes have (cheap) suspension forks? Own conversion with a hub motor (not friction drive) looking most likely, I have a nice butted ali Ridgeback frame doing nothing.......

groberts
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Re: Moving to the (electric) dark side

Postby groberts » 6 Aug 2017, 4:34pm

You might want to take a look at my post last week and associated blog about a conversion I've just completed.

I'm just back from a 35 mile electric assisted ride and it just gets better as I'm finding the sweet spots when and when not to use the power assist - in this case with more judicious use I've still got 75% juice in the tank. Personally I was very unimpressed by the off-the-shelf bikes and have so far been very pleased with the conversion route. I certainly think you'd find it a real benefit for the commute and even good fun + you still have a 'real bike'.

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landsurfer
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Re: Moving to the (electric) dark side

Postby landsurfer » 6 Aug 2017, 4:50pm

Repost from another page in the forum;
Have never been a fan of electric bikes ..... but reality has caught up with me.


"My wife is now a cyclist.

I have encouraged all my grandkids and children to cycle, but my wife would not.
Lack of confidence, age (only she thinks about her age) and lack of fitness have discouraged her for years.
I have tried to explain that cycling is not about Time Trials, the majority of her exposure to cycling in her 20's and 30's, but about having fun, and getting a little more mobile at the same time.

Then last Friday;

My wife took delivery of a Viking electric motor assisted bicycle.

Although young, <55, she has a minor disability as a result of abscesses in the bone marrow of her lower tib and fib as a child, leading to major surgery.
She cannot exert much force on pedals.
Today we set off from ASDA in Hayle, rode to St Ives then back to St Erth then back to Hayle ... 9 miles in total.
She pedalled all the way, the motor in her bike does not assist unless you pedal.
She was so excited, full of confidence.

Marizon to Mousehole tomorrow."

Well, we rode from Marazion carpark to Mousehole via the coastal path today, her pedallec helped Julie against the head wind on the out leg and up the hill at Newlyn and she sailed back with the wind behind her with only assistance from the motor going the final mile from Mexico Inn to Marazion.
But the difference was her confidence .... she was beaming :D :D
The best wave of my life is still out there.

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NUKe
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Re: Moving to the (electric) dark side

Postby NUKe » 6 Aug 2017, 6:57pm

Halfords do a version of the subway which is currently £1000 . I can't vouch for the bike but generally Carera bikes are good.I would say though if you can afford it, the bb motors like the Bosch are the best and the bikes lighter. Cost wise the consumables are the same as a normal bike.so compare the components with a normal bike.all of the motors are virtualllly service free, but the batteries have a life of about 3 years, and you will need to factor that into your costs. I dont own one, but have access to a couple which I borrow occasionally. Haibike is one of the market leaders, if you are looking for other options. Quoted ranges are accurate Here in East a
Anglia, but tend to be some what lower in hilly places. So make sure anything you buy will get you to work and back on a charge..
NUKe
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landsurfer
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Re: Moving to the (electric) dark side

Postby landsurfer » 6 Aug 2017, 7:35pm

Julies was a Viking (Avocet Sports ) Mayfair traditional ladies cycle with battery pack on the rack and motor in the front wheel .
I am led to believe that they retail for >£1000 at Halfords. ?
Or £700 from the importer in Sussex, including P&P and charger.
They are heavy, 20kg including motor and battery, but the power pack will very easily transfer to Julies very lightweight Edinburgh Cycles tourer.
If required...
The best wave of my life is still out there.

Galloper
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Re: Moving to the (electric) dark side

Postby Galloper » 6 Aug 2017, 7:50pm

I've been riding ebikes for some years now, starting with a Cube hardtail mountain bike and moving on from there. I have a Kalkoff Pro Connect 10 which is of a type suitable for your requirements. It is pleasant to ride, with or without power, has a hub dynamo, mudguards and fitted rack and I have managed 80 very hilly miles on one charge. The instrumentation is minimal but provides all the information I need with battery indication and general trip details. The latest model has the Bosch system, mine has the older Kalkoff system.

I'm inclined to believe that with ebikes you get what you pay for. Mine are all still working perfectly and battery longevity looks pretty good, the Cube is now 3 years old and the Kalkoff 2. I prefer the Bosch motor but have no complaints about the Kalkoff other than it can be heard even when the power is not engaged.

I do not like the design whereby the battery is located as part of the rear rack, the batteries are heavy and that puts the weight rather high. One of the things I have noticed is that ebikes, presumably because of the extra weight, seem to go down hill a lot quicker. Likewise, the rolling momentum seems to benefit in the same way.

The Kalkoff system has one benefit in that the battery can be charged in place, with the Bosch system, you have to remove the battery to charge it.

I hope this is helpful.

Boyd
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Re: Moving to the (electric) dark side

Postby Boyd » 10 Aug 2017, 1:33pm

I bought a Kalkoff 8 speed hubgear. With largest battery available.
Do search and save on ebay one will come eventually at a reasonable price. I also use a sniper bidding site (gixen). I bought for trailer only. Intended for heavy loads, firewood etc. Mainly Dog/dogs in the shooting season. Trailer 14.5 (big). Minimum working weight of my dog 17.5 kgs, mother guess about 21kgs (fat). I weigh 13.5 stone. I always carry to much stuff in my carradice super C. Still has power left after pulling latter for 3 x 14mile rides. Battery done 2,000 plus miles. All LEDs still light up. I do put a lot of effort into the cycling. On the flat I regularly switch off power but full power on hills.
I would never advice converting a bike to electric assist, it will never work or be as efficient as one built for electric assist.

hercule
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Re: Moving to the (electric) dark side

Postby hercule » 10 Aug 2017, 8:41pm

I inherited my late father's Kalkhoff eBike. It's what second hand car dealers would describe as a "fully loaded" utility bike - crank motor, top spec Shimano 8 speed hub, Gates Carbon Drive belt drive, Magura hydraulic brakes, lighting, etc. It had only done about 160 miles. I was going to put it up for sale but having ridden it and checked out the prices they fetch second hand (there seem to be quite a few with similarly low levels of use going for a fraction of the new price) I've decided to keep it. It goes like the clappers, is extraordinarily good at charging up hills, and the battery life is excellent. A recent 25 mile ride with some challenging hills only reduced the battery by about 20%.

I wouldn't use it instead of a standard bike for most of my leisure/exercise riding - once you get much above the assist speed you know you're riding a heavy machine, and in any case with a dodgy neck recumbents are more my scene. What it will do though is keep up a steady 15mph pretty much irrespective of whatever scenery is in the way, and as transport option (think of alternatives to the car or public transport) it is pretty impressive.

Jim Dandy
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Re: Moving to the (electric) dark side

Postby Jim Dandy » 17 Sep 2017, 10:12am

I've just completed my first week as a pedelec owner, and have to say I'm completely won over. I have osteoarthritis in my knees; it's been manageable for the past few years, but over the last 12 months or so it's becoming steadily more painful, to the point where this summer I thought I would have to quit cycling altogther. I've invested in a Volt Connect, which uses the Shimano STEPS system, and it's absolutely perfect. It gives me a boost up the hills, taking the strain off my joints, but once on the flat it bowls along just like any other bike. In fact, I've been amazed at how 'normal' it is; and as a long-time roadie, I love the fact that I can just switch the assist off and still put in some hard effort when the road allows - sustaining 20mph+ on a 19.5kg bike is a good workout, believe me! I was massively sceptical and saw an e-bike as a real 'last resort, but one week and 200-odd miles have been enough to convert me for good. It's actually really addictive, and has made me fall in love with riding all over again; the biggest challenge is learning to think and ride differently, but that's kinda fun in its own way, too. Definitely recommend it: take a test ride and see what you think. Good luck. Jim.