Originally Posted by superbad
Superb thread, very informative. This has definitely got me interested in dabbling with e-bikes. Do you think this can work with our desi brands - Hero, BSA etc? Also what about charging the battery? Pedal power or electrical outlet?
Thank you! Compatibility is an issue only with mid-drives. Hub drives can work pretty much anywhere.
Most retrofittable mid-drives are designed for 68mm or 73mm BSA bottom brackets. Unless you buy something particularly fancy like a fatbike, most bikes are made for these bottom brackets. But it's definitely something you want to check.
Re: charging, pedal power would be useless since even with PAS, the battery is supplying 50% of the power. You'd have to park it on a stand and pedal for 1 hour to replace the charge consumed during an hour's ride
So yes, chargers is the way to go. A basic charger can charge an average e-bike battery within 5-6 hours, this can be reduced to ~2 hours with high-amperage chargers.
The only thing you missed is the one thing which is most prevalent in India & the main reason people still don't prefer bicycles/e-bikes - theft.
Yes, theft is a concern and you do want to be super careful with a bike costing 40k. However, this is not really an India-specific concern, and there are plenty of bikes stolen in my current city in the US. The idea is to take sufficient precautions and accept a one-off chance as "cost of doing business".
You do want better locks. Most secure ones are U-Locks that have a U-shaped solid metal rod. You use them to secure the bike to a pole or a railing.
Many U-Locks come with an additional flexible cable that you can loop through the rims and lock with the U-thing, this prevents someone from running away with a wheel.
The batteries are also secured with a key, and the screws are placed in such a way that they are unreachable when the battery is locked. They'd have to break open the case to access it.
You'll find that there are not many occasions where you have to leave it in the open for more than 2-3 hours. Security of the bike has never been a problem for me in Bangalore, but depending on the scrupulousness quotient of your area, YMMV.
Originally Posted by gauravanekar
I have two questions:
1. Is it possible to retrofit this into a gearless 'basicest' btwin, I am worried about front and rear sprocket alignment. Reason being gearless sprockets are closer to wheel bearing compared geared setup.
So there two aspects to the compatibility. (I assume you're taking about mid-drives, because with hub-drives, none of these things are an issue).
1. Bottom bracket - They are designed to work on 68mm or 73mm bottom brackets which is the most popular standard, and would likely fit most of the frames being sold in India. However, you should double check before ordering an expensive kit. There are adapters available for some other BBs, but I think you'll mostly be fine with the standard 68mm kit.
2. Chainline alignment, which you speak of. We do want the chainline to be as straight as possible. However, I don't believe there's a significant difference between a gearless rear sprocket and the largest sprocket in a geared system.
You do not want a mid drive in a gearless system for two reasons. 1 is that they like to spin fast (90-120 rpm). Second is that if you're buying a 70k mid drive, it's good to have a quality light and strong frame to go with it, since you'll be pumping through it the power of 2-3 cyclists.
2. How much time it would take for a 25 km 4 lane highway ride without traffic. What's your estimate? Temperature is expected to be benign here in Bangalore early morning
In my experience, time taken on an ebike is not usually a function of traffic, which is what made it most appealing to me in Bangalore
Assuming we're talking about a 250W road-legal bike, I was able to maintain average speeds of 20-ish including the occasional traffic lights and all, highways are likely to be less interruptive (top speed being 25-27, which can be sustained easily on longer drives). So ~65-80 minutes would be a reasonable estimate.
Originally Posted by arunphilip
It takes passion, and a flair for writing, to draw in petrolheads into reading a thread about bicycles. And you've achieved it marvellously.
I'm sure anyone reading this thread will immediately start thinking of getting one, so infectious is your enthusiasm.
Thank you for the kind words! I like the idea of cruising down the highway on a 400 bhp V8 as much as the next petrolhead, but it's like using a sword to chop chillies in cities!
Then, I look down at my waistline and think "Hmm, I'm sure there's a few thousand kilowatts in those inches". Maybe I ought to skip the 'E' in e-bike!
Hahaha, the thing about e-bikes is that you end up using them a lot more often than regular bicycles purchased in a fit of fitness, so it actually ends up making more of a difference in the long run!
Originally Posted by Shreyans_Jain
As much as I'd like to join the bandwagon, fact is that Delhi NCR is just too polluted during winter months. Any kind of outdoor physical activity cannot be good when PM levels are consistently over 300.
Yes sir, these are valid concerns one must consider before adopting bicycles. Pollution masks do a good job, but at the end of the day you should be comfortable.
Originally Posted by RGK
Thank you Anku for your timely thread. I had a chance to look into Hero Lectro EZephyr brought by my friend.
His observations are
1. Tyre width is very small and the jerk is felt.
2. The handlebar is not comfortable for long rides.
He had contacted Hero cycles for replacement of tires with wider ones and a comfortable handlebar. I took a small test ride and felt a cushioning saddle is a must.
Good e-bikes have the DNA of an MTB. Which means thicker tires and softer suspensions.
Reputed international brands like Giant, Scott, Cannondale, Trek have been researching frame geometries and body postures for decades. They have four sizes for each model, unlike the two-size fits all approach taken by Indian manufacturers.
I would advise switching the front fork to one from a good quality MTB, I am not confident in Hero's willingness to use third-party forks. Sprung saddle and fatter tyres are much easier upgrades that can be done without involving the manufacturer.
Another tip I got to know from pro-cycling friends is to raise the seat height. The idea is not to touch the ground, but have the knees be almost straight when the pedal is at its lowest. This simple trick helped me maintain one gear higher on my rides.
In India, E-bikes will be a success if prices come down and a good infrastructure is built. (separate lanes, no car zone etc). |
Having said that, climate plays a vital role in e-bike success. Unfortunately, tropical climate is not ideal for day to day usage.
Mass manufacturing coupled with a concerted government effort is what made e-bikes succeed in China.
Our govt. is trying to push EVs too, but the focus is entirely on cars, bigger bikes and the like. They do not realize the role of e-bikes in being able to decongest a city.
Re: tropical climate, you're right and biking is not really feasible in 40 degree summers. However I would argue that our winters are a lot more bearable and 5 degrees is not a problem with light winter gear, and it is feasible to bike 8 months of the year.
Originally Posted by Thermodynamics
Sometime back I was searching DIY stuff to covert a normal bicycle into an e-bike and there are oodles of them in the internet. Products like these
are available online from 3000/- excluding battery. Also YouTube DIYs are plenty and many of them claim a budget of 8000/- for a basic e-bike conversion.
I understand from your post, a quality conversion would easily cost 35000/-. In which case this is still an enthusiast hobby and cost would be a main deterrent for mass adoption. Bajaj CT-100B is just about the same price.
Interesting, I had not looked at the cheaper kits! The problem with these, as you pointed out, is the quality. Longevity is a concern, and these motors have to operate outside of their design envelope quite frequently. I've ridden my 35k e-bike through inundated Bangalore roads during monsoons and hot Bangalore summers for 4000 km with zero electrical problems, often hitting 400-500W while accelerating, and maintaining 300W on flyovers, as opposed to a design limit of 250W. Doubt one can say the same for the cheaper kits
Originally Posted by jassi_jeeper
I have an Avon e-scoot. No parking charges. Can ride it on cycle tracks in Chandigarh
I love Chandigarh but didn't know you guys had cycle tracks there, go green!