Motiv Shadow - 1000 Mile Review - Part 1

calvin

Active Member
Please note that this review is going to be updated as I accumulate more info.

I purchased this ebike about 13 months ago. I live close to everywhere I want to go, therefore it took me all that time to accumulate that mileage. Most of the problems that I have encountered with this ebike have all been initially disconcerting to me, not because of the problems complexity, but due to me being basically ebike ignorant. With the exception of one big general ebike issue that is heat/battery related, specific problems with the Motiv Shadow have been minor and will be covered in the second part of this review, which will be posted in a few days. Therefore, I will begin with some more general ebike observations.


A good electric bike, for most of us, is a relatively expensive purchase. We are not used to, nor have we ever heard of anyone paying several thousands of dollars for a bike, electric or not. Many people are therefore probably holding back on making a final decision, worried that they will make a mistake. I've decided to make this review as detailed as possible for that reason. I will tell of my experiences, perhaps they may be of help to someone. I decided to purchase this bike, without a test drive, based upon Court's video review of the Shadow. He is about my height, and his review was positive.


The novelty of riding my ebike, the Motiv Shadow, has worn off, but there is still the joy of riding along in the open air, often accompanied temporarily by birds, tracking respectfully behind fast young, well muscled male and female bikers. Who by the way, wonder how it is this old guy can keep up.


While riding this ebike, the broad wide screen of your vision becomes exceptionally fluid, with you moving and penetrating deeper and deeper into this scene as though you are in a movie or a dream. This effect I believe is caused by the effortlessness and relative silence of the ebike. After all, even with the intermittent whine of the geared rear hub motor, after I throttle up, I am free wheeling (coasting) at least 70 percent of the time. This is not something that I have experienced much on a standard leg powered bike, nor on a motorcycle. The effort of continuous pumping your legs to maintain higher speeds or the noise of a gasoline engine with the flashing past of the environment prevents you from getting to that place in those two instances...


Since my purchase of the Motive Shadow, I have ridden my ebike on city streets in heavy and light traffic, on roads asphalt and dirt and on dedicated bike paths in and along rivers and washes. I feel now that even if I rode another 10,000 miles, I would not know more or be able to share more than I can now. I believe that I am qualified enough to make here some observations that are not necessarily peculiar to the Motiv Shadow but would generally cover all ebikes, excepting those with the smallest motors and frames or those ebikes built with the highest tech components.

1. Let me get to the "big issue" right up front. This issue is present in all lithium battery powered ebikes by any and every manufacturer. You cannot expose the lithium ion battery to extreme heat. If you live in a desert climate (like I do) where the heat jumps up to 100 - 115+ degrees Fahrenheit for five months out of the year and you take long rides in that environment you will degrade your battery. If you leave your battery outside for an extended period of time ( a few hours) in that type of heat on a daily basis you will degrade your battery.

How do I know this to be true? Well it says so all over the internet! There was a lawsuit by Nissan Leaf owners in Arizona and southern California against Nissan for selling the car without having a active cooling protection system for the lithium battery that came with the car. They experienced a much reduced range and top speed. See this: http://www.torquenews.com/1075/nissan-settles-class-action-lawsuit-battery-capacity-loss-case ..... Notice the mentioning of "especially Phoenix" in the article.

Now, I rode my bike for extended periods, in that heat. I left my bike outside for two hours a day, five days a week, from May to October, in that type of heat. Why? I was not particularly ignorant in this department. But I am used to the heat and am not particularly uncomfortable with it. But the underlying fact is that I am often just lazy and did not discipline myself. I should have limited my biking to the cool early morning hours. When I had parked my bike outside, I should have pulled the battery out and took it inside. But I did not do any of those things and now the battery does not allow me to have quite the range nor the ability to maintain the continuous high speed as I was accustomed to when the bike was new. I will try to quantify this in Part 2 of the review with exact ranges and speeds with respect to time.

However, looking at this from a positive viewpoint, I unintentionally conducted a battery torture test. I know that all lithium ion batteries degrade whether you use them intensively or not, and that in about three years the battery is probably going to be replaced. If you don't like that then don't get in the game. At least not at this point. This being said the battery still charges up to and holds 41.7 volts. Which is a good thing.

I want to do a mod to the battery housing to allow for its operation in the extreme heat as we experience here in Phoenix. If I am not able to find a way to cool this battery off then I will not be using this bike in the summer. I know that many of you have put your ebike away for the winter. I did not have to do that, because we don't have a real winter here in Phoenix.

Some modifications that are needed: The battery housing needs to be vented to allow air to travel through the cells to keep the internal temperature within the parameters that allow for operation without damage. The problem is of course the ambient heat is too close to the thermal damage threshold of the lithium cell. The climate is such that it almost never rains here, so that the housing could be drilled out, or perhaps an aluminum mesh could replace the current container holding the cells in place. A temperature probe with a display could be inserted into the center of the cell group. Still, this mod probably will not be enough.

My best guess is that a more active cooling system will need to be in place. I think that the cells of the battery will have to be encased within a wet or even frozen canvas bag, with the thawing and resulting evaporation becoming a heat sink in order for the cells to remain cool. Maybe the whole battery could be packed with blue ice. Yeah, I know that would be tricky to prevent shorts. But I think that it could be done. Another idea I had was to immerse the group of cells in a dielectric such as mineral oil, this stuff is used in transformers to dissipate heat.

I talked to a fellow on a bike path with a new Pedago Commuter, he had purchased this bike from a dealer in Scottsdale, (he had seen Court's review of the bike). He had a 48 volt 15 amp hour battery that was positioned over the rear wheel and therefore directly exposed to the sun. I told him that as his bike was designed it really couldn't be ridden in the summer heat. That the battery is going to have to be actively cooled in some way. He felt the battery and said that it was very warm. He purchased this bike from a Scottsdale Pedago store that recently opened. I am going to talk to the owners there...

I know of a local gas station attendant, who had two ebikes. He left these ebikes locked up, outside, in the sun during his entire eight hour shift. Both batteries are ruined and he is now riding a regular bike. Don't let this happen to you! The battery is the most expensive and fragile component on a ebike. Take the time to read about the lithium ion battery. Learn its strengths and weaknesses. Adjust your behavior accordingly. See this YouTube video:


and


This particular video explains why lithium ion batteries die, and why and how heat destroys the capacity. It is interesting to me that he mentions the climate here in Arizona. I am sure that other ebike owners in the southern parts of the U.S. are going to have the same experience as me, if they ride their bikes in the summer.

Unfortunately, things are even more complicated. An experiment that was conducted by Andreas Gutsch from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology showed that some lithium ion cells experienced up to a 30% capacity loss after 1000 cycles, while unbelievably, some cells have a better capacity after 5000 cycles. So there is a great amount of variance in the quality and construction technicalities of lithium batteries.

One finding that is interesting was that in his testing of the Telsa battery, this battery was found to last only 400 cycles, with a crap-out range of 124,000 miles. That is in sharp contrast to the claims made by Elon Musk, which are that the Tesla model S battery will last 500,000 miles. The customers who paid 85K for that car are justified being upset if Andreas Gutsch is correct.

Another rather important point was made in the testing was that batteries manufactured in China had the biggest loss in performance. Those manufactured in Korea and the United States were in the middle performance-wise, whereas those batteries that were from Germany and Japan held up the best. The specific names of those manufacturers were intentionally not disclosed. Probably due to lawsuit fears. But it would not be difficult to guess the names since the countries were indicated. Now, this leaves both of us in a quandary, does it not? I want and you do to, the very best battery that our money can buy, and yet some very well known ebike manufacturers are secretive about the exact brand of lithium cell that they use in their bikes. Well, in consideration of what is now known and since the battery is what we are largely paying for, ... gimme that info or I ain't buying it.

You can read the short article for yourself here: http://cleantechnica.com/2015/03/27/battery-storage-test-shows-lithium-ion-cells-last-5x-longer/

2. The ebike is much heavier than any “regular” bicycle. The ebike's handling being more akin to driving a lightweight motorcycle than a bicycle. The motor, battery, and heavier frame contributes to this sensation. This is not a bad thing. As you get up to 15 or 20+ mph, the bumps in the road become absorbed into the mass of the bike, this combined with any suspension or shocks as a part of the build of the bike results in a much smoother ride than that of a regular bike at similar speeds. The overall stiffness and weight in the design, makes regular leg powered bikes feel flimsy in comparison. Also the extra weight seems to grip the road helping to smooth out turns.



The downside to all that extra mass is that when you get yourself into a tight spot, you cannot easily just pull up the front wheel to move it, or reach behind and snap the rear of the bike to get around or through some obstacle in your way. There is also the fact that if you don't pay attention to your mounting of the bike or if the bike begins to slip out of your hands it is much more difficult to recover your and the bikes balance. This is especially true for senior citizens. A weaker senior citizen would do well to consider a step through design. Additionally, when you want to walk the bike into your house, apartment or perhaps a grocery store as I like to do, the extra weight at that time is not an advantage.


3. If you begin to think as I did, that it would be fun to modify a 60 lb ebike to move along at 30 to 35+ mph, you would be mistaken, because then things are going to begin to get a bit sketchy. You may be able to modify a standard ebike to go 30 or 35+ mph but would it be heavy enough or built strong enough to take that kind of pounding? I think not. Many residential streets here in the Phoenix area are surprisingly rough, pot holed and desperately in need of repair. Vibrations would beat up the motor, battery, electronics, spokes, wheels and increase braking system wear. At these speeds the 65 lb Motiv Shadow as well as any regular ebike in that weight class starts to feel mechanically unsafe. I know this from going downhill. If you don't believe me go take your ebike over to the nearest steep hill and “let er rip”.

I talked with a fellow who had a kit built 48 volt, 1000 watt motor ebike, which is capable of doing 30+ mph, he did a face plant and broke several of his facial bones. He said that it took him 6 months to recover and it is just now that he is beginning to ride again. I noticed he wasn't wearing a helmet, nor did he have disk brakes on his bike!


A regular motorcycle or an e-motorcycle “feels safe” at these higher speeds because of its' added weight, mass and burly brakes and suspension. The heavier and speedier so called “electric bikes” are more akin to motorcycles and are not ebikes IMHO. I wouldn't own one. I couldn't take them into stores, or ride them as conveniently or legally on side walks and bike paths.


4. Safety issues are inescapable. If you ride a bike or ebike you are putting yourself at a much greater risk than riding in a car or taking the bus. No way around that fact. The most dangerous form of transportation per mile travelled is horseback, the second most dangerous is bicycling. The safest is air travel.


This being said, there are some techniques to ameliorate this :


a. I have read where 42 percent of all bike crashes involve being hit from behind. So... I bought two convex rear view mirrors for my bike. Now, I can see whats going on behind me much larger swath. Frequently look to your rear, make it a point to do so.


b. I installed a four and a half inch stem riser to lift the handle bars up, so that I could sit in a more upright position, and see better to my front.


c. Move close to where you work or start to work close to where you live. Then your exposure and riding time will be reduced.


d. Try to live close to what I call the “village centers”. Most cities or towns have certain areas or intersections where many businesses like to concentrate: grocery stores, banks, fast food, barber or beauty shops, medical care, department stores and the like.


e. Use the roads during less busy periods.


f. Map out your route with Google Maps, choose the bicycling view option and use the indicated bike lanes exclusively if you can.


g. Use “Mindfulness” to keep yourself aware of the present moment and the immediate surroundings while you ride. Good aircraft pilots practice “situational awareness” which is technique analogous to mindfulness. If you don't know what mindfulness or situational awareness is, google it up or check it out on wikipedia. I would call mindfulness as keeping focused on what you are doing as you are doing it, in other words cultivating a state of being continuously super-aware of the present moment. When you are riding your bike, that should be where your attention is... No daydreaming allowed!



5. Motor size: If you are going to use your ebike as your main form of transportation, I would recommend purchasing an ebike with a minimum of a 48volt, 500 watt geared rear hub motor with the largest (energy dense) 48 volt battery(s) as is possible. If you can find a bike with a 750 watt motor that would be even better. This is not to increase the top speed, but to increase acceleration. I have come to believe that in some situations it is safer for me to follow behind a car or several cars through an intersection upon a green light than it is to drive across or alongside a crosswalk. I am wanting to use that car or cars as a shield. My 36 volt, 500 watt system just isn't quite enough to keep up with the average cars acceleration, thereby exposing me to cars making a left turn into my space. Ideally, I would like to have an electric motor presto-chango feature that would let me exchange higher or lower wattage by simply flipping a switch. That would be on my wish list.


6. Motor noise: The whine of the geared rear hub motor gets buried in the sound of the wind rushing past your ears at about 11 to 14 mph. I use Wind Blox on my helmet straps. Wind noise is muffled to about 50 per cent, and I can still hear most traffic noises.


7. Theft: I took Courts' suggestion and just take my bike into any store to do shopping, I do not ask permission. I generally do not use a bike rack. Most places employees notice and look, but don't say anything. Except Walmart, there the manager said “Don't bring it in”, and therefore I don't shop there. Other times, “in relatively safe areas” I have two thick keyed U locks, and a heavy braided steel cable with a numerical lock. I put a black sock over the computers lcd screen. If I am worried still, I will pull the battery and seat out and take them with me.


8. If my rear end starts to get sore during a particularly long drive, I will stand up on one pedal or the other, using the bike as a scooter, or shift from one butt cheek to the other while sitting on the seat. That is the reason I recommend having a throttle option. I have a choice of three seats, two of which are larger, one being cushioned greater than the one supplied by the OEM due to me purchasing a Thud Buster.


9. Lastly, and yet most importantly, I haven't driven my car, a Toyota 4-Runner, or purchased ga$oline for it, in several months! Instead I purchased a bike trailer from Amazon and I use that to carry groceries or whatever else I need.... A bank teller pointed out to me that my Arizona drivers license has expired. I told her I don't care, maybe I'll get around to renewing it. Someday.


If you guys have any questions, disagreements or comments, post them here.


Thanks - Calvin
 
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stevenast

Well-Known Member
I watched about a third of the first video, skipped around after a little while... kinda fascinating and scary at the same time!
I noticed he said at 60 degrees C, about 140 degrees F, everything's fine with the battery, it's when you go above those temperatures charging, or using, that problems start to occur. I can imagine where you live that threshold is easily reached ( like cooking a egg on the sidewalk!)
 

calvin

Active Member
I watched about a third of the first video, skipped around after a little while... kinda fascinating and scary at the same time!
I noticed he said at 60 degrees C, about 140 degrees F, everything's fine with the battery, it's when you go above those temperatures charging, or using, that problems start to occur. I can imagine where you live that threshold is easily reached ( like cooking a egg on the sidewalk!)
Yup, and the question is: What can be done to cool the battery and to prevent the damage?
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
Be careful on not using up the gasoline in the tank, given the tendency for gas to go bad. There are stabilizers. Those Toyotas really hold their value.

If you take a bike with a pack in a black case, it's bad design by the mfgr. That's what I have. But the thermal mass of the battery gives you a few hours. You could wrap some packs in shiny foil. You could put the battery in the fridge. I don't know.

Great summary. An ebike with a car share has a lot of appeal.
 

Jan

Member
Outstanding post on the Motiv Shadow and ebiking in general. I, too have a Shadow. I have 800 miles on it and got it about 4 months ago. I also have an e-joe that totally rocks!! I won't have the battery heat problem, probably, because I live in San Diego. However, I'm wondering: if the battery goes "belly-up" due to heat, isn't that covered by the warranty?

My only issue with the Shadow is stability: mine seems to rattle a lot. Connectors in the battery case came loose. However, Cameron did a good job in terms of customer service. Also, word of warning: you know how you're ridding around and in the back of your mind, you're thinking, "gee I should really change the tires out and get ultimate-tubeless armor tank tires so I don't get a flat, especially on the rear"? Well I had my 'wake-up' call, luckily it was within "hoofing" distance from work. When that rear tire goes, you're totally SOL. I got it to the shop and I'm having bulletproof kevlar put on all my "ebabies". I highly recommend it. I do carry Slime until I can get my e-joe done. I just hope I don't have to use it.
 

stevenast

Well-Known Member
So Calvin, when is part 2?!! Tell us all the dirty details, issues with the chain, derailleur, brakes, everything except the battery. You write a great review, I can't wait to read the bike-specific part 2!
 

calvin

Active Member
Outstanding post on the Motiv Shadow and ebiking in general. I, too have a Shadow. I have 800 miles on it and got it about 4 months ago. I also have an e-joe that totally rocks!! I won't have the battery heat problem, probably, because I live in San Diego. However, I'm wondering: if the battery goes "belly-up" due to heat, isn't that covered by the warranty?

My only issue with the Shadow is stability: mine seems to rattle a lot. Connectors in the battery case came loose. However, Cameron did a good job in terms of customer service. Also, word of warning: you know how you're ridding around and in the back of your mind, you're thinking, "gee I should really change the tires out and get ultimate-tubeless armor tank tires so I don't get a flat, especially on the rear"? Well I had my 'wake-up' call, luckily it was within "hoofing" distance from work. When that rear tire goes, you're totally SOL. I got it to the shop and I'm having bulletproof kevlar put on all my "ebabies". I highly recommend it. I do carry Slime until I can get my e-joe done. I just hope I don't have to use it.
Thanks to Cameron at Motiv, I swapped the tires out to Schwalbe Marathon Plus, with kevlar strips and the tubes have been slimed.
So no more flats. I have not had any rattling, my bike seems to be sturdy.
 

stevenast

Well-Known Member
Thanks to Cameron at Motiv, I swapped the tires out to Schwalbe Marathon Plus, with kevlar strips and the tubes have been slimed.
So no more flats. I have not had any rattling, my bike seems to be sturdy.
So, did you go to a narrower tire then?
 

Bike_On

Well-Known Member
Please note that this review is going to be updated as I accumulate more info.

I purchased this ebike about 13 months ago. I live close to everywhere I want to go, therefore it took me all that time to accumulate that mileage. Most of the problems that I have encountered with this ebike have all been initially disconcerting to me, not because of the problems complexity, but due to me being basically ebike ignorant. With the exception of one big general ebike issue that is heat/battery related, specific problems with the Motiv Shadow have been minor and will be covered in the second part of this review, which will be posted in a few days. Therefore, I will begin with some more general ebike observations.


A good electric bike, for most of us, is a relatively expensive purchase. We are not used to, nor have we ever heard of anyone paying several thousands of dollars for a bike, electric or not. Many people are therefore probably holding back on making a final decision, worried that they will make a mistake. I've decided to make this review as detailed as possible for that reason. I will tell of my experiences, perhaps they may be of help to someone. I decided to purchase this bike, without a test drive, based upon Court's video review of the Shadow. He is about my height, and his review was positive.


The novelty of riding my ebike, the Motiv Shadow, has worn off, but there is still the joy of riding along in the open air, often accompanied temporarily by birds, tracking respectfully behind fast young, well muscled male and female bikers. Who by the way, wonder how it is this old guy can keep up.


While riding this ebike, the broad wide screen of your vision becomes exceptionally fluid, with you moving and penetrating deeper and deeper into this scene as though you are in a movie or a dream. This effect I believe is caused by the effortlessness and relative silence of the ebike. After all, even with the intermittent whine of the geared rear hub motor, after I throttle up, I am free wheeling (coasting) at least 70 percent of the time. This is not something that I have experienced much on a standard leg powered bike, nor on a motorcycle. The effort of continuous pumping your legs to maintain higher speeds or the noise of a gasoline engine with the flashing past of the environment prevents you from getting to that place in those two instances...


Since my purchase of the Motive Shadow, I have ridden my ebike on city streets in heavy and light traffic, on roads asphalt and dirt and on dedicated bike paths in and along rivers and washes. I feel now that even if I rode another 10,000 miles, I would not know more or be able to share more than I can now. I believe that I am qualified enough to make here some observations that are not necessarily peculiar to the Motiv Shadow but would generally cover all ebikes, excepting those with the smallest motors and frames or those ebikes built with the highest tech components.

1. Let me get to the "big issue" right up front. This issue is present in all lithium battery powered ebikes by any and every manufacturer. You cannot expose the lithium ion battery to extreme heat. If you live in a desert climate (like I do) where the heat jumps up to 100 - 115+ degrees Fahrenheit for five months out of the year and you take long rides in that environment you will degrade your battery. If you leave your battery outside for an extended period of time ( a few hours) in that type of heat on a daily basis you will degrade your battery.

How do I know this to be true? Well it says so all over the internet! There was a lawsuit by Nissan Leaf owners in Arizona and southern California against Nissan for selling the car without having a active cooling protection system for the lithium battery that came with the car. They experienced a much reduced range and top speed. See this: http://www.torquenews.com/1075/nissan-settles-class-action-lawsuit-battery-capacity-loss-case ..... Notice the mentioning of "especially Phoenix" in the article.

Now, I rode my bike for extended periods, in that heat. I left my bike outside for two hours a day, five days a week, from May to October, in that type of heat. Why? I was not particularly ignorant in this department. But I am used to the heat and am not particularly uncomfortable with it. But the underlying fact is that I am often just lazy and did not discipline myself. I should have limited my biking to the cool early morning hours. When I had parked my bike outside, I should have pulled the battery out and took it inside. But I did not do any of those things and now the battery does not allow me to have quite the range nor the ability to maintain the continuous high speed as I was accustomed to when the bike was new. I will try to quantify this in Part 2 of the review with exact ranges and speeds with respect to time.

However, looking at this from a positive viewpoint, I unintentionally conducted a battery torture test. I know that all lithium ion batteries degrade whether you use them intensively or not, and that in about three years the battery is probably going to be replaced. If you don't like that then don't get in the game. At least not at this point. This being said the battery still charges up to and holds 41.7 volts. Which is a good thing.

I want to do a mod to the battery housing to allow for its operation in the extreme heat as we experience here in Phoenix. If I am not able to find a way to cool this battery off then I will not be using this bike in the summer. I know that many of you have put your ebike away for the winter. I did not have to do that, because we don't have a real winter here in Phoenix.

Some modifications that are needed: The battery housing needs to be vented to allow air to travel through the cells to keep the internal temperature within the parameters that allow for operation without damage. The problem is of course the ambient heat is too close to the thermal damage threshold of the lithium cell. The climate is such that it almost never rains here, so that the housing could be drilled out, or perhaps an aluminum mesh could replace the current container holding the cells in place. A temperature probe with a display could be inserted into the center of the cell group. Still, this mod probably will not be enough.

My best guess is that a more active cooling system will need to be in place. I think that the cells of the battery will have to be encased within a wet or even frozen canvas bag, with the thawing and resulting evaporation becoming a heat sink in order for the cells to remain cool. Maybe the whole battery could be packed with blue ice. Yeah, I know that would be tricky to prevent shorts. But I think that it could be done. Another idea I had was to immerse the group of cells in a dielectric such as mineral oil, this stuff is used in transformers to dissipate heat.

I talked to a fellow on a bike path with a new Pedago Commuter, he had purchased this bike from a dealer in Scottsdale, (he had seen Court's review of the bike). He had a 48 volt 15 amp hour battery that was positioned over the rear wheel and therefore directly exposed to the sun. I told him that as his bike was designed it really couldn't be ridden in the summer heat. That the battery is going to have to be actively cooled in some way. He felt the battery and said that it was very warm. He purchased this bike from a Scottsdale Pedago store that recently opened. I am going to talk to the owners there...

I know of a local gas station attendant, who had two ebikes. He left these ebikes locked up, outside, in the sun during his entire eight hour shift. Both batteries are ruined and he is now riding a regular bike. Don't let this happen to you! The battery is the most expensive and fragile component on a ebike. Take the time to read about the lithium ion battery. Learn its strengths and weaknesses. Adjust your behavior accordingly. See this YouTube video:


and


This particular video explains why lithium ion batteries die, and why and how heat destroys the capacity. It is interesting to me that he mentions the climate here in Arizona. I am sure that other ebike owners in the southern parts of the U.S. are going to have the same experience as me, if they ride their bikes in the summer.

2. The ebike is much heavier than any “regular” bicycle. The ebike's handling being more akin to driving a lightweight motorcycle than a bicycle. The motor, battery, and heavier frame contributes to this sensation. This is not a bad thing. As you get up to 15 or 20+ mph, the bumps in the road become absorbed into the mass of the bike, this combined with any suspension or shocks as a part of the build of the bike results in a much smoother ride than that of a regular bike at similar speeds. The overall stiffness and weight in the design, makes regular leg powered bikes feel flimsy in comparison. Also the extra weight seems to grip the road helping to smooth out turns.



The downside to all that extra mass is that when you get yourself into a tight spot, you cannot easily just pull up the front wheel to move it, or reach behind and snap the rear of the bike to get around or through some obstacle in your way. There is also the fact that if you don't pay attention to your mounting of the bike or if the bike begins to slip out of your hands it is much more difficult to recover your and the bikes balance. This is especially true for senior citizens. A weaker senior citizen would do well to consider a step through design. Additionally, when you want to walk the bike into your house, apartment or perhaps a grocery store as I like to do, the extra weight at that time is not an advantage.


3. If you begin to think as I did, that it would be fun to modify a 60 lb ebike to move along at 30 to 35+ mph, you would be mistaken, because then things are going to begin to get a bit sketchy. You may be able to modify a standard ebike to go 30 or 35+ mph but would it be heavy enough or built strong enough to take that kind of pounding? I think not. Many residential streets here in the Phoenix area are surprisingly rough, pot holed and desperately in need of repair. Vibrations would beat up the motor, battery, electronics, spokes, wheels and increase braking system wear. At these speeds the 65 lb Motiv Shadow as well as any regular ebike in that weight class starts to feel mechanically unsafe. I know this from going downhill. If you don't believe me go take your ebike over to the nearest steep hill and “let er rip”.

I talked with a fellow who had a kit built 48 volt, 1000 watt motor ebike, which is capable of doing 30+ mph, he did a face plant and broke several of his facial bones. He said that it took him 6 months to recover and it is just now that he is beginning to ride again. I noticed he wasn't wearing a helmet, nor did he have disk brakes on his bike!


A regular motorcycle or an e-motorcycle “feels safe” at these higher speeds because of its' added weight, mass and burly brakes and suspension. The heavier and speedier so called “electric bikes” are more akin to motorcycles and are not ebikes IMHO. I wouldn't own one. I couldn't take them into stores, or ride them as conveniently or legally on side walks and bike paths.


4. Safety issues are inescapable. If you ride a bike or ebike you are putting yourself at a much greater risk than riding in a car or taking the bus. No way around that fact. The most dangerous form of transportation per mile travelled is horseback, the second most dangerous is bicycling. The safest is air travel.


This being said, there are some techniques to ameliorate this :


a. I have read where 42 percent of all bike crashes involve being hit from behind. So... I bought two convex rear view mirrors for my bike. Now, I can see whats going on behind me much larger swath. Frequently look to your rear, make it a point to do so.


b. I installed a four and a half inch stem riser to lift the handle bars up, so that I could sit in a more upright position, and see better to my front.


c. Move close to where you work or start to work close to where you live. Then your exposure and riding time will be reduced.


d. Try to live close to what I call the “village centers”. Most cities or towns have certain areas or intersections where many businesses like to concentrate: grocery stores, banks, fast food, barber or beauty shops, medical care, department stores and the like.


e. Use the roads during less busy periods.


f. Map out your route with Google Maps, choose the bicycling view option and use the indicated bike lanes exclusively if you can.


g. Use “Mindfulness” to keep yourself aware of the present moment and the immediate surroundings while you ride. Good aircraft pilots practice “situational awareness” which is technique analogous to mindfulness. If you don't know what mindfulness or situational awareness is, google it up or check it out on wikipedia. I would call mindfulness as keeping focused on what you are doing as you are doing it, in other words cultivating a state of being continuously super-aware of the present moment. When you are riding your bike, that should be where your attention is... No daydreaming allowed!



5. Motor size: If you are going to use your ebike as your main form of transportation, I would recommend purchasing an ebike with a minimum of a 48volt, 500 watt geared rear hub motor with the largest (energy dense) 48 volt battery(s) as is possible. If you can find a bike with a 750 watt motor that would be even better. This is not to increase the top speed, but to increase acceleration. I have come to believe that in some situations it is safer for me to follow behind a car or several cars through an intersection upon a green light than it is to drive across or alongside a crosswalk. I am wanting to use that car or cars as a shield. My 36 volt, 500 watt system just isn't quite enough to keep up with the average cars acceleration, thereby exposing me to cars making a left turn into my space. Ideally, I would like to have an electric motor presto-chango feature that would let me exchange higher or lower wattage by simply flipping a switch. That would be on my wish list.


6. Motor noise: The whine of the geared rear hub motor gets buried in the sound of the wind rushing past your ears at about 11 to 14 mph. I use Wind Blox on my helmet straps. Wind noise is muffled to about 50 per cent, and I can still hear most traffic noises.


7. Theft: I took Courts' suggestion and just take my bike into any store to do shopping, I do not ask permission. I generally do not use a bike rack. Most places employees notice and look, but don't say anything. Except Walmart, there the manager said “Don't bring it in”, and therefore I don't shop there. Other times, “in relatively safe areas” I have two thick keyed U locks, and a heavy braided steel cable with a numerical lock. I put a black sock over the computers lcd screen. If I am worried still, I will pull the battery and seat out and take them with me.


8. If my rear end starts to get sore during a particularly long drive, I will stand up on one pedal or the other, using the bike as a scooter, or shift from one butt cheek to the other while sitting on the seat. That is the reason I recommend having a throttle option. I have a choice of three seats, two of which are larger, one being cushioned greater than the one supplied by the OEM due to me purchasing a Thud Buster.


9. Lastly, and yet most importantly, I haven't driven my car, a Toyota 4-Runner, or purchased ga$oline for it, in several months! Instead I purchased a bike trailer from Amazon and I use that to carry groceries or whatever else I need.... A bank teller pointed out to me that my Arizona drivers license has expired. I told her I don't care, maybe I'll get around to renewing it. Someday.


If you guys have any questions, disagreements or comments, post them here.


Thanks - Calvin
thanks for doing that indepth review. We need more.
 

stevenast

Well-Known Member
Oh, I should have just looked it up, I assumed since your bike is sort of a beach cruiser style that it had wider tires. My mountain bike has 57 - 622 and I want something more robust, as you say, but not a lot narrower. Hence my interest ... the Schwalbe Marathon Plus seems about the best I can find for flat resistance, but only comes in the maximum sizes I listed above. Also I'm stuck with a 19mm rim, and I'm not sure if a stiff tire like that is appropriate to squeeze on there.
 

vincent

Well-Known Member
this was a great write up

thinking i will only be riding at nite or in northern az during the summers, not happy about it but not sure what else to do
 

ibstevie

New Member
I haven't pulled the trigger yet on an ebike purchase. I live in a suburb of Las Vegas, Nevada and found this report sobering and depressing. My urge to buy has been getting red-hot, limited only by a tedious drive into California to size up and buy an ebike. (Court's advice to utilize a bike shop for this purpose makes sense). This piece hit on all the issues I'm concerned about- the heat of Mohave desert summers and its effect on batteries; my paranoidal obsession with the theft of a pricey bike when using it for shopping and other errands.

I need to take a breather and hope for answers, or peyote, or something. This is a wake up. Looking forward to your follow up, Calvin. Thanks for the reality you've sent creeping into my considerations.
 

Sonoboy

Active Member
Here’s some blue sky thinking on the thermal issue. Dry Ice, i.e. carbon dioxide might be of interest. Yeah, I know the EPA has classified it as a threat to the world, but anything that AIDS plant growth can’t be all that bad. When it changes state, it passes directly from a solid to a gas, so no fear of shorting the electrical system (although, here in the deep south with our high relative humidity the concern would be condensation). You could buy this at the local food store, but the long-term solution would be to invest in a large tank and have it filled occasionally at a local welding supply house. The tank has to have a “dip tube” inside, which means it would draw liquid CO2 from the tank bottom. The fluid is released into a tightly woven fabric bag which allows the solidification to take place. I've seen some videos where they used a pillowcase. You would also have to use gloves, a face shield, and body protection.

Come to think of it this seems like a major production for just a bike ride, but I thought I’d throw it out there.