Do eBikes Need a Racing Circuit?

George S.

Well-Known Member
It bothers me that ebikes are not more successful in the US. I don't think people appreciate how well they work, or how they may be a much better way for many people to get fit.

More and more, I try to ride on a nice set of paths that curve along the Virgin River. It's interesting, trying to push the bike as far as it will go. You could probably race ebikes, but it would be tough to come up with a set of rules and, in particular, a course. You would need to figure out how much power a bike could have, and how much power a rider would need to supply. You would need a course with hills and curves, maybe some other challenges.

Like other forms of racing, the idea would be to create a laboratory of performance. How good is this motor versus another? This drivetrain? This suspension? Force people to push envelopes. It's not a competition with non-powered bikes. It's simply a way to test ideas and train people to master a complex machine. It also would try to define the ebike in a different way.

Plus, all people seem to care about any more is sports:cool:.
 

Mike Smith

Active Member
I think someone should start a version of the Tour de France for fat men on fat tire bikes ebikes. There could be rest stops along the route for a burger and beer, and maybe a smoke. Get Burger King and Old Milwaukee to sponsor the event. Skinny people shouldn't have all the fun.
 

Shea N Encinitas

Active Member
I think someone should start a version of the Tour de France for fat men on fat tire bikes ebikes. There could be rest stops along the route for a burger and beer, and maybe a smoke. Get Burger King and Old Milwaukee to sponsor the event. Skinny people shouldn't have all the fun.
And all this after the in shape, non-motorized Ladies have a go. -S
 

Cameron Newland

Well-Known Member
I'd be willing to put together a race sometime. I imagine it would take quite a bit of work to set up the registration system, come up with an entry fee price, have legal liability waivers printed up, and get some kind of event insurance, but perhaps if there are other people in the community who would be willing to help shoulder the logistical burden, it could be done easily in, say, 6 months.

I'm located in Los Angeles, so I'd probably want to hold the race within 100 miles of here. I know there are gas bicycle racing tracks in California (Willow Springs Raceway in Rosamund, CA would be one good option, as it's within 20 miles of Lancaster, CA, which has train service that allows ebikes to ride free).

Anyone willing to put in some time to put an event together?
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
It would be interesting to see any existing track that might work. If you said it had to be 'street legal' power, that would put it around 750 watts. The 9 turn track at Willow would probably force you to go a lot faster, so higher than that wattage. If you built a track with 20 mph turns, or lower, you could keep the speeds lower and keep the power closer to 'stock'. I was thinking of a finesse race, nothing like a pure road race or 'tour' race. I think there will be an electric motorcycle racing setup, fairly soon.

You need someone who manufactures ebikes to show an interest, see if they want to showcase the capabilities of their products. It would definitely be in their interest to get more young people in the sport. There might be an existing bike path somewhere that is challenging enough to run a race down it, even in laps. Do something like that to put the idea out there.

You can't really sell ebikes, over the long haul, with the older demographic. If you could rent performance ebikes at a challenging layout, so it became a little more exciting, it couldn't hurt. There's got to be some sort of sport you could build around ebikes. It's almost like ebikes aren't supposed to be exciting. The whole idea should be to shift it over to something young people would find interesting, to build some momentum for ebikes.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
It would be interesting to see any existing track that might work.
Hi George,
I don't think this is exactly what you had in mind (or it is), but I did think of your thread when I ran across this.
Smart-Ebike at races.jpg
Michael Schumacher had twinkly eyes when he got his new ebike...
 

Mike leroy

Active Member
It bothers me that ebikes are not more successful in the US. I don't think people appreciate how well they work, or how they may be a much better way for many people to get fit.

More and more, I try to ride on a nice set of paths that curve along the Virgin River. It's interesting, trying to push the bike as far as it will go. You could probably race ebikes, but it would be tough to come up with a set of rules and, in particular, a course. You would need to figure out how much power a bike could have, and how much power a rider would need to supply. You would need a course with hills and curves, maybe some other challenges.

Like other forms of racing, the idea would be to create a laboratory of performance. How good is this motor versus another? This drivetrain? This suspension? Force people to push envelopes. It's not a competition with non-powered bikes. It's simply a way to test ideas and train people to master a complex machine. It also would try to define the ebike in a different way.

Plus, all people seem to care about any more is sports:cool:.
George,
Something like Leguna Seca? Plenty of video on YouTube


 

George S.

Well-Known Member
Mike,

That's an interesting video. A lot of the bikes people build on Endless Sphere would work on a track like that. If you wanted to stay around the 'stock/legal' limits you'd need tighter turns to keep the speeds down. Once you push the power up, they become motorcycles where the pedaling doesn't matter much. The problem with power and speed is that the aerodynamic curve means the motor will supply more and more of the power.

It sort of shows the weakness of ebikes. You can't really define how much power is from the 'e' and how much power is from the 'bike' very well. But I was thinking of something a little geeky, some sort of course that would require some bike skills, but use the power.

If you want to talk human power then people will say "Just go race a bike". If you want real horsepower or watts, why not just race motorcycles? If you can define ebikes, especially legal ebikes, in a meaningful way, then there has to be some competitive aspect. I think there is a lot to be said for riding ebikes at around 25 mph, and that's something few of us can do with a regular bike. Beyond that? More like a scooter and then a motorcycle. So I would define a competition course around that speed.

They sell ebikes as 'green' and they are super-efficient. But even for an efficient bike people might want to test their skills or hone their skills, see how 'good' they are as riders.

The have to market ebikes a little differently, since no one even knows what ebikes are. I think ebikes are on a bad trajectory because young people may just skip over them, into faster forms of electric two wheelers. I don't have any money at stake. I like ebikes, but ebikes are all over the place, and getting faster ever year.
 

Mike leroy

Active Member
Mike,

That's an interesting video. A lot of the bikes people build on Endless Sphere would work on a track like that. If you wanted to stay around the 'stock/legal' limits you'd need tighter turns to keep the speeds down. Once you push the power up, they become motorcycles where the pedaling doesn't matter much. The problem with power and speed is that the aerodynamic curve means the motor will supply more and more of the power.

It sort of shows the weakness of ebikes. You can't really define how much power is from the 'e' and how much power is from the 'bike' very well. But I was thinking of something a little geeky, some sort of course that would require some bike skills, but use the power.

If you want to talk human power then people will say "Just go race a bike". If you want real horsepower or watts, why not just race motorcycles? If you can define ebikes, especially legal ebikes, in a meaningful way, then there has to be some competitive aspect. I think there is a lot to be said for riding ebikes at around 25 mph, and that's something few of us can do with a regular bike. Beyond that? More like a scooter and then a motorcycle. So I would define a competition course around that speed.

They sell ebikes as 'green' and they are super-efficient. But even for an efficient bike people might want to test their skills or hone their skills, see how 'good' they are as riders.

The have to market ebikes a little differently, since no one even knows what ebikes are. I think ebikes are on a bad trajectory because young people may just skip over them, into faster forms of electric two wheelers. I don't have any money at stake. I like ebikes, but ebikes are all over the place, and getting faster ever year.
George,
Very thoughtful content. Defining the limit is key.

In terms of weight, my preference is 50 pounds. I want to encourage the development of a 30-20, or 30 pound bicycle with a 20 pound battery. The M1 Spitzing comes closest at 58 pounds and 40+ mph top-speed.

The wheel size should be at least 26 inches to exclude 24 inch electric dirt bikes. I am six feet tall. I would look and feel like a circus clown pedaling a 24 inch bike. Only kids can pedal small bikes a great distance.

I would prefer two races, with and without battery to de emphasize motor power.
 

Hong

Active Member
You need someone who manufactures ebikes to show an interest, see if they want to showcase the capabilities of their products.
We're interested!

You can't really sell ebikes, over the long haul, with the older demographic. It's almost like ebikes aren't supposed to be exciting. The whole idea should be to shift it over to something young people would find interesting, to build some momentum for ebikes.
Bingo!
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
I'm talking 'legal' ebikes. Young people live in a connected, computer generated world. You can generate a course with a map on a cell phone, have game elements, introduce complexity with some sort of app, let a GPS keep some kind of score... You could have rules that could be electronically monitored, like a max speed or power. Something that is part race, part game, part adventure, but covering some distance to emphasize ebikes. Something interesting enough to sell the TV rights.;)
 

Mike leroy

Active Member
I'm talking 'legal' ebikes. Young people live in a connected, computer generated world. You can generate a course with a map on a cell phone, have game elements, introduce complexity with some sort of app, let a GPS keep some kind of score... You could have rules that could be electronically monitored, like a max speed or power. Something that is part race, part game, part adventure, but covering some distance to emphasize ebikes. Something interesting enough to sell the TV rights.;)
I think HPC offers a wide spectrum of motors, 750W, 1500W, 2kW, 2.5kW, 3.5kW. My current understanding is these are all legal in CA as some sort of motorized bicycle or moped. 3.7kW is the federal cut-off as a motorcycle vehicle, as I understand it. Certainly, the rear hub motor could be swapped out for a "one class" race event.

Are you familiar with One Design sailboat racing? Did a tremendous amount to promote the dull sport of sailboat racing.
 
Last edited:

J.R.

Well-Known Member
I'm talking 'legal' ebikes. Young people live in a connected, computer generated world. You can generate a course with a map on a cell phone, have game elements, introduce complexity with some sort of app, let a GPS keep some kind of score... You could have rules that could be electronically monitored, like a max speed or power. Something that is part race, part game, part adventure, but covering some distance to emphasize ebikes. Something interesting enough to sell the TV rights.;)
Go Kart Race Tracks. Tracks all over the world, designed for slower speeds and have fast turns. They allow event planning, could work great for street legal ebikes.

 

Cameron Newland

Well-Known Member
I'm talking 'legal' ebikes. Young people live in a connected, computer generated world. You can generate a course with a map on a cell phone, have game elements, introduce complexity with some sort of app, let a GPS keep some kind of score... You could have rules that could be electronically monitored, like a max speed or power. Something that is part race, part game, part adventure, but covering some distance to emphasize ebikes. Something interesting enough to sell the TV rights.;)
That seems a little bit dangerous to hold some kind of competition on public roads. The non-motorized cyclists already get into enough trouble with Strava, where you're constantly competing with others for the best times on certain routes, and at some point, you're going to have to run some red lights/stop signs in order to get an edge, and at that point, you could give up your life in pursuit of a silly distinction on a phone app. Just something to think about. I'm sure there would be a way to make that kind of competition safer, but I think the fairest and safest way to do it would be to hold it on a racetrack. That way, you wouldn't risk collisions with cars, pedestrians, or other cyclists, but rather you'd limit interactions to those who have agreed to participate and hence understand the inherent risks.

I do love Mike leroy's idea of a one design/class racing for ebikes, however, I think that we're at such an early point in ebike history that it makes more sense to just put together an all-ebike race and forget about one design/class regulations, because when you implement one design regulations, you're limiting the number of participants that can enter because they all have to buy and race the same model of bike. The better way, at least right now, would be to have either one race with all classes as it's the most inclusive, or one class for street-legal bikes and one class for non-street-legal bikes, because that way, you'd be able to invite all ebike riders to the event instead of limiting yourself to people who own one particular bike model. The ebike community hasn't really hit the critical mass level to have an ebike racing circuit, but that doesn't mean that we can't take baby steps and stage a once-a-year race that might expand later on, once enough sponsors and participants and spectators jump on board.
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
Well, there's the Rally Race idea.

(Link Removed - No Longer Exists)

It sounds pretty dull, but people used to do it. A more modern version with GPS and maps? Ride over here, find something, take a picture, move on to the next thing. I know older people who spend days hunting for 'geocaches'. It would end up being pretty geeky, like a video game on ebikes. It's like bringing a different set of people into ebikes. Probably people with less money who maybe want basic recreation.

A single class would be great. I'm not sure what speed you need over what course to make that interesting. You could rent 'racing' bikes at a track, but I think they pick those low CG cars to limit liability. I have a harder time seeing speed working, by itself, but I wish someone would try something with the really high powered bikes. That might be fun.

You could close off a decent length path somewhere (officially) and let people run. That might bring some media attention. Works at Pamplona.

We know Storm sold the 'sizzle', but he really sold a pretty impractical bike. I think he pushed the average age thing down some. I wonder if the Stormies will have rallies?
 

Mike leroy

Active Member
Well, there's the Rally Race idea.

(Link Removed - No Longer Exists)

It sounds pretty dull, but people used to do it. A more modern version with GPS and maps? Ride over here, find something, take a picture, move on to the next thing. I know older people who spend days hunting for 'geocaches'. It would end up being pretty geeky, like a video game on ebikes. It's like bringing a different set of people into ebikes. Probably people with less money who maybe want basic recreation.

A single class would be great. I'm not sure what speed you need over what course to make that interesting. You could rent 'racing' bikes at a track, but I think they pick those low CG cars to limit liability. I have a harder time seeing speed working, by itself, but I wish someone would try something with the really high powered bikes. That might be fun.

You could close off a decent length path somewhere (officially) and let people run. That might bring some media attention. Works at Pamplona.

We know Storm sold the 'sizzle', but he really sold a pretty impractical bike. I think he pushed the average age thing down some. I wonder if the Stormies will have rallies?
Why not follow the motorcycle model? Run the races at established motorcycle races. A large audience that may be somewhat sympathetic.
 
Last edited:

JRA

Well-Known Member
There have been a number of races mainly set up by the gas crowd but allowing e bikes also run to date. Mostly in So. Cal.. They don't seem to get much press or spectators even.

Conventional bicycle races happen all the time here in the US and many more around the world in many different formats. In order to organize these types of events there are many logistics that often takes a professional organization to support them. These governing bodies help to provide infrastructure such as the all important insurance factor to the race organizers. However this can mean rather high entry fees and yearly memberships which to some are not an issue and are already well established practices.

The biggest obstacle that e bikes face here is getting the point across that they can be practical alternative forms of transportation. To be able to show case this practicality at the legal level of acceptance for e bikes with the top speed regulated at 20 mph and get some press going would be a good thing. But racing at 20 mph around a track would probably not be all that interesting. As suggested some type of Rally or Poker Run format would be a good way to go as it might not intimidate potential contestants and be easy to have a level playing field where you could use a more public venue because part of the format is to be expected to follow the rules of the road. At first you would not be expecting very large fields either but perhaps starting small, like the e bike movement is itself, will in fact aid in the acceptance of e bikes. And get people together to share their enthusiasm for them other than from behind a screen!
 

Mike leroy

Active Member
There have been a number of races mainly set up by the gas crowd but allowing e bikes also run to date. Mostly in So. Cal.. They don't seem to get much press or spectators even.

Conventional bicycle races happen all the time here in the US and many more around the world in many different formats. In order to organize these types of events there are many logistics that often takes a professional organization to support them. These governing bodies help to provide infrastructure such as the all important insurance factor to the race organizers. However this can mean rather high entry fees and yearly memberships which to some are not an issue and are already well established practices.

The biggest obstacle that e bikes face here is getting the point across that they can be practical alternative forms of transportation. To be able to show case this practicality at the legal level of acceptance for e bikes with the top speed regulated at 20 mph and get some press going would be a good thing. But racing at 20 mph around a track would probably not be all that interesting. As suggested some type of Rally or Poker Run format would be a good way to go as it might not intimidate potential contestants and be easy to have a level playing field where you could use a more public venue because part of the format is to be expected to follow the rules of the road. At first you would not be expecting very large fields either but perhaps starting small, like the e bike movement is itself, will in fact aid in the acceptance of e bikes. And get people together to share their enthusiasm for them other than from behind a screen!
The event need not be a big affair. If the main goal is to capture the public imagination, then the most unique feature must be clearly illustrated. I am thinking of Evil Knevil jumping the Grand Canyon. No one believed it was possible. Millions of people passionately debated the prospects.