High speed ebikes. Why?

General Discussion about electric bicycles.
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High speed ebikes. Why?

Post by SamTexas » Feb 02 2011 8:11pm

Let me first say that I like speed and power just like the next guy. I own a 300zx Twin Turbo that I occasionally run up to 140mph. I also occasionally take my Ninja 500R to its redline at around 110mph. So I have nothing against speed and power.

Unless you're Lance Armstrong, your sustained speed on a regular bike is around 16mph, which happens to coincide with the European limit for pedelecs. We in the USA are lucky to get a 20mph limit. Ebike makes sense to me because it consumes very little energy and therefore good for the environment. But that little consumed energy is a direct consequence of running at a low speed. When we push the bicycle beyond 30mph to 40, 50 and higher, we lose that advantage. The bicycle simply morphs into a gas scooter or a weak motorcycle with inadequate suspension and braking ability.

I don't know how it is in Europe or Australia, but here in the USA the government does not (not yet, to my knowledge) go after high speed ebikes. Most likely because ebike is still relatively new and because not too many people are breaking the law. But if we continue to push for higher speed we will no doubt attract the attention of the law and everyone will suffer in terms of harassment, registration and possibly insurance. Not to mention the dirty/doubtful look from ordinary citizens when they see an ebike (the same look gasoline motorized bicycles get today).

Shouldn't we concentrate on better efficiency? Squeezing the most out of every battery wh. Scientifically proving the pros and cons of different motors, different propulsion systems. Pushing vendors to provide adequate and correct specs on motors. Demanding battery vendor for a complete pack with proper balancing, charging and overdischarged protections along with a realistic warranty.

Am I completely out of line here? What's your take?
Sam
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Re: High speed ebikes. Why?

Post by MadRhino » Feb 02 2011 8:32pm

I have alot of power, that I use to climb steep hills at a reasonable speed. I don't use it to ride 50mph in town. The legal power limit of 500w here in Canada, would not make my ride possible. Then, I use the bike offroad in the mountain, that is where I speed, where I can break only my own neck.

The point is, you can ride crazy on the street with much less power that I have. It's not a matter of performance, it's a matter of brain. If you ride your motorcycle on the street at 140mph, I can understand that the power of your E-bike should be limited, for your own good.
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Re: High speed ebikes. Why?

Post by AmpEater » Feb 02 2011 9:12pm

I use speed to keep me safe. 19 out of 20 bicycle fatalities are impacts from behind (IIRC). I keep up with traffic and don't ever give them that chance. I have removed getting passed constantly by motorists who don't respect my right to use the road from my cycling experience.

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Re: High speed ebikes. Why?

Post by grindz145 » Feb 02 2011 10:08pm

What you missed is how redicously awesomely fun to ride these things are. I ride a variety of motorbikes myself, but there is nothing like a 60lb motorbicycle with kneckbreaking torqu e. Besides we piss away a few kwh drying clothes. Even with monster power ebike are obscenely efficient.

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Re: High speed ebikes. Why?

Post by LI-ghtcycle » Feb 02 2011 10:44pm

I think there is a place for both, and I don't think we should have to suffer because of the idiotic acts of a few, but I hope we can keep in our niche where as long as we are riding responsibly we are left alone.

Over-regulation is often designed to "save us from ourselves" and IMO, in Europe, many of the governments look at their citizens as stooges, too stupid to make their own decisions, and that is why they have such draconian laws regulating E-Bikes.

I however in my own experience, have two main thoughts: Keep up or get out of the way, and stay slow to be safe!

In different areas or situations this will not always hold true, but for me, if I cannot keep up with traffic, and yet am in the bike lane, going 25-30MPH I'm not only taking a huge chance, I am creating a hazard for other drivers on the road.

A car driver expecting to be able to turn in front of a "bicycle" that they expect to be going 10MPH but is really doing 25+ now endangers the bike rider and everyone else around them trying to turn into a parking lot, but who is really to blame? Does it really matter? If I splatter myself on their windshield and manage to somehow yell "I had right of way you #$@#$@!!" I'm still dead! :lol:

I'm hoping in the future to be able to afford a high-powered E-Bike capable of around 40MPH and license it accordingly (mo-ped, motorcycle or w/e) and keep up with in-town local traffic where I can easily keep up, but for now, I am less likely to get into trouble going 15-20 MPH at least at this speed I can react fast enough to keep out of trouble for the most part.

Don't get me wrong, I like both sides of this coin, and I think there is nothing so kewl as Dr. Bass's latest screamer, but for me where I ride, a less powerful E-Bike makes the most sense.

I hope we can all agree that there is a time and a place for both! :D
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Re: High speed ebikes. Why?

Post by neptronix » Feb 02 2011 10:54pm

I pedal 'on flats' at 20-24mph on 1.5 tires on a mountain bike.. i weigh 215lbs. On a 700c bike, my 'on flats' pedaling speed is 25-30mph.. why should electric power be limited to be less than what can be pedaled?

The speed laws are stifling. I know a guy who can do 40mph via pedal power on one of those velomobiles. How come that's legal and eBike speeds over 20mph aren't? stupid...
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Re: High speed ebikes. Why?

Post by yopappamon » Feb 02 2011 11:13pm

Why not! Especially for us commuters. Going fast with lots of flashy lights seems to get the ICE cage monkeys attention. I don't think it registers with them at first.

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Re: High speed ebikes. Why?

Post by LI-ghtcycle » Feb 02 2011 11:37pm

Don't get me wrong, I don't like the regulation, just saying depending on where you ride, speed can be good or bad.

I have heard of a guy getting a ticket on his up-right bicycle for speeding in a 35 MPH, I'm not saying it isn't possible, just saying that the average cager isn't expecting us at that speed, same reason why Dogman had trouble when going those speeds with a moped back in the day.

If you can keep up with traffic, and take a full lane like a motorcycle, great! If not, I think you're asking for trouble if you're riding in heavy traffic. :)
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Re: High speed ebikes. Why?

Post by yopappamon » Feb 02 2011 11:58pm

My ride is 6 to 8 lanes wide of highly engineered road with a nice bike lane, no turn on or off except at lights, 50 or 60mph limit. I agree it could cause a problem with cars turning in front of you not judging your speed right. Lucky for me, I don't have to contend with that.

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Re: High speed ebikes. Why?

Post by Thud » Feb 03 2011 12:08am

The contradiction is glaring in your opening paragraph....You own a twin turbo ZX300....& run it up to 140....(I asume not on a closed course designed for such activity) yet having a bicycle with high speed potentials seems dangerous (??!!)

Would you want every vehicle on public streets to be governed to the exact speed limits, maybe set limits on accelration rates?
The Laws are on the books to keep sellers from producing products that will potentialy be operated by minors. Bicycles are toys in the eyes of the fed.

Motor vehicles are regulated by registration, mandatory insurance, driver training & licencing. & a slew of minimum equipment standards. Toys are sold on the shelves of the local dept stores.

My point? Who gives a flying hoot what any one does as long as they are not hurting anyone & accept responcibility for their own actions?
In Michigan, the laws are pretty clear as to what a bicycle can do & the line that it becomes a moped or motorcycle & subject to regulation.

To answer your question's :
Yes. someone should be exploring ultimate efficancy. But why only on ellectric vehicles?
why not on everything....Lead on brother.
Not out of line at all. But why not just pose the efficancy question? It's a worthy topic without all the BS that the speed debate brings to the discussion.
Adding "speed" & "why", You may as well add the Hot topic-"Asault wepon" to the title.
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Re: High speed ebikes. Why?

Post by John in CR » Feb 03 2011 12:57am

SamTexas,

I cruise at whatever speed is appropriate for my bike for the circumstances, which is typical cruising at around 35mph, though just today I was riding in the range between 50 and 60mph on the highway. I'm safer than the typical cyclist in this country, because there is no bicycle infrastructure, and most of the time no shoulder or sidewalk. Why am I safer?, because I am exposed to drastically fewer cars, since I rarely get passed, other than on the 4 lane highway, where left lane traffic goes faster than the speed limit, but most pull along side to try and figure out what I'm riding and exactly how fast I'm going. Going traffic speed + also means I can own my lane giving me tons of maneuvering space, and my single track means you're left in traffic breathing the fumes while I'm already at home. I ride faster than a pedal bike so I can get from point A to point B quicker, and the fact that it's safer is just a by-product. Mine is currently just a bike from a legal standpoint, but once it requires registration, I'll get it.

Regarding efficiency, BS. My ebike has replaced use of our family car by 90-95%, so instead of about $2k in gas per year, I use less than $30 in electricity for the bulk of our family transport. Plus as far as efficiency goes, my time is far more valuable than even the fuel required by your 300Z at WOT, and most of the places I go, I get there faster than you could with your Z.

Let's see. How much could I potentially save by going slower?.... $15 or maybe even $20 per year. Just the sunscreen I'd have to put on to get out in the tropical sun for that much longer would cost a lot more than that per year. At $30 a year I see it as essentially free, and I'm trying to figure out how to get that up to $50 or more anyway through increased performance, not speed so much as acceleration. I want to run my errands on an amusement park ride. :mrgreen:

Build yourself a traffic beating ebike and get a true sense of freedom. Even if it requires registration and the works in your locale, I assure you it would be worth it, and you'll never again ask "High speed bikes. Why?".

A better question is why do you have a car and a motorcycle that are capable of exceeding the maximum speed? Do you have the vaguest idea how much more wasteful and dangerous that is compared to my ebike. Why don't you carpool? Why don't you ride the bus? I'm far more efficient that any of those forms of transportation...and safer too. Maybe not safer in terms of traffic risk than a bus rider, but you factor in the health risk of those petri dishes on wheels, and I'm definitely safer on my high speed ebike, and that includes you riding in your car.

That reset your perspective Sam?

John

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Re: High speed ebikes. Why?

Post by liveforphysics » Feb 03 2011 2:17am

That was laying it down John! I 100% agreed with all of that.


Also, I would like to add, paying for registration and insurance and not being able to go on bike paths or through parks etc by having an electric motorcycle or scooter doesn't interest me in the least. You pay a bunch more money, you conform to a bunch of lame rules, and you get to enjoy the experience of an underwhelming motorcycle.

You invest the same money/motor/batts into a bicycle, you end up with something that becomes a thrill to ride at 40-50-60mph rather than a snooze fest, you pay no registration or licence fees, you can take it on bike paths and through parks etc. And nobody, nobody at all can make you speed on it, it's about how far you twist the throttle, so if you want to be legal beagle through town, nothing is stopping you, but it doesn't mean you need to make your bike unable to go as fast as you want.
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Re: High speed ebikes. Why?

Post by SamTexas » Feb 03 2011 6:51am

grindz145 wrote:What you missed is how redicously awesomely fun to ride these things are. I ride a variety of motorbikes myself, but there is nothing like a 60lb motorbicycle with kneckbreaking torqu e.
You're probably correct. I have not had any experience on a powerful but light motorbicycle. I had a brief experience with a relatively light Honda CR250R. I thought the torque was neckbreaking, but I was only a newbie in dirt biking.
neptronix wrote:I pedal 'on flats' at 20-24mph on 1.5 tires on a mountain bike.. i weigh 215lbs. On a 700c bike, my 'on flats' pedaling speed is 25-30mph..
No kidding? Most super cyclists like "yourself" don't even think about motor assistance. Why would they? They are already at least 2 times stronger than a regular cyclist.
Thud wrote: My point? Who gives a flying hoot what any one does as long as they are not hurting anyone & accept responcibility for their own actions?
A lot of potential homemade ebike makers. At this time they can build a legal ebike and use it without going through the hassle of proving the legality/conformity of the bike. But thanks to you, they might not be able to do so in the future.
Thud wrote: To answer your question's :
Yes. someone should be exploring ultimate efficancy. But why only on ellectric vehicles?
why not on everything....Lead on brother.
Don't delude yourself, "brother". Efficiency is being explored everywhere. The time and energy spent on squeezing every drop of gasoline has been going on for decades and will continue.
John in CR wrote: I cruise at whatever speed is appropriate for my bike for the circumstances, which is typical cruising at around 35mph, though just today I was riding in the range between 50 and 60mph on the highway. I'm safer than the typical cyclist in this country, because there is no bicycle infrastructure, and most of the time no shoulder or sidewalk. Why am I safer?, because I am exposed to drastically fewer cars, since I rarely get passed, other than on the 4 lane highway, where left lane traffic goes faster than the speed limit, but most pull along side to try and figure out what I'm riding and exactly how fast I'm going.
I agree. You are safer than the typical cyclist in CR.
John in CR wrote: Regarding efficiency, BS. My ebike has replaced use of our family car by 90-95%, so instead of about $2k in gas per year, I use less than $30 in electricity for the bulk of our family transport.
You're BSing yourself by comparing apples to oranges. Your ebike can only carry you. The family car carries you and your family. If you used the family car for just yourself then you were simply wasting.
John in CR wrote: ..., and I'm definitely safer on my high speed ebike, and that includes you riding in your car.
That's ridiculous.

liveforphysics wrote:You pay a bunch more money, you conform to a bunch of lame rules, and you get to enjoy the experience of an underwhelming motorcycle.
An underwhelming motorcycle compared to an ebike? That's total ignorance you're showing.

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Re: High speed ebikes. Why?

Post by gtadmin » Feb 03 2011 7:15am

Gotta bookmark this! Can't wait to see the responses to that :lol:

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Re: High speed ebikes. Why?

Post by dogman dan » Feb 03 2011 7:43am

I totally agree that underpowered is not inherently safer. But if your bike is fast, you can certainly be tempted to ride unsafe. A fast ebike, plus bike messenger riding style is bound to eventually be trouble. Sooner or later Mr Magoo will left cross ya.

Blending with the traffic flow is another kind of riding style, and can be very safe. This does however expose you to a somwhat faster collision when you get left crossed. Anybody with much motorcycle experience knows it's when, not if. You want to learn to drift a turn, cuz it's going to save your life some day. Once left crossed, brakes = hood ornament. In any case, the argument that an ebike hasn't good enough brakes doesn't wash. The brakes on my race bike are crap rim v brakes, and work much better than the ones the 60 mph roketta 150cc scooter had. Same thing goes for suspension, if you build a nice 50 mph ebike. But I do think, a wall mart mongoose should perhaps stay in the 30 mph or less ballpark. The cheap frames are prone to high speed wobble for sure.

For me, I just found a 20 mph commuter a good solution. When riding for over 2 hrs a day, holding the throttle wide open is more comfy, but the bike is not a 300 watt bike. I just put enough power to climb 10% grades on a slower motor. So I have a nice "safe" bike that still climbs any hill in town. I have ridden my commute at 30 mph for many thousand miles, but found the 20 minuites a day saved not worth the close calls I kept having daily. Always junk in the road to avoid, and lots and lots of cars right crossing me assuming I was slow. I just found it easier when I tested slower motors, and came to prefer 20 mph in town. Particularly on the bike trail fast is just a pain in the ass. Big bumps that turn into jumps breaking stuff on the bike, baby buggies galore, it just rides better slower.

Each town, or each route in town has it's own peculiarities. So while slow may work good in one, fast might be the only way in another. John in CR in particular, has a road condition that requires fast. Mine seems to ride nicer slow. I get my ebike thrills in the dirt, since I have tons of that kind of riding handy.

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Re: High speed ebikes. Why?

Post by SamTexas » Feb 03 2011 8:11am

Thanks dogman for sharing your view and experience.

I don't have any exposure to the Roketa scooter. But isn't it one of the cheaply made chinese motorcyles? Safety and quality of those have always been questionable from the very beginning, correct?

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Re: High speed ebikes. Why?

Post by FMB42 » Feb 03 2011 8:22am

Speed has long been the "benchmark" of the advancement of vehicle performance with vehicle "handling" and "efficiency" often following in this respect. Many of us may somewhat disagree with this for various and/or valid reasons (I, myself, have for many years placed "handling" ahead of "speed" and "efficiency"). However, we humans seem to have a "need for speed".

The above, coupled with the fact that most of us e-bikers "build" our own bikes, puts "speed" at or near the top in regards to our performance benchmarks. E-bike design is, imo, still in it's infancy and, as such, has yet to begin it's reach beyond the base human instinct of speed being all "important".

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Re: High speed ebikes. Why?

Post by Thud » Feb 03 2011 8:27am

samtx said:
A lot of potential homemade ebike makers. At this time they can build a legal ebike and use it without going through the hassle of proving the legality/conformity of the bike.
Sam,
You (or anyone) can build anything you want for yourself. It is only if you intend to sell to the public that your product must conform to the Laws regarding consumer protection.
(amberwolf comes to mind....perfect example of potential & maintaing leagality)

Ultimatly it is on the operators of the bicycle to conform to the regs. Once anyone (IN the states JohnCR) surpasses 20mph they are violating the federal law (grey area if interpretation)& potentialy bringing heat on the "power assited" biking comunity.
In Toucson, they impound bikes breaking that speed limit on an "assited" bikes (gassers are much more obvious than ellectric, but technicly the rules still apply) If your pedaling your hearalded as an Athlete.

It matters not if your bicycle has the potential to attain (21-140?) mph. Its on you to conform to the laws.
But thanks to you, they might not be able to do so in the future.
To me? That is funny. I never operate my vehicles in public view, in any way that would draw any attention. Especialy my 2 wheeled hobby equipment.

It's why I advocate racing organization's & a place to enjoy the real potential of the machinery.

We already have the technology to make 100mpg vehicles (& better)
I drive a 98 Geo Metro for comuting...for pleasure its all off road & leagle.
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Re: High speed ebikes. Why?

Post by Ypedal » Feb 03 2011 8:45am

exactly.. i ride my A2B on rainy days and for afternoon exercise, being a commercial product they kept withthe " 500w " legal power output, even tho it peaks at 1000w in the mid range according to my CA meter !!.. Jack rabbit starts are not an option however so i need a big fat gap in traffic to get my butt in there and 20mph means i take my place on the right side of the road and get passed by everyone, close calls are frequent but that's that..

my X5 chopper however, ( Ok.. it's an electric motorcycle, no pedals no chain.. but it passes as a bicycle around here.. ) i only need a 10ft gap between cars and i'm in there in a heartbeat.. no hesitation .. when i need to take the lane i can without slowing down traffic and pissing off a bunch of people.

newbs would kill themselves on my chopper (friends have had a few accidents with it already lol )

Should cars be limited to 110 km/h ( max highway speed in this province ) ?.. how about sensors in cities that prevent cars from exceeding posted speed lmits ? lol.. that would be a joke..
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Re: High speed ebikes. Why?

Post by theRealFury » Feb 03 2011 9:52am

Well I’m certainly no Lance Armstrong, I don’t wear Lycia and I’m no muscle bound lout either but I find it very easy to cycle on the flats at 18-22mph unassisted. Personally I think the 15.5MPH limit in the UK where I live is stupid and quite frankly unsafe in its self. Personally I can’t see the attraction of going above 30mph on a ebike either as the few times I have done this my instinct is that it does not feel safe to travel at that speed.

Travelling at ~15mph though gives me that same "not safe" feeling mainly due to the speed that other road users pass me and the apparent disregard for the fact that i have every right to be on the road as much as they do. I frequently get other road users passing me then swinging in in front of me and making me brake or just passing me at twice my speed without leaving enough space so i feel like im going to hit the side of their vehicle. I know that when I’m pedalling at 18-22mph I get much more respect from other road users because there is not much speed difference... ohh and on the question of handling and breaking, my bike handles better than a car, im smaller and can avoid accidents more easily and (this has been tested several times by me) when a car or truck slams on in front of me, I can stop faster than they can with my disk brakes.

with regards to efficiency, i already think that ebikes are so efficient that any further efficiency gains would be small enough to go un-noticed. I did 17 miles the other day and used 2p (~$0.03) of electricity, the ONLY place that i want to see increases in efficiency on ebikes is battery capacity/weight ratio. Lets keep our fingers crossed for Nanowire batteries or ultracapacitors to step up to the plate and give us 5-10x the capacity to weight ratio of current technology as they have claimed. Wouldn’t a 48v 20ah nanowire battery pack that weighs 500g be just delightful

So to sum up my post, I don’t vote for high speed bikes but I don’t vote for very low speed bikes either, I think a maximum speed of between 22-27MPH would be ideal for me and i feel that it would be the safest speed for ebikes to travel on the streets as too slow or too fast are both unsafe imho.
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Re: High speed ebikes. Why?

Post by Ykick » Feb 03 2011 11:18am

I feel the primary premise of electric BICYCLES is electrical assistance in order to perform comparably to top tier cycling athletes. That in mind, nominal 20MPH seems to be a logical "limit" for the majority of eBike users and equipment.

Most would agree that the majority of bicycles shouldn't be ridden at speeds above nominal 20MPH. Little to no suspension, weak braking, lack of DOT tires and lighting equipment, overloaded with batteries, motor, etc.

Now, many of us have built proper setups and enjoy them judiciously on/off road, bike paths, etc. The main thing is to remember 'Safe & Sane" - in a perfect world there's no need for speed limits or even traffic signals. Trouble is, you get folks who don't know what they're doing and create hazards for others.

If you build and ride a safe, speedy rig - GREAT. Use it wisely, safely and enjoy the ride! Just don't use it like a Jackass and blow our cover...
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Re: High speed ebikes. Why?

Post by number1cruncher » Feb 03 2011 11:55am

Why not?

If your argument is that they are dangerous, then don't ride one. If you are concerned your local officials are going to ban all ebikes because of a few fast ones, vote the imbeciles out of office.

To assume that every creation you see on this site is being ridden on the road is short-sighted. Do you assume that all ice dirt bikes are ridden on the road? Of course not, because they are special purpose vehicles.

I am getting tired of nanny-state tactics that add no value to our society. Maybe we should make bleach illegal because it could be consumed by an idiot? Or make water illegal because we may all drown in it? Where does this nonsense stop? :( :( :x :evil: :evil:
Go to http://www.ebike.ca and buy stuff to support the rEVolution!

Electra Townie 700c Euro 8i - 20s2p Zippy LiPo - Rear 9c clone
Performance x201 - 18s2p - Rear 9c 8x8

All things lead to the path of least resistance.

"Political correctness is tyranny with manners." ~Charleton Heston

FMB42   10 kW

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Re: High speed ebikes. Why?

Post by FMB42 » Feb 03 2011 12:08pm

Ya, I think 25-30mph would be more than enough speed for me at my current novice e-bike building/riding skills.

I'm about $900 into my (first) 18mph 450w 36v rear geared hub "MTB" setup. If I wanted to go faster I would have bought a good used 125/250cc on-off road motorcycle for about the same cost.

E-bikes are, imo, mostly used for sporting recreational vehicle use rather than for primary transportation. This "sporting" use would seem to place a priority on speed over endurance (especially in younger riders). However, rising internal combustion vehicle fuel and maintenance costs will, in time, result in higher e-bike use. This, in turn, will place an increased emphasis on efficiency.

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Ypedal   100 GW

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Re: High speed ebikes. Why?

Post by Ypedal » Feb 03 2011 12:16pm

good DH bikes are plenty capable of taking 30+ mph.. my norco being mid-low end dh is very stable at 35mph and mechanidal brakes with 8" rotors stop me on a dime when need be..

but over 35 requires good roads and suitable areas, there are posted speed limits everywhere and i believe we should obey those, no need to have seperate limits for ebikes imo.. ride safe ride sensible.
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lester12483   10 kW

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Location: Chicago, IL USA

Re: High speed ebikes. Why?

Post by lester12483 » Feb 03 2011 1:12pm

I bumped up my ebike to 48v and 700 watts and it makes a world of difference on the road. In Chicago I can mesh well with traffic speeds.

The regular hard core cyclists are not liking ebikes at all. They get confused when I say my ebike is more energy effecient than their $3000 road bike. My ebike consumes about $0.05 for a 15 mile trip, a regular bike you must take into account food and water you will need to pedal 15 miles. It's much more that $0.05

So thats my rant for the day.
MT6 Hybrid- Electric Bicycle 48V
48V 23AH AllCell Lithium Manganese Battery Pack
http://www.chicagoelectricbicycles.com

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