buying soon - looking for advice.
pre-script: holy crap this is long. apologies in advance :-/
hola ! I've been meaning to make this post for quite some time. I figured i'd wait until i know more about my local regulations before taking it to the next level, though - that is, making this post. So i'm just going to introduce myself to the forums and jump right in with my question.
anyhow, on to the post itself. First, an intro/micro-bio as i'll be asking for advice. Given my epilepsy and the reality that i'll likely never have any kind of driver's license, i'm always looking to diversify my transportation alternatives. I'd been on the fence about upgrading to an ebike. Now, though, the city i just moved to makes it much more realistic than where i moved from, for a variety of reasons. For reference, i'm 6'1", about 250lbs, but am losing weight. Given that i'll be hauling groceries, sometimes 40lbs of cat litter, let's pretend i'm 275 and not losing weight. Oh, and, unfortunately, there's no way for me to see or try out any of these ebikes in person.
I'm currently able to plunk down as much dough for something like an XB-700, but no more. Keeping it lithium may be needed, as future funds (to replace batteries) are uncertain. I'm still clueless as to what an average joe would spend on a replacement pack for something like a 502 or 610. Whatever the technology or brand, though, i'm much more concerned about ongoing costs than initial. Repairs also - i am capable of doing them myself, so long as parts are available. I'm certainly not set on the xb-700 - i'm looking at it because of it's storage capacity (epilepsy + groceries + bus/walk = PITA), it's power, and the fact that it's lithium-powered. Note that i have no preference regarding x-treme brand or otherwise, it's just what my searches have shown to be both a good fit and value. While other brand/model suggestions are very much welcome, i post it in the XB-### forum given my specific questions about these models, and to minimize the chance of getting 15 different suggestions... just to keep it simple for now.
The questions/concerns i have are:
a) The xb-700 seems to be a good fit given my needs, but i'm making at least two assumptions. One is that i NEED a more powerful model, given my size and grocery whatnot. I don't care if my speed is 7mph and my range is 15mi. If, say, a 500W sla model will do that for me and not leave me walking it home, that's fine. Secondly, i'm not seeing very many "less powerful" lithium models out there. If i don't NEED 700w, and a less powerful model is out there, i'm game.
b) Reliability. From what i've read, hub motors could be poorly suited to the stop-and-go usage of an ebike. OTOH, i'm not familiar enough with this stuff to know whether the "stall-like" conditions that would happen over and over again would be more likely to wear out the motor, the battery, or both. But, a veloteq-style drive has more moving parts.... ugh.
c) i've read that the pedals on the xb-700 (and presumably most other models ?) can scrape during cornering. This sounds dangerous. How serious of an issue is this, and would keeping them horizontal be a reasonable solution ? I'm thinking some kind of makeshift breakaway solution to keep them horizontal... Also related, how impossible is this thing to pedal, due both to weight and pedal placement ? Not that i intend to do so, just curious.
TLDR / to summarize the scenario:
slow = acceptable
15mi range = max i need (that's round trip - almost everwhere i go is within 5-7 mi, and buses exist.)
load = 275lb
storage = super important
pedals = will ALWAYS be on
Basically, if the xb-700's power isn't fully "needed" - i'd just as soon go for a similar, lower-powered, less-expensive lithium model. Similarly, If replacement battery cost isn't too much (2-300?) for an SLA model, and an xb-502/610/similar would be powerful enough for my relatively lardy yet short-range needs, i'd rather not spend the extra $800.
Also, if someone could be incredibly incredible, and post a picture of the pedals "in use" - as in, sitting on the bike with feet on them, that would be, well, incredible. It's not that i'm planning on pedaling everywhere, i'm just curious, for a couple good reasons.
OK OK i'm going to shut up now. Apologies for the lengthy post, and thanks in advance for ANY input i may get.
Have you considered a trike? There should be several advantages for you: the ability to carry heavy loads without balance issues, being better able to utilize both pedal power and electric assist (because of the lack of a 'tip over' or 'stall' speed, and if you have to worry about seizures you may even be able to rig a 'dead man's switch' to just stop the trike if you let go. Nothing is perfectly safe, but I'd rather ride a trike than a top-heavy scooter-bike, and I don't have seizures.
I did a quick search, and found a couple of interesting trikes. The first is spare, narrow, and folds, but except for the seat looks adequate: http://www.eco-rally.org/world-debut-vienna-bike-prototype-it-folds-it-leans-it-s-narrow-it-s-electrically-assisted
The other one is a more traditional build, and Chinese-made, I sure, but it looks fairly rugged. I did notice that they 'forgot' to show it with batteries in place...
I would suggest that you go with the narrowest one that works for you. The wide ones would invite cars to crash into them when ridden in bike lanes.
I owned and commuted on an xb-700li for almost 2 yrs. It has been sitting dormant on the side of my house for almost a year now. (seriously neglected) Couple insights. 275lbs?....no problem. Storage?....really good actually for an electric bicycle. Pedals?...worthless. They do rub on turns and they will eventually fall off. Lithium?....outstanding battery technology. I wouldn't consider anything else. My batteries, however, were the older Lithium Magnesium, not the newer Lithium Potassium. My LiMn's were seriously dying after 3500 miles. I have Lithium Potassium now on my 4000li and at 10,260 miles they are running strong.
What I liked least about the 700li was the qualtiy of the build. It rattled and shook over the slightest bump. And over 3500 miles I had to replace both tires and tubes, the throttle, trunk, alarm, fuses, mirrors, pedals, and probably other things I am forgetting. The 4000li has been a dream. Plug in. Ride. The end.
Whether you buy a bicycle or trike, you have another option, given your low power requirements: find the perfect vehicle for you, then add a front hub motor kit. Many of them come with a 26" front wheel and tire already attached, so it would be an easy install, especially on a trike.
I suggested a dead man's switch to prevent the 'runaway trike' scenario you mention above. It could be as simple as rigging a brake to come on if you completely release the lever...
I don't know specifics of models, but I do know lead-acid batteries. If you have a good charger (cheap ones can malfunction and "cook" the batteries) and quality batteries, always recharge immediately after riding (this may not even be necessary with 'silicone' lead batteries) and never run the batteries completely down, they will probably outlast lithium cells. I just sold an Oxygen Lepton with 11 year old lead-acid batteries that were still usable. I'm not sure I've ever read about someone getting the full number of charge/discharge cycles promised for lithium cells, while it's pretty easy to exceed the number of cycles promised for lead acid - you just don't use the full capacity.
How about a weight-sensing switch on the seat? If you don't think you'd fall off the bike/trike, then you'd have the same problem with both - loss of control while still moving. There must be some way to avoid that...
I use to sell these scooters. Ii have rode all of them. For your weight and the price it sells for and your budget, there are more reasons than one why I would never buy an x-treme scooter.
I would go gas for your needs. There are some veto reasonable priced scooters that are gas that will get you to your destination without worry. The Xbox 700 will not be dependable for you because lof weight and type of road you will be riding on. It doesn't have enough power or kilowatts in the battery to get you any range at all. Don't do it.
Sorry for the miss spelled words. I'm typing on an iPad small keyboard
LeftieBiker: It'd be a lot like falling asleep at the wheel, really. i'd likely veer to the right (right side of my body is more affected than the left) and either fall (2 wheels) or keep going (3 wheels). Maybe i'm missing something, though. Let's say a person gets shot in the head while on a trike versus a bike. One falls, the other doesn't, right ? (i'm not being sarcastic at all - i've never been on a trike.) Obviously i don't *want* to fall, but in the scenario playing out in my head, it's the lesser of two evils.
The best case scenario would be you stopping and not falling, right? That's what I'm trying to figure out how to accomplish. Falling is easy with two wheels, but stopping and not falling is only possible with three or more. ;-)
X-Treme scooters have had a lot of defects and poor workmanship - I own an XM-3000 and can attest to that. But a gas Chinese scooter isn't likely to be much better than an electric one, with a few possible exceptions, like the ones with Honda-clone engines. Still, the same rule applies in both cases: you have to be lucky and get a good one, and then be proactive and make sure it's assembled right.
Not only do you need to be sure your 700li is assembled correctly, you need to be very adept at performing your own repairs and maintenance. I have a degree in mechanical engineering, and wouldn't consider owning one without a strong level of mechanical inclination. You will be doing your own repairs....trust me. And the 700li needs a lot. The 4000li does not.
Ah yes, the X-Treme Parts Problem... I tried to get a new front caliper for my XM from them. The web support guy is ok, although it took me several emails just to get the part number from him. The reason? He wants their parts person (named Crystal) to handle all parts sales. The trouble is, Crystal apparently doesn't do email, she calls at her convenience if at all, and the last time I tried to contact her, her voice mail was full. You'd think this was a company run from someone's garage...
Hey, McNerdius, check out the trike vid just posted here. It probably costs thousands of dollars, but it looks neat.
Although watching it, I can't help but imagine that the rider is thinking "OmygodomygodI'mgonnadieI'mgonnadie!" Probably just the riding position. ;-)
I would suggest looking into a recombent bicycle and adding a hub motor kit to it. Why - low to the ground (less distance for your head to travel before hitting something hard). You could go two or three wheels. Add a bicycle trailer to carry your load. Typically, controllers have an enable line which disables the motor if a brake is pressed; but, you could add a switch on this enable line and mount it to be foot operated so that the motor only operates while the switch is depressed. It could be mounted in an awkward manner so that you would be likely to release your foot from the switch during the seizure.
If you wanted to get fancy, you could have someone alter the disc brake design so that it is normally on and would require a foot switch to disengage the brakes. That way not only would the motor become disabled but the brakes would engage and stop the bike should you stop pressing the switch(es). You would probably develop leg cramps trying to hold the switch depressed in an awkward position, but it could provide much needed safety.