What kind of motorized bike should I get?

Discussion in 'Motorized Bicycle General Discussion' started by peace, May 1, 2014.

  1. peace

    peace New Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2014
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm in a transition so trying to get something that satisfies my current needs might not be needed for where I "want to be."

    My current situation is I have a week left of college before I graduate. I got fired from a job I had for the past year (its been quite the blessing actually). I've had a sales job for the past month now. It pays decent(more if I actually make commission), but being sales I'm "ok" at it, and my immediate managers are pretty lax, but there is a chance that if I don't do well they won't keep me.

    The Job is 17 miles from where my apartment is, but 15mins by car from where my parents live. So I've been staying with them the days I don't have school, and they have been nice enough to bus me around.

    Basically as this is starting to become a long story, I want to keep this job for a while and leave my apartment (to stay with friends) so I can use the rent money to buy a motorized bike and pay off my debt. I don't want a moped because being a hippie/ maybe one day activist (and a little paranoid ) I don't want an updated picture of me in a database. Eventually I want to live in the city with the other "hipsters" and grow native fruit plants, (met some people at a little concert that do that, I've been doing it in my backyard at the moment) and have a lower paying artist job or vegan hippy sorta thing (if available), but at the moment I either want to ride this job I have out as I can pay down my debt or if I get good at the job Ill stay longer to pocket some of the money to help transition later.

    ...Well there's the long story, I don't know much about motorized bikes. Right now going the 17 mil distance at 20 mph would take me about an hour which would be fine (also might find a temporary place to stay next month that is closer), eventually I'd probably be in the city where things are closer and possible want to lug potted plants in the back on some sort of mini wagon or something, and having the bike fold up would be convenient.

    I wouldn't mind spending like $500-700 dollars on a bike. This might be a bad Idea but was thinking I could find a used one for around that price and get something that originally was worth more and hopefully is still in good condition or a $500 bike with $200 repairs would be fine too. But I don't know anything about the cost though so those numbers might not be realistic.

    I did some very brief looking and found the EVELO electric bicycle apparently can go 40 miles on a single charge don't know the price and this one http://www.trendtimes.com/fast-electric-scooter.html seems nice but is 300 watt I saw one that mimicked a moped that was 700 watt but still went only 20 mph (which I think is the legal limit anyway) but I'm guessing the more wattage the more power it has or more weight it can hold or pull.

    Sorry this is sorta all over the place but I appreciate any help.
     
  2. KCvale

    KCvale Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2010
    Messages:
    3,942
    Likes Received:
    29
    Re: What kind of moterized bike should I get?

    Since you show you location as being in 'newtopia' or some such thing, want to be an activist/hippie/stay off the radar/artist kind of guy I'd say an electric.
     
  3. greaser_monkey_87

    greaser_monkey_87 New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2014
    Messages:
    397
    Likes Received:
    0
    Re: What kind of moterized bike should I get?

    I agree completely.
     
  4. peace

    peace New Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2014
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Re: What kind of moterized bike should I get?

    Nutopia was what john lennon and yoko ono came up with on april fools day to make fun of the immigration problems he was was having at the time.

    Sorry for all the previous writing, most of it was probably not needed. I don't know much about electric bicycles any specific things to look for or recommended brands. Is it "safe" to get a used one off cragslist (probably not one answer to that).

    Also Does the watt output matter? I believe that 750 w is the legal limit yet a 300 w and a 700 w both max out at 20 mph ( i think for legal reasons) does the wattage translate to how much weight the motor can hold/pull or acceleration or something like that? thanks.
     
  5. BarelyAWake

    BarelyAWake New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2009
    Messages:
    7,209
    Likes Received:
    5
    Re: What kind of moterized bike should I get?

    Wattage is the combination of voltage & amperage, it's power output. 1000w = 1.34hp, 700w = 0.93hp, 300w = 0.40hp... so they definitely do not "max out" at the same speeds, that's a combination of advertising claims & legal disclaimers.

    Here's some calculators to help figure out what an ebike's capabilities actually are;
    http://www.rapidtables.com/calc/electric/watt-volt-amp-calculator.htm
    http://www.rapidtables.com/convert/power/watt-to-hp.htm

    As an example - using a common ebike configuration of "48v 1000w" with just these two figures we can determine it's 1.3hp at a 20 amp draw, which means a 48v 20ah (amp hour) battery will last approximately one hour at maximum throttle, roughly 30mph for 30 miles, pedal assistance not included, flat ground.

    I'm not entirely sure I'd recommend a used ebike as it'd be difficult to tell exactly what you'd be getting for the money - the battery is by far the most important aspect of an evehicle & it'd be very difficult to ascertain it's actual capabilities & previous usage/charge cycles. Trickier still, many "factory built" ebikes are far more expensive then simply converting a bicycle with a hub motor & battery pack of equal or even greater capacity...

    ...& a DIY ebike conversion is about as complicated as strapping the pack to a rack & changing the rear wheel ;)
     
  6. xseler

    xseler Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2013
    Messages:
    2,830
    Likes Received:
    72
  7. BarelyAWake

    BarelyAWake New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2009
    Messages:
    7,209
    Likes Received:
    5
    Re: What kind of moterized bike should I get?

    For $400, it's likely a good deal - problem being there's not enough information to know what the deal actually is, there's no motor specifications whatsoever, no battery information aside from "Comes with 2- 24volt batteries both hold an 8 hour charge for a total of 16 hours" which all we can derive from is it's likely supposed to be a "24v 16ah" pack or a "48v 16ah" pack... or it's not amp hours at all & the batteries are so pooched they won't hold a charge lol

    The "You will be able to go for 16 hours" just doesn't make any sense at all unfortunately, we don't make batteries that good yet... or it's 0.03hp motor? :p

    Again, with a base price like that it's not a bad deal at all even if you had to replace/upgrade the battery - but as we don't know the voltage/amperage/wattage of the motor or pack, we don't even know what battery type it is, yer kinda buying blind. It could be be an amazing deal for a 48v/1000w/16ah LiFePO4 bike (doubtful), or just an ok deal on a 24v/250w/16ah SLA - or something in between (most likely) *shrug*

    NP at all if you're just looking for a deal, but if ya need it to do something specific like a commute or whatever there's no way to know even ballpark range & speed without that pesky volts/amps/watts/amp hours thing :)


    edit: It looks an awful lot like this, so maybe not such a great deal after all: http://www.walmart.com/ip/21187752 $479 new.

    "450W SLA type (no ah), rear-rack mounted, 24V, 15 mph (rider weight, input & terrain contingent), maximum range of 15-22 miles" = 450w/24v/18a/0.6hp very likely with 2 12v 8ah SLA batteries, something like these; http://www.amazon.com/UPG-UB1280-Sealed-Lead-Batteries/dp/B0009GIKNE

    ...meh
     
    #7 BarelyAWake, May 4, 2014
    Last edited: May 4, 2014
  8. Techbiker

    Techbiker New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2009
    Messages:
    165
    Likes Received:
    0
    As long as you have some free time and interest in building a bike, I would go the gas route. Not only do you avoid range anxiety, you also get much more power for your buck.

    To put things in perspective, a 3 horsepower engine produces around 2237 watts of power. While average power production is surely less than this, imagine a 1500 watt electric motor that will run as long as you have fuel?

    Then, imagine spending only ~$600 total on a frame and gas engine kit.

    Gas seems like a sure winner to me unless you have no place to keep the bike.

    You also typically get more than 90mpg and a 4-stroke is fairly clean.

    Finally, you can really cut down on engine noise with a quality muffler. I can hear birds chirping, etc. when I am riding on my Huasheng 50cc bike.
     
  9. KCvale

    KCvale Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2010
    Messages:
    3,942
    Likes Received:
    29
    Re: What kind of moterized bike should I get?

    Voltage, Amp Hours (Ah), and a C-factor which is kind of like a multiplier to the Ah figure, and drive type.

    Sure if it's from an experienced builder, I advertise on my local craigs as a Retailer not Private seller, search your local CL with 'electric' as the key word in Bicycles and check the Dealer box.

    As mentioned above it all matters.

    Personally I am no fan of hub motors or batteries under 36V.
    Though a good engine can move you around pretty good direct drive (single speed) kind of like a 3 speed Pinto stuck in 2nd gear, and build a lot of direct drive and shifting gas bikes, I only do shifters for electrics.

    This build for a mom and her teenage daughter that are both barley 5' tall just went out last Friday so I haven't even had time to post it here yet.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    That is just a 24" 3-speed Macargi Rover bike but the system works fine on a 26" 3-speed bike.
    The Rover was ~$230 delivered.

    The 36V electric motor kit was ~$400 delivered from SickBikeParts.com

    The 36V Battery had pretty wimpy stats at 12Ah but came with a mounting rack that would mount direct to a mountain bikes front downtube via the water bottle mount holes, comes out via a keylock, and came with a charger delivered for ~$370.

    The system would work just dandy on a used 10-speed type bike for under $800 and trust me, gears make all the difference in the world.

    It's a cool system, and as green and quite as you get on a motor assisted bicycle which would really impress your green friends.

    All that aside they really are a pleasure to ride and even that bike would hit 30MPH in 3rd gear, they have the least amount of maintenance, and you can park it your kitchen with no ill effects.
     
  10. wheelbender6

    wheelbender6 Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2008
    Messages:
    3,825
    Likes Received:
    12
    If you need to ride 17mi/day, I don't think an electric kit will fit your budget unless you have time to recharge during the day. I ride about 24mi/day and recharge my SLAs while at work.
    A four stroke kit would work. If it doesn't rain much where you live, installing a friction drive kit is the easiest.
     
  11. KCvale

    KCvale Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2010
    Messages:
    3,942
    Likes Received:
    29
    Budget is indeed a factor.
    Your Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) batteries are the thing cars use for a big boost to start it.
    Lithium Ion batteries pack about the same punch at half the weight and size.
    Heck ya they cost more, but not twice as much and why you don't see SLA's in cell phones, laptops, or electric cars.
     
  12. 16v4nrbrgr

    16v4nrbrgr New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2012
    Messages:
    1,718
    Likes Received:
    1
    For all the trusted name Lipo packs which can deliver the current draw for a powerful motor like SLA can, I have found that they cost about 4x as much but deliver a weight savings of about 1/2 that of SLA. LiFePO4 are much safer to use as they won't burn, and they are more stable and will deliver more full discharge/charge cycles than SLA or LiPo, but their current delivery is lacking and it would require a lot of cells in series to deliver high current like 50A or more continuous. If you draw on LiFePO4 batteries too hard with a high current motor, their life expectancy drops significantly.

    RC LiPo still seems to be the winner in the power density comparison for eBike batteries but you need to use them very carefully, balance them, make sure they don't over discharge or charge, and take every fire precaution necessary even when storing them.

    On the topic of fire, a LiPo battery that failed to charge properly burned down a corner of a family members house when it got too hot and caught fire. This is a battery the size of a slice of cheese, so you could imagine the fire hazard of a pack the size of a loaf of bread could cause. Outside storage would be my preferred method just in case something abnormal happens and causes a meltdown situation.
     
  13. BarelyAWake

    BarelyAWake New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2009
    Messages:
    7,209
    Likes Received:
    5
    Re: What kind of moterized bike should I get?

    Just another personal preference but it's quite the opposite for me, I see very little value in adding the complexity, noise & mechanical drag of gearing to an otherwise elegantly simple, quiet & efficient motor design - particularly as there's so little to be gained on this scale.

    There's a few distinct advantages electrics have over gasoline engines, hub motors have essentially only the one moving part, so maintenance is virtually nonexistent. They're direct drive, the motor itself is the wheel so there's only the two bearings in mechanical contact, making noise & wear also virtually nonexistent. Most importantly due to the "instant torque" of electrics shifter kits don't add nearly the preformance they do with gasoline engines, which in contrast have a very narrow peak power range - the reason for gears in the first place.

    There's some use to a electric shifter in this scale, but it's mostly to enable the use of cheap, generic electric motors midmounted - at the cost of exactly what makes electrics great, quiet, reliable efficiency... I'm not sure it's really worth saving a hundred bucks to end up with a weaker, more complicated system when one can just bolt a hub on & go.

    If I can rid myself of any extra chains, their maintenance & tensioning requirements I'll do so, even with gasbikes I'll never install another of the problematic pedal crank freewheels if I can help it.

    Despite the fact I wouldn't build a gasbike that wasn't a shifter of some sort - in the years spent riding my electric hub motors I've never, not even for a moment longed for gears, electrics can do wonderfully well without them. There's a huge difference yes, although I ride constantly I've never needed to fix a hub whereas the shifters always demand some attention, maintenance & repair.

    Again though, personal preference ;)
     
    #13 BarelyAWake, May 5, 2014
    Last edited: May 5, 2014
  14. 16v4nrbrgr

    16v4nrbrgr New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2012
    Messages:
    1,718
    Likes Received:
    1
    Shift kits do have advantages on an electric though, by lessening the load on the motor at slow speeds or on inclines, you reduce the current draw, which means more range, also less battery draw down of the voltage, which means when you upshift into higher gears, the motor will have more voltage, be able to produce more torque from higher amp flow, and spin up to a higher top speed because of higher final voltage. By doing this you can get more range and more versatile performance out of any given motor and battery combination, by using the motor in its intended load and rpm range for peak efficiency. The low wattage mid-drive kits can outperform hub motors of twice the wattage and climb mountains through gear reduction, as well as allowing for greater efficiency, longer range, higher top speeds, watt-per-watt compared with a hub.

    Electric motors aren't used with multiple gears on powerful electric vehicles typically because the large torque at engine stall has the power to break stuff, like gear teeth in transmissions. You need to make sure that your method of multiple gears can handle the torque, and be careful not to twist full throttle from a stop and thwack the drivetrain to bits.
     
  15. peace

    peace New Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2014
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Re: What kind of moterized bike should I get?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    That is just a 24" 3-speed Macargi Rover bike but the system works fine on a 26" 3-speed bike.
    The Rover was ~$230 delivered.

    The 36V electric motor kit was ~$400 delivered from SickBikeParts.com

    The 36V Battery had pretty wimpy stats at 12Ah but came with a mounting rack that would mount direct to a mountain bikes front downtube via the water bottle mount holes, comes out via a keylock, and came with a charger delivered for ~$370.

    The system would work just dandy on a used 10-speed type bike for under $800 and trust me, gears make all the difference in the world.

    It's a cool system, and as green and quite as you get on a motor assisted bicycle which would really impress your green friends.

    All that aside they really are a pleasure to ride and even that bike would hit 30MPH in 3rd gear, they have the least amount of maintenance, and you can park it your kitchen with no ill effects.[/QUOTE]

    Something like this seems nice, it's a little more then I wanted to spend, but then again it's probably worth it as it will last me a very long time. I'm currently staying at my parents house, so the commute is actually 6 miles to work (40 min according to google maps by a regular bike). Are kits "easy" to build, one issue is that I don't have a reliable bike, I have two, but one won't ride the other is falling apart (Walmart bike).

    Can electric bikes (like the one above) tug any weight? For instance I'm growing seedlings in pots and eventually if I live in the city, could I get a wagon or a small cart and put like 6- 10 potted plants in the cart and transport them a few miles. Would extra weight like that hurt the battery? Or would it just reduce use time?


    I guess my plan now is to stay at my parents save up money for a kit and 10 speed bike, and then see where it goes. It will be a few weeks before I have money saved up so I'll be doing more research on batteries and will probably come back here for advice.

    thx.
     

Share This Page