I looked on the board for a thread on my question, didn't see one, so hopefully I'm not re-treading any previously covered ground. I've been considering getting an e-assist bike, or installing a e-assist setup on an existing bike, as I think it would greatly increase the likelihood and frequency of commuting via bike to work and going car-lite. My question is technical so I would like to NOT digress into the suitability or safety of e-bikes on paths, are they bikes or mopeds, whatever.
Batteries are my main concern. The industry doesn't seem to have settled on any kind of standard system at this time, 36v, 48v, frame mount, rack mount, blah blah blah. And the variety of startup type companies concerns me as well. If I get one, when the battery pack dies in a few years (not if), the format may be completely different, the original company may not make the same kind of unit, or may be out of business, and the bike becomes a big, useless chunk of e-waste. I am strongly opposed to planned obsolescence, especially in the bike domain, and I don't want to commit to something that becomes a disposable piece of debris in 5 years.
Anybody have any informed, helpful thoughts along these lines?
A lot of e-bike batteries are made from 18650 cells. You can find instruction how to do it yourselves. Probably it's not going to be the prettiest one but is's gonna work.
I would be worried about other mechanical parts if manufacturer goes out of business...
I had the same question when I bought my E-bike 5 months ago.I was told, that just like a car battery, an E-bike battery will last you a long time,(about 5 years),maybe longer depending how often you ride the bike.E-bike batteries are quite expensive today, but E-batteries will be improved and coming down in price 3-5 years in the future.They will be even cheaper than car batteries.That's what sold me into buying the bike.I look at it this way in that when I buy a car, especially a used car,I don't worry about eventually replacing the battery, so I'm not going to worry about eventually replacing the battery on my E- bike.
I usually don't comment without firsthand experience, but that said, and for what it's worth, I'd buy a dedicated electric-assist bike from the largest and most stable manufacturer I could find. A little bit of research last evening suggested that a Trek bike with a Bosch battery would be fairly future-proof, as both (especially Bosch) are well-established companies. One would hope that they sell enough of the current bikes and batteries to support them well into the future.
As for the various kits that replace the crank and add on a DC motor, that might be fun to play with and I'm sure with enough electrical/mechanical knowledge you could keep them going well into the future, but it strikes me as a lot of potential hassle vs. buying a plug-and-ride machine from a stable manufacturer.
I also bought a well established brand bike.I was told by others who have E-bikes to get a well established brand name and reputation. Did a lot of research before purchasing and decided on a Trek E-bike with a Bosch battery.It's a Trek Verve plus and I love it!! Rated 5 stars and bought it for $2,300.00.
Verve+. The regular Verve are conventional bikes.
How do you use your e bike? If I had a commute that was hilly I think it would be great. You could get to work without being crazy sweaty. Or if I didn't have a car and often needed to cycle longer distances for errands. It would be helpful...
Hi Eric.......I do a lot of city riding with much hill driving.I'm well into my 50's and can't climb hills anymore.I use the E-bike to get up steeper hills.My E-bike has 4 levels of pedal assist with a rated battery and motor of 396 watt hours.The motor automatically shuts off if you're not pedaling.If you want to know more about the bike go to google and type "Trek Verve Plus Bike.It will take you to a 25 minute video on everything you want to know about this E-bike.I highly recommend this video.
I'm in my 40s. I can still do hills... For now. I do see the usefulness of this for people with mobility issues still being able to enjoy biking, especially in a hilly city like Pittsburgh.
I can still do hills also, but now have more trouble cycling up long steep hills than 10-20 years ago.What's nice about pedal assist E-bikes is you don't have to turn the pedal assist motor on if you still want the challenge of a tough climb, just like you don't have to put your regular gear bike in the lowest gear to climb a steep hill.The motor automatically shuts off if you're not pedaling, so you still have to put effort into your climb.More cyclists,even young cyclists in their 20's, are purchasing these E-bikes.I know because I've seen and chatted with them this year. Is a 3 gear or 10 gear bike cheating compared to a no gear heavy bike from the late 60's, and today most cyclists have 27 gear bikes one can lift with 2 fingers. Pedal assist E-bike just goes one step further than multi gear bikes. Just like everybody started purchasing multi gear bikes about 50 years ago,Pedal assist E-bikes will be the norm 5 years from now.
^Thanks guys, that's the kind of feedback I was hoping for. I think it's kind of convinced me to stay away from a no-name bike just because it's a bargain price. And yes, it's the stupid hills. I grew up in northern Ohio (and there was a booming bike culture at the time), was a bike fanatic, tremendously fit, I would grab the bike and ride at any opportunity. When I moved to Pgh for college, almost stopped riding entirely because it's just too hard around here. Now I'm 59, and I want that passion back, but your base level of fitness here has to be so high just to go for a simple ride. I think if Pgh has any chance of having a broadly popular bike culture (beyond the very nice little community we already have :) ), it involves e-bikes.
I grew up in NE Ohio on the east side (Shaker) and it was fun once you were up on the heights -- everything was fairly flat -- but going up Fairhill, Cedar Hill, etc., especially pre-bike lanes -- NOT FUN.
Speaking of 50 lb bikes, my dad has a 1960-something Raleigh 10 speed that weights about 900 lbs and has a hard leather seat. Now that's old school.