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A question for the AP bicyclists

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by SqueamishOssifrage, Jul 23, 2021.

  1. SqueamishOssifrage

    SqueamishOssifrage Well-Known Member

    I used the word 'bicyclists' rather than just 'cyclists' to differentiate from motorcyclists, but I should clarify that I do in no way concern myself with anyone's gender identity*. Whatever is hidden in those Lycra shorts may stay hidden. :D

    Being somewhat 'woke' in respect of climate change/global warming (and definitely nothing else) I am a little embarrassed that I am driving my 4wd mostly to just the local village shops, so I am entertaining the idea of an e-bike for these short trips. It is possible to buy one here, but the choice is severely limited and the sales talk of questionable veracity , so if there is a really suitable candidate for my purchase elsewhere then I would arrange shipping to Cyprus at my expense.

    My requirements are pretty straightforward, but probably some are mutually exclusive:-

    - Range with absolute minimum pedaling of at least 60 km (the beach and back for a swim)
    - Ability to cope with modest hills (extra gearing?)
    - Easily meet (and possibly exceed) the e-bike speed limit of EU (25kph) & UK (20mph)
    - Can take simple panniers or saddlebags over the rear wheel
    - Facility for a second battery
    - Semi-step-through
    - Some form of sprung suspension, at least at the rear (or squishy fat tyres?)

    I need all the advice I can get - I haven't touched a bicycle for 60 years - one without a large engine, that is! In case it should have any bearing on the matter, I am 5'10" and weigh 72kgs and am reasonably fit for an old bloke.

    Any information, advice, suggestions and recommendations will be gratefully received, however tangential. I just know nothing at all about cycles that do not involve the Otto cycle.

    * I also studiously avoided the differentiating term 'pedal-cyclist' lest the 'al' should be read as an 'o'... :eek::D
     
  2. retrofit

    retrofit Well-Known Member

    Adult trike for added stability (pedal or electric) or consider ditching the AWD for a smart car?

    I do like the look of the Brompton cycles, and I’d pick that style of bike for pootling about.
     
  3. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    There is some confusion between e-bikes which have a throttle and pedelecs, which require you to pedal, but are mostly known as e-bikes.

    I have a pedelec. I hadn’t been on a bicycle, or done any exercise at all really, for 40 years and decided I’d try cycling again. It was a good buy. I’ve done 7,500 miles in the last 2 years. Mine is a road bike. The motor replaces the bottom bracket, the battery is in the main down-tube. The motor (dunno how) works via a torque converter so basically increases your “push”. It has 5 settings, off, eco - gives 30% boost, tour, sport, turbo. I ride it on eco all the time now, tour when I started. Sport and Turbo give a lot of help and are good at road junctions and for hill starts. The bike has 20 gears (10 at the back and 2 chainrings at the front). There is a limit for assistance of 15.5 mph (25 kph). In practice it feathers out and the speed controller flatters somewhat so I reckon it cuts out more like 14 mph. Of course the bike can be pedalled faster but that is hard work. I ride between 11-12 mph on average. The motor is a standard 250 W - that’s the legal limit but is also what a racing cyclist can put out at peak so it is a lot really. The battery is 500 Wh. Range on eco as I ride it is up to 150 miles in summer 100 miles in winter ( temperature affects it). These distances drop if it is hilly or if a higher power setting is used.

    The main advantage I think is that the e-bike flattens hills. It is quite staggering how easy it is going uphill with a bit of assist. I notice it riding with a club. Even on the eco-setting I can often avoid changing down gears where others do.

    Some bikes have a powered hub at the back. I haven’t ridden one but they are supposed to feel less natural to ride (i.e. different to a conventional bicycle) than those with the motor in the bottom bracket.

    There is a huge range of e-bikes now including mountain-bikes, city bikes, folding bikes. The shops here tend to offer test-ride opportunities. As you haven’t been cycling for a long time I’d certainly try to find somewhere quiet and preferably soft to have a practice. It does come back but I’m still not good at going slowly around obstacles, especially the “slow down” barriers on cycle paths.

    The e-bikes with a throttle are regulated here as mopeds. You need number plates, helmet, insurance and a licence. I’ve only seen a couple on the road.
     
  4. Fen

    Fen The Destroyer

    Class myself as as cyclist* but alas I have no knowledge about electric bikes (ebikes/pedelecs/etc) - I would having a look around to see if there is a local ebike specialist and see what they advise. We've got two within 10miles of me down here in Dorset, so I'd hope that you could find one nearby.


    * Cyclist vs Bicyclists - My definition would be that a Cyclist is someone when out on a bike follows the highway code, is considerate to other road users and pedestrians. A Bicyclists rides on pavements, swerves in the road and generally acts like a muppet! ;) :D
     
    DaveM399 likes this.
  5. SqueamishOssifrage

    SqueamishOssifrage Well-Known Member

    The trike possibility has certainly crossed my mind, but on country roads I feel they are a little more dangerous than a bicycle, because they are harder for a car to pass, so you may get pushed into a ditch (and out here, some of the ditches in the mountains are several hundreds of feet deep. :eek:)

    It looks like Brompton only do folding bikes, so that's a firm 'no thanks' - I have had nightmare times of yacht-charter guests turning up with their folding bikes and insisting they must be stowed below!
     
  6. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    That’s true but I’d stay clear and look for a more stable ride. The Bromptons are certainly the best of the folders but they are “agile” which is what you don’t want if you’ve not been on a bike for a long time.
     
  7. SqueamishOssifrage

    SqueamishOssifrage Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all that useful information! It is the 'pedelec' type I have in mind, to avoid all the extra things you mention that go with the moped. Besides, in that case I would probably go for a fully electric motor bike. One annoyance of EU regulations was that before Cyprus joined the EU a 49cc moped could be ridden without all that paraphernalia once you were over 16, as long as it had pedals.

    Having just done a bit more reading I find that out of the few e-bike models available here make no mention of whether they are 'pedelec' or 'twist and go' - pretty important information, I would have thought.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2021
  8. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Yes it is funny that the term moped has come to mean a 50 cc motorbike rather than a motorised bicycle.

    As a general rule take e-bike to mean pedelec. I’d look for the ones with integrated motor in the frame at the bottom bracket. They have a lower centre of gravity and usually the battery is in the frame rather than bolted into a carrier. Be warned that e-bikes are heavy. You won’t wish to be lifting one in and out of a car.
     
  9. SqueamishOssifrage

    SqueamishOssifrage Well-Known Member

    Low centre of gravity sounds good. As a long term motorcyclist I have got used to a low CG and putting my feet on the ground! If the battery is in the frame, is it still easy to get at it to change for a spare?
     
  10. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    The in-frame ones tend to be 500 or 350 Wh which should easily be enough for 60 km even if hilly. I've never taken mine out but I doubt it is much different to swapping an external battery - a lockable lid unhinges to reveal the whole battery. The thing is to properly investigate, see some and make a test ride. They are quite expensive.
     
  11. frank1

    frank1 Well-Known Member

    The great thing about e bikes are the ease of use and with that comes the joy of cycling and the added benefits of getting very fit without the exertion. I have arear hub bike apparently they are better on push off at traffic lights or just starting. When it comes to hills yes they are brilliant but I couldn't make Muswell hill , probably might have been able to do it but age brings wisdom and it kicked in that day. Point is ebikes unlike motorbikes will get you fit while you enjoy the ride and in my case the added mental health boost from being fitter is something to take into consideration.

    The batteries are expensive so take that on board but a good make will last more than 4 years depending on use. I paid £2000 for my bike but it seems you can get a good bike for under £1000. As I live in London I haven't used public transport for a long time so the bike has paid for itself many times over. One thing they are on the whole heavy beasts averaging 20-25 kilos so not great if one is living on the third floor and the lift is out. Another thing I have a luggage bag with wheels on a panier. Advantage is shopping can be wheeled around the shops and then put on the back of the bike and hauled home. I checked the weight one time and the bag with shopping weighed in at 17 kilos. Most bikes will carry up to 25k.

    As a long time cyclist mainly to work with an undiagnosed under active thyroid I gave up on the bike. The use of the tube was not my most favourite option so I researched the e bike and it changed my life. Unfortunately covid came along and changed things considerably but without my bike I would not have been able to get around. Walking became almost impossible but get on me bike and like a two year old he's off.
     
  12. daft_biker

    daft_biker Action Man!

  13. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I sometimes wonder if I am fit enough to give up the motor. We have a Specialized store and I was wondering about the Diverge because you can get less skinny tyres and mudguards on it. I also wondered about the Creo, expensive as it is. My “problem”, not really a problem, is that sometimes a moderate club ride transforms into a brisk ride and my e-bike is no fun at all at 16 - 20 mph, unless the slope is downward and the wind behind. It might be that the Creo is light enough and rolls well enough to ride comfortably at higher speeds. The reduced range (battery 350 vs 500 Wh) would matter less if it were rideable with the motor off. The optional “extender” rather defeats the purpose of paying a couple of grand more to lose some weight.
     
  14. dangie

    dangie Senior Knobhead

    I’m an avid cyclist, but know very little about e-bikes. First question.

    Is there a ‘standard’ battery for e-bikes? Or maybe a few standard batteries which fit many e-bikes?
    I see bikes with batteries fitted to a rear carrier, some mounted onto the down tube, and on top end road bikes appear to be concealed within the frame tubing. All those batteries will be different.

    So the next question is, with constant developments with both the bikes and the batteries, will replacement batteries always be available? If in a couple of years a battery dies, will it mean a new bike?
     
  15. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    I don’t think so. The systems are proprietary but there aren’t so many makes.

    Whether demand for non OEM batteries will emerge or not I don’t know. I suspect battery lifetime will be years. I’ve got some biggish batteries (180 wh) for cordless mower/strimmer and they are OK after 7 years of ~weekly use but the charger has some fancy electronics in it.

    The e-bike motors have the bigger question about them. The Bosch Performance line in mine is non-serviceable and the sealed bearings won’t last forever so at some point I’ll have to get a new or reconditioned motor.

    The bike also eats chains. I first changed mine when it kept falling off to find that probably it should have been chain number four, it was stretched a whole link longer than the replacement.
     
  16. Fen

    Fen The Destroyer

    Brompton's are great as a commuting bike, but not something I'd want to ride 60 km on!
     
  17. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Can be done, but you need to be an aficionado. I know 2 club riders who do. I'd think a custom build is needed to be sure the riding position is optimal, gear ratios etc. It is possible to double up on gears by fixing a second chainring on the front and getting dirty hands whenever a change is needed. Personally I'd be scared stiff of hitting a hole riding downhill on anything with wheels that small.
     
  18. daft_biker

    daft_biker Action Man!

    I like to think an ebike would slow me down on the trails I like riding....a heavier bike is not a more agile bike. Video from yesterday....
    https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10216656344440883&id=1828690334

    Can you borrow someone's winter bike for a test run?

    A lot of them seem to be commonly available 18650 batteries connected up with copper strips and put in a case. Lots of DIYers out there.
     
    Fen likes this.
  19. dangie

    dangie Senior Knobhead

    Good point, never thought of that. Replacement chain will also probably require new chainrings and/or rear sprockets/cassette.
     
  20. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Sooner you than me. My idea of fun is a gentle pace on a smooth hole and grit-free country lane devoid of traffic where the view of the wider scenery, not the next 6 feet in front of me, is the main objective.
     

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