Where do you draw the line of what is an e-bike??

Vern

Active Member
I was looking over some of Court's latest reviews and saw the ones for:
Link Removed
Echobike Always (no longer exists)

I know being an e-bike owner and supporter of the movement, I should feel some sort of kinship with these, but something about these types of e-bikes really bugs me. To me those things are not bikes, they are scooters. I think it would annoy me to share a bike lane with one of those. I know that is being hypocritical. It is probably exactly the way traditional bike riders feel about me. I guess it bothers me because when I tell people that I have an e-bike, I think the e-scooter is what they think of. I guess I think of my e-bike as a regular bike that helps me some and not an electric vehicle that I help some!

How do you guys/gals feel? What is an e-bike??

Am I being a hypocrite? Where do you draw the line? Do we have to draw a line at all? To each his own I guess.

Also MANY of the young kids in my neighborhood zoom up and down the street on Razor electric scooters and other mini electric motorcycles. Those really bug me too! Can't they just ride a regular bike! Oh, wait is that also what regular bike riders say about me?


 

Aushiker

Active Member
When I saw these reviews my first thought was ... scooters and I moved on. To me they are scooters because I see them marketed here as having pedals for no other reason the to get around the laws requiring certification and licensing (i.e., there are lower vehicle standards for bicycles versus motor vehicles).

I guess I am old school and that a bicycle is a human powered vehicle and hence a motor is there to assist the provision of human power, not to replace it. If one can fully ride the "bicycle" with a electric motor only then it is no longer to me a bicycle, it is differently not human powered that is for sure. [1]

That is my personal take and I am sure others will hold different views.

[1] That said I have fitted a throttle as part of my Bafang BBS01 conversion. My intention is to ride it as I have always done but will see if there is some circumstances where the throttle has a role or if I can disconnect it all together (hopefully).

Andrew
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
Great thoughts Vern and Andrew... I had many of the same feelings when going to review these scooters (I've reviewed four so far). It's a lot of work to shoot the video, take the pictures and do the writeups for my reviews and to me these were tricky to justify. They aren't practical to pedal at all (cranks are too short) and there is only one gear on most so 100+ pounds could actually be harder to move by pedal than just getting off and pushing. Some have pedal assist but to me it's more like pedal throttle because the motor kicks on so hard and fast there's no way to keep up.

Electric scooters with pedals are different than bicycle style ebikes but that doesn't mean they can't be useful as neighborhood electric vehicles. I still think they expose people to the community and offer a more affordable and sustainable option than gas power which is exciting. The lights and turn signals are great for night riding and the cargo capacity and lower price point is also appealing. I decided to do the reviews to let people decide for themselves but I tried hard to list all of the pros and cons and be direct about what differentiates them. I'm glad it got you guys thinking and I appreciate the dialog :)
 

Vern

Active Member
I understand the market for these e-scooters and I am not against them for that. I guess what bothers me is lumping them into the e-bike category. I worry about them affecting the overall feeling toward e-bikes as well as the effect they might have on pending legislation regarding e-bikes. I have not ridden one, but it seems like from Courts description that they are basically mopeds and the pedals are put there so that it can be called an e-bike.
 

Brambor

Well-Known Member
When I was about 14 I bought a beat up moped for 50 bucks. It had pedals but the pedals were essential to starting the beast. You pedaled to get the moped in motion and then shifted into first gear, let off the clutch and voilla! Motor started. :)

I agree with Vern. Those are not ebikes. They are electrical mopeds. If you don't pedal then it's not a bicycle.
 

Brambor

Well-Known Member
if you persevere and keep pedaling this hunk of mass then you should get a gold medal of commuting and yes it is a bicycle to you. :) But if you buy it, don't pedal it and just throttle it then it is not a bicycle. The point is that if it is designed to be unreasonable to pedal and reasonable to throttle then it is not a bicycle. Every fall on a local river we have a pumpking paddle race where people dig out giant pumpkins and try to paddle it down the river. First of all it's paddling downstream (downhill) and no the pumpking is not a boat. :)
 

Drock

New Member
I think the latest reviews are Ebikes with a scooter frame.

To me a bicycle is a two (Bi) wheeled vehicle that is powered by foot pedals. If the vehicles in the latest reviews didn't have pedals then they would fall under the scooter category.
 

Drock

New Member
If the pedals are broken then it's a "broken Ebike". If the pedals are on it, but not functional then it's a "scooter with cosmetic pedals".
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
Lots to think about here... now consider this. Many of the scooter style ebikes I've reviewed are under 150 pounds but that's how much the Organic Transit ELF weighs... But the ELF has gears and more traditional bicycle wheels. So is the ELF a bike? Is it the gears that makes an ebike a bike vs. a scooter?
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
A lot of motorists/car drivers shows disdain to bicyclists and a lot of bicyclists show indifference to ebikers but in the end, are we becoming healthier and are we polluting less is what really matters.

Bicycle + Ebike = are some of the best solutions to terrifying problems like this. Here's an interesting quote that the Sydney Electric bike store shared today:
Bike-hate is not principally about delay. Motorists show remarkable patience for other cars. They’ll sit comfortably behind stoppers, parkers, turners and incompetents of all kinds. But sitting behind a bike makes many people mad. Really mad. Why? Because bikes represent cultural change. Cultural change is threatening. This is ironic, since the bike easily predates the car. But the bike is also the form of the future. That makes it dangerous.
 

frazzxr

New Member
Hello all,
New here, first post.

I guess to each their own, but I guess the first thought I had when I saw them is......

What is the cop that pulled me over for (insert reason here) going to think it is? if he is uneducated on the laws of e-bikes, am I going to have to go to court to fight the fact that I didn't have a license for whatever he thought I was riding.....lol
 

Aushiker

Active Member
Lots to think about here... now consider this. Many of the scooter style ebikes I've reviewed are under 150 pounds but that's how much the Organic Transit ELF weighs... But the ELF has gears and more traditional bicycle wheels. So is the ELF a bike? Is it the gears that makes an ebike a bike vs. a scooter?
The ELF is a tricycle or more technically a velomobile ... so no it is not a bicycle which has two wheels ... the bi part in the name :) Here in Western Australia it would tick the box for being a human powered vehicle. Having assist does not change that, well as long as the assist is limited to 200 w or soon to be 250 w.

Going by your videos on the ELF you seem to be able to ride it okay with power assist.

Andrew