How good are the BikeE recumbent bikes at high power / high speed?

General Discussion about electric bicycles.
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How good are the BikeE recumbent bikes at high power / high speed?

Post by neptronix » Jul 21 2019 11:55am

So i currently have a Cannondale Bent aka 'easy rider'. I thought i had the coolest thing on two wheels, as far as a recumbents go. I feel confident in the bike to travel high speeds, thanks to how it handles all the rough stuff in my area.

Image

However, there are a couple issues with the bike. The front suspension is too soft for hitting nasty bumps at high speeds, AFAIK that can't be adjusted. The rear end makes mounting batteries hugely difficult. I also don't have the ability to raise the front end to promote a more leaned back ( more aerodynamic ) position. The mid drive also saps a bit of pedal power by introducing an additional chain > gear interface.

Image

So in my searches, i found the ol' BikeE. The rear suspension only version seems to be the ticket. Constructing a battery platform for the rear would be easy, due to the bike's shape. An 18 or 20 inch fork/wheel could be fitted to the front to make for a more aerodynamic position + soak up some front bounce.

I also have an interesting mid drive concept i'd like to put together with hand tools and the BikeE would possibly be the easiest frame to do it with.

So i have a few Q's for anyone who has owned one of these..

1) Can the rear take big tires, IE 20 x 2.5?
2) Is the rear swingarm/shock sturdy enough to deal with say, 3000w of power running through it?
3) Any other snags, like funky handling at high speeds?
Efficiency is everything :bolt:

My first major build: 1.6kW 8T MAC motor on a Trek 4500.
The new all-arounder: Leafmotor 1500w @ 4kW on a Turner O2 full suspension.
The monster scooter: 20" eZee on a Cannondale Semi Recumbent.
Whipper-snapper: ? on a lightweight BikeE Semi Recumbent

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Re: How good are the BikeE recumbent bikes at high power / high speed?

Post by donn » Jul 21 2019 9:51pm

There are some accounts of Bike-Es modified for 20 inch front wheels, on the bentrideronline.com forum. Results vary, but at least sometimes it reportedly works out well. Bike-Es came in various sizes and configurations, don't know much about it, but for example there's a longer (LX?) frame option, which likely would be a good thing. The options also may vary in tire clearance. Riders also come in various sizes and configurations, and I think that matters a lot for the ride - weight, and weight balance, etc., so "your mileage may vary."

Of course a Bike-E is going to be a step down from the quality of your Cannondale.

The one I found a little inspiring, had been lengthened to LWB proportions with a frame extension. The original frame section retained its forward tilt, same seat height etc., and the new section was attached at an angle, to get the height for the 20 inch fork. I don't know how it was done - I'd be a little concerned about strength, but don't know anything about aluminum welding. I can't dig up the post, but there wasn't a lot of detail about that anyway.

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Re: How good are the BikeE recumbent bikes at high power / high speed?

Post by flat tire » Jul 21 2019 10:11pm

Bents are a under-utilized ebike platform and that would be a good bike to electrify.

Torque to the rear axle is a more useful value to determine if the swingarm is sturdy enough. But for typical torque values of a 3000w hub motor, it should hold up just fine if it is mechanically capable of carrying strong muscular human-power riders.

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Re: How good are the BikeE recumbent bikes at high power / high speed?

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Re: How good are the BikeE recumbent bikes at high power / high speed?

Post by donn » Jul 22 2019 12:18am

Interesting, didn't know Bike-Es came in a "CT" version with a rigid swing-arm mount. Bleh.

Not that I know anything about it, but I wouldn't worry at all about the swing arm or shock failing due to a high power motor. If they're strong enough to support dynamic loads encountered in normal riding, then they're strong enough for the motor. Of course the dropouts would need the usual attention. And at 3000W, any kind of a mid drive seems likely to be pretty rough on chains etc.

My bike is a Burley Limbo, similar idea with bigger wheels. And unfortunately, no tail on the frame - the frame tube ends at the back of the seat, which is a big fail for carrying loads. Otherwise it's a fine electric platform, with a 1500W DD hub. The ride is superb.

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Re: How good are the BikeE recumbent bikes at high power / high speed?

Post by neptronix » Jul 22 2019 12:37am

donn wrote:
Jul 22 2019 12:18am
Interesting, didn't know Bike-Es came in a "CT" version with a rigid swing-arm mount. Bleh.
From what i read, the CT with the rigid rear is a scant 30lbs ( 10lbs lighter than the cannondale ), so perhaps a rear motorcycle tire would make the ride acceptable. I did test ride an unsuspended older model, and it was pretty well behaved on the sidewalks at high speeds. I was surprised.
donn wrote:
Jul 22 2019 12:18am
My bike is a Burley Limbo, similar idea with bigger wheels. And unfortunately, no tail on the frame - the frame tube ends at the back of the seat, which is a big fail for carrying loads. Otherwise it's a fine electric platform, with a 1500W DD hub. The ride is superb.
If you have a build thread, i wanna see more.. :)
Efficiency is everything :bolt:

My first major build: 1.6kW 8T MAC motor on a Trek 4500.
The new all-arounder: Leafmotor 1500w @ 4kW on a Turner O2 full suspension.
The monster scooter: 20" eZee on a Cannondale Semi Recumbent.
Whipper-snapper: ? on a lightweight BikeE Semi Recumbent

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Re: How good are the BikeE recumbent bikes at high power / high speed?

Post by neptronix » Jul 22 2019 12:48am

flat tire wrote:
Jul 21 2019 10:11pm
Bents are a under-utilized ebike platform and that would be a good bike to electrify.
100%. I'm in the middle of healing a bone fracture, but i've been riding mine with no motor and noticing that i outpace most riders. My top speed just on pedal power is 23.4mph or 37km/h on flat ground. I have to wonder how fast i am with a healed bone.. :lol: even these semi recumbents are amazing compared to uprights.
flat tire wrote:
Jul 21 2019 10:11pm
Torque to the rear axle is a more useful value to determine if the swingarm is sturdy enough. But for typical torque values of a 3000w hub motor, it should hold up just fine if it is mechanically capable of carrying strong muscular human-power riders.
Well i'm looking to push about 80ft-lbs or 108n-m. It's a lot to ask from a swingarm.
Efficiency is everything :bolt:

My first major build: 1.6kW 8T MAC motor on a Trek 4500.
The new all-arounder: Leafmotor 1500w @ 4kW on a Turner O2 full suspension.
The monster scooter: 20" eZee on a Cannondale Semi Recumbent.
Whipper-snapper: ? on a lightweight BikeE Semi Recumbent

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Re: How good are the BikeE recumbent bikes at high power / high speed?

Post by donn » Jul 22 2019 1:23am

neptronix wrote:
Jul 22 2019 12:48am
Well i'm looking to push about 80ft-lbs or 108n-m. It's a lot to ask from a swingarm.
I don't have a clue how to relate that to the loads they're designed for, but we're talking about a load of, say, 250 lbs supported between the axle and the shock & pivot, and the force that exerts when you do something like run off a curb.

The ebikes.ca motor simulator has a "semi-recumbent" category for us, and according to that, you're pulling about 300W at 23.4mph. In the "MTB, upright" category, that input would propel you at 19.4mph, and the faster you go, the more difference it makes. So, yeah, it's a good idea just for that reason, along with the fact that it's fun.

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Re: How good are the BikeE recumbent bikes at high power / high speed?

Post by www.recumbents.com » Jul 22 2019 12:05pm

I don't recommend CLWB (compact long wheelbase like the BikeE) format bikes for high speed applications. Long wheelbase or a suspended SWB bike would be better. For instance there is a Performer Goal currently for sale here: http://recumbents.com/forsale.asp

https://www.performercycles.com/wp-cont ... -guide.pdf

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Re: How good are the BikeE recumbent bikes at high power / high speed?

Post by neptronix » Jul 22 2019 1:54pm

Thanks. I've seen the SWB style performers and the hp velotechniks and azubs etc. They all look like heaven to ride. My question is this.. what would make a SWB a better bike than a CLWB at higher speeds? Are you able to steer around quicker w/o upsetting the balance?
Efficiency is everything :bolt:

My first major build: 1.6kW 8T MAC motor on a Trek 4500.
The new all-arounder: Leafmotor 1500w @ 4kW on a Turner O2 full suspension.
The monster scooter: 20" eZee on a Cannondale Semi Recumbent.
Whipper-snapper: ? on a lightweight BikeE Semi Recumbent

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Re: How good are the BikeE recumbent bikes at high power / high speed?

Post by PRW » Jul 22 2019 2:12pm

I have a Rams Stratus XP (26 inch wheels) I haven’t electrified yet, but will at some stage in the future. It is ridiculously easy to cruise along at high speed with minimal effort. I love the bike’s efficiency.

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Re: How good are the BikeE recumbent bikes at high power / high speed?

Post by donn » Jul 22 2019 2:30pm

neptronix wrote:
Jul 22 2019 1:54pm
My question is this.. what would make a SWB a better bike than a CLWB at higher speeds?
I'm just guessing, but I think there are a couple reasons -

1) the CLWB configuration is relatively commonly an inexpensive model designed for unambitious riders,
2) the small front wheel, and
3) people recommend what they ride, and they ride those SWBs, whether they're any more stable at speed or not. No one is ever going to recommend a CLWB, no matter what - see #1.

If your Cannondale feels good at high speed, a Performer isn't likely to be any more stable. A Bike-E may or may not ride like the Cannondale ... but upsized to a 20 inch front wheel, who knows?

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Re: How good are the BikeE recumbent bikes at high power / high speed?

Post by www.recumbents.com » Jul 23 2019 11:31am

Right, part of it's the 16" front wheel. Small wheel are much more susceptible to road cracks, potholes, etc. Another part is weight distribution. A CLWB is very rear biased. Generally front brakes stop you better than rear ones and a lightly loaded front wheel is going just slide in an emergency braking from 40MPH situation and I'll let you figure out what that means.

I'm too tall to ride a BikeE. The one time I tried one I had the seat adjusted way back. I was riding it in a parking lot and did a wheelie and it went over backwards and I smacked my head on the pavement. So maybe I'm biased... Having said that, everybody has preferences and I'm sure you can make a BikeE work for you.

A dual 26" Stratus is a good choice for electric too.

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Re: How good are the BikeE recumbent bikes at high power / high speed?

Post by donn » Jul 23 2019 12:19pm

That weight distribution ought to hurt a LWB like the Stratus, or my Vanguard, etc. even more. We sure tend to use the back brakes, on long wheelbase recumbents, because that is indeed where the weight is - and that's a good thing for high speed riding.

Motorcycles have the same problem: front wheel has more stopping power, but it's more critical that it stay glued to the road, and however great the design, you'll eventually get to the place where it breaks free, and you're down before you know what happened. When the rear breaks free it's survivable, I'm told people even do that on purpose in some kinds of dirt riding. (Braking - breaking free due to acceleration is a different matter.)

I don't know if regen braking is strong enough to make upright riders sorry they don't have more weight on the rear, but that seems like a real nice thing to have on a high power setup. Just in general though, the LWB bias towards the rear wheel brake seems like clearly a virtue to me.

I have a vague recollection of reading a review of that Cannondale where the rider really hated it. That's unusual, I believe - most love it - and it makes me wonder if the thing with CLWBs is just the problem you identified there, they're a little more sensitive to rider size, where other configurations can be a little more "one size fits all".

For me, the attraction is that more often they come with rear suspension. That's pretty near essential for an electric setup for even moderate speeds. I initially put the motor on my Vanguard, and pretty quickly rounded up the Burley Limbo for exactly that reason. On uprights, you'd routinely be urged to at least have front suspension, and you have a lot more control over how you soak up shock on an upright. On a recumbent, you're just dead weight, and both you and the bicycle will suffer if you don't have rear suspension.

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Re: How good are the BikeE recumbent bikes at high power / high speed?

Post by neptronix » Jul 23 2019 3:57pm

Very strong rear regen braking is a minimum for me, with the long ascents and descents here in Utah.. friction brakes won't last long.. I've ran strong rear regen and got away with it on an upright bike. It did like 90% of the work. No problem. I'm sure it works even better on a rear biased recumbent.

Warren is right that the 16 inch wheel is a limitation, and changing the weight balance of the bike significantly with a front 20" might make the front end too light, especially as i'll be inherently leaning back even more. But i don't sit too far back on the bike that i risk a wheelie.

I've been looking at these SWB bikes and a lot of them look like nightmares to mount a battery, or any cargo space to.
There seems to be a correlation between aerodynamics and speed potential, and lack of storage areas. I guess this is like asking for cupholders and a trunk on an exotic hypercar, isn't it?

I'm beginning to understand why a good percentage of electric recumbent guys weld together their own frames.
Efficiency is everything :bolt:

My first major build: 1.6kW 8T MAC motor on a Trek 4500.
The new all-arounder: Leafmotor 1500w @ 4kW on a Turner O2 full suspension.
The monster scooter: 20" eZee on a Cannondale Semi Recumbent.
Whipper-snapper: ? on a lightweight BikeE Semi Recumbent

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Re: How good are the BikeE recumbent bikes at high power / high speed?

Post by donn » Jul 23 2019 4:26pm

neptronix wrote:
Jul 23 2019 3:57pm
There seems to be a correlation between aerodynamics and speed potential, and lack of storage areas. I guess this is like asking for cupholders and a trunk on an exotic hypercar, isn't it?

I'm beginning to understand why a good percentage of electric recumbent guys weld together their own frames.
They do? There are electric recumbent guys? The general impression I get on the forum is that they're getting too old and infirm to get around on two wheels, so tricycles are the thing, particularly if we're talking about electric motors.

But I digress. I envy the storage potential you have on that Cannondale, with the rack extending out back from the frame. Hang stuff from there, and you have suspended load carrying, and potentially some concealment for a rear hub motor. But, yeah, the typical recumbent is surprisingly short on room for stuff, for such big bicycles. It just popped into my head that it might work to throw bags over the between-wheels frame area, if you had a kind of chain guard to keep them clear of the chain (and in my case, also the steering linkage on the other side.) Hm. I have my battery and controller down there, in a box hanging from the frame; that would work OK for the Bike-E, not so much for the Cannondale.

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Re: How good are the BikeE recumbent bikes at high power / high speed?

Post by neptronix » Jul 23 2019 9:14pm

donn wrote:
Jul 23 2019 4:26pm
They do? There are electric recumbent guys?
There's a decent amount of electric recumbents on here. Most of them are trikes these days, indeed. The young folks still haven't caught on.
donn wrote:
Jul 23 2019 4:26pm
I envy the storage potential you have on that Cannondale, with the rack extending out back from the frame. Hang stuff from there, and you have suspended load carrying, and potentially some concealment for a rear hub motor.
Yeah, the bike is a slam dunk in a lot of ways. There are not many things lacking here.
donn wrote:
Jul 23 2019 4:26pm
..I have my battery and controller down there, in a box hanging from the frame; that would work OK for the Bike-E, not so much for the Cannondale.
I see the Bike E as a blank canvas to easily prototype battery mounts, mid drives, etc using basic hardware store clamps and bits, because of the shape of the frame, plus how the chain doesn't run along the frame like a puzzle, as it does on many other recumbents.

I haven't seen a SWB that is a dream to convert*. Usually it's the LWB bikes.. which are huge, and unlikely to ever fit in my compact car.. so we're gonna nix that idea.

* = i stand corrected. Azub has a few bikes with pretty sturdy rear racks.

Image
Efficiency is everything :bolt:

My first major build: 1.6kW 8T MAC motor on a Trek 4500.
The new all-arounder: Leafmotor 1500w @ 4kW on a Turner O2 full suspension.
The monster scooter: 20" eZee on a Cannondale Semi Recumbent.
Whipper-snapper: ? on a lightweight BikeE Semi Recumbent

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Re: How good are the BikeE recumbent bikes at high power / high speed?

Post by sleepy_tired » Jul 24 2019 12:46am

To bad LWB isn't going to work for you. Seems like a good match for the heavy use of regenerative braking. There are Linear-brand LWB bikes that do fold. They have been made by a few different companies that have been bought and sold for a while now. So you can find used ones pretty easily.

https://linearrecumbent.com/bikes/folding-limo/

Also there are various folding trikes out there.

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Re: How good are the BikeE recumbent bikes at high power / high speed?

Post by amberwolf » Jul 24 2019 3:10am

donn wrote:
Jul 23 2019 4:26pm
They do? There are electric recumbent guys?
One example, CrazyBike2 (which evolved a lot throughout the thread)
https://www.endless-sphere.com/forums/v ... =2&t=12500
See Warren's thread(s) for other(s), and Numberonebikeslover, can't remember other names at the moment.

some topics
https://www.endless-sphere.com/forums/s ... mit=Search


There's probably more trikes just because they don't have to be balanced at low speeds, and that's one thing that 'bent bikes don't do very well. ;)

SB Cruiser (which also evolved a lot over the years, and is still evolving):
https://www.endless-sphere.com/forums/v ... =2&t=67833

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Re: How good are the BikeE recumbent bikes at high power / high speed?

Post by neptronix » Jul 24 2019 12:31pm

Image

The linear limo has to be one of the most attractive bikes i've laid my eyes on. Something about the uncompromising industrial look. Looks like a perfect joyriding machine. The aesthetics lend themselves to making some kind of nasty electric cyberpunk/electropunk machine.

Way too big to be something i ride in the city IMHO. More like a canvas for an outrageous moving sculpture.
Efficiency is everything :bolt:

My first major build: 1.6kW 8T MAC motor on a Trek 4500.
The new all-arounder: Leafmotor 1500w @ 4kW on a Turner O2 full suspension.
The monster scooter: 20" eZee on a Cannondale Semi Recumbent.
Whipper-snapper: ? on a lightweight BikeE Semi Recumbent

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Re: How good are the BikeE recumbent bikes at high power / high speed?

Post by sleepy_tired » Jul 24 2019 3:00pm

I figure it's tough to beat upright bicycles for practicality in the city. That limo probably isn't as bad as it seems due to the steep head angle. Most LWB are going to have a very slack head angle due to having to angle the handle bar step towards the rider, which means their frames look shorter despite the similar wheelbase. The handling on the limo should be good though. Never had one myself, of course.

Probably the most practical for city is either an upright CLWB or a trike with higher-up seats like the Terratrike Rover or Sun ECO-TAD SX so you can keep good visibility. Trikes are nice because you can stop and go easily, as well as go as slow as you'd like without tipping over. But those high seat ones are probably going to be tippy at speed.

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Re: How good are the BikeE recumbent bikes at high power / high speed?

Post by donn » Jul 24 2019 4:41pm

Until the desire for suspension led me to add the Burley Limbo to the mix for a motorized ride, I was riding a Ryan Vanguard, which is the same or longer, and I hardly ever get out of the city. When Greg Peek took over from Dick Ryan, he called the company "Longbikes", and indeed they are, but it's all about handling. If you're running at higher speeds, a good long ride can't be beat. Unfortunately, though, the Linears don't have suspension.

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Re: How good are the BikeE recumbent bikes at high power / high speed?

Post by neptronix » Jul 24 2019 7:35pm

donn wrote:
Jul 24 2019 4:41pm
Until the desire for suspension led me to add the Burley Limbo to the mix for a motorized ride, I was riding a Ryan Vanguard, which is the same or longer, and I hardly ever get out of the city.
So the Ryan, even with it's chromoly frame and big rear wheel was too tooth jarring for ya? how fast were you going?
Efficiency is everything :bolt:

My first major build: 1.6kW 8T MAC motor on a Trek 4500.
The new all-arounder: Leafmotor 1500w @ 4kW on a Turner O2 full suspension.
The monster scooter: 20" eZee on a Cannondale Semi Recumbent.
Whipper-snapper: ? on a lightweight BikeE Semi Recumbent

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Re: How good are the BikeE recumbent bikes at high power / high speed?

Post by donn » Jul 24 2019 8:35pm

Not fast at all, really. Bicycle speed, just a lot more 15 mph and much less 5 mph, and occasionally some 18-20mph. Bearing in mind, you're dead weight very nearly over the rear wheel. But it wasn't just my teeth or other moving body parts, it's the hammering the bicycle takes, and the poor ride when you want to be in control. It wasn't a problem before, and it isn't a problem now, but when the motor was on there, it got old fast. Maybe part of it was the weight of the battery and motor. Likely part of it was the rattling connections on my crude rig.

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Re: How good are the BikeE recumbent bikes at high power / high speed?

Post by neptronix » Jul 25 2019 12:26am

I see.

Check this out. Atomic Zombie's Voyager build-it-yourself plan:

Image

This looks like it'd be suitable. It could be built quite a bit shorter. I imagine that with a LWB steel bike like this, the front end of the big long tube would act a bit like a suspension in and of itself. Especially if it was oval shaped :idea:
Efficiency is everything :bolt:

My first major build: 1.6kW 8T MAC motor on a Trek 4500.
The new all-arounder: Leafmotor 1500w @ 4kW on a Turner O2 full suspension.
The monster scooter: 20" eZee on a Cannondale Semi Recumbent.
Whipper-snapper: ? on a lightweight BikeE Semi Recumbent

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