Good question Mtn Dog. Electric assisted bikes get favorable treatment under washington state regulations vs. a "moped" (which is what a bike with a non-electric motor or too powerful an electric motor get classified as). At the bottom of that link there is an implication that electric bikes get treated as bicycles unless local jurisdictions restrict their use. Whether that applies to forest service roads open to bikes is not clear, but if anything I would think electric bikes have more of a chance vs. mopeds given the way the regs are written.
Those optibikes are ridiculous. You can put a quality ebike together for under a couple grand. I'm in the process of building mine. Got a geared rear hub kit for $700 and some lithium batteries for $400. Added to my dual suspension bike it should get me up any washed out logging road I want and save most of the huffing and puffing for hiking, but mostly I plan to use it for commuting in summer.
Please help me out here, Tom.
How is an ebike not considered motorized? It seems strange that gas-powered vehicles of any type would be restricted at forest road gates but electric ones are OK? I guess I need a better definition of what "Motorized Vehicles Prohibited" means.
Here is the "official" word. Well as official when I asked the question three years ago. Agencies reserve the right to change their viewpoint.
The Forest Service considers electric bikes to be motorized. It has a motor, period. End of discussion. I do not think the Forest Service will change their position. Forest Service was consistent all the way from the Ranger District to the Regional Office.
State Parks considered electric bikes as non-motorized. Only one representative issued an opinion. Probably keying off the state rules and "they don't make any noise".
So you can ride on the John Wayne Trail, but better keep to open to ORV trails on Forest Service managed lands.
That said. I own an electric bike. I am still looking for a good touring and mountain electric bike. They are not ready for prime time yet. But eveybody says next year, but I have been hearing this for five years now.
I paid $350 for it. Wow, deflation is a real thing. It weighs 75 pounds the battery weighs 25 pounds and take six to eight hours to recharge.
It is very heavy. More a scooter than a bike in my eyes.
Read the reviews on the Wal-Mart site. I think I posted mine under oldandinthewayrider.
That said even the $300 bike is a kick to ride. Not good enough for touring, but fun around town. If your commute were less than 10 miles I would ditch the car and buy one of these.
Like I said more a scooter than a bicycle. So I am still waiting for a electric bicycle with high quality components and light weight. Schwinn electric bikes appear to meet the criteria, but most dealers have been negative on them. Some because their electric, others because of quality control. One dealer was real positive on them and selling a ton of them. Unfortunately, he is in Chicago. A dealer in California that only sells electric bikes stopped carrying them due to "quality" issues and support from Schwinn.
There is a electric bike shop in Seattle. I believe it is Electric Bikes Northwest. Go take one for a test ride. I went to his store twice and it was closed both times....good luck.
Oh, if your a recumbent fan. Electric bikes work really well with recumbents. Lots more options there.
If you commute in town. Try one. You might ditch the car. If your looking for a mountain or touring electric bike....well I'm still waiting.
If you end up with the E-ZIP bike....buy the women's model. With all that bike and battery weight plus panniers it is difficult to throw your leg over the saddle.
The step-thru women's model is much easier to manage. Plus is comes in shocking pink and black colors. I have received many comments on the color and female status of the bikes. It is definitely a conversation starter.
I will probably get rid of the baseball card in the spokes and the multi-color tassels off the handles, though.
This is similar to what my ebike looks like. You can't really tell the difference from a normal bike unless you know what to look for. The motor is almost silent compared to the noise of tires on gravel. I wouldn't dream of using the electric assist on any logging road outside of wilderness that a FS bureacrat decides should only be open to bikes without electric assist.
This thread is more than a year old. Pretty much everything I initially looked at including the Bionix and ezip was a joke (pricey and/or totally underpowered for any hind of hills). I pretty much settled on going with a rear BMC geared hub motor due to my hill climbing requirement. There were other options like the c-lyte 5 series and cyclone kits but they were too heavy or had other issues. At the time supply was nonexistent on the BMC hubs so I waited a year or so until this fall when BMC came out with a new more powerful motor with composite gears (same as the one in that video). It was pricey at $900 w/ 25A controller but I decided to go for it since I could save $200 on ebay via the 30% off live.com promotion. I also snagged a ping 36V / 20ah lithium battery, 6 Bosch litheon tool kit batteries to run at 48V in case the 36V battery wasn't powerful enough, and a dual suspension bike (Motobecane 700DS) on ebay via that 30% off promotion which kept everything under my budget. It's pretty much built. I just need to tune the disc brakes, add a torque arm to protect the rear fork, hook up the wires, and wait for some warm weather.
That is pretty impressive. The only comment I would have is that having the battery that high would tend to make the bike top heavy. I guess I would design the battery pack to ride low. Maybe even design them into the rear panniers.
The only other thing I was thinking of adding is a single wheel trailer. I was also going to add a solar panel to the trailer to help with charging. A 60 watt panel would be fairly simple to add to the trailer.
I was hoping to get the bike and trailer together and head for New Zealand. I did a 2000 mile bike tour of Europe in my 20's, but now I think I need an "assist" to enjoy New Zealand.
So how much for the electric components did you end up spending??
How long would it take to assemble the bike if you had all the components on hand? Did you have to machine or tool any parts to get it to work??
I would be interested in seeing the bike in action.
My budget was $2K (including bike) which I was able to stay under thanks to the discounts (actually a little over if you count the extra batteries but I plan to sell the ones I don't use). The 36V battery weighs 15 pounds which is pretty light. It does make the rear a little top heavy but that's the price you pay for simplicity (and you have limited rack options for a dual suspension bike). Some of the guys put the batteries in the frame but then it starts looking like some sort of crazy electric bike.
I'm thinking at least one more trip to Boulder/Pear/Toketie/Kawkawalk/Crater/Chaval Lake before the road grows over and becomes a hiking trail only. Only problem is I'd be going solo unless my partner has a capable ebike or really strong legs.
With the battery in its current location will you be wearing your pack?
Good idea about Boulder/Crater. That's quite a bit of up hill from the beginning of the Tenas Creek road. I understand the 30 mile range, but is that distance taking into consideration the elevation gain?
-------------- "If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide."
The big question is not necessarily range but whether the assist will bog down on steep hills which is why I went with a geared hub. I may have to upgrade to a more powerful controller if I need to pull more than 25 amps at 36 volts. That's some decent juice on the flats but we'll see on the hills. I'll get a pretty good idea from my work commute re. range but that's the least of my concerns. My backpack will go on my back.
How long would it take to assemble the bike if you had all the components on hand?
Did you have to machine or tool any parts to get it to work??
Did you look at front wheel driven set-ups??
That E-ZIP bike of mine did bottom out at about a 35% grade, though I need to go back and measure it. It really does suck battery juice at a rapid clip once you start climbing.
I was hoping that Schwinn would finally get it right since they also have the bikes in New Zealand or Australia. The stuff I was reading is that electric bikes are really taking off in China and most of the world production is being sold there, but since it is made there that might be expected.
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