A bicycle snob takes on an e-bike

At first I thought I was reading a story by a brooding hipster, but by the end there was a beautiful transformation into happy mutant.


I’ve got my heelies, eight backpack leaf blowers lashed with added aileron flaps and a dong-based rudder.

What kind of snob should I get to review my contraption ?


Can somebody explain to me the benefit of recumbent bikes? I just don’t see it.

[ETA: thanks all, you can stop explaining it to me now, I get it.]

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As mentioned above:

Runs the risk of them getting effectively classified as equivelent to mopeds and thus banned from cycle trails…


I’m still concerned about the e-waste that comes about when one of these things packs in. What are the chances that in 4-5 years, when the battery or motor packs in, that you’ll be able to pick up a replacement? These bikes aren’t designed to have interchangeable parts - a lot of them have funny-shaped housing that might require a unique solution. Does the bike just end up in landfill after that point? At least with a normal bike, you’re reasonable well-assured that if your bottom bracket or whatever goes that you can buy a replacement, because there are a reasonable range of standard fittings available.


Absolutely not. These bikes are pedal assist and help you get up hills and maintain a constant speed in traffic, anything faster and you cease to be a bike. These things are meant to be trail and bike lane friendly. Share the road also means share it with other cyclists.


I got a pedal assist bike about 2 years ago and ride 9 months of the year (I don’t like to ride in the dark, so midNov to Feb is off the table). I love it. Yes, it stops “assisting” when I get to 20MPH. But the confidence that getting off the block at a stoplight with that boost is amazing and makes me feel safer. My 7 mile commute is actually faster on the bike than when I drive … because traffic is that bad. Also, the ridiculous hill I live on is actually rideable at a pace where I won’t fall over.

I really don’t care what other people think about my hardcore or soft middle. That’s really most of the problem with the state of the planet. It’s not an arms race, or a bike race. We’re all just trying to get some place.


Well, I live in the US midwest, and around here bicycle paths are strictly recreational. So if you’re actually going to use the bike to commute, you’re on the road with regular traffic.

Aerodynamics and ergonomics.


Rain gear is not too expensive.

Reflectors are “kooky”?


Aerodynamics I can see, but does the better air flow make up for the extra work involved because you can’t use the gravity of your body weight to move the pedals? If exercise is the goal, OK, but if efficient travel is the goal it’s one step forward, one step back.

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They’re great in the city, less punishing on your body and less likely to get pinch flats with potholes than skinny tires, and glass doesn’t seem to push through as often versus high pressure tires.

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You don’t get any free energy from gravity.

I think the downsides are:
You are lower so can’t see as well.
You are lower so cant’ be seen as well.
The bike is significantly wider.
The bike is, I believe, heavier.
The bike won’t fit on normal bike racks (eg on a bus), etc.

But there are people with balance problems or other physical problems that make it difficult/painful/impossible to use a regular bike, so at minimum there is that. And aerodynamics are huge, isn’t it 80% of your energy that goes into the air while biking?


Rad Power Bikes are less expensive.

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Yea, I get why everyone isn’t using traditional road bike tires. But I see e-bikes with larger than serious mountain-bike tires. The tires that were originally made, I think, for riding on beach sand.

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By ergonomics I mean you aren’t leaning over the handlebars or putting most of your weight on a small number of sit-bones, not to mention not mashing your genitals on a saddle. And I say this as someone who has no interest in a recumbent.

As for making up for weight on a the down-stroke, a recumbent holds the world speed record for a bicycle. Recumbent bikes have their own racing league because they are banned by the UCI.


So this is what we used to call a moped, before we invented the letter “e”?


It’s fair enough a question :slight_smile:

Road bikes are quite good for roads funnily enough, great for speed and minimal wind resistance.

The upright position however (IMHO) is more confortable, gives you more visibilty and greater control at lower speeds. (I find the road bike config damn odd, fast but very restrictive IMHO)
There’s plus and minus points to both configs, but the upright config is pretty much the best default ‘all-rounder’ position i think.

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Frankly, when an entitled cyclist is speeding past me on a pedestrian walkway, it doesn’t really matter whether it’s an e-bike or not.

Thank you for your article. We bought Riese and Mueller electric bikes a year ago. I have a delite with nuvinci, belt drive, wide tires. 50% of my ride is unpaved, 50% paved. Almost every short ride here has at least 350m denivelation. After 30km rt it goes up quickly. It is a hilly region. I love my bike because I feel safe. It is limited by law as pedal necessary a f limited to 25km/h. If I pedal more, I go to 40 on flat and topped at 69 downhill. I don’t like to top 40 as I am aware of my survival odds above 25. The only problem I have is shopping - if I lock it, take the batteries, seat, bags, etc… that is a societal problem. In Burkina Faso, there are guarded bicycle parking lots everywhere. You ride up, they give you a receipt and you pick it up when you want. It costs ten cents (Usd). When will US, Europe become as civilized?