hello to you, Liza,
As a former e-assist velomobilist, assisted by a Stokemonkey, I can
offer a few insights of my own. I don't have statistics to offer,
because statistics can be ignored unless you are the one collecting the
data. The information I've seen from personal experience can be skewed
in too many ways to be meaningful. If the journalist wants
sensationalism, he skews one way; if the green bike shop owner wants to
sell a bike, he can skew it another.
My skew (and that's what it is) is that education and understanding is
critical to safe use, care and operation. Batteries with poor
connections due to weather exposure will generate heat, usually melting
a wire, but rarely causing a fire. A defective charger can cause a fire,
but it's rare and no one would purchase a known defective charger.
Many users of e-assist bikes are not aware that a battery life is
shortened by operating it until nearly exhausted, and the dealer wants
you to think that it can go 20 miles (which it can) but safe range for
the batteries is ten. If you continue to go 20 miles per charge, your
batteries might last only a few months.
I would not be able to guess why a particular model has been
discontinued, but often enough the sale cost of an e-assist bike
discourages sales and the profit isn't there. I know from experience
why the Stokemonkey was put on hiatus. Todd is very conscientious about
his product and has a great customer service attitude as well.
Since the Stokemonkey was installed in my velomobile, I can suggest that
if you want efficiency, performance, and flexibility, you can't do
better than a Stokemonkey equipped bike. It was designed to be used with
the Xtracycle, but I think it's also going to fit another "long bike" if
you want a complete bike, rather than three pieces/parts.
The Stokemonkey system had a throttle/controller flaw. If a specific
wire failed in throttle connection, the motor would go full tilt. It was
not a problem for me when it happened, but for other installations,
there would be increased danger. Todd has corrected that problem and
expects to be resuming sales soon. I understand from his web site that
he has received components for the new system, but I don't know much
One characteristic of the Stokemonkey is that when the motor is running,
the pedals are turning. It might seem unusual or uncomfortable, but it
works great in practice. Clipless pedals are a must, as you want your
feet to remain on the pedals while in operation. This results in you
providing your own contribution all the time, a true electric-assist,
rather than an electric powered bike.
Because of the aerodynamics of my velomobile, I recorded the lowest
electricity consumption of anyone on the power-assist group on Yahoo.
That's also because I pedal all the time, not just let the motor do the
work. I had added a monitoring device called the Cycle Analyst to the
vehicle so I could see how much power I used and how much remained, so I
would not over-discharge the batteries, maintaining their lifespan.
On the bicycle side of things, I would highly recommend to anyone to
view the practices presented by the LAB, called vehicular cycling.
Regardless of power-assist or straight human power, one would find that
VC results in a much safer ride. I have been a VC proponent for about a
year and my riding has become all the more pleasant for the increased
safety I enjoy.
Vehicular cycling means getting out of the gutter, into traffic and
operating as a motor vehicle would operate, within the restrictions of
your state's laws. Florida law is more generous than most, in that I'm
not required to ride in the shoulder or bike lane if I feel it's
dangerous to me. Since my current (human-power-only) velomobile is wider
than the shoulder, among other reasons, I always ride in the traffic
lane. Another aspect of Florida law is that if the lane is less than 14
feet wide, I am permitted to use the entire lane, which I do.
Most of the roadways on which I travel are four to six lanes, so there
is no problem with traffic getting around me, presuming (sometimes
incorrectly) that the other drivers are competent enough to pass me.
Those drivers on cell-phones tailgating me for two miles at 20 mph are
automatically presumed incompetent, of course.
If you'd care to have any additional insight to the Stokemonkey or VC
practices, please ask away. I'm somewhat fanatic about my riding and
commuting, so I'm always happy to expound.
--- In CarFree@yahoogroups.com, Liza Anulao <synapse5317@...> wrote:
> I am investigating electric bicycles, and had a few questions.
> First, I wanted to know if anybody could kindly share statistics or
other information on the safety of electric bicycles. I had visited a
bicycle shop in Venice/Palms, CA, and the bike store salesperson
indicated that electric bicycles are known to have lots of problems,
like starting fires from the batteries overheating.
> When I looked online into the Giant Suede E, which was being used by
the Pasadena MyGo program, the site said this bicycle had been
discontinued. Why was it discontinued? Similarly I have noticed that the
Stokemonkey is not available for sale yet. Are the reasons why related
to safety issues?
> Lastly, I understand that the Pasadena MyGo program is on hiatus. Does
anybody know when it will kick back into operation? I think it was such
a wonderful plan!
> Thanks! I am so glad this group is available and sharing resources and
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]