buying soon - looking for advice.

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McNerdius
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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.

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LeftieBiker
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Re: buying soon - looking for advice.

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.

McNerdius
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Re: buying soon - looking for advice.

I'm not against the idea at all, it's just that i haven't seen too many - or they're expensive. The heaviest i'd be carrying would be the cat litter, as mentioned - and that would be on the "floorboard" area. You make a very good point about the balance-while-pedaling, though, and given how much i'd hate to have to walk one of these things home, i'll be keeping a more keen eye on trike models going forward. As far as safety and seizure whatnot goes, even a scooter-style will be significantly safer than a standard bike in my case for a number of reasons that are most certainly boring. I've only had one seizure while riding a bike (in 15ish years) , and that was due to exertion.

LeftieBiker
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Re: buying soon - looking for advice.

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...

http://www.high5scooters.com/productinfo/ew88.htm?gclid=CJb41a-Q_a8CFQrf4Aod1nqREg

LeftieBiker
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Re: buying soon - looking for advice.

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.

PzlPete
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Re: buying soon - looking for advice.

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.

LeftieBiker
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Re: buying soon - looking for advice.

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.

McNerdius
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Re: buying soon - looking for advice.

The downer with a kit is storage, which is really the biggest factor since my range isn't much of a demand. I'm getting this thing to move stuff just as much as myself. Also, on the off chance i'd take a dive (assuming 2 wheels) the scooter "form factor" allows me to bail out more easily than something i'm straddling. I could be misunderstanding your idea, though, i'm quite out of it today. (bad seizure - what are the odds. oh, that's right, pretty good, lol... :)

On a similar note, and i could have sworn i posted this earlier, i've done some thinking and i think a trike would actually be less safe for me. If i did have a seizure, 2 wheels = i fall over, break some eggs, get some scrapes/bruises/cuts/whatever. 3 wheels = i keep going, slam into a tree or cruise right into the middle of a busy intersection.

Given everyone's input regarding power, i'm leaning toward a 502. I *really really* would like to go lithium, but the 502 is what, half the price, and as far as i can tell, storage is roughly equal. I could be wrong there. I've seen so much variety in the costs of SLA replacement frequency and cost, though, which is the main reason i'm stuck on lithium. Anyone have input regarding what i'd expect in battery costs with a 502/610 ?

Thanks to everyone for the input so far, i greatly appreciate it considering i don't have the opportunity to check these things out in person.

LeftieBiker
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Re: buying soon - looking for advice.

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.

McNerdius
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Re: buying soon - looking for advice.

the trouble is, letting off the throttle wouldn't happen. i'd lock up, clenching my hand firm on the throttle, all the while losing any semblance of balance. Until, of course, something bad happened :)

LeftieBiker
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Re: buying soon - looking for advice.

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...

JGNORTHERN
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Re: buying soon - looking for advice.

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.

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JGNORTHERN
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Re: buying soon - looking for advice.

Sorry for the miss spelled words. I'm typing on an iPad small keyboard

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McNerdius
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Re: buying soon - looking for advice.

*squints suspiciously at JGNORTHERN's post*

gas is not an option, given my epilepsy.

the roads where i live are very smooth and flat - the steepest grade Google Earth shows is 3%.

The consensus seems to be that the 700li is quite sufficient to move 275lb (max, keep in mind this is with load beyond my own weight), given that reduced range is acceptable (the farthest locations i travel to are 4.5mi away once weekly, and 7.2mi away once monthly, and all the daily stuff is within 2-3 miles.)

Could you go into more specifics regarding the budget aspect of it ? Clearly, replacement of parts is an issue, but i have no real way of crunching those numbers. Again, i'm not at all stuck on the XB lineup, it's just that as a n00b, their lineup seems to be a decent cost/quality compromise. Something like a veloteq may have less upkeep, but i can't cough up the coin for that.

====================

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.

LeftieBiker
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Re: buying soon - looking for advice.

[quote=McNerdius
====================

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.

PzlPete
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Re: buying soon - looking for advice.

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.

McNerdius
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Re: buying soon - looking for advice.

Fortunately, repair and maintenance will be a non-issue, given parts availability. That's really my primary concern with this brand, is what seems to be the hassle in getting parts. It seems i can only afford a chinese brand, so inconsistency in production quality is almost a given. On the other hand, not being able to obtain replacements in a timely fashion is a separate issue that could be handled better by a different (but still chinese) company. That made sense in my head, honest.

LeftieBiker
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Re: buying soon - looking for advice.

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...

LeftieBiker
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Re: buying soon - looking for advice.

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. ;-)

McNerdius
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Re: buying soon - looking for advice.

all i can say to that video is: "no fair !"

well, that and it's cool how well made it is, for what it is.

IBScootn
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Re: buying soon - looking for advice.

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.

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IBScootn
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Re: buying soon - looking for advice.

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.

__________________

Motorcycles:
2011 ZEV Trail 7100, 84V, 60AH, 75+mph, Cycle Analyst, TNC throttle, modified charger. 800 miles so far.
2010 ZEV 6100, 72V, 40AH, 60+mph; Cycle Analyst, LED head lights, 3 Cell Log interfaces, TNC throttle and faster charger added. 8100 miles so far.

Big EV Grin. :)

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