Advice for buying an E-Bike.

Wheelz

New Member
I am looking to buy in the next couple of weeks but the more research I do the more confusing it gets. Each site I go to has conflicting advice about what "to buy" and "avoid". The only consistent guidance is to buy local but where I live there is not much to choose from.
I hope to shave some time off the 1.5 hr. (Avg.) commute, get in shape, and decrease my carbon foot print. The route is ~22 miles, has some small hills but not too bad, and I weigh ~ 220 lb. So the ebike needs to be capable of maintaining 17-20 Mph. for 22 mi. (I can recharge at work) with me pedaling 60-80% of the time. I anticipate losing weight and providing more pedal assist as time goes on, but initially I expect the assist to be set at Max. I am hoping to stay with a budget of $2,200 - $3,000 USD.

Thank you in advance for your assistance.
 

Paul E.

Active Member
I can say that a $3000 Izip Dash can do a 20 mile roundtrip with one battery charge. I use mostly throttle (cruise control is nice!) going to work and minimum assist returning. The route is first 200 ft drop over 2 miles, then on average level with modest hills like bridge spans. I weigh 200 lb, was 210 when I started a couple months ago :)

Edit: one warning about this bike though: the direct drive hub motor gives some resistance when there's no power and with even the minimum assistance level being fairly powerful, it means that if you run out of juice, the difference between minimum assistance and no assistance feels huge.
 
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George S.

Well-Known Member
I am looking to buy in the next couple of weeks but the more research I do the more confusing it gets. Each site I go to has conflicting advice about what "to buy" and "avoid". The only consistent guidance is to buy local but where I live there is not much to choose from.
I hope to shave some time off the 1.5 hr. (Avg.) commute, get in shape, and decrease my carbon foot print. The route is ~22 miles, has some small hills but not too bad, and I weigh ~ 220 lb. So the ebike needs to be capable of maintaining 17-20 Mph. for 22 mi. (I can recharge at work) with me pedaling 60-80% of the time. I anticipate losing weight and providing more pedal assist as time goes on, but initially I expect the assist to be set at Max. I am hoping to stay with a budget of $2,200 - $3,000 USD.

Thank you in advance for your assistance.
The biggest drain on any battery is the wind resistance. A real road bike, where the rider is hunched over, is more efficient that someone sitting up, acting as a sail. As a rough guide, a basic 60 pound ebike (175 lb rider) will go 15 mph with about 150 watts. This is on the flat with no wind. If you want to go 20, you need to double the watts, to about 300. You use 50% more watts per mile, basically. Most riders can contribute, say, 50-80 watts to start, some of the time, so the battery will last a long time. Most batteries have about 400 watt hours. So you could, in theory, draw 100 watts for 4 hours. In the real world, nothing is all that efficient. You take more watts out of the battery than the motor delivers to the wheel.

But you can get more range with less speed. When you get to where you can pedal a bit all the time, the range stretches out a lot. There are two ways to look at this. You can slow down to get range, or you can get a big battery to maintain high speeds. Your choice, obviously.

You can get a decent battery, say 12AH, and start fairly conservatively on the speed. Figure out what a full charge time is, and then figure out about what you are using by observing the recharge times. You figure most of this stuff out in the first few weeks, just from experience.

http://bikecalculator.com/

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/brandt/wind.html
 

JoePah

Well-Known Member
I am looking to buy in the next couple of weeks but the more research I do the more confusing it gets. Each site I go to has conflicting advice about what "to buy" and "avoid". The only consistent guidance is to buy local but where I live there is not much to choose from.
I hope to shave some time off the 1.5 hr. (Avg.) commute, get in shape, and decrease my carbon foot print. The route is ~22 miles, has some small hills but not too bad, and I weigh ~ 220 lb. So the ebike needs to be capable of maintaining 17-20 Mph. for 22 mi. (I can recharge at work) with me pedaling 60-80% of the time. I anticipate losing weight and providing more pedal assist as time goes on, but initially I expect the assist to be set at Max. I am hoping to stay with a budget of $2,200 - $3,000 USD.

Thank you in advance for your assistance.
Almost any ebike today will go 22 miles in pedal assist, unless you have significant hills.. What is most important, IMO, is buying from an LBS.. And the end of year deals might be helpful. Whatever you do buy a second charger for work... Those chargers should NOT be bounced around every day.

You must have pedal assist to get the range you need and to get in shape.. Having a throttle is nice to have but you won't miss it if you don't have it.
 

biknut

Active Member
Throttle all the way. Pedal assist is just a legal dodge to help get around 20 mph limits. Anything you can do with pedal assist, you can do better with a throttle, but not the other way around.

With a throttle you can start off from a stop without pedaling, with pedal assist you cannot. Some bikes offer both pedal assist, and throttle, but not at the same time. You have to select one or the other, which is cumbersome on the fly.

With a throttle, you can always choose to pedal, and you get to decide how much assist to apply. There's no advantage to pedal assist.
 

Shea N Encinitas

Active Member
There's no advantage to pedal assist.
I respectfully disagree, but as I've pointed out before with a 4.5 Kw Bomber between your legs it's no wonder you feel this way. Throttle on a common e-bike might as well be a push button, like watered down nitro, a fairly weak boost. You may be aware I removed the Dash throttle for a better grip, that might help you understand how meaningless it is on most e-bikes.

BTW - The PAS on the Bosch is freakin amazing, never lags, stops very quickly and puts me in control of my workout, heart rate and range. Holding a throttle at just the right spot seem unlikely and therein lies the beauty of PAS, preset power in response to pedal action, a HUGE advantage in my lifestyle.

If I owned a electric motorcycle with pedals I like to think I'd still want to experience pedal assist, keep in shape et all. I'm watching the high end DIY marketplace for torque sensing and control systems similar to the PAS experience.

BTW - I'm not saying you're not able to get the same workout with conservative throttling, I just think it is less probable.

-S
 

Brambor

Well-Known Member
Add throttle and its more like a motorcycle and not a bicycle. Add speed to that...i.e. Heavier battery and heavy suspension and heavier frame and you certainly have an electric motorcycle.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not again it. But let's call a spade a spade.
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
I respectfully disagree, but as I've pointed out before with a 4.5 Kw Bomber between your legs it's no wonder you feel this way. Throttle on a common e-bike might as well be a push button, like watered down nitro, a fairly weak boost. You may be aware I removed the Dash throttle for a better grip, that might help you understand how meaningless it is on most e-bikes.

BTW - The PAS on the Bosch is freakin amazing, never lags, stops very quickly and puts me in control of my workout, heart rate and range. Holding a throttle at just the right spot seem unlikely and therein lies the beauty of PAS, preset power in response to pedal action, a HUGE advantage in my lifestyle.

If I owned a electric motorcycle with pedals I like to think I'd still want to experience pedal assist, keep in shape et all. I'm watching the high end DIY marketplace for torque sensing and control systems similar to the PAS experience.

BTW - I'm not saying you're not able to get the same workout with conservative throttling, I just think it is less probable.

-S
The bike I have is throttle only (Prodeco X3). I'm not sure why I would ever want a pedal assist. In fact, I increasingly dislike the idea. It's not really an argument, it's a personal preference. I like starting out with the throttle, just to get going. And then I start pedaling until I find the exact amount I want to pedal. I use the throttle to set a speed, the extra power on top of what I do. Mostly I am on horribly rutted roads, not serious trails or anything. But power is important, and I feel like I am in control.

I can't speak to assist. I've never tried it. I can say that throttle is not a switch. Not even close. It's an infintely variable pedal assist, most of the time. And when you don't want to pedal, maybe because you are picking your way through obstacles, you don't have to pedal.

I don't know how this split got started, but clearly the Europeans don't like throttles. But it's silly. I remember mopeds with pedals that were toys, totally worthless. My bike has pedals that work exactly like my carbon road bike and my hybrid.

I like the idea of keeping it simple. A throttle is just a manual assist. You learn, over a month or two, to use it very precisely (or you don't). When you hit a hill, you get what you need to get up the hill. When you want to go a certain speed, you pedal and add the amount of power you need. When you want to slow down, you release the throttle. I can pick anything I want. How hard to pedal, how fast to go, how to start from a stop, anything. And do it with pedals and throttle.

Some people say you have to force people to pedal, so it's 'healthy'. Really? Why not force people to pedal really hard, so they get really healthy? Or they say it's only a bicycle if people have to pedal. They all have motors. No one is any purer than anyone else.

I really hope we don't end up with the Euro standard, that everything has to be pedal assist. It's just a nutty idea where you pretend a certain kind of assist makes an electric bike still a bike, and another kind of assist does not. I don't think these people, making the rules, have experience with a throttle.

Again, I'm not arguing, I'm explaining why I am passionately for throttles, and probably throttles as the only form of setting power from the motor. I may be forced, down the line, but I can't see any downside to just using a throttle.
 

Paul E.

Active Member
I think all ebikes should be legally required to have throttle and pedal assist that you can mix and match however you like. And cruise control, also in pedal assist mode by giving you an electric shock if you don't pedal hard enough.
 

biknut

Active Member
A throttle is already a superior form of infinitely variable pedal assist. If your bike has one, any other form of assist is redundant and unnecessary. All eBikes would have throttles if not for certain artificial legal limitations.

PAS was invented as a way to get around those limitations, but now manufacturers are figuring out ways to get around the throttle limitations, so pretty soon they'll be no reason for pas unless someone just wants it maybe as an option.
 

biknut

Active Member
I must confess, that my son always rides his Neo Carbon on the pedal assist, and he snoots my Bomber for being Throttle only. He's a real bike snob though lol.
 

Gus

Active Member
Put me in the bucket that hates throttle. I own eBikes with both throttle and PAS only and would MUCH rather ride the PAS only.

When done right, PAS provides the best experience for an eBike IMO. The sensors on the bike should know what I want to do (torque sensor, cadence, etc) and react accordingly. I shouldnt have to tell it what I want with a throttle.
 
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MLWilcox

Member
Check out Court's new review of the Easy Motion Evo Cross. The 2015 line of Easy Motions have really made some nice improvements and their paint jobs are great looking. Easy Motion has throttle and PAS.

The Cross retails for $3000 - don't forget to shop around and get a good price. Crazy Lenny's, Long Island Electric Bikes, and more local bike shops.
 

biknut

Active Member
My sons Neo Carbon, which is an Easy Motion bike, has both a throttle and pas. The problem with the throttle on it, is it cuts off at 20 mph, while the pas keeps working till about 25 mph. This is further evidence pas is just a legal dodge around 20 mph limits.

I have yet to hear one good argument for a pas. Claiming a throttle makes an electric bicycle a motorcycle, is no different than whiney spandexers claiming any motor makes a bicycle a motorcycle.
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
It's crystal clear where the European high end manufacturers want to go. It's like Nuvinci is developing the Sync with Bosch, in Europe, to be an automatic transmission.

H|Sync is a "platform" product and will initially be introduced in conjunction with Bosch and
eBike manufacturers who will offer the technology on model year 2015 eBikes. Cadence preselection (30-80 rpm) will take place via the Bosch controller and will be displayed in a new
menu item of the Bosch Intuvia display (“NuVinci® Cadence” screen). Once set, the H|Sync
system will automatically maintain the selected cadence independent of the motor, the input
power from the cyclist, and the topography of the route. At a stop (e.g. on a traffic light), the
system will automatically choose a proper gear for subsequent easy and energy-saving
acceleration. The shifting operation will feel smooth and seamless, even under full load.

http://www.fallbrooktech.com

All of this stuff is being done in Europe, basically. They actually sell a lot of ebikes in Europe. It would help if we sold a million or two bikes in the US, but I don't see this technology driving the sales over here with $7,000 bikes.

Most Americans don't really understand an ebike with a hub motor and a throttle. So I don't know how you sell a drive train this 'sophisticated' in the US. I'm not sure I need a cadence preselector.
 

PowerMe

Well-Known Member
I have yet to hear one good argument for a pas.
Here's one:

"I want to pedal but I need help. I wish my legs were stronger but they aren't or maybe I've had an injury or surgery. I love the feel of riding a bicycle, pedaling along, getting exercise, and I want to be a better cyclist. I don't want to have to hold a throttle to get that assistance. I want my legs to be working, not my wrist to be turning. A PAS allows a rider like me to become a better and stronger cyclist and experience immediate success in pedaling and getting where I want to go, while getting exercise with assistance that is proportional to the effort I put in. PAS provides an integrated experience where pedaling input is part of the power equation. The cyclist is part of the engine. I'll do my part to the best of my ability, given my fitness level and physical limitations, and having the pedal assistance will allow me to conquer rolling and hilly paths and go further, which will add to my enjoyment and enthusiasm while helping me become a stronger cyclist."
 

Brambor

Well-Known Member
I am not advocating against the existence of mopeds with a throttle. I'm just saying it is not a bicycle when it is fast, heavy and has suspension and a throttle.

Just like your stealth bomber. That bike is not practical to be pedaled - it is not a bicycle. It's a bike or ebike or moped or electric motorcycle but not a bicycle.

If you don't pedal it then it is not a bicycle. If it has a pedal assist but you pedal it full time then it is a bicycle.

My wife has a great argument for electric assist bicycles: Pedaling one keeps you more in aerobic mode as opposed to anaerobic mode and that is much healthier for you.
 
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