Van Moof announces a 31 mph awd 'hyperbike'

Edrummer

Active Member
I have a friend that has the monstrosity you talk about. I rode the bike. I respectfully disagree with you. There are many things that actually work way better than expected. On a ride , ascending a mile long hill at 16 percent grade with both motors engaged, the bike is pulling in the 800 watt range. It runs cool. The ability to engage the front, back, or both motors is also a bonus. But the thing I like best is the battery isn’t proprietary. It’s reparable and replaceable. The same can be said for the bafang motors. At 2000 miles so far, the bike is not falling apart as implied in previous posts.
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
I have a friend that has the monstrosity you talk about. I rode the bike. I respectfully disagree with you. There are many things that actually work way better than expected. On a ride , ascending a mile long hill at 16 percent grade with both motors engaged, the bike is pulling in the 800 watt range. It runs cool. The ability to engage the front, back, or both motors is also a bonus. But the thing I like best is the battery isn’t proprietary. It’s reparable and replaceable. The same can be said for the bafang motors. At 2000 miles so far, the bike is not falling apart as implied in previous posts.
Well, I'm not saying you don't get some benefits from those Ecells bikes, but as a 2wd, they are overpriced and poorly engineered. I'm not trying to be a butthead here, or contrarian for the sake of it. I consider that vendor an egregious offender when it comes to truth in advertising, over and above the quality of what they are delivering. And yeah I'm about to go off on a complete rant about it. I'll mention only the most obvious things done wrong:

They use a suspension fork on the front - this is pretty much a cardinal sin. I know Ecells say they had it beefed up to handle the motor, but its just an RST Guide fork which comes with thick dropouts. Will it survive long term? Good question. Eunorau is betting on the same fork on the bike they are bringing out shortly. No fork including that Guide was ever meant to be pulled forward, and while this could mean the fork risks being pulled apart, the real risk is entirely in the dropouts shearing, which front-wheel-drive ebikes have been doing since forever on suspension forks. The sin is compounded by not using torque arms. The way you see most suspension forks fail with a front motor is the dropouts shear clean off. Two torque arms will minimize the likelihood of this (nothing is ever zero but its safe with two) but you can't use them on a suspension fork unless you do a custom job - which thanks to those thick, angled dropouts is likely not possible.

The only explanation for how these two guaranteed-to-fail mistakes can be made without a failure within a short period is the front motor is being fed a much smaller amp load than they are letting on. And since people know so little about how much power these motors can put out, the consumer doesn't realize the motor has been neutered. Its either that or they really do have a ticking bomb on that front fork and its going to go after enough time and stress has accumulated, just like so many other suspension forks have when mated with a front motor.

And the battery... two batteries, with one on the back rack, is a kludge plain and simple. Doing this, they avoid having to pay for a BMS that is strong enough to power both motors. On a single big battery. Also there's the weight distribution issue. If they were doing a proper job with the battery, they'd be spending the money to make a single large triangle pack that fits inside that large triangle on the bike. Instead they're buying them off the shelf. Its not a better solution its a cheaper one. Are they running them in parallel at least?

But most of all, the company is untrustworthy.

The manufacturer fibs *outrageously* about the weight capacity of the bike. They claim carry capacities greater than the biggest, baddest purpose-built cargo bikes. On a bike whose carrying capability on its ordinary-sized (albeit admittedly beefy) rear rack is compromised with the second battery. On the Super Monarch, the claimed capacity is so far over what the Rockshox rear shock is capable of carrying, its clear they are counting on their customers never reading the component specs and putting 2 and 2 together.

"This baby packs out a total of 400lbs not including the bike!"

OK so that means if the bike is 100 lbs - which should be pretty close to correct - this bike has a 500 lb total system capacity. That right there is a red flag as even the largest capacity 2-wheel cargo bike is in the ballpark of 460. The bike uses a Rockshox Monarch RL air shock. Max psi on that shock is 275. Rockshox states in their tuning guide (and the RL manual) to

"Pressurize the shock (PSI) to the equivalent of the rider's total weight (lbs), including riding gear."

So if we believe the 400 lb capacity story, that means we pressurize the shock to 400 psi. On a shock the mfr warns cannot exceed 275. But... pretend we didn't know that math. Where are you going to fit 400 lbs on that bike? I have over 260L of rear panniers that are each 3 *feet* long and I can't carry that much on a longtail which itself is designed specifically to carry heavy things. They made the 400 lb + bike thing up. I have ridden a longtail at that weight and even on a bike 8 ft long and meant to do that job its nearly impossible.

In something they have pulled back on, the manufacturer also claimed the front motor was unique and built for them ("another first for ecells!" was the claim on the web page). And its baloney. Front large-core Bafang G060 750w motors were available on the open market at least as far back as 2016. They just placed an order like everyone else does.

Sorry for the rant, but when I see manufacturers that take advantage of people like this one does it pisses me off.
 
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Ken M

Well-Known Member
it's a pretty slick design. great to see someone pushing the limits of what a "bicycle" can be - and it actually doesn't look all that god-awful heavy like some similar concepts.
Why is does an ebike have to be really light weight? The bike industry was driven by the weight paradigm for 50 years and I think too many ebike designs try to be too light. I'd rather have 2000g tires that don't get punctured every week and provide 1st level suspsension with air volume.
 

fooferdoggie

Well-Known Member
If 300lb motorcycles are responsive enough for street riding I think an 60-100lb ebike will be as well. Sometimes the higher stability will be an advantage.
if you want stable ride a cheap fat tire bike to a trike if you want a bike that responds to you then get a light repose bike.
 

mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Why is does an ebike have to be really light weight? The bike industry was driven by the weight paradigm for 50 years and I think too many ebike designs try to be too light. I'd rather have 2000g tires that don't get punctured every week and provide 1st level suspsension with air volume.
it doesn’t “have to be.” but one of the primary differences between the experience of a bike and a motorcycle or moped is that the weight of the bike is easily manipulated by the rider, at ANY speed, and does not significantly contribute to the momentum of the rider/bicycle combo.

obviously this becomes less an issue as the rider gets heavier and stronger, but even as a 6’2 185lb adult male i have no interest in a 50+ pound bicycle. in an urban environment, people trying to maneuver large heavy e-bikes at low speed in the bike lanes are a real argument for not allowing them in the bike lanes.
 

mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
If 300lb motorcycles are responsive enough for street riding I think an 60-100lb ebike will be as well. Sometimes the higher stability will be an advantage.
agreed. as long as they’re licensed, insured, and in the same lanes as those motorcycles.
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
people trying to maneuver large heavy e-bikes at low speed in the bike lanes are a real argument for not allowing them in the bike lanes.
agreed. as long as they’re licensed, insured, and in the same lanes as those motorcycles.
Totally disagree. I have never seen an issue where the ebike is the problem. Inattentive riders, sure. But on a shared use path in a tourist town, for example, the most dangerous thing on it is an oblivious walker with earbuds, or an analog cyclist using the path to get to work (at speed). On a street commute lane, its a pair of analog riders who have decided to ride side by side in the dam lane. Or one that is weaving to the point I need to go into traffic to safely get by them without risking sending them into the curb. A low speed ebike is something someone going too fast in the bike line can clobber, but again thats not on the ebike. Thats the other party not taking care and slowing down for a safe pass.

But is that even a realistic case? The problem outsiders claim for ebikes is they go too fast (and its often true). Now they're too slow? In thousands of miles of commute riding across what has now become 7 years I've never seen a slow wobbly ebike rider. Same with shared use paths. The issue is always too fast or too inattentive, and it affects ALL wheeled travelers and walkers. People need to pay more attention period.
 

mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Totally disagree. I have never seen an issue where the ebike is the problem. Inattentive riders, sure. But on a shared use path in a tourist town, for example, the most dangerous thing on it is an oblivious walker with earbuds, or an analog cyclist using the path to get to work (at speed). On a street commute lane, its a pair of analog riders who have decided to ride side by side in the dam lane. Or one that is weaving to the point I need to go into traffic to safely get by them without risking sending them into the curb. A low speed ebike is something someone going too fast in the bike line can clobber, but again thats not on the ebike. Thats the other party not taking care and slowing down for a safe pass.

But is that even a realistic case? The problem outsiders claim for ebikes is they go too fast (and its often true). Now they're too slow? In thousands of miles of commute riding across what has now become 7 years I've never seen a slow wobbly ebike rider. Same with shared use paths. The issue is always too fast or too inattentive, and it affects ALL wheeled travelers and walkers. People need to pay more attention period.

agreed on many points, for sure. especially on mixed use paths the contrast in speed between walkers, dogs, joggers, and cyclists is a very big risk, and e-bikes are not helping.

i’m not saying that eBikes are too slow - i’m saying some of them are too heavy for use as bicycles in (inherently low speed) dense urban environments. narrow bike lanes with a range of (relatively low) speeds, lots of intersections, curbs, starts and stops, obstructed lanes, bike racks on crowded sidewalks, etc. there’s a reason motorcycles and scooters have to stay in the wide lanes of the streets.

and, of course, everyone will chime in that the weight can be offset by a bigger motor and battery, which you’ll need to drag that thing up steep hills, and it’s just a vicious cycle until you end up with an electric motorcycle.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
agreed on many points, for sure. especially on mixed use paths the contrast in speed between walkers, dogs, joggers, and cyclists is a very big risk, and e-bikes are not helping.

i’m not saying that eBikes are too slow - i’m saying some of them are too heavy for use as bicycles in (inherently low speed) dense urban environments. narrow bike lanes with a range of (relatively low) speeds, lots of intersections, curbs, starts and stops, obstructed lanes, bike racks on crowded sidewalks, etc. there’s a reason motorcycles and scooters have to stay in the wide lanes of the streets.

and, of course, everyone will chime in that the weight can be offset by a bigger motor and battery, which you’ll need to drag that thing up steep hills, and it’s just a vicious cycle until you end up with an electric motorcycle.
A compliant Low Speed Electric Bicycle is defined in HR727 and it's not a crazy fast ebike. The assist can continue beyond 20mph so long as at speeds higher than 20mph the level is such that it would sustain a 170lb rider at 20mph on a level surface (there is actually very astute elegance in the definition as it was written by a PhD electrical engineer such that the tech would never alter the performance.
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
When printed stators come into play hub drives will come back from being second class and 2XD will be the way to go. The new motors will weigh 1/5th of the current generation of motors. Duel suspension will also make more sense with these lighter weight motors.
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
i’m saying some of them are too heavy for use as bicycles in (inherently low speed) dense urban environments. narrow bike lanes with a range of (relatively low) speeds, lots of intersections, curbs, starts and stops, obstructed lanes, bike racks on crowded sidewalks, etc. there’s a reason motorcycles and scooters have to stay in the wide lanes of the streets.
I think my examples strayed from my core point... which is I disagree directly with what you are saying above :) I just don't see any actual evidence of the issues you describe. Myself... my bikes tend to be quite large and heavy. And while I'm pretty well-experienced as these things go, riding experience really doesn't matter a whole lot with regard to being a successful rider (beyond getting familiar with the bike as part of the usual initial process). There is of course a tipping point where you can go too far. I've experienced that when for example I tried putting batteries in bags under the handlebars and found I had created motorcycle steering.

As for increasing power, I don't think the weight needs to be offset at all (again disagreeing with the premise). I've often made the case that the mere existence of the motor eliminates the entire concept of the 'weight weenie' (or the need for being one). Once you get a motor all the stuff about light alloy gets chucked out the window and - as the saying goes - steel is real. Equipment that would be terrible on a bike is desirable on an ebike.

I suspect some of the disconnect here is I am a utility rider and not a recreational rider. To me an ebike is an auto replacement, not a recreational vehicle. It rides many miles on mean streets. It goes to places and the journey is not the point of the exercise. It carries many heavy things. It needs to be tough, and that toughness comes at a cost (steel = weight). It also needs speed to replace the practicality of a car. Fortunately the laws in my state allow sufficient speeds to make this happen, and weight is a non-issue from a regulatory standpoint.
 
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PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
I love my bike! Zoom in on it. This one is steel. Just took it for another spin, smooth as hell. Quiet. I just winterized it. The whole drivetrain is new including the motor. Tire rotation and new battery. Ceramic lube on the extra-wide chain.
It is not a matter of weight when you have sufficient power but the placement of that weight does matter for handling. At 31 MPH wind drag is huge. Once the lawyers get involved it will get detuned and then a hack will be anonymously posted.
Electric bikes are also transportation for me. They are also therapeutic. Or perhaps a drug.
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mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
I think my examples strayed from my core point... which is I disagree directly with what you are saying above :) I just don't see any actual evidence of the issues you describe. Myself... my bikes tend to be quite large and heavy. And while I'm pretty well-experienced as these things go, riding experience really doesn't matter a whole lot with regard to being a successful rider (beyond getting familiar with the bike as part of the usual initial process). There is of course a tipping point where you can go too far. I've experienced that when for example I tried putting batteries in bags under the handlebars and found I had created motorcycle steering.

As for increasing power, I don't think the weight needs to be offset at all (again disagreeing with the premise). I've often made the case that the mere existence of the motor eliminates the entire concept of the 'weight weenie' (or the need for being one). Once you get a motor all the stuff about light alloy gets chucked out the window and - as the saying goes - steel is real. Equipment that would be terrible on a bike is desirable on an ebike.

I suspect some of the disconnect here is I am a utility rider and not a recreational rider. To me an ebike is an auto replacement, not a recreational vehicle. It rides many miles on mean streets. It goes to places and the journey is not the point of the exercise. It carries many heavy things. It needs to be tough, and that toughness comes at a cost (steel = weight). It also needs speed to replace the practicality of a car. Fortunately the laws in my state allow sufficient speeds to make this happen, and weight is a non-issue from a regulatory standpoint.

i totally understand your point, and my being on the other side of it is probably because i do see a different environment/situation in which a huge part of the benefit of bikes is that they can operate in bike lanes, and the cost of that is that they need to be small and nimble. my 10 year old rides behind me and my 3 year old in those bike lanes, and is regularly involved in minor mixups with high powered scooters, bikes, cars in the lane, heavy bikeshare bikes tipped over, bikes blocking the racks on the sidewalk because they're too damn big, bikes that take up multiple rack spaces, tipped over bikes on the sidewalk, etc etc. do you know who/what never gets in our way or causes an accident? lightweight, nimble, primarily human powered bicycles. never.

i'm guessing this is just the difference between a very dense (for north america) urban environment in which bike infrastructure consists of narrow lanes, parts of sidewalks, leftover road space, etc. if someone wants to share that infrastructure with the users of traditional bicycles, they need to be in the same speed and weight category. otherwise, they need to be in the car/motorcyle lanes.

i'm a 50% utility rider (take my kids to school on bikes every day, commute to work on bike every day, go to the beach/playground/restaurants on bikes every weekend) and 50% recreation (long roadie type rides) rider. what's amazing to me about my two bikes is that they are really well suited for those two things, without using more than a few bucks a year of electricity or taking precious and constrained (public!) urban real estate!

on a random note, THE most dangerous bike type i encounter on a weekly basis is the bro on an MTB with meter wide handlebars, smugly riding on the very narrow bike lane of the 100+ year old golden gate bridge, taking far more than half the safe width of the lane with his handlebars and elbows out stance. what's the solution there - spend a billion dollars (literally) widening the bike lane of a historic landmark? or, perhaps, don't f'n ride vehicles which are too large for the infrastructure!!!!! /rant off
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
I love my bike! Zoom in on it. This one is steel. Just took it for another spin, smooth as hell. Quiet. I just winterized it. The whole drivetrain is new including the motor. Tire rotation and new battery. Ceramic lube on the extra-wide chain.
It is not a matter of weight when you have sufficient power but the placement of that weight does matter for handling. At 31 MPH wind drag is huge. Once the lawyers get involved it will get detuned and then a hack will be anonymously posted.
Electric bikes are also transportation for me. They are also therapeutic. Or perhaps a drug.
View attachment 103971
That half-link chain is really interesting. I only used one once as the primary drive chain on a 4kw Cyclone and it worked a treat. But it was an almighty bitch to break and reassemble. But then again I only worked with it once so probably not the chain's fault.

I had to make a fast run home today from work and - on open streets - was limited to about 26 mph thanks to the afternoon headwinds. But on a stretch where there is a large berm shielding me, I was able to pedal up to 31 mph so long as that berm lasted.
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
i totally understand your point, and my being on the other side of it is probably because i do see a different environment/situation in which a huge part of the benefit of bikes is that they can operate in bike lanes, and the cost of that is that they need to be small and nimble. my 10 year old rides behind me and my 3 year old in those bike lanes, and is regularly involved in minor mixups with high powered scooters, bikes, cars in the lane, heavy bikeshare bikes tipped over, bikes blocking the racks on the sidewalk because they're too damn big, bikes that take up multiple rack spaces, tipped over bikes on the sidewalk, etc etc. do you know who/what never gets in our way or causes an accident? lightweight, nimble, primarily human powered bicycles. never.
Well, I don't think just because a bicycle has 'x' characteristics that means they have a right to use a bike lane exclusively. And I do see those kind of riders getting in the way and causing accidents. Usually its the slow rider who isn't paying f**king attention and is lost in their own little world going 10 mph, rambling left to right in the lane. Those are the people you have to shout LEFT to and half the time you do that it scares the crap out of them and you have to worry about whether they will start and zig into the curb or similar. This happened to me just a couple weeks ago with some lady on a basket cruiser. In that case I shouted PAY ATTENTION as I wasn't in the mood for that BS. I usually shout the same thing if a kid is doing that. On the same day as the little old lady, some idiot slowing down to hand off some garbage to a roadside can (without stopping) caused a pileup that I was able to avoid by looking ahead and just braking in advance so I didn't get caught up in it. All just plain bike riders.

I don't see a problem with ebikes. I see a problem with people.

I have no tolerance for riders who don't slow down immediately when kids are in play. Passing in that circumstance has to be barely above their speed with the parents hopefully being attentive and telling Little Johnny to use his brain. In the Monterey Bay area the real danger is a) analog riders who are commuting and regard all obstacles as annoyances and b) Surrey bikes, which are rolling freight trains being ridden by dumbasses who rented them and know nothing about what they are doing. Since I have only recently returned to the area its been a few years since I have been riding, and I was interested to note the Surrey bikes have almost all been replaced by ebikes and the world seems a much safer place without them.

But you have to realize... for you to get your way on this... cargo bikes have to go away as a group - just for starters. You cannot expect them to be licensed and travel with ICE-motorized traffic. Weight limits are an unrealistic demand. To make that happen is a death sentence to many riders pushed out into traffic, and runs counter to public policy to boot, where the use of bikes is prioritized over and above autos wherever possible. Its just not going to happen.

As for 'same speed and weight category' - I think thats also an impossible dream. The 'e' in ebike is the toothpaste that has come out of the tube. This is a slippery slope that is only increasing in steepness as more and more electric riders are joining the ranks. Heavier bikes thanks to all the things that make ebikes heavier (not the least of which is style... *cough* fat bike *cough*) are becoming the rule, not the exception. An absurdly light ebike is 39 lbs (I owned one - a Luna Fixed). Thats still double the weight of my road bike ... and it was nearly useless.
 

mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
i guess we have different definitions of useless! i have a 41lb eBike that transports me and my daughter all over, and a 27lb eBike that i use for some commuting and pleasure riding. 500w and 300w, respectively. perfectly capable of dealing with almost anything san francisco has to offer in terms of riding situation.
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
i guess we have different definitions of useless! i have a 41lb eBike that transports me and my daughter all over, and a 27lb eBike that i use for some commuting and pleasure riding. 500w and 300w, respectively. perfectly capable of dealing with almost anything san francisco has to offer in terms of riding situation.
Yes we do :) Try carrying the contents of your Costco cart :) . Costco is in Seaside down in the flats and I'm at the top of the hill on the tip of the peninsula. Heck, just the trip down to Lucky in PG and back with a full, normal sized shopping cart is enough to answer the question. The one on the left is my Monterey Bay bike. Smallest of the bunch with only 78L cargo space per rear pannier. About 20L each for the front bags although since they're on the front, you want to load with just bread and chips to keep the steering easy. The bike on the right is my former Costco bike and I've had it filled with 36 paks of soda that turned out to weigh over 125 lbs. Those bags unfolded carry 138L *each* and are supported by the wideloader framework under them in addition to the dowel suspension and the straps. Weight of the bike with me on it was in the ballpark of 525 lbs and riding speed was 8 mph when I worked up the courage to go that high.

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here's a shot of it more fully loaded, albeit just with pillows and sleeping bags on this trip. The BFD on the right just had storage bins in it on this trip so not heavy. But no 41 lb bike is going to have this level of auto-replacement utility.

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Back on topic sort of... the green bike in the middle is a 2wd. 32ah, 52v 21700 pack in the box under the floor. Carry capacity of 180 kg works out to just under 400 lbs, but max system weight is rated at about 450. This one is a bit scary as since weight is low and centered there is no balance issue to limit speed - only a momentum increase which you have to manage responsibly with your brain.

No one is ever going to legislate bikes like this off the bike lanes because they are *exactly* what urban planners are wishing people would use instead of cars. They aren't going to do anything but encourage their adoption.
 

mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Yes we do :) Try carrying the contents of your Costco cart :) . Costco is in Seaside down in the flats and I'm at the top of the hill on the tip of the peninsula. Heck, just the trip down to Lucky in PG and back with a full, normal sized shopping cart is enough to answer the question. The one on the left is my Monterey Bay bike. Smallest of the bunch with only 78L cargo space per rear pannier. About 20L each for the front bags although since they're on the front, you want to load with just bread and chips to keep the steering easy. The bike on the right is my former Costco bike and I've had it filled with 36 paks of soda that turned out to weigh over 125 lbs. Those bags unfolded carry 138L *each* and are supported by the wideloader framework under them in addition to the dowel suspension and the straps. Weight of the bike with me on it was in the ballpark of 525 lbs and riding speed was 8 mph when I worked up the courage to go that high.

View attachment 104030

here's a shot of it more fully loaded, albeit just with pillows and sleeping bags on this trip. The BFD on the right just had storage bins in it on this trip so not heavy. But no 41 lb bike is going to have this level of auto-replacement utility.

View attachment 104031View attachment 104032

Back on topic sort of... the green bike in the middle is a 2wd. 32ah, 52v 21700 pack in the box under the floor. Carry capacity of 180 kg works out to just under 400 lbs, but max system weight is rated at about 450. This one is a bit scary as since weight is low and centered there is no balance issue to limit speed - only a momentum increase which you have to manage responsibly with your brain.

No one is ever going to legislate bikes like this off the bike lanes because they are *exactly* what urban planners are wishing people would use instead of cars. They aren't going to do anything but encourage their adoption.

those are cool bikes! way too cluttered with gear for my minimalistic tastes, it probably takes longer to load up than i spend grocery shopping in total!

urban planning is highly localized (i'm a principal in a global AEC firm), and in San Francisco or New York you won't find many of pack horse bikes like that in use, so perhaps common sense has led to some self regulation!