HOW CAN E-BIKES PROLIFERATE

General Discussion about electric bicycles.
2old
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HOW CAN E-BIKES PROLIFERATE

Post by 2old » Jan 07, 2016 11:08 am

Although widespread acceptance of e-bikes would mean more scrutiny by the constabulary (there's none in SoCal now), I'd like to see them take off. IMO, DIY and crowdfunding will never amount to a hill of beans compared to the numbers needed. Probably anathema to the ES crowd but many brick and mortars required. Agree or not?

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Re: HOW CAN E-BIKES PROLIFERATE

Post by spinningmagnets » Jan 07, 2016 12:14 pm

Provide free test rides with a minimum of 750W, and it doesn't matter if they tested a DIY kit or store-bought factory ebike...many of them will buy.

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Re: HOW CAN E-BIKES PROLIFERATE

Post by WoodlandHills » Jan 07, 2016 1:10 pm

Find a way to get them into Walmart. Being Walmart, they will be at a price anyone can afford and once you have enough on the streets a tipping point will be reached and eBikes will explode. I think the eBike industry will end up looking like the gun industry: cheap entry level products sold by mass marketers, a number of locally owned shops for those who will pay for better quality and service and a few custom builders in each region to serve the high end buyer. Just as the middle and high end firearm business is divided into segments (pistols, hunting arms, military replicas) so will the eBike business (cargo, MTB, street/speed and commuting).

As the previous poster said: get people to ride a 750w eBike and they are hooked! A Walmart eBike could be the virus that infected the whole country....... :shock:

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Re: HOW CAN E-BIKES PROLIFERATE

Post by ljfrench » Jan 07, 2016 1:27 pm

I'm trying to figure out this exact conundrum right now, in fact. Pennsylvania made ebikes legal and you almost wouldn't know it. I think there's lots of opportunity here. I've started with a basic web site, blog, and some facebook and adwords advertising. Next I'm working on some videos, photos, and blog posts showing how fun and useful ebikes are, but showcasing them in my area. I'm planning on attending shows and such, boothing, tabling, etc., showing off the technology, both off-the-shelf and 'hand made'. But I'm guessing my main focus will be getting people to ride ebikes, as the previous replies said.
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Re: HOW CAN E-BIKES PROLIFERATE

Post by amberwolf » Jan 07, 2016 2:07 pm

Walmart does (or did) have Currie type bikes and trikes on line, but not in the actual stores at least around here. When I ask about ebikes there to see if they can get them in, no one has a clue what I am talking about.

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Re: HOW CAN E-BIKES PROLIFERATE

Post by slacker » Jan 07, 2016 2:57 pm

I say we give the job to theodore a.k.a storm sondor jr voltaire. he seems to think that sondors e-bike is the next best thing since sliced bread. If he cannot sell them to the masses i do not know who could ?. But seriously i agree with spinning magnets, let them test ride a 750 watt e-bike and i think they will come back with the e-bike grin. jmo. Also make it under 1000$ and you might have a winner.

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Re: HOW CAN E-BIKES PROLIFERATE

Post by Jon NCal » Jan 07, 2016 3:10 pm

An affordable lithium battery that is reliable and decent capacity, say 48V 12AH for $200 retail would help bring down to the prices of the bikes (and warranty costs to the dealers/manufacturers.)

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Re: HOW CAN E-BIKES PROLIFERATE

Post by spinningmagnets » Jan 07, 2016 3:41 pm

Most people are not hot rodders, but...the sweet spot that seems to be the best balance between price and size of ebike grin is 48V X 25A = 1200 watts. More power is more fun, but...costs more too.

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Re: HOW CAN E-BIKES PROLIFERATE

Post by 2old » Jan 07, 2016 4:01 pm

Some of my thoughts too; get people on a bike and they start thinking of why they need one. The Electric Bike Expo (Phoenix next week, San Diego next month) is trying).
Also agree that $999 is a good price point. Only problem with Walmart selling them is service. The guys that work there can't even put a chain back on. I think that existing bike shops assimilating e-bikes is preferable since they already have the infrastructure to sell them. The great thing is that some of these individuals would desire more (knowledge, power, range etc) so this would be good for the DIY community too. Perhaps when Tesla makes the next big improvement in batteries, this will be more feasible. The electric mountain bike race at Sea Otter won't hurt either.

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Re: HOW CAN E-BIKES PROLIFERATE

Post by DAND214 » Jan 07, 2016 11:11 pm

2old wrote:
Also agree that $999 is a good price point. Only problem with Walmart selling them is service. The guys that work there can't even put a chain back on. I think that existing bike shops assimilating e-bikes is preferable since they already have the infrastructure to sell them.
I agree and disagree. Walmart would be a great place to sell them at that price, but As stated they can't fix them or even put the junk they sell together properly. Have you gone to a bike shop that was really into EBIKES? I have a great shop near the house, fact the owner has 4 shops. I was well greeted until I used the E word. They are a big shop with many lines of Ebikes but I still get a cold shoulder when it comes up.
I almost went to work there 7 years ago but it seems when I asked about Electric I never heard another word from him. I am not saying ALL shops are the same but have been in too many that are still pedal only and some are race only and only want to sell a race anything.

As for promoting the idea of Ebikes I love it. I just don't understand what is so wrong with having assistance with my ride. A good old friend that I raced Go-Karts in the 60/70s he went to snowmobile racing and now Bikes, not Ebikes just pedal. He could never beat me years ago but now I would never have a chance. He humors me since we go way back but I can tell by the way he tells me to try this and that with just a pedal bike. I started there but I don't enjoy it like I do my ASSISTED bike. Just think, get on my bike and ride, no big sweat or sore muscles when I'm done. I think as long as we have the low price gas and almost all SUVs we will have a problem getting them onto an Ebike. As long as the car controls the cities we will have a hard time.

Dan

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Re: HOW CAN E-BIKES PROLIFERATE

Post by WoodlandHills » Jan 07, 2016 11:42 pm

Walmart sell TVs, refrigerators, washing machines, lawn mowers, BBQs, etc, that they don't service. Heck, they sell shotguns that they don't service, why should eBikes be any different?

I have good response telling people I have an ultralite electric trailbike. I just don't make a big deal about the pedal part since I don't do much more than move my feet enough to trigger the PAS anyway. It's not like I am actually pedaling 99.5% of the time, I don't ebike for exercise, but to access public lands and get away from the city at a faster pace than walking (push bikes never interested me for long).

And if you could sell people on that aspect while still preventing the local lycras heads from exploding you would be on to something. I am CA Class 1 legal, no throttle and geared for 20mph max, and there are miles of near wilderness trails I am legally able to ride within a few miles of my home. No more getting up at dawn to load dirt bikes on the trailer and drive hours out to the desert or mountains to go riding. Sure it's slower, but it's just as technical, no less fun and I can go EVERYDAY!!

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Re: HOW CAN E-BIKES PROLIFERATE

Post by amberwolf » Jan 08, 2016 2:02 am

2old wrote:Only problem with Walmart selling them is service. The guys that work there can't even put a chain back on.
They cant' even put the forks/handlebars on the right direction all the time, even with a picture and a pictorial diagram, from what I've seen on the display models around here. :lol:

But that wouldnt' stop them from selling bajillions of them at the right price.

They have a number of other cheaply made electric "vehicles", like skateboards, kickscooters, little kid-cars and wagons, and those seem to sell like hotcakes, as the stacks are never there two weeks in a row if I go in there with Bill on our lunch weekends.

I myself wouldn't buy one from there, but if they helped the idea itself take off, I wouldn't complain very much about it if it got a lot of cars off the road, and began to change how poeple think about getting around. :)

I realize the chances of that are slim--they'll probably still just be toys to most people, but it could be a start. :)

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Re: HOW CAN E-BIKES PROLIFERATE

Post by dogman dan » Jan 08, 2016 6:47 am

FWIW, e bikes are coming to the local bike shops. The regular bike industry is definitely now on board. They see regular bike sales continue to shrink, and e bike sales continue to grow. But it's not going to be an avalanche of people deciding to use a bike to get to work 50 miles away. Too many live too far from work to bike commute.

It's going to be ageing people who already ride turning to electric as knees go, cancer strikes, etc. They won't go electric till they need it, because they have a lifetime of pride invested in their fitness. This is the guy I talk to all day, every day. " I used to ride a lot, but now I've had a stroke." They say. Very rare is any kind of talk about it being green transportation. A few need no license transportation, but they all have a $200 budget.

It's much different in Europe, where people seldom live 50 miles from their jobs. Lots of people still bike to work there. In europe electric bikes are taking off quite well. But again, mostly it's people who already bike, turning electric. The big difference is adults there ride for transportation, where here it's mostly for sport.

Most people I talk to, they just think I'm completely bonkers for wanting to go ride on the street with cars. Or save 3 bucks per trip just going for groceries.

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Re: HOW CAN E-BIKES PROLIFERATE

Post by Ykick » Jan 08, 2016 7:03 am

dogman dan wrote:Most people I talk to, they just think I'm completely bonkers for wanting to go ride on the street with cars. Or save 3 bucks per trip just going for groceries.
Same here and then some when they see me wearing winter/wet gear. Some of us love to ride, period. We're gonna ride come hell or high water.

We've been living in an age of amazing, modern motorcycles for several decades but cars still outnumber motos by 100's, 1000's if not 10,000's to 1. Why is that? Because they're not electric? Yeah, right...
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Re: HOW CAN E-BIKES PROLIFERATE

Post by Warren » Jan 08, 2016 10:06 am

Back in 1970 we had the first Earth Day. We had figured out that we were destroying the planet, and ourselves, and the car was a big part of that. I dumped my sportscar and motorcycle, and became a lifelong bicyclist, while make my long commute into the city in the smallest, cheapest car I could find. In the 1980's I got into recumbents. Many people thought they would replace the car. In the 1990's I remember going to HPV events and many people were sure this was the transportation revolution. Any day, everyone would be riding recumbent streamliners, and cars would disappear. Today I frequent electric car sites, and many people think they will replace the ICE car.

All the while, the vast majority of people bought the biggest, most luxurious vehicle they could rent. Most have never actually paid off any vehicle, preferring to spend their lives in dept for the luxury of riding to work in what would be a nice house in poorer countries.

The evidence that we were right in 1970 is now beyond doubt, and people are still renting the biggest SUV/pickup they can find while even electric cars are considered too much of a sacrifice. Electric bicycles will never be more than a toy to hang on the back of people's SUV, like the MTB before them, and the "ten speed" before that.

Face it...we here are crackpots.

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Re: HOW CAN E-BIKES PROLIFERATE

Post by nutnspecial » Jan 08, 2016 10:34 am

i love facing facts and think realism should overrule optimism . . . but wish they could be the same

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Re: HOW CAN E-BIKES PROLIFERATE

Post by WoodlandHills » Jan 08, 2016 10:53 am

As long as most eBikes have a rats nest of wires and strange boxes hanging all over them, nobody will want one. There just aren't enough tinkerers and DIYers to support the sales needed to be a mass market business and your neighbors don't want a science project, they want an iPhone! A clean and simple looking design that is not intimidating in the slightest bit.

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Re: HOW CAN E-BIKES PROLIFERATE

Post by Warren » Jan 08, 2016 11:02 am

My neighbors don't want a bicycle of any variety....period. Keep dreaming. :-)

My neighbors have a Leaf and PV panels. He rides a bike 20 miles several times a week for exercise. He thinks bikes for transportation is crazy. My other neighbor has a Prius and PV panels. His wife rides for exercise. Fifteen years ago they rode the Trans-America bike route for a lark. Neither one would consider a bicycle for actual transportation.

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Re: HOW CAN E-BIKES PROLIFERATE

Post by WoodlandHills » Jan 08, 2016 11:44 am

My neighbors have MX bikes that they take on weekend trips in their motor home with their teens. Well the kids have MXers, the parents have quads and a RZR. I see no reason why they wouldn't add a few ultralite electric MTBs to their stable of toys if the bikes were fast enough to be fun playing around the camp. There are more than a couple Americans who have a shed full of power toys: jet skis, quads, dirt bikes, snow machines hot rods, classic cars, even ultralight airplanes! So why wouldn't they buy another toy, especially if it was fast enough to scare the bejesus out of them?

I don't understand this fixation on eBikes having to have a purpose like commuting or saving the planet: sell them as exciting toys to overgrown boys and to hell with pretending that most Americans care about being Green.

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Re: HOW CAN E-BIKES PROLIFERATE

Post by icerider » Jan 08, 2016 11:55 am

WoodlandHills wrote:As long as most eBikes have a rats nest of wires and strange boxes hanging all over them, nobody will want one. There just aren't enough tinkerers and DIYers to support the sales needed to be a mass market business and your neighbors don't want a science project, they want an iPhone! A clean and simple looking design that is not intimidating in the slightest bit.
Absolutely true, I get lots of fascinated questions, but the apparent "complexity" of the systems turns people off.

Something in the Prodeco class, dead simple to operate (turn the key, climb on, and push the throttle). Prodeco also did well isolating the functions, twist shifter under the left hand, throttle for the right thumb and brake levers, again dead simple.

They need to be delivered operational, well tuned, and reliable so that the only difference between them and bikes is that they get hooked to a charger once in a while. I ride mine to the local store because it is quicker than getting in my car. Hmmm having them delivered with a set of low slung panniers for groceries and etc might not be a bad idea either, get people comfortable with the idea of CARRYING things on a bike. Ahh, and one more, STEP through easy boarding is not just for girl's bikes anymore.

So, these are the key needs:
  • simple -- hidden wiring, simple controls
    easy to use -- step through, low center of gravity
    working properly at delivery
    useful at delivery, including SOME kind of cargo capacity
    low maintenance and reliable
    modular battery enables low cost upgradeable model -- say $500
    local support
That list might get them in broader use. The key is to minimize the learning curve and to eliminate sources of frustration.

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Re: HOW CAN E-BIKES PROLIFERATE

Post by 2old » Jan 08, 2016 12:12 pm

Agree with above that if they were simple, reliable, functional, relatively inexpensive and had a warranty, they might generate a presence that could grow (being optimistic here). IMO, this hasn't been possible until recently, but is/could be now. The manufacturers are looking for the next cash cow since 29ers, fat bikes (never caught on here), 27.5, "plus" size tires and carbon everything seem at or near the end of their run. It would be great if e-bikes were next.

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Re: HOW CAN E-BIKES PROLIFERATE

Post by 999zip999 » Jan 08, 2016 12:49 pm

Get a good reliable battery at a cheap price that won't catch on fire. It also depends on the person my friend of 35 years on an extreme for $650 I laughed at him he gets to go 15 miles an hour it's great on the flat land.
Last edited by 999zip999 on Jan 08, 2016 1:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: HOW CAN E-BIKES PROLIFERATE

Post by Warren » Jan 08, 2016 1:13 pm

WoodlandHills,

"I don't understand this fixation on eBikes having to have a purpose like commuting or saving the planet: sell them as exciting toys to overgrown boys and to hell with pretending that most Americans care about being Green."

I was really surprised and disappointed, some years ago, when I found out that there are two totally different groups interested in electric vehicles. Now I just figure we are screwed, and try to just enjoy my bikes.

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Re: HOW CAN E-BIKES PROLIFERATE

Post by WoodlandHills » Jan 08, 2016 1:22 pm

What's wrong with doing the right thing for the wrong reasons? Wrong meaning a reason you do not approve of...... I drive an electric car (i3) not because it saves the planet, but because it is fast and powerful like all the other cars I have owned. So what? It's still electric and it replaces an ICE car for those miles, I just drive it like I stole it.......

I ride eBikes because I like to go fast without doing much work, again, so what? I doubt I am the only person that feels the same, but I don't get all self-righteous about it. :shock:

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Re: HOW CAN E-BIKES PROLIFERATE

Post by Warren » Jan 08, 2016 2:22 pm

What is "wrong" with it is that it doesn't address our existential problems...over population and over consumption. This is not a moral failing, but a logical one. I am not going to convince anyone of this, if the great mass of science and data accumulated over the last 200 years hasn't.

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