POLL: Are you thinking about getting an electric bicycle?


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Are you thinking about getting an electric bicycle?

One of the (many) impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic is that we're all having to think more about how we get around.

There have been several reports of electric bike sales rocketing as more of us look for new ways to travel.

If you don't fancy a pushbike then would you consider an electric bike? Vote in our poll and tell us what you think in the replies!

Are you thinking about getting an electric bike?


12 replies

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Electric bikes are great, especially if you live in a hilly area. You still get all the freedom and exhilaration of cycling without the getting drenched in sweat or feeling shattered if your ride is longer or harder than you first thought. Most people end up riding far more than they would have done on a traditional bike and still get the benefit of being active and exercising.

I ended up converting an old bike to electric using bits off eBay about 3 years ago, not cheap to do but far less than buying a new one, especially if you want a reasonable specification of bike. As usual the battery is the most expensive bit, but it is worth buying a good one. As ever the first question you get is 'What's its range?'. All depends on how much you pedal, but I can usually get around 100km out of my 15Ah 36V pack.

It even fits in the i3 with the front wheel off and the back seats down.

Hope that's of interest

Gareth
That looks really cool @GarethHorne
Thank you for sharing the pics too!
Roughly how much has it cost to convert it?

Check this out @woz it could be just what you're looking for?
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The motor kit was about £300 pounds when I bought it, that includes replacement brake levers (that cut the power to the motor), new cranks, all the wiring and a display. You then need to add a battery, the 15Ah 36v one I bought was another £300 and seems to be holding up well so far. I added the gold alloy chainring, not really needed but its a lot nicer than the heavy pressed steel one that comes with the kit, and gives a better chain alignment with the rear derailer (you remove the front derailer completely for the electric conversion).

If you intend using it in public the rules say the motor has to be 250W or less, there are lots of kits about with higher power ratings (350W or 500W). If you're building one of those it's technically the same as a moped. With this comes all the requirements of licencing, number plates, insurance and mot. It then can't legally be ridden on bridleways, cycle paths and bike lanes in this country. So I stuck to the 250W version which is plenty for me, can ride it anywhere I like, and I still get the enjoyment out of cycling, with that bit of help on the hills.
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hi Gareth
neat solution, what make was the kit?
​​​​​​​How much does the bike weigh with the conversion and battery and is it still rideable when the battery is dead? (Is there any drag from the motor?)
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It's a Bafang BBS01B kit, like these https://eclipsebikes.com/index.php?cPath=26_27

It adds about 4kg for the motor, and another 3 to 4 kg for the battery depending on what size you choose. The bike is still rideable unpowered but there is more drag than before, with the extra weight you're not really going to want to ride it unpowered through choice but it would still get you home.
No, but only because I am a keen cyclist and like to do it all under my own power 😃 (bring on those hills!) However, I think they are a great idea and have already made a big difference in getting people out and about on their bikes in the fresh air, and most importantly out of their cars! The tech seems to be moving forward incredibly fast, so they are definitely here to stay.

They also give people who wouldn't normally be able to cycle, or have conditions that effect cycling, the ability to get out on their bikes, which I think is great. I know a guy who has MS and can usually drop me easily on his good days, but on the days he is having issues with his condition, the e-bike keeps him on the road and out of the car.
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hi Dorsetsi
​​​​​​​Thanks.
Hills? not for me..I'm the one on the left...

One won't develop much muscle tone relying on assist, so having variable assist is useful.
Have you looked at the Swytch package?
Dorsetsi;55334:
No, but only because I am a keen cyclist and like to do it all under my own power 😃 (bring on those hills!) However, I think they are a great idea and have already made a big difference in getting people out and about on their bikes in the fresh air, and most importantly out of their cars! The tech seems to be moving forward incredibly fast, so they are definitely here to stay.

They also give people who wouldn't normally be able to cycle, or have conditions that effect cycling, the ability to get out on their bikes, which I think is great. I know a guy who has MS and can usually drop me easily on his good days, but on the days he is having issues with his condition, the e-bike keeps him on the road and out of the car.
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I have hills on my doorstep such that at my age they could be a struggle. One, I could get up, but found that it had become a get off and push for a short distance. One of those hills where you go up a steepish hill, then have to manoeuvre through a gate, still on the hill and then just as you start off again it steepens further and right on a bend. Last year I converted my back to an electric using the Swytch kit. It sold me on electrics. That extra bit of assistance makes it enjoyable. I am not one of those keep fit, it must be hard work fanatics!

However, the bike was a little heavy. It was a bit of a pain to put the tow ball on, if driving to a spot to ride, then the rack, then lift the bike on and fasten it. Then you find you have forgotten you need to get something or to put something in the boot and off it comes again. For the sort of riding I do it made me think of lighter weight electric collapsible bikes. It did not take long to realise that the Brompton Electric is up there with the best but not cheap. I saved, I sold the old bike, I sold the Swytch conversion wheel, I indulged.

The Brompton is fine to ride in most places but you would not take it down a rough mountain track. The assist from the front wheel is about right. Hills are not an issue and that one that used to be is a doddle to ride up, even without having to drop down to bottom gear. The bike has six gears. It’s a Sturmey Archer three speed hub with a two cog external gear to get the six. I find I never use the external gears leaving it in the highest and mostly only use 2 & 3 on the Sturmey Archer, rarely needing bottom.

The most I have done is 12 miles in one outing but the battery is said to take you 25 or so. It does not let you go above 15 mph with the motor (a legal restriction) but of course you can go faster at times but under man power. Take off from a standing start is quick and quicker than most bikes. You cannot compete with a normal size bike on the open road without the assist though. Remember the wheels are 16 inch. Care is needed turning and managing the front wheel. I am still learning that part and getting used to it. A long handlebar stem and little wheels mean the slightest movement on the handlebars translates to a big one at the wheel. Care is needed going over drain covers and potholes but I am assured as experience grows you get quite used to managing that. Compared to a normal bike it is of course light and folds up beautifully such that it goes in the boot or back of the car.

Certainly expensive but it is well made, solid and not like a folding bike I bought many many years ago when we had a caravan. I thought this special offer job at £50 was a good deal until I found, much to my then young sons’ great amusement, that the bike folded up as I rode it!

i only picked the Brompton up at the end of April, had 10 days or so and then the motor went faulty. Not a common fault I understand. Brompton replaced the whole front wheel and motor. I picked it up again this past week. The replacement is noticeably quieter and smoother.

Highly recommended. If you are one of us geriatrics then an electric bike is just the thing and it gets you out more in the fresh air. Not just for geriatrics though. I have neighbours who are very keen cyclists at a very high standard. One young man is training as part of the potential GB Olympic Team I understand. His mother, physically fit, has found it difficult to keep up when they go out as a family. She has bought an electric and it solves the problem! Indeed dad, who was once the fittest, goes out training with his son but he can’t keep up with him and now rides a small scooter to help pace him at higher speeds.

Go electric! You’ll enjoy it!
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hi Richard
I was considering the b75 and a swytch conversion kit to save £££.
I thought the swytch was fairly new, so surprised to find someone who had one, how was your experience with it?
G4RHL;56086:
.......

Go electric! You’ll enjoy it!
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woz;56110:
hi Richard
I was considering the b75 and a swytch conversion kit to save £££.
I thought the swytch was fairly new, so surprised to find someone who had one, how was your experience with it?


The Swytch was fine. I already had a heavyish bike and it added a bit more to it but worked well. I ordered it I think in early 2018 and it came last year. Fitting was straight forward other than the pedal sensor. There is a small sensor to fit to the frame and a wheel with small metal “sensor points” to go around the crank. There is some adaptability built in but initially I struggled to get a secure fit using cable ties. I did though and it worked. The sensor must be close to that wheel. Very like a bike computer sensor is to the bit that fastens to the spokes. To get that to fit, and successfully I padded it out with bits of old inner tube. However, bikes are different and Swytch designed this for a fairly stand construction. They are helpful if you make contact about suitability.

I had the brake sensors and throttle switch. The former I never used for if you stopped pedalling to brake the engine stopped anyway and the only purpose of the brake sensor was to do just that by sensing you were pulling the brake on. They are not mandatory, not necessary a point that Swytch acknowledged. The throttle worked whereby you could use it to run the motor even if not pedalling. I took it off after a short time, partly because it is illegal in the U.K. and also it had little value.

I had the larger capacity battery that takes you to 50 miles. I never flattened it. The motor was designed to go up to 25mph I think. No stop on it if you exceed the 15 mph limit! On one occasion I found myself going up a hill with little effort at 19 mph. I think 15 mph is more than enough anyway.

It did work well. The concept is a good one. The battery bag a little heavy - it clips to the front of the handle bars. I believe Swytch, now that they have done the first run and got experiences back, have done some refinements. If you have a decent bike you don’t want to sell it is a good option. There are now one or two others doing a similar thing. It was my experience of this sold me on going electric and looking at an all electric bike.

We have had an e-bike for over 3 years now. Currently 2 between us and looking for another one (road/cyclocross type cycle).

 

Recommended. Cheaper than a car and you use it more as the interia to get started is hardly there.

No, but only because I am a keen cyclist and like to do it all under my own power 😃 (bring on those hills!) However, I think they are a great idea and have already made a big difference in getting people out and about on their bikes in the fresh air, and most importantly out of their cars! The tech seems to be moving forward incredibly fast, so they are definitely here to stay.

They also give people who wouldn't normally be able to cycle, or have conditions that effect cycling, the ability to get out on their bikes, which I think is great. I know a guy who has MS and can usually drop me easily on his good days, but on the days he is having issues with his condition, the e-bike keeps him on the road and out of the car.

+1 for me, similar opinion. I just got back from helping a friend get used to his Rad Rhino e-bike (750W motor!). I was on my “shopping bike” (a converted 1989 Gary Fisher with panniers, front basket, and a “one by” set up).

I wouldn’t buy an e-bike, but only because I prefer to get along under my own power (and still can get up long, steep hills, and enjoy the pain followed by exhilaration). However, I do support them for helping people like my friend to get out and get some exercise. He and I chatted about pedalling when he could, or using pedal-assist when he came to slight inclines, as I noticed he started to just let the motor do the work. The Rad Rhino is (I think) advertised as a pedal-assist, meaning you have to pedal to get the motor to work, but that wasn’t the case.

So, for me, a “No thanks”, but a “yes” to being in support of them. Except for smug people who grin at me as they speed past without turning the pedals, of course!

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