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Electric bikes - awesome or dumb

DachshundDachshund Registered User regular
edited February 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
I sold my car a year ago and have biked everywhere since (except the 5 or 6 times that I needed a rental car.) However, I only have so much time in a day and it really isn't viable to ride 10+ miles each way every time I want to hit up Target or Barnes and Nobles. It is usually dark soon after I leave work and I don't enjoy night riding at all. This has really hindered my... uh I dunno, ability to obtain household necessities & read free trade paperbacks? Also I find that I don't do as much cool stuff as I used to, like rock climbing or going to the SPCA to pet kitties n pups, basically since they are all long distance (20-30 miles round trip) from home/work. Also, after my weightlifting routine I really need to relax and recover instead of exerting myself just getting places. OK I know I am a puss but I dislike excessive cardio.

The concept of a motorized bike is awesome to me. Again, I realize that I could just use my own kickers, but I still think its a neat idea. Are electric bikes viable or just a huge hassle? Is there a good DIY kit that isn't $500+? I don't like the idea of those pre-made electric bikes since they look so unnecessarily expensive. Also every kit website out there proclaims their product to be the best and to do all this BS that the others can't, so they are all sketchy to me.

I am mildly afraid of theft. I can take my bike inside at work/home but not other places obviously.

I am already very familiar with my state's (CA) laws regarding motorized 2 wheeled vehicles.

Should I just get a scooter or motorcycle? (I kid I kid.... or do I?)

Dachshund on

Posts

  • PeregrineFalconPeregrineFalcon Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    I would suggest a motorcycle, but given that you're apprehensive about the cost of pre-made bikes already, a (motor)bike isn't going to soothe that financial sting any, especially after factoring in the cost of licensing, safety training, and then buying a bike.

    Looking for a DX:HR OnLive code for my kid brother.
    Can trade TF2 items or whatever else you're interested in. PM me.
  • MagicPrimeMagicPrime "We're ready to believe you..." FireSideWizardRegistered User regular
    edited February 2009
    I'd go for the scooter or motorcycle. You don't really need a luxury model, just something reliable and street legal.

    flzthy.png
    This neo-feudalism would be more tolerable if our betters had fancy titles.
  • DachshundDachshund Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    I have entertained the notion of getting a motorcycle. The electric bike thing was just an idea that I wanted to research before choosing any particular option. I can certainly afford any motorcycle or bike. Electric bikes just look like fun but a hassle at the same time.

  • PeregrineFalconPeregrineFalcon Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Dachshund wrote: »
    I have entertained the notion of getting a motorcycle. The electric bike thing was just an idea that I wanted to research before choosing any particular option. I can certainly afford any motorcycle or bike. Electric bikes just look like fun but a hassle at the same time.

    Oh. In that case, do your license/training and pick yourself up a nice little 250cc. Everyone else calls it a "starter bike" - but if all you're doing is tooling around town, it'll be perfect for you. :)

    Looking for a DX:HR OnLive code for my kid brother.
    Can trade TF2 items or whatever else you're interested in. PM me.
  • DachshundDachshund Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Dachshund wrote: »
    I have entertained the notion of getting a motorcycle. The electric bike thing was just an idea that I wanted to research before choosing any particular option. I can certainly afford any motorcycle or bike. Electric bikes just look like fun but a hassle at the same time.

    Oh. In that case, do your license/training and pick yourself up a nice little 250cc. Everyone else calls it a "starter bike" - but if all you're doing is tooling around town, it'll be perfect for you. :)

    I hear that something called the NINJAAAA is the best starter bike y/n?

    They are between 1-2 grand used in my area

    I guess this is a motorcycle newbie thread now. We had one of those a while ago and I learned lots of goodness in it but uh feel free to repost or post new info about ninjas (the bike) & newbies.

  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Yeah, downside to the electric bike is that they're really just electric assist. Going up hills is easier, but it doesn't make you go any faster. It doesn't address the night time issue either.

    || Flickr — || PSN: EggyToast
  • PeregrineFalconPeregrineFalcon Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Dachshund wrote: »
    Dachshund wrote: »
    I have entertained the notion of getting a motorcycle. The electric bike thing was just an idea that I wanted to research before choosing any particular option. I can certainly afford any motorcycle or bike. Electric bikes just look like fun but a hassle at the same time.

    Oh. In that case, do your license/training and pick yourself up a nice little 250cc. Everyone else calls it a "starter bike" - but if all you're doing is tooling around town, it'll be perfect for you. :)

    I hear that something called the NINJAAAA is the best starter bike y/n?

    They are between 1-2 grand used in my area

    I guess this is a motorcycle newbie thread now. We had one of those a while ago and I learned lots of goodness in it but uh feel free to repost or post new info about ninjas (the bike) & newbies.

    Yep, Ninja 250 is pretty much the starter bike. It's pretty much a given that it'll have been dropped once though, since everyone starts on them. :P

    Looking for a DX:HR OnLive code for my kid brother.
    Can trade TF2 items or whatever else you're interested in. PM me.
  • VeritasVRVeritasVR Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Yep, Ninja 250 is pretty much the starter bike. It's pretty much a given that it'll have been dropped once though, since everyone starts on them. :P

    Nah. I got an '05 with 3500 miles for 2k. Great condition, never dropped.

    Such an awesome bike. You can use it on the highway with no problem.

    CoH_infantry.jpg
    Let 'em eat fucking pineapples!
  • MagicPrimeMagicPrime "We're ready to believe you..." FireSideWizardRegistered User regular
    edited February 2009
    With all the enthusiasm in this thread - I really think the motorbike would be the best fit for your situation and life-style.

    flzthy.png
    This neo-feudalism would be more tolerable if our betters had fancy titles.
  • ecco the dolphinecco the dolphin Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Since you mentioned that you might go shopping for necessities, you might want to keep in mind that carrying capacity can be limited to what you can carry in a backpack if you're going to get a motorbike. You can extend your capacity by getting a top box though.

    Scooters tend to have storage compartments underneath their seats.

    Penny Arcade Developers at PADev.net.
  • noir_bloodnoir_blood Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Just out of curiosity, why are you against a car? I mean, it doesn't sound like you like biking purely for exercise or convinience, and right now the gas prices aren't as high as before. Plus depending your age, location, a motorcycle insurance is going to be more than a car one.

    Spoiler:
  • VeritasVRVeritasVR Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Since you mentioned that you might go shopping for necessities, you might want to keep in mind that carrying capacity can be limited to what you can carry in a backpack if you're going to get a motorbike. You can extend your capacity by getting a top box though.

    Scooters tend to have storage compartments underneath their seats.

    I had a 150cc scooter before I had the Ninja motorcycle. Nice investment for getting around a city.

    CoH_infantry.jpg
    Let 'em eat fucking pineapples!
  • DocDoc Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited February 2009
    Electric bikes are good for commuters who don't want to get sweaty. They don't go that much faster than a traditional bike, and you can't carry any more. I'd find something else.

  • fuelishfuelish Registered User
    edited February 2009
    The electric bike advantages are:
    Don't need to buy gas. (Do have to buy electricity)
    You can make the same time as you could on a pedal only bike with less than half the effort.
    The better assist bikes have a range of around 75 miles.
    If you do run out of juice you can still motivate at a decent speed.
    No license or insurance needed
    It can be ridden on the sidewalk or greenway path.
    It can have most service(shift adjustment, wheel true, flat repair) done at any bike shop.

    A scooter has some of these same positives. It is faster, offers good economy, and can be cheaper than a good electric assist bike. They also often require no license or insurance, this is mostly for only models below 50cc. They also cannot be ridden on a greenway or highway. Service is limited to some motorcycle shops(many moto shops do not want to screw with scooters) and the few scooter shops around. No alternate propulsion enless you get a classic moped.

    A motorcycle has the advantage of being fast, most have long range, they can be ridden on a highway. They also cost more to buy, more to maintain, and require insurance, registration, and you pay property tax on them. If it dies it has to go to the brand shop you bough it from or one of the few independent moto shops. No alt method of propulsion, unless you own a truck you will be hitting up a freind or paying a tow bill to get it moved.

    Another day in the bike shop Pretty much what it sounds like. The secret lifestyle, laid open.
  • DachshundDachshund Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    noir_blood wrote: »
    Just out of curiosity, why are you against a car? I mean, it doesn't sound like you like biking purely for exercise or convinience, and right now the gas prices aren't as high as before. Plus depending your age, location, a motorcycle insurance is going to be more than a car one.

    I'm mostly just overwhelmed by the vast number of worthless cars that exist compared to good ones, and I can't tell the difference. I don't know any "car gurus" that can give me trustworthy info. Also the whole depreciation thing- can't stand it. I am 25 and can afford a new car, but my brain is still stuck in the "wow 20k is a lot of money" mode even though I have that many times over in the bank.

    I bike because work is 2 miles from my house, 1.5 of which are downhill (huzzah 34mph bike ride)

  • JigrahJigrah Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    I would expect to spend around 3k for a decent starter bike/Gear/Training.

    I will just talk about gear, get a helmet that fits comfortably, try on dozens and don't let price bother you. I like full face helms but get whatever works best for you and wear it.

    Get a jacket/gloves/boots, those are mandatory for when I ride, I would also suggest riding pants. I don't have any but I should, just haven't found the ones that work well for me.

    There are motorcycle boots out there that look nice and are not all super decked out like in motocross. All leather tough boots work pretty solid for preventing your feet from bending and being torn up.

    Some books to check out of you buy a bike.

    http://www.amazon.com/Proficient-Motorcycling-Ultimate-Guide-Riding/dp/1933958359/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1233772989&sr=8-1

    http://www.amazon.com/Total-Control-Performance-Street-Techniques/dp/0760314039/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1233773050&sr=1-1

    Spoiler:
  • JigrahJigrah Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    noir_blood wrote: »
    Just out of curiosity, why are you against a car? I mean, it doesn't sound like you like biking purely for exercise or convinience, and right now the gas prices aren't as high as before. Plus depending your age, location, a motorcycle insurance is going to be more than a car one.

    My motorcycle insurance is cheap as hell (347/year), only liability and uninsured/under insured motorist protection.

    Collision insurance with a 500 deductible was going to be 700/year but I was like hell no, bikes only worth 2k.

    Spoiler:
  • JigrahJigrah Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Dachshund wrote: »
    noir_blood wrote: »
    Just out of curiosity, why are you against a car? I mean, it doesn't sound like you like biking purely for exercise or convinience, and right now the gas prices aren't as high as before. Plus depending your age, location, a motorcycle insurance is going to be more than a car one.

    I'm mostly just overwhelmed by the vast number of worthless cars that exist compared to good ones, and I can't tell the difference. I don't know any "car gurus" that can give me trustworthy info. Also the whole depreciation thing- can't stand it. I am 25 and can afford a new car, but my brain is still stuck in the "wow 20k is a lot of money" mode even though I have that many times over in the bank.

    I bike because work is 2 miles from my house, 1.5 of which are downhill (huzzah 34mph bike ride)

    A used Toyota Corolla is not a bad investment at all. I love those cars.

    Spoiler:
  • stigweardstigweard Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    A brand new 09 Ninja 250R is about 4k$ US, and the leftover 08s can be had for less. You can get a safe riding course (absolute necessity and not just for the insurance bonus), full gear, and a brand new bike for less than $6k. If I were ever going to take up riding again, it is what I would get. 60MPG, 0-60 in less than 6 seconds, light maneuverable, and a top speed just shy of 100MPH. It's plenty of bike for a beginner and regular commuting. They also hold their value fairly well, should you decide you don't like motorcycles and want to sell it down the road.

  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    If he's in a place in CA that generally has agreeable enough weather that he can ride his bike every day, he may also live somewhere where parking is generally a pain. Much easier to stick a motorcycle/scooter somewhere.

    || Flickr — || PSN: EggyToast
  • DachshundDachshund Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    I am in the awesomest city south of the city, Monterey. I ride my bike all year, so I could certainly ride a motorcycle all year.

    I was looking into the MSF course last night and saw that they require you to bring protective gear to the lessons. Does that mean I have to get all my gear before I even learn to ride, or can I wear jeans + steel toes (with leather uppers, as required for work in a power plant) + leather gloves?

  • illigillig Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Dachshund wrote: »
    I bike because work is 2 miles from my house, 1.5 of which are downhill (huzzah 34mph bike ride)

    Doesn't that also mean it's 1.5 miles UPhill on the way back?.... unless it's one of those awesome downhill both ways type of hills :lol:

    i'd suggest a motorcycle as well... dirt cheap to use and maintain, and it can literally get you anywhere... even winter/bad weather is possible if you dress correctly (*possible* but not necessarily recommended)

    also, you know, chicks dig motorcycles.... not too many dig bicycles :D

  • SaarSaar Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    All you need for the class is what you listed. You can bring your own helmet or use one of theirs. You won't be going much faster than 15 to 20 mph.

    Please don't buy anything but a full face helmet.

  • DocDoc Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited February 2009
    illig wrote: »
    Dachshund wrote: »
    I bike because work is 2 miles from my house, 1.5 of which are downhill (huzzah 34mph bike ride)

    Doesn't that also mean it's 1.5 miles UPhill on the way back?.... unless it's one of those awesome downhill both ways type of hills :lol:

    Getting to work sweaty is a pain. Getting home sweaty isn't a problem.
    also, you know, chicks dig motorcycles.... not too many dig bicycles :D

    Not in my city. :)

  • DachshundDachshund Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Saar wrote: »
    All you need for the class is what you listed. You can bring your own helmet or use one of theirs. You won't be going much faster than 15 to 20 mph.

    Please don't buy anything but a full face helmet.

    Full face absolutely if I do get a bike

  • QuidQuid The Fifth Horseman Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Dachshund wrote: »
    I am in the awesomest city south of the city, Monterey. I ride my bike all year,
    D:

    I could not imagine doing that here. Some of the hills are freakishly steep.

    That said plenty of people in the area have motorcycles and it seems like it'd be a lot more convenient vehicle wise, particularly in regards to parking.

    PSN: allenquid
  • JigrahJigrah Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Dachshund wrote: »
    I am in the awesomest city south of the city, Monterey. I ride my bike all year, so I could certainly ride a motorcycle all year.

    I was looking into the MSF course last night and saw that they require you to bring protective gear to the lessons. Does that mean I have to get all my gear before I even learn to ride, or can I wear jeans + steel toes (with leather uppers, as required for work in a power plant) + leather gloves?

    Just call them up and ask them, I would suggest gloves and good boots which you seem to have.

    Also, I would suggest buying a cheap Ninja, without going to old. Anything in the late 90's will be just fine, and cheap.

    Motorcycles are easy to maintain, but they need to be maintained more so then cars. Get familiar and dirty with your bike learning how to take it apart yourself. The chain needs to be lubed every 300 miles (or whenever you fill up).

    Also, do you panic? Panic is the number one thing that seems to kill people on bikes.

    Spoiler:
  • JigrahJigrah Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Quid wrote: »
    Dachshund wrote: »
    I am in the awesomest city south of the city, Monterey. I ride my bike all year,
    D:

    I could not imagine doing that here. Some of the hills are freakishly steep.

    That said plenty of people in the area have motorcycles and it seems like it'd be a lot more convenient vehicle wise, particularly in regards to parking.

    Parking is nice, easy and despite parking illegally you rarely get tickets for it.

    Spoiler:
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