Author Topic: E-bike experience  (Read 2372 times)

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
E-bike experience
« on: March 20, 2019, 10:25:17 pm »
Jan and I have the Circe Helios electric-assist tandem and it's pretty good. However, I am considering going down the e-assist route for solo touring and I wondered if anyone has taken the plunge. I tip my hat to Graham's thread https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=103714.msg1272697#new and I have also been looking around for other stuff. I have found these, which are mostly Rohloff-equipped.

I have two immediate observations:-

1. 'Ow much??? </canardly>

2. They look rather like 1920s motor bikes. I suspect that taking one on a train might cause a raised eyebrow or two from certain railway staff.

Does anyone else have experience of different makes of E-bike?
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: E-bike experience
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2019, 12:54:09 am »
Is there a link to something missing from that post?  It feels like there's some context I'm missing.

Amongst other not-so-LBSes, I spent some quality time visiting https://www.50cycles.com/ - including a few gratuitous test-rides[1] - on my quest to sort my friend out with a disability-needs-appropriate ebike (they ended up with a well-specced Dutch-style Kalkhoff.  I reckon the problem is that the ebike market - once you get past the minimum-sturdy-hybrid-that'll-take-a-motor level - is dominated by sensible city bikes (including a spattering of folders) and serious mountain bikes.  For obvious reasons, there's relatively little at the road end of the spectrum, and the closest you're likely to find off-the-shelf[2] to a tourer are the German-style 'trekking bikes' with the weight and aesthetic that implies.

There's always the conversion approach.  Tends to deteriorate into sensor-fettling and cable management, of course.

Agree that trains might be an issue.  CrossCountry, for example, ban "motorised bikes", though it's not clear what they actually mean by that.  But more realistically, the usual problems of lifting heavy cycles and spaces that don't fit bikes properly apply.  I reckon it's going to come down to the attitude test[3], and playing the old fart/disability card is probably better than being perceived as an oik with a homemade motorbike.


[1] Main conclusion: Different systems feel very different, and you need to test-ride (preferably somewhere with at least one steepish hill) to get a sense of what suits you.  Secondary conclusion:  Some models involve weird gear ratio decisions (ie. overlook the presence of a motor).  Tertiary conclusion:  Mid-drive motors and mechanically shifted hub gears can be a clunky combination.  Di2 integration helps (even in manual mode, as the motor knows to back off immediately when you're shifting).  Derailleurs shift under load better.  Nuvinci CVTs work well.
[2] Not counting electric versions from niche manufacturers of tandems, recumbents, etc.
[3] Last autumn, I shared a CrossCountry vestibule with a guy who had a rather nice looking e-MTB, who spent about 20 minutes enthusiastically discussing mountain biking with the train manager.  As ever, it comes down to the prejudices of the individual staff.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: E-bike experience
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2019, 03:06:20 am »
Jan and I have the Circe Helios electric-assist tandem and it's pretty good. However, I am considering going down the e-assist route for solo touring and I wondered if anyone has taken the plunge. I tip my hat to Graham's thread https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=103714.msg1272697#new and I have also been looking around for other stuff. I have found these, which are mostly Rohloff-equipped.

I have two immediate observations:-

1. 'Ow much??? </canardly>

2. They look rather like 1920s motor bikes. I suspect that taking one on a train might cause a raised eyebrow or two from certain railway staff.

Does anyone else have experience of different makes of E-bike?

I have a Rohloff equipped Riese and Muller Charger - a 1920s motorbike lookalike of which you speak.

Taking it on trains hasn't been a lot more complicated than taking a push bike, with one exception.

The bike spaces on some Virgln Trains are hooks from which you hang the bikes by the front wheel.

Doing that with a heavy ebike is not easy, and as a general point, pannier bags are not designed to work well with the bike vertical.

I've not seen that type of bike 'facility' for a while.

My bike has Schwalbe 2.4" balloon tyres and there's no doubt its form factor is quite big, even though it's a medium frame.

It does fit OK in train vestibules, but takes up rather a lot of space and presents more of an obstacle for other passengers.

There are now a number of roadie-type ebikes which are 'light assist' and not so much bigger than a push bike.

The Orbea Gain is an example.

https://www.r-m.de/en-gb/models/

https://www.orbea.com/gb-en/ebikes/road/gain-road/


Re: E-bike experience
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2019, 05:39:53 am »
Quote
Taking it on trains hasn't been a lot more complicated than taking a push bike, with one exception.

The bike spaces on some Virgln Trains are hooks from which you hang the bikes by the front wheel.

Doing that with a heavy ebike is not easy, and as a general point, pannier bags are not designed to work well with the bike vertical.

I've not seen that type of bike 'facility' for a while."[/quote,]

Get used to it! That's the system all GWR Hitachi trains use and I suspect others will go the same way. Complete PITA. Of course it takes up less room so they can cram more plebs in, so that's ok.

Sent from my SM-G950F using Tapatalk

Cudzoziemiec

  • Dormant but requires tea
Re: E-bike experience
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2019, 08:55:00 am »
I was about to say the same as Toontra – vertical dangly spaces are the way bike provision on trains is going. They're on the LNER as well as GWR.

I also wanted to say that high-end electric road bikes are definitely a thing nowadays – a rather expensive thing – usually with battery 'streamlined' into the down or seat tube for aesthetics. But I'm not aware of any mainstream e-assist tourers.
At some point in the ride, you might find yourself in Osaka with Spanish speakers where you had expected Edinburgh talking Greek. This does not mean you are lost, or even off route.

Re: E-bike experience
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2019, 09:35:27 am »
Our Moulton tandem conversion is from ARCC. I have also used the Moulton in solo form.

ARCC sell ready-converted Moultons, and recently introduced their own diamond frame e-bike.

Probably worth visiting the Bile Show at Excel next Friday/Sat/Sunday to see a selection of e-bikes.

https://arccinnovations.com/

Re: E-bike experience
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2019, 11:26:20 am »
I have ordered a Kona Electric Ute, I'm a bit tired of crawling up the Cotswold's cycling in and out of work, usually carrying multiples of stuff for various after work sports activities.

I spent a long time choosing a cargo style e-bike and despite rather fancying one with a box out the front settled on the kona as it offered the best price/performance/handling trade off.

D.
Somewhat of a professional tea drinker.


Kim

  • Timelord
Re: E-bike experience
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2019, 12:10:20 pm »
The bike spaces on some Virgln Trains are hooks from which you hang the bikes by the front wheel.

Doing that with a heavy ebike is not easy, and as a general point, pannier bags are not designed to work well with the bike vertical.

Standard on Class 220/221 Voyager diesels.  CrossCountry have a similar arrangement on their Voyagers, only with less room for handlebars and more people getting in the way.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: E-bike experience
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2019, 12:46:45 pm »
I have a 7-speed Ortler Wien that's powered by a Bosch crank drive system. The hub gear / crank drive combo works very well and the quality of the bike is excellent. I've had several ebikes, some converted by me, another off the shelf Oxygen which was the inferior type Kim mentioned. I thought it was brilliant until I rode the Ortler.

www.pedelecs.co.uk/forum is another source of info.

If I had the money, I would buy an Ortler Bozen Performance. It has the more powerful Bosch drive, a larger battery and hydraulic disc brakes. Haibike offer a good range, much more widely available than the Ortler. PM if you want to discuss derestricting options.
Haggerty F, Haggerty R, Tomkins, Noble, Carrick, Robson, Crapper, Dewhurst, Macintyre, Treadmore, Davitt.

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: E-bike experience
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2019, 10:53:54 am »
https://www.r-m.de/en-gb/models/

Just re-read Kim's post about a missing link. That's it.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Dormant but requires tea
Re: E-bike experience
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2019, 10:55:14 am »
There's a lot of different models on that page. Which one(s) were you referring to?
At some point in the ride, you might find yourself in Osaka with Spanish speakers where you had expected Edinburgh talking Greek. This does not mean you are lost, or even off route.

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: E-bike experience
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2019, 11:10:52 am »
There's a lot of different models on that page. Which one(s) were you referring to?

They are all amazingly expensive. All of them.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

Re: E-bike experience
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2019, 11:30:52 am »
Haggerty F, Haggerty R, Tomkins, Noble, Carrick, Robson, Crapper, Dewhurst, Macintyre, Treadmore, Davitt.

Re: E-bike experience
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2019, 07:52:49 pm »
This beast is arriving tomorrow,

http://www.konaworld.com/electric_ute.cfm

I am very excited.

D.
Somewhat of a professional tea drinker.


Riggers

  • Mine's a pipe, er… pint!
Re: E-bike experience
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2019, 01:22:16 pm »
I quite like the look of the Van Moofs:

https://www.vanmoof.com/en_gb/electrified-s2-x2
Certainly never seen cycling south of Sussex

Re: E-bike experience
« Reply #15 on: March 29, 2019, 08:48:27 pm »
https://www.r-m.de/en-gb/models/

Just re-read Kim's post about a missing link. That's it.

I liked the reise & mueller cargo bike when I test rode one at the bike show at the NEC a couple of years ago. If you can get a chance to ride some different ones with different systems do. I rode lots and the winners by far were the R&M with a Bosch motor and a moulton with the ARCC motor. My thinking is that I would get something (maybe one of the rather nice Ridgebacks?) with a STEPS motor so that I would have a spare battery for touring, either the solo or tandem.
Quote from: Kim
^ This woman knows what she's talking about.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: E-bike experience
« Reply #16 on: March 29, 2019, 09:10:33 pm »
Of the ones I test-rode I found the Bosch felt more natural, but STEPS did a slightly better job of getting the bike up to speed quickly.  Which is best is going to depend on personal preferences and why you're looking at e-bikes in the first place.  (My friend greatly preferred the quick acceleration of the STEPS, and if I were hauling cargo I'd want the same.)  Also pay attention to how the system behaves as you reach the 25kph limit: Backing off gracefully limits your maximum speed slightly, but means you don't end up oscillating between coast and burn (some of the low-end systems seem really bad at this, presumably because most people don't use the limiting).
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: E-bike experience
« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2019, 09:27:52 am »
I have had rear hub drive, front hub drive and BB drive ebikes and by far the best is the Bosch BB drive system. It is powerful and the torque sensing is great. Mine is one of the less powerful drives they do, but it is still capable of propelling me along at illegal speeds smoothly. The main downside being the extremely high prices they charge for the batteries and chargers.
Haggerty F, Haggerty R, Tomkins, Noble, Carrick, Robson, Crapper, Dewhurst, Macintyre, Treadmore, Davitt.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Dormant but requires tea
Re: E-bike experience
« Reply #18 on: March 30, 2019, 04:09:48 pm »
the 25kph limit:
Surprised at such sloppiness in you, Kim.
At some point in the ride, you might find yourself in Osaka with Spanish speakers where you had expected Edinburgh talking Greek. This does not mean you are lost, or even off route.

Re: E-bike experience
« Reply #19 on: April 12, 2019, 09:16:50 am »
Hi Wow,

Convert your Raven? www.wooshbikes.co.uk is in your neck of the woods - they sell conversion kits and look pretty sensible. I'm planning on converting a single speed commuter with a rear hub kit but a centre-drive conversion would work very well for a geared tourer.

Tigerrr

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Re: E-bike experience
« Reply #20 on: July 10, 2019, 08:13:24 am »
Another vote for conversion with whoosh bikes. I have built 2 of theirs and they were great at £750 instead of >£2000. You should easily be able to convert your raven. My last had a 500w motor and I never got it to top speed as above 25mph on a halfords BSO was just fine for anything I needed. Whoosh very helpful - they even have the conversion I did as a 'stock' made up bike.
Currently riding a trek powerfly ebike which is very good. Got a deal for £1500.
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