Electric powered bikes, bicycles with motors Stories about electric bikes, powered bicycles

15Nov/130

BionX for Beginners

There's no doubt about it, we live in an age of wonders. When I was a kid, I loved science fiction, imagined a future of flying cars, teleportation machines, voice activated George Foreman grills that could produce a perfect medium rare steak in seconds, but it never occurred to me that the tech already existed to super charge my old trek bicycle with an electric motor conversion kit.

Maybe if I had spent less time watching Night Rider and more time reading science magazines I would have seen the electric bike revolution coming. As it is, according to a wiki article on the subject electric powered bikes made up 10 to 20 percent of all two-wheeled vehicles on the streets of many major cities by 2007, and the trend is only just beginning. Earlier this month I watched the first footage of an electric powered flying bicycle. My 8 year old self stands agog.

Powerful electric conversion

Powerful electric conversionThe electric conversion kit has got to be one of the most fantastic inventions of the 20th century, and as time goes on, the technology for it gets better and better. One of the most advanced kits on the market is the BionX conversion kit, capable of converting pretty much any regular bicycle into a powerful motorized vehicle capable of 45 miles on a charge and 20 mph top speeds.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

What is the BionX conversion kit? How does it work?

350-watt-bionx-kit-for-surly-fat-bikesWhen you convert a bicycle into an electric bicycle using the BionX conversion kit, you replace your rear wheel with a new wheel which has a motor in it. This motor is powered by a Lithium Ion battery which is mounted to the frame of your bicycle, and is activated using a console that is mounted on your handlebars. The battery is easily removable, and comes with a charger that can be plugged into any normal 110 wall socket. It takes about 4-5 hours to fully charge the battery. Your bike is still a bike, and you can still pedal it as usual, but now you can press a button and the motor will kick in boosting you along a flat at 20mph, or helping you up those pesky hills.

The BionX uses pedal assist

BionX ConsoleSome electric bikes use a throttle to activate the motor. In the case of a bike like the A2B Metro, the throttle is on the grip itself, just give a twist and you'll feel the motor kick in, whether or not you happen to be pedaling. On the BionX kit there is a throttle, which exists in the form of a small red button which you push with your thumb, but actually the BionX works best as a "pedal assist" electric bike.

Using the console on your bars, you select one of four levels of assistance ranging low to high, the motor then works in tandem with your pedaling cadence. At the lowest setting, the motor will do about 25 percent of the work for you, at highest, it will boost you along at 20 mph with absolutely no effort required on your part. What results is a system that is more powerful, more efficient, and more intuitive than a throttle activated system.

Are there different types of BionX kits?

There are three different BionX kits. The cheapest is the pl250 conversion kit, which uses a 250 watt motor, and a 26 volt Lithium ion battery. This is the entry level kit, lighter than most other kits on the market and with decent power and range.

The next step up is the pl350 BionX kit. This kit uses a more powerful 350watt motor capable of faster acceleration, and is powered by a larger 36 volt battery for more range and power. This kit one of the most popular as it offers more range and power at a mid range price point - a good meeting point between affordability and high performance.

Electric Conversion KitThe last option is the premium Sl350 BionX kit. This is the most advanced BionX conversion kit currently on the market, using a more powerful 48 volt battery for increased range and power, while maintaining a light weight. Including the motor, battery, and console, this kit will only add around 18 lbs to the weight of your bike. This means that if you convert a road bike that only weighs 25lbs to start out with, you'll end up with an electric bike 20 lbs lighter than most other electric bikes on the market.

So there's the basics! Hope this was helpful as an introductory guide. Check out the BionX conversion kit, and see where our future might be taking us.

All the best,

Jack

15Jul/131

First impressions of the Montague Crosstown with BionX SL350 motor

Reading this guest review of a BionX-powered Crosstown from Montague really reminded me of my first time riding an electric bicycle--especially the part about the uncontrollable smiling! Enjoy!

-Miles


Today I got to ride the Montague Crosstown with BionX SL350 48V Electric Motor Kit. This is the first electric bike I've gotten to take for a good honest try and I did not want to stop riding once I started. Riding this bike was the most fun I've had in a very long time and I had the biggest ear to ear grin on my face during the whole ride around the park.

For starters, the Montague Crosstown is a Full Sized Folding Bike with 700c wheels. It has a rigid frame and a very quick and sporty feel to it. The 7 speed gear system really came in handy when I'd approach a hill or steep incline. Given its range of gears and 700x25c tires, this bike is really quick on flats and cruised up to 20 mph with ease. This is definitely a great bike for someone that wants the versatility of a hybrid style bike coupled with the more compact storage capabilities of a folding bike.

The BionX SL350 48V Electric Motor Kit made this already good bike an AMAZING bike. It has a few different assistance modes that I got to play with. It can be set-up to give you just a little extra boost when you are pedaling or you can hit the throttle and zip along enjoying the full power of the motor on demand. This was the first time I've ridden a bike with an electric motor kit like this. The pedal assist mode is great for the individual that wants to get good exercise but when you need a little extra help getting up that steep hill the BionX Kit is there to help you. The speed and power that you get from this kit is just incredible. Whether you want to pedal or not this thing hits 20 mph almost instantly. Its got plenty of power, great battery life, and a fun factor that is second to none! Overall this thing was just a blast to ride and had me feeling like a kid again. Every minute that I was riding it was a minute spent with a smile on my face.


If you want to feel like a happy kid again too, head over to the NYCeWheels website and check out the BionX-equipped Montague Crosstown!

15Mar/122

E-Brompton Banter-Part 1- Great E-xpectations

By Turbo Bob

Bob riding his non eBrompton in anticipation of the big day.

Bob riding his non eBrompton in anticipation of the big day.

What a great time it is for electric bikes. The quality and ride keep getting better, as the weight and inefficiency gets trimmed. I just got the thumbs-up to be involved in an extended test on one of NYCeWheels’ E-Bromptons and I couldn’t be more excited. As Izzy builds this great converted Brompton for me, I will spend some time to think and dream about the pleasures to come.
You may have read my ’Boy Gets Brompton’ series of articles on one of the NYCeWheels’ sites. I got to spend three months with a Raw Lacquer M3L and came to understand it very well. Some of the stories were a little whimsical, but overall, I really got to dive deep into all the plusses and the few minuses of this great folding bike. Bottom line is, I love Bromptons.
As too, I love E-bikes. The electric-assist bike has been carving out its place in this world, and the word keeps getting spread. Great for so many people and reasons, adding a electric motor assist to a bike can make all the difference for utility and recreation riding. So what better combination then the ultimate folding bike, paired with an electric-assist system? It would seem to be a match made in heaven.
So let’s talk about the bike headed my way. First off, the base bike will be the new H3L. This brand-new version has a longer stem that allows the handlebars to sit two inches higher than the original layout. This will not only lend to my comfort (my 6’ 2” frame), but to the comfort of all riders who desire a more up-right seating position. This up-dated model still has the same super small folded size, and every great feature the L model offers. That includes fenders too.

An e-Brompton near NYCeWheels in NYC

An e-Brompton near NYCeWheels in NYC

You must know by now that you can get your Brompton bike in the most cool selections of colors. You can mix and match, or have yours in all one color. NYCeWheels offers their basic E-Brompton in black or white, but for a little extra, the color palette is wide open. They can also convert your existing Brompton to an E-bike so your color style doesn’t have to change. My new H3L E-Brompton is going to be the ‘in-your-face’ white. Talk about standing out in a crowd. It should be awesome.
The E-bike conversion is one that they have perfected to a ‘T’. With quality pieces from twenty different sources, Bert and Peter (Izzy too) have gone far out of their way to make sure this bike is right on the money. I’ve seen the videos and poured over the specs, and I am sure this E-bike won’t disappoint. My desire for the increased capacity 10 Ah battery was oked by the shop, so my fun rides will be extra long.
The battery will fit into the included ’C’ bag that impressed me so much on my last Brompton bicycle test. It has many pockets, is water-resistant, and comes with a water-proof cover bag just in case you want to ride in wet and wild conditions. There will be plenty of room to keep the battery charger in the bag so it will be handy when I am out-of-town. And believe me when I say, I plan on taking this bike to some far-away places. That is just one draw of a folding bike like this.
With a strong 250 watt front hub motor, I expect to have all the power I need. It will be a brushless and gearless motor. That means it will be quiet and efficient. With virtually no moving parts, it should last longer than who knows what. A thumb throttle will allow me to use the power when I like, with none wasted. That should net me some long rides with an easy way to the top of any hill or grade I encounter.
The whole conversion will add about 18 to 20 Lbs to the overall weight. It might make carrying the bike a little tougher, but almost half of that will be in the detachable carry bag, so I don’t expect it to bother me too much. And any weight penalty will be more than overcome by the power which the motor will add to my legs. If you have ridden E-bikes, you fully know what I’m talking about.
So, as I wait for the delivery driver to make his way to my house, I know that this E-Brompton will make it all worthwhile. Expect to see a flurry of articles about my new folding bike hit these pages. Take this time if you will, to read the ’Boy Gets Brompton’ stories to find out more about my take on Bromptons. Also, I hope you get a kick out of my E-titles for each post.
Thanks for reading, Turbo Bob.

Of course, you could always just order your own E-Brompton and find out for yourself... ;) or an convert your current Brompton to an eBrompton.
“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.”---Ernest Hemingway, By-Line.

3Jul/105

Electric Bike Motor Kit: Front or Rear Wheel Drive?

Ezee Bike Conversion Kit

Biking across the country with an eZee conversion kit


Picking out the best electric bike motor kit can be difficult if you're not really sure how an electric bike operates. There are electric bike kits with different kinds of batteries, controls, and motors. Picking out the best kit requires a basic knowledge about how each component works. Getting past the quality of each part, there are certain aspects of an electric motor kit that depend on the preference of the rider. For example, is an electric motor better in the front wheel or in the back wheel of the bike? Neither choice is better than the other, but there are certain advantages to each one.

Front Wheel Electric Bike Motor Kit

The front wheel motor is a common piece of the electric bike motor kit, because of the ease of installation. Just remove the front wheel and pop on the new motor wheel and you're finished! Usually, these types of motors work with a throttle-based electric bike motor kit, such as the eZee Bike Conversion Kit. It feels a bit like getting "pulled" by the bike, rather than "pushed," but with the weight of the rider and battery in the back, it's a nice equal weight distribution.

Another advantage of the front hub motor is the ability to install internal hub gears inside the back wheel. This type of low-maintenance electric bike, with a front hub motor and rear hub gearing, has practically no problems as an everyday commuter bike.

Rear Wheel Electric Bike Motor Kit

BionX Electric Bike motor Kit

A Trek bike with a BionX electric motor kit


The rear wheel motor is a great choice for electric bike motor kits that utilize a pedal-assist mode. Since the motor is attached to the gears, a torque sensor can actually measure how hard the rider pedals the bike. This is utlizied in the versatile BionX electric bike kit. With a pedal-assist bike, the added pedal power takes much of the strain off of the battery, and the bike can travel much further on a charge. On a BionX bike, there is an option to push a throttle for an added speed boost.

Rear wheel motors tend to feel like they're "pushing" you, rather than "pulling," which doesn't change the feel of the bike too much, but tends to be easier to power around sharp turns.

Ultimately, the location of the motor is up to the preference of the rider. Some people enjoy the front wheel for its easy installation and ability to work with a rear hub, while other people like the torque sensitive rear wheel and "pushing" sensation.

Both options are available at NYCeWheels as electric bike motor kit options.

26Jun/103

Building an Electric-Powered Bike

BionX Electric Bike Motor Kit

This is all it takes to build an electric-powered bike


It's not rocket science to tell the difference between an electric-powered bike and a regular bicycle. For one, the guy riding the regular bike is working a lot harder to pedal, while the electric bike rider is smiling and cruising along. Of course, electric bikes are much quieter than gas-powered bikes, so at a glance, it's hard to tell if a bike is even electric at all! The average person, unless they have a background in electronics, probably isn't aware of how easy it is to convert a regular bicycle to an electric-powered bicycle. Believe it or not, there are only three primary components needed to have a fully-functional electric-powered bike. If you can change a flat tire, you can turn your bike into an electric bike. Let's get to it!

Electric Bike Motor

The muscle behind the electric bike is the motor. Ranging anywhere from 200 watts all the way up to 1000 watts, this is the large rotating device that helps the wheels to spin on their own. Modern electric bikes have the motors built into their wheels, like the Sanyo Eneloop electric bike or the eZee Torq electric bike. Older bikes used to have an external motor that powered the wheel using a chain, like a scooter. These older motors also used magnetic "brushes" which would wear out over time. Newer electric bike motors are "brushless," and have a much longer life expectancy.

An alternative to the brushless hub motor is the bottom bracket motor, featured on the IF Reach DC folding electric bike. This motor actually cycles through all of the gears, making it slightly more efficient than a hub motor. It also turns the pedals instead of the wheel, so the rider feels a little more in tune with the motor, rather than feeling pushed or pulled by an external force.

Most electric bikes don't need a bigger motor than 500 watts, especially for commuting. The US law sets the maximum speed at 20 mph for electric bikes, so any motor that is bigger is sort of pointless. Smaller motors tend to conserve battery life a bit better. How long should a battery last anyway? Well I'm glad you asked...

Electric Bike Battery

Over the years, there have been many different types of batteries for electric bikes. The most common battery in the last ten years is a Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) battery. This is the same battery used in a lawnmower, golf cart, or go kart. You've seen these at any local hardware store - they're heavy, black, rectangular batteries. On an electric bike, they don't go very far. Depending on the bike, they have about a ten mile range. Luckily, technology has improved in recent years, and there are now much lighter batteries that have a much better range.

The most recent chemical of choice for electric bikes is Lithium. A bike running on Lithium batteries can run for 20-30 miles on a single charge, and some bikes even have the ability to recharge the battery while riding. The BionX motor kit Lithium batteries even have protection circuitry built in, so it's almost impossible to damage them from extreme motor power. Lithium batteries tend to be more expensive than SLA battreries, but the life span is also two or three times as long. There is no better battery on the market today.

Electric Bike Control

How does it work? Well you've attached a battery to a motor, so we're almost there. Now you need a way to control the whole contraption. Want this thing to move without pedaling? Just add a throttle. This is referred to as an "ebike," which is practically a moped. Ebikes are nice if you don't want to ride a bike, but they tend to drain batteries quickly. The most efficient electric bike utilizes pedal-assist, or pedelec, technology.

A pedelec bike works by measuring the rider's pedal power, and then spinning the motor at a corresponding speed, based on a preset on the handlebars. Plainly, if you select "MODE 3" you'll get 50% power from the motor, while if you select "MODE 4" you'll get 100% power. No throttles to worry about, it's all automatic. Pedelec bikes are also called Hybrid bikes because they are a "hybrid" of human power and motor power. The best part about pedelec bikes is that you feel like you're still riding a regular bike, just getting a gentle push as you go.

That's it! Just three components and you can turn a bike into a full-blown electric-powered bike! There are a bunch of different electric bike motor kits on the market, and each one has its advantages and disadvantages. Make sure you check out the motor, the battery, and control system before buying one, because you don't want to be stuck with something cheap!

12Oct/080

Alternative to Mass Transportation

Mass transit is wonderful and horrible all at the same time.  Every major city and many smaller cities have elaborate mass transit systems.  Though some cities boast terrific mass transit systems they are still not the ultimate form of transportation.

Many commuters complain of long lines, over-crowded buses, trains and subway, as well as long waits for a bus, subway or train to come.  These same commuters feel compelled to use mass transit because they need an economic means of transportation that is quick enough to get through the traffic found in most cities.

Electric bikes are a great way to get around any city or metro-area.  Electric bikes can make mass transportation a thing of the past for you.

Whether you are looking for new forms of transportation that are faster, or because you want a safer means of transportation or a more economical one - electric bikes may be the answer to your prayers.

Anyone living in a major city knows that traffic is always a nightmare.  Subways usually provide the fasted transportation.  Smelly, steamy, over-crowded subway platforms are sometimes unsafe, unsanitary and unwelcome.  The option for many people is either take a car, cab or walk.

A car in a major city is usually more of a liability than an assistance.  Cab fares are expensive and walking is not always an option.  An electric powered bike is a great alternative that many people do not even realize exists.

Electric bikes are efficient and cost-effective making them a great means of transportation.  Rather than waiting for a bus or subway you can be on your way quickly and easily to wherever you need to go.

If you live in the suburbs you may consider electric mountain bikes - or perhaps that is your best option because the streets in your city are not all that you wish them to be.  Electric motor bikes are a great alternative to expensive, crowded trains and subways.

Electric bikes come in various types and styles and this website explains them all.  For those looking for an alternate to mass transit but are concerned with leaving their bicycle unattended to, folding electric bikes may be the perfect solution because you can take them in with you and easily store them virtually anywhere.

People in major cities around the world have been looking for ways to avoid mass transportation.  Some feel mass transportation is not convenient enough, others feel mass transportation is not safe enough, while others think mass transportation is not economical enough.

Electric bikes are a great way to solve any and all of these problems.  People across the world who live or work in major cities, or commute moderate distances to and from work or school have found that electric bikes offer greater flexibility, more dependability, safer and more economical transportation than mass transit systems.

Rather than complain about buses, subways and trains you can put all those problems behind you by buying a reliable electric bike.

"What if I only have a mile or two to travel, and I'm looking for something electric that is light-weight and portable, something that's smaller than a bike?" Then it sounds like you should think about choosing an electric scooter. An electric motorized scooter is no electric bike, but more than suitable for basic travel needs. "What if I don't even need it to be electric? I just want something very small and light!" Then it sounds like you're in the market for a kick scooter (check out the Xootr kick scooter, as seen in 'Little Manhattan.')

5May/073

Electric bike motor, electric bike kits

Electric bike kits are comprised of an electric bike motor, a battery pack, throttle, and charger.  The electric bike motor kit should (and most do) include everything you need when you want a conversion kit for electric bike.

It is a good idea to make sure that the electric bike motor kit you are buying does include everything you will need to convert your bike to an electric bike.  If the retailer does not indicate that the electric bike kit includes everything you need than you may want to ask the question before buying.

An electric bike motor kit is a great investment if you already have a quality bike that you are comfortable with and is compatible for an electric bike motor kit.

This is when it becomes really important to choose your retailer carefully.  The reality is that some online retailers are just looking to make a profit and will sell an electric bike kit to anyone that wants one, whether or not it will work with their specific bike.

A reputable retailer will make sure your bike is compatible first or they will advise you before you buy your electric bike kit.

The electric bike motor and the full electric bike kit can also give you the best of both worlds when it is combined with a folding bike.  A folding bike is a great way to minimize the storage space needed while maximizing your ability to obtain all the benefits of a great bike.

Some retailers offer folding bikes that are already electrified – the retailer adds the electric bike conversion kit to the bike for you.  Finding a retailer that can do this is great because then you can be assured that your electric bike conversion kit is installed properly and will operate when you receive it.

Though it is relatively easy to install an electric bike motor kit on your bike, if you have the ability to hire a retailer to do it for you than you are better off.  For those that cannot, you can probably install your electric motor bike quickly and easily.

BionX electric bike kit

BionX electric bike kit

Again, the most important thing to remember if you are considering buying an electric bike kit is to make sure your motorized bike kit includes everything you need to convert your bike to an electric bike – and, of course, that your bike can be converted with an electric bike kit.

More and more retailers offer custom made electric bike kits.  If you are considering buying a custom electric bike conversion kit you again want to make sure that you are buying from a reputable retailer.  We found a great electric bike motor kit at a shop in New York City called NYCewheels.  Click here for details on the  BionX electric bike kit.

11Jan/074

A healthy choice, the electric bike

Electric bicycles are excellent ideas to help you improve your health, lose weight and get in shape.  Exercise is the key to improving your health and losing weight according to many leading publications. Electric bikes are a fun way to do so. Electric bikes are easy to use and easy to pedal: electric bikes are easy bikes, which means that you can ease yourself into your workout routine in a non-intimidating way. If you're just looking for something to ride like a motorcycle, however, you need to ask yourself if an electric bike is appropriate for your needs. Electric bikes are about augmenting human power, not replacing it, which is what makes them great exercise tools.

Almost every diet program includes an exercise program and bike riding is a great form of exercise.  Riding your bike to and from work, to and from school, to and from the grocery store, or just around town can provide great healthy benefits.

Since many people are not in the shape they would like to be in it is always a good idea to start your exercise program slowly and build up stamina.  Electric bicycles are a great way to build up your stamina and improve your health.

There are two schools of thought about how electric bicycles can improve your health, and help you get into shape and lose weight.

You can either buy a power-on-demand (gear activated electric bike) or a power-assist (pedal-activated electric bike) to help you lose weight - each of these types of electric bicycles have their pluses and minuses.

Some people prefer the power-on-demand electric bicycles because it gives them the confidence to start riding their bike and getting into shape because they know at any point if they begin to struggle they can click on the power and be brought back to their home or other starting point.

By using these gear activated electric bicycles you can be assured that even if you lose steam and are at the tail-end of your stamina you will be able to get back to where you need to go because the bicycle can do the work for you.

Other people prefer the power-assist electric bicycles.  These electric bikes do about 50% of the work for you so you can lose weight and build up stamina by gradually building up the distances you travel, knowing that the electric bike is doing about half of the work for you - this is great for people who are not as concerned with stamina but still need that extra assistance as they work towards getting into better shape.

As you build up your stamina you can start traveling longer distances in order to improve your health, get into better shape and lose weight.

Many diets, including every leading diet in the industry will include some form of exercise.  Many doctors and medical experts agree that riding a bike is a great form of exercise.  It is always a good idea to consult with your doctor before starting any exercise program.

You may even want to discuss electric bicycles with your doctor so they understand how the electric bike can help you, especially for those just starting an exercise program.

Electric bicycles are a great way to have fun while getting into better shape, losing weight and improving your overall health.