Considering a pedelec - shock horror

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
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danfoto
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Re: Considering a pedelec - shock horror

Postby danfoto » 19 Apr 2013, 7:44am

andrewk wrote:The real benefit is that you end up cycling more frequently and driving less. Sometimes I use a normal bike sometimes (on those occasions when I feel lazy and would have previously driven) I use the pedelec. Overall I'm very glad I bought one.


What he said - times two, because The Lady Wife and I have both had Kalkhoff Agattus for 15 months now and couldn't agree more. If they hadn't been the success they are, we wouldn't have been able to dispense with the motor car last August.

Off now to to the allotment on mine, with a wheelbarrow strapped on top of the trailer behind it ...
A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.

Geriatrix
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Re: Considering a pedelec - shock horror

Postby Geriatrix » 19 Apr 2013, 7:47am

danfoto wrote:Off now to to the allotment on mine, with a wheelbarrow strapped on top of the trailer behind it ...

So there is a trailer!!! :shock:
For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled - Richard Feynman

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danfoto
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Re: Considering a pedelec - shock horror

Postby danfoto » 19 Apr 2013, 1:05pm

Geriatrix wrote:
danfoto wrote:Off now to to the allotment on mine, with a wheelbarrow strapped on top of the trailer behind it ...

So there is a trailer!!! :shock:


Indeed! We still have Der Roland, but nowadays that's mostly used as a hand-cart or occasionally towed behind one of the Thorn Sherpas. Both Agattus have a Carry Freedom hitch on so either of us can use the CF trailer, which is a first class bit of kit (since I modified the QD wheels so they can't, as it were).
A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.

Ant
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Re: Considering a pedelec - shock horror

Postby Ant » 19 Apr 2013, 2:55pm

Chris, my commute is also 10 mile each way. Hilly and often with strong headwinds both ways! (A curious side effect of the Aire valley).

I too ride 3 or 4 days out of five although this is because I am part time.

Last year I was thinking seriously about electric assistance. This was prompted by me struggling up the biggest hill on my way home and being passed by an ordinary looking bike, with a very relaxed looking chap who was clearly older than me! Before i knew he he was almost out of sight... The inevitable inner sportsman gene kicked in and I put my foot down, a few miles later I caught him up (at traffic lights after a long downhill) and was enormously relieved to see he had a whopping heinzmann electric hub, which he confided was also overpowered to some degree...

And then he was off again.

Anyway, I look at the issue from a fun point of view as well as practicality. On a hilly (or windy) route of 10 miles or so, your average speed will be way higher (mine is 15mph for the round trip currently but if I could manage 15mph uphill my average would be more like 20 mph and I would be at work more quickly) and it looks undeniably good fun to fly uphill (or into a savage headwind) at a good speed. If I want a workout i'll still get that, plus I have other bikes if I want no assistance.

Also from a safety perspective, I feel most vulnerable when going slowly uphill on a narrow stretch of a 40 mph rated road. Having some extra shove would help. As a motorcyclist I'm sure you know what I mean.

So when the time comes (either I get older or get richer!) I will invest in the absolute best system which i can afford and I will still consider myself a "cyclist".

Chris the Sheep
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Re: Considering a pedelec - shock horror

Postby Chris the Sheep » 29 Apr 2013, 12:05pm

Well I did it - bought a Giant Twist Esprit Power for £1100, this is listed at £1600 so I think it was a fair price. The bike itself is built like a tank and has hub gears which suit me more than derailleurs (I already have an Alfine bike; this one has Nexus 7).

Electrically this has a 36V 10Ah battery, front hub motor and torque-sensor in the cranks - no 'throttle'. The motor gives assistance up to about 15mph then tapers off, going into freewheel at about 16.5 mph (I know when that happens, it's quite noisy!). Any cycling with the motor freewheeling is therefore unassisted.

I commuted in this morning, 10 miles down Blackpool sea front in a gale, and it's been a revelation. I wouldn't have cycled at all today without this bike.

The first thing is that it does NOT take the effort out of cycling; maintaining 15mph in a headwind is still quite hard work, but without assistance I'd have been spinning away at 9 or 10mph and feeling miserable. Out of the wind I find I'm tickling the motor cut-out, and with a tailwind I was riding 18-19mph, so not that different from a normal bike.

At the end of this trip the display was still showing all five bars of battery; that's not surprising given that I was putting quite a lot of work in myself.

The intention is to switch to my unassisted bike when the weather's OK but we'll see whether I've got the self-discipline to do that!

My main criticism of this bike is the torque-sensing system in the crank; essentially it's a spring which is compressed with each pedal stroke. This means that the pedals feel mushy if you press hard, which is particularly emphasised if you try to ride unassisted. In practice it's not a huge problem if you keep a high cadence and avoid stamping on the pedals, which is how I prefer to ride, but I could see many riders not liking it. I understand there are alternatives such as a sensor in the rear drop out, which I expect would reduce or remove this issue. (I've been riding with an Alfine hub for a couple of years now so I'm used to the sometimes indirect feel these can give; what I'm talking about is much more than that).

I use a bike for transport and a ride out in the local countryside at weekends; I don't ride long distance (30 miles is about it for me) and I'm not sporty; I'm also 49 this year. For people like me this kind of bike has a place in the future. I'll never want to lose the simplicity of a standard bicycle though, and at £1100 I won't be using this one to go to the shops!

[EDIT: as an aside, my previous second bike, a Revolution Country Traveller, is going to my son for him to commute to his work experience. He's learning to drive but has realised he can't actually afford to run a car and, more to the point, doesn't need one. I think he's got potential to stick with cycling]

Ant
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Re: Considering a pedelec - shock horror

Postby Ant » 29 Apr 2013, 1:08pm

Thx for the update, nice to see how these can be so useful in the "real" world (if that includes Blackpool?! :wink: )

John Holiday
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Re: Considering a pedelec - shock horror

Postby John Holiday » 29 Apr 2013, 3:37pm

I too have recently been considering a similar move for some cycling.
In hilly North Wales it would be a prudent move.
With a large collection,I don't really need another new bike (even disrgarding n+1!),but went into a local specialist & was very impressed. Slight concern about potential battery life,but it looked the way to go!
Look at A2B magazine & Peter Eland's Electric Bike.

Elizabethsdad
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Re: Considering a pedelec - shock horror

Postby Elizabethsdad » 29 Apr 2013, 4:40pm

John Holiday wrote:I too have recently been considering a similar move for some cycling.
In hilly North Wales it would be a prudent move.
With a large collection,I don't really need another new bike (even disrgarding n+1!),but went into a local specialist & was very impressed. Slight concern about potential battery life,but it looked the way to go!
Look at A2B magazine & Peter Eland's Electric Bike.

You could look at converting one of your existing bikes with the Sunstar SO3 crank drive system.

amigafan2003
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Re: Considering a pedelec - shock horror

Postby amigafan2003 » 30 Apr 2013, 9:32pm

I commute down Blackpool prom from Bispham to St Annes every day - I'll be sure to keep an eye out for you and give you a cheery wave.

So, if you see someone on a black Trek whizzing past you, give a wave back and have a squint at his front wheel ;-)

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danfoto
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Re: Considering a pedelec - shock horror

Postby danfoto » 1 May 2013, 7:22am

FWIW the first thing we discovered after buying our Kalkhoffs is that we both cycled more. It's also true to say that if we didn't have them, we'd almost certainly still have a motor car.

Incidentally, it actually took us several weeks of daily use to learn how to get the most out of the bikes in hilly terrain (by which I mean to be able to judge which gear at what road speed for any particular hill).
A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.

Chris the Sheep
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Re: Considering a pedelec - shock horror

Postby Chris the Sheep » 1 May 2013, 8:40am

amigafan2003 wrote:I commute down Blackpool prom from Bispham to St Annes every day - I'll be sure to keep an eye out for you and give you a cheery wave.

So, if you see someone on a black Trek whizzing past you, give a wave back and have a squint at his front wheel ;-)


....and you work at the same place as me....it was you overtaking me last autumn down Clifton Drive that got me thinking!
I'll give you a cheery wave in the canteen :P

amigafan2003
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Re: Considering a pedelec - shock horror

Postby amigafan2003 » 8 May 2013, 5:53pm

Chris the Sheep wrote:
amigafan2003 wrote:I commute down Blackpool prom from Bispham to St Annes every day - I'll be sure to keep an eye out for you and give you a cheery wave.

So, if you see someone on a black Trek whizzing past you, give a wave back and have a squint at his front wheel ;-)


....and you work at the same place as me....it was you overtaking me last autumn down Clifton Drive that got me thinking!
I'll give you a cheery wave in the canteen :P


Haha cool :-)

We'll have to get charge points installed in the bike sheds at this rate!