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

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

Post by sleepy_tired » Jul 25 2019 1:56am

Atomic Zombie has a lot of interesting looking kits. I was looking at that one as well, but in the video it seems to bounce like a pogo stick over bumps. I am not sure if that is a actual problem and if it is how to fix it.

The nice thing about it is that if you are the type of guy who has a older bicycles laying around you could build that for almost free. Maybe a couple hundred dollars at most. Even if you couldn't find a rear suspension donor a cheap steel full suspension bike from Walmart would be something like 200 dollars...

Something like:

https://www.amazon.com/Mountain-Mongoos ... 01FXUJV92/

The linkage style rear suspension might even be better at avoiding that pogo-ing effect. Maybe. I donno.

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

Post by donn » Jul 25 2019 9:08am

If I were going to build a recumbent by piecing together parts of inexpensive bicycles, I guess I'd start with a Bike-E as proposed here. Then I'd know how the suspension's going to work out, because it's what I started with. They show up on craigslist for like $200.

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

Post by neptronix » Jul 25 2019 11:11am

sleepy_tired wrote:
Jul 25 2019 1:56am
Atomic Zombie has a lot of interesting looking kits. I was looking at that one as well, but in the video it seems to bounce like a pogo stick over bumps. I am not sure if that is a actual problem and if it is how to fix it.
The garbage bike spring on the back probably has something to do with that :mrgreen:
A prerequisite would be finding a donor FS bike that could accept an air/oil shock instead.

If the bike's main tube is a source of the wobble, you could just specify a slightly thicker tube.
sleepy_tired wrote:
Jul 25 2019 1:56am
The nice thing about it is that if you are the type of guy who has a older bicycles laying around you could build that for almost free. Maybe a couple hundred dollars at most. Even if you couldn't find a rear suspension donor a cheap steel full suspension bike from Walmart would be something like 200 dollars...
I imagine you could do some urban foraging in bike store dumpsters and come up with everything you need except the big long tube, and the seat. You'd be well under $200 for parts and painting/welding/cutting supplies.

I'd imagine the end result would be 50lbs, but the portlyness is forgivable with it being a machine you built yourself.. !
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My first major build: 1.6kW 8T MAC motor on a Trek 4500.
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The monster scooter: 20" eZee on a Cannondale Semi Recumbent.
Whipper-snapper: ? on a lightweight BikeE Semi Recumbent

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

Post by sleepy_tired » Jul 25 2019 12:16pm

I'd imagine the end result would be 50lbs, but the portlyness is forgivable with it being a machine you built yourself.. !
And when you hook up a 1500w++ motor to it the weight probably will be desirable anyways. :)

I've looked into doing this stuff before. I've found that if you want disk brakes on a 20 inch fork... You can get ones that are for 'Mods' Trails Bikes. Probably be able to find one used pretty reasonable I think.

Example:
https://www.trialprod.com/en/63-forks-20

Otherwise Suntour has.. https://www.srsuntour.us/products/xcm-air-sl-20

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

Post by amberwolf » Jul 25 2019 4:12pm

If the (suspension) forks are steel lowers, you can also use 26" forks and put dropouts (and brake mounts, etc) higher up on the fork and use a smaller wheel with it. It does change the geometry slightly, but not that much, and it still works.

The fork on the front of this ancient pic of an early version of CrazyBike2 has a fork modified this way, though in the pic it is not using the added 20" dropouts, it's using the built-in ones.
Image

You could probably make split-tubes with the dropouts/etc on them and clamp them to aluminum fork lowers as well, but I haven't tried that yet.


Or you could actually cut the forks down....
http://steampunkworkshop.com/Short-Whee ... bent-Bike/

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

Post by neptronix » Jul 31 2019 6:14pm

Well, i ended up buying a BikeE with rear suspension and the 'sweet seat' ( tall back ), over a trek R200 and other options, for just one reason: You can actually carry stuff on the back of it.

I'd like to throw an 18 inch wheel up front so that the seat can tilt back more and the pedals get pushed up. From what i read, 20" changes the geometry just a little too much.

Image

It would also be rather easy to bolt on fairings and other stuff.

Looks like a very good candidate for prototyping a mid drive i have in mind.
"Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive." - Dalai Lama

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

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

Post by wineboyrider » Jul 16 2020 7:39am

I see 2 bike e's for $250 for sale in my local craigslist ad. Did you ever electrify your bike e Neptronix?
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Re: How good are the BikeE recumbent bikes at high power / high speed?

Post by marka-ee » Jul 24 2020 3:33pm

I am a new to the recumbent bike scene, so I think I'll share some of my observations here. Coming from a full suspension MTB, man was this thing a re-learning experience ! I bought a used SWB with rear suspension and 26" wheels front and back. When I first tried to ride it, I almost fell over. Steering totally different than a normal bike. It was almost like relearning how to ride a bike for the first time. The rear suspension is an absolute must unless you have near perfect bike paths. I put 2.2" tire on front to help with the lack of suspension there. Still very bumpy on my local 5hit quality bike paths. Steering at slow speeds ( under 5mph ) is challenging to say the least. I moved my 9C motor over from the MTB and run it at 48 volts with a 500 watt controller. This gets me to 43 km/hr when on the MTB it got me to 35. So it is more aerodynamic. I usually keep speeds at 35 to get more range. On the straights it's an absolute joy to ride. Blind curves or corners are still nail biters for me, as my turns are still rather choppy. It's the oncoming bikers that I'm scared of hitting me. I only have about 250 km on the bike so far, so I hope my turns and slow speed stuff improves. Something else to consider for those thinking of a 'bent : you can not wear a backpack on them, you have to strap stuff to the sides and rear. Also I found that as soon as I added the motor, it is easier to start off with as you don't have to get the pedals 'just right' from the stopped position.

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

Post by donn » Jul 24 2020 4:55pm

marka-ee wrote:
Jul 24 2020 3:33pm
I am a new to the recumbent bike scene, so I think I'll share some of my observations here. Coming from a full suspension MTB, man was this thing a re-learning experience ! I bought a used SWB with rear suspension and 26" wheels front and back. When I first tried to ride it, I almost fell over. Steering totally different than a normal bike. It was almost like relearning how to ride a bike for the first time. The rear suspension is an absolute must unless you have near perfect bike paths. I put 2.2" tire on front to help with the lack of suspension there. Still very bumpy on my local 5hit quality bike paths. Steering at slow speeds ( under 5mph ) is challenging to say the least. I moved my 9C motor over from the MTB and run it at 48 volts with a 500 watt controller. This gets me to 43 km/hr when on the MTB it got me to 35. So it is more aerodynamic. I usually keep speeds at 35 to get more range. On the straights it's an absolute joy to ride. Blind curves or corners are still nail biters for me, as my turns are still rather choppy. It's the oncoming bikers that I'm scared of hitting me. I only have about 250 km on the bike so far, so I hope my turns and slow speed stuff improves. Something else to consider for those thinking of a 'bent : you can not wear a backpack on them, you have to strap stuff to the sides and rear. Also I found that as soon as I added the motor, it is easier to start off with as you don't have to get the pedals 'just right' from the stopped position.
Yes, it's exactly like learning to ride a bike the first time, and it sure will get better. An SWB with a 26" front wheel is going to be pretty high in front ... I haven't done it, but I would expect it to be extra tricky at first, where the CLWB form like a BikeE with the feet low and fairly upright seat is a little quicker to pick up.

As you see, it's a good combination with a motor.

The backpack was a lousy way to carry stuff anyway, but what's unfortunate is that recumbents with rear suspension often neglect the suspended the rear rack or place to put one. I'm still pondering how to rig up a rack that cantilevers out from the back of the frame tube.

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

Post by MikeSSS » Jul 25 2020 2:07am

A rider I know uses a Bike E conversion, I know he uses a 20 Ah battery and the bike carries it well.

This Bike E is ridden much faster than I ride and has done a 70 mile ride on one charge. I have seen it during fast riding and it looks very stable. The owner is an experienced cyclist, he knows bikes and likes the Bike E conversion bike. Wish I could remember more details, but my memory is filled with other things.

Hope this helps.

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

Post by Balmorhea » Jul 25 2020 2:31am

My limited experience with BikeE tells me that its handling ranges between unpleasant and terrifying. I can only imagine that having a heavier, larger diameter front wheel with more gyro stability would help. I guess that would have to be paired with a very long offset fork to compensate for BikeE’s very slack head angle. If there’s a handling problem with the 20/20” BikeE in the photo, I bet it’s from using a fork offset for a 70-something degree head angle on a bike with a 40-something degree head angle, and not from the wheel size.

Whatever fork angle gives about 2” of trail would probably work well.
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Re: How good are the BikeE recumbent bikes at high power / high speed?

Post by marka-ee » Jul 25 2020 3:17am

So on my 26"/26" SWB , I moved my rear 9C hub from my MTB to the 'bent. I also have an unused front hub, and I'm wondering if this would be any good on the front wheel ? I'm thinking it might help stabilize the twitchyness of steering, but since the front is lightly loaded on this bike the traction may be an issue. But at 500 watts maybe that would be a non issue. Fortunately my frame is made of thin wall steel so I can TIG weld things to it to support mounting battery containers or whatever. I'd really like to get or make a non-telescopic suspension on the front, like the old Lawwill design. Sticktion on regular suspension forks is too much for a lightly loaded front end making the ride still too harsh. I want a magic carpet ride type of feeling to compliment the laid back ride attitude .

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

Post by MadRhino » Jul 25 2020 10:44am

MikeSSS wrote:
Jul 25 2020 2:07am
A rider I know uses a Bike E conversion, I know he uses a 20 Ah battery and the bike carries it well.

This Bike E is ridden much faster than I ride and has done a 70 mile ride on one charge. I have seen it during fast riding and it looks very stable. The owner is an experienced cyclist, he knows bikes and likes the Bike E conversion bike. Wish I could remember more details, but my memory is filled with other things.

Hope this helps.
Yep. Efficiency is the strong point of bents. Riders can get used and like the ride, as long as it is in favorable conditions. Long rides that have few stops and hard corners, are making them much more comfortable to handle.
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Re: How good are the BikeE recumbent bikes at high power / high speed?

Post by donn » Jul 25 2020 11:11am

marka-ee wrote:
Jul 25 2020 3:17am
I'm thinking it might help stabilize the twitchyness of steering, but since the front is lightly loaded on this bike the traction may be an issue.
I doubt very much it will improve handling, but it will probably work OK. People have put front hubs in LWB recumbents, where the load is much less yet.
Fortunately my frame is made of thin wall steel so I can TIG weld things to it to support mounting battery containers or whatever.
?? I don't know of many 26/26 SWB recumbents, and the ones I've seen tend to run $4K. t-cycle.com has a lot of miscellaneous clamps and fixtures for this kind of thing.
Sticktion on regular suspension forks is too much for a lightly loaded front end making the ride still too harsh.
You must get word to the makers of those $4K SWB recumbents. I don't know much about suspension forks, but they look like the usual telescoping thing to me. On LWB designs, usually simple forks because along with the lighter load is less shock transmitted from the front. SWB puts a pretty fair amount of weight on the front. Kind of wonder what you actually have there.

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

Post by donn » Jul 25 2020 11:20am

MadRhino wrote:
Jul 25 2020 10:44am
Yep. Efficiency is the strong point of bents.
Well ... I don't think so. I mean, it's certainly an advantage as the speed goes up, and your battery range goes down because of wind resistance, so it's a strong point for electrics, but in general I think it's greatly over-rated. People get this idea that because they were banned for road racing events they must be super fast. A compact rider on an upright can out-coast me on a recumbent, because I'm kind of a sail - wide and flat. I think there's a practical reason for road racing bans - they can't ride around in closely packed herds, because as you have noticed they're not quite as nimble. Neither of these factors really matters for ordinary cycling. The strong point is the lack of abuse of your body parts (but be careful with your knees.) Or maybe it's just "joy."

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

Post by marka-ee » Jul 25 2020 3:59pm

?? I don't know of many 26/26 SWB recumbents, and the ones I've seen tend to run $4K. t-cycle.com has a lot of miscellaneous clamps and fixtures for this kind of thing.
Sticktion on regular suspension forks is too much for a lightly loaded front end making the ride still too harsh.
You must get word to the makers of those $4K SWB recumbents. I don't know much about suspension forks, but they look like the usual telescoping thing to me. On LWB designs, usually simple forks because along with the lighter load is less shock transmitted from the front. SWB puts a pretty fair amount of weight on the front. Kind of wonder what you actually have there.
It's a Nazca , from Holland . I just have a beef against regular telescopic forks, every one I've ever tried has a sticktion effect that minimized the absorption of small bumps. Too bad the bike industry had to follow the fashion trend of looking like a big boy motorcycle but scaled down to a bicycle. I yern for a fork that starts moving with only 500 grams of force . There are a few new ones now, but they cost more than my whole bike.
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Re: How good are the BikeE recumbent bikes at high power / high speed?

Post by marka-ee » Jul 25 2020 4:02pm

donn wrote:
Jul 25 2020 11:20am
MadRhino wrote:
Jul 25 2020 10:44am
Yep. Efficiency is the strong point of bents.
Well ... I don't think so. I mean, it's certainly an advantage as the speed goes up, and your battery range goes down because of wind resistance, so it's a strong point for electrics, but in general I think it's greatly over-rated. People get this idea that because they were banned for road racing events they must be super fast. A compact rider on an upright can out-coast me on a recumbent, because I'm kind of a sail - wide and flat. I think there's a practical reason for road racing bans - they can't ride around in closely packed herds, because as you have noticed they're not quite as nimble. Neither of these factors really matters for ordinary cycling. The strong point is the lack of abuse of your body parts (but be careful with your knees.) Or maybe it's just "joy."
I'm getting about 20% better range on my bent, with same motor/controller/battery ( pulled from my MTB ), at a speed of 35 km/hr. Almost zero peddling.

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

Post by phuber » Aug 23 2020 11:38pm

I purchased a BikeE AT XL this week for the purpose of converting it to electric drive. This is my first venture into building an e-bike and I would very much appreciate any suggestions or ideas. So far, I am considering a Leaf Bike 20" wheel with a 750 Kw drive. I would very much appreciate any suggestions regarding this approach. I live at the top of a long and steep road and thought a hub drive with regenerative braking would help. I would like to be able to store the batteries inside the rectangular frame (32 mm x 80 mm inside dimensions. Any comments, concerns suggestions or ideas would be much appreciated.

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

Post by donn » Aug 24 2020 2:20am

phuber wrote:
Aug 23 2020 11:38pm
I live at the top of a long and steep road
How long, how steep? If the road is mapped on google maps, you can get a good deal of information about that by getting "directions" from one end to the other, via bicycle. With metric distance, because I think the values expressed in meters may be slightly more accurate than in tenths of a mile.

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

Post by qwerkus » Aug 24 2020 2:10pm

neptronix wrote:
Jul 31 2019 6:14pm
I'd like to throw an 18 inch wheel up front so that the seat can tilt back more and the pedals get pushed up. From what i read, 20" changes the geometry just a little too much.
Been following your journey with the cannondale. Glad you found an alternative. Though I'm wondering how you'll survive bumps at high speed with a little 18" front wheel. Maybe get a fork with an outrageous offset, and mount a fat tire wheel ? You'd trade turn radius vs comfort.

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

Post by phuber » Aug 25 2020 10:22pm

The road is about 1/2 a mile long with a grade of about 16%. I weigh 175 lbs and the bike weighs about 35 lbs prior to being electrified.

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

Post by donn » Aug 26 2020 9:33am

16% is indeed steep, but luckily 1/2 mile is not so long. I see your thought about the hill is framed in terms of regenerative braking, but of course the first concern is whether it will toast the motor.

If you plug that into the simulator, https://www.ebikes.ca/tools/simulator.html, you'll see the motor having a tough time, horribly inefficient, creaking along at 4mph or something. But if it will last 20 minutes without burning out, and you only need 15 minutes to get there, then you get there.

Actually that was with a 26" wheel, and believe you're on 20", and it's a lot better there - 7mph, 39 minutes - with the default H3540 motor. If you're up for a little exercise and can put in 200W for a few minutes, the motor will hardly get hot. You'll see that among the various motor choices, some handle this better, most worse. The simulator is sadly short on info on the Leaf motor, but I think it's fair to say it will meet or exceed the H3540.

As to the regen ... living on top of a hill is the worst idea.

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

Post by Warren » Aug 27 2020 11:06am

phuber wrote:
Aug 25 2020 10:22pm
The road is about 1/2 a mile long with a grade of about 16%. I weigh 175 lbs and the bike weighs about 35 lbs prior to being electrified.
I'd go with the spoked wheel myself. The controller is claimed to have 26 amp max draw, so you could see this.

https://www.ebikes.ca/tools/simulator.h ... 5&axis=mph

Or this, if it overheats at 25 amps.

https://www.ebikes.ca/tools/simulator.h ... 0&axis=mph

The good news is that if you, as the rider, can put out 200 watts, instead of 100 watts, the load will be reduced by a large percentage.

This low voltage/low amperage setup is the absolute minimum for the kinds of climbs we have in Virginia. I ran basically the same power for many miles with great success. The difference is I ran it through the bike's 8 gears. That 4.5-8.5 mph was my range on a climb like that, but the motor's speed was much higher, and the motor efficiency was at least 50% higher than what you will see.

Plug in a 12" wheel, if you want to see the dramatic difference that makes.

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

Post by phuber » Aug 28 2020 7:14pm

Thank you very much for your guidance and suggestions. Given that living at the top of the hill is not good for the regen, would it be better to go with a mid-drive motor? The mid drive would allow me to keep the three speed internal gearing. Previously, my thinking is that the regen braking would help in going down the hill. The small front wheels used on the Bike E as well as the VK2 tend to get really hot when braking. Indeed, one time I heated the front wheel of the VK2 enough to blow the inner tube on the front wheel. I like the ability a mid-drive would give in being able to apply power to various gear ratios. I may not have much choice in that I may not be able to find a good way to mount a mid-drive on the Bike E.

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

Post by donn » Aug 28 2020 8:10pm

Yeah, I wouldn't bother with a mid drive. Regen is a good thing, it's just, that particular hill is in the wrong place to profit from the regen watts, if you generally leave with a full tank. But sure, it's a nice way to take some of the load off your brakes. If you want to get fancy, Grin's controllers support variable regen, so you could ramp it up past the usual light drag, but it's your problem to figure out the controls to do it with.

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