Social Question

noohac's avatar

Would you ride an electric bike?

Asked by noohac (104points) May 2nd, 2010

Consider a normal bike with an electric motor on it. When you pedal it, it has an alternator type device that charges the battery (it can be charged via outlet as well) and when you are tired or unable to pedal fast enough to you can accelerate with a handle throttle.

Incentive to pedal would be to save charge costs despite an approximately 2 hour use per charge. Ideally, you may never have to charge it if you pedal as much as much as you use the electric motor.

The point of this would be to provide a cleaner alternate transportation in an urban setting without the full physical labor of a bike. The maximum speed would be around that of a bike (20 mph) with a much faster acceleration. Would you use this? If not why not? Assume that the size and weight of the machine would be the same as that of an average bike and that is around 100 dollars US.

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30 Answers

xxii's avatar

I would most definitely ride this IF the local government improved bike lane conditions and raised awareness of how to bike safely/drive safely on a road with bikes.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Absolutely, I think that’d be a great thing. I also agree with @xxii, though. Improvements would need to be made before I took the bike onto the road.

the100thmonkey's avatar

Yes. If it didn’t look like a granny bike.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I’m seeing more and more of these in my neighborhood, and would like to try one. There’s a lot of scooter riders in this area.

Mamradpivo's avatar

Absolutely. There’s a product in Europe called the BionX that charges as you pedal. I have friends who’ve ridden with it and enjoyed it for getting up hills. I’ve just recently started commuting on my bike. My ride is about 7.5 miles each way, so I’m not worried about the e-bike for that, but it’d be nice to have to get around town on.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

If you can find me a decent pedal-only bicycle that’s not an embarrassment to be seen on, then I’d probably be happy with that.

This doesn’t seem credible.

First of all, you won’t get back in electric power “equal to” what you put in. If you pedal half the time and coast (to charge the batteries) a quarter of the time, then you might get ¼ of the time available in electric power. Maybe. Just don’t lose sight of the fact that peddling 100 yards up one hill is way more than half the effort involved in riding that hundred yards plus the hundred yards on the downhill side plus another quarter-mile or so.

If you had a bicycle that would allow me to pedal on the flat and use the battery for the climbs, and recharge on the downhills, and wouldn’t cost more than +$100 over the cost of an equivalent bicycle, then I’d say you’re in the ballpark.

Right now I think you’re just dreaming.

PandoraBoxx's avatar


The Golden Eagle looks interesting.

jaytkay's avatar

I love bicycling as it is, no electric assist needed. It’s my favorite way to travel. The “full physical labor of a bike” of is a plus for me, not a drawback.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

No,thanks.I like to exercise and ride a regular pedal bike almost every day in the summer :)

noohac's avatar

This would not be solely for exercise but to expedite travel for those who are not necessarily in shape to ride multiple miles per day. Also if someone wants to start riding a bike to commute to places, there is a “athletic” curve that must be overcome so your commute doesn’t deplete all of your energy. This would lessen the curve to make biking more acceptable and plausible way to commute in the appropriate environment.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I like the idea but it is just not practical for me. Long distances to get anywhere and weather are the two biggest negatives. Maybe if I lived in the city.

wenn's avatar

That would defeat the point of a bicycle. If you are incapable or unwilling to pedal, ride the bus, or buy a moped.

Bicycles are designed to be powered by yourself, not add-ons that make its design and purpose redundant.

The_Idler's avatar

The buses don’t run until after my shift starts, I don’t have enough money for a moped.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Actually, @wenn, the purpose of a bicycle is “transportation”. Whatever makes that the best choice among competing modes of transport meets the “design and purpose” criteria.

rebbel's avatar

In the Netherlands 12% of all new sold bicycles are e-bikes.
Between 2004 and 2009 it sevenfolded.
Although it was seen as in the beginning years as bikes for the elderly or less-abled it is now pretty normal to see all kinds of people riding them.
I would definitely ride one myself, if only they weren’t so damn expensive (on average they go for 1900 euro (2531 usd or 1653 gbp).

The_Idler's avatar

too expensive, id just get a moped รต.O

jaytkay's avatar

This would not be solely for exercise but to expedite travel for those who are not necessarily in shape to ride multiple miles per day.

Riding multiple miles is not a difficult feat of strength, unless it’s uphill. If you can walk for 30 minutes, you can bike for 30 minutes.

5 miles in 30 minutes is a very slow bicycle pace.

Every new bike rider I know FREAKS OUT when they find how easy it is to get around on a bike.

buster's avatar

I would take a spin down the street one time on one but prolly never again. You want catch me on an electric bike, rollerblades, vespa scooter, or a razor scooter. They look ugly and and I know some might find this crude but I think a grown man riding any of those things is a pussy. I like pedaling and it works just fine. I don’t want to have to fuck with and lose chargers and have battery problems. I already know how to work on my Raleigh. I can’t even keep up with all the chargers and cords to my phone, ipod, computer, and other crap I have with wires. All I need is more wires in my life. Urban biking is not very strenuous. Once you start riding an electric bike your ass gets so big you have to graduate to an electric wheelchair just to go check your mail. If it had a muffler that shot out lightning, had a cassette player so I could listen to my old Judas Priest tapes, and Hells Angels would actually talk to me when I rode the thing to Sturgis I might consider riding one.

noohac's avatar

@jaytkay What type of bike are you/people you know using? It seems that the city I live in commonly has inclines of street that are probably 10 degrees or greater in some parts. I can traverse them on a bike but I arrive to class unkept and often out of breath. I am using a three speed cruiser, do you know if I am perhaps just using the wrong bike?

jaytkay's avatar


When I lived on a big hill/small mountain, I rode a 24 speed road bike. Here in Chicago people ride every type of bike imaginable, but the terrain is completely flat.

I’ve been lucky that I can leave dress clothes at work, so I commute in bike duds and change on arrival. Some people just ride in their street clothes, but that’s too hot & sweaty for me.

Ron_C's avatar

I added a motor assist to my bike after an accident that permanently damaged one of my legs. The are a great invention. I have a Currie motor chain drive to my rear wheel. I am considering the new hub motor design because the Currie just can’t keep up anymore.

I used to ride to work but I’ve been on the road for the last couple years with very little office time. I take the bike with me, I store it in the van and can explore different parts of the country after working hour.

I am all grown up and don’t worry about the macho effect of showing up for work all sweaty from the ride up the mountain.

loser's avatar

Oh, for days!

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I prefer either a regular bicycle with a range of gears or a moped.

The extra effort of peddling to charge the bike would be a disincentive to use it.

Of course, my being disabled and older than most cyclists play a major role in determining my preferences.

ucme's avatar

No, I think they look shocking for one thing.

brazospete's avatar

Yeah I loved my bike when I was a kid and I wouldn’t have minded riding an electric assist bike when I was younger but when you work 15 or 20 miles from where you live it;s not going to make it !

brazospete's avatar

But I think it might be “the way of the future” sadly!

brazospete's avatar

An old man told me when I was young “They’ll have everyone living in barracks and riding bycycles before they’re done! You’ll see it,” I confess, I laughed but if you ever saw the projects in Chicago and considering the economy and energy price volatility I’m beginning to think he might be right!

RosauraCaswell's avatar

Generally electric bikes are plug in electric vehicles with 2 wheels powered by electricity. Here the electricity is stored in rechargable batteries which drives one or two motors. Actually most of the electric bikes today are powered by rechargable lithium ion batteries. Here the lithium batteries in size, weight and energy capacity at less cost. Some of the motor cycles offer as an accesory the high power CHADEMO charger. Which can charge the batteries upto 95% in an hour. Hence there is also a faclity to allow quick battery swapping. Yes there is a possible of using without the availabity of proper physical labour . Some of the countries where in the hill regions they are using bicycles with out any proper transport facility and proper physical labour.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

No way. I won’t ride an electric chair so I certainly won’t ride an electric bike!

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