Denver commuter e-bike

General Discussion about electric bicycles.
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Toshi   10 kW

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Re: Seattle commuter bike v2

Post by Toshi » Feb 28 2009 3:26pm

current summer upgrade plan:

what i have now: 48V 12Ah LiFePO4. 26" Crystalyte 407. 72V 20A pedal-first controller, throttle, and a direct plug-in Cycle Analyst. and the bike itself, of course, including my fancy front fork/torque arm setup.

what i'd add, all from ebikes.ca: 36V 8Ah NiCad triangular pack + frame bag. 26" Nine Continent 2807. 72V 30A pedal-first controller, throttle, another Cycle Analyst. two ebikes.ca prefab torque arms. i'd also get another 26" wheel bike, letting the girl pick it out so that it suits her fancy and maximizes the chances of her actually riding it.

then out of the above i'd craft the following:

her bike: new, small bike, powered by the 407, 72V 20A controller, 36V 8Ah NiCad. keep in mind that she doesn't really like going fast, is small and light, and doesn't want to carry around a big lump of lithium as i do. i think the smaller battery will do fine at lower speeds, and she can carry it around much easier when the bike is parked.

my bike: current Novara Transfer with its snazzy rack and Nexus 7 hub, with either the fork off of her bike or a suitable steel replacement mated up with the ebikes.ca prefab torque arms; powered by the 2807 NC hub, 72V 30A controller, and my current 48V LiFePO4 pack. i like going faster, weigh more than her, and tend to ride further distances.

this plan look sane to people? alternately we might end up just getting her a plain-jane bike and leaving it unelectrified, and in that case i'd soldier on with my current gear. where we end up living come july in relation to where she'll be going to grad school will dictate much of our choices.

ebikes.ca NC kit (close but not quite what i'd want since i'd like for them to substitute a 72V 30A controller in -- i'm sure they'd be accommodating for a fair price):
Image

my torque arms (note that the bottom part of the torque arms goes all the way around the axle. thus these would be very, very difficult to use with a NC motor, since the wires go through the axle, not exiting through a slot at an angle):
Image

ebikes.ca torque arms, which also go around the axle but are slotted for 14mm axles as well so have more headroom, i imagine:
Image
Patriot wrote:My only dilemna after seeing your custom torque arms, is that I need to fashion some torque arms as well.

My setup has a rear hub motor, and I have no torque arm that will fit properly. I found one on ebay that looks promising, but I still think it may not work right, because my dropout angles are the old 70's style, which are almost parallel to the ground.

I'll have to think of something. If I can't come up with something, my only hope is that the very wide steel dropouts will be strong enough without the need for a torque arm.

I'll have to keep an eye on those dropouts.
get some torque arms, pronto! i'm sorry to hear of your accident with the bike, by the way. my controller is mounted on the downtube so in a pinch i can always reach down and turn it off. there have been reports of controllers shorting and reverting to uncontrollable full current, and in that case i could either turn up a steep hill and stall the motor :lol: or reach down by my left calf and pull the connection to the battery.

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Re: Seattle commuter bike v2

Post by Mark_A_W » Feb 28 2009 4:18pm

Toshi wrote: my torque arms (note that the bottom part of the torque arms goes all the way around the axle. thus these would be very, very difficult to use with a NC motor, since the wires go through the axle, not exiting through a slot at an angle):

Why?

My Nine Continents motor is the same. All you do is pop the plastic part of the hall connector off and poke the wires through the hole.

No problem at all.
Under construction: Giant DH Team, MAC Shanghai, Infineon 18 FET controller, 64v Headway battery. LINK!!

Retired: Kona Dawg Dually + Bomber Triple Clamp forks with Nine Continents front hub motor, 48v 10Ah Headway LiFePO4 Pack + 12v 10Ah Headway LiFePO4 booster pack (nominal 64v).

Powered by the sun :)

Dead: Jamis Dakar frame, Mongoose Pro Downhill frame, cooked Lipo booster pack....and various other bits and pieces...

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Re: Seattle commuter bike v2

Post by Toshi » Feb 28 2009 7:26pm

Mark_A_W wrote:
Toshi wrote: my torque arms (note that the bottom part of the torque arms goes all the way around the axle. thus these would be very, very difficult to use with a NC motor, since the wires go through the axle, not exiting through a slot at an angle):
Why?

My Nine Continents motor is the same. All you do is pop the plastic part of the hall connector off and poke the wires through the hole.

No problem at all.
Good to know. I wasn't sure if the connectors would make it through.

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Re: Seattle commuter bike v2

Post by Almasi » Feb 28 2009 7:41pm

recumbent wrote:
Toshi wrote:ebikes.ca updated their front page on Feb 20. in particular they mention that they have new 72V 30A pedal-first controllers
I'd love to know when the "pedal first" controlers kick-in (mph) with the Nine Continents motor. I always pedal first when starting anyways, instinctively.

Pedal first on my Crystalyte 406 comes on at 10KM/H with NineContinent it will come on at (10KM/H / ( 16pole/46 pole)) = 3.5 KM/H

Robin

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Re: Seattle commuter bike v2

Post by Toshi » Mar 02 2009 10:26pm

i changed all four brake pads on the commuter bike today at about the 790 mile point. i think i should try to change them much closer to every 500 miles: all four were worn down to the metal backing.

the OEM rear rim still was holding up ok under this unnatural stress even though braking power was a bit down. it didn't make any noise and still felt smooth. the chinese generic/Crystalyte rim that came with my hub motor kit is a bit worse for wear, however. the metal backing on the brake pad managed to pit and basically flake off half of the braking surface on one side. whoops.

a bit of time with a scotchbrite pad to remove large burrs and 4 new pads later and she's good to go again.

the amusing part in all of this: $13 for 4 new brake pads post-tax over 800 miles is about 1.6 cents per mile. that's 16 times more expensive than the electricity used to run the thing...

also/randomly, an Piaggio MP3 500/Gilera Fuoco 500 in the snow in Kiev:

Image

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Re: Seattle commuter bike v2

Post by nomad85 » Mar 02 2009 11:08pm

I'd ask for a 2806 in a 26" wheel instead of the 2707. I have both(from ampedbikes.com they call it 9x7 or 7x9), and the 2807(7x9) is sorta lame. Only 22-23 mph at 48v, compared to 28-31 with the 9x7(2806) The 9x7 is also much better than my 407 on hills while being faster on the flats. Ask Justin about this, I may be wrong(could be completely different motors), but I am just trying to look out for ya :wink:
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Re: Seattle commuter bike v2

Post by Toshi » Mar 02 2009 11:13pm

nomad85 wrote:I'd ask for a 2806 in a 26" wheel instead of the 2707. I have both(from ampedbikes.com they call it 9x7 or 7x9), and the 2807(7x9) is sorta lame. Only 22-23 mph at 48v, compared to 28-31 with the 9x7(2806) The 9x7 is also much better than my 407 on hills while being faster on the flats. Ask Justin about this, I may be wrong(could be completely different motors), but I am just trying to look out for ya :wink:
the thing is that you live in indiana. i'm not sure where exactly you are but it's quite flat, no? i ride in lots of hills and i'd be entirely happy with 22-23 mph if it yielded _substantially_ better climbing performance.

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Re: Seattle commuter bike v2

Post by nomad85 » Mar 02 2009 11:29pm

The 9x7 actually does better than the 7x9 on hills, and much better than my 407(though my 407 is in a 700c rim)
On the worst hill in my area the 9x7 can stay above 16mph without any pedaling, the 7x9 torque version doesn't do it that fast. I think this is due to the 22A limit, if the 7x9 had more amps to work with I bet it would be the better climber.
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Re: Seattle commuter bike v2

Post by Toshi » Mar 03 2009 12:11am

nomad85 wrote:The 9x7 actually does better than the 7x9 on hills, and much better than my 407(though my 407 is in a 700c rim)
On the worst hill in my area(12-15%) the 9x7 can stay above 16mph without any pedaling, the 7x9 torque version doesn't do it that fast. I think this is due to the 22A limit, if the 7x9 had more amps to work with I bet it would be the better climber.
that's an interesting observation. let's see what the ebikes.ca simulator has to say about this. all simulations with a 26" wheel, 48V 18Ah NiMh so as to not have C limitations, mph, N-m.

Nine Continents 2806 at 20A and 35A:
Image
Image

Nine Continents 2807 at 20A and 35A:
Image
Image

Crystalyte 407 at 20A and 35A:
Image
Image

whew, that's a lot of graphs. for simplicity's sake let's look at torque, power, and efficiency at 15 mph and at 25 mph.

at 15 mph (torque; power; efficiency):
NC 2806/20A: 32 N-m; 630W; 67%
NC 2806/35A: 48 N-m; 970W; 64%
NC 2807/20A: 31 N-m; 620W; 67%
NC 2807/35A: 47 N-m; 950W; 63%
CL 407/20A: 28 N-m; 560W; 60%
CL 407/35A: 41 N-m; 820W; 55%

at 25 mph:
NC 2806/20A: 22 N-m; 750W; 81%
NC 2806/35A: 36 N-m; 1200W; 80%
NC 2807/20A: 22 N-m; 750W; 81%
NC 2807/35A: 31 N-m; 1030W; 80%
CL 407/20A: 19 N-m; 650W; 76%
CL 407/35A: 21 N-m; 700W; 77%

interesting indeed. from my first glance at these numbers it looks like the 2806 is essentially equal to the 2807 at 15 mph and has a much better top end. i wouldn't have expected this at all.

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Re: Seattle commuter bike v2

Post by Toshi » Mar 03 2009 1:01am

justin confirms that the simulator is accurate...
Justin @ ebikes.ca wrote:Hi Toshi, in theory all the motors from the same series would have
identical torque off the line, assuming that they are wound with the
same amount of copper and the controller losses are negligible. In
practice, the I^2 R controller and controller-> motor wiring losses
make the higher winding count do slightly better, and this is
reflected in the simulator as you noticed.

To answer your other question. Not everyone wants to go super fast.

Justin
Toshi wrote:To whom it may concern-

Is the hub motor simulator modeling accurate for the Nine Continents 2806
and 2807 motors? I ask because at 48V in a 26" wheel it appears that the
2806 essentially gives up nothing on the low end to the 2807 and has a much,
much better top end. Can this be true? If so, why would anyone pick the
2807?

-Toshi

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Re: Seattle commuter bike v2

Post by nomad85 » Mar 03 2009 1:59am

Cool, that seems to support my experience, and it means they are they same/similar motors that ampedbikes sells. The ampedbikes kit gives you a immediate start controller, but I would get it from ebikes.ca, ampedbikes doesn't tell you which motor you are getting, I ordered 2 kits and got one of each... one that I am really dissapointed with, and one that rocks, so I suppose I am happy/neutral overall.
E-bike#2- Trek Xtracycle 45 mph top speed(@74v)
Trek 850/9C 9x7 rear motor / 74v 10Ah Lipo
Mileage since 10/20/08: 9500 miles as of 8/10

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Re: Seattle commuter bike v2

Post by morph999 » Mar 03 2009 3:02am

yep, I saw the same thing. I don't even understand why they sell the 2807 to be honest. I don't get it unless it's cheaper to make and they get a bigger profit from it.

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Re: Seattle commuter bike: Clyte 407, 48V LiFePO4, Nexus 7 hub

Post by Toshi » Mar 04 2009 6:50pm

one of the reasons i built my electric bike was the ride to the VA hospital, which is located on a hill south of downtown. the VA is clearly car-centric, as it was built with huge parking lots and has limited bus service -- not that buses would have helped me given the hours at which surgeons round!

from where i lived last year it would have been a ride of about 11 miles each way, and with stoplights and all the elevation change involved it was about an hour-long on the road bike. given that we typically round around 6 AM, which means that the intern (ie, me) is in the hospital by 5:15 AM to pre-round an hour on the road bike each and every day wasn't going to happen, realistically, thus the electric bike.

as it turns out i wasn't assigned any rotations this year at either the VA or at Children's Hospital. my commute instead is mostly to Harborview and occasionally to UW, and both of these hospitals are much closer. indeed, i haven't been to the VA at all since medical school. nevertheless, as a nod to my original design goals and boredom while waiting for a night shift i rode to the VA today.

Image
(i live at the top of the map. the VA is the pink thing at the bottom. the blue and white bar at the bottom is the elevation profile, with the X axis being distance traveled. stats: 10.5 miles via my weird loopy route with quite a lot of elevation change. 289 Watt-hours used, 27.6 Wh/mile.)

the ride itself exposed me to some of the seedier parts of seattle. to start with, the VA isn't in the nicest area. furthermore, it's a neighborhood that's very unfriendly to bikers. if you look at the map between miles 5 and 6 (near the bottom) then you'll see a section in which i appear to be riding along the west seattle freeway. in reality i was riding along a sidewalk, shielded from oncoming 60 mph traffic by a mere 6 inch curb. add to that multiple steep sets of concrete stairs that lead to sketchy underworld paths that cross beneath the freeway and you have a place that i hope to never visit again. it's clear to me that the designers of that interchange only made the bare minimum of concessions to allow for pedestrians to get from one side of the freeway to the other without physically running across the road surface.

Image
(the last set of stairs taking one from the level of the roadway surface above down to Airport Way. carrying a ~75 lb. electric bike down these stairs was challenging.)

in any case i made it home fine without getting mugged, which these days is a non-negligible risk for seattle bikers, and am thankful that i don't have to ride this route every day.

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Re: Seattle commuter bike: Clyte 407, 48V LiFePO4, Nexus 7 hub

Post by Toshi » Mar 08 2009 7:09pm

the astute reader will recall that i thought i got a pretty good deal on my Novara Transfer as a base platform for my commuter bike. for a net cost of $410 i got a sturdy aluminum frame, an included rear flasher, full fenders, a rear rack, and a Nexus 7 drivetrain. (cost breakdown: $600 MSRP - 15% discount - the $100 for which i sold the OEM front generator wheel and light setup.)

well, it looks like Costco has one-upped me:

Costco.com: Pulse by Kettler Ibiza

Image

$300 gets you a Nexus 7 drivetrain, an aluminum frame, full fenders, and a rack. the componentry is a step down just about everywhere you look -- note the quill (vs. threadless) headset and stem and skimpy looking rack in particular -- but the $110 difference in cost would certainly buy you a flashing light for the rear with change to spare to upgrade the rear rack. do note that i broke the OEM rack on my Transfer and then upgraded it to a Tubus Cargo ($120 at REI). also note, however, that the OEM price of the rack, $25, was graciously applied by REI towards the Cargo since the original part failed. you won't find such customer service or price breaks at Costco.

had i not gotten my Transfer on sale for 15% off the Costco bike would have most definitely been the better deal.

Costco also sells bikes branded under the Cadillac name. normally these are somewhat comical and don't warrant further attention. however, i took heed of them after finding out that two of these Cadillac models are sold with the NuVinci bike CVT hub. afaik these bikes are the cheapest that you can get with a NuVinci by far.

the first is the Cadillac Fleetwood Geared Cruiser. http://tinyurl.com/areuhg . $650. NuVinci rear hub. 26" wheels and a rear disc brake.

Image

the Fleetwood is a nice looking bike for sure, and those ridiculous bars could be easily fixed. it also is priced well given its NuVinci hub. cons include its abbreviated fenders, lack of a rear rack or mounting eyelets as far as i could tell, and lack of a front brake, with neither disc brake bosses or canti studs on the front fork. it would need a couple of hundred dollars of upgrades to make it worthy, but it would make a great platform for a front hub motor e-bike if one could figure out a good mounting system for the batteries within the main triangle, perhaps with an ebikes.ca 36V 8Ah NiCad pack in a triangular frame bag.

the other NuVinci-equipped bike that Costco sells is the Cadillac AV-T Mens Adventure Touring Bike. http://tinyurl.com/afmg6d . $850. NuVinci rear hub. 700c wheels. full fenders and a rear rack. disc brakes front and rear.

ImageImage

the Cadillac AV-T actually looks good to go out of the box. slap a eZee geared front hub motor kit on it (to accommodate the front disc), add some lighting, and you'd basically be set with no further work.

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Re: Seattle commuter bike: Clyte 407, 48V LiFePO4, Nexus 7 hub

Post by swbluto » Mar 08 2009 7:21pm

Toshi wrote: the ride itself exposed me to some of the seedier parts of seattle. to start with, the VA isn't in the nicest area. furthermore, it's a neighborhood that's very unfriendly to bikers. if you look at the map between miles 5 and 6 (near the bottom) then you'll see a section in which i appear to be riding along the west seattle freeway. in reality i was riding along a sidewalk, shielded from oncoming 60 mph traffic by a mere 6 inch curb. add to that multiple steep sets of concrete stairs that lead to sketchy underworld paths that cross beneath the freeway and you have a place that i hope to never visit again. it's clear to me that the designers of that interchange only made the bare minimum of concessions to allow for pedestrians to get from one side of the freeway to the other without physically running across the road surface.
So, you're saying they essentially lined the side of the freeway with a sidewalk? I don't think I've seen anything like that and it sounds absurd to me.

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Re: Seattle commuter bike: Clyte 407, 48V LiFePO4, Nexus 7 hub

Post by Toshi » Mar 08 2009 7:29pm

swbluto wrote:
Toshi wrote: the ride itself exposed me to some of the seedier parts of seattle. to start with, the VA isn't in the nicest area. furthermore, it's a neighborhood that's very unfriendly to bikers. if you look at the map between miles 5 and 6 (near the bottom) then you'll see a section in which i appear to be riding along the west seattle freeway. in reality i was riding along a sidewalk, shielded from oncoming 60 mph traffic by a mere 6 inch curb. add to that multiple steep sets of concrete stairs that lead to sketchy underworld paths that cross beneath the freeway and you have a place that i hope to never visit again. it's clear to me that the designers of that interchange only made the bare minimum of concessions to allow for pedestrians to get from one side of the freeway to the other without physically running across the road surface.
So, you're saying they essentially lined the side of the freeway with a sidewalk? I don't think I've seen anything like that and it sounds absurd to me.
it's not along I-5 but this sidewalk does line Columbian Way and the maze of interchanges taking drivers between I-5, Columbian Way, and the West Seattle Freeway. so basically, yes, the designers lined the freeway with a sidewalk and put some stairs and ghetto pedestrian underpasses that are now hobo paradises in place to meet the letter of the law.

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Re: Seattle commuter bike: Clyte 407, 48V LiFePO4, Nexus 7 hub

Post by Toshi » Mar 12 2009 4:14pm

today i'm going to estimate my transportation costs accrued since ditching my car in may 2008.

before i do that, however, let us take a minute to reflect on how expensive owning a private automobile truly is. i could compute this in true back of napkin fashion, looking up depreciation, estimating insurance and maintenance tabs, and averaging out the price of gas for my region. this would be both painful and inaccurate. thankfully, i don't have to do this, as AAA already does this yearly and systematically in their "Your Driving Costs" study.

part 1, the car scenario:

background and assumptions:
- 10k mi/yr as i'm a city dweller with a short commute
- a small car since i'm not math-impaired and don't feel the need to advertise either my masculinity or soccer mom status, as it were
- no finance charge since i'd be insane to not take advantage of low or even zero APRs given the desperation of auto dealers
- i work ~5.5 days per week when vacation is factored in
- parking at my workplace(s) is $5.50 per day

operating costs including gas, maintenance, and tires: $1399
ownership costs including insurance, registration, depreciation but not finance per our assumptions: $3581
parking at work, assuming free parking at home: $1584

total: $6564, or $17.98 per day. note that most of this cost does not directly hinge on the price of gasoline.

part 2, my actual costs:

background:
- as readers of this blog probably know, i built an electric bike on which to commute that uses ~30 Watt-hours/mile of electricity
- seattle's electricity is very cheap at 3.76 cents/kWh, and is predominantly hydroelectric (i pay extra to have 100% wind power but that's not included in this calculation as it is a pure luxury)
- my mileage on the bike will be right around 1000 miles this year
- the battery on my bike should be good for at least 2000 miles, so we'll use that as a conservative estimate
- i'll assume 50% depreciation per year on the bike and battery, which works out perfectly with the above at least for the first year
- the tires look like they'll be good for 1500 miles
- parking the bike is free both at my house and on the bike racks at work
- i have a Zipcar membership, which includes my insurance, and i occasionally buy jessica gasoline and car washes to compensate her for use of her car
- my bus pass costs $23.34/month pre-tax

electric bike operating costs including electricity ($0.01/mile * 1000 miles = $10), tires ($56/1500 mi * 1000 mi = $37.33), maintenance, lots of warm clothing, and replacement parts ($727, mostly clothing): $774
electric bike ownership costs (bike + electric bits cost / 2 per our 50% depreciation assumption): $1058
non-bike transportation costs including my bus pass ($280), Zipcar fees/insurance ($75), Zipcar usage ($122), parking when using jessica's or the parents' car ($47), plus gas/car washes for jessica ($211): $735

total: $2567, or $7.03 per day. this figure is entirely independent of the price of gas assuming Zipcar's rates remain constant.

part 3, conclusions:

going strictly by the above numbers we see that $6564 - $2567 == $3898. this is a conservative assumption to boot, as it assumes a low mileage on a small sedan in the car case, and in my actual costs it assumes both that i'd have to buy winter cycling clothes anew every single year and that i'll have to replace parts on my initially-finicky electric bike at a constant pace. therefore i feel it is safe to conclude that not owning a car has saved me at least $3900. given that i came from a Mazda RX-8, which had much higher depreciation, gasoline, insurance, and maintenance costs that the listed AAA figures i probably saved twice that.

is this a fair comparison ultimately for the general population? no. going from driving 10,000 miles a year—or 20,000 as i did for several years with road trips—to not having a car, using Zipcar minimally, and scooting around town 1000 miles on an electric bike is not a typical case, and i don't think most americans are motivated enough by thrift or their environmental conscience to pull it off. however, i was sufficiently motivated, i pulled it off, and these numbers are my reality.

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Re: Seattle commuter bike: Clyte 407, 48V LiFePO4, Nexus 7 hub

Post by Toshi » Mar 17 2009 6:42am

spokes to consider:

Wheelsmith DH13 -- comes in 195 mm from cycle9, but i'm not sure if this'll work quite right with the diameter of Crystalyte motors.
Sapim "strong"
DT Swiss Alpine (won't work since they don't come short enough).

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Re: Seattle commuter bike: Clyte 407, 48V LiFePO4, Nexus 7 hub

Post by Toshi » Mar 31 2009 6:24pm

crossposted from my blog ( www.xanga.com/toshiclark ), as today's post is relevant to this thread's topic, as this scooter would essentially be the next step up from my electric bike:
Toshi, on his xanga blog on Tuesday, March 31, 2009 wrote:new or used?

as the astute reader will note i have no car. this has worked out fine this year, as my seattle apartment is within easy biking distance from both of the hospitals at which i work, and seattle has both zipcar and a pretty good bus system as backups.

to wit, the zipcars that live around my apartment:

Image

the astute reader will also note that i'm not sticking around in seattle. in the end of june i, along with my soon-to-be bride, will be moving to long island, new york. this move is non-negotiable, as it's part of my residency training process and, as such, is basically the most important thing for my career.

long island has many desirable attributes, including its proximity to new york without the problems associated with actually living in new york city, as well as its peace and relative solitude. however, what it doesn't have is zipcar: the closest zipcars will be in queens, far beyond the realm of practicality. (right now i rarely walk more then 0.3 mile to get a zipcar.)

so i'll need a car, right? wrong. i'll need something motorized, that's what. as you probably guessed from the barrage of prior posts on emissions, and, lately, safety gear, i'm planning on riding around on something with less than 4 wheels. in particular, i've settled on a three-wheeled Piaggio MP3 250. it's commercially available with a warranty and local/nationwide support, is arguably marginally safer than a 2-wheeler, and, most importantly, has the stamp of approval from the fiancée.

Image

the question then becomes: new or used?

in the car arena this is a relatively straightforward question, with the sane answer usually being to buy a 2-3 year old mainstream used model, possibly under a certified pre-owned plan through the manufacturer. this decision is enabled by the stable used car market with plentiful supply and the availability of sane financing for both used and new car purchases.

these assumptions don't hold true in the motorcycle/scooter market. in particular, scooters are rarer, are seemingly bought and sold impulsively, and financing is a minefield: used motorcycles are basically impossible to finance at non-usurious rates. in other words, there aren't many bikes out there, people don't know their true worth due to the scarcity of transactions and the flakiness/irrationality of buyers and sellers alike, and financing is much easier to come by for new purchases. add to this the relative cheapness of both new and used machines and you have the dilemma at hand.

scenario 1: the used case

there's all of one used MP3 250 listed on the greater seattle area craigslist at the moment. Kelley Blue Book says it should be worth between $4275 trade-in and $6205 retail, yet the seller has it listed for $6750. keep in mind that it's used, a year old, and a new one runs for $7199 + TTD. basically the seller is insane yet no one has called her bluff due to the factors that i've mentioned.

assuming i could get it for $5500—and that's a big assumption there—i then have a year-old scooter that needs registration and insurance, and, as i mentioned, there's no financing available. basically i'll be out a solid $6000 chunk of change, but, in exchange, everything is paid off and squared away from the beginning.

scenario 2: the new case

there are two Vespa dealers around seattle: Vespa Seattle/Eastside/Big People Scooters, and Steel Dreams/Lifestyles Honda up in mount vernon, north of everett. thus there should be no availability problems, and i can be pretty sure i'd be able to get a scooter for MSRP if not a bit less.

thus we're already at $7199 MSRP, plus tax and title. however, obama's stimulus package helps me out here by allowing new scooter, motorcycle, and car sales tax to be deducted from my 2009 federal tax return.

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he story's not over yet, though: piaggio has a (recurrent) promotion for 0 down, 0% APR x 6 months on new scooter purchases. i realize that the APR is absolutely loony after 6 months, but if we assume i'll responsibly pay it off in 6 months it's basically a free 6 month loan.

so there we have it: $6000 at once for something used vs. ~$1250 x 6 months for something new. the straight arithmetic says going with the used machine is the prudent choice, but the reality of month to month cashflow and the relative scarcity of used models suggests that going for the new bike makes sense.

what say the peanut gallery?

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voicecoils   10 MW

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Re: Seattle commuter bike: Clyte 407, 48V LiFePO4, Nexus 7 hub

Post by voicecoils » Mar 31 2009 10:11pm

Have you already detailed why you've focused in on the Piaggio MP3?

I don't know much about them, other then that I see a few zipping around Sydney and they do stand out with the 3 wheels!

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piaggio_MP3 I can see that their are 125, 250 and 500cc variants with the smallest not available in either the US or Australia from what I can tell. Then their is a plug-in hybrid version not yet on showroom floors.

I'm looking forward to seeing how you go with your next transport solution. Good luck with your move!

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Re: Seattle commuter bike: Clyte 407, 48V LiFePO4, Nexus 7 hub

Post by Toshi » Mar 31 2009 10:18pm

voicecoils wrote:Have you already detailed why you've focused in on the Piaggio MP3?

I don't know much about them, other then that I see a few zipping around Sydney and they do stand out with the 3 wheels!

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piaggio_MP3 I can see that their are 125, 250 and 500cc variants with the smallest not available in either the US or Australia from what I can tell. Then their is a plug-in hybrid version not yet on showroom floors.

I'm looking forward to seeing how you go with your next transport solution. Good luck with your move!
yup, 250, 400, and 500cc variants available in the US. here's the relevant passage:
Toshi wrote:so i'll need a car, right? wrong. i'll need something motorized, that's what. as you probably guessed from the barrage of prior posts on emissions, and, lately, safety gear, i'm planning on riding around on something with less than 4 wheels. in particular, i've settled on a three-wheeled Piaggio MP3 250. it's commercially available with a warranty and local/nationwide support, is arguably marginally safer than a 2-wheeler, and, most importantly, has the stamp of approval from the fiancée.
:x 8) i know what's good for me, and riding something approved by the missus is good for me. heh.

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Re: Seattle commuter bike: Clyte 407, 48V LiFePO4, Nexus 7 hub

Post by Toshi » Apr 02 2009 1:17am

tomorrow's planned route: to the department of licensing to obtain a motorcycle learner's permit, and to les schwab to return unused tire chains. it's just under 15 miles with some elevation changes. in a car one wouldn't think twice about this route, but that's kind of the point and the reason why i ditched my car.

with all this pre-planning i must do due to my limited range and endurance i'll be all ready for an electric car with its similar limitations once it arrives! (for the record, i do hope that an electric car that i'd purchase would have more like 100-120 miles of range vs. the 15-30 that i eke out of my pack depending on pace.)

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Toshi   10 kW

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Re: Seattle commuter bike: Clyte 407, 48V LiFePO4, Nexus 7 hub

Post by Toshi » Apr 02 2009 6:54pm

Toshi wrote:tomorrow's planned route: to the department of licensing to obtain a motorcycle learner's permit, and to les schwab to return unused tire chains. it's just under 15 miles with some elevation changes. in a car one wouldn't think twice about this route, but that's kind of the point and the reason why i ditched my car.

with all this pre-planning i must do due to my limited range and endurance i'll be all ready for an electric car with its similar limitations once it arrives! (for the record, i do hope that an electric car that i'd purchase would have more like 100-120 miles of range vs. the 15-30 that i eke out of my pack depending on pace.)
i altered my riding style from my youthful, aggressive, all-out war on cars normal stance to the lines of "cruise along at 14-20 mph while pedaling briskly". in other words, i went from riding like a 27 year old to riding more akin to a 72 year old.

this change in riding style greatly affected energy usage. while still averaging 14.5 mph including time spent at stoplights, etc., i managed to halve my normal Wh/mile figure:

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stats for this ride:
16.99 miles
6.01 Ah
16.2 Wh/mile

thanks to this more "conventional bike"-type style, i got a good workout out of it, too. however, it wasn't a wash as compared to the road bike: i pedaled less rigorously than on a road bike, i carried around some weighty cargo in my panniers, and i averaged a higher speed than i would have on a road bike to boot—it's a hilly route and i'd expect to average 10-11 mph from past experience on similar routes. score one for the e-bike.

that said, i don't think it's safe to expect an average american (or even my fiancée) to run 17 miles worth of errands on an e-bike. it was over an hour in the saddle, it was quite cold and very wet, and riding with the cars takes a bit of nerve that only a hardened young male bike commuter typically possesses.

one might note that i ended up with a few extra miles, at 17 vs. my 14.5 estimate. the reasons: i veered off my route by mistake for a short while and i added in an extra trip to the local vespa dealer after noting that i was nowhere near the capacity of the battery.

8)

the route, with elevation at the bottom per my usual routine (albeit with the elevation data ending abruptly at 16 miles since gmaps-pedometer spazzed out):

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Re: Seattle commuter bike: Clyte 407, 48V LiFePO4, Nexus 7 hub

Post by swbluto » Apr 02 2009 8:38pm

Dr.Toshi wrote:
Dr.Toshi wrote: it's commercially available with a warranty and local/nationwide support, is arguably marginally safer than a 2-wheeler, and, most importantly, has the stamp of approval from the fiancée.
:x 8) i know what's good for me, and riding something approved by the missus is good for me. heh.
Hmmmm... what wouldn't be approved? I take it she would've approved of 2-wheels since you're riding two wheels and she seems to approve of gassers and electrics, so I suppose the approval generator was based on initial expenditure? Stylistic conformity? Mysterious black-box case-by-case basis?

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Re: Seattle commuter bike: Clyte 407, 48V LiFePO4, Nexus 7 hub

Post by Toshi » Apr 02 2009 8:46pm

swbluto wrote:Hmmmm... what wouldn't be approved? I take it she would've approved of 2-wheels since you're riding two wheels and she seems to approve of gassers and electrics, so I suppose the approval generator was based on initial expenditure? Stylistic conformity? Mysterious black-box case-by-case basis?
she approves of < 30 mph electric two-wheelers, and of my non-powered biking exploits. she also approves of the MP3 (gas, 77 mph, warranty, mainstream manufacturer, supposedly more safety via 3 wheels). she doesn't approve of gas- or electric-powered 45+ mph two-wheelers… yet.

8)

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