Looking for electric bicycle advice
July 7, 2005 2:11 PM   Subscribe

I'm thinking of purchasing an electric bicycle and looking for advice...

I currently use my (non-electric) hybrid to commute some or all of a portion of the 25 kilometres from my apartment in Burnaby, British Columbia to UBC in Vancouver. Some mornings I just don't have the energy for a long ride, though. And while there are bike racks on the bus (which allows me to use my bike for a shorter distance of the commute), public transit is packed and slow during peak commuting hours.

So I've been checking out the bikes at this place. I'm currently looking at the Giant SuedeE as a possibility.

If you own an electric bicycle, are you happy with it? What kind do you own? Do you use it to commute long-ish distances? Even in the winter?
posted by sanitycheck to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (4 answers total)
I don't have an electric bicycle, but I came across the Dahon Roo EL recently during my Internet searching. It's a folding bike, weighing in at 17 kilos, which makes it ultra-portable. It retails for about $1,500 US. The specifications note a 50km range. Did I mention it folds?
posted by bwilms at 2:55 PM on July 7, 2005

Weight: Bike 44 lbs + Battery 12 lbs = 56 lbs total

I'd be concerned about battery life when it gets very cold, plus you might want to think about where you are gonna store this bike and how it might feel to haul a 56 lb bike up a few flights of stairs. It might also not be that much fun to pedal a 56 lb. bike with a dead battery.

Max range: 30 miles - which is roughly 50K, right? So it would need to be charged daily.
Max. Speed 17 mph
Charge Time 5 hours
Battery life 500 charges i.e. cycles.

So a $1,000 USD bike that you could use as an electric for two years or so before it would need a battery.
posted by fixedgear at 4:17 PM on July 7, 2005

Response by poster: Storage shouldn't be an issue. I live in a ground-level flat, and in the building where I work at UBC we have a bike room, as well as elevators should I want to bring it up to my office to charge it.

I use my current bike on a daily basis for errands and whatnot, in addition to commuting, and I can only think of one occasion in the past 4 months where I've had to carry it down a flight of stairs.

So the main issue seems to be the battery. I imagine I don't need the assistance of the electric motor for my entire commute (especially the downhill bits!). I wonder how that factors into their 50k estimate.

Does anyone know the replacement cost for a battery like this? Even if it was to cost several hundred dollars, that's still a LOT cheaper than a year's worth of gas or bus passes.
posted by sanitycheck at 7:31 PM on July 7, 2005

The battery is a 36V, 9Ah NiMH battery pack which should be under a couple hundred dollars to replace. If the manufacturer is hosing you on replacements NiMH battery packs can often be rebuild from individual cells in your old battery case.
posted by Mitheral at 7:00 AM on July 8, 2005

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