Photo: Zap Electric's power-assist kit turns a conventional bike into an electric one. There's a bolt-on DC electric motor (weighing just over 3kg or 7lb) just above the back wheel, behind the police officer's foot, pressing against the tire and driving it by simple friction. The motor's powered by a compact lead-acid battery (weighing about 5.5 kg or 12 lb) inside a protective nylon bag. This kit adds quite bit of weight to the bike, but gives extra range and speed when needed. Photo taken in Santa Rosa, California by Rick Tang courtesy of US DOE/NREL.
Because the power is applied through the chain and sprocket, power is typically limited to around 250–500 watts to protect against fast wear on the drivetrain. An electric mid-drive combined with an internal gear hub at the back hub may require care due to the lack of a clutch mechanism to soften the shock to the gears at the moment of re-engagement. A continuously variable transmission or a fully automatic internal gear hub may reduce the shocks due to the viscosity of oils used for liquid coupling instead of the mechanical couplings of the conventional internal gear hubs.
While falling gas prices have temporarily halted years of gains in the number of bicycle commuters, more and more of us are using the bicycle to get around. It’s economical, provides good exercise, and is much cheaper than owning a car. But unless you’re in really good shape, you aren’t going to get very far. Enter the electric bike: a glorious new contraption allows us to get around without having to worry about arriving at our destinations a sweaty mess.
These are, unfortunately, small steps forward, however, as the majority of city streets in America aren’t bike-friendly, and new legislation is rarely enforced. Then, if you take a look at the fitness (or lack thereof) of the average American, a connection begins to develop. This connection becomes even stronger when you compare the biking system here with that of a country like Norway, which has devoted hundreds of millions of dollars to its biking infrastructure, building highways dedicated to the mode of transportation. As a result, Norway is one of the most physically active countries in the world, significantly lowering their incidences of heart disease and obesity.
The first mechanically-propelled, two-wheeled vehicle may have been built by Kirkpatrick MacMillan, a Scottish blacksmith, in 1839, although the claim is often disputed. He is also associated with the first recorded instance of a cycling traffic offense, when a Glasgow newspaper in 1842 reported an accident in which an anonymous "gentleman from Dumfries-shire... bestride a velocipede... of ingenious design" knocked over a little girl in Glasgow and was fined five shillings.
The Alpha has a 36V Brose 50W motor which is fueled by a “bridging” lithium-ion battery with 150 Wh of capacity, which is charged by the onboard 150 W PEM Hydrogen fuel cell. The fuel cell is fueled by a 2 litre compressed hydrogen gas cylinder, which can be refilled in about 2 minutes at a filling station. In terms of cost per charge, this is likely to be more than a standard electric bike, however, the convenience of faster recharging may make it suitable for some riders, particularly commercial fleet operators using ebikes on shifts for several riders.
At $799, it is one of the most affordable full-size folding electric bicycles on the market. There are cheaper folding e-bikes out there, but they generally have much smaller wheels and lower top speeds. With 16″ wheels and a max speed of 32 km/h (20 mph), the Shift S1 combines the specs of higher priced e-bikes with the affordability of a budget folder.
The Wavecrest Tidalforce M-750 was based on The original military experimental M-313 model had a 1000 watt electric hub motor mounted into the rear wheel of a folding Montague Bicycles Paratrooper Bicycle frame and a 36 volt battery pack mounted into the front wheel hub. The later commercial versions had speed restrictions to comply with federal law with 750 watt restrictions (500 watts maximum in the Canadian version) but had 1000 watt unresricted speed as an add on option. The M-313/M-750X was the first electric bike to be made and tested by Wavecrest labs. It is based on a design developed for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) that was meant to allow zero-heat long distance troop movements for the United States Marine Corps in Afghanistan.
The handlebars connect to the stem that connects to the fork that connects to the front wheel, and the whole assembly connects to the bike and rotates about the steering axis via the headset bearings. Three styles of handlebar are common. Upright handlebars, the norm in Europe and elsewhere until the 1970s, curve gently back toward the rider, offering a natural grip and comfortable upright position. Drop handlebars "drop" as they curve forward and down, offering the cyclist best braking power from a more aerodynamic "crouched" position, as well as more upright positions in which the hands grip the brake lever mounts, the forward curves, or the upper flat sections for increasingly upright postures. Mountain bikes generally feature a 'straight handlebar' or 'riser bar' with varying degrees of sweep backwards and centimeters rise upwards, as well as wider widths which can provide better handling due to increased leverage against the wheel.
Rad Power’s lineup of 2019 bikes start at $1,699 (there’s also a Cyber Monday special on their 2018 models), proving that electric bikes don’t have to be over $2,000 to have the amenities and quality you need for daily commuting. Of course, that’s still a steep price for some. But as prices keep dropping in the e-bike industry, affordability breeds better access, and this might be the key that our cities—and their traffic—so desperately need.
In 2012, two e-bike advocates completed the first 4,000-mile (6,400 km) transcontinental e-bike tour from New York to San Francisco to advocate for e-bikes in major cities across the U.S. Pedego Electric Bikes is the best selling brand in the U.S. Many e-bikes in the United States are standard bicycles converted using a kit. In general, the kits include the motor (the majority of which are hub motors built into the front or rear wheel), a speed controller, throttle (usually twist-grip or thumb throttle), necessary wiring and connectors, and a battery. Several U.S. companies offer conversion kits which also offer advanced lithium battery packs. Major manufacturers also offer complete e-bikes. Trek offers a line of e-bikes using the Bionx system in which the rider programs the controller to determine how much effort the motor will give in response to rider effort, from 25% up to 200% of the rider's power. This system ensures a minimum level of rider participation and is also used to comply with many European laws mandating partial human effort before the motor engages.
Bike is awesome, warranty support has so far delivered, but is a hassle to deal with (and hassle is acceptable and better than nightmare, or unresponsive/clueless/unhelpful/not-english-speaking). To be fair, this is the middle of Swag's busy season. Check tire inflation, check and tighten fasteners, seatpost and handlebars and stem out of the box, RTFM, charge the battery and you're out the door riding quickly.
The 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic of the United Nations considers a bicycle to be a vehicle, and a person controlling a bicycle (whether actually riding or not) is considered an operator. The traffic codes of many countries reflect these definitions and demand that a bicycle satisfy certain legal requirements before it can be used on public roads. In many jurisdictions, it is an offense to use a bicycle that is not in a roadworthy condition.
Another big upgrade here is the 36V battery. Instead of the 8Ah that the Ancheer had, Rattan has a 10.4Ah battery. The battery actually looks a lot like this one that goes for $190 on ebay or a little more on Amazon. Rattan tells me it is full of genuine LG cells which seem to perform quite well. On cold days, my 15 km (10 mile) very hilly commute would use up about half of the battery (Ancheer would be dying on the way back home). I imagine someone significantly under my 200+lbs could approach the 25 miles Rattan says you can get on throttle alone or up to 50 miles of pedal assist. I’ll just say it was significantly more than the Ancheer.