Electric Bicycles

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Good quality head- and tail-lights for electric bicycles or scooters, improving safety and visibility, at low energy cost

An electric bicycle or scooter has a big battery, so it might as well have bright lights. Bright lights help you see the road, and they help you to be seen by car drivers, considerably improving your safety. Even during the daytime bicyclists are practically invisible and need to use every trick available to be seen, to give the highest chance to avoid a car accident. At night it's even worse, because the bicyclist can easily blend into the shadows and not be seen until its too late. We want you out there safely riding your electric bicycle or electric scooter, not to be an accident statistic.

Because electric bicycle and scooter design varies so much the advice here has to be general. We'll also try to cover lights for electric motorcycles.

Let's start with -- do you need high quality lights? We already went over the case, but it's worth reiterating:

  • Bright headlights mean you can see the road ahead and can avoid obstacles in your own right
  • Bright lights, and/or bright reflectors, means car drivers or pedestrians or other bicyclists see you, and can avoid colliding with you

The dinky blinky lights normally sold for non-powered bicycles are (in my humble opinion) inadequate. They barely illuminate anything, and are difficult to see. The problem is those units are tiny in order to stretch battery life for as long as possible because they're built around the assumption the bicycle won't be carrying anything more than a couple AA batteries. With an electric bicycle/scooter/etc we have a huge battery pack, by comparison, and can afford the electricity for a very bright lighting system.

A closely related question is, do you need to retrofit lights onto your vehicle? Maybe you own, or can buy, a manufactured electric bicycle/scooter/etc that already has bright lights built in. If so, your job may be done and you don't have to read further. Make sure that the lights are powered from the main battery pack.

Not that many years ago those of us who wanted an electric bicycle or scooter had to build our own. Today there is a growing list of manufactured electric bicycles and scooters, many of which have excellent parts and build quality. The price may be higher than a do-it-yourself kit, but how do you value your time -- it costs you time to build the bike versus buying it prebuilt -- how do you value the manufacturer warranty, or the fit-and-finish of a properly designed system versus a do-it-yourself hodgepodge? I've done the latter several times, and look longingly at the build quality of the OEM bikes.

For the rest of this let's assume you either built your own electric bicycle/scooter/etc, and need lights, or for some other reason want to retrofit better lights onto a vehicle.

Minimizing electricity consumption is useful to preserve as much riding range as possible.

  • Hyper-reflective materials are becoming commonplace and automatically shine back a bright light when struck by car headlights or other light. Some product lines are: reflective safety vests, reflective arm bands, reflective tape for bicycles and all kinds of other reflective gear can make you more visible without using any electricity at all
  • LED lights are extremely efficient, and newer models are starting to be bright enough to use for headlights. The efficiency is measured in lumens per watt-hour of electricity consumption, and LED lights are the new king of efficient lighting.

Electric Bicycle Lights.png

Here's a simplified diagram of an electric bicycle control circuit. What you're looking for is the connection between the battery pack and the controller, hopefully between the ON/OFF switch and the controller. The controller may have a connector to output power for head/tail/lights, and that should be used if it's present.

The basic idea is to attach a bright, white, LED light to the front of the vehicle, for the headlight, and a bright red light to the rear, for the tail light. The two are wired to a common circuit -- the positive and negative of each are wired together, and then positive/negative are wired to the power circuit. This way the lights turn on any time the vehicle is turned on. You may want to use a switch to control the lighting circuit so it's only used at night.

Recommended lights

Unfortunately most bicycle light units are designed with a stand-alone power source -- they're essentially glorified flashlights, powered off their own batteries. For our purposes we want the lights to be powered from the main vehicle battery pack. Because the majority of "bicycle lights" are not powered that way, we have to search carefully for the correct sort of unit.

Following are a selected list of headlights and tail lights that look good. Many of them have their own battery pack, which you'd have to charge separately, and they also tend to come with headbands allowing the light to be used away from the bicycle.

See also: headlights [amazon.com], all lights [amazon.com], tail lights [amazon.com], electric bicycle LED headlight [ebay.com], electric bicycle LED taillight [ebay.com]

Doinshop New Useful Motorcycle Accessory Electric Bike Waterproof 3W LED Headlight White: Depending on how bright this is, it's an almost perfect headlight. It works at any voltage from 12-80 volts, and has a simple two-wire connection for power. The trickiest part of using this unit is mounting the light to a bicycle. Notice it has a simple flat metal foot, with a single hole. Mounting this to a handlebar, for example, means fabricating something which bolts to the handlebar, to which you bolt this light unit.
Bright Eyes Rechargeable POWERFUL 1200 LUMENS Bike Headlight : This one is good but imperfect. It's bright enough to be a very good headlight, however instead of being powered from the vehicle battery pack it has its own lithium-ion battery pack.
SecurityIng Waterproof 3600 Lumens 3X T6 LED Bicycle Light 4 Modes Super Bright Bike Headlight LED Lighting Headlamp with 8.4V Rechargeable Li-ion Battery Pack and Charger: Same can be said for this one.
900lm Lumen LED Cycling Bicycle Bike Waterproof T6 Headlight Headlamp Kit Set: Same can be said for this one
ELETA Waterproof 2000 Lumens XM-L X2 LED Bicycle Light 4 Modes Super Bright Lighting Lamp Bike Light with 8.4V Rechargeable Battery Pack & Charger for Outdoor Activities Like Camping, Cycling, Hiking: This is a very bright unit - 2000 lumens - with two LED bulbs. Mounts on a handlebar properly, has its own battery pack and charger.

Lighting unit recommendations

Retrofitting LED lights into electric motorcycle lights

Webmaster's picture

Electric bicycle conversion kits - easily and quickly electrify the bike of your choosing

With an electric motor, an electric bicycle is more practical than a non-powered bicycle. You can easily ride further with electric than non-powered bike, you can easily carry more cargo, and there's the practical benefit of possibly getting less sweaty making it more possible to ride the electric bike to work than a non-powered bike.

Once you've decided that you indeed want to own/ride an electric bicycle there's a choice between building your own electric bicycle versus buying a manufactured OEM electric bicycle.

With the OEM electric bicycle

  • You can start riding the electric bicycle right away
  • You're limited to the bicycle style and electric bicycle components sold by the manufacturers
  • You don't have the opportunity to learn how electric vehicles work
  • It's less possible that you could repair the bicycle yourself if it breaks

By building your own electric bicycle

  • It's easy - an afternoon or so to install the parts
  • You learn how it works, and can repair it yourself - you have no choice but to repair it yourself
  • You have the option of selecting custom components - like power levels that are probably illegal

The typical electric bicycle conversion kit has the electric motor built into the wheel - what's called a hub motor. You simply replace an exsting wheel on your bicycle with the hub motor wheel, then attach the controller, throttle, dashboard (if any) and other components to the bicycle. In most cases this is an easy process that just takes a few hours.

Some electric bicycle conversion kits instead use a bottom bracket drive system, or mid-drive system. While they offer distinct advantages, the installation is more complex.

Most areas have laws limiting the power on an electric bicycle. There's a slippery slope between an electric bicycle and an electric motorcycle. Higher power higher top speed electric bicycles are possible, but when your bicycle can go 50 miles/hr it had better have good quality brakes, tires, turn signals, mirrors, lights, etc. Look around the interwebs and you'll find plenty of people building high power electric bicycles that go 50 miles/hr or faster. At what point should Society say "wait a minute, that's really a motorcycle even though it has pedals, and should be regulated as a motorcycle?"

While the installation process is easy you'll need a few tools and perhaps some experience with assembling electrical circuits.

With a hub motor drive system you must be aware of two factors: Will the wheel rim size fit your bicycle? Front wheel or Rear wheel?

A hub motor creates torque which the bicycle manufacturer won't have expected. In some instances installing a hub motor on the front has broken the dropouts, causing the motor to fall off the bicycle. It's possible to mitigate the risk by using a torque arm between the hub motor and the fork. The rear wheel, however, generally has a sturdier design that's capable of sustaining the torque from the motor.

Torque arms are fairly simple - it slips over the axle, and then a hose clamp is used to attach it to the fork. They distribute some of the torque from the axle to the fork in a safe fashion.

In some cases the conversion kits are sold with special brake levers that connect to the controller. The purpose is to cut power to the motor when you operate the brake lever, for safety.

See also: Electric bicycle conversion kit [ebay.com], electric bicycle conversion kit with battery [ebay.com]


Build Your Own Electric Bicycle (TAB Green Guru Guides): A complete guide on building electric bicycles. "Complete" means it even gets into nitty-gritty stuff like building your own battery pack, repairing battery management systems, delving into the motor for upgrades or repairs, and so on. The book is from 2010 and may be a little dated, but the advice should still be useful.


Electric Bicycle Conversion Kit Installation - Made Simple (How to Design, Choose, Install and Use an E-Bike Kit)

24 Volt

Electric Bike Kit / Electric Tricycle Kit Clean Republic Hill Topper, Lithium Battery Included 5 min Easy Installation Made in US: The "5 minute install" is because the kit doesn't include as many parts as other kits - no dashboard for example. It's just the motor, controller, battery pack, and throttle. The kit is complete in that you'll be able to ride right away, so long as it's okay to not have a dashboard. Everything is pre-wired and no additional tools are required to install the kit.

The motor weighs only 8 lbs meaning your bicycle will still be liftable (say, onto a train or bus) and you will hardly notice it's there except for the speed boost.

Unlike many of the other kits, this one does include a battery pack.

Front wheel, 24", 26" or 700c

Currie Technologies Electro-Drive Conversion Kit 4 with Plug and Play Battery Pack: Currie Technologies has been in the electric bicycle business since the 1990's. Meaning, this kit is backed up by way more experience than most in the industry. The proprietary rack system holds the battery pack (included) easily next to the rear wheel. It's very easy to remove the battery pack, for example to bring it inside for charging. Unfortunately it's an old-school lead-acid pack.

Electric Bike Conversion Kit / Li-ion 5.2 Ah Included 24V 250W Front Wheel: This complete kit includes an 8Fun motor (one of the top motor makers) and a Samsung battery pack (one of the top battery makers). It's easily installed, and then you're ready to go.

It's available for several wheel sizes from 20" to 700c.

Electric Bike Conversion Kit / Li-ion 10.4 Ah Included 24V 250W Front Wheel: The same kit, but with a larger battery for longer range.

36 Volt

AW 26" Front Wheel Electric Bicycle Motor Kit 36V 250W Pro Light Motor Cycling w/ Dual Mode Controller: Complete kit including brake pullers, throttle, an LCD monitor, etc. Does not include a battery pack.

Front wheel 26"

AW 36V 800W 26" Electric Bicycle Front Hub Conversion Kit Electric Bicycle Speed Control Cycling Conversion: Complete kit including brake pullers, throttle, an LCD monitor, etc. Does not include a battery pack.

Front wheel 26"

AW 26" Rear Wheel 36V 800W Electric Bicycle Motor Kit E-Bike Cycling Set Outdoor Gym Dual Mode Controller: Same, but set up for the rear wheel

DIY Motorize Bike 36v 800w 26in Front Wheel Electric Bicycle Motor Conversion Kit: Complete kit including motor controller, speed throttle, power brake lever, wire harness. The display for battery state of charge is simple LED lights. No battery pack.

Front wheel 26"

Electric Bike Bafang 8fun Mid Drive Crank Motor 36v 500w BBS02: IMPORTANT: This is a mid-drive system that mounts in the bottom bracket in place of the regular crankset. That means installation will require some expertise. However, you'll get a well designed drive with more power capability than a 500 watt hub motor because mid-drive systems push power into the rear wheel gearing.

It includes a dashboard display panel.

The motor powers one of the chainrings, while the other has the chain going to the rear wheel. It means you'll only shift gears on the rear wheel, and not at the pedals.

No battery pack.

Currie Technologies Electro-Drive Conversion Kit 3 with Plug and Play Battery Pack: Another kit by Currie Technologies. This one has a higher voltage, and uses a lithium-ion battery pack rather than lead-acid.

Front wheel 26"

Phoenix II Power System - Front Motor with Torque Arm - Phoenix Cruiser - 3625 Controller - 20 inch - Thumb Throttle - APM Display: This kit is from Electric Rider, another company that's been in the electric bicycle business a long time. It's a complete kit, lacking battery pack, from a highly regarded ebike kit seller.

Front wheel, 20"

Phoenix II Power System - Front Motor with Torque Arm - Phoenix Cruiser - 3640 Controller - 29 inch - Thumb Throttle - APM Display: Almost the same kit, for a 29" wheel.

48 volt

AW 26" Front Wheel Electric Bicycle Motor Kit 48V 1000W Powerful Motor E-Bike Conversion w/ LCD Display: Complete kit including brake pullers, throttle, an LCD monitor, etc. Does not include a battery pack.

Front wheel 26"

Aosom Rear Wheel 48V 1000W Electric Battery Powered Bicycle Motor Conversion Kit, 26": Complete kit including brake pullers, throttle, an LCD monitor, etc. Does not include a battery pack.

Rear wheel 26"

Electric Bike Bafang 8fun Mid Drive Crank Motor 48V 750W BBS02: 48 volt higher power version of the Bafang 8fun system described above. Everything said there holds true for this unit, except of course it's higher power.

Phoenix II Power System - Front Motor with Torque Arm - Phoenix Cruiser - 4825 Controller - 24 inch - Thumb Throttle - APM Display: Electric Rider again, with a higher power version of the kit listed above.

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.

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.


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