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Stilllearning

Battery powered bicycles, which are the best or the worst?

13 posts in this topic

Over here in France, Mrs Stilllearning has noticed that the French government has got a scheme to offer a 200€ rebate on buying an electric assisted bike. So does anyone have experience of buying and using such a bike, and have any suggestions of makes to avoid, or any that you recommend?

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Our folding Volt Metro works well. Plenty of range and folds up roughly to the dimensions of a Brompton. Had it 3 years now.

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My brother,landlubber, is looking into buying an electric assisted bicycle. I will watch this thread with interest.

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I bought a " volt burlinton " last year...excellent saves the legs between the locks...

suppose to give 60 miles to a charge,yet to be tested...

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Though I think they are the spawn of the devil I have a regular customer here who has a " G tech " it looks like a proper bike with inobtrusive battery and drive jobby for about a grand methinks. It goes well too.

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I've sent a link of the g-tech bike to bruv.

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Thanks for the replies all information will help us make an informed decision.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

I have built a few of these using regular bikes and conversion kits available on the internet. There a many types of electric assist bikes and it is well worth thinking through what you want before buying. Some are bikes for non-cyclists, some are high performance vehicles. Some are gentle short range utility bikes and others powerful long range ones. As a rule the lower priced ones are built on bikes that are made of chinese cheese. 

For the towpath the best I have seen is a decent solid Halfords off-road hybrid with a powerful (500w) 36v crank motor and 15ah bottle mount battery. Bike costs about £3-400 and conversion kit about £700. Very easy to build up, or can be bought ready made from a company called Whoosh. I had one myself and it was a superb workhorse. Unfortunately it got nicked from behind my back while I was chucking balls for the dog! (I never found out what the top speed was as 25mph was well enough). Key thing was it had enough power to go up anything with ease. Effectively a moped.

I also have an electrified Brompton which is superb as it folds so small, but it isn't great on rough towpaths.

Edited by Tigerr
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if you're looking for a good (basic) bike to convert have a look at the raleigh talus 1.0

it's a basic (no suspension / no disc brakes etc) MTB that uses an aluminium frame so it's lightweight but still has enough flex to be a comfortable ride (some lightweight frames are too rigid and are horrible rides), it's light enough to easily put the bike on the roof or the boat with one hand.

recently when a 3 mile ride turned into a 25 mile ride (including a lot of towpath) I was the only one not struggling at the end (which was a surprise as I'm not that fit and do very little cycling)

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Posted (edited) · Report post

This is my Marin hybrid bike which is 17 years old. I converted it to an e bike and its excellent. Its good for around fifty miles on a charge.  It cost me around £700 to convert. The kit, from a specialist e bike kit seller in Stoke on Trent, came with all you need. However it's not suitable to use on our trad narrowboat....hence the Volt folder we have. The Marin would need to go on the roof and its a hefty thing to lift up and down. The battery is a 15ah version to get a decent range. It trundles along easily at around 17.5 mph.

It might seem expensive to fit out an old bike like this but it's been well worthwhile.

 

20170601_181415_001.jpg

Edited by Peter-Bullfinch
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If you're looking to convert an existing bike it may be worth looking at the currie electro drive units (assuming they are still available), the one pictured tops out at just under 30mph and will throw you off the back if you snap the throttle open

post-9998-0-93942600-1448717961_thumb.jpg

post-9998-0-81662900-1448717929_thumb.jpg

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1 hour ago, Peter-Bullfinch said:

This is my Marin hybrid bike which is 17 years old. I converted it to an e bike and its excellent. Its good for around fifty miles on a charge.  It cost me around £700 to convert. The kit, from a specialist e bike kit seller in Stoke on Trent, came with all you need. However it's not suitable to use on our trad narrowboat....hence the Volt folder we have. The Marin would need to go on the roof and its a hefty thing to lift up and down. The battery is a 15ah version to get a decent range. It trundles along easily at around 17.5 mph.

It might seem expensive to fit out an old bike like this but it's been well worthwhile.

 

20170601_181415_001.jpg

That is similar to one I built. I found it was OK for going on the roof if I took the battery off - which was needed anyway for charging. Most important thing is a strong frame to cope with the torque of the motor and the weight of the battery. One of my early conversions was on a lighter aluminium frame mixte and it flexed so badly it was nearly unrideable! Plus - the bottle mounts can easily break with the battery (towpath bumps) so some secondary thermoplastic padding to hold the battery is a good idea. 

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