Archive for 'Transportation'

e bike don't drive

Borrowed from the $100 A Barrel artical by Monkeylogical.

There may be a new reason for not getting a drivers license these days & it has nothing to do with the price of gas or the environment.

It would appear as if the DMV (Department of motor vehicles) is being used by many other non-related state agencies and possibly even some private corporations to collect debt or impose hardships on its citizens. To be sure, the DMV carries a very big stick, but is it fair to use that stick on people whose debt, fine or crime had absolutely nothing to do with ones driver privileges? Some people don’t think so and that includes the DMV  themselves. Please read this excerpt from THE WIRED below.

The driver’s license has become something it was never intended to be: a badge of good citizenship. Pay your bills to city and state, pay your child support, don’t get caught using drugs, and the state will let you keep on trucking. Screw up, and they’ll clip your wings. And for those who don’t get the message and stay on the roads? In most states, getting caught driving without a license, or with one that’s been suspended or revoked, means handcuffs, a trip down to the local jail, and having your car towed to the pound.
 
In other words, it’s serious shit.
 
Most businesses and state agencies have a problem with outstanding debt. Bounced checks, IOUs, stolen credit cards – it all adds up. Some organizations write off anywhere from 5 to 20 percent of their debts as “uncollectable.”
Most agencies, that is, except for the DMV. “We don’t have debt,” says Lewis, who oversees all of the Massachusetts Registry’s computer and information systems. Last year, the Massachusetts Registry collected more than US$660 million in fees and fines; less than $600,000 came back as bounced checks – a whopping 0.1 percent. “How can you afford to stiff us?” Lewis asks rhetorically. “Whatever it is you have, we’ll take it. We’ll pull your driver’s license. We’ll take your title. We just don’t have bad debt.” Lewis pauses a moment to consider his words, then shrugs, his point made: At the Massachusetts Registry, “we walk a very fine line with incredible power over people.”
 
Increasingly, lawmakers around the country are employing that power to enforce public policies that have nothing to do with driving or motor vehicles. Lewis and his counterparts in other states aren’t happy with the change, but there’s little they can do when legislatures hand down new rules.
 
“Every governmental agency is looking for every means possible to…enforce the regulations and policies in front of it,” says Barry Goleman, President of AAMVANET, a computer network run by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators that links together the computers of the United States’s 51 motor vehicle agencies. And increasingly, says Goleman, those state agencies are turning towards the DMVs as a source of data about the state’s citizens, a way of providing services, and ultimately, a means of enforcing policy.
 
The DMVs fit the bill perfectly. On one hand, the DMV database lists virtually every man, woman, and teenager of each state more accurately than the state’s own census or tax roles. (Even people who don’t drive usually end up getting “identification” cards, issued by the state DMVs, so they can do simple things like write a check or buy an alcoholic drink.) On the other hand, the DMV has a unique means of forcing citizens to comply with state edicts. In short, the DMV is a one-stop-shop for state agencies that want to reach out and affect our lives.
 
Ironically, this concentration of information, power, and responsibilities has received scant attention from traditional privacy and civil libertarian advocates. The American Civil Liberties Union, Ralph Nader’s Public Citizen, and even Robert Smith, editor of the esteemed The Privacy Journal, performed an exercise in collective buck-passing when called to comment for this article. The only group that has made any statement on the issue at all is the American Automobile Association: “Problems or violations of the law not having anything to do with the operation of a motor vehicle should not result in the loss or suspension of a driver’s license,” says AAA spokesperson Geoff Sundstrom.
 
Instead, it has been motor vehicle administrators themselves who have been honking the horn, warning that their agencies are becoming Big Brother incarnate. The only problem is that nobody is listening.

For the complete article click “The government is using your driver’s license to play Big Brother” then tell us how you feel about this.

I for one, had never given this much of a thought. But having lost my own drivers license for a period of time about four years ago I became very much aware of not only the hardships of getting around without a driver’s license but of the incredible bureaucracy, absolute power and lack of common sense surrounding the DMV and its regulations and requirements.

Well sometimes bad things can have good results. For me not having a driver’s license took me back to one of my favorite past times which was bicycling. From there I began to explore the world of electrically assisted bikes and I haven’t looked back since. No car, no problem. Two wheels are better than four and a whole lot cheaper. At the bottom of this page are a few quick reads that might get you thinking about the economics of writing verses driving.

And if this sparked your curiosity about E-bikes why not give me a call and come on over to the EZgo-Now E-bike shop. I have some terrific deals right now on cash and carry E-bike conversions as well as E-bike kits from the number one kit builder in the USA EBikeKit.com. CLICK HERE FOR Summer Sales.

Can E-Bikes Displace Cars?

Mongoose Maxim Conversion

Dual suspension Mongoose with rear mounted gear drive & 36 volts of LiFeP04 in the bag.A STEAL at $896

Why I sold my car for an Electric Bike

10 ways an E-bike can save money 

Electric Bike vs Electric Car: The Best Commuter Vehicle 

 

ELECT. Bike Pusher TrailerTRAILER

Let 1 Trailer power all the Bikes in your garage.$699  

E Bikes, Coming of Age?

For starters, E bikes are moving. They’re moving off of the factory floor of the E-bike builders and into the showrooms and sales areas of the new E-bike Retailers springing up across the nation. From there the’re moving into the homes and garages of US consumers. These are often people who had previously never thought much about bicycling let alone purchasing an electrically assisted bike. They’re easy to spot by the big smile on their faces. More importantly however, E bikes are moving forward with their design, functionality and technology with a speed comparable to the PC’s of yesteryear and the Smart Phones of today. This is tremendously exciting for me and should be for anyone else that enjoys bicycling or just thinks there must be a better way to make those short commutes.

Neat E-bike

Better built, better looking, far more practical and a whole lot of fun. This is how I describe the new E-bike’s and E-bike kits coming on line todayClick here for ElectricBikes Top 10 Picks for 2014. 

 

The electric bike is a revolutionary form of transportation. Finally, after years of false starts quality electric bikes and E-bike kits are here, and they have become reliable, powerful, extremely useful, and a joy to use. All in all, these can be the catalyst for possible life changing events when used to change or supplement your traditional means of transportation. That said, there are many new and improved electric bikes and electric bike kits now available and just as many new components and accessories to make your old E-bike even better. Your really missing the boat if you don’t take a look at what’s available in the E-bike market place today & consider adding an E-bike to your transportation pool.

For more about what’s new with E bikes and to read about some of things that I’ve been doing to get the shop “up -to-speed” with the new wave of E-bikes as well as making my commute and those of my customers easier and a lot more fun click here for ” More is Better “  my E-bike upgrades for 2014.

ELECT. Bike Pusher TrailerTRAILER

Need a Push? Click for my RIDEKICK Review

 

Will 2014 be the year of the E-bike?

Green bikesI’d like to answer that with a resounding yes but sadly I’ve been predicting that for the last three years and I haven’t been right yet. The reality is, most major changes don’t explode onto the scene overnight. They creep into our collective consciousness. They happen here and there, slowly and quietly in the background until that change has reached far enough and deep enough into the market place that some critical mass has been achieved. Then seemingly almost overnight everyone is suddenly aware of this new thing. Remember vinyl records? You gave them to friends and family every Christmas for almost as long as you could remember. Then one Christmas you went to your favorite record shop and found nothing but CDs.

Knowing that e-bikes will never explode onto the scene like CDs or iPods or even push the regular bicycle into second place I should have said something more conservative like; “this year will be the year that E bikes will become a legitimate choice for many people wanting inexpensive and environmentally safe transportation”. Perhaps the following year I could’ve followed up with; “this year more people than ever will be able to choose an E-bike as their choice for their short distance transportation needs”.  What should I say for 2014? Well, I won’t say that 2014 will be the year of the E-bike but I will say that we are closer than ever to reaching that magic number of sales needed for E-bikes to reach some level of nation wide acceptance.

This winter I spent a great deal of time developing a business plan for expanding my electric bike shop. In the process I got to read and interpret a lot of statistical information that will directly influence how quickly people in the US will accept the E bike as “useful” transportation. Although nothing I read could be considered monumental news it was nonetheless encouraging.  It provided proof positive that the E-bike has arrived in the US market and its here to stay. I thought I’d share some of that information here. So, If you’ve been on the fence about purchasing one, your unsure about spending so much money on something you know so little about, or you just want to know more about the state of transportation in the world then please read on. Read the rest of this entry

GEARS & SPROCKET SIZES & OTHER PRACTICAL MATTERS

What is Cadence and what role does it play with my E- bike?

Cluster & Crank

Speed or Power?
It’s all in the gears.

Park Tool FR-1

The proper tools makes changing gears easy.

It’s how fast you spin your legs & it effects comfort, range, speed, fun, exercise & endurance. It also keeps  those in uniform from thinking too hard about how you manage to go 25 mph without moving your legs.

With all of the information available on E bikes and e- bike conversions I find it puzzling that the topic of selecting gear ratios for our e-bikes is so seldom discussed. Part of this, I’m sure stems from the fact that the majority of today’s E bike conversions are front or rear wheel hub motors and run completely independent of the bikes original drive-train. In addition to a lack of a physical attachment, the subject of cadence, gear ratios, crank sets, freewheels and the 100 year history of everything just mentioned would be large enough to dictate a forum dedicated to that alone. However, whether it’s independent or just to complicated, people, pedals & gears must remain an integrate part of the bicycle’s drive-train. Check out any road bike or mountain bike forum or website and pedal RPM, (cadence) gearing and shifting will be discussed in great detail, yet most electric bike forums rarely discuss the subjects at all. This is, in my opinion an oversight that needs addressed. Regardless of which E-Bike Kit you choose for your conversion project, in order to get the best range and most performance from your newly converted bike, your legs must remain a part of the equation. Since every rider has a certain speed at which they like to spin their legs and we don’t ride in a vacuum we need gears in order to maintain that speed. At this point you might be tempted to say that the hub motor is now doing what the legs and gears were doing before and you would be right. Except that this is not a motorcycle. It’s an electrically assisted bicycle.

That said, I did not pay too much attention to the gearing on my 1st e-bike conversion either. It was on an 1990 Mongoose with a 500 watt Crystalyte hub motor on the front. My gears actually quit working properly after about 6 months from lack of use. I mean aside from needing a place to rest my feet, I’m only going to peddle when I’m climbing a grade or my battery dies. I was far more focused on things like the battery voltage, amps, motor controllers, etc. Perhaps it was the “motor head” in me but It was only after the novelty of the electric motor had worn off and I got into the routine of using my bike for practical transportation that I began to pay attention to practical items like range, cargo capacity, comfort, etc. Let’s face it, in retrospect, the primary reason for electrifying my bike was to increase it’s practicality. NOT taking pedal power into consideration was ,…….. well, very unpractical. Read the rest of this entry

NightRider – Part 2 E-Bike Building or Buying

 

4 comprable bikes


(1) Night-Rider (Dealer Installed Kit w/Marin & E-BikeKit) (2) eFlow Nitro (by CURRIE) (3) A2B Metro bike (by Ultra Motor) (4) Stromer ST1 Elite

OK,from part 1 the TOTAL COST OF HARDWARE came to $1.674. In order to build Night-Rider I had to write $1,674.00 worth of checks. Keep in mind; these are the prices I paid delivered to my shop in Carlisle, PA. I spend a lot of time shopping for the best deals, I buy in small quantities & combine orders to reduce or eliminate freight & as a dealer I often get additional discounts off the prices that you would pay buying one or two things at a time.

Marrin E-Bike


Fenders, headlights, running lights, gauges, H2O bottle, kickstand, bags, etc. Inexpensive accessories that make your bike easier & safer to use.

Now, in addition to the time spent procuring those parts, there is the time spent making these little pieces and parts come together to form a big electric bike. How much time is that? From start to finish, from receiving everything in & un-packing it, to modifying the parts & installing them, to rolling it out the door and taking it for a test ride, it took about a week. I did do other things during that week, but it’s safe to say that it took at least 25 hours. At a discounted shop rate of $20 an hour that’s $500. So now the cost of our electric bicycle is up to $2,174. If I were to be satisfied with making only a 10% margin on everything then the selling price of this bike should be $2,391.40. Let’s round that up to a proper sounding retail price of $2,399.99. That’s it $2,399.99 is the price I’ll have to ask for Night-Rider in order to turn a profit. The question now is, Can I get it?

Wow, you say, I was thinking it would be just a few hundred bucks more than the base bike. I mean, I’ve seen e-bike bikes advertised at Wal-Mart for under $600 & there’s all kinds of e-bike kits on Ebay for $250. Hell I could buy a used car for $2,400.

If this sounds like you, then I’ll assume you’re the average consumer. Or in my case the average customer. And that’s kind of what I’m up against. Other than having seen them advertised on the Internet & knowing you’d like to have one, you don’t really know too much else about them. Nor had you really planned on spending a bunch of time researching them. You just wanted to find a decent bike, for a decent price, pay for it, then take it home & go for a ride.

Well, since it’s my job to educate my readers about e-bikes & I have to determine the “asking price” for Night-Rider anyway let’s check out some comparable e-bikes together.

First I’ll try to determine how much it would cost a medium sized company in the USA to build “GOOD” entry level e-bikes. This will be EZgo-Now’s “Virtual Factory Bike” . I’ll start by purchasing the cheapest, components that still offer the necessary performance & reliability required to build a good bike. I’ll order in 100 plus quantities to get the best wholesale pricing FOB freight prepaid to my shop door. In order to stay competitive with all of the other great sounding poorly built e-bikes I’ll advertise the basic bike price (a stripper) & then offer a full list of options. To keep things simple I’ll use a 30% mark-up on parts & labor in hopes of making a profit.

  • $150 for a Drive Motor laced to wheelWe work with tools
  • $11 for a Wiring Harness
  • $12 Throttle
  • $25 Motor Controller
  • $7 battery bags
  • $11 racks
  • $4 misc. hardware & fasteners
  • $200 for LiFeP04 36V 10 amp battery packs
  • $180 for a pre-built to my spec. MTB bike
  • $150 labor 2 hrs. @ $75 per hr.

_____________________

  • Sub Total for basic bike $743.00
  • Average Total spent on options $150.00
  • $22 S&H cost
  • Total bike & options $893 x 1.30 = $1,160.09

In my case the customer will pay a flat $50 for S&H, making the grand total for my “Virtual Factory Bike”  $1,210.09.

Read the rest of this entry

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