Kevin Kelly On Electric Bicycles  

Posted by Big Gav in

Kevin Kelly has a post on his research into electric bikes - Electric Bicycles.

I am trying out electric bicycles. Today e-bikes have a limited range of 20-30 miles (50km) because of battery constraints. So most e-bikes are sold for daily commuters, especially in a hilly city like San Francisco. Zip to work and back with no car, faster than public transport. You can get some very good e-bikes these days. Millions of them are sold and used in China, and there are also very good models from Europe.

But I am looking for a touring e-bike, one that could give me mild assistance over 80 miles. I am doing a 1,000-mile tour with my teenage son and his cousin, and I can’t keep up with them, particularly on the hills. So I need a very mild assist to “flatten the hills” yet lightweight enough that for the rest of the time while I am pedaling, the bike with motor is not a burden.

Eric Hicks, the expert at ElectricBike.com recommended I try out a German Stromer e-bike. The legendary bike rental store Blazing Saddles rents e-bikes to tourists near the Golden Gate Bridge, so I headed there last weekend. The Stromer uses a motor on the back wheel, called a hub motor, and retains some of the chain derailer shifting. When the motor is off you can pedal as normal (the motor doesn’t impede your pedaling), and you pedal even while the motor is running — thus it is called Pedal Assist. You can set the amount of assist you want, from very low to very strong. The motor will only assist when you pedal. So it is not a lightweight motorcycle, but a pedal assist bicycle. A downside of the a hub motor is that changing a flat is a huge project. ...

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