Someone needing e-bike help on bike forums

General Discussion about electric bicycles.

Re: Someone needing e-bike help on bike forums

Postby Should be working » Sat Apr 14, 2012 11:13 am

No problem with the office, I had the Ohm there, which was bigger and heavier. Home storage will be a bigger issue because we have no garage. The bike will need to move from the living room perhaps into the laundry room, which will thus need to be cleaned out and reconfigured.

Yes, the riding experience is delightful--and the Ohm Urban wasn't bad either (same price!) but not as great. The Focus feels like just riding a bike, not like driving a vehicle, and this is just what I was looking for. It just lightly blows me along, even in highest assist on my steep grades. I don't care about maximum speed--yesterday taking it home was the first time I've ever ridden 20mph on any bike, and it was plenty fast for me. But the torque! Just so smooth and perfectly attuned to my own pedaling. MadRhino was worried about dead starts (right term?) and it was fine, even had a little zip to start with when I first began pedaling. Again, I'm used to normal bikes, so I'm not expecting a throttle-push feel.

DMun, your thinking is so generous and lovely. I am extremely impressed at the generosity on this forum--I read the whole string with the guy in Pakistan building that unbelievably complicated ebike out of scrap, and people here were so eager to send him their parts and even cash. I'm really an outsider to the ebike-techie world but this glimpse into it has given me respect not only for all the technical skill and ingenuity but also the kindness and openness of the ebike world.
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Re: Someone needing e-bike help on bike forums

Postby wesnewell » Sat Apr 14, 2012 1:44 pm

Should be working wrote:It is expensive, and I'm trying to remind myself that this is for exercise, which I otherwise do not get, and for use as a commuting vehicle, means not requiring a monthly parking sticker for work (I'll still drive sometimes though).

Save yourself a lot of money and have someone build you a bike with a DD rear hub. I'm 270lbs and using a fast wind 1000W (470rpm@48V) I can easily get up short 30% grades using 18S lipo. At 100V, I can fly up them over 30mph. At 140lbs you can easily get by with a 1000W slow wind DD rear motor, or for about $500 more a 3000W Hubzilla that would take you up any mountain around you at considerable speed. I don't think people are considering you only weigh 140lbs. FWIW, my whole setup including bike was less than $700. Have someone build one for you. It's not rocket science and you don't need a $500 bike to start with. Often, the cheaper models work better because they have steel dropouts. On my last build I used a new $59 Walmart bike and I like it better than any of the others built.
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Re: Someone needing e-bike help on bike forums

Postby teklektik » Sun Apr 15, 2012 12:59 pm

SBW- It's hard not to notice how excited you are about riding :). I'm thinking that you may shortly be looking to expand your more utilitarian commuting and errand riding to recreational day trips on Rails to Trails bike paths or others in your area (a little distributed on-going vacation). This is huge fun and a great way to get the most out of your investment.

Looking ahead to this, you will need a bike rack and unless your better half takes up riding, you will need to be able to load/unload the bike yourself. You may need to look at off-loading your battery to make the bike easier to lift into place - anyhow, the loading/unloading is something to think about and maybe discuss with Ilia in your upcoming visit. A hitch-mounted rack is likely a better choice for these heavier bikes but that's a whole car/bike/preference thing - maybe Ilia can lend some insights in that arena as well.
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Re: Someone needing e-bike help on bike forums

Postby Pure » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:18 am

It sounds like the Focus is a pretty good choice. Also, later down to road, once the warrenty expires, those little systems can handle a good bit of over volting. :twisted:

In the US you need to be more concerned with how you ride vs if your bike is "legal". It's the general opinion, that if you don't do things that draw attention to you like break the laws of the road. Remember that you have to obey the same laws as if you were driving a car. Stop at lights/stop signs, etc, etc. Most officers are not so worried about your power levels, and will normally not notice you are on an ebike (for the conversion crowd) unless you show him the motor it usually goes unnoticed. I mean laws very by State but most cops really are not concerned (nor are they aware of the laws) what wattage your bike is. More so do they care that you operate it in a safe and respectful manner. The best part about the obscurity of e-bike laws is in most States even if you are busted breaking the power laws, they don't have a defined, set punishment. As long as we support safe e-biking hopefully we can keep it that way.
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Re: Someone needing e-bike help on bike forums

Postby Should be working » Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:06 am

This bike is so FUN. My neighbor tried it out, and his verdict was also "Fun!" I rode home from work on Friday and over the weekend tried out Claremont, a relentlessly long, steep (8-18% grade) hill. It was all great, a nice workout but totally doable. Honestly it feels like the bike can read my mind, it seems to 'know' exactly how fast I want to go and how much assist to give me. It's almost weird that way--when I go from a full stop to a quick start at a light, even in Eco mode, it just starts going as soon as I tap the pedal. My legs feel worked and not overworked, my hip feels like nothing, it's wonderful.

I wish middrives could have regen or some slow-down gear, I'm worried about my brakes (hydraulic disk) because I have to use them so much for long stretches. Other than that, it's bugs in my teeth all the way.
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Re: Someone needing e-bike help on bike forums

Postby teklektik » Mon Apr 16, 2012 12:11 pm

Should be working wrote: I'm worried about my brakes (hydraulic disk) because I have to use them so much for long stretches.

Hydraulic discs are pretty much top of the line (of course there is some field of 'goodness', but you are in the right crowd). These should give you great stopping power, are good in the wet, and require very minimal maintenance (adjustments) until the pads need replacement. I'm sure that this stopping power/low maintenance aspect is why Focus made this selection - pretty much ideal for non-techie consumers who just want to ride :D. You just need to get a little rundown from the bike shop on how to eyeball the pads for wear so you can get them serviced when appropriate.

BTW - Here is an article about braking that you might find interesting.
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Re: Someone needing e-bike help on bike forums

Postby Ykick » Mon Apr 16, 2012 1:07 pm

I echo everything Telektik said about your brakes. You're in much better territory with those brakes than you would be with a cheaper, rim brake platform.

Do you have a reliable and convenient tire pressure gauge? If not, get one and use it often. When you start racking up miles Tires become much more important component than practically everything else. At least with your BB drive it won't be too difficult to find shops to perform tire service, if needed. As opposed to hub motor removal which can often scare some bike shops and riders.

Enjoy, and ride pro safe!
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Re: Someone needing e-bike help on bike forums

Postby -dg » Fri Jun 01, 2012 5:08 am

Should be working wrote:This bike is so FUN. My neighbor tried it out, and his verdict was also "Fun!" I rode home from work on Friday and over the weekend tried out Claremont, a relentlessly long, steep (8-18% grade) hill. It was all great, a nice workout but totally doable. Honestly it feels like the bike can read my mind, it seems to 'know' exactly how fast I want to go and how much assist to give me. It's almost weird that way--when I go from a full stop to a quick start at a light, even in Eco mode, it just starts going as soon as I tap the pedal. My legs feel worked and not overworked, my hip feels like nothing, it's wonderful.


I have been reading a lot of the threads here and have been considering the same hill climbing sort of problem, so this thread was of particular interest. I am a regular cyclist and used to ride the East Bay hills several days a week so I'm very familiar with Claremont, Grizzly Peak, Skyline, Old Tunnel Road etc. Any electric bike that will take you comfortably up Claremont is doing very well indeed. That is a hard long hill. However the most important thing, that a lot of the more technically minded posters missed, is that for reasons of fit or position or whatever, you can actually ride this bike without hip pain. The second most important thing is that you like the bike. It does not matter how much money you save if the bike sits around, the only valuable bike is the one that you ride. The other thing that keeps getting forgotten in the thread is that you are not going to be your own mechanic. I love working on bikes, but you don't, so a turn key solution is going to be better for you.

Based on what you have said about the Focus Jarifa Speed already "the riding experience is delightful ... feels like just riding a bike ... this is just what I was looking for. It just lightly blows me along, even in highest assist on my steep grades", you should just get it and go riding without looking back or counting the pennies.
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Re: Someone needing e-bike help on bike forums

Postby Should be working » Sun Jun 03, 2012 4:00 pm

Hi dg. Yes, it's mine and no looking back. I love it. Requested a new saddle and grips for Mother's Day. Got the tire pressure reduced a little bit for shock absorption. I feel like I get a great workout and my muscles are definitely feeling it, but I was hoping to lose a little weight. Or rather, a little volume. No visible effects as of yet. Hip still feels great, if anything I now notice that everything else I do aggravates it, like hiking with dog.

In case anyone still reads this, here's a question for middrive experts: I feel like the motor power intermittently 'catches' or hesitates a little bit on my last stretch home after I'm most of the way up the Big Hill and have been riding about 35 min. I can't tell if this could be an overheating issue (do these Panasonic middrive motors overheat?) or if I'm just tired and so my pedaling cadence is uneven, which affects the pedal's torque sensor somehow. Or something with the battery? Probably people here can't answer this because it's a branded middrive motor, but I'm curious.
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Re: Someone needing e-bike help on bike forums

Postby teklektik » Sun Jun 03, 2012 7:11 pm

SBW- Glad you got this sorted out - it was pretty clear that the Focus was the bike for you, but it seemed worth doing the due dilligence for peace of mind.

Should be working wrote:In case anyone still reads this, here's a question for middrive experts: I feel like the motor power intermittently 'catches' or hesitates a little bit on my last stretch home after I'm most of the way up the Big Hill and have been riding about 35 min. I can't tell if this could be an overheating issue (do these Panasonic middrive motors overheat?) or if I'm just tired and so my pedaling cadence is uneven, which affects the pedal's torque sensor somehow. Or something with the battery? Probably people here can't answer this because it's a branded middrive motor, but I'm curious.

As you point out - this is a proprietary setup - I would recommend a visit to your bike shop. It seemed they gave good support initially and this is something that should be pursued. I doubt this is an overheating issue, but it's all speculation in the absence of any real experience with the unit.
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