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Different e-assists

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  • ash13brook
    What are the different brands/models of available e-assist motors? Those who have them, what do you like or dislike about them? I think the only way I m going
    Message 1 of 7 , Aug 31, 2009
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      What are the different brands/models of available e-assist motors?
      Those who have them, what do you like or dislike about them?
      I think the only way I'm going to be able to get my wife to go along to the grocery store and general errand running is if i can guarantee her she's not going to have to battle a headwind in either direction. I might not be opposed to it, either.
    • Bill Bonney
      Hi, I have experimented with the BionX 350PL assist. It well made piece of kit with good power. Battery life is good (in comparison to others at the
      Message 2 of 7 , Aug 31, 2009
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        Hi,

        I have experimented with the BionX 350PL assist. It well made piece of
        kit with good power. Battery life is good (in comparison to others at
        the size/weight) It also has a neat system of sensing when you push on
        the pedal, the more pressure you put on the pedal the faster you go.
        You don't need to use a throttle to control assist. This means it
        feels more like normal cycling

        There is also the lower power Bionx 250W and the cheaper NiMH type
        batteries (I recommend only going to the LiON type)

        The disadvantages are cost. It's also proprietary battery and
        controller, so you cannot but different batteries from other
        manufacturers, say if you wanted longer range, or shorter range and
        lighter set-up.

        I didn't keep the unit for myself as i found i preferred cycling the
        'naked' way. For me I'm faster with the e-assist weight (BionX are
        speed limited to only assist up too 32kph)

        I think if I'm in the market again I would consider looking at the
        more hobby kits like Crystaylite or eZee hub powered at 48V volts.
        Also I would look the now available Lithium-IronPhosphate (Li-Fe-Po4)
        battery packs, as they charge quicker and can be recharged more times.
        These units tend to be front wheel power, but i'm sure they will work
        well with an xtracyclye. These kits feel more like an electric bike,
        rather than normal cycling as they have a throttle.

        But saying that.... the Stokemonkey, by clever cycles looks
        interesting. I do think it could be more challenging to use though as
        it requires the rider to be fixed into the pedals with cleats/tow
        straps. It's a more avid cyclist focused product. It advantages is
        that you can pair it with any battery tech, based on cost, weight etc...

        Hope that helps :-)

        If you have any further questions, just fire away and i will do my
        best to help

        Bill
      • toddfahrner
        ... I agree that this is a quality product, admirably simple in operation, but disagree that having pedal pressure serve both a throttle function and normal
        Message 3 of 7 , Aug 31, 2009
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          --- In rootsradicals@yahoogroups.com, Bill Bonney <billbonney@...> wrote:

          > I have experimented with the BionX 350PL assist. It well made piece of
          > kit with good power. Battery life is good (in comparison to others at
          > the size/weight) It also has a neat system of sensing when you push on
          > the pedal, the more pressure you put on the pedal the faster you go.
          > You don't need to use a throttle to control assist. This means it
          > feels more like normal cycling

          I agree that this is a quality product, admirably simple in operation, but disagree that having pedal pressure serve both a throttle function and normal propulsion results in a normal cycling feel. My experience with these systems is that they train you to pedal differently (=more slowly, harder, anaerobic) to "trick" the system into assisting you more than it otherwise would. Either that, or you get more assistance at certain moments than you want. I consider it oversimple, substituting your sophisticated on-board computer (brain) for a simple algorithm. A manual throttle, while it adds a new control element to the normal biking experience, is at least yours to decide how to use, moment by moment.

          > The disadvantages are cost. It's also proprietary battery and
          > controller, so you cannot but different batteries from other
          > manufacturers, say if you wanted longer range, or shorter range and
          > lighter set-up.

          I would say the main potential disadvantage of this and most other "single speed" assist systems designed for normal (not cargo) bicycles is that they tend to be optimized, efficiency-wise, for cruising along on fairly level ground at maybe 18mph. With cargo and hills, or stiff headwinds, or lots of start-and-stop, they tend not to be able to spin up to their optimum working speed so end up creating a lot of heat relative to propulsion, limiting range for a given load of batteries.

          > But saying that.... the Stokemonkey, by clever cycles looks
          > interesting. I do think it could be more challenging to use though as
          > it requires the rider to be fixed into the pedals with cleats/tow
          > straps.

          This isn't true. There is no such requirement, and I think only a small minority of users use same. Thanks for alerting me to a perception problem with that line item in the warnings. I recommended foot retention back in the day in part because I was trying to imagine all kinds of gruesome fantasy liabilities of driven pedals and mitigate them. But here 5 years later still nobody's reported harm from not using retention of some sort.

          > It's a more avid cyclist focused product. It advantages is
          > that you can pair it with any battery tech, based on cost, weight etc...

          A number of other systems are battery-agnostic too. The main advantage is that by using all your bike's gears, the motor can deliver huge torque, necessary for heavy cargo in steep hills, and also good speed, without sacrificing efficiency.
        • Cara Lin Bridgman
          I second Todd s comment about the cleats. I ve been using a stokemonkey for over 2 years now and I ve never used cleats. In my whole biking life, I ve never
          Message 4 of 7 , Sep 1, 2009
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            I second Todd's comment about the cleats. I've been using a stokemonkey
            for over 2 years now and I've never used cleats. In my whole biking
            life, I've never used cleats. For the stop and go in-town traffic
            biking that I do, I can't imagine using cleats.

            I don't usually use the stokemonkey to help me go faster. I use it to
            make sure I get home without being too hot and bothered (in Taiwan's
            heat and humidity, a little hot and bothered is unavoidable). I use it
            to help me get to work in the rain so I can arrive without being as wet
            (sweat) inside my rain gear as everything else is wet outside. I use it
            for the extra help with head winds and when I'm pooped. On my way to
            work, I often use it to take the edge or oomph off pedaling--this helps
            me attain a cruising speed of 18-22 kph and cuts down on the heat and
            sweat. These ways of using the stokemonkey increase my average speed of
            about 14 kph to about 17 kph. With one of Morgan's LiFePo4 batteries, I
            tend to recharge every two trips or 30 km or when the Amp Hours decrease
            to about 5.

            I like the stokemonkey. I like being able to use it when I want to and
            ignoring it when I want to go under my own power. I never think about
            the weight of the motor (about 9 kg) or battery (original about 9 kg,
            LeFePo4 is much less). The placement of the motor (low and center)
            makes the weight unnoticeable. Also, I'm often trying to haul home a
            fiberglass bathtub, marble-seated chair, wooden spool, occasional
            friend... So, weight is never an issue.

            Probably the biggest problem is installation. My local bike shops oohed
            and ahhed over the Surly Instigator frame, etc, but refused to have
            anything to do with the motor. So, I have to build and maintain the
            bike myself. This, actually, is a good thing!

            CL


            toddfahrner wrote:
            > This isn't true. There is no such requirement, and I think only a
            small minority of users use same. Thanks for alerting me to a perception
            problem with that line item in the warnings. I recommended foot
            retention back in the day in part because I was trying to imagine all
            kinds of gruesome fantasy liabilities of driven pedals and mitigate
            them. But here 5 years later still nobody's reported harm from not using
            retention of some sort.

            > --- In rootsradicals@yahoogroups.com, Bill Bonney <billbonney@...> wrote:
            >> But saying that.... the Stokemonkey, by clever cycles looks
            >> interesting. I do think it could be more challenging to use though as
            >> it requires the rider to be fixed into the pedals with cleats/tow
            >> straps.

            --

            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
            Cara Lin Bridgman cara.lin@...

            P.O. Box 013 Shinjhuang http://megaview.com.tw/~caralin
            Longjing Township http://www.BugDorm.com
            Taichung County 43499
            Taiwan Phone: 886-4-2632-5484
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
          • Bill Bonney
            ... That s interesting information to know. That it is easy to use without always wearing a foot retention system . Though I m guessing that with the motor
            Message 5 of 7 , Sep 1, 2009
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              >> But saying that.... the Stokemonkey, by clever cycles looks
              >> interesting. I do think it could be more challenging to use though as
              >> it requires the rider to be fixed into the pedals with cleats/tow
              >> straps.

              >This isn't true. There is no such requirement, and I think only a
              > small
              minority of users use same. Thanks for alerting me to a
              >perception
              problem with that line item in the warnings.

              That's interesting information to know. That it is easy to use without always wearing a 'foot retention system'. Though I'm guessing that with the motor engaged, you need to keep peddling, to coast you have to let off the throttle?

              see (for ref) http://cleverchimp.com/products/stokemonkey/warnings/ for the warnings posted

              I think that for more sensible loads of the groceries a hub based motor would be ok. The advantage being that you can just stop peddling and coast. It's easier on the brain, if you are not the most confident or avid cyclists.

              I agree with with todd that if you are an avid cyclist the stokemoneky is the best option as it allows you assist you to pedal through your normal bike gears, a far more efficient way to use the energy stored in the battery. I like the set-up as i found with the BionX (as Todd also stated) that you peddle slower to increase pressure on the pedals to gain more assist.

              Hope that helps :)


            • Cara Lin Bridgman
              That was the thing that sold my husband on the stokemonkey--that when the motor was running, I still have to pedal. The stokemonkey is an Assist. It s not a
              Message 6 of 7 , Sep 1, 2009
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                That was the thing that sold my husband on the stokemonkey--that when
                the motor was running, I still have to pedal. The stokemonkey is an
                Assist. It's not a replacement for your own effort.

                Then my husband found the 'manual override.' He put his feet on the top
                tube. He looked really silly going down the road with the pedals
                spinning madly and his long legs sticking way out.

                Here in Taiwan, I frequently see people on e-bikes who have 'stopped
                pedaling and coast.' In fact, I hardly ever see them pedaling at all.
                They approach an e-bike as though it was a slow, light-weight motorbike.
                When the guy at the friendliest bike shop (he sells Giant LaFrees and
                I've known him for 20 years) found the Stokemonkey doesn't come with a
                freewheel for coasting, he figured it wouldn't sell in Taiwan.

                CL
                who likes the stokemonkey because she controls the pedaling effort.

                Bill Bonney wrote:
                > That's interesting information to know. That it is easy to use without
                > always wearing a 'foot retention system'. Though I'm guessing that with
                > the motor engaged, you need to keep peddling, to coast you have to let
                > off the throttle?
                >
                > see (for ref) http://cleverchimp.com/products/stokemonkey/warnings/ for
                > the warnings posted
                >
                > I think that for more sensible loads of the groceries a hub based motor
                > would be ok. The advantage being that you can just stop peddling and
                > coast. It's easier on the brain, if you are not the most confident or
                > avid cyclists.
                >
                > I agree with with todd that if you are an avid cyclist the stokemoneky
                > is the best option as it allows you assist you to pedal through your
                > normal bike gears, a far more efficient way to use the energy stored in
                > the battery. I like the set-up as i found with the BionX (as Todd also
                > stated) that you peddle slower to increase pressure on the pedals to
                > gain more assist.
              • Carl Ray
                Hello, E-assist has it s place bridging the gap of Car and bike. With a small adjustment in life style going car free is very reachable. An e-assit X is like a
                Message 7 of 7 , Sep 1, 2009
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                  Hello,

                  E-assist has it's place bridging the gap of Car and bike. With a small adjustment in life style going car free is very reachable. An e-assit X is like a freakin suburban. I made trips to home depot and mulch leaf collecting as well as Saturday morning coffee runs kicking it at Starbucks. Can't quite tow a boat, but a kayak or a ladder, you betcha!

                  Morgan over at Cycle9.com is a great source for e-assist information, she is vastly knowledgeable and truly cares about the right set-up for your situation. There are pros and cons to every system set-up. She can help you look at those, and come up with an ideal system for your needs.

                  Carl  

                  On Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 3:20 PM, ash13brook <ash13brook@...> wrote:
                   

                  What are the different brands/models of available e-assist motors?
                  Those who have them, what do you like or dislike about them?
                  I think the only way I'm going to be able to get my wife to go along to the grocery store and general errand running is if i can guarantee her she's not going to have to battle a headwind in either direction. I might not be opposed to it, either.




                  --
                  “A plant, which is a living and breathing entity, has the ability to understand and work in synchrony with the body’s internal needs, in harmony with the vital force within us, to heal and give life”

                  -Donald R. Yance
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