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Thread: e-Bikes - Let's talk

  1. #121
    DismalScientist is offline I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jabberwocky View Post
    Basically my thoughts. I personally think e-bikes are pretty awesome, but I'm a bit wary of altering the rules to allow them on MUPs. Today they aren't particularly fast and are a bit of a niche item, but its fairly inevitable that they'll get faster and cheaper. Rules about max speed and motor power would be really hard to enforce.

    This is close to my feeling about bikes with crabon frames. Let's make it easy and just ban them all.
    Last edited by DismalScientist; 04-18-2013 at 08:33 AM. Reason: Steel is real.

  2. #122
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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    I'd also argue that the need to use the trails is much less with an electric motorcycle--just take the lane instead.
    Except you can't take the lane if the adjacent road is a restricted access highway. I used to occasionally take an e-bike from Crystal City to downtown, and I don't have a clue how you would navigate all of the restricted highways and bridges to make that trip without the MVT.

    For what it's worth, I've found that switching to an e-bike full-time has made me a better behaved cyclist. I fastidiously stop at every red light now and think ebikes might go a long way toward changing the culture surrounding stops.

  3. #123
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    Quote Originally Posted by 83(b) View Post
    Except you can't take the lane if the adjacent road is a restricted access highway. I used to occasionally take an e-bike from Crystal City to downtown, and I don't have a clue how you would navigate all of the restricted highways and bridges to make that trip without the MVT.
    Yeah, I could totally see that. I know that there are a lot of routes around here where it simply makes sense to make use of the MUPs, not from a traffic perspective but just because its the most direct, easy route (Or, as you said, avoids nasty highways).

    Balancing that are things like the Stealth Bomber though, which is an e-bike capable of 50mph.

    I'd personally much rather see someone on an e-bike than in a car. Having ridden the W&OD as a commuter for several years, I'm just nervous about the long-term issues that are inevitable when e-bikes become more popular.

  4. #124
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    dasgeh is offline Queen of Family Biking & All Things Kidical
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcannon100 View Post
    our resident Cherrydale Cheater.
    For the record, I am full time on my road bike now. No longer cheating ;-) And you know why? Because it's faster.

    That's right, my out-of-shape, still-packing-too-much-baby-weight body can make my middle-of-the-line road bike get to and from work 5-10 minutes faster than I could go on my e-bike on full power.

    Next time you think to yourself "man, that person is going much faster than safe on this trail" look at their bike. I'm willing to bet more than 9 times out of 10 it's not an ebike. (Of course, when you think to yourself "man, that person is getting up the hill without too much effort" that may be an ebike, like I saw this am on the S curve)

    You know why? e-bikes are heavy. The motor really only helps you get from 0 to 5mph, maybe 10mph, and helps you get up hills. That's key to helping people who have limitations get out on bikes. It's not helpful in taking the lane on a normal road (e.g. Lee Hwy). Allowing e-bikes on trails gets more people on bikes. More people on bikes = more safety for all. If you prohibited e-bikes from trails, some people who would bike on a slow ebike on a trail because it's safe would just not bike, because they can't go nearly as fast as cars.

    Could someone hack an electric motor on to a lighter frame and make it go super fast? Yes. Would a company mass-produce such a vehicle. Nope, because the liability would be huge. So not a lot of people would even have access to bikes-with-super-fast-electric-motors

    Most importantly, if you think that people will be willing to ignore federal and international regulations limiting speeds on ebikes, and willing to ignore the speed limits on trails, why would they honor the rule prohibiting ebikes from trails? Yes, there will be scofflaws. That's life. But let's make rules that make the most sense for the most people.

    I think ebikes lead to more people on bikes, which increases safety for everyone. I think ebike riders are more apt to follow the laws and rules than regular bike riders (I've explained this before - they have less incentive to preserve momentum, especially at low speed, because the motor helps them recoup that speed). Therefore, I think ebikes should be treated like other bikes.

  5. #125
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    Quote Originally Posted by jabberwocky View Post
    Balancing that are things like the Stealth Bomber though, which is an e-bike capable of 50mph.
    If it doesn't qualify for the federal statute exempting it from registration, etc, it's not an ebike. It might be a bike with an electric motor...

    Theoretically, most bikes are capable of going VERY fast - the issue is how fast the motor will get you. My husband's top speed in a race was something like 45 mph.

  6. #126
    dasgeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    I'd also argue that the need to use the trails is much less with an electric motorcycle--just take the lane instead.
    No one here is talking about electric motorcycles. Just ebikes.
    Last edited by dasgeh; 04-18-2013 at 10:56 AM.

  7. #127
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    I've been a bike commuter into DC for the past 15 years. Never been able to commute every day though, until I started ebike commuting about 2 years ago. This is without a doubt the best and most reliable way for me to get to work and home. For the haters that think ebikes are unsafe : I have not once seen an accident caused by unsafe use of ebikes. Has anyone here witnessed this? I would like to hear about it. I use the wod and custis every day on my ebike. Sometimes I take lee hwy or wash blvd. I do what I feel is safe... I'm not some crazy kid on a motorcycle... Honestly, I've never seen any motorcycles on the mup, have seen cars though!!!

  8. #128
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    Quote Originally Posted by jabberwocky View Post
    Balancing that are things like the Stealth Bomber though, which is an e-bike capable of 50mph.
    Bikes like the Stealth are always going to be one-off monster machines. They typically need to run upwards of 96 Volts through 1,000+ Watt motors, which requires a host of special wiring, motor controllers, and the like. There's only one in DC that I'm aware of now. You can check out his YouTube stream here and read about his eBike build here.

    The trend in the U.S. has been slowly moving away from the really low-powered 24Volt/100Watt systems that can only assist to about 10 mph. More aftermarket systems (but very few stock bikes) now come with 36Volt/500 Watt systems that will assist up to 20 mph. A few aftermarket kits accommodate 48 Volts and will push that to a max of 25 mph. I don't think anything beyond these systems will be commercially available any time soon. Almost all of the eBike parts that are available in the U.S. are sourced from China, where they're far more popular, and the more powerful stuff there is put directly into Vespa-style motor-scooters that would never show up on our trails.

    I run a 36 Volt/500 Watt kit currently, and I don't think a system of that power presents many challenges to a novice rider. My wife took to it right away, as it was easy to modulate and keep the speed at a level she was comfortable with. The only real conflict I regularly experience is ELITE (and not-so-ELITE) riders shoaling me a stop lights since I'm on a big upright bike. Its fairly annoying needing to pass them almost immediately.

  9. #129
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    These look interesting, if anyone is looking for a cheap and easy (?) e-bike conversion: http://www.electric-bike-kit.com/

  10. #130
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    Hi 83b, I wonder if I've run into you on the trail? I always try to say hi to other ebikers. I have a cell man Mac kit with falconev triangle bag. Do you have a build thread on E-S?

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