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Electric bikes revisited - and recommendation please ....

KnightOfTheLongTightsKnightOfTheLongTights Posts: 1,415
edited October 2014 in Commuting chat
I’m just coming to address this electric bike thing for the first time as I’m thinking of getting one for the GF.

My initial reaction when a work colleague got one a few months ago (I’m not sure I was even properly aware they existed before then; except in the dusty moped-style favoured by heavily-built farmers on the continent) was ‘Oh FFS, that’s right, take the greatest invention humankind has managed and stick a f * cking motor on it. Dickheads.’
But of course, there is a place for them.

The main thing people seem to be missing with comparisons with scooters and mopeds – as made on this thread:
viewtopic.php?f=40012&t=12974656&hilit=electric
- is, you don’t need a licence or CBT. And you don’t use petrol. And you don’t need insurance. And you can take them indoors so they don’t get nicked. And you can get them on CycleScheme / RidetoWork.
Apart from that they’re exactly the same. :)

The non-driving-licence-holding GF is, to put it mildly, not very keen on cycling in London – mainly cos she feels vulnerable due to her lack of power. She feels like she is in the way (of other cyclists and motorised traffic) and not keeping up with the flow of traffic and gets stressed about it. Particularly from a standing start at traffic lights etc.
OK, the best answer might be to get fit enough to ride a bike at 12-14mph and manage faster bursts. We’ve been through all this, but it’s chicken and egg – she’s not getting out on the bike enough.
She's not in the slightest overweight and she goes running, but when it comes down to it, cycling’s *just not really her thing*, not enough to overcome the fears / reservations she has re. riding in London.
It will also probably take her at least an hour to do the 9-mile commute – about the same as it takes her on bus / tube.

Now the one thing that will get round all this, I am thinking, is an electric bike.
It will cut her journey time, it will to a certain extent get her over the traffic anxiety thing and allow her to gain confidence while not sweating away trying to keep her speed up, and it will allow *some* exercise.
_________________

Now that's all there for discussion, but also: can someone recommend me a good folding version at <£700?
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Posts

  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    Now the one thing that will get round all this, I am thinking, is an electric bike.
    It will cut her journey time, it will to a certain extent get her over the traffic anxiety thing and allow her to gain confidence while not sweating away trying to keep her speed up, and it will allow *some* exercise.
    _________________

    Apart from the fact that I don't need one I quite like them - apparently there are two types - those where you have a throttle control and those where you have pedal sensitive power assist.

    The former doesn't require you to pedal.
    The later relies on you at least turning the pedals to get any assistance.

    I have briefly tried the latter (just trying as an idea for M-i-L) - wow ... it makes a huge difference in effort required and will certainly extend the range for those less fit - plus you can set the assistance level ...

    But - how does your GF feel about it? If £700 is a big investment then she needs to be onboard straight away, also I wouldn't start by sending her out by herself - she needs to build up confidence in traffic and that isn't just about power -although it does help!
    Sorry - can't help with the sourcing of a bike - but I will keep an eye out for interest as I'm interested in a 24 or 26" wheel to convert a trike....
  • Slowbike wrote:
    But - how does your GF feel about it? If £700 is a big investment then she needs to be onboard straight away, also I wouldn't start by sending her out by herself - she needs to build up confidence in traffic and that isn't just about power -although it does help!
    Sorry - can't help with the sourcing of a bike - but I will keep an eye out for interest as I'm interested in a 24 or 26" wheel to convert a trike....

    oh yeah - I'm talking to her about it, and she's on board, I wouldn't just dive in and get it.
    And yes, I would ride in with her for a few weeks. I am actually imagining she would come out with me on some long weekend rides and act as derny... I believe that 15mph is just the limit that the motor can take the bike to unassisted - with pedalling you can get it well over 20mph... :wink:
    I ask for rec.s here because the online e-bike world is not very evolved - not many reliable-looking review sites, forums etc.
  • il_principeil_principe Posts: 9,146
    Slowbike wrote:
    Now the one thing that will get round all this, I am thinking, is an electric bike.
    It will cut her journey time, it will to a certain extent get her over the traffic anxiety thing and allow her to gain confidence while not sweating away trying to keep her speed up, and it will allow *some* exercise.
    _________________

    Apart from the fact that I don't need one I quite like them - apparently there are two types - those where you have a throttle control and those where you have pedal sensitive power assist.

    The former doesn't require you to pedal.
    The later relies on you at least turning the pedals to get any assistance.

    Be aware that the UK and the EU have different standards. Note that a Pedelec is a bicycle where the rider's pedaling is assisted by a small electric motor. Pedelecs include an electronic controller which stops the motor producing power when the rider is not pedaling. If you're getting assistance when not pedaling then you have to be licenced etc.If you have the time please read the below which sums up the situation.

    Electric Bicycles and the Law

    In general

    The EU-directive regulating pedelecs states that pedelecs that have powered assistance to a maximum of 25 km/h (15.5 mph) using a motor of no more than 250 Watts rated output are considered bicycles. Therefore type approval is not required. Pedelecs can be used legally without registration, road tax, a driving licence, insurance or the use of a crash helmet. They can be cycled on a cycle path and the rider must obey the laws appertaining to a standard pedal driven bicycle.

    In most European countries there is no lower age limit so anyone can legally ride a pedelec on public roads or where the public have access. In the UK a rider must be 14 years or older.

    In Europe 250W (rated) motors are permitted whereas in the UK we are currently restricted to 200W. A 250W rated motor is a motor that will run most efficiently at 250W. Such a motor will often be able to run at a higher maximum power for short periods. The Department for Transport has announced that the UK will eventually align with European law and will also permit 250W motors. This is not likely to happen until 2016. Nearly all electric bicycles sold in the UK have 250W (Rated) motors and conform to EU regulations.

    Some electric bikes are currently sold in the UK with motors that are rated at more than 250W. These bikes do not comply with either the EU or UK law appertaining to EAPCs and need type approval. They are considered motor vehicles under law. All electric bikes with motors more powerful than 250W rated are required to display a tax disc, insurance is mandatory, the vehicle must be registered display number plates and carry an MOT certificate. Any rider of such a vehicle must hold a current driving licence and keep to the laws appertaining to mopeds. Anyone found riding an electric bike with a motor larger than 250W rated power without the correct documentation is liable to be prosecuted by the police. The rider will be open for prosecution for driving without a licence, driving without insurance, driving an unlicensed vehicle etc. If the person riding such a vehicle has a current driving licence and is prosecuted, they will receive penalty points and may even be banned from driving any motor vehicle.
    The official standard for pedelecs is now in force across Europe and will eventually be mandatory in the UK too. Pedelecs complying with EN15194 are deemed to be safe and fit for purpose. All bikes that have passed the EN15195 testing will be issued with a certificate of compliance from the testing house.

    Specifically:

    To remain exempt from motor vehicle legislation, an electric bicycle must comply with the following:

    Maximum rated motor power 250W (200W in the UK)
    Maximum speed with power assistance 25kph (15.5mph in the UK)
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  • EKE_38BPMEKE_38BPM Posts: 5,980
    A colleague has a KTM which I had a go on and I thought it was brilliant. It has changed my mind about e-bikes IN CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES.

    My colleague has a toddler who she drops to nursery before work. Us cycling instructors carry a fair weight of stuff (tools, paperwork, food etc), so all of our stuff plus a toddler and she also lives in a very hilly area and has to ride about 7 (stop-start hilly London) miles to and from work. For her in her situation it is a brilliant thing.

    For most people, I think ebikes are a cop-out for the lazy.
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  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    Slowbike wrote:
    But - how does your GF feel about it? If £700 is a big investment then she needs to be onboard straight away, also I wouldn't start by sending her out by herself - she needs to build up confidence in traffic and that isn't just about power -although it does help!
    Sorry - can't help with the sourcing of a bike - but I will keep an eye out for interest as I'm interested in a 24 or 26" wheel to convert a trike....

    oh yeah - I'm talking to her about it, and she's on board, I wouldn't just dive in and get it.
    And yes, I would ride in with her for a few weeks. I am actually imagining she would come out with me on some long weekend rides and act as derny... I believe that 15mph is just the limit that the motor can take the bike to unassisted - with pedalling you can get it well over 20mph... :wink:
    I ask for rec.s here because the online e-bike world is not very evolved - not many reliable-looking review sites, forums etc.

    Good - but 15mph is going to be the limit - not the starting point ...

    TBH, why don't you just take her out on some longer weekend rides (you acting as the derny!) on a normal bike - but go at her pace* - she should quickly build up cycle fitness and should learn some road craft from you at the same time.


    * one of my pet hates is hearing from women that they can't cycle with their other halves because they (the women) are too slow - this is absolute censored - yes it can be frustrating for the faster partner, but ultimately it is rewarding just to spend some time with them on bikes.
  • Slowbike wrote:
    Good - but 15mph is going to be the limit - not the starting point ...

    Really? :?
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    Slowbike wrote:
    Good - but 15mph is going to be the limit - not the starting point ...

    Really? :?

    Just read the reply from Il Principe ....

    and this link:
    https://www.gov.uk/electric-bike-rules
  • Slowbike wrote:
    TBH, why don't you just take her out on some longer weekend rides (you acting as the derny!) on a normal bike - but go at her pace* - she should quickly build up cycle fitness and should learn some road craft from you at the same time.

    Just isn't practical - I only get one chance a week for a long ride and I want to do that at my pace - 18mph or so, or on the club ride at a few mph faster.
    I would have to slow down so much and cut the distance so much that I may as well give up cycling for six months.
    Not gonna happen.
  • Slowbike wrote:
    Slowbike wrote:
    Good - but 15mph is going to be the limit - not the starting point ...

    Really? :?

    Just read the reply from Il Principe ....

    and this link:
    https://www.gov.uk/electric-bike-rules

    the electric motor shouldn’t be able to propel the bike when it’s travelling more than 15mph

    That to me does not mean that an electric bike cannot travel faster than 15mph - it means that is the top speed the motor alone can take it to.
    I have seen ebikes travelling a lot faster than 15mph and I don't think there is anything in those stipulations that prevents that - as long as it is not the motor alone that is generating that speed.
  • il_principeil_principe Posts: 9,146
    Slowbike wrote:
    Slowbike wrote:
    Good - but 15mph is going to be the limit - not the starting point ...

    Really? :?

    Just read the reply from Il Principe ....

    and this link:
    <span class="skimlinks-unlinked">https://www.gov.uk/electric-bike-rules</span&gt;

    the electric motor shouldn’t be able to propel the bike when it’s travelling more than 15mph

    That to me does not mean that an electric bike cannot travel faster than 15mph - it means that is the top speed the motor alone can take it to.
    I have seen ebikes travelling a lot faster than 15mph and I don't think there is anything in those stipulations that prevents that - as long as it is not the motor alone that is generating that speed.

    Legally the assistance has to cut out at 15mph. At that point you're on your own with a very heavy bike... anybike going faster assisted is doing so illegally - unless licenced.
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  • Great.
  • il_principeil_principe Posts: 9,146
    Great.

    Yep. It's not ideal. FWIW I've ridden:

    BMW e-Cruise (Bosch Driven)
    Cube (Bosch Driven)
    A2B (Unknown)

    I'd hold off buying one until the law is clarified and the tech has moved on a bit.
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    2020 Canyon Ultimate CF SLX
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    On the Strand
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  • IrvinetIrvinet Posts: 117
    Slowbike wrote:
    TBH, why don't you just take her out on some longer weekend rides (you acting as the derny!) on a normal bike - but go at her pace* - she should quickly build up cycle fitness and should learn some road craft from you at the same time.

    Just isn't practical - I only get one chance a week for a long ride and I want to do that at my pace - 18mph or so, or on the club ride at a few mph faster.
    I would have to slow down so much and cut the distance so much that I may as well give up cycling for six months.
    Not gonna happen.

    A Tandem might be a better solution to your issues. My wife and I found it to be the perfect solution given different riding speeds and levels of confidence. Except for when you are going up hill you might even find you are going faster than you would solo.

    ps.. though not for her commute perhaps. :)
    Roberts Audax - Raleigh Fixie - Thorn Tandem
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    Slowbike wrote:
    TBH, why don't you just take her out on some longer weekend rides (you acting as the derny!) on a normal bike - but go at her pace* - she should quickly build up cycle fitness and should learn some road craft from you at the same time.

    Just isn't practical - I only get one chance a week for a long ride and I want to do that at my pace - 18mph or so, or on the club ride at a few mph faster.
    I would have to slow down so much and cut the distance so much that I may as well give up cycling for six months.
    Not gonna happen.

    I can see your point - but it is selfish - this time of year you could easily do alternative weeks or just the odd ride with your GF - anything to get her experience really... I've ridden sportives and etaps with my wife at her pace - yes, I'd love to do them at my pace - but I'd rather she kept riding so it's a sacrifice I'll take. I don't ride with her all the time and sometimes we do a short ride together then I'll go and do a faster loop by myself. These days she is quite happy riding and although she prefers company it's not a pre-requisite - she's even ridden the ~20miles to work and then back again - something she wouldn't have done a couple of years ago.
    the electric motor shouldn’t be able to propel the bike when it’s travelling more than 15mph

    That to me does not mean that an electric bike cannot travel faster than 15mph - it means that is the top speed the motor alone can take it to.
    Not quite - to me that says that up to 15mph you can have motor assist - beyond that the motor cuts out and it's all about leg power (or a nice descent) - I'd hazard a guess that there are a good few e-bikes that ignore that rule - but they won't conform to UK specs and that may cause an issue in case of an accident.

    Thinking about it - it seems you want your GF to ride on your terms rather than to her ability - IMHO that is a big mistake - with speed you need road awareness - that's not something you can get from an electric motor.
  • Kieran_BurnsKieran_Burns Posts: 10,052
    Co-incidentally on Bike Radar:

    http://www.bikeradar.com/road/news/arti ... ers-42838/
    Bike industry site Bike Europe has reported that British police and UK Trading Standards officers are beginning a crackdown on retailers selling de-restricted e-bikes or speed tuning kits for electric bikes.
    Chunky Cyclists need your love too! :-)
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  • Slowbike wrote:
    I've ridden sportives and etaps with my wife at her pace - yes, I'd love to do them at my pace - but I'd rather she kept riding so it's a sacrifice I'll take.

    well that isn't even a sacrifice.
    You are in a *totally* different situation to mine - my GF is not even in the same riding universe as an etape.
    Think someone who has barely ridden a bike anywhere since she was eight years old.
    I know at what pace and how far she can ride and I can assure you I am not being selfish - just realistic.
  • I’m just coming to address this electric bike thing for the first time as I’m thinking of getting one for the GF.

    My initial reaction when a work colleague got one a few months ago (I’m not sure I was even properly aware they existed before then; except in the dusty moped-style favoured by heavily-built farmers on the continent) was ‘Oh FFS, that’s right, take the greatest invention humankind has managed and stick a f * cking motor on it. Dickheads.’
    But of course, there is a place for them.

    The main thing people seem to be missing with comparisons with scooters and mopeds – as made on this thread:
    viewtopic.php?f=40012&t=12974656&hilit=electric
    - is, you don’t need a licence or CBT. And you don’t use petrol. And you don’t need insurance. And you can take them indoors so they don’t get nicked. And you can get them on CycleScheme / RidetoWork.
    Apart from that they’re exactly the same. :)

    The non-driving-licence-holding GF is, to put it mildly, not very keen on cycling in London – mainly cos she feels vulnerable due to her lack of power. She feels like she is in the way (of other cyclists and motorised traffic) and not keeping up with the flow of traffic and gets stressed about it. Particularly from a standing start at traffic lights etc.
    OK, the best answer might be to get fit enough to ride a bike at 12-14mph and manage faster bursts. We’ve been through all this, but it’s chicken and egg – she’s not getting out on the bike enough.
    She's not in the slightest overweight and she goes running, but when it comes down to it, cycling’s *just not really her thing*, not enough to overcome the fears / reservations she has re. riding in London.
    It will also probably take her at least an hour to do the 9-mile commute – about the same as it takes her on bus / tube.

    Now the one thing that will get round all this, I am thinking, is an electric bike.
    It will cut her journey time, it will to a certain extent get her over the traffic anxiety thing and allow her to gain confidence while not sweating away trying to keep her speed up, and it will allow *some* exercise.
    _________________

    Now that's all there for discussion, but also: can someone recommend me a good folding version at <£700?

    What does GF think of this?

    What sort of roads and is there a more pleasant alternative? Roads that are fine at 18-25mph can be hairy at 10-15mph
    Unless she takes it very easy she probably will not be much faster.

    though Being faster off the line is true very few cyclist be that shoppers to Lycra commuters are anything but glasial off the line, bar Ebikes which tend to be reasonably smartly away.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    Slowbike wrote:
    I've ridden sportives and etaps with my wife at her pace - yes, I'd love to do them at my pace - but I'd rather she kept riding so it's a sacrifice I'll take.

    well that isn't even a sacrifice.
    You are in a *totally* different situation to mine - my GF is not even in the same riding universe as an etape.
    Think someone who has barely ridden a bike anywhere since she was eight years old.
    I know at what pace and how far she can ride and I can assure you I am not being selfish - just realistic.

    It is a sacrifice - one that has become less of one - we started years ago doing about 5 miles and that was enough - since then her endurance has increased dramatically but her pace has taken a lot longer to develop. I'm having to ride in Z1 or just into Z2 with her. I do go out with a club now and my commute is in a different direction to hers, so solo - so I can get my rides in too.

    Think about what you'd do with a child - would you send them on their merry way with an electric bike - or would you ride with them - at their pace ?

    Perhaps you need to stop looking at it as a ride and consider it just time together instead - it just happens to be on bikes ...

    Depends how long term you think this relationship is I guess ...
  • Last year I had a chat with Will Butler, they are looking into an E-Brompton and that's going to be a big thing apparently...
  • il_principeil_principe Posts: 9,146
    Last year I had a chat with Will Butler, they are looking into an E-Brompton and that's going to be a big thing apparently...

    Brompton have been saying that for years...

    http://www.bikeradar.com/news/article/brompton-e-bike-project-runs-into-difficulty-35419/
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  • EKE_38BPMEKE_38BPM Posts: 5,980
    A thread asking for ebike recommendations and I'm the only person to actually recommend one!!

    Who'dve thunk it!?!
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  • EKE_38BPMEKE_38BPM Posts: 5,980
    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!
  • domgearsdomgears Posts: 134
    I see more lekky bikes in Singapore than proper bikes (excluding BSOs)

    They are limited to 30kmph here and there are a multitude of options, including folding lekky bikes.

    There are those that play with them, just the other day I set of from a traffic light and sensed somebody behind me, quick check and it was a 20 something guy on a lekky bike, ok I thought, I reach my usual cruising speed of 40 kmph expecting him to drop off but no, he was still there, I thought he must be peddling and taking advantage of my huge draft (I am 90kg), so I stepped it up a bit, 50kmph and he is still there, 55kmph, still no shaking him, a quick look and he's not peddling at all.

    I then reached the next traffic light, I am drenched in perspiration (nothing unusual about that, 30+ degrees and 90% humidity does that) and he pulls up, cool as a cucumber, I made a comment about him modifying it and he confirmed the fact, all the time I am just thinking, you lazy mother fekker, you are young and fit, just goddam lazy.

    Anyway, if you really want one, start looking at some ASIAN website, research what you see then get it shipped (although shipping might be rather expensive) but there are some quite nice looking bikes over here, probably worth a look.
  • il_principeil_principe Posts: 9,146
    EKE_38BPM wrote:

    My EYES!
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  • iPeteiPete Posts: 6,076
    I'm yet to come across en eBike that was actually limited to 15mph!
  • There is a electric bike shop nr where the old sigma sport shop was in Hampton Wick. Maybe worth seeing some of these in the flesh?

    I like brakes, or rather good ones, 50lb of bike with cheap V brakes in the wet in traffic might be fairly stimulating!
  • t5nelt5nel Posts: 365
    Lots of options here...start at less than £600 from UK shop (no connection!)

    http://www.wooshbikes.co.uk/

    Think you would definitely want to feel the difference between the front/rear hub and crank drive options by trying them out.

    I quite fancy making one from scratch just for a bit of fun...Problem is if you stay legal then there is little benefit for a half fit male cyclist.
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  • Thanks all.
    From a bit of browsing last night I did pick out these:

    Woosh Gallego
    http://www.wooshbikes.co.uk/?gallego

    Woosh Gale
    http://wooshbikes.co.uk/?gale

    Smarta FX
    http://www.electricbikesales.co.uk/shop ... d_702.html

    Be good to use the shop at Hampton Wick though, as it's not far from us and would be handy for repairs / problems etc.
  • Ian.BIan.B Posts: 732
    An electric unicycle, that's what you want:

    airwheel10-8-1.jpg
    Airwheel wrote:
    In the age of intellectual economy, science and technology have tuned in our daily life. Intellectual economy is now synced with the latest science and technology innovation, which suggests a new economy growth mode of intellectual operation. Science-tech-led enterprises begin to sport more vitality in economy activities and determine the future trend of economy development. When it comes to transporters, the latest innovation is electric unicycle.

    Airwheel electric unicycle stages as the latest hi-tech intelligent product featuring zero-emission and high performance. Developed based on aviation attitude control and fuzzy software algorithm, Airwheel electric unicycles, AKA self-balancing unicycle delivers better and portable user experience with affordable cost. The power consumption is only 1KWh/100km, which makes it the optimal transporter for short commute trip as well as a fun entertaining equipment.

    With a sales pitch like that, why haven't we all got one? It even has aviation attitude control!
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    Yeah and look at the Muffin top on the girl.....this years must have fashion accessory in Coventry I'm told (the MT not the unicycle).

    E-bikes do have a place, many are imported that do not meet the rules and regs, and I think the rather antiquated rules aren't helping, while I'd rather people where on a real bike, I'd prefer they were on an E-bike to in a car.....though of course they are not zero emission despite the BS above.
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