Bicycle Snobbery

General Discussion about electric bicycles.
georgefromvt   1 kW

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Bicycle Snobbery

Post by georgefromvt » Jun 26 2010 9:54am

I've been looking to purchase an electric bicycle for the last year and VERY disappointed with the snobbery I get everytime I walk into a bicycle shop. I would ask do you stock electric bikes and often hear attitude and smart remarks like ' we have mucles, don't need motors' or they would make a funny face and smirk. OK, so I'm not a 20 y/o tour d force jock who wears spandex. I'm a 50 y/o balding slightly overweight baby boomer, does that mean I should get attitude when I'm looking at bikes? I'm really disappointed with the bicycle shops here in Vemont. I ended up buying a bicycle from the internet. Would love to have tested one first but none of the shops here carry electric bicycles. Anyone else get attitude when shopping at a regular bicycle shop? BTW, bought the R 12a. It's arriving Monday!!! So excited!! Hope I am not disappointed!!!!!!!!!!

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Re: Bicycle Snobbery

Post by Icewrench » Jun 26 2010 11:16am

E bikes are for Grandpa`s......or so the scuttlebutt goes in my area.
I am a grey headed boomer too and without e assist I would not have such a grin on my mug.
It is like I found a new variety of freedom with the e bike, no insurance, registration, or emission test needed.
Avoiding traffic jams saves lots of time and frustration. Less stops at the gas station to fill up the car.

Attitude at bike shops, ya sometimes, but I found a shop that specializes in downhill bikes and the guys there are very helpful.
I was referred to them when a spoke broke on one of my first e bikes and the regular bike shops did not have a thick enough spoke.
Went to the downhill zone bike shop and they cut 2 spokes for me for a buck. Not a big sale for them but willing to help out.
They have also laced up a hub motor in a rim for me, first one they ever saw but they were willing to do it.
They will get my business when I`m ready for brakes and rims for my death race bike.

So good luck with the new bike and maybe you will find an attitude free shop willing to help out now and then.

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Re: Bicycle Snobbery

Post by def215 » Jun 26 2010 11:22am

First off, congrats on your purchase.

I think that normal bikers turn there nose Down at us. I'm a 22 year old and I own an e-bike not because I can't ride a normal bike, but because I love that EV grin. I took my bike to a LBS to get some inner tubes and I locked my bike right outside of the shop. When it came time to leave, one of the employees went outside for a smoke break. While I was unlocking my bike and plugging in my battery pack, I looked back at him and he was giving me a dirty look. I'm not sure why he did that, I guess he was one of bikers that think that e-bikes are cheating...lol.

Well I think you'll be pleased for now, but you will eventually want more :twisted:
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Re: Bicycle Snobbery

Post by geetarboy » Jun 26 2010 12:10pm

Hi George, It seems to me, we ebikers exist in a grey area... not really a bicycle and not quite a motorcycle. I have made friends with a local bike shop owner who has helped me on the non-electric parts of my bike, but he is a purist and will not even give my bike a test ride. There is a scooter store here in Kansas City and they sell ebikes too. I think ebikes will become more popular, and when they do, attitudes will change. Enjoy your new bike! and as mentioned "you'll want more speed" :D

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Re: Bicycle Snobbery

Post by dogman dan » Jun 26 2010 12:29pm

Ya, with 4 bike shops in town, one I will not walk into anymore. Two others are pretty helpfull, but they will jump to help a guy in spandex first. whatever. Helps to know them well anywhere you do buisness. The most helpfull guy in town owns the used bike shop. I'm in there constantly, usually trading parts I need for stuff he needs with no cash involved. I get all my bikes from him now. I try to get by his shop regular, so he can have a spin on my ebike.

But it will take some time, before we get accepted as a real source of sales to the regular bike shop. I keep telling them, we ride twice as far twice as fast. That means we wear out stuff and need more twice as soon. But the tude had me going to walmart for the stuff I wore out, tires and stuff. No wonder bike shops tend to open and then close in a few years.

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Re: Bicycle Snobbery

Post by dequinox » Jun 26 2010 12:38pm

I would just say, "Well at least I'm not looking for a turbo-diesel F350," and just walk out of the shop if someone gave me that shitty attitude...

I have to say most of the bike shops around here have been fairly interested in my design...although a few have been a little snobby...they don't directly show it like that, to their credit I suppose.
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Re: Bicycle Snobbery

Post by wineboyrider » Jun 26 2010 12:45pm

The one bicycle shop in my area 14 miles away has been pretty nice to me, but still doesn't want anything to do with electric. They sell Trek bicycle and I showed him the Trek electrics they sell now too and still he won't sell them. :?: :?:

A lot of people would bicycle more if they tried them. I love my geared motor front hub in the front and I notice that I pedal more, because I want speed on the top end. I am working on that :twisted: :twisted:
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Re: Bicycle Snobbery

Post by EVnewbie » Jun 26 2010 12:57pm

I understand the snobbery, it is not just e-bikes!

Built an "All Terrain Bike" back in 1984 and received the same snob looks and treatment. Why would you want to ride a fat tired ten-speed with flat bars on dirt?! I went to the same bike shop in 1988 with my new mountain bike (they decided officially what to call them) they greeted me with open arms.

In 1999, another bike shop looked at me like I was a clueless idiot when I rolled in my full suspension recumbent bicycle. I asked them about the best component for recumbents and at first, they ignored me then recommended the most expensive component. A recumbent with BMX parts, mountain bike parts, racing parts and touring parts on a fully suspended frame was too much to wrap their brains around I guess. Another bike shop opened in the area 2 years later and they sold everything so I went to them. No snobbery, no hassles and my recumbent and mountain bikes were fed components/tires/tubes etc very well. The Snob Shop went out of business a few years later.

The thing I wonder about it all is this: my 1984 mountain bike was expensive since I had to build it myself. The 1999 recumbent was very, very expensive so why would a bike shop stick up it's nose to different technology? The new tech costs more than the old tech so it offers more profits to the bike shop!

My 1999 recumbent has never been serviced by a bike shop and never will, I had to learn about the quirks myself so have no problems doing any sort of maintenance. The electric bike thing would be hard for most bike shops to deal with. Considering it is an electric device with batteries, controllers and a lot of power...I can see why they would avoid messing with it. Even the mechanical parts would be a problem considering the legal issues of bike parts being stressed by motors.

If it was me, I would service electric bikes but only on a limited basis. LiFePO4 battery packs with BMS systems and good chargers, strong parts and that sort of thing. Maybe if the motor hub companies would make a very high quality wheel with motorcycle spokes and very wide and strong rims with steel plates that mount to the dropout for torque?

For now, it is all Catch 22. If a company made a very strong steel frame to hold the C-Lyte 530X type hub motors, super strong rear wheel and 4110 FET controllers to run it. Then add those A123 Systems 20Ah prismatic cells and run the thing at 48 volts... there would be legal issues. They could limit the amps to 20 and set a slow ramp to the 5306 hubbie and it should shield them from lawsuits. If the user took the controller apart and set it to 48 amps it would be easy to notice and void the warranty. The battery pack can be sealed to prevent some idiot from poking around inside a pack that will punch 600 amps.

Would there be a market for a $3,500 bike in the US? Until the quality of electric bikes comes up, I can see the shops not wanting to mess with them. As far as snobbery goes, just go to a different shop or buy on the internet.

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Re: Bicycle Snobbery

Post by spinningmagnets » Jun 26 2010 1:00pm

It seems a little counter-intuitive that you would get more exercise if you have an electric bike, but...if the weathers hot, a lot of people would just fire up the ol' gasoline V8 with air-conditioning to go get a gallon of milk (instead of the pedal-only bike). A guy who rides an E-bike 5 days a week to work and back is probably healthier and more environmentally friendly than a "serious" bicyclist who only rides for fun on the week-ends.

As far as an environmental angle is concerned, using an E-bike in fair weather is much better over the course of a year than a gasoline truck every day. There is one shop in town that is open to E-bikes. Most of their business is either light road bikes or rugged mountain bikes for off-road use. Most of the customers are college students, and the place has a mellow vibe. Some of the mechanics (and even some customers) are mechanical engineering students. They get all my business...

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Re: Bicycle Snobbery

Post by georgefromvt » Jun 26 2010 2:25pm

Delivery for my new bike is Monday!! I'm so excited. Almost want to take my first drive naked!!!! LOL I really hope I'm not disappointed with the R Martin 12a bike. Everything I googled, gave the company pretty good marks. I'll keep you guys posted! http://www.electricbikedistributor.com/
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Re: Bicycle Snobbery

Post by V_Mark » Jun 26 2010 3:55pm

Got a new 9C front wheel kit a couple of weeks ago. Went to the local bike shop asking about tires and tubes. Said if I bought them there, then he would mount the tube/tire for free and it would take 15 minutes. I brought the bike and rim in, he saw the motor and said that actually it I would have to leave it there overnight. Gee, wonder why.
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Re: Bicycle Snobbery

Post by Evoforce » Jun 26 2010 4:24pm

Don't feel too bad, its their problem! They have to keep their brain motivated to stay in the (club) that they are in. They might not be considered avid if they enjoyed other things too! Humans are funny that way. Bet we all do some labeling. Some of us get to enjoy variety because we don't have to have an "end all" or call me "this title" kind of person. I say we get all the toys out and enjoy them. Boat capt'n on this weekend, Airplane pilot the next. 4 wheeler the next, maybe quad...Na...maybe fire up the Harley. Nope you know what sounds really fun and relaxing (right now)? Not as much hassle? Ahhh... a good ride on my electric bike out on some tranquil path...Ohhh sooooo good for the soul good feeling! Maybe tomorrow I'll fight the crowd to do those other things or maybe not. Remember, to not let short sighted people get you down. If you try to take their blinders off and they have no interest so be it. Its usually their loss. Most of us know it's probably their pride getting in the way. Got to be proud of my perceived and therfore projected identity... Without it who would I be? I'm getting scared!!! Who can I identify with that hold true my values...Who's going to back me up and support my views...Who's going to be there for me...Who is going to pat me on the back and give me the atta-boy to make it all worthwhile... Man can I ramble or what???? :mrgreen:
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Re: Bicycle Snobbery

Post by Evoforce » Jun 26 2010 4:38pm

Just to add... I hope you enjoy your new e-bike as much as my bikes bring enjoyment to me! Plus, I'd add more battery. You are probably going to need it if you enjoy e-biking as much as I do!! :D
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Re: Bicycle Snobbery

Post by LI-ghtcycle » Jun 26 2010 5:51pm

Guess I am just lucky, the two local shops here in Oregon City sell electrics + there is a store called The Green Scene that sells electric vehicles: cars, scooters, but mostly E-Bikes. When I showed a Giant Bike store employee my E-Bike he was really impressed and interested, they sold just the "pedal assist" type of E-Bikes, and mine is much more aggressive and powerful, so I think maybe most bike shops are only aware of the less powerful and manly low quality E-Bikes sold at Walmart.

I know that the biggest obstacle for the local bike shop is support. Unless you have the know-how, running a business selling the bikes is pretty intimidating for some. They have to be seen as the "expert" and have to be able to do some basic trouble shooting of the electrical components to really take it on, and it's not just a case of buying some E-Bikes and putting them in the show-room, you have to be able to back up & service your product.

Part of the objection I see from some bike shops is when joe consumer buys a new bike, adds a powerful hub motor, breaks things and THEN expects the shop to honor a warranty as if they were just using it as a regular pedal bike, this makes too many headaches for some, and I think they would rather stick with what they know.

I am pleased to see some more quality E-Bikes being sold at retail stores, I got see in person an A2B bike at the local Best Buy home electronics store.

I personally see the "Walmart" quality E-Bikes being the biggest problem. Much like the average person (myself included until I learned better this last year riding a good quality bike) who just buys a cheap bike at Walmart that often isn't even tuned to keep the chain on all the time, gets frustrated with bikes in general and parks it in the garage.

Same deal with a cheap E-Bike, but now it's even worse with the stresses of the motor and extra weight, and once you want more power, your REALLY asking for trouble with cheap components that wear out quickly just on a pedal bike, now even faster with power, and again the bike is blamed and parked in the garage.

Don't get me wrong, I know that some of the cheaper bikes can be well tuned and with a reasonably powered E-Bike kit can last a good while, but just for instance, which one would you trust riding down the local big long hill that will let you reach 30+ MPH just with gravity?

After having a good set of forks and a disc break, I wouldn't ride an E-Bike (especially because of the increased weight alone) I won't ride one with-out them.

My father is the most frugal (ok CHEAP! :lol: ) person I know, and even he decided on making a front disc break a priority when building a new E-Bike, and even then just a minor dishing issue of the rear wheel being too far to one side caused a 30MPH wobble (going down a hill, he's not a speed demon like me :twisted: :mrgreen: ) ok ok so it was more than minor dishing, but you get the point. :wink:

My point is, if your in the bike business, and know little about electronics and have NO experience with the potential pit-falls of E-Bikes (thinks stupid customer gets hurt, sues bike shop) I am not surprised that many are resistant. I think especially with the entry level E-Bikes being seen as more of a novelty than dependable transportation, it's hard for many to be willing to take the risk.
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Re: Bicycle Snobbery

Post by Whiplash » Jun 26 2010 6:40pm

I have had the same kind of response from bike shops im my area, but they will change their tune when I am selling more bikes than they are! My response from personally showing my test bike to people and letting them ride it are TOTALLY different, they all say they want one when the production bike gets finished and they are just seeing my little cheap build! Most people don't even know you can do what we do to our bikes, they think that the E bike (if they even know what one is) is just a commuting vehicle for city folks who are sick of traffic and wear their suit on their bike. I aim to prove to them that these things can be and ARE one of the most FUN experiences you can have! There is something about not having a motor running under you and still going like hell that is euphoric! Just let em ride it and they will be sold! And this is coming from a guy with a VW Baja bug with 18" of travel and over 200HP on tap and a history of drag cars and 500cc dirtbikes under his belt!!
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Re: Bicycle Snobbery

Post by auraslip » Jun 26 2010 7:08pm

A guy who rides an E-bike 5 days a week to work and back is probably healthier and more environmentally friendly than a "serious" bicyclist who only rides for fun on the week-ends.
Yeah for real. I've spent more time on my bike in the last month than you have all year.
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Re: Bicycle Snobbery

Post by georgefromvt » Jun 26 2010 9:10pm

Buyer remorse? Bike should be here Monday but I'm really nervous. Excited but scared I may be disappointed. I googled R Martin prior to the purchase and it looked like a reputable company but still nervous it won't be a decent bike.
Anyone out there with recent experience with their products? http://www.electricbikedistributor.com/

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Re: Bicycle Snobbery

Post by John in CR » Jun 26 2010 9:32pm

I only got that attitude at one of 9 shops I've visited down here. The others have been greatly interested. Now the lycra wearers just act like I don't exist other than the neck breaking on the road. Those who have asked, I happily explain to them how an ebike is the most efficient form of transportation on the planet, and is far less costly operate than a pedal bike because food costs much more than electricity. Plus my bike runs at about 80% overall efficiency vs the human body at about 30%. Then to lighten things up at the end I add with a laugh, "And it sure is nice getting over those mountains too." No such thing as a "cyclist grin" going up a long hill, or ever really that I've seen. :mrgreen:

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Re: Bicycle Snobbery

Post by liveforphysics » Jun 26 2010 9:35pm

John in CR wrote: No such thing as a "cyclist grin" going up a long hill, or ever really that I've seen. :mrgreen:
That's the truth! They don't get the grin till the downhill side, we get the grin on both sides. :)
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Re: Bicycle Snobbery

Post by LI-ghtcycle » Jun 26 2010 11:19pm

Yeah, that's a fact!

You know, what else, ask the average pedal bike rider how many miles they but on their bike in a regular basis and I guarantee they don't put on half the miles of the average E-Biker! :wink:
Thank you Justin_Le for your selfless act of kindness! We all are in your debt.
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https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... 28&t=75247[/size]

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Re: Bicycle Snobbery

Post by amberwolf » Jun 27 2010 1:18am

georgefromvt wrote:Also, how do I post a pic in my "Avatar"? I've resized and cropped my pic but still too many KBs? Any advice would be appreciated. THanks.
It is far too large for an avatar, which is why it won't work. Copy/pasted from the page where you upload one:
"Maximum dimensions; width: 120 pixels, height: 120 pixels, file size: 20.00 KiB."

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Re: Bicycle Snobbery

Post by Zoot Katz » Jun 27 2010 2:34am

LI-ghtcycle wrote:. . .
You know, what else, ask the average pedal bike rider how many miles they but on their bike in a regular basis and I guarantee they don't put on half the miles of the average E-Biker! :wink:
Regularly riding a pedal bike for 8 years, 4000 km per year was the average combined annual mileage for three bicycles.
Going electric results in about 20% more mileage for me.
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Re: Bicycle Snobbery

Post by evblazer » Jun 27 2010 2:58am

liveforphysics wrote:
John in CR wrote: No such thing as a "cyclist grin" going up a long hill, or ever really that I've seen. :mrgreen:
That's the truth! They don't get the grin till the downhill side, we get the grin on both sides. :)
You gotta ride with people who love to ride. I love riding up hill and riding in general and try to mostly only ride with people who love it too. Now going up hills on my bent and passing those folks in the weekend club on their 5k+ road bikes that is a makes my week grin. Pass them on the uphill and be 100 yards out pulling away before they get to the top. :twisted: I think grinning does take more energy then not though and on a really long ride you gotta keep your grin on the inside. :wink:
There are a number of unaccepting groups around that are very snobbish but if you get some of their group alone they are really quite nice and interested in all kinds of bikes and though I haven't ridden my ebike in public yet I've gotten quite a few questions on it.
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Re: Bicycle Snobbery

Post by Canis Lupus » Jun 27 2010 3:22am

georgefromvt wrote:I've been looking to purchase an electric bicycle for the last year and VERY disappointed with the snobbery I get everytime I walk into a bicycle shop. I would ask do you stock electric bikes and often hear attitude and smark remarks like ' we have mucles, don't need motors' or they would make a funny face and smirk. OK, so I'm not a 20 y/o tour d force jock who wears spandex. I'm a 50 y/o balding slightly overweight baby boomer, does that mean I should get attitude when I'm looking at bikes? I'm really disappointed with the bicycle shops here in Vemont. I ended up buying a bicycle from the internet. Would love to have tested one first but none of the shops here carry electric bicycles. Anyone else get attitude when shopping at a regular bicycle shop? BTW, bought the R 12a. It's arriving Monday!!! So excited!! Hope I am not disappointed!!!!!!!!!!

http://www.electricbikedistributor.com/ ... cycle.html

I got a slight dose of this attitude when ordering my trike. I mentioned that I wanted to add an electric assist system and was told that's not what triking is about. It seemed odd given that many of their customers were well into their middle age and some have disabilities.


Oddly, despite many cyclists looking down upon recumbent riders, the recumbent riders themselves sometimes suffer from the same attitude.

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Re: Bicycle Snobbery

Post by John in CR » Jun 27 2010 3:33am

The only pedalists I see grinning are the ones leisurely cruising about 10mph. The lyra wearing types always have a grimace. It's just more pronounced on the upside of hills. I really get a kick when they try to hide from those big headwinds, all crunched up trying to be as small as possible. That's all fine, they do it for sport and I respect them for that. Just don't act like I'm invisible in the LBS's and go ahead and ask the questions nagging at them, because they all see me all the time, just never for long. 8)

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