Buy or retrofit electric bike/scooter for playa?

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Buy or retrofit electric bike/scooter for playa?

Postby jethroc » Thu Oct 06, 2011 8:38 am

Yes, I find the gas ones smelly, annoying and way to fast. The electric ones offer an interesting option for those deep playa trips. Yes, I have a bike too but the BM regs have limitations on power for seated vehicles. I had knee surgery recently prohibilting long trips.

What are peoples experiences with electric bikes/scooters? I might get a scooter but am concerned the playa dust will eat it up. Any untis out there with sealed bearings or is there a retrofit to help the motor survive?

I'd really love an electric trike but the regs dont like powered vehicles with a seat.

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Re: Buy or retrofit electric bike/scooter for playa?

Postby trilobyte » Thu Oct 06, 2011 8:46 am

Electric assist on a trike is fine and doesn't require any special permissions. Otherwise you could consider building a mutant vehicle.
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Re: Buy or retrofit electric bike/scooter for playa?

Postby jethroc » Thu Oct 06, 2011 12:57 pm

Cool...thanks!

Now if i could only find a completely protected motor, the dust really craps out motors.
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Re: Buy or retrofit electric bike/scooter for playa?

Postby Minxy » Tue Oct 11, 2011 1:09 am

I was gifted an electric bike kit this year and it was incredibly helpful as I had a LOT of running around to do for work shifts and other commitments this year. It has a sealed motor and ran off of a rechargeable battery. It rocked.

If you're interested in the link, let me know! I don't want to post it here and have it yanked due to weird mod activity regarding linking places to score items.
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Re: Buy or retrofit electric bike/scooter for playa?

Postby junglesmacks » Tue Nov 08, 2011 4:40 am

We had friends this year that had a pair of these and they worked perfect.. no problems at all. I'm thinking of getting one for next year..
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Re: Buy or retrofit electric bike/scooter for playa?

Postby LostinReno » Tue Nov 08, 2011 11:06 am

junglesmacks wrote:We had friends this year that had a pair of these and they worked perfect.. no problems at all. I'm thinking of getting one for next year..


Ooooh, they had something similar at big box electronics store right before the burn for about $120. I was wondering how well they'd do out there. May have to look into it. The one's at the electronics store claimed to go about 8 miles between recharges.
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Re: Buy or retrofit electric bike/scooter for playa?

Postby junglesmacks » Tue Nov 08, 2011 11:31 am

LostinReno wrote:oooh, they had something similar at big box electronics store right before the burn for about $120. I was wondering how well they'd do out there. May have to look into it. The one's at the electronics store claimed to go about 8 miles between recharges.



Wow.. for $120?? You can't go too wrong with that. Wow...
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Re: Buy or retrofit electric bike/scooter for playa?

Postby Ugly Dougly » Tue Nov 08, 2011 11:42 am

What's your budget?
Remember, a bike is a lot easier to pack than a trike. :)
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Re: Buy or retrofit electric bike/scooter for playa?

Postby Minxy » Sat Nov 12, 2011 1:28 am

I believe the electric scooters WITH seats are technically "illegal" at the burn. If they have no seat, they are ok, unless the DMV rules have changed.

I did really enjoy my bike, but some things to watch out for are:

1. They don't really go eight miles. They go eight miles if you use them only to for "assisting" your ride, perhaps. The battery does not last eight miles of riding open playa. It was still awesome if I was exhausted or had to get to work in a hurry.

2. The engine basically only had one speed....well over 5MPH! Maybe it was 15-20MPH? It wasn't very practical on the playa to use it for assisted pedaling. You had to pulse the button a bit, then turn it off so you're not zooming at 15MPH across the playa. You must pulse the electric acceleration for 5-10-20 seconds then turn it off and pedal. You can't pedal while it's running on the very flat playa because it goes too fast to make pedaling practical.

It seems to be made for a person riding a relatively flat bike trail/street to be used to assist over hills, not to just cruise for eight miles and not pedaling. The battery annoyingly fast that way (I checked).
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Re: Buy or retrofit electric bike/scooter for playa?

Postby gyre » Sat Nov 12, 2011 3:01 am

Minxy wrote:I believe the electric scooters WITH seats are technically "illegal" at the burn. If they have no seat, they are ok, unless the DMV rules have changed.

Correct.
If it doesn't have pedals, it's banned.
The intent is actually about safe use though.


Minxy wrote:I did really enjoy my bike, but some things to watch out for are:

1. They don't really go eight miles. They go eight miles if you use them only to for "assisting" your ride, perhaps. The battery does not last eight miles of riding open playa. It was still awesome if I was exhausted or had to get to work in a hurry.

2. The engine basically only had one speed....well over 5MPH! Maybe it was 15-20MPH? It wasn't very practical on the playa to use it for assisted pedaling. You had to pulse the button a bit, then turn it off so you're not zooming at 15MPH across the playa. You must pulse the electric acceleration for 5-10-20 seconds then turn it off and pedal. You can't pedal while it's running on the very flat playa because it goes too fast to make pedaling practical.

It seems to be made for a person riding a relatively flat bike trail/street to be used to assist over hills, not to just cruise for eight miles and not pedaling. The battery annoyingly fast that way (I checked).

I refer you to the forums for these questions.

The cheaper motors actually have no controller, just an on/off switch.
Besides being very annoying, this is very power hungry.
You can often add a controller to a motor that came without one.

The best ones power in relation to your pedaling.

There are systems that drive through the gears, usually with a hubgear.
A hubmotor is adequate for the playa though, if geared correctly.

They are made in different gears.

If you weigh less than the average bear, the gearing may be well off from your needs.
If you are carrying cargo, passengers or over tough terrain, a lower geared model may be called for.

Don't expect much from cheap batteries.

Most bikes are built for short urban trips.
Upgraded bikes are usually called for in usa cities.

Having more than one battery pack and/or better packs is worthwhile.

Don't forget to take into account any added lighting.

A good electric bike can be useful year round, moreso in some cities.
It's a very good way to see a city when traveling.
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Re: Buy or retrofit electric bike/scooter for playa?

Postby BlackRockCityPimp » Sun Nov 27, 2011 2:47 am

Propane motors in the 30cc range are available for bikes and gopeds. GEET and HHO are also able to be made. If you are really stuck on electric you could run your genny on alt fuel for recharging, or at least supplement the fuel with HHO to reduce the gas usage and emissions. Diesel genny will run on veg but you may want to run it on some diesel before shutting down to flush the motor and avoid buildup/gumming.
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