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Thread: Electric Bicycles

  1. #1

    Electric Bicycles

    I did a search and didnít come across any recent threads on this topic, so here goes.

    Iím 50 and cycle to work most day (14 miles return). My commute in outer London is often quicker by bike than car given usual rush hour congestion. Plus I found a nice off road route for most of the journey which is suitable for bikes and electric bikes.

    However in the winter when Iím feeling a bit lazier, some extra occasional oomph may be nice on those dark cold days.

    Due to changes to the scheme, work is soon to remove the £1000 cycle to work scheme limit as this was only previously offered to companies with a credit license.

    So, Iím think of some sort of urban/hybrid flat bar electric bike up to £2k.

    It would be good to hear about your experiences of electric cycling in general, and any particular specification or bike that is particularly recommended.

  2. #2
    Master Red Steve's Avatar
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    The Bike Radar Forum may prove a little more useful?

    https://forum.bikeradar.com/viewtopic.php?f=40042&t=13106591&p=20550492&hilit=electric+bikes#p20550 492

    I'm also considering one due to painful joints but am hoping to hold off until around this time next year...

    Orbea have a good range and although a little over budget something like this gravel bike could cover both your on and off road requirements..

    https://www.leisurelakesbikes.com/30...angeblack.aspx

    All the best.
    Steve.

  3. #3
    Master de30m's Avatar
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    the new Boardman hybrid electric with the fazua motor is getting good reviews, seems decent spec and at £2.2k looks good for what it comes with and their bikes are always beautifully finished with fully smoothed welds and nice components for the money

  4. #4
    Coincidently, my wife picked her electric bike up from the bike store around the corner where I live, two hours ago. A Dutch brand, I don't think that it's for sale in the UK. And I'm interested in buying one myself.

    Electric bikes are really 'big' here, where I live. Lots of kids come to school every morning on an electric bike. E.g. a boy in my son's class does a 55 mins trip (single trip) every morning on his bike, same distance and time back every late afternoon. 18kms, but he has to climb a few nasty hills. On his electric bike, things are a lot easier.

    Recent Dutch statistics show that front wheel-powered bikes are more prone to accidents than mid-engined and rear-engined bikes. Something to do with the power vs steering characteristics perhaps?

    My interest in buying an electric bike was fueled last Summer after reading a German article that mentioned the fact that people riding an electric-powered bike, chose to ride a bike significantly more often. In other words: they make more mileage on an electric bike than on a 'normal' road bike. And that's better for one's health!

  5. #5
    Master
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    I just couldn’t bring myself to spend the kind of money a lot of these e-bikes are asking, so I converted one of my mountain bikes using a mid-drive Tongshen TSDZ2 motor, and made up my own battery pack from some 5S RC modelling batteries.

    It’s a pedal assist setup rather than an ‘electric bike/moped’, it’s a nominal 250w so road legal and makes me feel like I’ve got bionic legs! Hills are no longer an issue.

    It’s a 36v 5.2Ah battery pack, and I get an easy 15 miles of pedal assist without stressing the battery.

    Cost was about £400. I’ve got the batteries in a small frame bag now rather than under the seat, and I’ve changed the crank chain wheel for something a bit smaller to suit the off road riding I do.

    Sorry for the links, I’ll embed the pictures later when I’m on a tablet/computer.

    E-bike Conversion by iaintookey, on Flickr
    E-bike Conversion by iaintookey, on Flickr
    E-bike Conversion by iaintookey, on Flickr
    E-bike Conversion by iaintookey, on Flickr
    E-bike Conversion by iaintookey, on Flickr
    E-bike Conversion by iaintookey, on Flickr
    Last edited by Tooks; 10th October 2019 at 16:56.

  6. #6
    Mrs Goat and myself bought 2 new ones earlier this year
    Made by Cube, they are Bosch CX performance ones.
    Very pleased-
    Currently under warranty and assistance restricted to 15,5 mph as all the legal ones are...may derestrict later- very easy to do.
    Getting 60-80 miles easily on a full charge
    We chose MTB based machines as we live 5m from the open new forest and use them half and half road/off-road
    We have pads of friends with them, none have regrets
    Main difference is that we USE these whereas our old bikes were getting less and less used,
    Nothing to do 20miles for a run out for a beer these days
    Last edited by GOAT; 9th October 2019 at 16:22.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by GOAT View Post
    Main difference is that we USE these whereas our old bikes were getting less and less used,
    Nothing to do 20miles for a run out for a beer these days
    That's exactly the outcome of the German study

  8. #8
    Master
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    Used one in Austria earlier this year for some gravel trails, used the Bosh mid drive stuff. Day 1 40k ride and a ~1k elevation gain, left 2 bars on my battery and three on my wifeís.

    Day 2 ~40k flat ride and both lost a bar.

    Overall Iíd have one if my commute could justify it.

    If itís a pure commute bike Iíd look at something more sit up style like the ďDutchĒ bikes to aid visibility in traffic plus thereís some anecdotal evidence of car drivers giving more space to cyclists on them.

  9. #9
    Master Harry Smith's Avatar
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    I wish I had a Mrs Goat. Although slim and pretty fit it's the proverbial fish on a bike scenario with my Mrs, clueless when it comes to anything without four wheels. Her bike is the simplest form of step thru' and she still fuggs it up
    Anyway, why not have a look on eflay and use the 'Nearest me' search facility.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Tooks View Post
    I just couldnít bring myself to spend the kind of money a lot of these e-bikes are asking, so I converted one of my mountain bikes using a mid-drive Tongshen TSDZ2 motor, and made up my own battery pack from some 5S RC modelling batteries.

    Itís a pedal assist setup rather than an Ďelectric bike/mopedí, itís a nominal 250w so road legal and makes me feel like Iíve got bionic legs! Hills are no longer an issue.

    Itís a 36v 5.2Ah battery pack, and I get an easy 15 miles of pedal assist without stressing the battery.

    Cost was about £400. Iíve got the batteries in a small frame bag now rather than under the seat, and Iíve changed the crank chain wheel for something a bit smaller to suit the off road riding I do.

    Sorry for the links, Iíll embed the pictures later when Iím on a tablet/computer.

    https://flic.kr/p/2hswZkR
    https://flic.kr/p/2hstinX
    https://flic.kr/p/2hsvZAM
    https://flic.kr/p/2hstiGp
    https://flic.kr/p/2hstj91
    If you get a chance post everything you have about this. You wont bore me.

  11. #11
    Grand Master Saint-Just's Avatar
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    Bosch CX in the crank, sit up bike. For Menno, I also have some Clarijs panniers.
    I try to commute weather permitting, despite a couple of stiff climbs both ways. About 22 miles in total, in about 45 to 55 minutes (morning ride is quicker as worst climb is taken the right way and at 6-6:30 there is no traffic.
    I am 60 and a touch under 15 stones. I would never had considered riding to this place of work on a non e-bike.
    Don't take my silence for agreement. I've just realised you're too stupid to argue with.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    Bosch CX in the crank, sit up bike. For Menno, I also have some Clarijs panniers.
    I try to commute weather permitting, despite a couple of stiff climbs both ways. About 22 miles in total, in about 45 to 55 minutes (morning ride is quicker as worst climb is taken the right way and at 6-6:30 there is no traffic.
    I am 60 and a touch under 15 stones. I would never had considered riding to this place of work on a non e-bike.
    Clarijs panniers: ha! It won't come more 'Dutch' than that. Honestly. Clarijs is a household name over here and I've thought that these bags are called panniers! Household name as in: "I'll put my coat in the Clarijs when it gets hot!"

    Menno

  13. #13
    Grand Master Saint-Just's Avatar
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    Not surprised. They are brilliant. And cycling without a rucksack on your back makes a massive difference.
    Don't take my silence for agreement. I've just realised you're too stupid to argue with.

  14. #14
    Master robcuk's Avatar
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    I have a VanMoof Electrified X2, brilliant concept, moderately well executed, but too rich for your budget!

  15. #15
    Master senwar's Avatar
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    I've had 4 - each new one being significantly better than the other.

    First one was a Eco Expedition made by a bespoke company. Not bad, did the job but I wanted something better. Then got a Haibike sduro FS. Brilliant. Had it 3 years. Bought a Focus Jam2 last year but then got a Specialized Turbo Levo in August - that thing is awesome. Appreciate above budget though. I loved my Haibike as well.

    Cube do some nice ones around your budget and I would also say you'll get good deals on 2019 models now. As an example. there's a cracking Focus Hard Tail MTB at £1999 at Rutland although I see you mention Hybrid so may not be right for you. But now is definitely good to look but not all places will do cycle scheme on sale bikes.

  16. #16
    Another Dutch brand!

    For what I've seen and noticed about the UK landscape, I think that an electric bike is the best way to explore the country! Germany has a 'culture' of Speed Pedalecs: those 'fast lane' brothers and sisters on bikes reaching up to 45 kms/hr. They're allowed here, but one needs to be 16 y/old, with a moped drivers license, a helmet and a license plate. Big German names are Stromer and Riese & MŁller.

    One of my colleagues has one. She must have bought one of the first in the country. She owns it for at least 5 or 6 yrs now. Doing, a 60 km roundtrip daily. The electric motor is in the rear wheel. She has done more than 35,000 km with her bike. Currently on her 2nd motor and 3rd battery. She even has summer and winter tyres for her bike.

    For more background info: our local bike shop has a nice website with interesting information. Use Google translate for -what I think- seriously good info about the 'dilemma' you face when buying an electric bike. They only sell high-end bikes but those bikes are often used for more-than-serious work... The experience found there is mentioned in the article.

    https://www.bongersbikes.nl/e-bike-dilemma/

  17. #17

  18. #18
    Craftsman
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    Quote Originally Posted by adrianw View Post
    Nice vid. Donít see a kit for retro fit on the website. Is it an option? Iím in the market right now.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Jubal View Post
    Nice vid. Donít see a kit for retro fit on the website. Is it an option? Iím in the market right now.
    No, they only sell complete bikes

  20. #20
    Craftsman
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    Bought an electric bike in May 2018 after a 40 year bad back finally put a halt to normal cycling.

    Since than I have put 2500 miles on my Focus Aventura Pro 2 and absolutely love it. It was about £2200 and has a Bosch CX motor giving out 73nm whatever that means.

    It's very hilly in these parts but regularly ride 30 to 40 mile trips climbing over 2400 feet. My range is about 60 to 70 miles and the battery is as good as day 1. Recommend a 500 watt battery.

    Have fun.

    scooter

  21. #21
    Master
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    The Ribble one is getting a good press if you like road bikes

  22. #22
    Master
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    Anything decent under a grand secondhand?

  23. #23
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davidh View Post
    If you get a chance post everything you have about this. You wont bore me.
    I’ve updated my post with embedded pictures, I’m quite pleased with how it’s turned out.

    It rides very similar to the Bosch equipped factory bikes, it’s why I went with the Tongsheng system as opposed to the popular Bafang 02. The latter can power the bike without any rider input, but I wanted something that assisted me, when I pedal the motor pedals a bit too.

    It’s quite a laugh off road, and makes anything slightly uphill fun again rather than laborious. I’ve just got the wrong side of 50, but this makes me ride like I’m 25 again. Well, at least in my head...

    I’ll get some pics up of the new chain ring and battery bag arrangement if you’re interested. I’ve also fully waterproofed the connections now, ready for the winter muck.

    I’ve read on some e-bike forums that there’s a weakness in the Tongsheng main drive gear, it’s plastic and can wear out or break if you’re clumsy, at least on early versions of the motor. I’ve got a replacement metal gear coming in from China, and I’ll have that handy should the original break.

    It’s given an old bike that was gathering dust in the shed a new lease of life, and renewed my interest in cycling, both of which can only be a good thing. I’m under pressure to convert the other old bike in the shed now too, so Mrs Tooks can ride it...
    Last edited by Tooks; 10th October 2019 at 17:08.

  24. #24
    Craftsman
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    I have an Orbea Gain and would highly recommend it. I'm unfit and overweight and it makes my hilly 12 mile commute enjoyable. I still have to put some effort in so get plenty of exercise in the process and the assistance can be reduced as required. I've added full mudguards and wider tyres to make it more commuter friendly. It's very stealthy and doesn't look like an ebike but the range isn't great, I can't quite get 2 days out of a charge so do have to charge after every ride. (I found out the hard way running out of juice on my last big hill!)

    Worth checking the orbea website as I managed to get a test ride at my local bike shop before buying.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Craig View Post
    I have an Orbea Gain and would highly recommend it. I'm unfit and overweight and it makes my hilly 12 mile commute enjoyable. I still have to put some effort in so get plenty of exercise in the process and the assistance can be reduced as required. I've added full mudguards and wider tyres to make it more commuter friendly. It's very stealthy and doesn't look like an ebike but the range isn't great, I can't quite get 2 days out of a charge so do have to charge after every ride. (I found out the hard way running out of juice on my last big hill!)

    Worth checking the orbea website as I managed to get a test ride at my local bike shop before buying.
    My Nephew is sponsored by Orbea, they gave him some electric mountain bikes he really rates them.

  26. #26
    Craftsman Templogin's Avatar
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    Itís 18 miles to work. I am overweight, asthmatic, unfit and a few months short of 60. I usually rode a Thorn eXp expedition bike. Think touring bike but heavier. Either that or a Moulton TSR30 or Moulton APB LR. It would take me 2-2.25 hours to get to work, by which time I was frazzled, so I decided on an electric bike. Never having ridden one and with no shops locally that sold them I ended up with an AARC Moulton TSR8. I added 2. Extra batteries and 2 extra chargers. The batteries are Bosch and I understand they are the same as used on rechargeable lawn mowers. Allegedly go for 30 miles. I get just over 10, but then the bike is usually well loaded with me, a couple of small panniers, a rack pack, and sometimes towing a trailer too. The price would probably tip over £3.5k now, so would be over the budget.

    Riding an electric bike was an absolute revelation. I arrived at work on the dregs of the second battery in 1 hour and ten minutes feeling ready to go., rather than like death warmed up. I would average 12 mph rather than 8mph on the non-assisted bikes. There is a downside though. If you were fit enough to ride a non-assisted bike before, then after a few months of an electric bike it is really hard to go back. My fitness and strength, what there was of it, definitely declined. I struggled really badly with hills that I had only struggled slightly with before. I have to admit that this wind-blasted isle that I live on makes it difficult to get out on a bike and I find riding my indoor bike, a converted Tern, soul-destroying. Your mileage may vary, but riding an e-bike is definitely a joy, but like your car it might make you lazy.

  27. #27
    I've had a little chat on hukd about e bikes. As above the Tongsheng and bafang seem to be the DIY kits to go for and Bosch motors if going for a ready built.

    Bosch are great but no way of fixing the motors if anything goes wrong. If in warranty Bosch are supposed to be pretty good at sorting it for you. Out of warranty and if anything goes wrong with the motor it's £650 for a new one and you also have to send them your old one.

    The DIY kits you can fix yourself and with a big following there is plenty of knowledge out there to help you. Only trouble is these kits I think are 500W motors which makes them illegal in the UK. 250watts is the maximum in the UK. Apparently Bosch motors get round this with some kind of Boost feature but there rated at 250Watts.

  28. #28
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprite1275 View Post
    I've had a little chat on hukd about e bikes. As above the Tongsheng and bafang seem to be the DIY kits to go for and Bosch motors if going for a ready built.

    Bosch are great but no way of fixing the motors if anything goes wrong. If in warranty Bosch are supposed to be pretty good at sorting it for you. Out of warranty and if anything goes wrong with the motor it's £650 for a new one and you also have to send them your old one.

    The DIY kits you can fix yourself and with a big following there is plenty of knowledge out there to help you. Only trouble is these kits I think are 500W motors which makes them illegal in the UK. 250watts is the maximum in the UK. Apparently Bosch motors get round this with some kind of Boost feature but there rated at 250Watts.
    I think the law says 250w constant/nominal output, but I understand that allows for them to provide up to 750w peak and still be legal.

    The max speed limit is the other key criteria, which all the factory bikes and the 250w rated Tongsheng and Bafang conversion kits also adhere to.

    As somebody has already said though, custom firmware can change not only that but also the delivery characteristics.

    The kit I got is rated 250w and it doesnít feel any more powerful than the Bosch powered factory bikes Iíve test ridden.

  29. #29
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprite1275 View Post
    I've had a little chat on hukd about e bikes. As above the Tongsheng and bafang seem to be the DIY kits to go for and Bosch motors if going for a ready built.

    Bosch are great but no way of fixing the motors if anything goes wrong. If in warranty Bosch are supposed to be pretty good at sorting it for you. Out of warranty and if anything goes wrong with the motor it's £650 for a new one and you also have to send them your old one.

    The DIY kits you can fix yourself and with a big following there is plenty of knowledge out there to help you. Only trouble is these kits I think are 500W motors which makes them illegal in the UK. 250watts is the maximum in the UK. Apparently Bosch motors get round this with some kind of Boost feature but there rated at 250Watts.
    500W is Bradley Wiggins territory!

    But the speed restriction would let you down on anything other than a pretty steep hill.

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by trident-7 View Post
    500W is Bradley Wiggins territory!

    But the speed restriction would let you down on anything other than a pretty steep hill.
    All types are allowed here. 600W monsters are readily available. Max speed for a normal electric bike is set on 25 km/hr. You can go faster, but without electrical support. The 600W power pack only provides more distance between charging.
    The speed-pedalecs on Dutch roads are limited to 45 km/hr, a moped drivers license, a license plate on the bike and a helmet (mandatory for speed pedalecs - all other bikes here are free of the rule to wear a helmet).

    Having said that.. it is pretty easy to tune your electric bike! One can even buy special sets via the internet! It's not allowed, but all youngsters I know with an electric bike have a tuned version of the original bike...

  31. #31

    Electric Bicycles

    Quote Originally Posted by thieuster View Post
    600W monsters are readily available.
    The incandescent bulbs I house in my house until recently were 60W.

    Surely the equivalent of the power of 10 incandescent bulbs cannot drive a monster powered bike.

  32. #32
    Grand Master Chris_in_the_UK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noTAGlove View Post
    The incandescent bulbs I house in my house until recently were 60W.

    Surely the equivalent of the power of 10 incandescent bulbs cannot drive a monster powered bike.
    In a cycling context, 600 watts is a big number. Equates to 0.8 horsepower.

    This is pro-cyclist territory and some.
    When you look long into an abyss, the abyss looks long into you.........

  33. #33
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    I converted Mrs V.'s bike for her birthday last July.

    Let's say that she wasn't pleased. At all. Her perception of the electric bike was something that little old ladies use, at 47 she wasn't chuffed with the idea of that moniker.

    I used a Bafang 350W rear wheel conversion kit off ebay. I'm an electronics eng & I work with Li-ion batteries, so I built a 36V 8.8Ah pack out of some spare cells. I had to build a spot welder to make it, but that's another story.
    All in the conversion cost about £500. If I had to buy a battery it would have been another £150 odd. All of this on a steel framed ladies mountain bike that couldn't have cost more than £100 new. Crazy, but she likes the bike.

    I've known her for 18 years. In all that time I've managed to get her to actually use her bike twice.

    Since the conversion, (which she initially refused to try) she has used the bike to get to work every single dry day and occasionally badgers me to go for a leisure ride. Her bike is superb fun, you really do feel bionic.


    Right, history out of the way here's some useful stuff...

    Legal limit is 250W. If you're buying a pre-made bike, look for a bike with an "off road" switch. With it set to on road, you're limited to 250W, flip to "off road" to access the rest.
    350W is fine. It's a continuous rating, peak power is consumption is higher. The LCD has a power gauge, and when I borrow the bike, I often see 500W being consumed (on hills or accelerating). I think 250W would be a bit weedy.

    There are two types, each with advantages and disadvantages.
    The rear wheel motor has a fixed gearing so will either struggle at low speeds and on hills or will run out of rpm at speed (legal limit is 18mph, the bikes have an adjustable limiter).
    The chainset motors don't suffer from this as they use the bike's chain and gearing. However because of this they are less efficient and therefore the range per Wh isnt as good.

    You pay's yer money and makes yer choices.

  34. #34
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_in_the_UK View Post
    In a cycling context, 600 watts is a big number. Equates to 0.8 horsepower.

    This is pro-cyclist territory and some.
    I'll say. When I took on the services of a coach 10 years ago it took me 2 years of hard training to improve my one hour sustained power output (FTP) from about 300W to 335W. I'd need a boost of less than 100W to give me a similar FTP to Chris Froome (4 x winner of the Tour de France)

    These days the pro cyclists have their bikes checked for hidden electric motors. The first pro cyclist to be caught & convicted of motorised doping occurred in 2016

    https://www.theguardian.com/sport/20...-championships

  35. #35
    Master Harry Smith's Avatar
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    I use Mrs Smith's to wizz up and back from the shops. Walking bores me although we do a bit of 'power-walking' round our 2 mile parkway occasionally.
    It's got the old style thumb throttle and travels happily at 18-20 mph even with my 200lb fat arse on it. You definitely need a bell or hooter as the zombie dog walkers regard all paths as their own even though they are wide and there to be shared with bikes.

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