Calling Bike Mechs

stormsedge

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If you decide to upgrade your current bike (parts-wise)...ask your local bike shop(s) what they have as take-offs from new/used bikes. My local shop has a "basement room of things that glitter"...where I picked up a really nice upgrade wheelset and tires (a customer moved his whizbang wheelset to his new bike purchase, essentially trading in the nice wheels the bike came with)...a good deal.
 

Len058

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In the Netherlands, the 700c is quite standard. People of all sizes ride bikes with those rims. We run all kinds of tyre sizes on them, 2 inch is the fashion right now.

If you worry about the strength, just keep the spokes at a healthy tension and you'll be fine.

If you worry about punctures, buy a tyre with the highest anti puncture rating and check for the right pressure, every now and then.

As a mechanic in the Netherlands I see the most crappy bikes, that still carry heavy people. It's the only means of transport for a lot of people over here. I can tell you with confidence that a maintained bike won't break that easily.
 

Swirling Snow

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I got back into cycling because I was tempted by a charity bike ride in Zambia, where I grew up. The idea of going 50 years back in time and riding a bike again through the African bush made me cry! (In the end, the pandemic cancelled the whole thing, but never mind!) I hadn't really ridden since my teens, but how hard could it be? Cliche - it's just like riding a bike! Riding a bike is literally the metaphor of something you will always be able to slip right back into.

I was living on the island of Guernsey at the time. I got a bike, and headed out for the first day, and it was like being young again. It was great - the wind on my face, brilliant. I rode from my house down to the coast - never far away in Guernsey; the island is tiny! - and was thinking yes, I'm straight back into this, like I've never been away. Just fantastic.

Then it gradually occurred to me that riding from anywhere to a coast is inevitably downhill, on balance. This became particularly apparent as I tried to cycle home again! I ground to a halt on a hill, and had to get off. My legs were like jelly. I could hardly stand up, and thought
I was going to throw up. I crawled my way home, went for a lie down, and tried not to regret what I'd signed up for.

I confessed my plight to a couple of lovely friends/colleagues who were both keen cyclists - Conor and Dermot - and they took me under their wing and organised a training schedule. Over the next few months I lost almost 20kg!

The south end of Guernsey has some really steep hills. Not that long - because, again, the island is so small - but really steep, and therefore great for training on. Grind your way up one, circle round the lanes a little, fly back down to the coast, and attack the hill again.

I was using toe clips, because that's what I'd had as a teen. Conor and Dermot kept saying fine, but clipless pedals will be SO much more efficient. I said yes, but then I can't put my foot down, and I'll fall off. They said yes, but everyone does that, it's a rite of passage, and you only do it once! Not much comfort!

Anyway, I finally - particularly in light of the incredibly fast progress they had helped me make - bowed to their expertise and gave them a try. I put them on the bike, and went out on my own, just round the block as it were. My goodness - the acceleration!

The next time I went out with the guys I was heading up those hills without having to drop gears as far as previously. Absolutely brilliant.

I'd been using them about a month, I think, and I came down a hill to a junction. Dermot was ahead of me and had stopped at the junction, for a car. I slowed, but felt I could simply pull out behind the car. However, the car slowed unpredictably - was turning without indicating - and I thought I was going to run into the side of him. I was barely moving, but I squeezed the brakes and came to a stop. I went to put my foot down and in that split-second forgot to do the little twist that is all that's necessary to disengage, and I simply toppled slowly over!

I was more embarrassed than hurt. Grazed my knee and my left hand. Hopeless!

Admittedly, that could have been worse in traffic or whatever. After that, though, I got into the habit, as I noticed Dermot and Conor did, of automatically twisting to unclip whenever they approached a junction.

So for me, anyway, conversion was relatively problem-free, and the experience of using them was overwhelmingly positive, particularly for trying to do either hills or considerable distance. At the same time, I can absolutely understand why someone wouldn't want to use them!
Great story!

Pretty much the same thing happened to me, the first time I tried cleats. Exuberant with the extra power, I out-paced my friend and had to pull over for her to catch up. We were close town, so I landed on someone's lawn as I braked to a stop and then fell over as I tried to pull my foot out (you have to loosen the strap!).
 

telemnemonics

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Wise words.
Would the converse be also true?

Cycling as a sport is about who can suffer the most. --Merckx
Interesting little factoid, last I read a top trained athlete can only produce about 1/4 hp.
Trying to race a 170lb machine up and down hills for hours with so little power is truly that, the most able to endure (misery) will win.

Which makes the engineering of the bicycle itself very interesting and critical.

Of course the flip side is that the bicycle boosts travel efficiency if the human body greatly.

Ive been a bike mechanic in a bike shop but got started wrenching bikes as a kid bringing home junks from the dump because they were all we could afford. Got books to learn from.

Now I grimace at riders whose bike is set up wrong, if they use the wrong gear etc etc.
The percentage of riders whose bikes are properly fitted seems very small. But locally a lot of riders are just poor workers who cant afford a car and ride with grocery bags hanging off the bars etc.

That and codgers on funny looking bikes with odd fat parts that go way faster than the obviously miniscule pedaling effort should net?
 
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Milspec

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I know it’s sacrilegious among many cyclist, but have you considered an electric pedal assist bike? You could get more miles/days in and a more consistent workout. 40miles a day with hills, wind, weather is no small thing on a bike.
I did actually after a member here suggested one. I looked into them and it would make the commute much quicker and reduce the fatigue on the hills. I even found one that was very stealthy and looked like any other road bike with the battery hidden inside the frame.

It had a few problems though that I just couldn't get past. I don't trust batteries, they short out, they discharge too quickly in the heat, they can be lethargic when cold, and they can develop memory patterns where they never fully recharge. What happens when you lose battery power? You get stuck with a very heavy bike that would be hell to pedal home or carry. Around town, not an issue, but if it happens 20 miles on a desolate highway, it would be a big problem.

Besides, I would rather crash at 12 mph then at 25 mph if it were to happen. They do have their place though and if built as a stealth...I wouldn't ignore them.
 

telemnemonics

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I did actually after a member here suggested one. I looked into them and it would make the commute much quicker and reduce the fatigue on the hills. I even found one that was very stealthy and looked like any other road bike with the battery hidden inside the frame.

It had a few problems though that I just couldn't get past. I don't trust batteries, they short out, they discharge too quickly in the heat, they can be lethargic when cold, and they can develop memory patterns where they never fully recharge. What happens when you lose battery power? You get stuck with a very heavy bike that would be hell to pedal home or carry. Around town, not an issue, but if it happens 20 miles on a desolate highway, it would be a big problem.

Besides, I would rather crash at 12 mph then at 25 mph if it were to happen. They do have their place though and if built as a stealth...I wouldn't ignore them.
A chain saw or weed wacker two stroke maybe 20cc or so stuck in the frame or behind the seat could be fun!
Proprietary batteries though yeah, not for me yet, unless Makita makes an ebike...
 

Stanford Guitar

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I did actually after a member here suggested one. I looked into them and it would make the commute much quicker and reduce the fatigue on the hills. I even found one that was very stealthy and looked like any other road bike with the battery hidden inside the frame.

It had a few problems though that I just couldn't get past. I don't trust batteries, they short out, they discharge too quickly in the heat, they can be lethargic when cold, and they can develop memory patterns where they never fully recharge. What happens when you lose battery power? You get stuck with a very heavy bike that would be hell to pedal home or carry. Around town, not an issue, but if it happens 20 miles on a desolate highway, it would be a big problem.

Besides, I would rather crash at 12 mph then at 25 mph if it were to happen. They do have their place though and if built as a stealth...I wouldn't ignore them.
I wouldn't worry much about the range, you could always carry a spare battery. The range is pretty incredible these days, I know guys who do 30+ mile mountain bike rides with significant climbing on a single charge with no problem. The strong you are, the longer the battery life. Check out the Specialized bikes, many of them don't weigh much more than an acoustic bike. However, E-bikes are incredibly expensive, but if you're going to ride over 500 miles a month, you'd pay back the gas savings in no time. I'm a die hard acoustic bike rider, but for 30+ mile commutes, they start to make a lot of sense.

 
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MattAndTheMachine

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I would definitely suggest running a tubeless setup for commuting. Less weight, less rolling resistance and most importantly, small punctures will seal right up and you will have to do fewer roadside repairs. You should then of course still carry spare tubes so you don't have to mess around with sealant while being away from home.

I would also not downsize the tires to anything less than 35 mm. Wider tires can be run at slightly lower pressures, which makes a long commute a little more comfortable.
The times of narrow road tires inflated to crazy high pressures are over, even World Tour Pros run bigger tires nowadays.

Stay safe!
 

Colo Springs E

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In the Netherlands, the 700c is quite standard. People of all sizes ride bikes with those rims. We run all kinds of tyre sizes on them, 2 inch is the fashion right now.

If you worry about the strength, just keep the spokes at a healthy tension and you'll be fine.

If you worry about punctures, buy a tyre with the highest anti puncture rating and check for the right pressure, every now and then.

As a mechanic in the Netherlands I see the most crappy bikes, that still carry heavy people. It's the only means of transport for a lot of people over here. I can tell you with confidence that a maintained bike won't break that easily.

I was stationed in 't Harde in the late 80s, and our daughter was born in Harderwijk. Love Netherlands!! And yes, bikes EVERYwhere there!
 

bettyseldest

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Yeah Ive never heard that heavier riders require wider tires?
Tandems even seem fine with normal width tires and are not typically fitted with extra wide tires.
Touring bikes carrying loads idealize durability but also lower rolling resistance, so wide tires are really not promoted, though wider than road racing tires of course.

Its funny how ideas get started on what you must do and what you cant do.
After my bike got stolen in NYC I threw together a new one speed one brake messenger style from spare parts, and the best wheels I had happened to be tubulars AKA sewups.
I rode those for years and only got one flat!
Almost anyone you asked at the time would say you cant do that.
In the mid 80s we bought a Jack Taylor touring tandem, and had Chas Roberts build a set of wheels suitable to both tour and race. For touring I bought a set of wide Specialised Expedition tyres, and some 25 x 1" Michelin folding tyres to race. We abandoned the Expedition tyres when a number of acquaintances had problems with them. With a combined racing weight of 21 stone the 1" tyres pumped to 120 psi ran nicely. Inflated to around 95 psi they did the job cycle camping and off roading. On my solo bikes I always used 700x25 tyres for commuting and touring, tubulars for racing.
 

telemnemonics

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I wouldn't worry much about the range, you could always carry a spare battery. The range is pretty incredible these days, I know guys who do 30+ mile mountain bike rides with significant climbing on a single charge with no problem. The strong you are, the longer the battery life. Check out the Specialized bikes, many of them don't weigh much more than an acoustic bike. However, E-bikes are incredibly expensive, but if you're going to ride over 500 miles a month, you'd pay back the gas savings in no time. I'm a die hard acoustic bike rider, but for 30+ mile commutes, they start to make a lot of sense.

OMG $5250.00????
Sticker shock knocked my block off!
Seriosly somebody needs to make an add on thats practical and affordable.
I feel like the ebike has gone too concept with total redesign, as if engineers feel it is NOT a bicycle.

Of course a mid grade commuter bike costs more than $1000 and a mid grade cordless drill costs more than $100 but Im coming from the view where I keep getting superb performance from 40-45 year old racing frames upgraded/ updated with totally incompatible yet workable newer parts.
No problem slipping 130mm axle indexing freehub tech into ancient 126mm frame triangles.

Engineers today though seem to have no sense of long term and must all have come up in disposable ethics based modern consumerist tech where a vehicle going to the crusher after ten years of service plus generating additional revenue via proprietary parts is seen as tech success from the corporate boardroom.
The whole industry wide idea that hiding battery and motor inside the frame is what consumers want? Nope, poor planning or a corporate hustle.

Green disposables are IMO not green at all.
Having used cordless tool tech from the start of the century Im pretty certain that (major/ costly) products that require proprietary battery systems to work are designed to force consumers to discard and buy new at the shortest possible interval without feeling cheated on service life.

Rant paused!
 
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chris m.

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OMG $5250.00????
Sticker shock knocked my block off!
Seriosly somebody needs to make an add on thats practical and affordable.
I feel like the ebike has gone too concept with total redesign, as if engineers feel it is NOT a bicycle.

Of course a mid grade commuter bike costs more than $1000 and a mid grade cordless drill costs more than $100 but Im coming from the view where I keep getting superb performance from 40-45 year old racing frames upgraded/ updated with totally incompatible yet workable newer parts.
No problem slipping 130mm axle indexing freehub tech into ancient 126mm frame triangles.

Engineers today though seem to have no sense of long term and must all have come up in disposable ethics based modern consumerist tech where a vehicle going to the crusher after ten years of service plus generating additional revenue via proprietary parts is seen as tech success from the corporate boardroom.
The whole industry wide idea that hiding battery and motor inside the frame is what consumers want? Nope, poor planning or a corporate hustle.

Green disposables are IMO not green at all.
Having used cordless tool tech from the start of the century Im pretty certain that (major/ costly) products that require proprietary battery systems to work are designed to force consumers to discard and buy new at the shortest possible interval without feeling cheated on service life.

Rant paused!
Check out Luna Cycles. They sell very affordable mid-drive kits that make bike conversion a snap. Their website has links to lots of installation YouTube videos to make it even easier. For under a grand I converted a mountain bike into an e-bike that will go over 25 mph for about 50 miles. It has a 52V, 500 watt motor, and a 1 kwh battery pack.
 

Buckaroo65

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A chain saw or weed wacker two stroke maybe 20cc or so stuck in the frame or behind the seat could be fun!
Proprietary batteries though yeah, not for me yet, unless Makita makes an ebike...
1655049095418.png
Sachs motor that you can put on any Old Rusty Bike(It's a specific type of bicycle here)
 

imwjl

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OMG $5250.00????
Sticker shock knocked my block off!
Seriosly somebody needs to make an add on thats practical and affordable.
I feel like the ebike has gone too concept with total redesign, as if engineers feel it is NOT a bicycle.

Of course a mid grade commuter bike costs more than $1000 and a mid grade cordless drill costs more than $100 but Im coming from the view where I keep getting superb performance from 40-45 year old racing frames upgraded/ updated with totally incompatible yet workable newer parts.
No problem slipping 130mm axle indexing freehub tech into ancient 126mm frame triangles.

Engineers today though seem to have no sense of long term and must all have come up in disposable ethics based modern consumerist tech where a vehicle going to the crusher after ten years of service plus generating additional revenue via proprietary parts is seen as tech success from the corporate boardroom.
The whole industry wide idea that hiding battery and motor inside the frame is what consumers want? Nope, poor planning or a corporate hustle.

Green disposables are IMO not green at all.
Having used cordless tool tech from the start of the century Im pretty certain that (major/ costly) products that require proprietary battery systems to work are designed to force consumers to discard and buy new at the shortest possible interval without feeling cheated on service life.

Rant paused!
My observation has been that decent and first tier e-assist bikes would not be inexpensive without the assist because they are using better or more durable components. From people I know who use their e-assist bikes a lot I also know the good drivetrains are not inexpensive.

I've seen first tier makers have plans and programs for battery recycling.

I can't speak for this Specialized linked here but associates who own $3000-$5000 Giant and Trek models have used them hard and a lot over 4 seasons. They've considered them bargains relative to how they've replaced automobile use with them. I'd think any product Specialized has competing with Giant and Trek would be decent and comparable.

New and used product comparisons can be hard to make in a lot of realms. You can buy a used bike like we helped our kids buying a used station wagon. It with some repair and replacement was less than 1/2 the price of new and its service life will probably be pretty good just like used bike purchases I've made.
 

telemnemonics

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My observation has been that decent and first tier e-assist bikes would not be inexpensive without the assist because they are using better or more durable components. From people I know who use their e-assist bikes a lot I also know the good drivetrains are not inexpensive.

I've seen first tier makers have plans and programs for battery recycling.

I can't speak for this Specialized linked here but associates who own $3000-$5000 Giant and Trek models have used them hard and a lot over 4 seasons. They've considered them bargains relative to how they've replaced automobile use with them. I'd think any product Specialized has competing with Giant and Trek would be decent and comparable.

New and used product comparisons can be hard to make in a lot of realms. You can buy a used bike like we helped our kids buying a used station wagon. It with some repair and replacement was less than 1/2 the price of new and its service life will probably be pretty good just like used bike purchases I've made.
Im not suggesting a $5000 ebike wont last ten years or wont make fiscal sense in the modern times product life span ethic.

Im pointing my finger at the modern disposability business model that is 100% devised to sell the same product as many times as possible due to products going into landfills.

1) They dont have to design new sleekly pudgy frame/ cases that hide proprietary motors and batteries.
2) Bicycles are by nature as green as a product can be yet they knowingly build limited life spans into doubly green (bicycle plus car alternative) vehicles.

Take the green bicycle that can be fixed for 50-70 years and kept in good practical service, and under a green flag make it done in 10 maybe 15 years?

Very very easy sell in a market where shoppers already expect to discard hard products at vastly shorter intervals, compared to older folks who may remember buying appliances when they got married and seeing grown grandchildren getting snacks from the same refrigerator.
 

Milspec

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Check out Luna Cycles. They sell very affordable mid-drive kits that make bike conversion a snap. Their website has links to lots of installation YouTube videos to make it even easier. For under a grand I converted a mountain bike into an e-bike that will go over 25 mph for about 50 miles. It has a 52V, 500 watt motor, and a 1 kwh battery pack.
The Luna Stealth was the one that I was seriously considering or even adding their mid-drive unit to my present bike sounded interesting, but the range on the Stealth wasn't much (20 miles) and they couldn't really answer any questions about updating my present bike with their systems beyond just suggesting that I go to the forums and follow somebody else's builds.

For around town though, that Stealth looked like a good option for people who need a little help with the leg strength to pedal due to age or medical issues. Heck, even Arnold is using an e-bike around town and I am pretty sure Mr. Terminator still has the leg strength.

Still, for me, they are really just another take on the mopeds that I grew up with. Sure, they still have pedals, but most people I see riding them are only using the motors, so should they really be seen a bike? I don't know if they will actually dominate the future or just be a fad...I am betting fad though.
 

Stanford Guitar

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OMG $5250.00????
Sticker shock knocked my block off!
Seriosly somebody needs to make an add on thats practical and affordable.
I feel like the ebike has gone too concept with total redesign, as if engineers feel it is NOT a bicycle.

Of course a mid grade commuter bike costs more than $1000 and a mid grade cordless drill costs more than $100 but Im coming from the view where I keep getting superb performance from 40-45 year old racing frames upgraded/ updated with totally incompatible yet workable newer parts.
No problem slipping 130mm axle indexing freehub tech into ancient 126mm frame triangles.

Engineers today though seem to have no sense of long term and must all have come up in disposable ethics based modern consumerist tech where a vehicle going to the crusher after ten years of service plus generating additional revenue via proprietary parts is seen as tech success from the corporate boardroom.
The whole industry wide idea that hiding battery and motor inside the frame is what consumers want? Nope, poor planning or a corporate hustle.

Green disposables are IMO not green at all.
Having used cordless tool tech from the start of the century Im pretty certain that (major/ costly) products that require proprietary battery systems to work are designed to force consumers to discard and buy new at the shortest possible interval without feeling cheated on service life.

Rant paused!
This is true. Products are engineered for a life cycle these days. Go to a bike store (or any store for that matter) and ask a technical question, like something about hub spacing.....blank stare....followed by 'would you like to look at these new bikes?'......
 

chris m.

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The Luna Stealth was the one that I was seriously considering or even adding their mid-drive unit to my present bike sounded interesting, but the range on the Stealth wasn't much (20 miles) and they couldn't really answer any questions about updating my present bike with their systems beyond just suggesting that I go to the forums and follow somebody else's builds.

For around town though, that Stealth looked like a good option for people who need a little help with the leg strength to pedal due to age or medical issues. Heck, even Arnold is using an e-bike around town and I am pretty sure Mr. Terminator still has the leg strength.

Still, for me, they are really just another take on the mopeds that I grew up with. Sure, they still have pedals, but most people I see riding them are only using the motors, so should they really be seen a bike? I don't know if they will actually dominate the future or just be a fad...I am betting fad though.
The mid drive motors have a controller/display that allow you to vary the amount of pedal assist.

Installation is easy if you have any bike wrenching experience. The videos and support group are great.

They’re not a fad. E-bikes are the fastest growing segment in the bike industry. People can commute and run errands at significant distances, allowing an e-bike to be a far cheaper alternative to a second or third car. I also see LOTS of teens using them, too. For a few grand a parent doesn’t have to drive their kid everywhere. Of course it helps to live where the weather is mild and where it’s somewhat bike friendly.

Fuel prices will only accelerate the trend. Plus economies of scale will bring down the price a bit over time.
 




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