Archive for the ‘E-BikeKit Blog’ Category

TerraTrike Rambler with E-BikeKit professionally reviewed by the Electric Bike Report

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

TerraTrike Rambler with E-Bike Kit Pictures & Specs

by Pete Prebus of the Electric Bike Report

terratrike-rambler-ebike-kit Since there has been a growing number of electric recumbent trikes hitting the market recently, I thought it was about time to try one out in a review.

By combining the popular TerraTrike Rambler and E-Bike Kit Electric Bike Conversion System I thought this would be a good way to dive into the e-trike world!

In this first part of the review there are a BUNCH of detailed pictures and specifications to get you familiar with this electric trike.

The TerraTrike Rambler is priced at $1,699 and the E-Bike Kit 500 watt direct drive rear hub motor with 48V 9ah lead acid battery is priced at $836.  The total price is $2,535, not including shipping.

Part 2 of the TerraTrike Rambler with E-Bike Kit review will give you info on ride characteristics, results from the range test, pros, cons, and overall thoughts on this e-trike.

Alright, let’s get into the details of the TerraTrike Rambler with E-Bike Kit!

Checkout the Pictures of the TerraTrike Rambler with E-Bike Kit

terratrike-rambler-ebike-kit-unboxed The TerraTrike Rambler and the E-Bike Kit conversion system unboxed and ready for assembly!

ebike-kit-unboxed This is the E-Bike Kit unboxed.  This particular kit has a 500 watt (peaks at 1,000 watts) direct drive rear hub motor and a 48V 9ah lead acid battery that can power a trike or bike up to 28 mph!  E-Bike Kit has many other kit configurations to choose from like geared hub motors and lithium ion batteries.

ebike-kit-motor The E-Bike Kit 500 watt direct drive rear hub motor laced up on a 20″ wheel.  E-Bike Kit offers their kits in 20″, 24″, 26″, and 29″ (700c) wheel sizes.  All of their wheels are built in the USA.  This kit came with a Shimano 7 speed freewheel.

ebike-kit-motor-other-side A disc brake rotor can be mounted to the E-Bike Kit motor (traditional 6 bolt pattern).

ebike-kit-battery-charger This is the E-Bike Kit battery bag and charger.  It takes about 3 hours to charge the 48V 9ah lead acid battery.

ebike-kit-display-throttle-controller The brake levers (with electronic switches to stop assist), the LCD display, 2 throttle options (twist grip or thumb throttle), and the controller.  The connectors on the E-Bike Kit are very easy to use and have a solid connection feel.  It is nice to have the option of a thumb throttle or twist grip throttle.

ebike-kit-instructions The small parts and instructions that come with the E-Bike Kit.  The instructions are very easy to follow and assembly is straight forward.

terratrike-rambler-ebike-kit The TerraTrike Rambler electrified with the E-Bike Kit conversion system!  The Rambler comes in many different component configurations and TerraTrike also makes many other recumbent trike models.

terratrike-rambler-front-angle The Rambler is ready to roll!

terratrike-rambler-back-angle The battery can be mounted on the rear rack or other locations; like behind the seat.

terratrike-rambler-front The width of the Rambler is 33″, which allows it to ride comfortably in traditional bike paths.

terratrike-rambler-cockpit Here is the cockpit of the Rambler.  It is easy to sit down and go.  Everything is pretty intuitive with steering, pedaling, shifting and braking all controlled here.

terratrike-rambler-wheels-turned The turning radius of the Rambler is very good.  TerraTrike claims that in most cases it is better than an upright bicycle.

terratrike-rambler-left-handlebar-ebike-kit-display On the left handlebar there is the E-Bike Kit LCD display, the front left side brake , and the front derailleur shifter.  The Rambler comes stock with Promax brake levers that have a locking mechanism so that the trike won’t roll when it is parked.  The Tektro brake levers that you see in this pictures are from the E-Bike Kit and they have electronic switches that will stop the electric assist when you engage the brake levers.

ebike-kit-display The LCD provides info like speed, distance (trip and overall), battery level, speed level (there are 5), and the energy draw from the battery (current).  The display has a backlight for riding at night.  It has an intuitive layout and it is easy to adjust the speed levels with the up and down arrows on the left side of the display.

lcd-display The features of the E-Bike Kit LCD display.

terratrike-rambler-right-handlebar The right side of the handlebars: the E-Bike Kit thumb throttle, the front right side Tektro brake lever (see comments on left handlebar picture), and the 8 speed Microshift grip shifter for the rear derailleur.

terratrike-rambler-handlebar Here is a view of the right handlebar.

terratrike-rambler-fsa-cranks This is the FSA Tempo crankset with 3 chainrings: 30t, 42t, and 52t sizes.

terratrike-rambler-boom-tube The aluminum boom tube (where the cranks are mounted) can be adjusted to fit you.

terratrike-rambler-adjustable The chain guard.

terratrike-rambler-front-wheel The 20″ wheels come with CST tires that have a reflective strip that helps with visibility at night.  You can see the Alhonga mechanical disc brakes as well.

terratrike-rambler-disc-brake-rotor The Rambler comes equipped with the Alhonga mechanical disc brakes on both front wheels.  They do provide significant stopping power!

terratrike-rambler-disc-brake-caliper This is the Alhonga mechanical disc brake caliper.

terratrike-rambler-brake-caliper Another view of the Alhonga mechanical disc brake caliper.

terratrike-rambler-seat This is the mesh seat with aluminum frame.  It is very adjustable to fit your riding style.  You can adjust it forward and back as well as the angle (between 40-65 degrees).

terratrike-rambler-back-side The angle of the seat on the Rambler can be adjusted between 40 and 65 degrees to fit your riding style.  The seat frame is aluminum to keep the weight down.

terratrike-rambler-ebike-kit-motor The E-Bike Kit 500 watt direct drive motor that can peak up to 1,000 watts.  With the 48V battery used in this review the Rambler can fly around at 28 mph!

ebike-kit-motor-on-terratrike-rambler A disc brake rotor can be mounted to the E-Bike Kit motor.  In this application there is no brake on the rear wheel of the TerraTrike Rambler.

ebike-kit-battery-and-controller The controller and battery can be housed in the battery bag on the rear rack.

ebike-kit-battery The 48V 9ah lead acid battery pack.

ebike-kit-wiring It was easy to conceal the wiring along the rack and seat struts on the TerraTrike Rambler.

ebike-kit-motor-connector This is the motor connector.  If you need to remove the rear wheel for changing a flat this connector can be easily separated by hand.

terratrike-rambler-chain-guard The chain guard extends under the seat back to the rear wheel area.

terratrike-rambler-frame-welds The Rambler has a nice 4130 Chromoly steel frame and as you can see in the picture the welds look pretty good.

terratrike-rambler-iddler-pulley The Rambler uses this idler pulley just under the seat to keep the chain off of the ground for the derailleur versions.  TerraTrike does make a Rambler version that uses a Shimano Nexus internal geared hub that does not use the idler pulley.  You can also see the adjustable seat seat clamp that attaches to the frame.

terratrike-rambler-rear-derailleur This is the Microshift rear derailleur.  The Rambler comes stock with 8 speeds on the back for a total of 24 speeds when combined with the 3 chainrings on the crankset.  The E-Bike Kit comes stock with a 7 speed freewheel and that is what you see in this picture.

terra-trike-ebike-kit The TerraTrike Rambler with E-Bike Kit ready to roll amongst the red rocks of Sedona, AZ.


TerraTrike Rambler Specifications

Frame: 4130 Chromoly frame

Drivetrain: 24 speed Microshift drivetrain with grip shifters.

Brakeset:  Alhonga mechanical disc brakes.  Promax brake levers with locking feature for when the trike is parked come stock on the Rambler.  The E-Bike Kit Tektro brake levers with electronic switches to turn the electric assist off when the brake levers are engaged are used in this conversion.

Cranks and Pedals:  FSA Tempo cranks with 30/42/52t chainrings.  Standard platform pedals.

Tires:  20″ CST tires with reflective side strip.

Accessories:  Front and rear reflectors.

Colors: Orange.

Weight:  37 lbs. without kit.  76.6 lbs. with E-Bike Kit with direct drive hub motor and 48V 9ah lead acid battery.  Total weight would be less with a geared hub motor and lithium battery.  The lithium battery would increase the overall price.

Price: $1,699 USD at the time of this review.  Not including shipping.

Here is a link to the specifications page of the TerraTrike Rambler.


E-Bike Kit Specifications

Motor: 500 watt (1,000 watt peak) direct drive rear hub motor. Disc brake compatible. Hand built wheel (in the USA) with double wall rim & 12g stainless steel spokes. Includes Shimano 7 speed freewheel.

Battery: 48V 9ah lead acid battery.  Includes canvas rack bag with velcro attachment straps.

Controller: 36/48V compatible 22amp 12FET brushless motor controller.

Assist Options: 5 speed levels that can be changed at the LCD display: 0-5mph, 5-10mph, 10-15mph, 15-20mph, 20-28mph.

Throttle Options: Twist grip throttle or thumb throttle.  Both included in kit.

Display:  LCD display: speed, distance (trip and overall), battery level, speed level (there are 5), and the energy draw from the battery (current).  Backlight for riding at night.

Brake Levers: E-Bike Kit Tektro brake levers with electronic switches to turn the electric assist off when the brake levers are engaged.

Price: $835 USD at the time of this review.  Not including shipping.

Here is a link to the specifications page of this E-Bike Kit.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the TerraTrike Rambler with E-Bike Kit review with info on the ride characteristics, the range test, pros, cons, and overall thoughts!


- See more at:

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Interbike launches press event for e-bikes

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

by BRAIN Staff originally posted on

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, CA (BRAIN) – The organizers of Interbike are hosting electric bike manufacturers and journalists at an event that will showcase pedal-assist bikes. The Electric Bike Media Event is set for February 12-13 at the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, an affluent beachside community south of Los Angeles.

“It’s no secret that electric bike sales are exploding in Europe and Asia and are creating both a new revenue stream and a different, unique consumer for bicycle retailers,” said Pat Hus, Interbike’s managing director, adding that in the U.S. it’s been a slower trend because consumers aren’t aware of the product.

“We felt that the timing was right to create this initiative and ultimately raise the awareness of the electric movement,” Hus said.

Hus hopes to draw up to 15 e-bike brands and sponsors. These companies will have the opportunity to introduce their products and technologies to consumer media and have them test ride their bikes on scenic coastal roads. So far SRAM, Prodeco, Easy Motion USA, Currie Technologies and Bikes Belong have signed on and Hus said several others are interested.

Hus has hired a PR firm in Beverly Hills to invite and draw in writers from endemic and non-endemic media and national as well as regional publications.

Speakers will include Bill Moore, editor-in-chief of, who will provide global market data and an overview of the e-bike market and technologies, and Bruno Maier from Bikes Belong who will talk about the growth in bike facilities and the role e-bikes bikes play in getting more people on bikes. Also supporting the event is the Light Electric Vehicle Association.

Local retailers are invited to take part after 2 p.m. and are encouraged to register.

Bicycle Retailer and Industry News is a supporting sponsor and will produce a special e-bike supplement with an event recap, photo pages and articles on what retailers should know about selling and servicing e-bikes. “I firmly believe there’s a place for electric bikes within the IBDs of North America, and we have to make every effort to educate them on the segment,” said publisher Marc Sani.

Currie Technologies president Larry Pizzi applauded Interbike’s decision to launch the event.

“We have to be proactive in educating the public on the benefits of electric bike technology,” he said. “There’s a misnomer that electric bikes are like scooters or mopeds, but these machines are bikes first and foremost that give an assist when the pedaler needs it most. We need to change this perception and this event is the perfect platform.”

More information:

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E-BikeKit™ Review: Geared Front Hub Motor & Lead Acid Battery

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

E-BikeKit™ Review: Geared Front Hub Motor & Lead Acid Battery

Originally posted Pete Prebus at
Objective, honest and unbiased reporting for the electric bike industry.


Are you looking for a complete and economical electric bike kit to add electric assist to your existing bike?

Well, you should definitely check out this complete review of the E-BikeKit with 350 watt geared front hub motor and 36V 9ah lead acid pack!

Make sure you checkout this article that includes the kit’s specifications, installation info, a bunch of pictures and a video!

E-Bike Kit is a company that has been around for 5 years and the owner, Jason Kraft, is dedicated to offering a variety of  kits that fit almost any kind of bike and riding style.  Jason is hyper focused on customer service and he wants your electric bike conversion to be a success.

Okay, now let’s talk about what the E-Bike Kit ride is like, the real world ride results, pros, cons, and who this kit is for.

What is the ride like with the E-Bike Kit?

With 350 watts of power in the geared front hub motor this kit definitely helps pull you up some hills.

It also does a nice job of taking the edge off of riding into the headwinds!

It is not totally a free ride (i.e. no pedaling) on the steep hills but it makes hills much easier.  When it comes to the steep stuff you will need to add some pedal assist.

Since this is a geared hub motor, it will “freewheel” when it is not providing assist, which is nice when you are up to speed and not using the motor much.  Direct drive motors generally have a little resistance, so they don’t have the same “freewheel” effect when not in use.


Overall the 350 watt geared front hub motor E-Bike Kit takes the edge off of hills and accelerating from a stop.  Keep in mind that using the right riding techniques will help increase your overall range on an electric bike.  Here are 10 tips to increase your electric bike range.

Actual Ride Test Results

Max Speed: E-Bike Kit claims the top speed is 17.5 mph but the kit that I was using maxed out at about 20 mph when the battery was fully charged.  After the battery lost a little bit of charge the max speed dropped down to around 17 mph.

Range: As you can see from the GPS info that I recorded, the bike traveled 13.7 miles and did a total elevation gain/loss of around 1000 ft. Considering that I weight 190 lbs and I pedaled lightly, the 36 Volt 9 ah battery pack (324 Watt Hours) lived up to it’s claim of around 14 miles of range.

Please keep in mind that if you pedal more, weight less than me, ride slower and/or you use the bike in terrain that is not as hilly you will get more range.  These results are from tough testing.



Weight: This kit with the lead acid battery adds about 26 lbs. to your bike.  The weight distribution is pretty good.  Since it is a front hub motor and the battery pack mounts on the rear rack, it balances the heavy components between the front and back of the bike.

Lead acid batteries are heavy and with the battery mounted on a rear rack you can definitely feel it when you stand out of the saddle to pedal.

E-Bike Kit does offer lithium ion battery packs which are much lighter and have a higher cycle life, but they are more expensive.


Hill Climbing:  As I mentioned before 350 watts in this geared motor provides enough power to help you tackle those tough hills.  On the steep hills you will still have to help, but not too much (unless you are riding the steeps in San Francisco a lot!).

I definitely could tell a difference between this 350 watt kit and the Clean Republic Hill Topper kit that has a 250 watt geared front hub motor.  The 350 watt makes the climb that much easier and on some grades allows you to enjoy the free ride (no pedaling), if that is something you would like.

Complete Kit:  I was impressed with all of the parts that came with the E-Bike Kit.



For instance there are 2 throttles that come with the kit.  So you get to choose whether you would like a thumb throttle or half twist grip throttle.

The kit also comes with brake levers that have switches that will stop the electric assist when the brakes are engaged.  When the brakes are engaged a signal is sent to the controller to stop the assist even if you still have the throttle engaged.

Not all kits or complete e-bike have this and it is a nice safety feature.  If you decide you don’t want to use them then the kit will still work without them installed.

Quality:   One of the highlights of quality is the hand built wheel.  In fact the motor is laced and tensioned onto a double walled rim (with spoke eyelets) in Pennsylvania.  The wheel I received from E-Bike Kit was completely straight and round.

The battery packs are also assembled in the USA and they come with Anderson Powerpole Connectors (well known in the industry).

Convenient Connectors:  All of the cable connections had convenient plug connectors.  The connectors are all uniquely different (size & number of pins) so that it is easy to make all of the proper component connections.



They are apparently all water proof connectors, but I didn’t have a chance test that here in Arizona during the time I rode with the kit.


Lead Acid Battery:  This is one of those “you get what you pay for”.  So it is not truly a con per say, but I think it should be noted in the review of this particular kit configuration.

Lead acid batteries are heavy and they do not last as long as lithium ion batteries.  E-Bike Kit rates their lead acid battery as providing 250 charge/discharge cycles before it falls to 80%  of it’s original capacity.  Their lithium ion battery pack produced by AllCell Technologies is rated at 1800 charge/discharge cycles!

BUT, they are lot less expensive compared to lithium ion batteries ($668 for the lead acid kit vs. $1192 for the lithium ion 37V 15ah kit)!  So if you can handle some of the lead acid battery down sides, then you get the benefit of a more economical battery.  And the battery can be the most expensive part of a kit, especially when considering lithium ion batteries.

Another note is that you don’t want to discharge the lead acid battery completely.  It can reduce it’s overall life signifcantly.  So just make sure you top it off as often as you can.  You could carry the charger with you or buy an extra charger to have at work for additional charging.

A lead acid battery can be a good way to get into an electric bike kit at a reasonable price point.  You could always upgrade to a lithium ion battery when the lead acid battery life has run out.

No Battery Indicator:  This kit seems to come with almost everything except for a battery level indicator.  It would be nice to have a simple led light configuration that could at least give you an estimate of how much charge you have left in the “tank”.

Cables:  The cables that run from the motor, throttle, and brake levers to the controller along the top tube add some “clutter” to the bike and it would be nice to see a way streamline this to look like one cable.  Maybe include some cable wrap?



Noise:  All geared hub motors make some noise.  This motor is a little noisy, but it is not bad.  If you want a quiet ride then you should consider a direct drive motor kit from E-Bike Kit.

Who is the E-Bike Kit for?

If you are looking for a complete electric bike kit for a middle range price point (between the Clean Republic Hill Topper and the Bionx kit) then you should really consider the E-BikeKit.  It comes with all the accessories to convert your current bicycle to a full fledged electric bike.



With the lead acid battery pack it provides an economical way to add electric assist to your bike.  If you want to really get into a nice kit you could buy the kit with the lighter and higher capacity lithium ion battery pack.  Or, you could start with the lead acid battery and upgrade to a lithium ion battery later.

This 350 watt geared front hub motor would also be a good candidate for a cargo bike.  This motor will take the edge off of hauling your groceries to the top of the hill.  If you want more power for carrying heavy loads you may want to consider one of the direct drive motors from E-Bike Kit.

The E-Bike Kit is also a good option for the technically savvy person who wants to create their own custom build.  You can buy the kit without a battery if you want to build or buy your own battery.

Please keep in mind that this is a relatively short term test.  This testing can’t really give you the long term review of durability and reliability.  My thoughts on the quality of this electric bike kit are from previous experiences with similar kits.  If you own this kit and have some input on the long term durability, please share your comments with the Electric Bike Report community below.

You can get the E-BikeKithere at this website in the E-BikeKit Shop or at one of the many Authorized E-BikeKit Dealers around the country.


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Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) professors and students choose the E-BikeKit™ to create a rental fleet of electric kick bikes!

Friday, October 26th, 2012

Ebikes for Rent on RIT Campus

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Scott Bellinger, student Jason Lee and Clark Hochgraf pose with the fleet of ebikes for rent. Photo by Mark Benjamin, NTID.
Story Highlights:
  • An ebike can be rented for a week for use on the RIT campus.
  • The project still is being tested, and feedback will be taken from riders before the formal fleet launch in the spring.
  • The cost to rent is $20 via Tigerbucks. The money will be used to maintain the fleet.
  • Rentals and training will be held in Room 1570 in Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall from 2:30-4:30 p.m. on Thursdays and 2-4 p.m. on Fridays.
  • The project is a result of an NTID Innovation Grant. Seven students earned co-op credit for helping design and construct the ebikes.

RIT students, alumni, faculty and staff now have a green alternative to driving or taking the campus shuttle: they can rent electric bicycles. A pilot study is starting tomorrow (Oct. 19), where riders will offer feedback before the formal launch of the fleet is held in the spring.

RIT is believed to be one of the first campuses in the country to offer electric bicycle rentals. The program will launch in the spring with six bikes available for rental; two others will be kept on reserve and used as replacements.

“They’re just a lot of fun to ride,” says Scott Bellinger, co-manager of the program and teacher in NTID’s Engineering Studies department. “The door-to door convenience is wonderful.”

The bikes were built as a result of an NTID Innovation Grant.

“The goal was to promote a learning opportunity for students outside the classroom,” says Clark Hochgraf, an associate professor in RIT’s department of Electrical, Computer and Telecommunications Engineering Technology Department who co-manages the project. “Plus it’s a cool way to get around campus, too, showcasing innovation and saving energy.”

Seven students, including Jason Lee, an Electrical Mechanical Engineering Technology major from N.J., helped design, build and test the bikes for co-op credit. Lee helped redesigned them by eliminating weak spots.

“I gained a lot of experience and learned a lot about electric bikes,” Lee says. “It was nice to learn about electric power sources in transportation because I already have a lot of knowledge in gas-powered transportation. My new experience with electric bikes can be applied to electric cars, which is a bonus for me.”

The bikes will be available for rent in seven-day intervals for $20 via Tigerbucks, providing riders with a charged bike, a helmet, lock, battery charger, map and instructions. Riders will need to sign a waiver and take a 10-minute training session before they’re ready to ride.

The bikes must remain on the 1,300-acre RIT campus. There will be a dedicated place to park and charge the bikes with energy from solar panels on the south side of the Wallace Library soon. Since the ebike charger uses standard electricity, participants can lock to any of the newer light poles that include an electric outlet at their base and plug in the charger there. The ebikes also can be brought inside a building and locked near an outlet if available.

A waterproof container holds the control circuitry on the front of the bike, keeping it dry. A 36-volt lithium battery is installed in the back and is rechargeable. The bikes were assembled onto a kick bike frame without a seat, so riders will stand and be the same level as pedestrians.

The rental fees collected will be used to maintain the fleet, pay for tires, brake pads, other replacement parts and student labor as needed.

The group hopes this pilot program will be successful and find ways to expand their fleet in subsequent years.

“People don’t have access to electric vehicles. Part of the project is to get more electric vehicles into students’ hands, and let them see the advantages and disadvantages they offer,” Hochgraf says.

NTID President Gerry Buckley is glad to support the program.

“This innovative project not only will provide a green alternative to getting around on campus, but is a way for our students to develop a concept, produce it and see it become reality,” Buckley says. “It is my hope that future students will continue to manage and grow the fleet in coming years.”

Rentals will be available on a first-come, first-served basis in room 1570 in Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall on Thursdays from 2:30-4:30 p.m. or on Fridays from 2-4 p.m. Fleet officials can be contacted at

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Forecast Foresees E-Bikes Sales Tripling in USA By 2018

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012
Prodeco Genesys electric bicycle.

SYNOPSIS: Pike Research estimates 89,000 ebikes will be sold in the USA in 2012 compared to 252,000 in Germany alone.

Source: EV Worldwire

BOULDER, Colo. -- While electric bicycles are highly popular in many rapidly growing economies - particularly China, which accounts for some 92 percent of e-bike sales in the world today - they have yet to catch on in a significant way in North America. Only around 89,000 e-bikes will be sold this year in the United States, for example, compared to 252,000 in Germany, a country with less than one-third the population of the United States. According to a recent report from Pike Research, a part of Navigant's Energy Practice, that will begin to change over the next several years. E-bike sales in the United States will more than triple in the next six years, the report forecasts, reaching 265,000 in 2018.

Worldwide global sales of e-bikes will surpass 47 million vehicles in 2018, generating nearly $12 billion in revenue in that year.

"Although the e-bicycle will remain a niche product in the United States, the U.S. market is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 20 percent," says senior research analyst Dave Hurst. "That means it will continue to trail significant Western European markets, but increases in bicycle infrastructure in growing urban centers and the rise in popularity of alternative means of transport will make e-bikes a viable choice for thousands of new users."

The challenge of distribution remains a significant hurdle to expanded e-bike sales in many regions, including North America, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. In North America, as in some parts of Western Europe, traditional bicycle dealers have been uninterested in carrying e-bicycles because the customers are not typical bicycle buyers. Some of the world's largest bicycle manufacturers, including Giant, Trek and Schwinn, currently offer e-bicycles, but these vehicles also remain relatively unsupported in the U.S. market. Dealers in the United States are generally required to qualify to sell the vehicles, and many dealers have not chosen to pursue this product line.

The report, "Electric Bicycles", provides a comprehensive analysis of the worldwide e-bicycle and e-bicycle battery industry including an examination of market forces, technology issues, government policy influences, the competitive landscape and key drivers of growth. The study includes global forecasts for e-bicycle units and e-bicycle batteries through 2017, segmented by world region and key countries. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the Pike Research website.

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Sparking A Two-Wheeled Revolution in America

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012
Tuesday | August 14, 2012

The headlines on the Internet recently read something like this: “E-bikes Get $2,500 Tax Break.”

Actually, they don’t.

Last week the United States Senate Finance Committee approved an amendment authored by Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) to the Family and Business Tax Cut Certainty Act of 2012. The Plug-in Electric Motorcycles and Highway Vehicles amendment states:

“The provision reforms and extends for two years, through 2013, the individual income tax credit for highway-capable plug-in motorcycles and 3-wheeled vehicles. This proposal replaces a 10 percent tax credit that expired at the end of 2011 for plug-in electric motorcycles, three-wheeled vehicles and low-speed vehicles. Thus it repeals the ability for golf carts and other low-speed vehicles to qualify for the credit.”

Basically, the amendment applies only to electric motorcycles that are capable of highway speeds, presumably 55 mph and higher. If Corbin or Myers Motors were actively building Sparrow/NMG EV three-wheelers, they too would qualify for the credit which remains capped at a maximum of $2,500.

Not qualifying are electric-assist bicycles or e-bikes, electric mopeds, and electric motor scooters if they aren’t capable of safely operating at highway speeds. In practical terms, this means that if you buy a $11,000 Zero or Brammo e-cycle, you can take a $1,100 tax deduction, and no more. Currie Technologies IZIP e-bikes don’t quality, neither does the Jetson moped (the company continues to call it a bicycle for legal reasons, though peddling it any distance would be exhausting).

Interested in one of the emerging Vespa-like e-scooters? Don’t count on taking a tax deduction on them either; they’re too slow, so they don’t qualify under the amendment. Also restricted now are Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs) regarded as ‘low speed vehicles’ by Congress and the IRS. So, Polaris’ purchase of GEM, just took a marketing hit, as do Club Cars, Tomberlin, and other authentic US NEV manufacturers.

Not coincidentally, I believe, two of Senator Wyden’s constituents happen to be located in Oregon: Brammo, based in Ashland and Motoczysz in Portland. Zero is located just down the coast in Santa Cruz, California; and BRD, a motocross start-up, is in San Fransciso, as is Lightning. Vectrix, makers of a highway-capable electric scooter, is located in Rhode Island. Apart from this handful of essentially start-up companies, there aren’t many other e-cycle makers in America. There are even fewer e-bike manufacturers and virtually no e-moped builders.

Which raises an interesting question that I posed to Tom Caiazza with Senator Wyden’s Washington D.C. staff. If the purpose of the amendment is to create and/or save American jobs, why focus on just this handful of companies? Why don’t we also, as they’ve done in Barcelona, Spain and elsewhere across Europe, incentivize a spectrum of two-wheeled mobility options: regular bikes, e-bikes, e-scooters, and electric motorcycles. And to forestall the flood of foreign imports that would surely follow, why not insist in the legislation that to qualify for the tax credit they must be assembled in the US from a high percentage of US-made parts. Such a provision would not only help equalize the cost difference between Asian-made two-wheelers and US-made ones, but would help re-stimulate a largely moribund industry, one ripe for innovation if given the right incentives.

Not that any of this will actually matter. According to Caiazza, while the amendment was approved by the Finance Committee, the chance of the bill actually being voted on in the Senate or its eventual counterpart in the House, is unknown. Like a pair of rutting elks joisting with horns locked in ideological combat, the US Congress may wait until after the November elections before they even consider the bill, if then. Mr. Caiazza wouldn’t speculate when the bill might be taken up. So, don’t hold your breath that the credit will be enacted. But in the interim, maybe the Senator and his colleagues can be persuaded to rethink the measure so that instead of just preserving a few hundred jobs in Oregon and California, it helps ignite a two-wheeled revolution across America. After all, it just takes a couple of sentences in the bill that might read something like this:

“The American Two-Wheeled Revolution Amendment reforms and extends for five years, through 2017, the individual income tax credit on all two and three wheeled vehicles that are assembled in the United States from more than 50 percent U.S. manufactured parts. The maximum allowable tax credit is $2,500 and the minimum on a US-made bicycle is $250 or 10% of the value of the vehicle, whichever is less.”

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Are electric bikes catching on in United States?

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

Originally published: July 4, 2012 10:21 AM

Updated: July 4, 2012 10:41 AM

Photo credit: AP | Fermin Cruz demonstrates one of the electric bikes he sells at farmers markets in Arizona. The use of assisted biking that began in China in the 1990s may be catching on in some American communities. (June 18, 2012)

GREEN VALLEY, Ariz. – Hal Mansfield bought his electric bike about two months ago and already is seeing savings.

When knee problems threatened to keep Hal Mansfield from riding his bike, he started looking for a solution that would keep him on the road but wouldn't be quite as rigorous.

“I had knee problems so I had to give up my other [traditional] bike,” said Mansfield, 80, a Green Valley resident since 2005.”I still wanted to use a bike.”

He found what he was looking for in an electric bike, called an e-bike.

He purchased a Chinese-made six-speed e-bike two months ago for about $850 from a local dealer and is using it almost daily.

An electric bike begins with a traditional pedal bicycle that has an electric motor, a battery, and a controller for the electric components. E-bikes can come in different speeds and styles, there is even a three-wheel model and a recumbent model.

“It will typically go 15 to 20 [mph],” Mansfield said.”The farthest I have gone is about 15 miles [on a charge].”

Mansfield has hopped aboard a trend that took root in China in the late'90s, when about 150,000 e-bikes sold there. In 2011, that number shot up to 25 million, according to The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

China is leading the e-bike trend with around 120 million on the road, followed by Europe with around 3 million and the United States at around 1 million as of 2010, the latest numbers available, according to The New York Times.

In 2012, BMW debuted an e-bike that can be recharged in one of its new electric cars. E-bikes have been on the market for quite a while. Wal-Mart is even carrying them in some stores.

There are more than 40 electric bicycle manufactures in the United States, including Autokam Ltd., in Scottsdale.

Fermin Cruz has been selling e-bikes at Green Valley farmers markets for about three years.

Cruz, who lives in Tucson, say he started selling, repairing and modifying e-bikes when he needed a way to make up the losses he suffered in the stock market.

“One day a friend of mine bought an electric bike and that turned a light [on] in my head and I decided to do some research,” Cruz said.”I went to Shanghai, China, visited several different companies and I ordered all my products from them.”

His e-bikes range from about $750 to $2,200 and has sold about 200 in three years, selling more each year. Cruz said that many of his buyers have been older.

Suzy Jenks, 69, of Green Valley, bought her e-bike to rebuild muscle that she lost due to a health condition.

“It lets me exercise,” Jenks said.

Cruz thinks that the e-bike will be common in the United States by 2015.

“Gas is a huge reason why they should become more common,” he said.

Mansfield expects to ride his e-bike about 300 days out of the year and go about 15 miles a day. That's a potential savings of about $450 in gas bills every year, not to mention saving on wear and tear on his car. He also could save on car insurance.

E-bikes are considered the same as traditional bikes as long as they have a maximum speed of 20 mph, have functional pedals and have less than a 750-watt motor, or one horsepower.

An e-bike doesn't require a license or special insurance in Arizona, but some parts of the laws vary from state to state.

“If they are physically able then they should do it for the environment, cost saving and just for the fresh air,” Mansfield said.

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E-bike v. the Volt on the quarter mile

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

E-bike v. the Volt on the quarter mile

(Odometer: 20,147)

TEMPE, Ariz.–In the red Chevy Volt–our innovation “magic carpet” around the country–we’ve drag raced a Prius. Here at Arizona State University’s main campus, we got a chance to take it up a notch.

Brian Jackson, an engineering student here, commutes around campus on an electric bike. The prices of these feats of engineering are coming down into the high hundreds of dollars, which makes them competitive with high-end traditional, people-powered bikes. (Yes, they may defeat the exercise purpose of a bike, but Jackson’s lean and fit, so he’s doing something right).

He offered us a chance to ride it around and we took him up on that:

About Brian

Editorial Director for EE Times’ EE Life engineering community. Baseball fan and road trip guy for the next several months. View all posts by Brian →

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For Jeff Bernards, e-assist saved cycling

Friday, May 4th, 2012

For Jeff Bernards, e-assist saved cycling

Originally posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) at on May 3rd, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Jeff Bernards new e-bike-7

Thanks to battery power, Jeff Bernards is cycling again.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Chronic foot pain threatened to make cycling unbearable for 56-year old southeast Portland resident Jeff Bernards. Now, after installing an electric-assist kit on his bike, he’s riding again. And loving it.

Bernards is a veteran of local bike events. Years ago he started the “Get Lit” program to give out free bike lights to those in need (the program has since been taken over by the Community Cycling Center). He also loves leading bike tours. He’s taken a group of Portlanders on a three week bike tour in Death Valley, California and he’s led numerous overnight bike trips to Oxbow Park. More recently, Bernards has worked tirelessly to get a ban on studded tires on the Oregon ballot.

This man never quits, and his feet have paid the price.

Jeff Bernards new e-bike-3

Then about six years ago, while leading a bike tour around Mt. Hood, Bernards suffered an overuse injury on his foot due to some awkward pedaling on a long climb. He was later diagnosed with plantar fasciitis. The pain subsided for years, he says, but when his studded tire ban effort ratcheted up, he found himself walking all over town gathering petition signatures.

Jeff Bernards new e-bike-6

“When we got the Studded Tire Initiative signature sheets I hit the streets hard, too hard,” Bernards shared.

All that walking re-ignited his plantar fasciitis. Walking has been painful for him since December and since then he’s been driving almost everywhere. “I basically haven’t bike for four months.”

Bernards had never ridden an e-bike until a recent trip to Paris, where he rented one on a whim from a bike shop to visit the sites. He loved being able to keep up with auto traffic. In what he calls “the most dangerous city” he’s ever biked in, the power of the e-bike made him feel, “a little less vulnerable.”

When he returned to Portland, Bernards did some research on e-assist kits and ended up at The eBike Store in north Portland. With the help of e-bike expert and owner of The eBike Store, Wake Gregg, Bernards ended up purchasing a 350 watt, geared front-hub motor kit from a company called eBikeKit.

Bernards decided to upgrade to a 48 volt, 20 amp hour battery to go with the motor and he had a custom battery case made. The battery was about $700; but it’s good for 3,000 charges and Gregg says it will get about 30 miles each charge. Bernards figures he spent about $1,200 total on the system.

Jeff Bernards new e-bike-2
Jeff Bernards new e-bike-1

He picked up the bike last week and, judging from his smile and his first impressions, it was worth every penny.

“I went to the hardware store last night and filled my panniers with stuff,” Bernards told me via email yesterday, “Then I hauled it home, without the car, which I would have taken before I had the new e-bike.”

With its powerful battery, the bike really has some pick up (I gave it a whirl myself through the streets of Old Town last week and it was quite a thrill). Bernards sees it as “an affordable electric car,” especially when he attaches his trailer for extra cargo capacity.

And for those purists who still look down on electric-assisted bikes; Bernards says, “Hey, we’re all getting older. Last year at this time, I just finished riding 700 miles from Death Valley to San Diego. Less than a year later, I could hardly walk.”

— Is that thing legal? I thought you might ask. Read our post from August 2010, E-bikes, the law and you for more on the legality of e-bikes.

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The Basics of an Electric Bike Motor!

Monday, June 20th, 2011

Whether you are interested in purchasing an ebike or you’re looking into starting from scratch in order to create your very own customized electric bicycle, you will definitely need to know the basics of the electric bike motor.

There are two main types of electric bike motors, each with their own set of features and functions.

The hub motor:
• The motor is compact in size to fit into the wheel.
• Most hub motors provide great efficiency with relatively low noise.
• Many of the leading companies offer custom-made hub electric bike motors to fit the needs of the consumer.
• Initially, you have to set up the built-in programmer.
• The best models offer cruise control.
• The weight can range from 5-15kg, which is a lot.
• The power ranges from 250-1000 Watts depending on the hub motor regulations for the area.
• The price ranges from a $100 to as much as $500.
• It is extremely energy efficient with minimum loss of energy and the total cost of maintenance is surprisingly low.
• Generally, you have to modify the wheel to make room for the electric bike motor.

The brushless motor:
• The electric bike motor has electronic functioning.
• It is environmentally safe.
• The motor works with a DC current.
• Generally, a brushless motor has an integrated gearbox, which significantly increases the amount of motor torque.
• High speed cruising with this motor is a highly enjoyable experience.

If you intend on buying an e bike kit then it will come with one of these motors and probably a choice between wide ranges of power. E bike kits are easier to install for a first time user and a person with limited knowledge of machinery. However, if you want to construct an entire electric bike from scratch, then you should pay special attention to the electric bike motor specifications to select the kind that would fit your lifestyle.

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