Friday, March 11, 2016

Fossil Free Friday: Electric Bike Overview

Find it in Seattle

Okay, so you want to be healthier, earth-friendlier, (possibly) wealthier, and generally like the world better; but you're not a hardcore athlete, you live near hills, you have a wonky knee, you hate traffic, or you just want a cool toy. An electric bike may be just the thing for you.

In the next few weeks I will be posting more details about the overwhelming choices in going electric. For now, we'll start with a quick overview to get your mental saliva flowing. (Gross!)
Factory Built

Genze Sport $

Genze Comfort $

Pedego Bikes (they have several models) $$

Those lovely Faradays $$

The Haibike $$$

The astounding Stealth $$$$

I want a RadWagon! $

Hey, it has pedals too! $

If you can afford it, you are the average consumer, and you barely know where to put gas in your car, do yourself a favor and find a good factory-built electric bike. And spend a little (or a lot) more than you initially expected. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Be sure to read online reviews that are not from the seller's website.) There is a lot to be said for a machine that was engineered with pieces designed to work together. If you are under 200 pounds and don't have a lot to carry, a bike with 250 watts of power should be fine. If you are over 200 pounds and or have lots of stuff to carry, be sure to stay over 500 watts. Expect to pay at least $1500 for a good factory built electric bike.


There are lots of great kits and scads of poor kits out there to choose from. You definitely get what you pay for. More importantly, without lots of research, the average user will be disappointed with the first attempt. It gets much more expensive when you try again for a second attempt.

On the other hand, if you are a tinkerer, a maker, a builder, a hot rodder, a gearhead, a speed junkie, or just someone who craves that sort of thing, the DIY thing can be awesome.

Categories for DIY (and factory-built)

Evelo Omni Wheel


Powered Wheels (Evelo, Copenhagen Wheel, FlyKly, Daymak DDS) - Powered wheels are just coming into their own. Simple install and very clean - just change a wheel, mount a display (or smartphone mount, download an app, and take off. They seem expensive until you realize that everything (batteries, motor, and controller) is inside the wheel. Very neat idea.

I hope my next bike build has one of these (Bafang/8FUN BBS)

Mid Drive (Bafang BBS, Bosch - and lots more are becoming available) Mid-Drives are the big thing for hill climbers and those who want a balanced bike that utilizes all of the gears with the motor. (I sure want to try one out!)

My bike with this fairly generic hubmotor kit installed

Hubmotor (Front/Rear, Geared/Direct Drive - huge number of choices) The old workhorse of the electric bike world is still a great option for those who live in a flat place, want to go really fast, or want to do it on a budget.

You have to love a name like that!

Friction Drive (Rubbee) I have never been a fan of friction drives, but they are simple and do have a following. The Rubbee is definitely a cool application of the idea.

Wow! That's a lot of stuff. Keep watching this blog for more in-depth info on these options.

May you find just the right bike for your budget, your beliefs, and that wonky knee!