Fire destroys E Bikes SF Store

lilrich1959

Member
Sure hope not too Shea sure don't need a Hindenburg to slow anything down. We been fortunate here had a deer jump through the window last year, broke the showroom window and knocked over a few bikes...casualties 1 deer wandered off fatally wounded. Get kind of worried about all the news out of New York with the hooligan delivery guys and the overreaction in regulations there. Just thinking aloud...
 

Ann M.

Well-Known Member
Yes, the Ebikes San Francisco specialized in custom built ebikes using geared BMC hi torque, high watt hub motors. Not a huge shop, but the folks there were very experienced- could tear into a motor & fix it or wake a sleeping lithium battery.
 

biknut

Active Member
If the shop is not rebuilding, I'd be suspicious of an insurance job. Factory battery's now days are very low risk for fires.
 

Ann M.

Well-Known Member
Having run an ebike shop for 14 years, the store liability insurance money first goes to cover fire damage claimed by the
building's owner, after that you get to see what's left to work with for the store owner. Also, the report doesn't really show
how much damage may have been done to other units next to EBikes SF. The costs could've easily maxed out the insurance.
Consider the owner's state of shock; we're not talking a mega store with deep pockets, this is a small independent shop.

I agree, that in general OEM batteries that most ebikes come with now are pretty solid quality, but they're not 100% no fail.
Damaged, modified or lithium batteries with bad cells are more of a hazard as are some of the cheaper imports. Who knows
what some customer may have brought in for the guys to work on. The people who started Ebikes SF have been part of the
industry for a long time, starting from a home grown business to an actual storefront, they are not scammers.
 

calvin

Active Member
We need to get a better fix on this fire thing. This is the third fire that I know of. Lots of conjecture, where are the empirically based do's and don'ts of lithium batteries? Experimentation with proper controls needs to be implemented. Like now! I'm afraid I can't even charge my battery up unless I am physically present.
 

LouisQ

Member
Lot's of home builders using less than quality materials and lots of RC Lipo out there too. If you've ever arced even a 24V SLA you'd see they are more than capable of starting a blaze with the right conditions.
Good old lead acid in your car used to run motors can be just as dangerous with poor wiring practice. I've spent hundreds of hours reading reports, articles and such on the most common battery now used, the 18650. Proper builds are as safe, or safer IMO, than gas engines and associated fuels and fluids. But all it takes is one second of losing focus with an power equipment. I think everyone should step back and not get paranoid. Use common sense. Use good shops and known battery suppliers.
 

LouisQ

Member
We need to get a better fix on this fire thing. This is the third fire that I know of. Lots of conjecture, where are the empirically based do's and don'ts of lithium batteries? Experimentation with proper controls needs to be implemented. Like now! I'm afraid I can't even charge my battery up unless I am physically present.
Where is the battery from? Who built it? I don't hesitate to leave mine alone. It's no more dangerous than a gas can. Proper storage and location and all is well. For winter charging in my basement, I do it in my stored BBQ. Way over kill. But It makes me feel better knowing it can't start a fire.
 

LouisQ

Member
Yes, the Ebikes San Francisco specialized in custom built ebikes using geared BMC hi torque, high watt hub motors. Not a huge shop, but the folks there were very experienced- could tear into a motor & fix it or wake a sleeping lithium battery.
So are Lipo powered bikes typically kept out of shops?
 

Ann M.

Well-Known Member
Very thorough information. Its always been our shop's recommendation to customers with either SLA (Sealed Lead Acid) batteries or lithium batteries to use a surge protector and preferably a programmable digital timer to create their own home charging station. Too often folks with the SLA powered electric scooters come in with pooched out batteries that are toast! The timer helps prevent overcharging and for the a lithium powered ebikes, keeps the battery from 'going to sleep' after several months of no charge at all. It's a simple protocol to set the timer for an hour to two hours max once a week to prevent a lithium battery's voltage dropping so low that the BMS cuts the battery off.

Now if you're lucky enough to have one of the newest BionX systems, their lithium batteries now have a special deep sleep mode. Guess you figure that one out when its winter 5 months of the year! Please don't be afraid to charge your battery. Do let it cool if its hot outside and don't run them 'til they're empty. Much less problem if you just top it off after a ride. The battery is going to last better that way.