Have you noticed that the vast majority of ebikes are "recreation-focused?"

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Oops.... I should have known that. My miss. :)

I'm still a big fan of direct drive hub motors .... so few people understand that they really are very efficient when used correctly such as just cruising around over 25kph/15mph. They just are not so great for low speed climbing and accelerating from a stop which is the two areas where most riders "perceive" performance.
Don't get me wrong. A direct drive fan here too, when they suit your primary mission. Key though, is understanding the strong points of both the gear drive and direct drive. Once you understand that, determining which suits you and your mission is possible (easily!).

I really don't see the Rad Wagon as a commuter, or any other service that would require speeds of 15mph plus for any distance. That's where the direct drive becomes effecient and starts working well. This is a work horse, designed to carry heavy loads, or maybe used as a delivery vehicle in town with a lot of stop and go. Hills should be a non event for it. As it is, that direct drive is a really poor choice of power. They really do need to change that, or at least have an option for which way suits your purposes better. Maybe then they wouldn't have to sell them at give away prices to move them.... -Al
 

opimax

Well-Known Member
There seems to be more people which say they are DD people then there are bikes. I am a DD customer also. After Stromer who else for upper end DD here in the US? my 2nd choice is geared rear drive. Not many of them in upper end bikes. My riding is mostly paved rails to trails...
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Heinzmann has a geared hub motor with oil bath lubrication. They do imply it's for the cargo ebike market but I have never seen a bike with it. I've tried several times to get information for them but never hear back. If anyone has a way to contact them or purchase one of these motors please write to this forum string. With hardened gears and oil lubrication this motor could be a beast ... and fast at 52V or higher.

Note: I'm sure Heinzmann is going to never specify what the motor does at higher than 36V which is how they sell it for the EU mamby-pamby market at sub 32kph speeds.

The DD motors that Crystalyte makes for Hi Power Cycles are pretty nice for commuter ebikes but they are a bit heavy. I just with they would integrate their DD motor into a magnesium wheel (I'm beginning to just hate spokes on ebikes).
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
The major road through the town has lights timed to 40 mph. There is no e-bike that can cope with that. Noisy gas scooters are required. Most of them don't handle cargo well.
Running the back roads, the legal way to ride involves a stop every 600 feet. So even in the flat part of town, what is the point of a DD hubmotor? I had one, but it was inefficient compared to the geared hub. So the geared hub will wear out? So what, it was $221. Even a premium one (MAC10) is $500, not really a problem expense every 10000 miles or so.
The radwagon configuration is the perfect errand bike IMHO, but the DD motor is wrong, the wheels fall apart, the 7 speed shimano shifter is kiddie grade. I have the same configuration in a yubabike costing twice as much, but with a watthour efficient geared hub and 24 speed SRAM shifters. Also the yuba wheels & chain are no problem. I'm out on mine 6 days a weeks shopping, attending concerts, going to volunteer job. Average speed about 8 mph, not for serious commuters. I'm also blessed I don't sweat much, not until temp is over 100, and even then not in my eyes.
Note lack of suspension on cargo bikes. Those suspension parts are not of the quality of a monroe air shock (leveler) for cars. Any bike with a suspension is IMHO a short life toy - until somebody produces a product that proves me wrong. Tires? yeah, about 2000 miles, but they weigh a lot less than the ones on cars. Cost less, too.
 
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Ken M

Well-Known Member
Why someone doesn't duplicate the programming that Grin has achieved for their hub motors is beyond me. They cut the power to the hub when the battery get's low such that the cogging torque is neutralized so the bike will be like pedaling a traditional bike. They say with regen this effect can last a very long time if not indefinitely.

I think adding this to the programming such that slow speed assist to say 10mph is also limited to just over-coming cogging torque and a DD hub will be as efficient as any dirve system.

Bikes are very efficient for humans to get to 10mph per hour and the little burst of extra energy is good for everyone's health.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
I agree, Grin is an outstanding example of what COULD be done.

There are exceptions of course, but taken as a whole, I think OEM controller programming sucks! There is SO much more that could be done with most of them. I think part of the issue is that people making the call on how their controller programming is set up are often clueless. That, or they don't want to spend the money to do the research to have it done right.
 

sl_duck

Member
I don't think it's a durability issue that keeps more people from biking, it's simply convenience and comfort. For a car, all you need to get going is the keys. On a bike, you need to check the weather to decide what to wear, put on your helmet, jacket, and whatever else. Put your stuff in a basket or bag that can be attached to the bike or in a backpack. When you get where you're going, you have to lock the bike up, strip anything that might be stolen, take all that stuff with you inside and change out of your rainwear. Repeat for trip home. Then multiply the effort if transporting kids.
Only when driving becomes more of a hassle and unaffordable expense will biking for transportation start to take off in north america, and with it the desire for people to live closer to where they work.
As for speed, allowing bikes with a 45km/h limit in areas with pedestrians and regular bikes is asking for backlash. Reckless people will ruin it for all. It's why we can't have nice things.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
I agree, Grin is an outstanding example of what COULD be done.

There are exceptions of course, but taken as a whole, I think OEM controller programming sucks! There is SO much more that could be done with most of them. I think part of the issue is that people making the call on how their controller programming is set up are often clueless. That, or they don't want to spend the money to do the research to have it done right.
I'm a degreed engineer so I can say this....I think engineering egos make them think they can write a PAS program algorithm that actually outperforms a rider that is in control of the assist level with a throttle. They can't but they will never admit it.

Don't take this wrong. I think PAS shines on technical trail and mtn biking assents but I just tend to like to be in full control of the assist level just like when I drive my car or ride a motorcycle. A throttle is essentially an infinitely variable assist system in reality.

I have also found the OEM PAS programming to be ????. For example, on my Haibike with the first generation Yamaha PW mid motor I have to down shift twice when riding fast uphill to get more assist. When you down shift the motor senses less torque such that only one downshift actually results in more rider effort to even come close to maintaining same speed. It's a bizarre issue in my opinion. Had a friend with a Yamaha Haibike that never even noticed this till I pointed it out and then it bothered him. Funny how some people ride without even paying attention.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
I don't think it's a durability issue that keeps more people from biking, it's simply convenience and comfort. For a car, all you need to get going is the keys. On a bike, you need to check the weather to decide what to wear, put on your helmet, jacket, and whatever else. Put your stuff in a basket or bag that can be attached to the bike or in a backpack. When you get where you're going, you have to lock the bike up, strip anything that might be stolen, take all that stuff with you inside and change out of your rainwear. Repeat for trip home. Then multiply the effort if transporting kids.
Only when driving becomes more of a hassle and unaffordable expense will biking for transportation start to take off in north america, and with it the desire for people to live closer to where they work.
As for speed, allowing bikes with a 45km/h limit in areas with pedestrians and regular bikes is asking for backlash. Reckless people will ruin it for all. It's why we can't have nice things.
i agree with your assessment....humans tend to never look back from something with more luxury and convenience but without a doubt cities can't just keep widening roads and eventually the negative impact of driving will get people riding more, but the bike does need to be as low maintenance and reliable as a car.

Once you have a routine I found commuting to work 18 miles each way not such a problem but I don't work in a suit and tie office where a bad weather day could be a problem at work.

People need to really look at the ever rising obesity rate in this country. If you have to travel to work and time is always an issue, it's kind of nice to get some great exercise doing the travel you need to do anyway. During rush hour I was able to ride the 18 miles to work (I live in Denver) as fast or faster on my ebike and it was only a 20mph assist model.

I don't think that just because an ebike has a faster assist will it create a more unsafe situations with pedestrians. Bikers for the most part know that if they hit someone they are also at great risk of injury. It's not like a car running your over at a cross walk is going to harm the driver at all. I think all the safety issues that are raised when mentioning ebikes that can assist from say 45-55kph is most people just not really giving the issue much thought. Does someone that owns a 300mph Bugatti always drive it that fast???
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
I'm a degreed engineer so I can say this....I think engineering egos make them think they can write a PAS program algorithm that actually outperforms a rider that is in control of the assist level with a throttle. They can't but they will never admit it.

Don't take this wrong. I think PAS shines on technical trail and mtn biking assents but I just tend to like to be in full control of the assist level just like when I drive my car or ride a motorcycle. A throttle is essentially an infinitely variable assist system in reality.

I have also found the OEM PAS programming to be ????. For example, on my Haibike with the first generation Yamaha PW mid motor I have to down shift twice when riding fast uphill to get more assist. When you down shift the motor senses less torque such that only one downshift actually results in more rider effort to even come close to maintaining same speed. It's a bizarre issue in my opinion. Had a friend with a Yamaha Haibike that never even noticed this till I pointed it out and then it bothered him. Funny how some people ride without even paying attention.
So, if your objective (as the designer of the controller/display programming/user interface) is to maximise the potential for a great customer experience, wouldn't it make sense to give your customers some control over the PAS settings? Maybe using the same menu they use for setting wheel size and desired max speed ? How much is that to ask for? This at absolute MINIMUM! If there's a concern about the difficulty of supporting an option like that due to it being screwed up all the time, how much trouble would it be to install another menu item setting everything back to factory defaults!! This is not rocket science. It could be done EASILY, and most likely with NO changes to existing hardware!
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
I don't think it's a durability issue that keeps more people from biking, it's simply convenience and comfort. For a car, all you need to get going is the keys. On a bike, you need to check the weather to decide what to wear, put on your helmet, jacket, and whatever else. Put your stuff in a basket or bag that can be attached to the bike or in a backpack. When you get where you're going, you have to lock the bike up, strip anything that might be stolen, take all that stuff with you inside and change out of your rainwear. Repeat for trip home. Then multiply the effort if transporting kids.
Yeah, I do all that except strip the bike when I park it. No resale value on bike batteries here yet. About an 8 step checklist to get on or off the bike, every stop, sometimes 3 stops a trip. Glad I'm retired. Not including the jacket & yellow vest which I can wear in. Certain vendors (hardware, auto supply) allow me in wearing the helmet.
Was chewed out by the dentist last week for not carrying my bridge in the glove compartment of my car. I bent a prong with the thing in my pocket box. He can't understand why I won't buy a car. On my last job I received half the points required to fire me for showing up to work one day without my badge. Badge is supposed to be in my car. I had walked to work, I'm a real prevert. Screw them, I lived off the stock market for 8 years until SS started.
I agree with Ken M, cheap PAS is worthless. Goes too fast on level 1, accelerates way too fast to fixed speed, takes off if you wind the crank backwards to position pedal high for takeoff. Torque sensor or nothing, and I like geared hubmotors for low chain maintenance & ability to ride unpowered without drag. (Finally bosch is losing market share of mid drives; was about 100% of models I fancied in 2017).
Ken M said: "People need to really look at the ever rising obesity rate in this country. If you have to travel to work and time is always an issue, it's kind of nice to get some great exercise doing the travel you need to do anyway."
Yeah, besides guys my age, if they sit around their heart forgets to beat. I'm fixing to lose my co-worker at the volunteer job: he fell, hit his head, hasn't showed up to work for 2 weeks. He won't aerobic exercise, we had that conversation. He just takes the heart medicine the Dr. ordered. Proud he has never taken pain medicine. I take NSAID's about 4 mornings a week for muscle or knee pain. Bbcnews.com said the Surrey bike club of 70-80 year olds had the same T-cell counts (repair cells) as 29 year olds. They ride 4* a week 40-60 miles. We elderly need those repair cells if we fall or get hit by a car as I was.
 
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Ken M

Well-Known Member
My intent of this forum was to just get a feel if most of us really felt the ebike industry was producing commuting models that were capable enough for the US market. I just think a Class 1 assist cut-off at 20mph is too slow to be an effective transportation ebike and the Class 3 ebikes seem to be a hunting ground for insurance agents and DMV clerks looking for ways to get money from ebikes.
 

trainman

Member
Recreational Focused is why I have an ebike, I didn't buy one for exercise, riding to work (retired), save gas, or save the environment. For us we take them camping with us, or load up in the big 4x4 pickup and take to the trails for riding pleasure and recreation, there Toys for us and it's just another way to enjoy the outdoors. I could care less about what drive system it has, all I want is someone to service it with replacement parts when needed and someone to talk with on the phone if I have a problem. We went with Rad for this reason and so far so good.
 

Abeydoun

New Member
For at least 50 years bike value has been defined by a simple equation: their efficiency in turning human effort into forward motion. The quality (and generally, price) of a bike was defined by how efficiently it solved that equation and the definitive aspect of that solution was easily packaged and sold as weight savings. Everything else was secondary. This paradigm was really put in high gear with the advent of drop bar road bikes and derailleurs. At the end of the day, weight ruled supreme, less by virtue of its actual value in solving the efficiency equation than for the fact that it was so darned easy to quantify.

Seems to me that the industry has critically failed to notice is how fundamentally the advent of e-bikes has altered the efficiency equation and therefore, disrupted the faster/farther/easier paradigm. Yet even today, weight is still the/a primal factor driving e-bike price and in evaluating e-bike quality. I think it's mainly driven by the bike industry in general thinking that every "cyclist" expects an ebike to be as close to traditional as possible (i.e. batteries hidden in the frames and motor integrated such that they are not so noticeable).

Realistically, there is no reason the weight/power-efficiency paradigm should apply to anything other than racing bikes.

Here's why I bring this up. I think this is the reason ebikes are not really getting people to consider them viable transportation solutions. More battery capacity that can be hidden in a frame tube is needed and more power so assist is truly effective past 20mph/32kph is needed. I'm not advocating the 10kw motorcycle-like ebikes that have riding geometries that don't really allow effective rider input but something in the range of 1000W mid-drive and 2000W hub drive systems that allow for sustained commuting speeds in the range of 25-35mph (please I know there are those that will quickly say this is no longer a bike but I have hit speeds of 35mph on a non-powered bike going down hills since I was probably 12 years old so I don't need to hear that mamby pamby stuff again).

If there was an affordable transportation-grade ebike available (I think Vintage, Wattwagon, and Bultaco have viable solutions now but they are on the high side of price scale) would it be find a lot of market success?
Wow you are a great writer. Totally agree with your assessment.
 

trainman

Member
Wow you are a great writer. Totally agree with your assessment.
I can see by your answer you are a bicycle purest, or it's something that you are very interested in, I have no problem with that, we all have our niche in life and where bicycles might be yours, mine is something totally different.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
I can see by your answer you are a bicycle purest, or it's something that you are very interested in, I have no problem with that, we all have our niche in life and where bicycles might be yours, mine is something totally different.
Actually in agreeing with me he's not a purest. He thinks that ebikes really should usher in a new design paradigm with much less focus on weight considerations. For example, I'll be happy with tires 1000 grams heavier each if they were far less likely to have a puncture flat. I'd rather be sitting more upright and comfortable (able to see everything going on much better so I'm safer) than being in some super aero position that is uncomfortable and dangerous just to save 25 watts.

Some people imply that if an ebike can assist faster than 32kph it should be considered a motorcycle (most of these people wort at DMV of for the insurance companies and understand the potential for lost revenue if more people start commuting on ebikes) which makes no sense considering I've rode faster than that on my Schwinn banana seat bike at 12 years old going down hills in Colorado Springs.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
This brings back some of the dumber things I have in my history. Not even going to go there. Some of it is hard for even me to believe!
" I've rode faster than that on my Schwinn banana seat bike at 12 years old going down hills in Colorado Springs."
 

PatriciaK

Active Member
If do think the focus is on recreational riding, and I think the fundamental reason for that is the nearly complete lack of cycling infrastructure for anything other than recreation.

We made a choice long ago to become motor vehicle-centric. Motor vehicles own the roads, and cyclists (and pedestrians, for that matter) are an intrusion. It's clear even in the language we use - instead of developing adequate cycle commuting infrastructure - motorists are requested to "share the road" with cyclists - which implies motorist ownership. You cannot choose to share something that is not "yours". Instead of making it clear that cyclists HAVE THE RIGHT to be on the road, and instead of making it clear that there are consequences to motorists for impinging upon those rights, they are just encouraged to "share".

Until we decide to develop adequate infrastructure for commuting by bike, similar to what the Netherlands invested in, the numbers of cyclists willing to brave the behemoth motorized traffic will remain miniscule, and the focus for sales will continue to be recreational.
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
I solved my need for speed by buying a motorcycle. For peace and quiet I ride the Pedego.
The "peace and quiet ride" sounds like a weekend joyride.

I think the point of this thread was making ebike more of a everyday commute.

In North American (USA/Canada), ebikes are toys, recreation item, sports,.. very similar to dirtbikes, snowmobile and ATVs.

In Japan or Netherlands, ebikes are legitimate transportation. People use ebikes to pick kids up from school, buy groceries, go to work, school, etc.

Ebikes need to be more useful, comfortable and reliable.
Not to mention better and safer bicycle infrastructure.