Lines erased E-Bike / E-Scooter / E Motorcycle

General Discussion about electric bicycles.
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Lines erased E-Bike / E-Scooter / E Motorcycle

Post by GregO » Jun 08 2018 6:36pm

Just as the line between TV / Computers / tablets and smart phones are being erased... can anyone predict what the new trend will be for electronic two wheeled vehicles? I have seen some totally over the top E-bikes that claim they can do over 60mph. Crazy unsafe.. but basically heres my actual question... what would you consider the safest speed for a bike? Whats your fastest speed? Did you feel safe?

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Re: Lines erased E-Bike / E-Scooter / E Motorcycle

Post by Dauntless » Jun 08 2018 6:59pm

16" wheels getting up to 20mph downhill didn't feel good. Same for Currie scooters. Bigger bikes like beach cruisers handle more speed, but until it's a real moped, solid wheels and suspension, 30mph was dicey.
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Re: Lines erased E-Bike / E-Scooter / E Motorcycle

Post by wturber » Jun 08 2018 7:31pm

Opinions will vary on this. But for me the transition between "electric bicycle" and motorcycle or scooter occurs somewhere between 25 mph and 30 mph max assisted speeds on flat ground - if we are talking about public roads.

Due to the high center of gravity, I don't thing most conventional bicycles can generally be operated much faster than that safely in and around regular traffic. There are exceptions, but laws are generally written for the common or least common denominator and not the exceptional. So that's the first reason for my 25-30 mph distinction.

The second is that in the U.S. the vast majority of non-residential streets have speed limits of 30 mph and greater. It seems to me that if you are going to be operating at typical motor vehicle speeds on public roads, then you should be considered a motor vehicle of some kind and not a bicycle. Bicycles are granted certain exceptions precisely because they generally operate at speeds significantly slower than automobiles.

And my argument for still considering them bicycles and not some new third class of vehicle is that at 25 mph or so, they aren't much faster than a fast cyclist on a bicycle. They should integrate well with regular bicycles if ridden responsibly. What an e-bike does IMO, is allow anybody to be a fairly fast high endurance cyclist. I think it's worth allowing such speeds to see if for no other reason to see if it works out OK.
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Re: Lines erased E-Bike / E-Scooter / E Motorcycle

Post by MadRhino » Jun 08 2018 10:06pm

This had been discussed many times. Ebikes can be built safe to ride fast and powerful. What is stupid is to ride fast on a bike that was not built for it. Anyway, those who do, generally stop soon. Then, either they build for the speed that they like, or they ride at the speed that they had really built for.

My dirt bike does 45 mph, my street bike well above 60 mph. They are built for this performance and perfectly safe in terms of reliability, braking distance, traction and handling. Even those who doubt, get to agree that they are very good rides after they tried riding them, and they could safely ride much faster.
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Re: Lines erased E-Bike / E-Scooter / E Motorcycle

Post by wturber » Jun 08 2018 10:26pm

MadRhino wrote:
Jun 08 2018 10:06pm
This had been discussed many times. Ebikes can be built safe to ride fast and powerful. What is stupid is to ride fast on a bike that was not built for it. Anyway, those who do, generally stop soon. Then, either they build for the speed that they like, or they ride at the speed that they had really built for.
Sure. You can build an "e-bike" that can be safely ridden at 60 mph - though the vast majority are not built that way. But if you do build one with those capabilities, is it an e-bike or is it merely an electrical motorcycle? Or more importantly - semantics and labeling aside -should such a thing require licensing and insurance to be operated at those speeds on the street?
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Re: Lines erased E-Bike / E-Scooter / E Motorcycle

Post by CUDAcores89 » Jun 08 2018 10:47pm

For me it depends on where i'm riding.

If I'm riding downtown or in the city where there are lot's of cars, people, and other bikers, I would say probably around 20mph would be my maximum safest speed. Cars don't expect you to move really fast, even if my ebike looks nothing like a regular bike because my controller, battery, hub motor and throttle are clearly visible.

However if i'm on a long winding road like what my commute used to be to my college campus, then I actually felt safer going even faster because I could keep with the rest of the cars on the road. I often did 30mph all day on my bike and sometimes did 35mph downhill.

When I go 40mph, the tiniest bump or crack on the road can throw you off balance, so that's really my speed limit. If you want to go faster than that, you have better live somewhere where the roads are really good (like not Michigan) or you need thicker, larger tires at which point your bike is more like a motorcycle.

Probably anything past 30mph on something nuts like a 10% hill grade isn't really an ebike anymore, it's more like something in-between an ebike and a motorcycle. Like a moped but with more speed? At least the way I think of it.

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Re: Lines erased E-Bike / E-Scooter / E Motorcycle

Post by dogman dan » Jun 09 2018 8:02am

The most dangerous vehicle I ever owned was a gas moped. This was 1976, and nobody had seen a moped yet. It was supposed to do 25 mph max, but I tweaked the throttle cable, and got it up to 35 mph.

What was dangerous, was that people saw a " bike" but I was doing 35 mph.. People are more used to this sort of thing now, but they still turn right in front of you a lot more if you haul ass on the street. Take the lane if you go faster than 20-25 mph is my advice.


As for other factors, I find the typical potholes and other bumps hard to avoid at 40 mph, so by that speed I think you need to be building for it, as Mad Rhino does. He's not riding 200 buck junk bikes from Walmart at his speeds. At some point, this is not really a bike, but a flyweight motorcycle with pedals. Legal off road most places, but illegal on official bike trails and street, most places.

Legally, the line varies. Some places allow 27 mph with strict specs on the type of throttle. Many in the US limit E bikes to 20 mph. Some places e bikes are mopeds. In my state I'm a moped, and actually need a drivers license, but not a motorcycle license.

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Re: Lines erased E-Bike / E-Scooter / E Motorcycle

Post by MadRhino » Jun 09 2018 12:53pm

wturber wrote:
Jun 08 2018 10:26pm
MadRhino wrote:
Jun 08 2018 10:06pm
This had been discussed many times. Ebikes can be built safe to ride fast and powerful. What is stupid is to ride fast on a bike that was not built for it. Anyway, those who do, generally stop soon. Then, either they build for the speed that they like, or they ride at the speed that they had really built for.
Sure. You can build an "e-bike" that can be safely ridden at 60 mph - though the vast majority are not built that way. But if you do build one with those capabilities, is it an e-bike or is it merely an electrical motorcycle? Or more importantly - semantics and labeling aside -should such a thing require licensing and insurance to be operated at those speeds on the street?
Well, since they are built entirely with bicycle components, and have a perfectly functional bicycle drive train, I feel comfortable to call them ebikes.

But yes, that is where the lines are erased between ebikes and e-motorcycles. I consider them ULM, for Ultra Lightweight Motorcycles. What is important anyway, is the police does let me ride freely. Here I can ride everywhere but the highway. Parks, MTB trails, streets or wherever, I’ve never been bothered.
Make it fool-proof, and I will make a better fool.
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Re: Lines erased E-Bike / E-Scooter / E Motorcycle

Post by Alan B » Jun 09 2018 1:00pm

lots of opinions, lots of experience.

quality ebikes to 28 mph (by law)
mopeds to 40 mph
motorcycles above 40

scooters unsafe at any speed

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Re: Lines erased E-Bike / E-Scooter / E Motorcycle

Post by John in CR » Jun 10 2018 8:17am

I don't know why pedalists continue to try to claim the words bike and ebike. Is a biker someone who rides a 2 wheeler with pedals? No, of course not. Motorcycles are quite commonly referred to as bikes. An ebike is any 2 wheeler with an electric drive, period, and the more people riding them the better.

I have 2 ebikes that will exceed 100mph, though I only rode that fast on a few occasions to determine their top speed. One I built from motorcycle pieces and the other has a bicycle frame and suspension, even pedals. Both are perfectly safe on the street at any speed. I ran a bicycle tire on front for a couple of years, but I've gone to motorcycle tires completely, because the bicycle tire was always a concern at highway speeds.

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Re: Lines erased E-Bike / E-Scooter / E Motorcycle

Post by GregO » Jun 10 2018 8:48am

I appreciate everyone comments. Thanks.

This is my first build I am undertaking next weekend (June 16th) and am looking forward to enjoying the build even more so than the ride (I hope thats not weird... once I built an RC plane and then worried so much about wrecking my first build that i just sold it... felt like I was giving away my child... but couldnt stand a bad fate).

I am turning my one month old Giant Sedona DX into a 48V 500W 13 amp e-bike. I was truly disappointed when I realized my original Sedona tire had 32 spokes yet both motors I bought were configured for 36. I assure you I WILL be riding this bike though.

I am also already looking forward to learning enough from this build to get a better and faster motor and battery already. Its amazing to me that practically EVERY DIY ebike is pretty darn unique invention. I was VERY disappointed in the manufactured ebike prices... thats off the hook too high.. especially how some are already governed as far as speed.
Thanks again peeps!

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Re: Lines erased E-Bike / E-Scooter / E Motorcycle

Post by Wolfeman » Jun 10 2018 12:03pm

Yep Greg, high powered ebikes definitely blur some category lines. I'm not sure what I'd call mine if pressed, but it is the most fun hobby I've ever had. Twisting the throttle turns every hill into a downhill. I've got 3000+ miles on my conversion kit now and look forward to MANY more. Enjoy your project.
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Re: Lines erased E-Bike / E-Scooter / E Motorcycle

Post by Chalo » Jun 10 2018 12:25pm

wturber wrote:
Jun 08 2018 7:31pm
Bicycles are granted certain exceptions precisely because they generally operate at speeds significantly slower than automobiles.
Bicyclists have the unconditional right to use the lane, because paved streets were constructed for bicyclists originally. Rich hobbyists were eventually allowed access for their noisy, stinky, dangerous fire-driven machines-- but only subject to multiple conditions.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Roads_Movement

It's been a long time now, but let's not forget who are the undesirable trespassers on our public rights-of-way.
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Re: Lines erased E-Bike / E-Scooter / E Motorcycle

Post by John in CR » Jun 10 2018 1:55pm

I really like that viewpoint of cars being the "undesirable trespassers", though I do enjoy passing hundreds on my daily commute.

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Re: Lines erased E-Bike / E-Scooter / E Motorcycle

Post by Keiffith » Jun 10 2018 2:01pm

Chalo wrote:
Jun 10 2018 12:25pm
wturber wrote:
Jun 08 2018 7:31pm
Bicycles are granted certain exceptions precisely because they generally operate at speeds significantly slower than automobiles.
Bicyclists have the unconditional right to use the lane, because paved streets were constructed for bicyclists originally. Rich hobbyists were eventually allowed access for their noisy, stinky, dangerous fire-driven machines-- but only subject to multiple conditions.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Roads_Movement

It's been a long time now, but let's not forget who are the undesirable trespassers on our public rights-of-way.
I wouldn't be too quick to criticize the fire breathing cages.

You certainly could not manufacture any bicycle without them.

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Re: Lines erased E-Bike / E-Scooter / E Motorcycle

Post by Chalo » Jun 10 2018 3:01pm

Keiffith wrote:
Jun 10 2018 2:01pm
Chalo wrote:
Jun 10 2018 12:25pm
Bicyclists have the unconditional right to use the lane, because paved streets were constructed for bicyclists originally. Rich hobbyists were eventually allowed access for their noisy, stinky, dangerous fire-driven machines-- but only subject to multiple conditions.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Roads_Movement

It's been a long time now, but let's not forget who are the undesirable trespassers on our public rights-of-way.
I wouldn't be too quick to criticize the fire breathing cages.

You certainly could not manufacture any bicycle without them.
We did then and we could now. But moral cowards and racketeers rule the day.
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Re: Lines erased E-Bike / E-Scooter / E Motorcycle

Post by Keiffith » Jun 10 2018 3:30pm

I'm referring specifically to diesel.

If you would like to mine, transport, refine, and manufacture with lithium, iron, aluminum, magnesium, etc. By hand, your going to have a bad time.

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Post by Chalo » Jun 10 2018 8:18pm

Keiffith wrote:
Jun 10 2018 3:30pm
I'm referring specifically to diesel.

If you would like to mine, transport, refine, and manufacture with lithium, iron, aluminum, magnesium, etc. By hand, your going to have a bad time.
All the things you listed and more can be done without stinking fuel burners. Aluminum production has always been an electrical process. I used to ride past a steel mill every day that was powered electrically. The biggest mining equipment in the world is all-electric.

Image

It's more than possible to do things the right way-- it's actually feasible. But first, the greediest bastards on Earth have to want to do things the right way, or else the rest of us have to force them. I'm guessing it will come to the latter.
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Re: Lines erased E-Bike / E-Scooter / E Motorcycle

Post by wturber » Jun 10 2018 11:15pm

John in CR wrote:
Jun 10 2018 8:17am
I don't know why pedalists continue to try to claim the words bike and ebike. Is a biker someone who rides a 2 wheeler with pedals? No, of course not. Motorcycles are quite commonly referred to as bikes. An ebike is any 2 wheeler with an electric drive, period, and the more people riding them the better.
Simple. "Bike" is derived from the word "bicycle", the more formal name for a bicycle. It is not derived from the more formal name for a motorcycle.

Of course, there are no rules for how words evolve. Hence, no big surprise that motorcycles eventually came to be informally referred to as "bikes" and that "literally" is now used to mean "virtually" - the exact opposite of its original meaning. So regardless of what any of us prefer, the word, "ebike" will end up having whatever meaning most people assign to it. And right now, the dominant usage is for an electrified bicycle with functional pedals. A simple google search shows this. So that's the another (and probably the primary) people ( not merely "pedalists" use "ebike" to refer to contraptions that you can pedal that also have an electric motor. It is simply the current convention and the overwhelmingly most common usage.

Personally, I prefer that usage. If the term evolves to mean either an electric bicycle or an electric motorcycle, it will become a less useful term. "Bike" is already pretty ambiguous. The context of the use of "bike" has to be well established ahead of time if you want people to be sure of what is meant.
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Re: Lines erased E-Bike / E-Scooter / E Motorcycle

Post by wturber » Jun 10 2018 11:27pm

Chalo wrote:
Jun 10 2018 12:25pm
wturber wrote:
Jun 08 2018 7:31pm
Bicycles are granted certain exceptions precisely because they generally operate at speeds significantly slower than automobiles.
Bicyclists have the unconditional right to use the lane, because paved streets were constructed for bicyclists originally. Rich hobbyists were eventually allowed access for their noisy, stinky, dangerous fire-driven machines-- but only subject to multiple conditions.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Roads_Movement

It's been a long time now, but let's not forget who are the undesirable trespassers on our public rights-of-way.
Bicycle are frequently allowed to travel on sidewalks, have special lanes marked specifically for them, and sometimes (rarely) even special paths built for them. These are the exceptions I was referring to.

Also, the right to use a lane in Arizona is hardly "unconditional." I don't know, but I suspect this kind of condition is common.

28-815. Riding on roadway and bicycle path; bicycle path usage

A. A person riding a bicycle on a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, except under any of the following situations:

1. If overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.

2. If preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.

3. If reasonably necessary to avoid conditions, including fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals or surface hazards.

4. If the lane in which the person is operating the bicycle is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.

B. Persons riding bicycles on a roadway shall not ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.

C. A path or lane that is designated as a bicycle path or lane by state or local authorities is for the exclusive use of bicycles even though other uses are permitted pursuant to subsection D or are otherwise permitted by state or local authorities.

D. A person shall not operate, stop, park or leave standing a vehicle in a path or lane designated as a bicycle path or lane by a state or local authority except in the case of emergency or for crossing the path or lane to gain access to a public or private road or driveway.

E. Subsection D does not prohibit the use of the path or lane by the appropriate local authority.
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Re: Lines erased E-Bike / E-Scooter / E Motorcycle

Post by Chalo » Jun 11 2018 12:20am

wturber wrote:
Jun 10 2018 11:27pm
Also, the right to use a lane in Arizona is hardly "unconditional." I don't know, but I suspect this kind of condition is common.
Everybody has rules of the road to follow. But a cyclist has no preconditions to being able to use the road, where a motorist usually must be

- licensed (both driver and car)
- registered
- insured
- inspected
- using an approved vehicle type with VIN

before even being present on the roadway. Given the relative risks imposed by motorists versus bicyclists, this is all good and appropriate. But it's weird when motorists seem to think that cyclists have lesser rights to use the road (or none at all), when in fact the cyclists are allowed by default, and motorists are allowed only if they meet a fistful of specific criteria. That's apart from the historical fact that cyclists got us pavement and motorists only hogged it.
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Re: Lines erased E-Bike / E-Scooter / E Motorcycle

Post by John in CR » Jun 11 2018 2:02am

wturber wrote:
Jun 10 2018 11:15pm
John in CR wrote:
Jun 10 2018 8:17am
I don't know why pedalists continue to try to claim the words bike and ebike. Is a biker someone who rides a 2 wheeler with pedals? No, of course not. Motorcycles are quite commonly referred to as bikes. An ebike is any 2 wheeler with an electric drive, period, and the more people riding them the better.
Simple. "Bike" is derived from the word "bicycle", the more formal name for a bicycle.
Yes and bicycle means something with 2 wheels (not the more narrow definition that pedalists try to claim), which is why both pedal bikes and motorcycles are both commonly and correctly referred to as bikes. Since I believe in being inclusive, I have no problem at all with the guys calling their electric 3 wheelers ebikes too. I certainly have no interest in using arbitrary laws which vary widely by jurisdiction as the naming convention for our vehicles, especially since so much of the world has laws crafted by people with significant prejudice against ebikes.

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Re: Lines erased E-Bike / E-Scooter / E Motorcycle

Post by Chalo » Jun 11 2018 10:23am

There are distinctions almost everywhere that divide bicycles from mopeds and motorcycles in terms of their administrative requirements and rights of access. In places that have done their due diligence, an e-bike is a bicycle with a small enough amount of electric power that it moves like a pedal bicycle and commands a similar amount of kinetic energy. So for the moment, there's no need to distinguish it from a normal pedal bicycle to determine its rider's rights and responsibilities.

I continue to be baffled by people who ride electric motorcycles but think for some reason it's not fair or sensible for those to be treated as motorcycles. We all like electric motos better because they're not noisy or stinky, but that doesn't mean they're something other than motorcycles. If it moves like a normal motorcycle, and packs as much kinetic energy as a normal motorcycle, then what else would it be?
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Re: Lines erased E-Bike / E-Scooter / E Motorcycle

Post by wturber » Jun 11 2018 12:45pm

John in CR wrote:
Jun 11 2018 2:02am
wturber wrote:
Jun 10 2018 11:15pm

Simple. "Bike" is derived from the word "bicycle", the more formal name for a bicycle.
Yes and bicycle means something with 2 wheels (not the more narrow definition that pedalists try to claim), which is why both pedal bikes and motorcycles are both commonly and correctly referred to as bikes. Since I believe in being inclusive, I have no problem at all with the guys calling their electric 3 wheelers ebikes too. I certainly have no interest in using arbitrary laws which vary widely by jurisdiction as the naming convention for our vehicles, especially since so much of the world has laws crafted by people with significant prejudice against ebikes.
Four of the first five definitions that show up on Google disagree with you and specify the use of pedals. And the fifth one that does not specify pedals allows that a bicycle is "usually propelled by pedals connected to the rear wheel by a chain."

I wouldn't be inclined to use arbitrary laws as the standard for naming either. But I'm willing to go along with common usage. My desire would be clarity in communication with minimal ambiguity.
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Re: Lines erased E-Bike / E-Scooter / E Motorcycle

Post by billvon » Jun 11 2018 1:15pm

GregO wrote:
Jun 08 2018 6:36pm
can anyone predict what the new trend will be for electronic two wheeled vehicles?
There will be a line between state-legal ebikes (i.e. 500/750W, 20/28mph etc) and licensed motorcycles. In between will be the 'hobbyist' area with no clear standards.
--bill von

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