electric assist

rheba
By rheba on Sun, Dec 23, 2012 - 3:47pm

I have just discovered something that may solve my electric assist problem. (I live in a valley at the bottom of a long hill and, even with a great bike and a lot of gears, I can't get all of the way to the top. Also I am kind of old.)

Anyway check out Ridekick.com. It sounds too good to be true. No dealers nearby in Massachusetts though. It appears to come with an SLA battery with option for LiPo. It is expensive but I am so fed up with the lack of support for electric bikes I am just about to give up riding for good.

7 Comments

altabob's picture
altabob
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 15 2010
Posts: 2
Have you come

Have you come across:

http://www.electric-bike-kit.com/about-us.aspx

That looks interesting also.

Bob

rheba's picture
rheba
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 22 2009
Posts: 28
Electric Bike Kit

I like that they are using high quality components. However, you still have to swap wheels and run wires. I can't tell whether you can remove the battery to take it inside. Also, I have a recumbent trike so I want to have the power on the rear. That might be no problem for this system.

What is great about ridekick (assuming it performs as advertised) is that you don't have to modify your bike at all. (Well, you must have to run a wire up to a throttle.)

Also, you can remove the battery and take it inside to charge and/or to keep warm. I have found that battery management is at the top of the list of challenges for an electric bike. It means that the bike has to be kept in a place with electricity available. Or, you have to put the whole bike out in the sun to get a solar charge.

The kickride solution solves my biggest problems: 1) retrofitting my trike with a new wheel or a motor that interferes with gearing and required constant tinkering and 2) managing battery charging.

I would love to find someone who has tried this thing who could testify that it would actually provide enough of an assist to get me up these huge hills!

Humus growth's picture
Humus growth
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: May 10 2013
Posts: 2
Other options

Check out the below link, it engages the issue, not the individual. There are liikly others that live next to you with the same problem. While I'm not clear of the energy denamds of the below system I'm sure that a mechanical version reliant on gravity is feasible.

rheba's picture
rheba
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 22 2009
Posts: 28
Electric assist.

That looks dangerous! But with those grades I guess nobody would be able to pedal.-

I did get a Ridekick, by the way. It does not get me up the steep hills in my town (not as steep as those in the video though.) The manufacturer is working with me to solve the problem. It should work eventually - I hope.

ableier's picture
ableier
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 14 2009
Posts: 1
Re: other options

That bike lift looks cool but expensive.  I don't see how a mechanical gravity-reliant version could work, that would be a perpetual motion machine that violates the laws of thermodynamics.  Energy lost to friction would have to come from somewhere other than gravity.  In hilly areas I think electric bikes combined with buses that have bike racks are probably the way to go for people who can't ride up the hills.

rheba's picture
rheba
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 22 2009
Posts: 28
Human/Hybrid Power

Yes - the bike lift might work on a particular very high hill where there is a lot of bike traffic. I have never seen anything like it. Most riders are faced with lower hills in more rural areas.

I used to be hopeful about the possibility of electric assist as a way of combining the advantages of gearing and small rechargable motors with human power. Now that I understand the awful limitations of battery technologies not to mention our possible long term inability to do the actual fabrication of gears, wheels, chains and well paved roads, I see that I was very naive. That doesn't mean that I have totally abandoned the idea of solving my personal transportation problems with an electric assist. It just means that I don't think it is going to become a solution for most people because of the lack of a support infrastructure. Most bike shops are not staffed with people who are interested in the intricacies of controllers, battery management etc. Their customers won't/can't pay for such stuff either.

A detachable electric-assist trailer is very very good solution IMHO. But, of course, the devil is in the details and I am still in the underworld. I will keep people posted here if there is any interest. I don't want to put my criticisms out on the internet because this little electric trailer company is struggling to get established and I am not trying to hurt them. But getting the gearing to work with the motor and controller so that the engine doesn't burn out trying to provide bursts of power to get up hills - and keeping the price of the whole thing to a marketable level - that is still a work in progress.

Bikes are a great solution for young, strong people when the roads are not covered with ice and snow  though i think that the upright bikes are ergonomically incorrect and I have ridden recumbents for years. These are very hard to ride uphills because you can't stand up on the pedals. I would like to find a way to get a little assistance for people who are getting back into shape or who don't want to put a lot of pressure on knees or who are just plain too old for that level of exercise. There was a woman on this site who was really into electric assist but I think that she got overwhelmed by the kinds of issues I am describing and has moved on.

aggrivated's picture
aggrivated
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 22 2010
Posts: 142
bicycles

Bicycles are great urban transportation if used regualarly.  Some climates and terrains are definitely more conducive to cycling, but its also about reaching a tipping point.  The less cars, the safer they are.  The more infrastructure design is friendly to bikes and pedestrians, the safer they are.  The harder it is to find parking, the more likely you are to find cyclists. If you cycle regularly your body can get you there.  Winter studded bike tires can navigate ice and snow.  Fenders, reflectors, lights and protective clothing help with darkness and weather issues.  Most of us don't like bikes because we end up exerting ourselves and arriving hot or dishelved in appearance, but, like eating garlic, if enough people participated, no one would really notice anymore.

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