Your Views on...Electric Bikes (Dissertation Project)

alexalph
alexalph Posts: 6
edited July 2014 in Commuting chat
Good Afternoon Bikeradar'ers!

I am a masters student at Leeds University studying Transport Planning. As part of this, I am currently undertaking a dissertation examining peoples attitudes towards electric bikes and how electric bikes have changed the travel habits of those who own them.

I am here as I am keen to get a sample of those who currently commute by conventional bike, and if i'm lucky a couple of people with an electric bike! As part of this there are two surveys:
For those with WITHOUT an electric bike:
https://www.survey.leeds.ac.uk/ebikenonuser4

For those WITH an electric bike:
https://www.survey.leeds.ac.uk/ebikeuser2

Both should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete. There is also the chance to win a £10 Amazon Gift Voucher and receive a summary of the completed work.

Please feel free to comment on the questionnaire or study. The information collected is to be used purely for academic purposes.

Finally, if anyone could provide advice/help on distributing the questionnaire to those with an e-bike it would be most welcome!

Thank you all in advance...
Alex Lister
«1

Comments

  • Lefthook
    Lefthook Posts: 124
    Q8 - jump from 2-3 days a week to 5-7 days a week

    I cycle 4 days a week!
  • Done.
    Electric bikes are cheating for anyone under the age of 60 (unless they have an existing medical condition).
    2007 Felt Q720 (the ratbike)
    2012 Cube Ltd SL (the hardtail XC 26er)
    2014 Lapierre Zesty TR 329 (the full-sus 29er)
  • Completed, but after a pub lunch: You may not be able to decipher all of the responses.
  • elbowloh
    elbowloh Posts: 7,078
    Done.

    E-bikes are a bit of fun for me, they have their uses certainly, but prefer to be under my own steam.

    If however I had a major injury in the future that prevented me from cycling on a "normal" bike, but could still e-bike, i'd go for it over say a moped or scooter.
    Felt F1 2014
    Felt Z6 2012
    Red Arthur Caygill steel frame
    Tall....
    www.seewildlife.co.uk
  • tgotb
    tgotb Posts: 4,714
    Done, though I'm afraid the answer was that I don't see the point.

    If you want to exercise, a conventional bike is cheaper, probably faster (if you're fit), simpler and will be nicer to ride.
    If you don't want to exercise, a moped is cheaper, faster, and easier to lock up securely at your destination.

    To my mind, electric bicycles are a solution looking for a problem.
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • dhope
    dhope Posts: 6,699
    TGOTB wrote:
    Done, though I'm afraid the answer was that I don't see the point.

    If you want to exercise, a conventional bike is cheaper, probably faster (if you're fit), simpler and will be nicer to ride.
    If you don't want to exercise, a moped is cheaper, faster, and easier to lock up securely at your destination.

    To my mind, electric bicycles are a solution looking for a problem.
    Yep, that's my thinking at the moment. Though possibly when I'm 80 or so (though I expect jetpacks for everyone by then)
    Rose Xeon CW Disc
    CAAD12 Disc
    Condor Tempo
  • herb71
    herb71 Posts: 253
    Done. I can see the point, but they will always be niche. They can go most places a regular bike can go, and some places a moped can't, bridleways etc so they have their place. Pointless for most people on here I would suspect.

    It's the sort if thing my Grandad might buy so he can get out on the trails around here with his great grand kids.

    Now invent a totally hidden electric motor that increased my average by 3mph so I can keep up with my faster mates and I would be first in line!
  • alexalph
    alexalph Posts: 6
    Thank you for all the responses guys, it is really appreciated.

    Its good to hear all your opinions on e-bikes, positive or not so positive! :)
  • elbowloh
    elbowloh Posts: 7,078
    edited July 2014
    Well, compared to a moped or scooter, for an e-bike you don't need a licence or insurance. No emissions either and no need to pay for petrol.

    I can also see a market for couples. If one is heavily in to cycling and the other not so much, they could still go out together for a ride (at a good pace) if the non-cyclist had an e-bike.
    Felt F1 2014
    Felt Z6 2012
    Red Arthur Caygill steel frame
    Tall....
    www.seewildlife.co.uk
  • vorsprung
    vorsprung Posts: 1,953
    there was a question "Overall, what would be the main barrier to you owning an e-bike?" the offered answers were
    Cost
    Range/battery life
    Increased bicycle weight/ reduced portability
    Image
    Reduction in exercise vs. conventional bike

    It's none of these. I don't see the point. As electric bikes are limited to 15mph and also power limited I can usually drop them on all terrain. Dunno what the exact range of an electric bike is but I am happy with a 15 mile pedal cycle commute and that's about as far as I'd like to commute in the first place.
  • YIMan
    YIMan Posts: 576
    Done but the question "electric bikes are attractive to me because" is daft because they are not attractive to me.

    Would be better worded as "These factors would make electric bikes attractive to me - agree/disagree etc".
  • roger_merriman
    roger_merriman Posts: 6,165
    I was quite weak when I started riding after the accident but, a big stable MTB with very low gearing while it is slow though as I've got fitter and stronger It has got faster, with very low gearing, steepish hills like Broomfield/dark/nightingale become middle ring hills no need for the granny ring. And having wide fat tyres it's very easy to balance at walking pace or lower.

    Most electric bikes are expensive for what they are, ie tend to have cheap brakes/gears. A normal bike at the same price point is a much nicer bike.

    As others I think they are solutions to a problem most do not have, and bring a host of other problems that other bikes don't have.
  • slowbike
    slowbike Posts: 8,498
    IMHO Electric bikes have their place - for those wanting to rider further but cannot sustain the effort or wanting to ride to places where the gradients would preclude them from doing so then an E-bike can seriously help.

    They're not for your general cyclist - they're for those who can't or want to go further than they think they can.

    I know someone who could do with one. She cannot ride fast and never will be able to. She does try but struggles up any slope. She is an OAP though so fitness (or lack of) can be slightly excused. An e-bike would allow her to extend her rides to more local shops/garden centres or places of interest that she currently cannot quite reach without being exhausted ...
  • dhope
    dhope Posts: 6,699
    Slowbike wrote:
    IMHO Electric bikes have their place - for those wanting to rider further but cannot sustain the effort or wanting to ride to places where the gradients would preclude them from doing so then an E-bike can seriously help.

    They're not for your general cyclist - they're for those who can't or want to go further than they think they can.

    I know someone who could do with one. She cannot ride fast and never will be able to. She does try but struggles up any slope. She is an OAP though so fitness (or lack of) can be slightly excused. An e-bike would allow her to extend her rides to more local shops/garden centres or places of interest that she currently cannot quite reach without being exhausted ...
    All of these problems could be solved by jetpacks :roll:
    Rose Xeon CW Disc
    CAAD12 Disc
    Condor Tempo
  • jimmypippa
    jimmypippa Posts: 1,712
    I was quite weak when I started riding after the accident but, a big stable MTB with very low gearing while it is slow though as I've got fitter and stronger It has got faster, with very low gearing, steepish hills like Broomfield/dark/nightingale become middle ring hills no need for the granny ring. And having wide fat tyres it's very easy to balance at walking pace or lower.

    Most electric bikes are expensive for what they are, ie tend to have cheap brakes/gears. A normal bike at the same price point is a much nicer bike.

    As others I think they are solutions to a problem most do not have, and bring a host of other problems that other bikes don't have.

    This, and the fact that for much of my commute I'd be lugging round a heavy battery at less than my normal speed.

    Illness or lack of fitness would change my mind though.
  • First.Aspect
    First.Aspect Posts: 15,818
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V%C3%A9loSoleX

    FYI, the wheel isn't new either.
  • Done. Happy to help someone who has put some real effort into their survey (we get a lot of ill thought out surveys and patronising questionnaires on this forum).
    I guess you realise we aren't really a balanced control group? Most on this forum are keen and competent cyclists who would prefer to get about under our own steam and are capable of cycling further and faster on a regular bike than we might on a battery powered model. I daresay that.you would get differing opinions on hybrid cars between attendees at a grand prix, and say members of the caravaning club too. I've currently got 5 bikes, none of them electric. I don't imagine bike number 6 will be electric either (maybe bike no 10). If I was physically unable to ride a regular bike more than a couple of miles, maybe I'd consider an electric bike.
    Nobody told me we had a communication problem
  • EKE_38BPM
    EKE_38BPM Posts: 5,821
    Done.
    E-bikes are only for the elderly and/or infirm. If you are not either of those, you're just lazy.
    FCN 3: Raleigh Record Ace fixie-to be resurrected sometime in the future
    FCN 4: Planet X Schmaffenschmack 2- workhorse
    FCN 9: B Twin Vitamin - winter commuter/loan bike for trainees

    I'm hungry. I'm always hungry!
  • alexalph
    alexalph Posts: 6
    Thanks for all the responses guys, really appreciated as are your honest views on the bikes. I am aware that on these forums they will be experienced competent cyclists - I am intentionally surveying existing cyclists as I want to investigate if the bikes could further increase cycling for these groups and what circumstances they would buy them. I am also surveying non-cyclists and electric bike owners.

    Thanks again guys, and any advice for further recruitment is always welcome!
  • tgotb
    tgotb Posts: 4,714
    elbowloh wrote:
    Well, compared to a moped or scooter, for an e-bike you don't need a licence or insurance. No emissions either and no need to pay for petrol.
    erm... You don't need insurance, but (as for a bike) it would be wise.

    As for emissions, electric bikes in the UK are powered primarily by coal, which is one of the dirtiest fossil fuels going (and yes, you have to pay for it...)
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • meanredspider
    meanredspider Posts: 12,337
    TGOTB wrote:
    As for emissions, electric bikes in the UK are powered primarily by coal,

    I don't think that's actually correct. Whilst coal is the most "popular" fuel, it's only generates in the region of 36-40% of electricity in the UK. 60+% is produced by other fuels. So electric bikes are powered primarily by non-coal sources.

    I think electric bikes are a Good Thing - I often see older folk out on them enjoying social rides. If you compare them with 2-stroke engines, even electricity produced by coal is probably cleaner. Certainly a lot less noise pollution.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • jimmypippa
    jimmypippa Posts: 1,712
    EKE_38BPM wrote:
    Done.
    E-bikes are only for the elderly and/or infirm. If you are not either of those, you're just lazy.

    Or those who might be daunted by distance/effort of cycling for utility.

    Few people here, I'd imagine. Although cycling home (uphill) into a headwind when it's chucking it down in a November evening, does sometimes make the idea of an e-bike more attractive.
  • tgotb
    tgotb Posts: 4,714
    jimmypippa wrote:
    EKE_38BPM wrote:
    Done.
    E-bikes are only for the elderly and/or infirm. If you are not either of those, you're just lazy.

    Or those who might be daunted by distance/effort of cycling for utility.

    Few people here, I'd imagine. Although cycling home (uphill) into a headwind when it's chucking it down in a November evening, does sometimes make the idea of an e-bike more attractive.
    Really? Is an electric bike likely to be *more* reliable in the rain (or warmer to ride) than a conventional one? The one thing that would put me off riding on a cold day, in the rain, would be all the wetness and windchill without the exercise to keep me warm...
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • meanredspider
    meanredspider Posts: 12,337
    TGOTB wrote:
    Really? Is an electric bike likely to be *more* reliable in the rain (or warmer to ride) than a conventional one? The one thing that would put me off riding on a cold day, in the rain, would be all the wetness and windchill without the exercise to keep me warm...

    You can (do) pedal too
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • First.Aspect
    First.Aspect Posts: 15,818
    There are a couple of types of vehicle called a "moped".

    One is a scooter. Misnomer. Another is a scooter without a starter motor, which you bump start by pedaling. The other is one more like the guerney bike in Keirin. That's a moped.

    As a mode of transport a true moped addresses precisely the same issues as an electric bike. Setting aside policy issues such as tax, insurance and so on, they are both intended to provide the feedom and convenience of a bicycle, without the sweatiness. The idea of an ebike is simply not new, its merely a technological development of a moped. If fact, look hard enough (Google patents maybe) and you'll probably find some lead-acid battery powered e-bikes which are much older than you imagine.

    FYI about 80% of UK energy generation is from fossil fuels - more gas than coal these days. Most of the remainder is nuclear and about 3-5% is renewable. 2% is wind. So do the maths on wind power yourselves whilst travelling around Scotland and imagine 50 times as many of them. Christ, there'd be so many they might have to put some up in the Chilterns and that would cause a stir now wouldn't it.
  • meanredspider
    meanredspider Posts: 12,337
    You're not suggesting that there are plans for the country to be 100% powered by wind are you? I live I. Both the Highlands and NL where wind generation is very common. I think one of the big upsides of this method of generation is that you're often reminded that electricity needs generation and that it isn't free.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • First.Aspect
    First.Aspect Posts: 15,818
    You're not suggesting that there are plans for the country to be 100% powered by wind are you? I live I. Both the Highlands and NL where wind generation is very common. I think one of the big upsides of this method of generation is that you're often reminded that electricity needs generation and that it isn't free.
    Its an SNP policy for there to be 100% renewables generation by 20-something-0. Right now there's onshore wind, offshore wind and some tide/wave options. Everything other than onshore wind is economically inviable (and that wouldn't be either, were it not for green levvies). So what does that policy actually add up to? You decid. Personally I think it is pretty close to 100% wind.

    There are more wind turbines in Scotland per unit area than Denmark now. 4 in 5 wind turbines in the UK are in Scotland.

    Until energy storage solutions are available, renewables make the other forms of energy generation less efficient because the fossil fuel power stations have to over generate or inconsistently generate to pick up the slack. This is a known issue and the most recent Scottish planning guidance has finally made the possibility of energy storage a material factor in deciding upon renewables projects.

    Scotland has a lot of carbon stored in the peaty land that the turbines are build on. I have read that in some cases it will take more than 30 years for a turbine to balance the carbon output required to make it, including the conrete base, and that released by destroying the peat its built on. The lifetime of a turbine is about 20 years.

    Wind is not the answer. Every one wants it to be, including me, but on closer scrutiny one is better off planting trees and burning them 20 years later.

    Nuclear is the only low-carbon energy source capable of providing remotely enough power, but of course the SNP are against it because its all scientific and scary. Not withstanding the point that if you add up all deaths possibly attributable to nuclear, its far less than coal.

    If there's one thing I can't stand its being lied to. The SNP are liars.

    Enough hijacking.

    Mopeds and electrical mopeds have their place. But that place is more or less taken by motorbikes. There will be electrical motorbikes soon and then the e-cycle will take its place alongside the Sinclair C4, the Segway and existing petrol mopeds.
  • Initialised
    Initialised Posts: 3,047
    I kind of like the idea of a DH MTB with electric assist.

    Other than that they are for the mobility impaired.
    I used to just ride my bike to work but now I find myself going out looking for bigger and bigger hills.
  • roger_merriman
    roger_merriman Posts: 6,165
    Have to be said, the folks on electric bikes don't look impaired, and vis versa the folks who do have impairments or just a bit frail are not on electric bikes, I spend most of my life with folks who have various impairments/disabilities so do tend to notice what others do not.

    With the weight of electric bikes, that would be a problem for folks with low strength and balance problems, partically parking the bike etc.
  • jimmypippa
    jimmypippa Posts: 1,712
    TGOTB wrote:
    jimmypippa wrote:
    EKE_38BPM wrote:
    Done.
    E-bikes are only for the elderly and/or infirm. If you are not either of those, you're just lazy.

    Or those who might be daunted by distance/effort of cycling for utility.

    Few people here, I'd imagine. Although cycling home (uphill) into a headwind when it's chucking it down in a November evening, does sometimes make the idea of an e-bike more attractive.
    Really? Is an electric bike likely to be *more* reliable in the rain (or warmer to ride) than a conventional one? The one thing that would put me off riding on a cold day, in the rain, would be all the wetness and windchill without the exercise to keep me warm...

    No, I am plenty warm enough - it is uphill and I am generating quite a bit of heat cycling,* it is just that sometimes it can be a bit of a drag, and about halfway home, I sometimes think that I'd like to take it easy, just as I like cycling with a tailwind.

    I cansee the attraction, it is just not enough for me to want one for the reasons outlined above, and the fact that I'd be lugging round the battery when I@m above 15.5 mph.

    I know colleagues who have e-bikes and who would never consider normal bikes - they use them instead of cars for a nice easy commute with minimal effort. I think that is a good thing.


    *That is often the problem, if it is raining heavily enough for me to be wearing waterproofs (the Peak District can get quite damp) then I often have the choice of easing back, or overheating, or freezing without waterproofs.