Author Topic: Should I go electric ?.  (Read 12216 times)

Should I go electric ?.
« on: February 01, 2018, 01:40:13 pm »
I am thinking of having the trice converted to E assistance. I can still manage around 7mph however. I am worried about charging while touring and maintenance of the system. I can manage most of my own maintenance at the moment so would I be tyeing myself to expensive maintenance bills which would bankrupt me .
Am I worrying for nothing ? Any thoughts welcome  :)
the slower you go the more you see

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Should I go electric ?.
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2018, 01:54:18 pm »
I would doubt that there would be much of an issue with expensive maintenance, but the conversion won't be cheap.

I suggest asking Auntie Helen how she has got on. I think Adam has also converted his Helios to electric assist.

Our Circe tandem was electric from new, and hasn't had sufficient use for me to give a verdict, other than that it is fun to ride. I still prefer the Thorn tandem though.
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.

road-runner

  • Currently in Slovakia
Re: Should I go electric ?.
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2018, 02:17:23 pm »
Any thoughts welcome
... the conversion won't be cheap.

My first thought was that if you decide to get the conversion done I will help you with some of the cost. Keep us posted on what you decide to do.

Re: Should I go electric ?.
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2018, 02:32:36 pm »
I have an ARCC e-assist on my Moulton ATB tandem. The crucial element is the electric front hub, no maintenance involved as far as I know. It uses Bosch power tool batteries, and the fast charger is lighter than a spare battery. It recharges in about 30 minutes, so I usually recharge at refreshment stops.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Should I go electric ?.
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2018, 02:40:03 pm »
I reckon a quality electric assist system ought to be maintenance-free, up to the point where:

a) you accidentally damage bits of it
b) batteries lose excessive capacity through old age
c) some incompatibility (eg. with a frame that needs replacing) renders the whole kit obsolete
d) something fails due to bad design

Much fuss is made about battery life, but I reckon it's bad design and accidental damage that's the real issue.  Barakta's Falco console (which I was never impressed by the build quality of) drowned in that monsoon we had at Wing in 2016.  Wiring harnesses are always going to be vulnerable to damage from crashes or manhandling.  That sort of thing.

I think the only way you can reasonably hedge against this sort of thing is to stick to a big-name system you might stand a reasonable chance of obtaining spares for in the medium term, and hope that protects you from the worst of the corner-cutting (typically thermal design or waterproofing) that you get in the low-end conversion kits.  Of course, that also makes it more expensive.


I reckon bottom bracket motors are the way to go with tadpole trikes.  Rear wheel hub motors like barakta's are an easier retrofit, but mean you end up with wiring (that will probably need custom extending) everywhere, loads more weight at the back, and it will limit your gearing options.  I believe that after years of indecision ICE themselves have finally settled on the Shimano STEPS system, which seems like a good decision, albeit one that requires a proprietary boom.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Should I go electric ?.
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2018, 03:57:48 pm »
It is the ice system I am thinking of having fitted .cost is around £2100 assuming that I don't need new transmission fitted I can get £2000 from my trust fund but would have to get my trice to Falmouth . Many thanks for your kind offer road runner I will keep this thread updated  :)
the slower you go the more you see

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Should I go electric ?.
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2018, 04:59:23 pm »
Good plan - the STEPS system seems decent (and being Shimano, likely to be around as long as anything will), they've come up with a sensible way to mount the battery, and you can be reasonably sure that ICE won't let you down if things go wrong.

I'm sure a YACFer with a suitable vehicle could be found to get it there, if that's the main issue...
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Should I go electric ?.
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2018, 05:20:19 pm »
I have just spoken to Neil at ice and and he suggests that running a extra battery for touring would be a good idea. That would add £350 to the cost. Jonathan notp wants to spend a week riding based in infracoombe so if I got the trike to Falmouth a bit before he goes I might be able to ride from Falmouth to infrcoombe do the holiday with him and get me and the trike back home at the end of the week. I will have a look at the distances and see if that could work. Getting the trike to Falmouth is probably the most challenging part though  :)
the slower you go the more you see

Torslanda

  • Professional Gobshite
  • Just a tart for retro kit . . .
    • John's Bikes
Re: Should I go electric ?.
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2018, 09:32:47 pm »
STEPS is a neat system but I'm willing to bet I could get a Bafang mid-drive on your standard boom and 2 x 21ah batteries along with any mechanical refurb you need, within your budget and make a butty out of it for mesen. #justsayin'

One trike at a time thobut...  ::-)
VELOMANCER

Well that's the more blunt way of putting it but as usual he's dead right.

Re: Should I go electric ?.
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2018, 09:34:22 pm »
Chris,

I'm happy to connect you up to the mains.

Just saying...    :D   :thumbsup:

vorsprung

  • Opposites Attract
    • Audaxing
Re: Should I go electric ?.
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2018, 09:49:08 pm »
The real question is, are your friends electric?

Audaxing Blog follow @vorsprungbike on

Torslanda

  • Professional Gobshite
  • Just a tart for retro kit . . .
    • John's Bikes
Re: Should I go electric ?.
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2018, 09:51:38 pm »
For a minute there I thought we were going to get a very NSFW picture . . .
VELOMANCER

Well that's the more blunt way of putting it but as usual he's dead right.

Re: Should I go electric ?.
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2018, 10:14:50 pm »
Chris,

I'm happy to connect you up to the mains.

Just saying...    :D   :thumbsup:


You have the most shocking ideas PB :o ;D
the slower you go the more you see

Torslanda

  • Professional Gobshite
  • Just a tart for retro kit . . .
    • John's Bikes
Re: Should I go electric ?.
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2018, 10:16:46 pm »
Yebbut, 'How fast does it go, mister?!'  ;D

WHAT!!!
VELOMANCER

Well that's the more blunt way of putting it but as usual he's dead right.

Re: Should I go electric ?.
« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2018, 10:31:10 pm »
How would the different systems compare torslanda . Neil suggests that a range of 80 miles with two battery s . Also many cycle shop's can diagnose and fix problems with the steps system he tells me. If I can get a reliable system cheaper of course I am interested  :)
the slower you go the more you see

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Should I go electric ?.
« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2018, 10:36:09 pm »
Other differences aside, different systems will feel different.  You really need to ride them to decide which you prefer.  Not easy, I know...
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Should I go electric ?.
« Reply #16 on: February 01, 2018, 11:09:47 pm »
Looking at similar. My wife wants a scooter and I'm trying to get her to convert her bike into an E-bike instead. It's about 3-4km to her market place and she'll need to carry some stuff, but a pedal assisted E-bike will enable her to use the bike paths, which would make me a lot more happy than the rather busy road she would otherwise have to use on a scooter.

Re: Should I go electric ?.
« Reply #17 on: February 01, 2018, 11:29:18 pm »
I mainly would like assistance to work on hills as I currently manage 9 /10 mph on the flat the steps system I believe is running all the time even down hill s . It would be nice to ave 10 mph but any improvement would be useful . The only electric trikes I have tried have been brakatas which did not like me much and a trice fitted with a electric motor and throttle which was only switched on when needed for hills . I did liked but I have never seen another example of . Short of getting down to Falmouth to try the steps system which is a expensive trip in it's self I am going to have to make decisions based on your forum advice . What could possibly go wrong   ;D
the slower you go the more you see

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Should I go electric ?.
« Reply #18 on: February 02, 2018, 12:00:10 am »
STEPS senses torque/cadence at the crank to give proportional assistance, and has three overall power levels (four if you count 'OFF'), selectable via the excellent DI2-style thumb buttons.  It certainly doesn't have to provide assistance all the time.

Barakta's Falco system does something similar (sensing torque/cadence at the hub and multiplying that by one of 5 power levels), but since we've tweaked the programming to better suit her needs (basically to minimise the assistance while cruising, allowing for her fairly mashy pedalling style), it needs quite a lot of torque before it actually gives you a significant power boost.  I suspect you couldn't deliver enough power uphill in a high enough gear to make it kick in (there's a programmable minimum speed threshold too, which IIRC we turned up to ensure the motor would stay off during low-speed Silly Sustrans Gate manoeuvres).  I'm sure it could be programmed to be cycleman-friendly, but that means connecting a laptop and the horrible Falco software and spending some time doing laps of a car park changing various parameters.

Anyway, the important thing is that it's perfectly normal to operate these things with the system powered up (so the console is alive and acting as a cycle computer, lighting power[1] is available etc) and the assistance level at zero - changing assistance level is something you'd do to suit the conditions, like you'd change gear.  So you can certainly trundle under your own steam and only turn the assistance on for climbs.

You won't get a throttle-only system any more, because the rules that made that road-legal were deprecated by the harmonised EU regulations, which require a crank-rotation sensor of some kind (so that the power assistance always stops when you stop pedalling, regardless of any other controls).  A throttle to control the power (rather than set levels) with a basic yes/no crank rotation sensor is allowed, but that tends to be the domain of the cheap Chinese kits.

One thought occurs:  If you think your balance would be up to it (and bearing in mind that keeping up speed isn't a problem with a motor), it might be worth trying some upwrongs with the relevant motor systems, to get a feel for their differences.  Well-behaved sit-up-and-beg city bikes are the natural home of electric assistance, and an hour playing with a sympathetic dealer's (I'm thinking 50 Cycles or Cycleheaven or some such) demo models would be very enlightening.


[1] My friend did a test with their STEPS ebike:  When the battery got flat enough that the system shut down under load, there was enough power left to run the DI2 gears and lights for about 3 more hours before they got bored and went to bed.  You can reasonably expect an ebike battery to be able to power the lights and electronics continuously for a couple of weeks if you don't actually use the motor, so there's no need to be paranoid about wasting battery by having the system switched on.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Torslanda

  • Professional Gobshite
  • Just a tart for retro kit . . .
    • John's Bikes
Re: Should I go electric ?.
« Reply #19 on: February 02, 2018, 12:15:50 am »
Bafang is a mid-drive conversion which fits to a standard BB shell. Using a pedal assist system and variable power assistance via an LCD display, it requires constant input ie you need to keep the pedals turning for the motor to run. Freewheeling shuts off the motor but most kits are supplied with a thumb throttle for direct assistance which requires no pedalling. This is the kit Auntie Helen fitted to her Orca(?) velomobile.

Two fully charged 14Ah batteries should give a total range of 70-90 miles in optimum conditions. A pair of 21Ah should comfortably achieve 100 miles. They charge off a normal plug socket so anything over 60 miles will require a power hook up to be available at your campsite.

VELOMANCER

Well that's the more blunt way of putting it but as usual he's dead right.

Re: Should I go electric ?.
« Reply #20 on: February 02, 2018, 06:53:07 am »
I must admit the charging whilst touring does worry me a bit. I think that I fear getting stranded with no power and damaging the battery by not being able to recharge it as soon as it needs it . I do like the potential 100 miles range . If I rode to wing with electric assistance I would probably have to recharge around Northampton . Now I expect that to prove a interesting challenge ::-) ;)
the slower you go the more you see

Re: Should I go electric ?.
« Reply #21 on: February 02, 2018, 08:30:58 am »
Your problem I guess will be as much about charge time as availability.  I have no idea how long your charge time will be and, I guess that if you have two batteries you'd need to potentially carry two chargers unless your charge time was about 30 minutes.  I think though that your charge time per battery will be in hours.

I'm sure for instance that I could persuade my son who lives in Northampton to let you charge using the outside socket at his place and if you could make Rugby you could charge here of course.  Whether I could put up with yo for six to eight hours though...    ;)

I wonder if we could set up an electric bike socket sharing group.   There is such a thing in the ev community so perhaps we can...   

road-runner

  • Currently in Slovakia
Re: Should I go electric ?.
« Reply #22 on: February 02, 2018, 08:47:04 am »
YACF:YACP (Yet Another Charging Point)?

Samuel D

Re: Should I go electric ?.
« Reply #23 on: February 02, 2018, 09:23:50 am »
Do any of these e-bikes allow for charging from the bicycle’s motion? I’m thinking mainly of regen on descents (while holding a button down that would act like a brake?), but in emergency situations it may be useful to trickle charge on the flat to enable climbing of the next hill.

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Should I go electric ?.
« Reply #24 on: February 02, 2018, 09:24:38 am »
No.
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.