Does less powerful eBike produce more people trying to maintain speed?

addertooth

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A few years back it was popular to strap on a 50cc engine onto your bike frame and putter around town.
I noticed a lot of the riders would slip past stop signs carrying speed, and pulling out into traffic with poor safety margins.
I talked to a few of the gas bike riders and many told a similar story.
With the tall gearing they had, it took a bit of time to get the bike up to speed, and they didn't like giving up the speed.
This made them more likely to blow through stop signs, and try to "carry their speed" as much as possible.

Roll the clock forward to this year. I got a dual 1Kw hub motor eBike. It comes off the line rather solidly (when needed).
It can keep up with cars when the stoplight turns green (up to about 30 MPH). I don't have a problem with coming to a full stop,
because there is little penalty with getting back up to cruising speed again (I typically cruise at about 21 MPH for most
of my rides.

For those who ride 250-350 Watt bikes, do you find yourself trying to preserve your speed on these bikes?
Do you feel you could integrate with traffic better if you had a bit more power? I view extra power as
an additional "safety factor".
The typical actions when a hazard happens on the road is: Swerve, Brake, or Accelerate (to avoid contact from behind).
It would seem that lower powered bikes really only have the first two options.
 
For me it's not about power, it's about safety. Any time your bike is not moving on the street you're in danger of being run over. On an eBike most of the danger comes from behind. We don't typically go fast enough to worry that much about people making right turns in front of us. If conditions are favorable you're safer not stopping.
 
Interesting idea, but then shouldn't this be an even more noticeable phenomenon for bicycles without batteries?

I also tend to use inertia as much as possible, but frankly speaking, the 250W max of my ebike is enough for me. If I wanted more I would have bought a moped or a motorcycle. More power would mean more speed, with all the associated additional risks.
 
Who or what country only allows a 250watt ebike? I call that unfair for them. Should at least allow 500watt bikes.

My bike is 2200watts & leaves the line like a rocketship. I'm glad the power is there if I need it.
It would be interesting to see accidents comparison for bike riders of 250-350watt bikes versus accidents with bikes of 500-750watts.
 
Who or what country only allows a 250watt ebike? I call that unfair for them. Should at least allow 500watt bikes.
All EU countries: 250 W maximum and 25 km/h maximum before pedaling stops being assisted by the motor. Personally, this does not seem penalizing to me. In fact, I find it a fair rule. Let me explain why, and forgive me for being a little long-winded...

Ebikes developed from bicycles. Bicycles were a common means of transportation in many parts of Europe (Northern Italy, Holland, France by the others) for those who did not have other means. Based on this, for historical reasons they are still exempted from paying insurance and from the need to pay a tax stamp or have a driver's license, against certain limitations (e.g., they cannot ride on freeways). Nevertheless, today they have become high-performance means of transport that can do serious damage, especially in crowded, hilly historical cities such as those in Europe. It is not uncommon to see the case of people killed by reckless bicyclists.

When ebikes developed, they "inherited" these exemptions, also because they represent a way to move without the need for a car and its high environmental impact. But this is a compromise, and so very tight limits had to be set. If you want something faster and more powerful, buy a motorbike or a scooter, but then, pay for an insurance in case you hit me, show a plate to identify you and that you know the rules of the road while you are around me! I don't want to be hit by a moron who then doesn't have the money to pay for the damages.

As an aside, there is a misunderstanding regarding power. This is required for having high speed, but acceleration from a standstill is decided by the torque available at low speeds and by the readiness to provide it. And when you look at the data, often 500 or even 1000 W motors deliver only slightly more maximum torque than a good 250 W motor, but at the cost of more mass. So what you need to accelerate from a standstill and up to a certain speed is not power, but torque.
It would be interesting to see accidents comparison for bike riders of 250-350watt bikes versus accidents with bikes of 500-750watts.
Yes, it would be interesting. But while we wait for those figures, we can apply a general rule that says that speed goes along with danger (quadratically, at the first order), because the fastest you go, the more kinetic energy you have to dissipate when hitting something. Or someone. And you also need much more time to come to a full stop.
 
Yes, with a 25Km/h max speed limit in Europe for assist, it makes sense their motors are geared lower, thus producing more Newton-Meters (Nm) of torque per watt. However, even that has very finite limits. The bike I ride has 163 Nm of torque at full sing. There are no 250/750/1000 Watt hub motors that even have dreams of producing that much torque (okay, maybe some custom built 1000W motor being ran at a higher wattage at 72 volts could possibly hit this number).

There is a YouTube personality (Happytail) who tests bikes 0 to 20 Mph on every bike he makes a video for. Generally speaking, the quickest bikes do it in 5 seconds or less (with no peddling). There are no sub-1500 watt bikes that achieve this high of an acceleration rate. All eBikes have weight comprised of Rider, Frame, Battery, motor. The extra 20 pounds to go with bigger motors would typically be less than a 10 percent increase in mass. The bigger motors provide much more torque than their extra mass demands.

But, I do agree with how the EU has relied upon their heritage and history of significant bicycle usage for the legal framework for eBikes. The lack of such a tradition in the USA, freed the Government to set softer limits. For this, I am grateful.
 
This is an interesting topic. I was just thinking about something similar yesterday, and did some research on my next ebike. I was looking up ebikes like Ariel Kepler, Wired Freedom, and Philo H8 that can go up to 40mph but still with reasonable range. Now, if I am on my regular hybrid, road bike, or 500W ebike, I often feel that on busy roads I'd love to keep up with traffic. I am often so scared of traffic that I tend to avoid busy hours and roads (we have VERY aggressive and anti-bicycle truck and large SUV drivers, and no connected bicycle infrastructure in the city, plus everyone is texting on the phone non-stop). So of course going faster seems like the obvious solution.

But then again, at 25mph on my regular bikes is way fast already. Anything faster on a little lightweight aluminium rocket without sufficient protective gear is probably Evil Knievel-territory. I mean, we know that on a motorcycles we are already like 200x more likely to get into a deadly accident especially in the city, hence I wear leather clothes and a good helmet in the city (plus stay either ahead or behind city traffic). The other problem is, at least where I live, nobody obeys traffic laws, so my fast ebike would have to go at least 50mph just to keep up...now that would be insane on a bicycle!

So I think the real solution is not to increase speed but to provide appropriate infrastructure for bicycles.....I know they are working on it and it has improved a lot in the last decade or so (after I stopped commuting on a bicycle) but yeah, I probably won't see a connected bicycle infrastructure that allows for a car-less life in my lifetime, unless I move to a more bike-friendly city/country.

Just some thoughts I had last night......I might still want to get a Wired freedom once I sell my motorcycle. Those ARE tempting ;-) Not sure if it solves my problem, though.
 
So I think the real solution is not to increase speed but to provide appropriate infrastructure for bicycles.....
Alleluja! :)

Just a question (yes, I could look it up on the Internet, but it's easier to ask here :cool: ): Do you have to buy insurance to drive 50 mph in the USA? Do you need a license, a minimum age or a license plate?

In Italy, when I was a boy - I don't know about today - you were allowed to ride a 50 cc, 1.5 HP motorcycle at the age of 14 without a license plate and without a driver's license. And I have to say that... I really survived myself :eek: , but some friends did not. Some others were involved in serious accidents with others. Teoretically, the speed limit was 40 kmh, de facto... 70-80 km/h typically.

Obviously, risk awareness changes a lot when you get older (should be the opposite if you think twice as life expectancy is much shorter...), and I I haven't forgotten that when I was 14 years old I didn't give a damn about the risks, the safety of others, or the noise that my rigged and unmuffled Vespa caused among the neighbors. But it is no accident that adults write the rules, not teenagers.... Also, let's not forget that the European road network was partly created, especially in the cities, when people were getting around on horseback or on foot... can't be easily upgraded, and so the situation is very different.

1709399493623.png

Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn in Via del Teatro Marcello, in my hometown. The "Campidoglio" ("the typewriter" by the romans) in the background. From the movie "Roman Holiday". That's actually a Vespa 125 cc. V30T "faro basso", or low lamp.

Yep, lots of time passed since then... :-(
 
Obviously, risk awareness changes a lot when you get older, and I I haven't forgotten that when I was 14 years old I didn't give a damn about the risks, the safety of others, or the noise that my rigged and unmuffled Vespa caused among the neighbors'. But it is no accident that adults write the rules, not teenagers....
Indeed. I started riding small 50cc motorcycles at the age of 15 ( license plate and driver's license was required), and worked my way up to 1200cc today. It's a miracle that I am still alive and without any (major) accidents. Just some little bruises after some dui riding at age 15, and once laying down the bike crossing some train tracks. I'd say we lost like 2-3% of my generation between the age of 15 and 26 due to deadly motorcycle accidents. Otherwise, yes - sweet coming of age memories and the feeling of absolute freedom that motorcycles provided for the repressed teenager during that time. Maybe a little bit like ebikes now :)

To your actual question, as addertooth stated: "history of significant bicycle usage for the legal framework for eBikes. The lack of such a tradition in the USA, freed the Government to set softer limits. For this, I am grateful."

I believe it depends on which state you live in, though. In general, there is no such thing as 'in the US'.... if you live on the East coast vs West coast vs Deep South vs Midwest, you may as well be in different countries just sharing Walmart and McDonalds as unifying component. It's just like with Lidl and Aldi in Europe (+UK): same Lidl - different country ;-) In my state there may or may not be laws. I am not really aware in detail because nobody really knows and nobody really cares, and nothing gets enforced anyways. Insurance is not required. There are 3 ebike classes, and you can't operate a class 3 under 16, but nobody ever checks as far as I know. If you cross the state border, or sometimes even municipality, you may or may not be in for a surprise. NYC ain't not mess around anymore because of all the ebike fires there. So that's definitely different and people are trained to be more law abiding, I guess. Plus, probably gonna change in the near future on a national level because of that. This is just my view of things over here, others may have differing views and observations.
 
Yes, like others have spoken to, we are about to enter a 5-year period where the laws will morph.

I have worked in hobby areas which managed to fly under the legislative radar because they had so few visible participants (High power home lasers). As long as you built those lasers yourself, there were essentially no legal upper limits. The legal challenges came in ONLY if you bought a complete unit. They figured anyone who was smart enough to build them, was smart enough to avoid being a nuisance with them.

However, the number of people who ride eBikes is bigger, and growing. They are seen in the streets (as versus working in their garages). That level of visibility can draw scrutiny. And let's face it, we can't "police our own". This may eventually lead to legislative action to place limits on eBikes. I can't help but feel we are in the "Golden Age" of eBikes right now (whether we know it or not). There are even more 40 plus MPH eBikes appearing on the scene at a reasonable price (factory shipped, not home built). The range of these bikes is also seeing marked improvement.

I don't know where this will end, I am just enjoying the Golden Age, before the post-golden-age-suck begins.
I suspect it will end with:
1. A license for bikes capable of XX MPH. (This will mandate safety equipment too, as well as headlamp, tail light, turn signals.
2. Insurance requirements for bikes over XXX Watts, or XX MPH.
3. Registration/Tag requirements for bikes over XXX Watts, or XX MPH.
4. Age restrictions to get the License, with likely speed/power limits for younger age groups.
 
I have worked in hobby areas which managed to fly under the legislative radar because they had so few visible participants (High power home lasers). As long as you built those lasers yourself, there were essentially no legal upper limits.

Sliiiiiiightly off-topic, sorry, but very interesting ... I have been dealing with lasers for scientific applications for many years. Can you briefly tell me what kind of lasers you are talking about, powers, whether continuous or pulsed, and what you mean by "making them in house"? Assembly or do you also build the cavity??? I am curious, thank you!

Then we will return back on track, with bikes... :D

1709405852634.jpg
 
Insurance requirements for bikes over XXX Watts, or XX MPH.
With the push for additional legislation likely originating in NYC where ebike fires cause issues for home insurance companies, my bet is that the insurance lobby will make these changes pretty certain, and probably more like every vehicle with Li-ion batteries needs special insurance, plus restrictions for not UL certified batteries (different lobbying).

Another reason why I am not sure if I want to invest in a higher powered ebike, if there is a chance that it might become legally unusable in just a few short years. The same $2-3K for an entry level fast Chinese ebike can also buy me a small high quality Japanese motorcycle, like the Honda XR150L, at very economical 70-80mpg, that'll last me at least another 20 years, and satisfies my need for speed much better than any 35mph ebike. I still have my road bike for around town, and my new ebike actually doubles as a regular hybrid bike without the battery. Future-proof so to say ;-)
 
I will say the concern about batteries by the Government is proportional to how much they dislike the device which uses the battery.
Laptop Computers and Cell Phones use the same Lithium Ion battery technology. Portable Defibrillators also use the same battery technology. They can be taken almost anywhere; the government is unconcerned about them anywhere (except in stored luggage on aircraft).

On federal government locations the disliked e-cigarettes are relegated to smoking areas (which are required to have fire suppression bins). They are required to only being used where those bins are available (the smoke break areas as defined by signage). The government concern is officially "the risk of fire from the battery". Dare I mention electric cars also use the same battery technology. They are not banned from areas due to fire hazard. You can't vape in a parking lot, next to your electric car.

A study in the UK determined the fires in London were mostly due to delivery services FAST charging the batteries at excessive rates, and antiquated wiring in structures not robust enough to run several chargers at once. Neither of these conditions are the fault of the battery itself. But I will admit that some Chinese battery producers are engineering some rather sketchy batteries these days.

Summary: Quality eBike batteries are no more of a fire risk than those in laptop computers, cell phones, Portable Defibrillators or electric cars.

I do have concerns that some of the faster eBikes (those above the class 3 ratings), may someday get twilighted. I am unsure if they will grandfather them in.
 
A study in the UK determined the fires in London were mostly due to delivery services FAST charging the batteries at excessive rates, and antiquated wiring in structures not robust enough to run several chargers at once. Neither of these conditions are the fault of the battery itself. But I will admit that some Chinese battery producers are engineering some rather sketchy batteries these days.
exactly, and it turns out it is the very same story with the NYC ebike fires, a majority was attributed to bad maintenance, improper charging, and diy tampering with low quality batteries used in the ebike delivery industry. Go figure!
 
Sliiiiiiightly off-topic, sorry, but very interesting ... I have been dealing with lasers for scientific applications for many years. Can you briefly tell me what kind of lasers you are talking about, powers, whether continuous or pulsed, and what you mean by "making them in house"? Assembly or do you also build the cavity??? I am curious, thank you!

Then we will return back on track, with bikes... :D

View attachment 13554
I have built a wide variety of styles and powers. On the low end was a flash-pumped Rhodamine 6G organic tuned laser. A lot of my bigger lasers are electrically pumped and range from 1 micron wavelength to UV. The UV lasers are used for metal cutting and also for stimulating secondary emissions from complex metals to non-destructively discern grain and heat treat of those metals.

Below is a picture of a two Katana blades (edge to edge) which was created to confirm the SanMai structure was indeed pattern steel (commonly known as Damascus) for the side cladding, while the edge was a modern performance steel. It also revealed the wavy differential heat treat used to harden the edge in a manner which discourages the blade from snapping in two under hard use.
ninkat lamination line UV light quarter sca....jpg
 
All EU countries: 250 W maximum and 25 km/h maximum before pedaling stops being assisted by the motor. Personally, this does not seem penalizing to me. In fact, I find it a fair rule. Let me explain why, and forgive me for being a little long-winded...

Ebikes developed from bicycles. Bicycles were a common means of transportation in many parts of Europe (Northern Italy, Holland, France by the others) for those who did not have other means. Based on this, for historical reasons they are still exempted from paying insurance and from the need to pay a tax stamp or have a driver's license, against certain limitations (e.g., they cannot ride on freeways). Nevertheless, today they have become high-performance means of transport that can do serious damage, especially in crowded, hilly historical cities such as those in Europe. It is not uncommon to see the case of people killed by reckless bicyclists.

When ebikes developed, they "inherited" these exemptions, also because they represent a way to move without the need for a car and its high environmental impact. But this is a compromise, and so very tight limits had to be set. If you want something faster and more powerful, buy a motorbike or a scooter, but then, pay for an insurance in case you hit me, show a plate to identify you and that you know the rules of the road while you are around me! I don't want to be hit by a moron who then doesn't have the money to pay for the damages.

As an aside, there is a misunderstanding regarding power. This is required for having high speed, but acceleration from a standstill is decided by the torque available at low speeds and by the readiness to provide it. And when you look at the data, often 500 or even 1000 W motors deliver only slightly more maximum torque than a good 250 W motor, but at the cost of more mass. So what you need to accelerate from a standstill and up to a certain speed is not power, but torque.

Yes, it would be interesting. But while we wait for those figures, we can apply a general rule that says that speed goes along with danger (quadratically, at the first order), because the fastest you go, the more kinetic energy you have to dissipate when hitting something. Or someone. And you also need much more time to come to a full stop.
Nope. It's not what I want but it's what I got and will no doubt get more and more of. We are, here in Arizona and in many places around the world, still in a golden age where petty-ass governments have not yet fully realized we are a fantastic source for feeding their power jones and finding yet another way to enrich themselves and their collaborators. It's not all the fault of gummint though. It's a bunch of us enjoying our freedom but discarding our responsibility. We create incidents and 'accidents' where the non-e-bike population observes and supports getting us 'under control'. I doubt we will overcome. There are too many who do not know or care how to interact with other users of the road, path, or trail. Those of us who do have scant ability to influence those who don't through persuasion. We also will fail, having no powerful common-interest organization, through lobbyist politics. We ought to try though.
 
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