Would you use one and why?
Yes... got 7 of them..... I used them on weekends, weekdays, I use my regular pedelers to commute from lake front to Franklin Park. Why do i use them, it is something different for me, lets me be able to keep up with other cyclist, all of mine are scratch built frame, since I like small wheels(16" & 20") i had to learn to build small wheels with disc brake, I even got a spoke machine to cut and thread my own custom size spokes. and there are many more reasons, which at this moment escapes my old feeble mind.
I know some people who used to ride all the time use them now that they have some disabilities.
I would love an electric assisted Bakfiets.
I have a love/hate with electric bikes.
I like electric assist for things like cargo hauling or to make bikes accessible to those who otherwise would not be able to ride.
I do not like it when I see electric 'bikes' set up where the electric motor can be used as the sole means of power. At that point just takes the pedals off and stop pretending your being active.
Personally, the bragging rights I get when I ride on those days outweigh any potential relief an electric assist might provide.
I mean, there was that day in february where it was incredibly windy, I basically had to stand and mash my single, lonely gear the 9 or so miles home. Near the Oak St. curve on the LFT I had to put a foot down so that I didn't fall over. Yeah, that electric assist would have been nice, but then what would I have bragged about in this paragraph?
Chi Lowe 12.5+ mi said:
I imagine electric assist would be a massive game-changer on windy-day commutes. I've gotten used to riding in the wind, but there are still a ton of days where it's a ton of work, and it would be nice to have something to push through that.
I work in this industry and have ridden electric cargo bikes, scooters, bikes and even a skateboard. Everyone here already pointed out reasons to own one:
-keeping up with traffic
-handling hills (not a problem in Chi)
-helping older riders stay on a bike
I am not an expert in the market, but Federal Laws are holding them back in the US. In Illinois, you have to be at least 16 to ride one, and it cant go over 20 mph (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_bicycle_laws#United_States) Which I think a fairly in shape person could do on a single speed... but maybe not for 25 miles. In other states you have to have a license!
Regardless there are a lot of options out there, and some are as easy as replacing the front wheel with a motored one. Others require a more custom motor installation for pedal assist, or a completely new bike to integrate the battery/controller into the frame.
If my commute was pushing 15 or 20 miles, I would consider purchasing one to save my own energy and make the really windy/rainy/snowy days still ride-able.
an ebike can go over 20mph and still be legal, you just cant do it with motor only. even the low power ebikes can get you near 20mph, with pedaling you may reach 30mph, this legal. then one of mine can hit 40mph motor only, illegal, but if you are not reckless, cops won't bother you.
in 2012 US sold about 200,000 ebikes, a little more in Europe, In China, 21,000,000 ebikes were sold.
I saw several of them in Japan this December. Many of them with child seat. In makes sense over there because cars are really expensive to keep in the cities. I went into an electronics store (similar to Best Buy) that sold Panasonic e-bikes for about 1000 bucks in different sizes and colors. They were pretty nice and had a Dutch looking design.
about 10 years ago, before I got interested in electric bikes, Best Buy on Howard st in evanston, had a display of about half dozen ebikes, I guess they didn't sell too well and no longer carry them.