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Thinking of getting electric bikes


catinou

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Hi all,

 

We came across a local shop, quite by accident, selling electric bikes and decided to try them out - truly impressed - so now selling our old (3 years) push bikes for something a bit easier to use with arthritic joints.

 

I think the Judge has them - anybody else and any preference, hints, tips etc. please?

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Hi,

I've been using one of these for the past few months and it's brilliant.

http://www.batribike.com/bikes/quartz/

There are 3 levels of battery assistance so if you are feeling energetic set it on low and the battery will last for ages. I have it set on full power as my knees are a bit knackered.....but still get around 18 miles.

It also folds easily and fits into the garage of my Hobby.

Fallowgate (the company selling them) are usually at all the shows and have been offering them for £650.

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Hi catinou

I don't have any experience of them myself, but it might be worthwhile going through some back copies of MMM

Mike Jago did an article (September issue - I think) and there had been a comparison test of various bikes 4 or 5 months ago

 

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Thank you Barry & John,

 

Very useful information to get us started on our research! We will be at the NEC on 18th so hope to see / try out a couple there too - I see Batribike will be there. :-)

 

One of the important things we need to look for - in addition to the usual battery life etc. will be the weight as we need 2 and will carry them on the bike rack on our MH. Can't wait to tackle some of those Italian roads we couldn't quite make it along - I was puffing too much and my feet threatened to give up completely! (I have had numerous operations over the years on my feet and have to pedal using the "arch" of my feet!) *-)

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I bought a secondhand Ladies Powabyke in July and it is great, so much so that my Husband managed to buy a secondhand Mens Powabyke 3 weeks ago. I did 16 miles on mine last week with quite a lot of hills and it was so easy. I use mine on 'power assisted' which means you have to pedal as well so you are getting some exercise.

 

The batteries on our bikes are very heavy and I believe that the newer Lithium Ion batteries are lighter. We take our batteries off before loading them into the motorhome garage and it does make a difference. Our bikes weigh 35 kgs with battery attached and the battery weighs 11kgs therefore the bike on its own weighs 24 kgs.

 

We bought secondhand with new batteries as we couldn't justify the cost at the moment of buying new and have no regrets at all. We bought the new battery complete with case from www.bikesandbatterys.co.uk and their service was brilliant. My bike had already had a new battery so there was no problem with that one.

 

 

When you get them you will wonder why you couldn't get them before, go for it.

 

 

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Thank you Randonneur, we hadn't thought of buying secondhand - will certainly look into that though.

 

We are looking at the Windsor at present - £699 (less at shows) with a gross weight of 24 kg each. We would also remove batteries before loading, even though on the Windsor the battery only weighs 2 kg, as we understand they are rather "desirable" and wouldn't want to leave on the bike rack with the bikes - we really wish we had bought a MH with a garage - but that's another story...... *-)

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Hello Catinou,

 

I faced a similar situation when I could no longer ride a normal push bike and had to weigh the pros and cons of what mode to change to. I think it depends primarily on what you want the bike to do. I was torn between choosing an electric bike or a petrol scooter. There are lots of different types of electric bike available and a huge range of prices, so research and patience in your choice will pay dividends, as will lots of test rides, to find the perfect fit for you. Or indeed whether you want one at all.

 

We like quiet rural CL/CS sites and I needed a means to get quickly to the rapidly dwindling number of village shops to buy fresh foods and newspapers as needed - such duties are delegated to me while The Boss relaxes with a good book.

 

We originally intended to buy a 125cc scooter but opted for an Urbanmover 36 Urban Glider electric bike with Lipol battery power, rechargeable from our 100w solar panel, 2 x 100 Ah leisure batteries and a 700W inverter.

 

From mains it recharges from low level in about 5 hours and on inverter about 7-8 but this latter figure reduces of course, in better weather.

 

I have used the bike for up to 10 miles in pedal mode with no problems and plenty of power in reserve. Just for fun I have run it for 6 miles, including very steep hills in "moped" mode and the power was getting low. (It's amusing, but very childish, to watch people's faces as you ride uphill without actually pedalling.) When stored the battery holds the charge very well so the bike is always ready to go.

 

The claimed range with pedals is about 22-30 miles and 10-15 in moped mode - this would depend on terrain - but I think it is a fair guestimate. Bear in mind that although mine looks like a mountain bike, the tyres are road tyres and the manufacturer states it is not suitable for "off-roading". I feel it is best on roads and cycle tracks and perhaps the better kept bridleways - the clue is in the model name on this one! So do check carefully before you buy any bike.

 

The battery locks to the frame and can be charged on or off the bike. Spare batteries (expensive) can be bought to enhance range. Electric bikes look extremely “nickable” so I am very careful where I park it and I have two locks in addition to the bike's ignition key lock and I carry it in the M/H garage.

 

Disability precludes me riding a normal bike so the Urban Mover has been a great compromise. It gives me the speed and flexibility to do the shopping - loading up the 2 large panniers I fitted works well - and means we can stay on the sites we like for as long as we like. My wife does not ride bikes so I cannot say whether the solar power set up we have would cope with charging two bikes - I doubt it in winter, but that's just a gut feeling. Mains hook-up would cure that of course. Buying this bike meant I did not have to spend an extra £1600 on a scooter and I don't need tax and insurance. Charged from solar it conveys a veneer of green respectability if that's your thing. It weighs just 22.5Kg so I can get it in and out of the van's garage very easily and I don't have to worry about possible engine/petrol/oil smells seeping into the habitation area. Maintenance over time may not be cheaper though because I will probably need a new battery every 3 years or so.

 

The UM36 works a treat for me but I stress it's a very individual choice, best made after a LOT of thought about what you need the mode of transport to do for you. A key tip before shelling out for an electric bike (the UM36 was £900) insist on a test ride of at least an hour so you can try it out in varying road and load conditions.

 

 

Bob

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We were looking originally on the same lines as Usinmyknaus at a small scooter. We have 136 kgs weight available in the motorhome garage so there wouldn't have been much room for anything else and aqlong with the Insurance etc and to get a scooter that would take 2 ample sized people just didn't work, therefore we went with the electric bikes.

 

My Powabyke shopper was 295 pounds complete with a new battery and the other half paid 155 pounds and then it cost us 133 pounds for a new battery set and casing including postage so we really did get a good deal on both of them.

 

I bought mine through www.preloved.co.uk and he bought his through MMM Buy and Sell.

 

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Hi catinou

With two bikes on a rack you may be close to the weight limit of the Bike rack capacity & need to take rear axle payload into consideration.

 

Just a thought :- have you considered an Electric Scooter for the 2 of you.

For example (1st site I found) http://www.elecscoot.co.uk/acatalog/electric-scooters-elecscoot-consett-durham.html

but they don't specify weights of the scooter(s).

A single unit although larger may be less total weight.

 

 

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hi catinou - if you're thinking of buying Powacycle Windsor bikes check this site out as I believe they're the cheapest you can get them

 

http://www.mygreenerfamily.com/Electric_Bikes_s/133.htm

 

you do have to assemble them yourselves but its pretty straightforward.

we bought a couple of the Lynx folders and find them to be great, used them every day when in France during the summer in temps upto 35c and it was a real pleasure being able to get out and about without having to take the van every time.

 

cheers Clyde

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Glad that folks are enjoying their Powerbykes. My wife bought one new a few years ago. Soon after the 1 year warranty was up the electrical components failed. A new electrical board was needed which involved returning the bike to the manufacturer. The cost of returning it for the repair was over £60. The repair did not come with any warranty and eventually the bike failed again and my wife ended up scrapping it.

 

Unfortunately the first failure occurred abroad and even without the battery the bike was heavy and awkward to ride.

 

One other problem (admitedly 3/4 years ago) was that dealers in our locality (the West Midlands) had stopped selling Powerbykes and claimed that the poor back up from the manufacturers was a major factor.

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Thank you everyone for your REALLY helpful information. This is what makes this the best forum IMO. :-D

 

We found there was a cycle show on last weekend at Earls Court, got some tickets online and drove to Richmond to catch the tube in. (Big plus but ssh don't let too many people know - there is motorhome parking there, 5 minutes from the tube station... ;-) )

 

We had a really good look at the Windsor we had in mind, then saw the Diamond model from Batribike and changed our minds... The firm is family run and we tried a folding model with small wheels in the arena, only to find neither of us liked riding it, after our bigger usual bikes we realised that on paper - "perfect" - but the ride meant we could refine our search - for bikes with bigger wheels and old fashioned handles !

 

We will be at the NEC on Sunday and may have another try as the arena in London restricted to one model for the supplier to have test rides. The family run company seems just who we want to deal with so we will visit their shop, where they have a camp site too and have a really good test ride.

 

We will be near the limit, but not over it, for our bike rack but are lucky to have a great payload and don't carry anything we don't need for the trip, so that should be ok but we will check.

 

Thanks again and we will let you know what we finally decide. ;-)

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We have been away in the van for the last few days and have used our electric bikes extensively. We met a French couple who had bought electric bikes from China some time ago, don't know what make they were, but they had a scooter rack fitted onto their chassis, Burstner i685, so it made it very easy to load and unload their bikes. I think if we did not have a large garage on our van then this is the way we would go as opposed to having a normal bike rack fitted. I should have taken a photo but didn't think at the time.
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