Welcome to the Cycle 9 Frequently Asked Questions Page. Some common questions are answered below.If we haven't answered your question, please contact us.
- Common questions about electric bikes and technologies
- What is an electric assist bicycle?
- How far can I go on an e-bike before recharging?
- What kind of mileage does it get?
- How much does it cost to charge?
- Can it recharge when I'm pedaling?
- Are ebikes legal
- How fast does an ebike go
- Why burn fossil fuels to ride and electric bike?
- Who is an electric assist bike for?
- Isn't that cheating to have electric assist?
- Advanced Electric Assist Bikes and Technologies
- What is a watt hour?
- LiFEPO4 batteries - all you wanted to know about BMS and VBB
- I see the voltage drop when I am using my LiFePO4 battery, why?
- The Crystalyte versus the eZee hub motor
- How much energy does an electric assist bike use? How much does it cost to charge?
- What are the different battery chemistries, how much do they cost and weigh?
- My local bike shop wasn't keen on electric assist bikes
- Why an electric bike rather than electric car? Or a hybid car?
- How does the cost of an electric bike compare to a car?
- I see different battery packs at 24 Volts, 36 Volts, 48 Volts - which is best and why?
- Can capacity in Amp hours be compared across battery types?
- What does "Amp Hours" (or watt hours) mean?
- Folding Bikes Q & A
- Who is a folding bike for?
- Sports Utility/Cargo Bikes
- What is a cargo bike?
- What is an Xtracycle Freeradical?
- Who is an Xtracycle Freeradical for?
- Can I remove the Xtracycle Freeradical easily?
- Electric Conversion Kit Installation & Compatibility
- What are the dimensions of the 26" eZee kit
- What bikes and forks are compatible with the Forsen motors?
- What bikes and forks is the eZee front hub motor kit compatible with
- Who is writing all this and why should we believe you?
Common questions about electric bikes and technologies
What is an electric assist bicycle? Back to top of FAQAn electric bike is just a regular bicycle with an electric motor added. This helps you Ride Your Bike More, by making it more fun, making it easier to climb hills, and extending the range that you can go. Electric motors are clean, quiet, efficient, and have a lot of hill-climbing torque. A typical electric bike runs using a battery. Batteries can be Lead Acid (cheap but heavy) to Lithium Iron Phosphate (light and long lasting, but more expensive). You charge the battery at night when the bike is not in use, using an automatic charger. The charger detects when the battery is full, and turns itself off automatically, so the battery doesn't get overcharged. It typically costs only 5 to 10 cents per charge, and each charge will take you and the bike from 15 to 30 miles.
Everyone who test rides an electric bike thinks they are surprisingly fun. Our customers seem to love riding their electric bikes. We love riding our own electrified cargo bikes. It is one of the most enjoyable ways to get around.Rate this entry
How far can I go on an e-bike before recharging? Back to top of FAQIn typical use, 15-30 miles for the geared hub motors, and 30-50 for the more efficient BionX and NineContinent hub motors. This estimate is based on a 36 volt, 10 amp hour battery.
Here's how we arrived at those numbers. Since they are not internally geared, the BionX and NineContinent motors are very efficient. In moderate use (pretty good hill climbing), they consume about 8 watt hours per mile, and so if you have the 10 amp hour/36 volt battery, it holds about 10AH*36V=360 watt hours, and 360/8 = 45 miles of range.
The eZee/BMC kits are more like 12 watt hours per mile (WH/mi) in typical, moderate use (you can do as well as 8 watt hours per mile by only using the throttle gently on hills). So with the same size 10 amp hour, 36 volt battery, you'd get 360 WH/12 = 30 miles range.
I've found that if I ride my eZee equipped electric cargo bicycle at 36 volts, and I don't pedal at all, I use about 22 WH/mi. So the range in that instance is 360WH/22mi= 16 mi.
So that's how we came up with the estimate 15-30 miles.Rate this entry
What kind of mileage does it get? Back to top of FAQAround 1,600 miles per gallon (MPG).
If you factor electricity costs at a typical rate of $0.10 per kilowatt hour, and your bike consumes 12 watt hours per mile, it can go 83 miles for 10 cents (about 20% less, or 66 miles, if you account for the charger not being perfectly efficient).
Translating that into gas at $2.50 per gallon, you could go 1,600 miles for the cost of a gallon of gas.
Seen another way, there are about 33 kWh of energy in a gallon of gas. Since the bike uses 12 watt hours per mile, it can go 2700 miles on the energy equivalent of a single gallon of gas. That's over 2,000 MPG.Rate this entry
How much does it cost to charge? Back to top of FAQIn most locales, you will spend from $0.03 (3 cents) to $0.05 (5 cents) for a full charge.
This is based on electricity at 10 cents per kilowatt hour, assuming that you used 1/4 kilowatt hour on the bike, and factoring in some charging inefficiency.
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Can it recharge when I'm pedaling? Back to top of FAQA lot of people ask this question. There are kits on the market that can do this, like the BionX. However, most kits do not implement this feature, because it adds cost.
Now, on the BionX, the one benefit of this setup is that it can recharge when you are braking, coming to a stop. This is useful, because it is capturing energy that would be thrown away. But estimates are, it only saves about 20% of your total energy (so you can go 20% more distance on a charge).Rate this entry
Are ebikes legal Back to top of FAQA standard "electric bike" is defined by the US consumer safety law as one that can go no more than 20 miles per hour under electric power only. It is fine if the bike goes faster by leg power or on downhills. Bikes that comply to this standard are to be treated as regular bicycles in most instances, though some states have their own requirements.
The federal law doesn't say much really about electric motor kits added onto your own bike. And many states like North Carolina don't say much about it either.
There are two approaches one can take in such an instance. You can either be low-key about your bike riding so as to not attract undue attention, and then you're unlikely to be bothered (but, we are not lawyers and we are not suggesting being ignorant of or breaking the law).
A second approach is to register your bike as a "motorized scooter/bike" at your DMV. We know of people who've done this for very high-power bikes (over 1,000 watts) or those that can go very fast (over 30 mph). But for bikes that travel at normal bike speeds, this may be overkill (again, consult your state vehicle codes if in doubt).
I used to ride an ebike in a state where it was supposed to be registered at the DMV. However, at the time I was ignorant of the law, so I didn't register my bike. I rode it in that state for 4 years, and nobody ever bothered me or gave any hassles. Most of the electric motor kits are low key and quiet (unlike gas motors). I think that many of these laws date from years before the modern hub motors came into existence, when people were strapping big gasoline motors on bikes. But my speculation doesn't mean that you should listen to me when it comes to the law. I didn't go to law school for a reason.
In some states, if you want to make your bike go a lot faster than 20 mph under electric power, it might be wise to check to see about registering your bike as a "scooter" to be legal on the roads. That might involve adding safety equipment like a brake light and mirrors, but check with your DMV to be sure.
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How fast does an ebike go Back to top of FAQMost ebikes are limited to 20 mph maximum electric assist speed (they can go faster, but only with pedal power alone). This is due to federal law which defines safety standards for ebikes. Vehicles that can travel faster than that fall under the regulations of the DOT, which means they need to have more safety equipment, and can't be taken on bike paths.
All of the pre-built electric assist bikes we sell are limited to the 20mph top speed for the assist, to comply with the law (you can pedal them faster than that, especially downhill, but the motor won't contribute above that speed).
With some add-on kits it is possible to make them go faster by adding higher voltage or the right kind of motor (e.g. the Crystalyte 406 has a top speed around 26 mph at 37V).
We cannot condone breaking the law, bikes with faster motors should be used away from public roadways or bike paths. Or you can check with your DMV to see what it takes to register your bike as a motorized vehicle if you want to legally operate it on road at higher speeds.Rate this entry
Why burn fossil fuels to ride and electric bike? Back to top of FAQThe goal of the electric bikes is to motivate a person to ride more often. If you're already biking every day without electric assist, then maybe electric isn't the right answer for you. But for people who may not otherwise be motivated to ride everyday, the electric assist can add motivation to get on the bike. This has two great benefits: exercise, and greatly increased energy efficiency (did you see the FAQ entry about how many miles per gallon the electric bike gets? Over 2,000 MPG).
No matter how good or bad I feel, I can hop on that electric bike to commute to work, and know that I can get as much or as little exercise as I want. Some days I want a lot, and some days I just want to cruise and take it easy.
As to energy efficiency: energy is not free, whether it comes from the food that powers you, or the electricity that powers the bike. For example, this site calculates the MPG for riding your bike with no electric, and the best is 200MPG (for a vegetarian). Compare that to the 2,000+ miles per gallon on an electric bike!
More importantly, the electric bike can be powered by renewable energy. They can be charged with wind power, solar, etc (I frequently charge mine with solar). In that case, there is no fossil fuel involved, and it is actually far more efficient than a human powered bike.
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Who is an electric assist bike for? Back to top of FAQAnyone who would like to bike more often instead of using a car. Electric assist is especially useful when there are hills, hot weather, long commutes, or for those not feeling in peak physical condition.
One main purpose is to address the needs of an every day bike commuter. A bike commuter needs to get to work every day, regardless of how she or he feels. Having an electrical assist on the bike is a huge psychological and physical boost to getting on the bike and doing the commute. It makes it seem a lot easier, and more fun!
Some people also use electric assists for touring. Justin, our friend from ebikes.ca, is presently riding across Canada on an electric bike. The electric assist, when designed for touring, can help extend range and deal with hills. But it is necessary to plan recharging stops, typically every 50-75 miles, unless you want to carry a lot of batteries.
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Isn't that cheating to have electric assist?
Back to top of FAQWe've been asked this question, more than once! But this is a silly question. If you are in a race and using an electric assist against a biker without one, that is cheating. But the electric assist is not designed for racing, it is designed to make the bike more practical for everyday use. This includes easier hill climbing, reduced sweatiness when going to work, longer range, and so on. The assist is to encourage you to use the bike more often, instead of a car. In our opinion, if that means more bikes and less cars on the road. That is the opposite of cheating.Rate this entry
Advanced Electric Assist Bikes and Technologies
What is a watt hour? Back to top of FAQA watt hour is the best way to figure out how much energy your battery can carry, and how far it will take you on the bike.
For example, 100 watt hours is equal to a 100 watt lightbulb running for 1 hour (i.e. 100 watts * 1 hour = 100 watt hours). 100 watt hours is also equal to a 50 watt lightbulb running for 2 hours (50 watts * 2 hours = 100 watt hours).
So if you want to calculate the range of your bike, you need to know the following things:
1. The voltage of your battery
2. The amp-hour capacity of your battery
3. The efficiency of your motor in typical use, expressed as watt-hours per mile (WH/mi).
A great way of measuring your efficiency is the CycleAnalyst, which will tell you the WH/mi that your bike uses in real life.
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LiFEPO4 batteries - all you wanted to know about BMS and VBB Back to top of FAQThere are two basic categories of LiFEPO4 batteries on the market:
Those with a BMS board (and possibly a VBB also), and those without one.
What is a BMS and why does it make a difference?
BMS stands for Battery Management System. It is a circuit board added to a lithium-ion battery that helps manage power from the battery to protect both the battery and its user (e.g. in case you short circuit something). Not only does it monitor for and shut off in case of short circuit, it also constantly monitors the voltage of all the cells in a pack (e.g. a typical 37V pack is comprised of 12 cells, each about 3.2 V). If one of the cells gets too low (e.g. 2.2V or so), the pack will cut off power. This protects the cells, because if the voltage goes too low, they will receive permanent damage. Charging restores the cells back to enough voltage to power the pack.
A voltage balance board (VBB) is sometimes included on a BMS. This is an additional component that allows you to use a very simple, single voltage charger. What it does is make sure that all the individual cells get charged to equal fullness. The cells are like water tanks, and some may charge or discharge faster than others. If that happens, most might be full, but one may only be half full. If you start draining them all at an equal rate (such as on a bicycle), when the half-full one runs out, then the BMS cuts the power off to protect that one... so you only get 1/2 capacity from the whole system...
The VBB tries to make sure that the tanks (cells) are all equally full at charging. Now, in some cases this doesn't work perfectly. If a Lithium-ion battery is cutting out prematurely, often the problem is that the internal cells are not balanced, or one of them is going bad.
We have found that balance problems are often the fault of chargers that turn off prematurely before balancing is complete during charging. Balancing happens slowly and at low currents. Many chargers detect the low current as meaning the battery is charged, so they turn themselves off. When this happens, the battery may only get 75% or so of its full potential capacity. Yes, we've seen many so-called "10Ah" batteries get only 7Ah of capacity with incorrect charging. When the charging is done correctly, these same batteries often get 11 Ah.
We are experts in the charging algorithms for batteries, since we build our own packs and BMS boards. We have helped two different charger manufacturers correct their charging algorithms to correctly charge LiFePO4 batteries. We only sell chargers that will correctly do this.
For batteries without a VBB, it is essential to use what is called a "balancing chager". This is a special charger that has individual wires to monitor the charging of each cell in the battery, to make sure they are all full. If you try to charge a lithium battery without a balancing charger, it may work. .. for a while. But eventually, the cells will get out of balance, and the capacity will diminish rapidly. If you bought an expensive LiFEPO4 battery, this seems like kind of a waste of money not to get full performance out of it because of inadequate charging.Rate this entry
I see the voltage drop when I am using my LiFePO4 battery, why? Back to top of FAQEvery battery has a voltage sag due to "internal resistance". The sag is proportional to current, given by Ohm's law, V=IR, where V is the sag voltage, I is the current, and R is internal battery resistance. When you're going at 500 watts at 36 volts, you're pulling > 15A, and so the voltage sag may be 3-4 volts below resting voltage. When you ease up on the throttle and the current drops, the voltage should bump back up.
For a 36V battery, it should start at about 41V charged (non loaded), and if they sag 3-4V under load, that means they will operate at 36-37V. During the flat part of the discharge curve (about the middle half), they hover around 38.5V unloaded, which translates to 34-35V under load. During the last 25% of the discharge, the un-loaded voltage is 36-37V (36V is a fully discharged battery at rest), meaning that under load you will see 32-34V. Now, if you have a heavy load for a long period (e.g. long hill), the sag will slowly increase, meaning voltage drops.
As the battery gets low, a sag down to 32V or less doesn't necessarily mean the battery is fully discharged. But you want to be very careful, because if one of your cells goes below 2.0V for prolonged periods, it will permanently loose part of its capacity. A battery that has a "battery management system" (BMS) can monitor for low voltage cells, and shut off the battery if any cell is < 2.0V (but it is disconcerting to just have your battery suddenly "shut off").
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The Crystalyte versus the eZee hub motor Back to top of FAQThe two main things that distinguish the eZee 5:1 geared hub motor from the Crystalyte 400 series are:
1) weight - the Crystalyte is significantly heavier. This is because it is not internally geared, so that means the dimensions of everything have to be bigger to generate sufficient torque to drive the bike forward. Bigger dimensions means heavier - about 5-6 pounds more for the 400 series Crystalyte versus standard eZee hub motor.
2) hill climbing/load carrying (torque). With standard bikes and moderate hills, the Crystalyte works well. With a heavier load-carrying bike, or with steep hills, the high torque of the eZee really helps. The eZee does not bog down in any circumstances we've tried it under (though going up steep hills at full throttle is punishing on the batteries and should be minimized).
Due to its lighter weight, for those who want to add a front electric motor assist to their bike, but want minimal effect on handling, the eZee is the way to go. That said, one of our own bikes has a Crystalyte, and it works well, and would be a good solution for the budget conscious and/or those not intending to carry loads on their bike.
Also note that Crystalyte has a higher-power motor series, the 5000 (sometimes called Phoenix). These are heavier still. However, they are some of the highest-power and fastest motors currently available. We can get these by special order, but be forewarned that they a) are heavy and b) require a very high power battery setup.
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How much energy does an electric assist bike use? How much does it cost to charge? Back to top of FAQIn typical usage, an electric bike may consume around 8-18 watt hours per mile, depending on the kind of motor used and how the rider uses it. For a 15 mile round-trip, this is a total of about 120-270 watt hours. Even the higher figure is only the same amount of energy it would take to run a 100 Watt light bulb for a bit over two hours.
If we assume that the battery charger is only 80% efficient, this equates to 0.3 KWH of power per day. Again, that's a 100 Watt light bulb for 3 hours. That is less than $0.05 (5 cents) per day! The same car trip in a typical 20MPG car would cost $2.25 (at $3/gal). Then add in parking for the car (bike parking is nearly always free) and the equation is even better. Comparing the costs for gas alone, over the course of a year (assuming 200 days of commuting), this equates to $10 electricity for the bike, versus $450 for the car (plus parking, which on our local campus is >$1,000 per year). That's a difference of $440 per year at current gas prices. As gas prices go up, this will be even more favorable to the bike (at $5/gallon of gas, the bike would save over $700 per year).
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What are the different battery chemistries, how much do they cost and weigh? Back to top of FAQThe charts below tell the short story.
Lifetime energy carried versus cost, bigger is better. On top of the bars it shows approximately how far the battery will carry you over its life, irrespective of cost. The bars themselves show the cost-adjusted lifetime energy capacity. The Li-Fe-PO4 is about 2X more economical than the other batteries.
Power versus Weight, bigger means lighter weight/longer range. Calculated as Watt hours per pound of weight (approximate).
For those who like details, here's a table that shows the figures and notes for each battery type.
One thing that's not emphasized in the above information is the relative safety of the various battery technologies. The Li-Fe-PO4 is a highly safe battery chemistry, which won't explode or catch on fire if it is short circuited or crushed in an accident, or overcharged. This makes it of particularly suited for electric vehicle use, since EV's are exposed to more situations than is a laptop battery.Rate this entry
My local bike shop wasn't keen on electric assist bikes Back to top of FAQWe find an unfortunately negative attitude amongst some bike shops regarding electric assist bikes. Most of these are great people, but they have come to see things almost solely from a recreational perspective. And sometimes there is a bit of "purism" thrown in too. That is all well and good for the fit young folks who often work at bike shops and who ride recreationally - but it does not work so well for those of us who aren't so fit, or aren't so young, or just want a practical bike that is fun to ride to work!
Also, some bike shops had bad experiences with early electric assist kits in the mid-90's. We ourselves have owned some of those early electric motor kits, and they had some "issues". However, electric bikes have evolved substantially in the past 15 years (and are still evolving). This has been particularly spurred on by their popularity in asian countries, where the costs and difficulty of owning a car are even greater than in the USA. This has resulted in a great deal of innovation, which has led to better and more trouble free bikes. A substantial improvement has also come in battery chemistry. Early bike kits relied on heavy lead-acid batteries. Increasingly today, bike kits are offering much lighter and longer-lived batteries based on chemistries such as Nickel Metal Hydride or Lithium Iion. There are a few new battery chemistries on the way that have even greater advantages, such as extremely long life.Rate this entry
Why an electric bike rather than electric car? Or a hybid car? Back to top of FAQWe personally owned one of the first Toyota Prius' hybrid cars sold in the USA. Hybrids are great. But based on energy usage figures, an electric bike is still 30 times more energy efficient than a hybrid. The bike gets over 1500 MPG (based on 33kWh usable energy per gallon of gas), versus 50 MPG under ideal circumstances for the car.
We think electric plug in cars are even better than hybrids. But right now, there are not many available. And, they still use substantially more energy than a bike (about 10-15 times more). Finally, they will be much more expensive to buy and operate than a bike. So, for short trips, a bike is still a much more viable option.
There are a few other advantages to a bike. Even when pedaling gently while using electric assist, you are still getting exercise. No exercise is involved in driving a car. Also, it gives a chance to slow down, relax, and take in the surroundings. Many bike riders think their ride home after work is the most relaxing part of the day (compared to the typical drive home from work, which can be very stressful). Plus, there is usually no parking expense for a bike. You can just ride past all the traffic up to your destination and park the bike. No hassles.
Sometimes a car is a necessary and useful thing to have access to. But we suggest considering a car sharing program such as Zipcar as an alternative to owning a car (or, at least using that in combination with a bike to replace the second car in a family).
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How does the cost of an electric bike compare to a car? Back to top of FAQBikes do require maintenance, but it is useful to contrast them with a car.
The following estimate for the bike is based on a generous replacement schedule and someone who has all work done at a bike shop. For those who are do-it-yourselfers, a bike is much easier to work on than a car, and will save considerable cost.
Based on 15 miles a day and 200 days per year:
While the bike is marginally less expensive to maintain, it is not drastically so. However, the difference is very substantial when it comes to depreciation, insurance, and parking. Total savings for bike is over $4,000 per year (not counting gas savings, considered under point 2 above).
This assumes that a bike replaces a car, which we think is much more feasible with an electric assist bike (especially one that can haul cargo, such as an Xtracycle Freeradical equipped bike, which we will be selling).
A different and perhaps more revealing number comes from Ken Kifer, who (based on previous $1.50/gal prices) estimates a total operating cost of $0.93/mile for a standard auto, versus $0.128/mile for a bike. With current gas costs of >$3.00 putting this estimate above $1.00/mile, this would equate to $3,000 per year for the car, and $384 for the bike, in this case representing > $2,500 difference.
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I see different battery packs at 24 Volts, 36 Volts, 48 Volts - which is best and why? Back to top of FAQThe voltage of the system determines the overall amount of power, acceleration, hill climbing, and top speed you'll get from a given electric bike system.
Some of the earlier bikes on the market used 24 volts. But these days, 36 volts, 48 volts, and even higher are becoming increasingly common. A higher voltage pack allows the bike to have a higher top speed, and generally more climbing power.
The e-bike controller (the brains of the system, which converts the direct current from the battery into pulses that operate the motor), must be the right voltage for your battery. You can't hook a 72V battery up to a 36V controller, unless you like the smell of burnt electrical parts. Some controllers can handle a range of voltages, allowing versatility.
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Can capacity in Amp hours be compared across battery types? Back to top of FAQNot really. The problem with a "10AH" sealed lead acid battery is
that the voltage drops steeply once you get to 6-7 AH. With many electric vehicle controllers, this
means you won't have enough juice to actually operate the vehicle, even though the battery
has some capacity left after this point.
It is sort of like having a gas tank that holds 10 gallons, but having the fuel
line leave the tank somewhere not at the bottom, so that even though the tank may have 2
gallons left, you can't use them.
With lithium chemistries (and NiMH also) the discharge curves allow you to get
much closer to the true capacity before the voltage drops. For a look at the voltage
discharge curves for some of the LiFePO4 packs, see http://www.zeva.com.au/tech/LiFePO4.php
(the ones we are using are based on the PHET cells).Rate this entry
What does "Amp Hours" (or watt hours) mean? Back to top of FAQAmp hours (AH or Ah) is how battery capacity is measured. Technically 1 amp hour means 1 amp of current for 1 hour of time. For perspective, a typical small electric vehicle battery will range from 5 AH up to 15 AH. To figure out what this means, you need to know how much current your EV will draw (in amps) and how long you will ride.
For example, if your electric vehicle (EV) draws an average of 5 amps, then a 10 AH battery would allow you to ride for 2 hours (5Amps x 2 hours = 10 Amp Hours).
In our own experience, when using a moderate electric assist on our bikes, on semi-hilly terrain, we use about 5AH for every 10 miles travelled.
Note that the true power you get out of an electric vehicle depends not only on amps, but also on the voltage. A better measure of power is based on watts, which is just current (amps) times voltage (volts). This is the common unit of measure for things like light bulbs. So a 100W light bulb would, for example, draw 1 amp at 100 volts (1A X 100V = 100W).
Therefore, the best measure of true battery capacity is not Amp Hours, but Watt hours, which is calculated the same way as amp hours: 1 watt for 1 hour is 1 watt•hour. Or, 10 watts for 1/2 hour would be 5 watt hours, and etc. Most of the packs we use are in the range of 200-300 Watt hours.
We find average use to be about 15 watt hours per mile when we are using the electric assist with moderation, and more than 20 watt hours per mile when riding with a "lead foot". For regular use, the Cycle9 LiFeBatt pack we will be carrying should last for about 16 miles before recharge.Rate this entry
Folding Bikes Q & A
Who is a folding bike for? Back to top of FAQAnyone who wants the convenience of a bike, without having to deal with bike racks on a car, or restrictions on a bus/subway/train. Anyone who doesn't have space to store a bike. They're also great for anyone who travels - most folding bikes can be packed in a suitcase, so it doesn't cost any extra to take them on the airplane. For those who frequently have to walk across town or college campus, folding bikes can be stored in your office or cube, ready to go.
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Sports Utility/Cargo Bikes
What is a cargo bike? Back to top of FAQBasically, a new breed of bicycle that can carry stuff. There are all sorts of varieties, from Dutch style Bakfiets cargo bikes to sports utility bikes. We personally like the sports-utility bike platform, because it is so versatile, as exemplified by the Yuba Mundo shown below. This style handles like a normal bike, and can be used on as well as off road. But it can haul - stuff and more stuff. The Yuba Mundo can carry over 400 pounds of stuff. The Xtracycle is an attachment that you can add to your own bike. That one is nifty because it has an interchangeable system of parts like panniers, foot rests, etc. It can carry up to 200 pounds of gear.Rate this entry
What is an Xtracycle Freeradical? Back to top of FAQIt converts your bike into a load hauling machine, while retaining that lightweight nimble bike feel. It shares many properties of trailers, without the disadvantages of a trailer. It won't tip over. It can carry heavy loads (up to 200 pounds!). It can carry passengers. It can carry long loads like kayaks, ladders, surfboards, carpets. It uses a set of saddlebags called the "Freeloaders" that easily expand to fit your load. And it makes the bike ride more stable (because it extends the wheelbase).
We use these on our everyday bikes. We believe this is one of the single most transformative pieces of biking equipment to come along in the last 5 years. It gives a sense of freedom to use a bike without worrying about whether you can carry stuff.
Installation is straightforward. The FreeRadical fits in where your rear wheel did. Your existing rear wheel is moved back, fitting in the FreeRadical itself. The kit comes with extensions for your chain and your cables. A pro bike mechanic can do the work in 1-1.5 hours, and for a first time installer it might be 3-4 hours.
The kit comes for 26" wheels or 700c wheels.
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Who is an Xtracycle Freeradical for? Back to top of FAQAnyone who wants to do a lot of what a car can do, without the expense or pollution of a car. The Freeradical can: carry people, carry your pets, carry your spouse/partner, carry your groceries, carry your lumber, carry your furniture, carry your kayaks, well, you get the idea. The most nifty thing is that adding the freeradical to the bike only gains a few pounds, and still feels like a normal bike! Plus, the longer wheelbase makes the bike more stable to ride. We can thank the good Xtracycle folks for inspiring us to get into this business in the first place. It's because of our own Freeradical equipped bikes that we realized how practical and fun bikes can be as a replacement for many car trips.
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Can I remove the Xtracycle Freeradical easily? Back to top of FAQOften people ask this question before buying a FreeRadical. While it is true that the Freeradical can be removed relatively quickly (with practice, it might be 20-30 minutes), I don't know of a single owner who does that. Once people get it installed on their bikes, they realize how great it is to have the freedom to carry stuff on their bikes, whenever or wherever they are. And since it does not detract from the handling or feel of the bike, there is often little reason to remove it.Rate this entry
Electric Conversion Kit Installation & Compatibility
What are the dimensions of the 26" eZee kit Back to top of FAQThe eZee kit has the standard front "over locknut dimension" (O.L.D.), which is 100 mm. It comes in three sizes, 20", 26", and 700C, referring to the diameter of the complete wheel. The rims are standard mountain/hybrid bike width, about 1". The wheel comes with a 180mm disc brake motor, but not all calipers will fit between the rotor and the motor. eZee company recommends the Shimano BR-M545 caliper. We can get that for $85 (MSRP is $89), just drop us a line. We will also be listing it in our online store in the future.Rate this entry
What bikes and forks are compatible with the Forsen motors? Back to top of FAQThis answer is just a placeholder. Please use the comments section to comment on compatibility for Forsen motors.Rate this entry
What bikes and forks is the eZee front hub motor kit compatible with Back to top of FAQThis FAQ entry is just a placeholder.
We invite reports in the comments here regarding compatibility, i.e. what works, and what doesn't, with the eZee front hub motor kit.Rate this entry
Who is writing all this and why should we believe you? Back to top of FAQYou can see a bit more about us on our About Us Page Briefly, we've ridden several generations of electric bikes since 1994. Morgan has assembled her bikes by herself, including the wiring, wheel building, and so on. We also have owned (and still own) numerous other bikes, and use them for commuting and recreation.
Morgan has a degree in Physics (among several other degrees), so remembers one or two things about electricity and kinetic motion. She is also a scientist, so loves to experiment and tinker with her bikes.
Elise loves to work with people, educating and advocating for bike use. She has been an avid bike rider for 20+ years. She also likes her bikes simple and uncomplicated, so she is the perfect contrast to Morgan's tinkering and technophile tendencies, keeping us focused on the needs of the user who wants a fun and simple bike.
Greg is a bike enthusiast, through and through. He wants everyone to share the joy that is biking.
Cycle 9, LLC
Chapel Hill/Carrboro North CarolinaRate this entry