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Stilllearning

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

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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 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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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

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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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I have had an electric bike for about 19 months and its been great but I've had the motor hub replaced twice under warranty. My advice is to buy at a reputable dealer and not off the internet.

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Thanks for the replies, my wife is still looking around and is in contact with a local bike specialist. She is avoiding the internet for buying a bike, but using it for research.

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Have a look at WOOSH bikes 

Respected and knowledgeable contributor to pedelecs forum also some good info on the site. 

http://wooshbikes.co.uk/?

Foldable bikes here 

http://wooshbikes.co.uk/cart/#/category/uid-3

This one looks a decent folder

http://wooshbikes.co.uk/?gale

It uses the 8 fun (Bafang) hub motor which is a good make and also has spares available. Has rear gears and reasonable size wheels. 

I have no association with the company but am aware of their good name via a number of online forums etc,. 

 

Personally I prefer the conversion route that way you know you have a decent base bike but, as i say, that is my preference 

Edited by reg

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Sorry in my previous post I was assuming, maybe incorrectly, that you were looking at a folding bike. If that is not the case then I would suggest an 26 inch wheel mountain or hybrid would be the best choose, seem to be better geared towards .

if you do go for the mountain bike style then these are relatively easy to fit a conversion kit too. In my case I went for a Bafang BBS01 (new model is now the BBS01B) mid drive kit, very pleased with it. Bit harder to fit and more expensive but we'll worth the effort. Just need to find a decent bike to fit it too a more rigid frame is better than a lightweight one. 

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Be warned, they are very heavy, at least the models sort of 5-10 years ago were. I reckon you need to use them a fair bit too to stop the batteries knackering up from under use. Good idea though, they are great if you're unfit (no offence) or struggle a bit. Helped me get off the fags years ago now, and lead to a love of cycling.

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