Electric Bicycles

will01's picture

Electric bicycle: Enjoy the responsibility

The threat of global warming looms large over the face of earth and is attracting war scale measures from various quarters. However there is also a unique way of fighting global warming which is really fun filled. The electric bicycle has emerged as a suitable alternative to traditional vehicles and can help you to reduce your carbon footprints while you enjoy a joyful ride through the beautiful countryside!

Electric bicycleis finding a lot of acceptability across the whole world although there are different rules governing the electric bicycle in different countries. Thus in Australia the electric bikes and electric scooter have to comply with the Australian Design Rules(ADR) before the vehicles can be legally allowed on the roads. The ADR covers a whole range of vehicles which include self powered as well as motor propelled bicycle.

According to the Australian ADR a pedal cycle is one which has one or more propulsion motors attached to it having a maximum output of not more than 200 watts. Thus an electric cycle is basically a cycle which can be propelled with the help of an external device. The source of energy in the electric bike is generally clean fuel cells which provide a constant supply of carbon free energy.

The different rules pertaining to electric bikes basically throw light upon various important criteria relating to electric bicycles viz :

* Identity: The type of vehicles
* Type: The type of the vehicle as per law
* Maximum speed: The maximum speed at which the bike can travel
* Maximum power: The maximum engine power permissible
* Helmet: Is a helmet necessary.

All the above factors determine the design of the electric bike that will be launched in the market.

Electric bikes have come a long way since their early days of inception. The present day electric bikes are sleeker and can pack many features together. They are distinguished by the use of super light LiFePo4 batteries which makes them super light and also highly portable. You can carry the bike around with you wherever you go! Also the motor bicycle kit makes it possible for you to assemble the bike right inside your home by following some simple Do It Yourself steps.

Electric Bikes and Batteries offer electric bicycle kits. The website http://www.electric-bicycle.com.au provides complete information about the company.

reikiman's picture

Electric Bicycles

Bicycles driven with electric power

MattB's picture

My E-Bike Experiment

My E-Bike experiment started two years ago while recovering from back surgery. I spent lots of money on crazy gadgets that I didn’t need while I was home on disability. Many of the stupid things I bought turned out to be a big waste of money but the E-Bike was not one of them. The E-Bike retrofit kit has turned out to the best purchase that I’ve made for a variety of reasons.

First, I needed the exercise of bicycling but don’t like climbing hills or overexerting myself. In other words, I’m a fat lazy guy that would rather have an electric motor powering my bicycle than my legs. I still get a little exercise starting from a stop and climbing small hills. The more energetic I feel the more I’ll pedal.

Second, the E-Bike saved me from buying another car for almost a year. The E-Bike may turn out to be the best and most convenient way to get back and forth from work on days when it’s not raining or too cold. The second reason turned out to be the reason why the initial expenditure of $300 was well worth it. I’ve since spent another couple hundred bucks on chargers and batteries. This $500 compared to the payments on a car, insurance, gas, wear & tear costs is a fraction of what I would have spent in a year commuting to work. Even though my work is not far from home and I could walk for free, the E-Bike is a convenient and fast way to get across town.

The biggest problems that I’ve had with the E-Bike have been related to the batteries. I’m now considering a more expensive replacement for my heavy SLA batteries. The problems that I’ve had with the batteries are as follows: Because the three 12V 10Ahr batteries weigh over 30 Lbs., the load on my bicycle rack is heavy enough to break the screws that hold the rack to the frame and I’m constantly retightening and re-securing the battery pack to the bicycle rack. A lighter Ni or Li based battery in a triangle between my legs on the bicycle frame would work much better for the bumps and jumps getting around town. After a few months, my 36V charger stopped charging the batteries properly. I bought all new batteries and ended up buying three separate 12V chargers which seems to work better to cycle the batteries. I got a medium 6A charger without a float and it caused two of my SLA batteries to expand and melt down. The casing spewed forth hydrogen sulfide rotten egg smelling gas all over my apartment. Now, I know why they say to charge the batteries outside. Smart chargers with a float that maintains the battery after reaching full charge is the right answer. After spending a couple hundred dollars on SLA batteries and various chargers, I’ve now got three batteries that work well, a backup set of three batteries and the three 12V smart chargers that I use to keep the batteries topped off all the time. At work, I use the 6A charger to boost the batteries between trips. It’s a hassle to always be connecting and disconnecting chargers but the only way I could make this easier is by spending a bunch more money that I’m not ready to spend yet.

I have learned quite a bit about battery technology, wiring 12V batteries in series and considered getting a job with a company that deals with fuel cells. Since new forms of energy production and storage are going to be the next new frontier of technology. Recent innovations in battery technology, the demand for electric cars and price of gasoline is forcing this technology forward. Soon, we will have fast charging batteries that can propel our E-Bikes with more and more extended ranges that may even cost less than the ones that we’re buying now. Unfortunately, for now, the E-Bike market isn’t big enough to get good battery development moving. We’ll have to pick up the pieces after GM and some other companies try to make their electric cars more efficient. It looks like one of the best batteries to use for now based on weight, range and cycle life is either a NiCAD, NiMh or Li battery. These batteries are very expensive and because the technology is new, wasting money on something that’s not proven is not a good idea.

My dream E-Bike is a little faster and goes a little farther on a charge than what I’m currently using. I’ve done some research and a good 48V faster hub motor and controller along with a good set of NiCAD batteries with a smart 48V charger that I can cycle 1000 times, will run me a little less than $1000. I think I’ll use the tax refund, that the government is borrowing money to pay me, for this next purchase.

Right now, my E-Bike propels me around town at 15-20 MPH since I’m a big guy and those batteries weigh a ton. I figure with 48V instead of 36V, lighter batteries, and maybe loosing a few pounds as my current batteries get drained, I’ll be able to get twice as far, twice as fast. Maybe I won’t get twice as fast, but possibly a little faster and farther than my cheaper setup.

Several years ago, I had a friend die in a motorcycle crash and my wife has never let me entertain the thought of getting a gas powered motorcycle. Little does she know that my bicycle conversion is the closest thing to a motorcycle since I got rid of my Honda 250CRX and Yamaha YZ400. I don’t know if I would enjoy a gas powered motorcycle as much when the speed limits around town are 25MPH.

The U.S. law has capped the E-Bike speed at 20MPH as a legal limit but I know now, after reading many testimonials online, that people are going to 48V and 72V with faster and faster hub motors. I’ve seen some youtube videos of people clocking over 40MPH and without any resistance over 50MPH. I can imagine that with larger permanent magnets and more voltage from longer lasting lighter Li batteries that people will be pushing the limits of what is safe with a complete disregard for the legal limits.

After reading somewhere online that somebody boosted their BD36V to 48 Volts and it worked just fine, I tried the higher voltage out with my E-Bike. WOW! What a difference. The max speed is just about right for my bike at 25MPH. The range is a little better. Four SLA batteries weigh a ton and I’m probably going to destroy something with this much weight on my bike, but for now it’s a lot of fun. I’ve reinforced the bike rack holding four 10 amp/hour batteries stacked in a 2x2 cube. The batteries are strapped to the rack with three nylon straps and a strong bungee cord. My bike takes quite a beating at higher speeds over railroad tracks and bumps in the road but it’s a mountain bike that was originally built to take some abuse.

If you enjoy that feeling of wind in your face all the time like your riding down hill on the flats, the strange looks that you get passing people that are peddling their tail off and the lack of maneuverability like your riding a heavy motorcycle, then this is definitely the invention for you.

I would eventually like to convert this into an E-bike

So this evening I have been doing some more research on appropriate hub-motor kit conversions.
In the future I am looking into converting my mountain bike into an e-bike on my own for the first time.
I would like to do this in order to save money on gas, I literally fork out $50 for a full-tank.
I have been looking into brushless hub-motor conversion kits for my bike. I have also heard of Crystalite on the forums
not sure if that would be more appropriate and less expensive?? I am mostly interested in using a rear-wheel hub motor.
On my mountain bike I also have a tiny built in spedometer (go figure!)I knew I should have gotten a picture of that!
Could I still use this spedometer thing along with the conversion kit or would it just be out the window??
Any suggestions would be helpful, thanks for reading!
This is my bike (sorry for the funny looking tire in the corner, that's my other bike hanging in my garage).


davew's picture

Happy Second Anniversary to Me

It's been two years now since that fateful flight from Atlanta. I'm sure we've all been there. You're bored. There's a SkyMall magazine. You flip though it not really intending to buy anything. Some of that stuff sure looks neat though. What caught my eye this time was an electric scooter. Small, quiet, efficient, and cool looking. Further research showed that the Rietti scooter was probably a piece of flotsam, but the seed had been planted. By the end of summer I had acquired a couple of ebikes, sold my car, and started an adventure. I had purchased a lifestyle change from SkyMall magazine -- batteries and shipping not included. I bet American Airlines didn't know they were selling that. It was also one of the last airplane flights I'll ever take. I bet they didn't know they were selling that either.

The idea planted that day that I could not shake was my relationship to the environment. Here I was on a plane trip for no particularly good reason. The next day I was going to climb into my car and drive three miles to my job. It is certainly worthwhile to have a job, but the only reason I used a car to get there was habit and laziness. And that was the heart of it. It was not how I and most other Americans use the planet. It was how I and most other Americans casually waste the planet. We have rigged up everything to be so convenient we no longer have a moment to consider what we consume. What I wanted to change in myself was to become a more thoughtful consumer and by that process attempt as much as possible to minimize neglectful waste. As most good ideas are it was simple and has ramifications way beyond the obvious. Here are some of them.

Giving up the car. This was the biggie. Suddenly any excursion more than a mile or so away requires planning and forethought. I still do most everything I used to do but differently. Because riding after dark in most seasons is not very safe, I am much more likely to meet someone for lunch than for dinner. I patronize local stores and restaurants exclusively. Before I shop I have a very good idea of what I want, how big it is, and how much it weighs. This keeps impulse purchases to a minimum. I am now a compulsive list maker because running back to the store for the thing I forgot is usually not an option. All the services I use on a regular basis, hair cuts, dentist, doctor, and so forth have to be within a few miles of the house or at least on a bus line.

Paper or plastic? Neither. Whenever I buy something now I either carry it in my hands or a bring a bag to put it into. I don't think that disposable plastic bags are going to kill the planet, but they are a fairly revolting and pointless form of waste. Cloth bags not only do the job better, but you don't have to worry about them breaking. Putting greens into a plastic bag is pointless anyway because two days later they are going to be a disgusting, black, slime-wad in your fridge. The canonical advice is to wrap them in a paper towel and put that into a zip-top bag. If the greens are already in a mesh or cloth bag the paper towel is unnecessary. Just pop the whole thing into a reusable, zip-top bag and Bob's you're uncle. One plastic bag and two paper towels saved. Shopping now requires more planning than it did before, but that is exactly the point.

Ban the can I moved all trash and recycling cans away from where I sit. It's a small gesture, but it does give me a chance to think about the things I throw away. As a result I found a bunch of crap that I was throwing away that I should never have had in the first place. Another trick was taught to me by some Japanese visitors we have at my office now. Most bathrooms in Japan don't have paper towels. Folks carry a small cloth towel or handkerchief with them for wiping their hands. I have only their word for this, but I adopted the trick anyway. Towels work so much better than paper for hand drying . Also, if you're a germophobe, you can use it to open the door to the bathroom. Douglas Adams was right. A towel is a pretty gosh darn handy thing to have with you at all times.

Reduce recycling Don't get me wrong recycling is very good. I used to get a warm fuzzy when I filled up the bin with beer and wine bottles every other Monday without really thinking about all the beer and wine I was drinking. Recycling is good, but never cycling in the first place is better. I wonder if I am the first person to climb on the wagon for environmental reasons?

The ultimate relaxing vacation I used to dread vacations. I never have liked flying all that much, and I have grown to loathe airports. Get up at 4:30 am for an hour drive to the airport so I can stand in a security line that is only an hour long, to sit in an airline seat (that used to be comfortable when I was boy-sized) for a few hours (assuming we're not stuck on the tarmac for an additional few hours), to get to another airport and more lines, to get to another car... and I'm frustrated and exhausted all over again just writing this. Not only does this waste a day of precious vacation on either end, but I have to pay a couple of thousand dollars for the privilege. This is what I used to do to relax? I took some time to figure out what I liked most about vacations: no job, no chores, a change of scene, a chance to read a book, exercise, and eating way too much good food that I don't have to cook. How far do I have to go to accomplish this? Well, last weekend it was five miles. A lovely, late-summer bike ride, an excellent couple of meals, and 24 hours with my wife at a local bed and breakfast and no plans more elaborate than a dinner reservation. Best of all I only took off my shoes when I wanted to. Now that's relaxing!


While this list may seem a little extreme and a little random, these are just the things that have popped up in my life over the last couple of years. I'm sure it will change and grow as time goes by. I'm also sure than a different person with a similar philosophy will have a different list. I always have to suppress a smile when friends mention the "sacrifices" I'm making. I have spent more hours actually vacationing and yet I have more vacation hours saved than ever before. I have lost weight and blood pressure and am in generally better health than I have been for the last 20 years. I am spending more time outside, reading, and with my wife than I used to. I also have much more money left over at the end of the month than I used to. This is not sacrifice. It is a gift. It is a gift courtesy of American Airlines and SkyMall magazine.


I want to thank everyone here and at the old vforum for the advice and support to select my ebikes keep them on the road. Without your help an advice this whole project might have died before it got started. Thanks!

Board Moderator's picture

Crystalyte Owners Manual

For the convenience of our V is for Voltage Community Members and Guest, we temporarily share files as soon as we receive them. They are latter moved to our growing [node:399] where they will remain.
We really appreciate our friends sharing with us, and back them up in several locations for there safe keeping.

There is also a longer version of the Crystalyte Owners Manual in the growing [node:399].

reikiman's picture

Getting around with an electric bicycle

Because electric bicycles have limited speed versus other vehicles on American roads you might think it's unsafe to ride a bike around, electric or otherwise. Electric bicycles generally are 20 miles/hr or thereabouts, and the equipment on an electric bicycle may not be safe for higher speeds. If you want higher speeds, my opinion is you should be riding a motorcycle because the motorcycle equipment is built for high speeds. Bicycling, electric or otherwise, also has the advantage of giving an opportunity to exercise, and the preponderance of fat butts in the U.S. (mine included) indicates bicycling as a useful activity to encourage.

Electric bicycling should make bicycling more adaptable to daily use. A commute by manual bicycle probably leaves the rider sweaty, and undesirable in an office setting, while a commute by electric bicycle should mitigate the sweatiness.

An electric bike can be carried on mass transit whereas often even the small scooters cannot. This makes mass transit more useful, because you can ride to the mass transit station, carry your bike on transit, and ride from transit to your destination. Without the bike you're left with a problem of getting to and from mass transit, and the inner calculus might lead someone to drive instead of walk. Hence an electric bicycle should make mass transit more usable.

An electric bike with a trailer, or with an extended frame like the xtracycle, can carry groceries or other shopping purchases. An electric bike makes hauling groceries easier and more possible.

bikely.com is a collaboratively built set of bike maps built on top of Google Maps. It shows useful bicycle routes for getting around, some of which are usable commutes. While a bicycle, electric or otherwise, isn't very compatible with the traffic on main roads, there are often side roads for getting around that are comfortable to bicycling. Hence the bikely.com maps can help an electric bicyclist know the best route to take for comfortable riding.

MB-1-E's picture

MB-1-E Part Eleven: More Wiring

Hey All,

I finally got my batteries all wired with the DPDT switch so I can charge at 12V and run at 24V (both nominal voltages, as we all know AGM SLA's are a bit higher than that at full charge).

So I now have two battery banks, each has 4 - 9Ah 12V batteries. Each bank is in parallel and the two banks are wired in series through the DPDT switch.
Thanks to a few electrical wizards here I was able to get this right and it works like a charm.

I'm charging the full set right now using my Iota DLS-15 charger with QD4 three stage charge controller.

I haven't wired up the motor controller yet, but that should be fairly simple. I'll be running 6Ga welding cable from the batteries to the controller and from the controller to the motor.

Still have the throttle to install, not sure which leads are which on it. I assume black is negative on the controller and there is also a brown and a blue wire. I wonder which one is the POT.

I think I have everything else I need for the project now, just need to get some more heatshrink and figure a good way to insure that the leads on the DPDT switch cannot move when traversing rough terrain.
I was thinking of using something like silicone caulking to totally isolate the wires and connectors at the back of the switch. Anyone ever try this?

Got some mechanical things to wrap up too, but today was all wiring and getting the charger connected.
I tested the motor on 26+ volts and it really sounded good. I left it running for a couple of minutes and it kept speeding up slightly. Must be the brushes getting seated and the bearings loosening up a little.

More soon.
Stay Tuned.


MB-1-E's picture

MB-1-E Part Nine: More parts arrive

Still waiting on my jackshaft assembly and controller to arrive, they are both shipping out of Canada and it takes a while, I'm finding out.

I did get my new ESGE double kickstand today and got it installed. I like it!
It will really help get the chain drive and sprockets set right since it lifts the rear wheel off the ground.
Seems pretty stable and folds up nicely on the left hand side of the bike.

I ordered a 72 Tooth sprocket for the rear hub so I'd have a variety of sheaves/ sprockets to gear things up/ down as needed.

I also received a 1.75" O.D. V-belt drive Sheave that I ordered from Granger's a day or two ago ... man, they must use Overnight UPS shipping!

This gives me a bit of variety to choose from:
2" OD or a 1.75" od drive sheave on the motor
6" OD driven sheave on the jackshaft
22 Tooth drive sprocket on the jackshaft (freewheel)
60 Tooth or 72 Tooth driven sprocket at the hub

I received my DPDT toggle switch for switching from 12V charging to 24V run mode.

I received my new 116 link bicycle chain and installed and tried that out. Works great!

I put my brakes back together, so I can actually stop now, "this is a good thing."

I picked up a Speedometer, Odometer, Trip meter mini computer at Wally World yesterday and got that installed.

Still need to put my twist-grip throttle on, do some more wiring, I did get my 6Ga welding wire from McMaster Carr so I'll be ready when my controller arrives. I will be re-working my motor mount with steel flatbar and some brazed gussets to make it stout.
My brother is making the adjustable chain tension rods.

Things are coming together, still got a way to go.
I have a feeling that this is going to be a lot of fun to ride!

Dave (aka MB1-E)

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