ELF - Very Interested - But a few questions

programaddic

New Member
I have a few questions that I haven't seen answered in any of the videos I've been finding (or just missed) that perhaps you can help me with since some of you have years experience with the unit. Please be completely honest.
  1. How would you rate the Organic Transit sales department, and the speed of assistance overall should you need it if you’re not local? (phone, email, etc)

  2. Do you normally just ride on back roads with little traffic, perhaps busy roads but where traffic is normally slow (such as just in the city) or/and do any of you have extensive experience with traffic on a road with 45+mph?

  3. When not in a bike lane (when there isn’t one), how much do car drivers recognize you without just trying to pass you given the opportunity? Even when riding very close to the road edge.

  4. What options did you purchase your ELF with?
    I'm wondering if the front panel or floorboards would collect rain or if they have a way to let the collected water drip out (no puddles in the unit).
    I’m also trying to determine what options are probably not worth the $

  5. Without floorboards, how much water, dirt or rocks pop up from underneath as you ride? You can't say "none" because some of all 3 will inevitably happen.
    Does this make floorboards a good option?

  6. How well does the front and back window do with rain? I’m sure there is also something you can apply to both that will make it more effective, yes? (i’ve only seen one video with rain)

  7. What tires did you purchase your unit with and how often (not time but miles/kilometers) did it take before needing to change a tire?

  8. How good is the braking system and the parking brake?

  9. Do you have the CYCLE ANALYST option? Is it waterproof? (rain) Is it detachable?

  10. Will the CYCLE ANALYST monitor two batteries?

  11. How has the seating held up to your usage and your weather? How comfortable? Nothing is perfect…I live where winter is as low as 15°f and it may snow.

  12. When the battery starts to become low, how much pedaling is needed to counteract the force it needs to move?

  13. Have you ever taken a turn going a little too fast and felt the unit might tip over?

  14. Do you ever wish you had a seat belt?

  15. Are seat belts an easy DIY option?

  16. Can you rate the lights when riding at night?

  17. How do you lock your bike up when getting out? Is there a piece of frame that you attach it to primarily or is there a part of the bike designed to have a locked attached to it? (Not just the wheel)

  18. What do stores/restaurants normally have that you can lock your bike to without a bike rack? I’ve never paid attention to something like this before so I am ignorant as to what might be available.

  19. How long does the battery last before needing to be replaced entirely? Rechargeable batteries eventually become...well nothing last forever.

  20. Is the battery easily accessible to change and if so how difficult is it to do so?

  21. Is the battery too accessible to steal?

  22. What parts have you had to replace? Nothing is perfect, of which I completely understand.

  23. How good is reverse? Mostly use your feet? Pedals help at all?

  24. Would plugging into an outlet charge not only the first but second attached battery as well?

  25. Does having a second battery make the unit goes faster?
    1. I don’t want more speed, just longer distance
  26. Have you ever had to carry your elf or drag it up a hill?
    1. Perhaps the battery is dead and hill is mud so peddling would just spin
    2. Do you think it would be extremely difficult?
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
When not in a bike lane (when there isn’t one), how much do car drivers recognize you without just trying to pass you given the opportunity? Even when riding very close to the road edge.

Two drivers failed to recognize our bright red Honda Fit in the past 2 years. My wife was sitting in a line of traffic, stopped at a stop light, and rear ended both times. No injuries, but lots of damage to the car. I'd speculate certain death if hit with the same impact in an Elf. Distracted driving is my major concern now when riding in any kind of traffic.
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
A DC area Elf owner reported an SUV crashing into him trying to pull into a gas station from the middle lane http://bikearlingtonforum.com/showthread.php?12467-ELF-and-Car-collide-on-Route-7 and the location appeared to be https://goo.gl/maps/KL7nvJ6DLMn
I can report that as of today there has never been a fatality with an ELF collision thanks to the 360 degree crumple zone impact protection. 5 million road miles, 1000 sold. This is a very high visibility bike. That SUV could have done the same to any small car. The ELF puts your eyes at the same level as car drivers and we have all lights and horn.
 
I have a few questions that I haven't seen answered in any of the videos I've been finding (or just missed) that perhaps you can help me with since some of you have years experience with the unit. Please be completely honest.
  1. How would you rate the Organic Transit sales department, and the speed of assistance overall should you need it if you’re not local? (phone, email, etc)

  2. Do you normally just ride on back roads with little traffic, perhaps busy roads but where traffic is normally slow (such as just in the city) or/and do any of you have extensive experience with traffic on a road with 45+mph?

  3. When not in a bike lane (when there isn’t one), how much do car drivers recognize you without just trying to pass you given the opportunity? Even when riding very close to the road edge.

  4. What options did you purchase your ELF with?
    I'm wondering if the front panel or floorboards would collect rain or if they have a way to let the collected water drip out (no puddles in the unit).
    I’m also trying to determine what options are probably not worth the $

  5. Without floorboards, how much water, dirt or rocks pop up from underneath as you ride? You can't say "none" because some of all 3 will inevitably happen.
    Does this make floorboards a good option?

  6. How well does the front and back window do with rain? I’m sure there is also something you can apply to both that will make it more effective, yes? (i’ve only seen one video with rain)

  7. What tires did you purchase your unit with and how often (not time but miles/kilometers) did it take before needing to change a tire?

  8. How good is the braking system and the parking brake?

  9. Do you have the CYCLE ANALYST option? Is it waterproof? (rain) Is it detachable?

  10. Will the CYCLE ANALYST monitor two batteries?

  11. How has the seating held up to your usage and your weather? How comfortable? Nothing is perfect…I live where winter is as low as 15°f and it may snow.

  12. When the battery starts to become low, how much pedaling is needed to counteract the force it needs to move?

  13. Have you ever taken a turn going a little too fast and felt the unit might tip over?

  14. Do you ever wish you had a seat belt?

  15. Are seat belts an easy DIY option?

  16. Can you rate the lights when riding at night?

  17. How do you lock your bike up when getting out? Is there a piece of frame that you attach it to primarily or is there a part of the bike designed to have a locked attached to it? (Not just the wheel)

  18. What do stores/restaurants normally have that you can lock your bike to without a bike rack? I’ve never paid attention to something like this before so I am ignorant as to what might be available.

  19. How long does the battery last before needing to be replaced entirely? Rechargeable batteries eventually become...well nothing last forever.

  20. Is the battery easily accessible to change and if so how difficult is it to do so?

  21. Is the battery too accessible to steal?

  22. What parts have you had to replace? Nothing is perfect, of which I completely understand.

  23. How good is reverse? Mostly use your feet? Pedals help at all?

  24. Would plugging into an outlet charge not only the first but second attached battery as well?

  25. Does having a second battery make the unit goes faster?
    1. I don’t want more speed, just longer distance
  26. Have you ever had to carry your elf or drag it up a hill?
    1. Perhaps the battery is dead and hill is mud so peddling would just spin
    2. Do you think it would be extremely difficult?
I will answer all questions of you are still interested. This could take me an hour so I want a sign of continued interest first.
 

Esther

New Member
I have a few questions that I haven't seen answered in any of the videos I've been finding (or just missed) that perhaps you can help me with since some of you have years experience with the unit. Please be completely honest.
The only way to purchase an ELF now is on the used market. www.anyonecanbike.com is typically where people advertise a used ELF.
  1. How would you rate the Organic Transit sales department, and the speed of assistance overall should you need it if you’re not local? (phone, email, etc)
    N/A the company filed for bankruptcy.
  2. Do you normally just ride on back roads with little traffic, perhaps busy roads but where traffic is normally slow (such as just in the city) or/and do any of you have extensive experience with traffic on a road with 45+mph?
    I prefer roads with light traffic, and roads that are 4 lanes. I don't ride close to the right edge of my lane; I find that drivers overestimate the available space to my left and underestimate the width of their vehicle, so I help them to see that they need to change lanes to pass me. The ELF is roughly 4ft 5 inches wide. My commute routes have included some 2-lane roads with 45mph speed limits. I find that most drivers pass me safely. I do look for safe opportunities to release vehicles that are backed up behind me on a 2 lane road - something paved and not potholed where I can pull to the right and let faster vehicles pass.
  3. When not in a bike lane (when there isn’t one), how much do car drivers recognize you without just trying to pass you given the opportunity? Even when riding very close to the road edge.
    The ELF is roughly 4ft 5 inches wide, including mirrors. Many states have a 3ft minimum passing distance. So, for a 12ft lane, that would leave 4ft 9" for passing 'sharing' the lane with me. A mini cooper is 6ft wide, and most cars are wider than that. By not hugging the right edge, I am helping drivers to see that they cannot pass me in-lane. If I see a driver approaching from behind fast, I squeeze left brake a bit to activate the brake lights to make it very clear that I'm a slow vehicle. There have been few bike lanes on my routes, and my area has a lot of bike lanes that are narrower than 4ft. I do not put the front right wheel of ELFinto the gutter. In 3 years, I have had 5 scary close passes by drivers. I have found that drivers are more polite to me in the ELF than when I'm on a 2-wheel bike.
  4. What options did you purchase your ELF with?
    I'm wondering if the front panel or floorboards would collect rain or if they have a way to let the collected water drip out (no puddles in the unit).
    I’m also trying to determine what options are probably not worth the $
    You can only buy used now, so you don't get to choose options. I have the aftermarket clear side shields, and the handle for battery cable connector.
  5. Without floorboards, how much water, dirt or rocks pop up from underneath as you ride? You can't say "none" because some of all 3 will inevitably happen.
    Does this make floorboards a good option?
    I don't have floorboards. I have gotten splashed with water. I don't ride on gravel, and I don't ride wet roads. There is a LOT of chain, and I'm the type of person would cleans chains after getting gravel dust or water on them. Therefore I avoid ELFing in rain.
  6. How well does the front and back window do with rain? I’m sure there is also something you can apply to both that will make it more effective, yes? (i’ve only seen one video with rain)

  7. What tires did you purchase your unit with and how often (not time but miles/kilometers) did it take before needing to change a tire?

  8. How good is the braking system and the parking brake?
    The disc brakes on 3 wheels work well. Mine need frequent adjustment to keep the parking brake effective. Wind can push the ELF, so I use a wheel block and parking brake when parking.
  9. Do you have the CYCLE ANALYST option? Is it waterproof? (rain) Is it detachable?
    My cycle analyst has not gotten wet, and it's not easily detachable (requires a wrench)
  10. Will the CYCLE ANALYST monitor two batteries?

  11. How has the seating held up to your usage and your weather? How comfortable? Nothing is perfect…I live where winter is as low as 15°f and it may snow.

  12. When the battery starts to become low, how much pedaling is needed to counteract the force it needs to move?

  13. Have you ever taken a turn going a little too fast and felt the unit might tip over?
    My rule is max 21 mph on curve. I don't
  14. Do you ever wish you had a seat belt?

  15. Are seat belts an easy DIY option?

  16. Can you rate the lights when riding at night?
    I supplement the headlights with a helmet-mounted headlight.
  17. How do you lock your bike up when getting out? Is there a piece of frame that you attach it to primarily or is there a part of the bike designed to have a locked attached to it? (Not just the wheel)

  18. What do stores/restaurants normally have that you can lock your bike to without a bike rack? I’ve never paid attention to something like this before so I am ignorant as to what might be available.
    It's tough to lock to existing bike rack - need a really long chain/cable to reach. I live in low crime area, and I just put a 7lb chain bike lock thru rear wheel.
  19. How long does the battery last before needing to be replaced entirely? Rechargeable batteries eventually become...well nothing last forever.

  20. Is the battery easily accessible to change and if so how difficult is it to do so?
    Awkward, but easily accessible, between the feet area in front.
  21. Is the battery too accessible to steal?
    Probably, but mine hasn't been stolen.
  22. What parts have you had to replace? Nothing is perfect, of which I completely understand.

  23. How good is reverse? Mostly use your feet? Pedals help at all?
    The only reverse is flintstone with your feet
  24. Would plugging into an outlet charge not only the first but second attached battery as well?
    no.
  25. Does having a second battery make the unit goes faster?
    1. I don’t want more speed, just longer distance
    2. You have to swap batteries, they are not designed to be connected in series.
  26. Have you ever had to carry your elf or drag it up a hill?
    1. Perhaps the battery is dead and hill is mud so peddling would just spin
    2. Do you think it would be extremely difficult?
    3. I have gotten out and pushed uphill when I ran out (or almost out) of battery. A short hill is easy to walk up, a longer one takes effort. I have amputation on 1 leg, and am not strong enough to pedal my ELF without motor assist up any slight incline. Most people with 2 entire legs can pedal an ELF slowly on level ground without motor, and can pedal up gentle inclines at very slow speed.
 
"Is the company still in production?
I heard somewhere that they were heading towards bankruptcy!"
They did shut down in bankruptcy earlier this year. Reason - they borrowed too much money. 1000 owners have multiple on-line support groups, especially Facebook which has 3 groups, the largest and most active is private. We are watching to see who buys out the factory, tooling, parts inventory and patents. With the right buyer the ELF will be stronger than ever. There are used ELFs listed on this site several times each month: AnyoneCanBike.com The copycat company selling the PEBL has been in production for about a year but they have a huge issue with vehicle weight conflicting with the max legal motor wattage of 750. The ELF weighs 70 pounds less and is fine to pedal on flat roads. The base price of PEBL has jumped to $12 K with solar roof optional. I have used my ELF as primary transportation for 5 years now, I am so glad I got rid of the car and went green. It has changed my life for the better in many ways.
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
@Popeye Gordon 's response.

They did shut down in bankruptcy earlier this year. Reason - they borrowed too much money. 1000 owners have multiple on-line support groups, especially Facebook which has 3 groups, the largest and most active is private. We are watching to see who buys out the factory, tooling, parts inventory and patents. With the right buyer the ELF will be stronger than ever. There are used ELFs listed on this site several times each month: AnyoneCanBike.com The copycat company selling the PEBL has been in production for about a year but they have a huge issue with vehicle weight conflicting with the max legal motor wattage of 750. The ELF weighs 70 pounds less and is fine to pedal on flat roads. The base price of PEBL has jumped to $12 K with solar roof optional. I have used my ELF as primary transportation for 5 years now, I am so glad I got rid of the car and went green. It has changed my life for the better in many ways.
 

TomGibb

New Member
Some additional answers:

When not in a bike lane (when there isn’t one), how much do car drivers recognize you without just trying to pass you given the opportunity? Even when riding very close to the road edge.
When using the Organic Transit ELF for commuting to work I would always take the entire Lane. Occasionally, a car driver would not realize that the ELF was a bicycle and approach at a high rate of speed. Once a flag was installed on the rear wheel-support this was no longer a problem.
 

TomGibb

New Member
Will the cycle analyst monitor 2 batteries? Yes, the cycle analyst will monitor two batteries. It is also possible to combine two batteries into one. Some battery experts say that it is easy to parallel two batteries. I used a half bridge Shockley rectifier to connect my two batteries. The results are excellent. Now there is more than twice as much range as there was using one battery at a time. Better still, there is no need to stop in the middle of the road to exchange the battery! I think that using the two batteries connected in parallel is putting less current drain on either battery. By the way, when a battery gets low it just stops working all together. No lights no nothing at all. Very scary at night.
 
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TomGibb

New Member
When the battery becomes low...how much pedaling...? First, the battery does not "get low" it just stops supplying any power. No lights, nothing- and no warning unless you are looking at the Cycleanalyst.
The motor chain master-link broke about three miles into a 16 mile commute. (It broke because the chain was not quite tight and too much throttle was applied on a hill.) I was able to pedal all but one short gentle hill to get home. My legs got tired so I pushed the ELF for about 300 feet. The remainder of the trip was flat or downhill so I was able to get home without help. The ELF is very easy to push. One hand on the handlebar and one on the side opening frame, and away you go. There were many steep hills before I started pushing and the Nuvinci 360 made pedaling possible.
 

TomGibb

New Member
The lights at night were almost useless because the windshield was so badly scratched. Only fresh water and clean microfiber cloths were ever used to clean it. The headlights of oncoming cars would create such a web of light that it was difficult to see. New brighter headlights for the ELF were a help. Also, using Canuba car wax on the windshield reduced the amount of scratching visible. It became much more comfortable to drive at night.
 

TomGibb

New Member
As far as going faster is concerned, you really don't want to go faster than 30 miles an hour. After that speed, the windshield begins to cave in. The handling also become somewhat Twitchy. Don't expect to win any races going downhill. Or for that matter, going uphill. It will however hold its own against a bicyclist on the level.
 

TomGibb

New Member
Tipping on turns... I have read that one person managed to turn an ELF over. My ELF is incredibly stable. The camber on the front wheels means that the ELF has to rise up in order to get past the Tipping Point. The ELF also is pretty much immune to the effects of side winds. Instead of the wind pushing the ELF from side to side, it just slows the elf down. I have ridden the ELF in many very strong wind storms with no problems except for exhausting the batteries prematurely.
 
Some additional answers:


When not in a bike lane (when there isn’t one), how much do car drivers recognize you without just trying to pass you given the opportunity? Even when riding very close to the road edge.
When using the Organic Transit ELF for commuting to work I would always take the entire Lane. Occasionally, a car driver would not realize that the ELF was a bicycle and approach at a high rate of speed. Once a flag was installed on the rear wheel-support this was no longer a problem.
Tom is giving bad advice here about taking the center of the lane - it is usually legal to do so but it is a bad idea that irritates motorists. Keep to the right and pull off if you hold up more than one vehicle. Only take the lane when you need to do a left turn. Flashers and/ or a flag or a slow moving vehicle triangle are wise.
 
Tom is incorrect about the Cycle Analyst being OK to monitor two combined batteries and running two lithium batteries together is unwise. A switch is needed to monitor two batteries correctly. When installed correctly a heavy duty marine battery switch will isolate the two batteries from each other and allow the Cycle Analyst to function properly. Each monitoring and control BMS system is for one pack only, combining packs can defeat the BMS designed to maximize battery life and safety.
 
When the battery becomes low...how much pedaling...? First, the battery does not "get low" it just stops supplying any power. No lights, nothing- and no warning unless you are looking at the Cycleanalyst.
The motor chain master-link broke about three miles into a 16 mile commute. (It broke because the chain was not quite tight and too much throttle was applied on a hill.) I was able to pedal all but one short gentle hill to get home. My legs got tired so I pushed the ELF for about 300 feet. The remainder of the trip was flat or downhill so I was able to get home without help. The ELF is very easy to push. One hand on the handlebar and one on the side opening frame, and away you go. There were many steep hills before I started pushing and the Nuvinci 360 made pedaling possible.
Tom is again incorrect and if he owns an ELF he knows he is giving misleading information. The battery absolutely does slowly 'get low' and the top speed of the ELF will be only 14 mph as the battery gets close to shut down voltage. Even without a meter you will notice the motor reducing power as it gets near to shut down voltage. The 12 volt converter leaves the lights at the same brightness at all times and the lights DO continue to work after the motor controller has shut of battery current. This is part of the built in safety design of the ELF. It is possible that because of Tom's tampering his ELF does lose its lights but that is not normal performance.
 
The lights at night were almost useless because the windshield was so badly scratched. Only fresh water and clean microfiber cloths were ever used to clean it. The headlights of oncoming cars would create such a web of light that it was difficult to see. New brighter headlights for the ELF were a help. Also, using Canuba car wax on the windshield reduced the amount of scratching visible. It became much more comfortable to drive at night.
What Tom was trying to convey is that the original headlights were marginal. OT upgraded to headlights that draw three times as much power - now they are so bright we may get blinked at by cars as we blind them. He was also giving confusing information about top speed - the motor controller will always cut out above 20 mph and only extremely strong riders can push the ELF to 25 mph for short periods on pedal power only. 30 mph is achieved on down hill runs only. The vehicle is not designed to operate safely above 25 mph. Do that at your own risk.
 

Esther

New Member
Tom is giving bad advice here about taking the center of the lane - it is usually legal to do so but it is a bad idea that irritates motorists. Keep to the right and pull off if you hold up more than one vehicle. Only take the lane when you need to do a left turn. Flashers and/ or a flag or a slow moving vehicle triangle are wise.
I disagree with Popeye here. I control the lane that I'm using. I do choose safe places to pull off and 'release' faster traffic.
I help to create circumstances for the motorist to make a safe pass; the motorist forgets about me as soon as they get past me.
In states with a 3ft passing law, a lane would have to be 15ft wide in order for a motorist to legally pass my ELF while sharing my lane with me (4ft ELF + 3ft space + 7ft vehicle width + 1ft for mirrors).
Crossing a double yellow line to pass a cyclist is legal in specified circumstances in North Carolina, and in other states.
I am League Cycling Instructor #3603.