eBike Safety Features for Commuting

Mike leroy

Active Member
What safety features are essential to rely on an ebike for daily commuting?

Like Matthew McConaughey says in a YouTube car commercial:

"It is not about hugging trees. It is not about being wasteful either. You got to find balance. When you take care of yourself, you take care of more than yourself. That is the sweet spot". Another YouTube version on the same theme.

I want to make the transition from gas-powered to electric transportation. Quite frankly, I feel intimidated by car traffic. I want to minimize the risk of accidents due to ebike disadvantages relative to car drivers.

I want to remain as active as possible. I found my primary reason for inactivity is the convenience of the automobile. Why drive a big car to carry a small bag of groceries? Did you know Julius Ceasar forbade wheeled traffic in Rome during the daytime? The population of Rome was 1M during Ceasar's reign.

The purpose of this first post may seem confusing. I am trying to build a Wikipedia-like Table of Contents in the first post. The TOC links jump to Topics inside this thread. Each post is intended to represent a separate topic, not a response to the original thread.
  1. Tire and tube standards for robustness.
  2. Cooling System and Overheating
  3. Brakes
  4. Torque per Grade Percentage
  5. Motor Features
  6. Trailer vs. Racks
  7. Helmets
  8. Insurance
  9. Placeholder for future concerns
Moving to Portland, OR, from the Silicon Valley car culture is my second option, if ebike as primary transportation proves infeasible.

My situation:
  • I must ride in 35mph car lane for 1-2 miles.
  • The downhill grade is 10%, so coasting speed can be 40-60mph.
  • Uphill is the same, so I need at least wobble speed(i.e., 9mph) from the motor. I cannot be distracted by balance or waste energy from lateral pedaling movement.
  • I would ride during low traffic hours, e.g., before 7am. A bus with bike racks is my fallback alternative for unexpected heavy traffic, injury, road construction or weather.

Why make such a radical lifestyle change? I lost seventy-five(75) pounds by running/carrying food back from the store. As part of physical therapy from a Taekwondoe sparring accident, I needed to strengthen the split(not torn) meniscus in my knee.

I could not walk for two weeks. I returned to 75% after six weeks of painful PT. I am six feet tall. 195 is my optimal active weight. After a long period of inactivity, I weighed 245. My weight now fluctuates +- 10 lbs from 175.

I am underweight. Gaining weight is difficult. I wish I had bought a digital scale, before my weight went into uncontrollable free fall.
 
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Mike leroy

Active Member
Tires and tubes for robustness
  1. Tire puncture testing
  2. U.S. government vs European standards
  3. An industry standard designed for road use.
  4. Sheldon Brown
  5. Placeholder
Schwable ProCore

Two tire tubes or "Air Chambers". Better emergency control. Check out the video. The tire is pushed to the point of going completely flat! It is hard to believe.

(Link Removed - No Longer Exists)


WATCH THE VIDEO

Off road: Riding at lower pressure means better performance ... but at the same time it increases the risk of failures. The limit so far is at about 20 psi, below which it's hardly possible to dare to ride normal MTB tires.

But nothing stays the same: In the future, air pressure can be controlled in the tire's double chambers. In the outer chamber, the air pressure is extremely low - ideal for maximum off road performance. In the inner chamber, directly on the rim, there is high air pressure – even a very strong impact cannot dent the rim edge. At the same time, the inner high-pressure system secures the tire onto the rim. "Burping", the dreaded loss of air at low pressure in conventional tubeless systems, is impossible.

  • Tire pressure can be reduced to a minimum 14 psi, thus providing a huge amount of grip.

  • Even on the roughest terrain tires "stick" to the ground.

  • The tire provides extremely sensitive cushioning.

  • Due to the extra cushioning and traction there is much better steering, braking and traction control.

  • No more risk of snake bites. The rims are extremely well protected from denting.

  • Even in the toughest conditions, significantly lighter tires can be used.

  • Excellent emergency running characteristics due to the internal high-pressure air chamber.
Procore can be used with any tubeless MTB tire.

Weighing ca. 200 g per wheel. Compatible with all wheels regardless of brand. Internal rim width of 23mm.
UST rims attach tires more securely than traditional rims. Improves certain types of flat tires. Stronger when applying high cornering forces, so less apt to slowly leak air.

(Link Removed - No Longer Exists)

Puncture-resistant Tires and Tubes

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How do they work? Many tires makers employ a durable belt of aramid fibers (such as the well-known Kevlar® brand) to resist punctures; others simply increase the tread thickness. These tires are marketed by a variety of proprietary names:

  1. the Serfas Flat Protection System,
  2. the Continental Safety System,
  3. the Michelin ProTek reinforcement system

Finally, consider using thorn-resistant tubes. They are simply thicker (and heavier) versions of conventional tubes.

tread, may enhance or degrade traction in each of these cases. For roads, the least tread is best. So-called slicks have great traction. Bicycle tires do not hydroplane, like car tires.


The traction of a tire is determined by three things: inflation pressure, rubber formulation, and tread pattern.

Traction is also influenced by the presence or absence of suspension, and by the rider's posture and technique (see also my article on Braking and Turning.)
 

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Mike leroy

Active Member

Cooling System

  1. Either the wheel or frame functions as the ebike radiator.
  2. Center-mounted motors shed heat through the frame. My hypothesis is the motor runs cooler, than a hub- mounted motor shedding heat from the axle to the rim/tires.
 
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Mike leroy

Active Member
Torque per Grade Percentage

For every percent of grade, how many NM of torque is needed.

Thanks to AnnM for the suggestion. 5NM per grade percent for 300 pounds at wobble speed(9mph). If this assumption is an accurate rule of thumb, a 70Nm motor is safe up to a 14% grade.
 
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Mike leroy

Active Member
Trailer vs. Racks

To carry heavier loads, e.g., groceries, are Dutch-style racks adequate, or is a detachable trailer better?

According to Sheldon Brown article a two wheeled trailer stands the risk of flipping over.

So, what is the load weight limit? The load weight limit depends upon your tires and inflation pressure. To adjust for a heavy load carried back from a grocery store, you may need to adjust air pressure for the return trip.

I weigh 175 pounds. Fifty pounds of groceries is 30% of my body weight. The tire pressure will require adjustment. Front and rear racks will distribute the load more evenly. The rear wheel carries more load than the front wheel, so a full suspension may be necessary to compensate for very heavy loads.

Some calculations are necessary to avoid a catch-22. A full suspension requires a minimum tire pressure to transmit the energy to the shock. If the tire absorbs the impacts, the suspension will not be activated.

The racks used on Felt Outritter are produced by Old Man Mountain.
 
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Ann M.

Well-Known Member
Ahh, @Mike leroy , where to begin. Glad to hear your commitment to cycle transportation! It's a leap, but don't over analyze :cool:, its important to get out there and do it.
Moped or scooter tires and tubes for robustness.

This will determine rim size.

  1. An established government and industry history designed for road use.
  2. Less expensive than bicycle tires.
  3. My understanding is US bicycle tires are only rated to 30mph.
  4. Placeholder
Just got off the phone with one of the major bike parts & accessory suppliers and their response to the tire speed issue was a big 'Whaaat?' They hadn't heard of such a statement. Downhill bike riders can regularly get going 50-60mph and some stretches of city street riding will put you in 30+mph, but the average bike tire is designed to handle that and more. There are some tire brands that have a higher quality build that you will want to look for. Thicker tread, higher thread count (TPI), stronger sidewalls and the type of rubber composition will all determine how well the tire holds up and what the proper use would be. Moped tires are not universally stronger and unless you're looking at a skinny 16" how are you going to add tire liners, a generally smart option for fewer flats when the bike is your primary transportation.

On saddlebags vs. trailers, it all depends on how much stuff you're hauling at any one time. Each is useful; saddlebags are quick to install, take into the store with you and have a smaller space requirement for parking & storage. A trailer has a lower center of gravity, can haul more but takes up more room. You might even consider one of the electric powered trailers for your bigger loads, so the trailer is helping to push the load rather than the ebike pulling everything.
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
Hi @Mike leroy , feel free to edit your original post instead of replying to yourself with two or three lines of new text repeatedly, I think this formatting might confuse people but I do appreciate your enthusiasm and time spent sharing what you're thinking/learning here. Thanks for keeping these related topics together in this thread :)