Why an E-Bike and Not a G-Bike??

6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
Please don't misunderstand. I am fully supportive of the E-bike concept and I ask these questions out of curiosity, not animosity. I sometimes wonder if the same principle could have been achieved with small quiet gas powered "G-bikes".

Motorized bicycles have been around for over a century. As a young boy, I remember my grandfather riding around on his bike equipped with a Smith Motor Wheel. It was surprisingly quiet and couldn't be heard more that a few yards away. It looked something like this one:

42558

You can buy a gas conversion kit for less than $200.


Why spend 4 or 5 times that for an electric kit?

Manufacturers could easily produce a lightweight, quiet, gas powered, pedal assist / throttled "G-bike" bike that conforms to the 3 class system, so why is the electric concept so popular? When it comes to automobiles, I can understand the economics. They are also Eco friendly when you consider the millions of tons of CO2 pumped into the atmosphere by gasoline engines. The carbon footprint of a G-bike would be minuscule in comparison. They would be just as effective at reducing the number of cars on the road as E-bikes. The idea would be similar to the moped but lighter and more agile.

There are many threads here on EBR which discuss maximum range, carrying spare batteries, charging on the road, even carrying a gas generator. Why go through all this time, effort and expense with an E-bike when you could just pull your G-bike into any gas station???

Yes, there are currently license, insurance and registration issues associated with gasoline powered vehicles. Why would this apply to G-bikes when they would be effectively the same as E-bikes in every way except the method of propulsion?

A G-bike would be more economical in the long run. Yes, there are fuel & maintenance costs associated with gas engines but these would be considerably less than replacing a lithium battery every 4 or 5 years.

The only down side I can see to a G-bike is in the regulatory arena. Pro E-bike organizations have enough trouble with anti E-bike laws. Promoting G-bikes would be much harder since they would be much more difficult to distinguish from motor bikes, mopeds and motorcycles.

Please remember, I'm posting this as a discussion, not a criticism. All comments are welcome.
 

harryS

Well-Known Member
If one were commuting, a gas bike might make more sense, but at the same time you have license, registration, and insurance to worry about. And your drivers license could be put at risk for foolish antics on a gasoline bike. Blow a stop sign or run a red light and see what happens. And you cannot go where g-bikes aren't allowed to go. No bike paths.

In the USA, ebikes are treated like toys. Anyone can have one. Pretty much ride them anywhere, under the radar. This is good. Golden Age of Ebikes, as someone said.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
In order to have a small, lightweight internal combustion engine with enough power it has to be two stroke. All the bike kits are two stroke. Two stroke engines are loud and produce a lot of exhaust due to the gas and oil mixture. Think weed eater. As for that mix, you'd need to carry oil to mix with the gas, so one cannot just pop into the gas station and fuel up. I have seen gasser bikes on the rail trail (illegally) and riding behind one it's hard to breathe.
 

Mike's E-Bikes

Well-Known Member
Maybe because internal combustion is going the way that steam driven engines did 100 years ago. It's not just technology driven or obsolescence, but fuel source driven. Oil may be plentiful but every year it's getting harder to extract, and requires more units of energy to do so.

Electricity is not a primary energy source, but rather a very convenient 'carrier' whereby in the case of transportation, electricity can be stored in compact forms (battery cells) and most importantly can be generated from a very diverse array of sources. (Wind, solar, biomass, natural gas, nuclear, ocean waves, and so on, well beyond just using oil).

Hydrogen is another energy carrier that could be used like electricity but it has its challenges, so right now anyway and for the near future (next 20 to 30 years ?), electricity as a convenient carrier is pushing out the proliferation of the use of the ICE.

That doesnt mean that entrepreneurs won't keep trying to 'go back' and push small engines, but it's unlikely any big business will invest heavily in ICE development and instead focus on electric devices and storage.
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
Please don't misunderstand. I am fully supportive of the E-bike concept and I ask these questions out of curiosity, not animosity. I sometimes wonder if the same principle could have been achieved with small quiet gas powered "G-bikes".

Motorized bicycles have been around for over a century. As a young boy, I remember my grandfather riding around on his bike equipped with a Smith Motor Wheel. It was surprisingly quiet and couldn't be heard more that a few yards away. It looked something like this one:

View attachment 42558

You can buy a gas conversion kit for less than $200.


Why spend 4 or 5 times that for an electric kit?

Manufacturers could easily produce a lightweight, quiet, gas powered, pedal assist / throttled "G-bike" bike that conforms to the 3 class system, so why is the electric concept so popular? When it comes to automobiles, I can understand the economics. They are also Eco friendly when you consider the millions of tons of CO2 pumped into the atmosphere by gasoline engines. The carbon footprint of a G-bike would be minuscule in comparison. They would be just as effective at reducing the number of cars on the road as E-bikes. The idea would be similar to the moped but lighter and more agile.

There are many threads here on EBR which discuss maximum range, carrying spare batteries, charging on the road, even carrying a gas generator. Why go through all this time, effort and expense with an E-bike when you could just pull your G-bike into any gas station???

Yes, there are currently license, insurance and registration issues associated with gasoline powered vehicles. Why would this apply to G-bikes when they would be effectively the same as E-bikes in every way except the method of propulsion?

A G-bike would be more economical in the long run. Yes, there are fuel & maintenance costs associated with gas engines but these would be considerably less than replacing a lithium battery every 4 or 5 years.

The only down side I can see to a G-bike is in the regulatory arena. Pro E-bike organizations have enough trouble with anti E-bike laws. Promoting G-bikes would be much harder since they would be much more difficult to distinguish from motor bikes, mopeds and motorcycles.

Please remember, I'm posting this as a discussion, not a criticism. All comments are welcome.
The g-bike is far more polluting than cars.

I've seen an article (I think it was from Edmunds Inside Line) about one of the most polluting mass produced vehicles on the road, Ford F-150.
They took it to the lab an turned out that typical leaf blower or lawn mowers were 150 to 200 times more polluting than Ford F-150 due to all kinds of toxic chemical they could emit.

Those leaf blowers and lawn mowers do not have catalytic converter, not only that, they're not fuel injected, computer controlled, etc.

Those $200 or less g-bike kits are not any better than leaf blower engines. They're extremely polluting to the environment. You can smell the strong emission right away, and not good for your health at all.

I had a similar idea before, since G-bikes are prohibited in a lot of areas 🤣 but nope, realistically, it would be a bad idea.

Imagine every cyclist riding g-bikes in the bike trail? compare to everyone riding ebikes?
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
The 15 -25 year old that gets a new "g-bike" will have the muffler/sound deadening devices removed in the name of "more power" in very short order, even if it costs them 10 mph off their top end. If they aren't load enough that way, the aftermarket will soon have something available that will split your ears. Point being, because it's able to run quietly doesn't mean it's going to.
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
In order to have a small, lightweight internal combustion engine with enough power it has to be two stroke. All the bike kits are two stroke. Two stroke engines are loud and produce a lot of exhaust due to the gas and oil mixture. Think weed eater. As for that mix, you'd need to carry oil to mix with the gas, so one cannot just pop into the gas station and fuel up. I have seen gasser bikes on the rail trail (illegally) and riding behind one it's hard to breathe.
There are many 4 cycle options now J.R. Maybe all the bolts won't back out on those engines, and have the carburetors fall off! LOL
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
They stink, emit a blue cloud, and I can hear one 6 blocks away. I'm an amateur musician, I value my ears, good to 14 khz last time tested. My e bike pulling hard up a steep hill sounds like an electric trolley car 6 blocks away, minus the flange screeches.
My father had a 2 cycle lLawn Boy mower, which I refused to ever use, even when he was old & immobile & the lawn needed mowing. 2 cycle gas engine is a vile concept that should be prohibited from sale or import. & leaf blowers!!!! I stop and put ear plugs in a block before riding by one.
 

steve mercier

Well-Known Member
Please don't misunderstand. I am fully supportive of the E-bike concept and I ask these questions out of curiosity, not animosity. I sometimes wonder if the same principle could have been achieved with small quiet gas powered "G-bikes".

Motorized bicycles have been around for over a century. As a young boy, I remember my grandfather riding around on his bike equipped with a Smith Motor Wheel. It was surprisingly quiet and couldn't be heard more that a few yards away. It looked something like this one:

View attachment 42558

You can buy a gas conversion kit for less than $200.


Why spend 4 or 5 times that for an electric kit?

Manufacturers could easily produce a lightweight, quiet, gas powered, pedal assist / throttled "G-bike" bike that conforms to the 3 class system, so why is the electric concept so popular? When it comes to automobiles, I can understand the economics. They are also Eco friendly when you consider the millions of tons of CO2 pumped into the atmosphere by gasoline engines. The carbon footprint of a G-bike would be minuscule in comparison. They would be just as effective at reducing the number of cars on the road as E-bikes. The idea would be similar to the moped but lighter and more agile.

There are many threads here on EBR which discuss maximum range, carrying spare batteries, charging on the road, even carrying a gas generator. Why go through all this time, effort and expense with an E-bike when you could just pull your G-bike into any gas station???

Yes, there are currently license, insurance and registration issues associated with gasoline powered vehicles. Why would this apply to G-bikes when they would be effectively the same as E-bikes in every way except the method of propulsion?

A G-bike would be more economical in the long run. Yes, there are fuel & maintenance costs associated with gas engines but these would be considerably less than replacing a lithium battery every 4 or 5 years.

The only down side I can see to a G-bike is in the regulatory arena. Pro E-bike organizations have enough trouble with anti E-bike laws. Promoting G-bikes would be much harder since they would be much more difficult to distinguish from motor bikes, mopeds and motorcycles.

Please remember, I'm posting this as a discussion, not a criticism. All comments are welcome.
I am waiting for an H-bike so I can roll down that Hydrogen highway.
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
I also like the fact that ebikes are more stealthy than 50cc gas powered scooters and mopeds for example.

Quiet, no gas, looks (almost) just like a bicycle, etc.
 

steve mercier

Well-Known Member
If one were commuting, a gas bike might make more sense, but at the same time you have license, registration, and insurance to worry about. And your drivers license could be put at risk for foolish antics on a gasoline bike. Blow a stop sign or run a red light and see what happens. And you cannot go where g-bikes aren't allowed to go. No bike paths.

In the USA, ebikes are treated like toys. Anyone can have one. Pretty much ride them anywhere, under the radar. This is good. Golden Age of Ebikes, as someone said.
I doubt that this the zenith or Golden Age of E-bikes. I think that remains in the future. Battery technology will keep improving along with many other inventions which are currently left only to your imagination. This is only the infancy of Ebikes. How about a battery the size of a thimble that can run everything on your bike including 100 % crash protection? How about a continent wide infrastructure supporting this mode of transportation? I do not think I will live long enough to see the Golden Age but the best is yet to come.
 
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Ken M

Well-Known Member
I doubt that this the zenith or Golden Age of E-bikes. I think that remains in the future. Battery technology will keep improving along with many other inventions which are currently left only to your imagination. This is only the infancy of Ebikes. How about a battery the size of a thimble that can run everything on your bike including 100 % crash protection? How about a continent wide infrastructure supporting this mode of tranpsortation? I do not think I will live long enough to see the Golden Age but the best is yet to come.
i think most battery researchers think that we may see another 50% increase in power density but that's about it without new elements added the periodic table. The biggest gain will likely be improved economies of scale such that batteries can be made cheaper. I think another 50% cost reduction vs. energy capacity and the death of the combustion engines is pretty much assured because they will simply be more expensive to make then EVs.
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
I've had the misfortune to be stuck behind one of these contraptions in bike lanes on my commutes. I haven't seen one yet that isn't noisy, smelly and belching smoke. I'm betting that, to make one that was attractive and not-so-noisy, smelly and blatantly polluting, the cost would have to rise considerably relative to the kits that I currently see on the roads. And with a higher price tag, even if it was still less than a comparable e-bike, I don't see it competing very well against the e-bike. The higher price would deter the present users of these smelly contraptions. And then there are the legality issues once they build them to be more powerful/faster vs say a speed pedelec (as they would need to do to win customers over e-bikes). To answer the OP, I'm just not seeing a great business model in gas-powered bicycles - at least in N. America and W. Europe. And, we are led to believe, as e-bikes grow in popularity and mainstream manufacturers reach economies of scale in production, e-bike prices should be dropping.
 

AlanDB

Well-Known Member
My brother-in-law still has a late 60's Solex he bought new in France and shipped back to US. It is pristine, has always been stored in the garage … guessing he has put less than 500 miles on it in the 50+ years he has owned it . I am not sure what it would take though to license it and make it road worthy. At a minimum, I would think you would need to put new tires/tubes (they are still the originals AFAIK). But I bet if you put gas in it, it would fire up and run. The motor is attached in front of the handle bars and as I remember, you start it while pedaling by lowering the motor roller onto the front tire. I only ever rode it once though, and that was a long long time ago. It is not pedal assist ... once you engage the motor, you use the throttle and ride like a motorcycle (at about 20 to 25 MPH max).
 
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Timpo

Well-Known Member
It sure does look like a fun project but won't be practical for me.

Bafang Ultra will be faster or even a BBSHD and some (or many) hub powered ebikes.

Not only that.. Gas engines won't be reliable during the temperature or elevation change.
Constantly adjusting and cleaning carburetor, or air to fuel ratio, and I feel like it is going to be more smelly and oily.

You know when you use leaf blower and lawn mower, your body(clothe) start to smell like gas or smoke? I feel I'd get smelly by riding that too.

I would also not want to catch unwanted attention while riding in the bike trail.
 

Thomas Jaszewski

Well-Known Member
My brother-in-law still has a late 60's Solex he bought new in France and shipped back to US. It is pristine, has always been stored in the garage … guessing he has put less than 500 miles on it in the 50+ years he has owned it . I am not sure what it would take though to license it and make it road worthy. At a minimum, I would think you would need to put new tires/tubes (they are still the originals AFAIK). But I bet if you put gas in it, it would fire up and run. The motor is attached in front of the handle bars and as I remember, you start it while pedaling by lowering the motor roller onto the front tire. I only ever rode it once though, and that was a long long time ago. It is not pedal assist ... once you engage the motor, you use the throttle and ride like a motorcycle (at about 20 to 25 MPH max).
I had the Motobecane labeled Velo Solex. Incredible bike. But it was a 2 stroke stink pot. 1970 and others make masked the smell and getting two hipsters all over town on a gallon of gas with a few ounces of oil for the month. Happy times. Because it was friction drive and WORKED I’ve remained interested in friction drive assists. But none have ever reached the utility and usefulness of the 60’s Solex. I seem to remember the motor was already 20 years old by then. Thanks for the reminder and giant grin!