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BlueBlaze
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« on: May 07, 2017, 05:46:26 pm »

Anybody else thought of e-bikes instead of a toad?

As a part-timer, it's hard to convince myself to buy yet another vehicle to sit in my garage 10 months of the year, and both of our regular vehicles are too large to tow.  But being without auxiliary transportation while RV'ing is a real nuisance.  I've been noodling on this for a long time.

We took a cruise to Israel last March and were surprised to see people zooming around on electric bicycles all over the place.  It stuck me as the perfect solution.  They go almost as fast as an old-fashioned moped, but don't weigh much more than a regular bike.  And they can ride on the same bike rack we already have.  If we really need a real vehicle, we can always rent.

When I got home I started doing some research. The best ones are "mid-drive", which means the motor turns the same crank you pedal with (so you can use the gears), rather than "direct drive", which means the motor is built in to the rear wheel hub (and ignores the gears).  You can find a cheap ebike on Amazon for about $1000, but the good ones with mid-drive are expensive -- over $2500.  And there is a goofy law here that has retarded the progress in America such that nearly everything available here is less than 500 watts (about 3/4 hp) and speed-limited to 20 mph.  So they have't really caught on.

However, I discovered that you can buy a kit to electrify your own bike for about $1000. And there is no limit to what you can build for yourself.

So I ordered a kit from Luna Cycle in California for a Bafang (Chinese) mid-drive 750 watt (1hp) motor, with a 48 volt, 13.5 amp rechargable battery that mounts like a water bottle.  Warning -- it was tricky to install.  You need some special tools and the only instructions are on-line.  But it's nothing any shade-tree mechanic can't handle.  The result is amazing.  I charged it to 80% and rode it 20 miles, averaging about 22 mph while hardly ever pedaling, before the battery ran out.  Top speed is about 30 mph.  The worst thing about it was riding it back home without power.  Suddenly 10 mph on flat ground seemed like a job for Superman!

I think this is going to work for us.  Betty tried it out and was as excited about it as me.  So I ordered another kit today for her bike.


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randallandchris
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« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2017, 08:29:01 pm »

Also thinking of an ebike.  Appreciate if anyone heard good or bad about Rad Power.
www.radpowerbikes.com
They offer an aluminum bike with 750w geared motor on rear hub that pedals as a standard bike, they say.  $1500.
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BuffaloRose
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« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2017, 11:28:49 pm »

For just a brief moment I thought that might be just the thing for us since we hate towing.  I pictured camping in Yellowstone and touring around on the bike.  That ended the dream,  buffalo, moose, bears, oh my! Lol,  Will leave ebikes to younger, braver folk.
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« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2017, 10:22:36 am »

My brother and his wife have e-bikes and love them.  They are great for local around-town excursions, but I don't believe they have ever taken their e-bikes with them on an RV trip.

I could see e-bikes being great for snow birds to get around locally.  Some people will trailer a golf car....why not e-bikes on a bike rack instead?  Just keep them covered to protect them from rain and road grime contamination.  I assume you could buy a bike cover designed for use with a bike rack.

For us with the places we travel to, the unpredictable weather we encounter during the day, the distances we travel during a day excursion, and the stuff we like to bring along during the day, e-bikes would fall far short of our particular needs.

Blue Blaze, If your e-bike idea isn't going to pan out for you, you could replace one of your two regular vehicles like we did.  In our case, it was getting near time to replace our 12 year old 140,000 mile Pontiac Grand Prix anyway of which we sold it to our son at a price he could afford.  We replaced it with a Jeep Liberty which doubles as our tow vehicle.  It also keeps us on-the-go in winter when we get hit at home with a snow fall.  Our Liberty is setup with an integrated braking system that isn't the easiest thing to transfer to another vehicle, so our plan is to own the liberty as long as possible.  It's a garage-kept 2006, currently just turned 75,000 miles.  We think it has a whole lot more life left.  Time will tell.  A 25 year run with it would be so nice.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2017, 10:30:43 am by ron.dittmer » Logged

Ron & Irene Dittmer, 2007 Model 2350, Ordered Without A Slideout
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« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2017, 04:04:13 pm »

Oh my gosh we love our Pedego E bikes.  We have the Boomerang Plus model so there is no bar to step over.  We both have lots of hip/knee/back issues etc and that model works perfect for us.  Most people seem to buy the city commuter though.   You need to do your homework on the type you buy.  We have the type that have pedal assist on them, not just throttle.  That way we are still getting exercise.  The best way to explain how they work is they make all the hills flat for us.  We can also use just the throttle if we get tired.  Also we got the 48 volt battery so we can go farther and because I am a heavier person.  We got a nice Hollywood bike rack for the back of the cruiser and we have loads of fun with them.  We use them around here all the time too.  They weren't cheap but you get what you pay for.  We shopped around and looked at the cheaper ones.  I told my husband that I think they were the best investment we ever made!  They let us go places that we never thought we could with our physical limitations - also we are not spring chickens anymore.  Lots of doors opened for us.  You can check them out on the Pedego website and there are a lot of dealers around the country that let you try them out or rent them before you buy.  Also their Facebook page is a great testimony from owners on their quality and how great they are.
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BlueBlaze
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« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2017, 07:49:27 pm »

Kittycat, I'm glad to hear someone else likes the idea!  I agree that the Pedego is probably the way to go if you're not a tinkerer like me, since they have the largest market penetration and a dealer network.  I'm still getting use to my new homebrew bike, trying to find the best mix of speed, technique, and effort to achieve the best range.  It's so weird pedaling effortlessly at 20mph on a bicycle.  But when I use the throttle instead, it's hard to keep from going too fast and using too much juice.  I can almost see where it might be better to have it speed-limited to 20mph like some of the production ebikes.  Does the Pedego limit the speed to 20?

Ron, if one of us gave up our regular car for something tow-able, it would have to be me -- and that ain't happening.  Love my 4x4 Ranger too much!  Actually, being manual transmission, it's tow-able, according to the manual.  I just dread towing it because it's so long, at 17'.  And it sorta strikes me as Ranger abuse.  But I probably ought to go ahead and outfit it for towing, even if we don't do it often. 
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KittyKat
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« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2017, 08:11:45 pm »

I think you can go about 25 on the Pedego.  But that depends what kind of grade you are on.  The guy who sold us ours says he goes 38 on downward grades, but I have personally never tested that myself.  I have 2 knee replacements and can't take the chance on ruining them by going too fast for my britches!  I like taking my time and enjoying the scenery personally!
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hutch42
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« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2017, 01:25:26 am »

Hers a go to E-bike from the west coast.  Lot of Winne folks swear by.  Someone said up to almost 50 miles
on the new models??     http://ejoebike.net/
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hutch42
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« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2017, 01:31:40 am »

They have utilized with the Fiamma bike rack offered as an option with the new Winnebago Fuse's.  Probably wont work on most PC's because of mounting location in rear.    http://www.fiammausa.com/products/RV_accessories.asp?Fam=A4
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CKK
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« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2017, 11:34:30 pm »

Well, I too have considered them to avoid a toad... and here's a really good article on them by a Winnebago writer... www.winnebagolife.com/2016/08/the-unexpected-joy-of-an-e-bike

Thanks for the post because I am also wondering if anyone is using them effectively with saddlebags/racks to make grocery runs or get to attractions??
« Last Edit: May 09, 2017, 11:43:54 pm by CKK » Logged

hutch42
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« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2017, 12:54:54 am »

Heres info on a fellow that bought an E-Bike and his experiences using and mounting on a Winnebago Fuse

http://confusedrv.blogspot.com/2016/10/e-joe-epik-se-review-1st-day.html

http://confusedrv.blogspot.com/2016/10/e-joe-epik-se-review-several-weeks-in.html
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BlueBlaze
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« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2017, 01:33:58 pm »

Concerning racks, if you remove the battery, the bike isn't much heavier than an ordinary bike, so any rack should work.  Mine are only 10 pounds heavier than before I electrified them, with the battery removed.  But I prefer a hitch-mounted rack that supports the bike from the bottom, like my Swagman, and I wouldn't trust any bike to one of those ladder-mounted racks.  One thing to consider, although 10 pounds probably won't overload your carrier, it's enough to make two bikes more difficult to lift onto a carrier that's mounted up high on the RV. 

I'm still experimenting with the range on my kit-built ebike.  It's amazing what a difference NOT using the throttle makes!  Yesterday I charged it to 100% and took a 15 mile ride in "assist level 2" (of five!), pedaling all the way.  It feels a little foolish because you're just making the pedals go around.  It doesn't feel like you're actually contributing any energy at all, but apparently you are.  I averaged 19.5 mph for the ride (according to the computer) but only used 10% of the battery!  That extrapolates to 150 miles, which can't possibly be accurate.  But to put it in context, I've previously run it from 100% to 0% in 20 miles, on the throttle alone.  Maybe because it's tough to keep it under 20 mph when you're riding it like a motorcycle.

Even though you're not working very hard, just making the pedals go around is a workout, after awhile.  So I would advise choosing a bike that has a throttle (many don't), just so you can take a break now and then.  But for the sake of range, you should probably not expect to use it all the time on throttle alone. 

These things are a lot of fun.  I'm looking forward to trying them out on an actual RV trip.
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ron.dittmer
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« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2017, 03:51:25 pm »

If you buy any bike rack made for 4 bikes and use the two inside positions for two bikes, you should not have a problem with weight.  We bought a 4-bike bike rack and use the two inside positions for that very reason.  We have also carried 4 bikes for around-town day excursions with family, but I would not feel comfortable carrying 4 bikes on that rack across the country.  I can keep an eye on the bike rack locally, but not when it's on our tow vehicle.
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