better.bike P.E.B.L. velo factory now open and running!

Discussion in 'Other Brands' started by Popeye Gordon, Nov 1, 2017.

  1. Popeye Gordon

    Popeye Gordon Member

    Any PEBL owners finding this thread? better.bike has now started production in their Massachusetts facility. Youtube has about 20 videos on it and new owners are posting videos as their order is delivered. Organic Transit was in the same position 5 years ago. Let's celebrate this expanding category of hybrid powered velomobiles that directly replace cars for many owners.
    Specs are available at better.bike/pebl/
    My personal opinion on this new as yet unproven design: at 35 pounds heavier then the Organic Transit ELF it is pushing the weight limits for legitimate pedal assist. It has too many accessories as standard equipment so they will start losing money immediately. The body material of hemp fiber w/naturally sourced resins is unproven as to durability and will require special treatment for repairs compared to the recyclable trylon shell of the ELF which usually bounces back after being dented. The enclosed floor and small door of the PEBL will make it too hot and cause a window fogging issue. The smaller door and tighter fit of the rider's legs will restrict use by older drivers. The ELF has three 4000 mile cross country trips to its credit and 4 million road miles logged. 13 reported ELF/car collisions and still no injuries to any drivers! This is what we should celebrate, the safest bicycle type vehicle ever produced! Competition is good, may the best bike win!
     


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  3. Chapooski

    Chapooski New Member

    Both the PEBL and ELF are too heavy to be considered as electric assisted bicycles/tricycles (Ebikes), but should be thought of as light electric vehicles (LEVs) with human pedal assist. I think about a 100 pound curb weight is the realistic limit of anything that should be considered an Ebike that can still be easily propelled by human power alone.
    Some potential customers of the PEBL, ELF or Virtue Pedalist may be better served by the ZEV T3-1 Micro http://www.zelectricvehicle.com/31.html and setting up a pedal powered battery charger at home to get the exercise aspect of the pedal cars. https://www.k-tor.com/Power-Box
     
  4. Popeye Gordon

    Popeye Gordon Member

    Sorry. I and many actual owners of these conveyances disagree. we are driving hybrid velomobiles. There is no established curb weight and by federal law these are electric assist bikes in all 50 states. I can and do propel my ELF by pedal power alone on level ground, I prefer it to get that vital exercise. At such a time when federal laws change and give the ELF a new status I will reconsider. I welcome that time because it would mean a paradigm shift in sustainable transportation has begun.
    The Virtue Pedalist will never catch on, it is a dangerous tip-over hazard. Pedal powered generators are ridiculously inefficient in light of all the vastly easier ways to charge a battery, they should be limited to bomb shelters. The little 100 watt panel on the roof of my ELF exceeds the capacity of pedal charging every day without any human effort.
     
  5. Chapooski

    Chapooski New Member

    Hi Popeye,
    Thank you for the diplomatic and informative reply, I appreciate it.
    I suppose what I was trying to get at is that there should be some point at which a vehicle becomes too heavy to be considered primarily human powered and by definition a bicycle or velomobile.

    I definitely take issue when something like this: https://www.velometro.com/veemo/
    can still be classified as a bicycle and by association as a velomobile because I am very concerned about the negative effects these may have on the Ebike and velomobile communities of today.

    Here is a video of one new PEBL owner that would classify a true velomobile as I do:


    Also this quote from new PEBL owner, Eric Fischnaller is quite telling:

    "My experience thus far is the power just barely offsets the extra weight of the PEBL. Thus, as a typical rider would like to just hit the throttle and glide up the hill, pedaling to "assist". My experience is that you really have to keep cranking or you slow down practically to a crawl. I haven't tried any really long or steep hills, but suspect that I'll be in gear 1 spinning my heart out trying to keep moving forward and it'll get very tiring. The PEBL is a beast to keep moving, particularly if I'm carrying my 13 year old in the back or any cargo. It also has a lot of rolling resistance from the internal hub, extra wheel, drum hubs, and motor. When gliding down a hill, it gets speed up pretty quick due to its weight, but when the hill flattens out, it quickly slows down comparably as well. I'll probably try to show a little longer/steeper hill on my next video since it's been a common request."
     
  6. Popeye Gordon

    Popeye Gordon Member

    I follow all the Youtube videos. If you read the comments below the videos I am very active there. If you listen to them you hear the loud whine of a geared motor. OT abandoned geared motors long ago in favor of the increased performance of un-geared motors that have a more useful power curve. Better.bike also decided the pretty useless regenerative feature and a reverse gear was worth using a motor design with less total power from the same 750 watt rating. Now they have to deal with those decisions. The market will decide but there is no objective standard that says with authority that a heavy sluggish hybrid velo does not qualify as a velomobile, that remains an arbitrary call on your part. The PEBL really needs a 1000 watt motor to handle the weight but federal law will make that unlikely. OT sells a 1000 watt "tactical ELF" that is not legal for civilians to drive on US streets.
    The velo vlogger video is by an extremist who has repeatedly attacked me in the Youtube venue as an imagined "shill" for Organic Transit. He is only one person and a very touchy opinionated one at that. His opinions will not change dictionary definitions or industry standards.
    The velometro was conceived as a rental vehicle. It would have an outrageous price if sold at retail. They went overboard even more than the PEBL and include side door windows that roll up! Too heavy. And it is not actually in the marketplace.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2017
  7. Chapooski

    Chapooski New Member

    Thanks again Popeye for another thoughtful reply.
    My favorite thing about Organic Transit is that they have proven that a market exists for vehicles such as the ELF and PEBL and I sincerely thank them for it.
    I currently produce in very limited numbers a sport/touring velomobile the Marvelo SKR:
    http://marvelomobile.blogspot.ca/p/specifications.html
    ,but have had aspirations for several years in wanting to produce a much more practical velomobile, a recumbent cargo E-trike of sorts with decent weather protection, easy ingress/egress for all and with a curb weight significantly less than the ELF or PEBL.
    I am thinking that a 100 pound curb weight is possible without the cost going through the roof.
    So with this in mind I have been following many of the comments and discussions online about such vehicles and am reaching out to those with relative experience to discuss the good and bad about these vehicles.
     
    harryS likes this.
  8. Popeye Gordon

    Popeye Gordon Member

    Not sure how you could reduce weight that much and still have similar cargo and passenger capability with full DOT lighting and horn. Your design is a streamliner with the typical difficult ingress/egress that old or disabled people can't handle. I'm not that excited about high speed velos that break trail speed limits. The market for heavier velos is as a car substitute. If I can't haul 20 bags of groceries or a case of beer and a frozen turkey it won't fit my needs. Safety is important, consider this - As a member of the ELF owner's group on Facebook with over 500 members, this private group sees photos of the aftermath of serious car/ELF collisions. With 4 million road miles we have logged 15 collisions with NO serious driver injuries. Just yesterday a poor guy in Seattle was commuting to work when he was rear ended at 35 mph, his ELF was a total loss but as it disintegrated it saved his life. He did go to a hospital for a checkup but has no broken bones, just bruises. It was a hit and run and his ELF was very brightly lit up with extra reflectors and LED rope trim lights. The ELF and the PEBL are the two safest bikes ever made, the crumple zones save lives. Let that be one of the top attributes to focus on!