Have you noticed that the vast majority of ebikes are "recreation-focused?"

Ken M

Well-Known Member
For at least 50 years bike value has been defined by a simple equation: their efficiency in turning human effort into forward motion. The quality (and generally, price) of a bike was defined by how efficiently it solved that equation and the definitive aspect of that solution was easily packaged and sold as weight savings. Everything else was secondary. This paradigm was really put in high gear with the advent of drop bar road bikes and derailleurs. At the end of the day, weight ruled supreme, less by virtue of its actual value in solving the efficiency equation than for the fact that it was so darned easy to quantify.

Seems to me that the industry has critically failed to notice is how fundamentally the advent of e-bikes has altered the efficiency equation and therefore, disrupted the faster/farther/easier paradigm. Yet even today, weight is still the/a primal factor driving e-bike price and in evaluating e-bike quality. I think it's mainly driven by the bike industry in general thinking that every "cyclist" expects an ebike to be as close to traditional as possible (i.e. batteries hidden in the frames and motor integrated such that they are not so noticeable).

Realistically, there is no reason the weight/power-efficiency paradigm should apply to anything other than racing bikes.

Here's why I bring this up. I think this is the reason ebikes are not really getting people to consider them viable transportation solutions. More battery capacity that can be hidden in a frame tube is needed and more power so assist is truly effective past 20mph/32kph is needed. I'm not advocating the 10kw motorcycle-like ebikes that have riding geometries that don't really allow effective rider input but something in the range of 1000W mid-drive and 2000W hub drive systems that allow for sustained commuting speeds in the range of 25-35mph (please I know there are those that will quickly say this is no longer a bike but I have hit speeds of 35mph on a non-powered bike going down hills since I was probably 12 years old so I don't need to hear that mamby pamby stuff again).

If there was an affordable transportation-grade ebike available (I think Vintage, Wattwagon, and Bultaco have viable solutions now but they are on the high side of price scale) would it be find a lot of market success?
 
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It's not preferences or technology that limits the speed. There's laws that regulate the speed the motor puts out. You can get a 2000W ebike but it no longer qualifies as a bike.

Technology improves every year and batteries and motors will get smaller and smaller just like all electronics
 

Ger42

New Member
My E-Trike is my main means of transportation. I got it last week sold my pickup Wednesday. Wife has a 2019 Rav4 she uses to commute to work. My doctors and shopping are all within 5 miles with some bike lanes, bike paths and if necessary sidewalks.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Ken, I think there might be a market for something like that, but betting that market will not be a big one as compared to the much larger market where bikes are ridden for pure recreational reasons (and maybe get a bit of exercise while you're at it).

Again, I doubt seriously there will be ANY bike available that would have universal appeal - especially if it were on the expensive side. I doubt seriously you're going to get rid of "different strokes" logic when people are picking out a bike to suit their personal preferences.
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
I have an issue with the term, "transportation grade". What is it? A person who does the maintenance can make any eBike full time daily transportation. Not everyone commutes 20 miles each way at 35mph!
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
For at least 50 years bike value has been defined by a simple equation: their efficiency in turning human effort into forward motion. The quality (and generally, price) of a bike was defined by how efficiently it solved that equation and the definitive aspect of that solution was easily packaged and sold as weight savings. Everything else was secondary. This paradigm was really put in high gear with the advent of drop bar road bikes and derailleurs. At the end of the day, weight ruled supreme, less by virtue of its actual value in solving the efficiency equation than for the fact that it was so darned easy to quantify.
Seems to me that the industry has critically failed to notice is how fundamentally the advent of e-bikes has altered the efficiency equation and therefore, disrupted the faster/farther/easier paradigm. Yet even today, weight is still the/a primal factor driving e-bike price and in evaluating e-bike quality. I think it's mainly driven by the bike industry in general thinking that every "cyclist" expects an ebike to be as close to traditional as possible (i.e. batteries hidden in the frames and motor integrated such that they are not so noticeable).
Realistically, there is no reason the weight/power-efficiency paradigm should apply to anything other than racing bikes.
Here's why I bring this up. I think this is the reason ebikes are not really getting people to consider them viable transportation solutions. More battery capacity that can be hidden in a frame tube is needed and more power so assist is truly effective past 20mph/32kph is needed. I'm not advocating the 10kw motorcycle-like ebikes that have riding geometries that don't really allow effective rider input but something in the range of 1000W mid-drive and 2000W hub drive systems that allow for sustained commuting speeds in the range of 25-35mph (please I know there are those that will quickly say this is no longer a bike but I have hit speeds of 35mph on a non-powered bike going down hills since I was probably 12 years old so I don't need to hear that mamby pamby stuff again).
If there was an affordable transportation-grade ebike available (I think Vintage, Wattwagon, and Bultaco have viable solutions now but they are on the high side of price scale) would it be find a lot of market success?
I'm one who has avoided the racing bike posture since it was invented about 1962 when the "10 speed" drop handlebar bike became popular . I bought an upright posture 3 speed "english racer" clone in 1966, and nothing else until mountain bikes came out with decent posture & 18 speeds in 1986. Leading with your head at 25 mph is idiocy if you're not on a track. Even on the track, some racer hit a tree on a racing bike in the Rio olympics.
For practical daily transportation check the cargo bike category. I bought $69 of holiday gifts today on mine, and hauled them home. Plus $20 of groceries. The light weight of the base yubabike is nice at 63 lb before electrification, but wasn't key to my purchase. The stretch makes it less likely to throw me on my chin as 3 MTB and 2 cruisers have done. That frame is made for seniors with short legs, as nothing else I've found made for adults is. I've ridden kiddie MTB's since 86 and the shifters & brakes are risable.
I've hauled cargo since I outgrew 20" wheels. My single speed cruiser in 1960 had saddlebags on it to allow me to bring books home from library or school. My usual homework load since 6th grade involved 5 text books, a notebook with log & trig table paperback , and a 13 lb musical instrument. Once they bought me the cruiser in 1960, Mom's taxi service was over.
Cargo bikes include yubabikes, xtracycle, pedego stretch, radwagon, surly various, reiss & muller various. Tern GSD if the pavement is perfect in one's surroundings. Convertable cargo bikes include kona. Yuba has a whole set of accessories designed to get kids in their seats & their supplies to school/day care/ shopping, as my Mother did with me on her 1946 Firestone. I rode over the front tire in a masonite & steel seat built by my father, since the child seat had not been invented in 1953.
Now that cars are designed to be replaced in 10 years due to the "check engine light" disease, I'm not buying another one for myself. My cargo bike gets me my 2000 miles a year just fine. The wife is addicted to cars and I bought her a new one 2018 to replace the 2008 that the motor locked up on. A whole half year extra over the planned destruction day, imagine!
 
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Ebiker01

Active Member
1) Doing my commute and errands (all within 1-7miles max.) a speed pedelec is Perfect.
When i go for trail riding (15miles out ) i do ride at 27-28mph (the Pedelec can do 31-32mph. Top) just to get there quickly. But i have a Grin 6.2 anos charget in 25min inout back the 300wh lost going that fast.

2) If I needed to commute every day at least 10miles each way I would need 32-33mph with normal pedaling , in other words EXACTLY what you mentioned that is needed- 1kw or higher and a BIG battery.
I’ve read here that same people commute 25-30 miles each way ; that’s unbelievable for speeds of only 25- 28 mph. That takes lots of effort ! Sure the first two days doing this it’s not that hard but after a few weeks I’m sure it’s a hurt locker.
They should have this category of ebikes Specifically built for the United States because of the looooooooooong roads/commute.

Fast Commuter United States Pedelec - 35mph top speed, a range of 20-40miles at 32-33mph !

A Trek or Bh FCUSP ? Definitely no Stromer ...

That type of ebike is inexistent. It would need 1.5-2kw motor, 3kw pack. Preferably a weight of max.57lbs and to look like a bicycle.


Greyp , made by Rimac the electric supercar maker made one that fit- the Greyp G12, also M1 Sterzing R pedelec is another option . Those are 10k-12k a piece.


But is very heavy -90lb and looks like a Moto.


An FCUSP should be 4. 000$ and Up to 8k ?
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
It's not preferences or technology that limits the speed. There's laws that regulate the speed the motor puts out. You can get a 2000W ebike but it no longer qualifies as a bike.

Technology improves every year and batteries and motors will get smaller and smaller just like all electronics
I do understand your points. I guess my position is based on the idea that it seems we need a truly viable human scale transportation solution to help with the urban congestion problem. I think 45kph/28mph ebikes are close having an assist speed "fast enough" but on most of those ebikes the human effort it takes to sustain that speed (especially against the wide or going up even a slight grade) is too much (ie commuters don't want to wear themselves out and get soaking wet with sweat). There is a chasm gap in performance between a 32kph / <750W ebike drive system ebikes and and most electric or combustion motorcycles so I think law makers really need to examine the technology spectrum again. I think more people would consider an ebike viable transportation if the assist was truly effective to as much as 55kph/35mph, while any faster does start to need more robust build that most ebikes (most bikers have hit 35mph on traditional road bikes so this is not crazy speed).

I gave up riding motorcycles because I just didn't want to be in the mix with cars because it became drivers not seeing riders became worse every year. I'm not suggesting that ebikers should be tolerated riding down sidewalks with pedestrians at 30mph (the vast majority of bikers regulate their speeds based on conditions because it's not like they are immune from injury if they cause an accident) but limiting the assist speed to 20mph is too slow for effective commuting in my opinion because time really is a cost factor.

For the vast majority of us an ebike will not REPLACE a car, but only "supplement" owning a car. If owning a faster than 32kph ebike requires an additional registration and insurance cost I think it dramatically reduces the positive aspects of transitioning some transportation needs to an ebike. It just does and I questions the Class 1 assist speeds were established at 32kph for any other reason but to enable the big OEM motor and ebike manufacturers to sell the same models worldwide.
 
I do understand your points. I guess my position is based on the idea that it seems we need a truly viable human scale transportation solution to help with the urban congestion problem. I think 45kph/28mph ebikes are close having an assist speed "fast enough" but on most of those ebikes the human effort it takes to sustain that speed (especially against the wide or going up even a slight grade) is too much (ie commuters don't want to wear themselves out and get soaking wet with sweat). There is a chasm gap in performance between a 32kph / <750W ebike drive system ebikes and and most electric or combustion motorcycles so I think law makers really need to examine the technology spectrum again. I think more people would consider an ebike viable transportation if the assist was truly effective to as much as 55kph/35mph, while any faster does start to need more robust build that most ebikes (most bikers have hit 35mph on traditional road bikes so this is not crazy speed).

I gave up riding motorcycles because I just didn't want to be in the mix with cars because it became drivers not seeing riders became worse every year. I'm not suggesting that ebikers should be tolerated riding down sidewalks with pedestrians at 30mph (the vast majority of bikers regulate their speeds based on conditions because it's not like they are immune from injury if they cause an accident) but limiting the assist speed to 20mph is too slow for effective commuting in my opinion because time really is a cost factor.

For the vast majority of us an ebike will not REPLACE a car, but only "supplement" owning a car. If owning a faster than 32kph ebike requires an additional registration and insurance cost I think it dramatically reduces the positive aspects of transitioning some transportation needs to an ebike. It just does and I questions the Class 1 assist speeds were established at 32kph for any other reason but to enable the big OEM motor and ebike manufacturers to sell the same models worldwide.
I actual use mine to commute but its less than 10 miles each way. Our city is moving towards more bike lanes, and seem like many are as well. I see more and more protected two way cycle tracks which is exactly what bikers need to feel safe to commute. Once you get the infrastructure in place you'll definitely see more riders. I think in the UK they has long stretches of bike trails for people to get around. And as more and more people ride ebikes and it becomes more common, we might see more relaxed laws.
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
For at least 50 years bike value has been defined by a simple equation: their efficiency in turning human effort into forward motion. The quality (and generally, price) of a bike was defined by how efficiently it solved that equation and the definitive aspect of that solution was easily packaged and sold as weight savings. Everything else was secondary. This paradigm was really put in high gear with the advent of drop bar road bikes and derailleurs. At the end of the day, weight ruled supreme, less by virtue of its actual value in solving the efficiency equation than for the fact that it was so darned easy to quantify.

Seems to me that the industry has critically failed to notice is how fundamentally the advent of e-bikes has altered the efficiency equation and therefore, disrupted the faster/farther/easier paradigm. Yet even today, weight is still the/a primal factor driving e-bike price and in evaluating e-bike quality. I think it's mainly driven by the bike industry in general thinking that every "cyclist" expects an ebike to be as close to traditional as possible (i.e. batteries hidden in the frames and motor integrated such that they are not so noticeable).

Realistically, there is no reason the weight/power-efficiency paradigm should apply to anything other than racing bikes.

Here's why I bring this up. I think this is the reason ebikes are not really getting people to consider them viable transportation solutions. More battery capacity that can be hidden in a frame tube is needed and more power so assist is truly effective past 20mph/32kph is needed. I'm not advocating the 10kw motorcycle-like ebikes that have riding geometries that don't really allow effective rider input but something in the range of 1000W mid-drive and 2000W hub drive systems that allow for sustained commuting speeds in the range of 25-35mph (please I know there are those that will quickly say this is no longer a bike but I have hit speeds of 35mph on a non-powered bike going down hills since I was probably 12 years old so I don't need to hear that mamby pamby stuff again).

If there was an affordable transportation-grade ebike available (I think Vintage, Wattwagon, and Bultaco have viable solutions now but they are on the high side of price scale) would it be find a lot of market success?
I suggest you to travel more.
This topic has been discussed here on EBR.

In North America, we are living in car society.
Our infrastructure is based on cars, highways, etc. NOT high speed bullet trains or even bicycles.

To Americans and Canadians, bicycles or ebikes are toys, sport, recreation item, hobby, something to do on weekends, etc.

To Japanese or Europeans, bicycles or ebikes are everyday tool, to pick up kids from school, to go grocery shopping, to go to work, etc.
Ebikes are legitimate transportation. Not treated like toys like in North America.

Bridgestone

Panasonic

Yamaha
 

ruffruff

Member
I totally agree with your take on this.
I bought a fat tire a couple months ago for recreation.

I'm looking for a second bike for commuting so I have been researching for a long time.
I've come to the conclusion that there is no off-the-shelf viable solution for my needs in my price range.

I'm going to build my own and I'm going with a minimum 1000w mid drive and may go 2k-3k hub.
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
I totally agree with your take on this.
I bought a fat tire a couple months ago for recreation.

I'm looking for a second bike for commuting so I have been researching for a long time.
I've come to the conclusion that there is no off-the-shelf viable solution for my needs in my price range.

I'm going to build my own and I'm going with a minimum 1000w mid drive and may go 2k-3k hub.
I think the Rad Wagon is most utility oriented bike for and still affordable.
Bolton kit will give you 1911W of power (@ 54.6V) or on average, approx 1680W (@ 48V)

Rad Wagon

Bolton 35A kit

 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
I have an issue with the term, "transportation grade". What is it? A person who does the maintenance can make any eBike full time daily transportation. Not everyone commutes 20 miles each way at 35mph!
I have a friend with a Haibike with a Yamaha mid drive who had to replace his chain and last few rear cogs are just 500 miles. I'm reading that that is actually not that uncommon and only gets worse with higher torque mid drives. I've seen street tires pretty much bald in under 2000 miles. I guess I just don't see those as transportation durability.

If axle bearing on a car can easily go 100,000+ miles, why can't crank and axle bearing on ebikes easily last for 20,000 miles without needing replacement or servicing?

I think a lot of bikes end up collecting dust in the garage because of issues that, while they may not be that technical or expensive to fix, just happen too frequently. I can't count how many front suspension bikes I have seen with front forks that are trashed / seized and few owners are going to pay $200+ for a fork rebuild on a bike that is likely not even worth that much.

I guess I'm thinking a "transportation-grade" ebike should be able to go 10,000 miles without any service requirement except for maybe chain lubrication (rather see belts or shaft drives on cummuting ebikes) and battery charging. That list is probably pretty short ... maybe none.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Ken, I think there might be a market for something like that, but betting that market will not be a big one as compared to the much larger market where bikes are ridden for pure recreational reasons (and maybe get a bit of exercise while you're at it).

Again, I doubt seriously there will be ANY bike available that would have universal appeal - especially if it were on the expensive side. I doubt seriously you're going to get rid of "different strokes" logic when people are picking out a bike to suit their personal preferences.
It's pretty interesting that the vast majority of people in North America essential see bikes & ebikes as recreational. I keep thinking that when congestion gets bad enough and more ebikes are more capable of car-like commuting durability maybe that view will change.

I think there are a few models from Vintage, Juiced, Bultaco, and Wattwagon that are transportation-grade but they are also somewhat on the high priced side with maybe the exception of the Juiced (MAC drive system model only).
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
I think the Rad Wagon is most utility oriented bike for and still affordable.
Bolton kit will give you 1911W of power (@ 54.6V) or on average, approx 1680W (@ 48V)

Rad Wagon

Bolton 35A kit

That bike, as a direct drive, well, I don't consider it viable. The direct drive is totally out of place on a bike like this. It should be a gear drive. Rad has missed the boat badly here....

Rad needs more gear driven options badly....
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
That bike, as a direct drive, well, I don't consider it viable. The direct drive is totally out of place on a bike like this. It should be a gear drive. Rad has missed the boat badly here....

Rad needs more gear driven options badly....
I believe the Rad Wagon has a derailleur .... it's the Rad Runner that is a fixie but it has a lot of torque with 20" wheels so the review pretty much proves it gets by fine with only one gear which is probably good for reasonable cadence at 20mph given the front to rear ratio.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Ken, I was referring to the motor (direct drive rear hub vs. gear driven). -Al
 
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rich c

Well-Known Member
I have a friend with a Haibike with a Yamaha mid drive who had to replace his chain and last few rear cogs are just 500 miles. I'm reading that that is actually not that uncommon and only gets worse with higher torque mid drives. I've seen street tires pretty much bald in under 2000 miles. I guess I just don't see those as transportation durability.

If axle bearing on a car can easily go 100,000+ miles, why can't crank and axle bearing on ebikes easily last for 20,000 miles without needing replacement or servicing?

I think a lot of bikes end up collecting dust in the garage because of issues that, while they may not be that technical or expensive to fix, just happen too frequently. I can't count how many front suspension bikes I have seen with front forks that are trashed / seized and few owners are going to pay $200+ for a fork rebuild on a bike that is likely not even worth that much.

I guess I'm thinking a "transportation-grade" ebike should be able to go 10,000 miles without any service requirement except for maybe chain lubrication (rather see belts or shaft drives on cummuting ebikes) and battery charging. That list is probably pretty short ... maybe none.
I didn’t change my Haibike with Bosch chain until 2500 miles. At 3,000 miles I’m still on original cassettes and brakes. Wearing out chains in short order on mid drives is not universal.
 
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Ken M

Well-Known Member
Ken, I was referring to the motor (direct drive rear hub vs. gear driven). -Al
Oops.... I should have known that. My miss. :)

I'm still a big fan of direct drive hub motors .... so few people understand that they really are very efficient when used correctly such as just cruising around over 25kph/15mph. They just are not so great for low speed climbing and accelerating from a stop which is the two areas where most riders "perceive" performance.