Variable Class Ebike?

LynnFDR

New Member
Thoughts on creating a variable class ebike.

The reasoning for a variable class ebike is fairly obvious. There are times when you may want the speed of a Class 3 ebike, but then times when one wishes to travel on a Class 1 trail. There may be times when you would like to travel with the option of a throttle, and times when you would not. And you would only like to put your money on one well appointed ebike which can do all those things.

I do not have much experience in the matter, but I am going to offer up my idea anyway. First of all one has to have designed a competent Class 3 ebike. Electronic controls would then be the key to the creation of the variable class ebike. I may be crazy but it seems easy enough to do, the creation of a higher set of electronic settings within which all other (such as pedal assist levels) are nested should do the trick.

I would call this level of control "Mode" instead of Class, which it would include. Mode seems more appropriate since other forms of operation of the ebike could be included which are not included in the conventions of the 3 classes. Other modes could be proprietary to an ebike manufacturer and could included levels of operation usually not seen on the common ebike. But I will keep my comments here limited to that of a legal ebike.

I would propose that the common variable class (center-drive) ebike would have at least 5 modes in common. These would be:

N - Neutral, plain bike mode
1 - Class 1 ebike (20 mph)
2 - Class 2 ebike (Class 1 with throttle)
3 - Class 3 ebike (28 mph)
4 - Class 3 ebike (28 mph) with (20 mph) throttle

Within each of these modes one would nest the appropriate controls and pedal assist levels (none in Neutral). Now if you have a rear hub motored ebike then perhaps a Regeneration mode with nested pedal assist levels could also be added as a mode. And yes, then the sequence of Modes would be R/N/1/2/3/4 - looking very much like that of a gear shift on an automobile.

So the question then becomes how should "Mode" be set. For reasons which will later become apparent I would propose that a dedicated "Mode" button be located upon the main control display. Mode is something which probably should NOT be set "on the fly." The ebike should probably not be moving when Mode is changed. So a dedicated button on the main control display should suffice, along with digital display which indicates what Mode one is in. Pressing the Mode button would progressively take one through the list of Modes, so if you are in Mode (Class) 3 and wanted to go to Mode (Class) 2 then you would have to scroll through the entire list of Modes to get there (for example, 3-4-N-1-2-3).

The question is, would this placate the authorities when they stop you to see that your ebike is conforming to say Class 1 rules. You point to your display and say, 'see there, I'm in Mode/Class 1.' They ask how do they know that you didn't just change the mode after they stopped you. Yeah. There are two ways around this, both of which involve removing the display. The first is that you ride with the display off the bike. If stopped then you produce the display and when it is replaced it its holder it shows what Mode/Class in which the ebike is operating.

I find this to be a somewhat unsatisfying option, however. The point should be that the ebike is in a configuration which cannot be easily changed. Except that when replacing the control display the Mode can be changed. There is a bit of a principle here that I am trying to emulate which comes from the rule concerning using shotguns to hunt migratory waterfowl. The rule there is that you cannot hunt migratory game birds with a shotgun that can hold more than three shells, unless you plug it with a one-piece filler that cannot be removed without disassembling the gun. So the gun has to be hardware configured to hold only three shells at a time.

Likewise, a rule for limiting travel to only Class 1 ebikes would be better served if the ebike were hardware configured to only allow a single Class designation - Class 1. That could easily be accomplished with another device - a "dumb" control display. I call this control display "dumb" because while it would show the Mode one would be in, it would not have a Mode button which would allow for its change. Mode would be selected with the main control display, it would be removed and replaced with the "dumb" control display. This would comply with the idea that the ebike be hardware configured to Class 1 and not be changed without 'disassembling' the ebike by changing out the control displays.

Yes, this would incur a greater cost for a second control display. But you now have a true variable class ebike with the ability to hardware configure the ebike to any needed class to comply with local laws.

Or is there a better way? Or is some company already producing a varible class ebike? I haven't been able to find one myself.
 

JRA

Well-Known Member
Only a few states have adopted the class 1,2 and 3 regs at this time and many never will. Best to just abide by your states regs and ride in a safe and sane manner using equipment that suits your personal requirements. And don't forget to pedal, it's the best part of the trip.
 

Larry Ganz

Active Member
You use a removable dongle or key for each mode - if you only bring the key for the mode that's legal for the current use, then they know you didn't change it on the fly.

Or keep the other mode keys in the bottom of your hydration pack where you can't get to them while riding when you are stopped and inspected.
 

LynnFDR

New Member
You use a removable dongle or key for each mode - if you only bring the key for the mode that's legal for the current use, then they know you didn't change it on the fly. Or keep the other mode keys in the bottom of your hydration pack where you can't get to them while riding when you are stopped and inspected.
Yeah, I was laying in bed trying to go to sleep and thought up the idea that the programming could be put on a USB key that allows one to change the "Mode" with the +/- keys when you have it plugged in. It just somewhat ticks me off that there might be places/trails that you cannot take a Class 3 ebike just because it can travel 8mph faster when we allow 200+mph capable sports cars to drive down 20mph school zone roads. Just doesn't make much sense.
 

LynnFDR

New Member
Then again there's an easier way to do it.

Create an ebike with 6 levels of pedal assist. The first 4 levels being dedicated to a Class 1 ebike with a top motor assisted speed of 20 mph. The 5th and 6th levels would replicate the motor assistance levels in that of level 3 & 4 but would have a top speed of 28 mph. So levels 5 & 6 would be like an overdrive.

The question becomes would such a bike with higher capabilities be allowed in those Class 1 only areas if you're only relying upon the user alone to keep his speed in check?
 

Larry Ganz

Active Member
Then again there's an easier way to do it.

Create an ebike with 6 levels of pedal assist. The first 4 levels being dedicated to a Class 1 ebike with a top motor assisted speed of 20 mph. The 5th and 6th levels would replicate the motor assistance levels in that of level 3 & 4 but would have a top speed of 28 mph. So levels 5 & 6 would be like an overdrive.

The question becomes would such a bike with higher capabilities be allowed in those Class 1 only areas if you're only relying upon the user alone to keep his speed in check?
Again, an "ignition" key that sets the program for class 1. It won't run without the key, and it you can't change classes without using a different key. Provide a different key to make it behave like a class 3 (or 2), and so on.

If you get stopped while you're using the proper key then you're safe.
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
The Juiced Cross Current S is supposed to have a controller/display the user can change modes between the 3 California classes and an "off-road mode" that lets the motor run to its power speed limit of just over 30mph. At that speed on any street in the US it is considered a moped, motor-driven cycle, or motorcycle, and without a VIN number it cannot be legally registered, titled, insured, or operated as a motor vehicle. It is being marketed as an ebike but falls outside all current legal definitions of an ebike so I don't think this is the way forward as it just puts riders at risk of liability/contributory negligence suits.
 
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