Complete Beginner

Annied

Finding my (electric) wheels
Sep 9, 2013
17
0
Hi everyone, I'm hoping for some clarification. It's many years since I owned any kind of bike and I've never ridden one with gears, so my knowledge is nil.

I've recently bought a very small flat on the German/Austrian border (Oberaudorf). I have no intention of driving when I'm there, but I'd like some means of getting around locally, independently of public transport. I'm not planning anything strenuous, I just want to be able to get to nearby towns and villages and bring heavier bags back from the supermarket without my arms ending up 4" longer than they were before. An electric bike seems like a good option as it can be used on the cycle paths, taken on trains and won't be too much of a strain to lug down to the cellar when not in use. I'd actually like to buy 2 eventually so that guests and I have more freedom to go out and about together when they stay with me. I'm 5'3" and 8 stone. None of the friends who are likely to be with me are especially tall or heavy.

I plan to be in Oberaudorf no more than 2 or 3 times a year, probably for about a month each trip, so the first question is, what kind of harm is done to a battery if an electric bike isn't used for six or seven months?

Second question is that I've found a bike on German Amazon that's considerably cheaper at 379.90 Euros than all the others I've seen, but it has no customer reviews (it's only been on Amazon since 27th August), and I can't find it anywhere else online. Given that, often you get what you pay for, I feel there are probably some major reasons why it's so cheap. I can't see any reference to gears for example, but I'm not sure how much that would matter given that I'm not planning any trips up nearby mountains.

This is a link to the Amazon page and below it is a translation of the spec.

Elektrofahrrad E-Bike Mini Bike Pedelec klappbar Fahrrad Faltrad Klappfahrrad: Amazon.de: Sport & Freizeit

Specifications:
- Dimensions:
folded approx 97 x 40 x 75 cm
build approx 154 x 59 x 112 cm
- Tire size: 20'' alloy wheels
- Total weight with battery: 29 kg
- Weight of battery: 8.5 kg
- Max load: 100 kg (incl. user weight)
- Maximum speed: 25 km / h
- Motor activation: by key
- Mobile Distance per charge: approximately 45-55 km (depending on usage)
- Charging time: 4-6 hours
- Motor: 250W rear wheel motor (brushless)
- Battery: 24 V / 10 Ah, 250 watts
- Motor control (Controller): Low, Med, High
- Lighting: front and rear

Lockable battery compartment
For every day usage
Comfort + Flexibility

Should I avoid it like the plague or give one of them a try?

Thanks for any feedback.
 
D

Deleted member 4366

Guest
The weight of the batteries tells me that they're lead acid, which definitely can't ne left for months without a re-charge. Generally, lithium batteries can be left for a few months without charge, but I'd be nervous about six or nine months. Some are better than others, but I wouldn't like to say which are the good ones. If you disconnect the BMS, you've got a better chance, but that involves a bit of dismantling, and sometimes surgery.
 

Annied

Finding my (electric) wheels
Sep 9, 2013
17
0
Thanks for replying so quickly. I had a feeling that might be the first stumbling block. I might be able to get someone in one of the other flats to recharge the battery from time to time when I'm not there, I'd have to ask around. (I don't know what a BMS is, but anything involving dismantling and possible surgery is definitely out so it doesn't really matter!)

If I can find a way around the bikes being left unused for months that isn't too complicated, is there anything else I should be aware of?
 

Ettica

Pedelecer
Sep 19, 2008
186
8
Heskin Lancashire
Hi Annied

I have thought about this before and wondered if you could use a digital timer adaptor to the plug socket?

I did see if I could find something on the market that would allow you to set an appliance to switch on at a certain time on a certain date but at the time I could only find a 7 day timer.

I wonder if there is something out there that you could say, set it to come on and charge for, say, an hour .. every month?

http://www.easylinkuk.co.uk/page117.html Possibly?
 
Last edited:

trex

Esteemed Pedelecer
May 15, 2011
7,703
2,669
there is no BMS in those SLA batteries. Anied: don't worry too much about leaving these sealed lead acid batteries for months - they are quite tough if you charge up to full and keep indoors for a few months at a time. They are also cheap to replace (about £60).
Please note: the battery contains lead.
 

Annied

Finding my (electric) wheels
Sep 9, 2013
17
0
Thanks for replying Ettica. When I've got it properly furnished (it's a very new acquisition and currently bare), I'm planning for the flat to be rented out on short term lets between my visits, so it's a good idea, but unfortunately not suitable for my purposes.

Trex, thanks, that sounds quite hopeful. Is the lead content problematical?
 

RobF

Esteemed Pedelecer
Sep 22, 2012
4,632
2,242
there is no BMS in those SLA batteries. Anied: don't worry too much about leaving these sealed lead acid batteries for months - they are quite tough if you charge up to full and keep indoors for a few months at a time. They are also cheap to replace (about £60).
Please note: the battery contains lead.
I agree the battery should stand up to the proposed use.

Thirty kilos is a lot to hump in and out of a cellar, but presumably the battery comes out which will lighten the load.

Bike looks like single speed to me, which limits it a bit.

However, Annie is nice and light at eight stone which I reckon will make it fine for her, if not her more portly guests.

The pannier rack on 20" wheels should be high enough to take panniers without them dragging on the ground.
 

Annied

Finding my (electric) wheels
Sep 9, 2013
17
0
Bike looks like single speed to me, which limits it a bit.
Thanks Rob, this is all beginning to look more promising. One of the things that's confusing me is what difference only a single speed would make when you're cycling up a small incline if you already have the motor to help you. (You can tell I'm no cyclist can't you?!!)
 

RobF

Esteemed Pedelecer
Sep 22, 2012
4,632
2,242
Thanks Rob, this is all beginning to look more promising. One of the things that's confusing me is what difference only a single speed would make when you're cycling up a small incline if you already have the motor to help you. (You can tell I'm no cyclist can't you?!!)
The motor assists so if you had the option of lower gears you could get up steeper hills, or the same hill with less effort.

On that bike you would turn up the controller - low, medium, high - to high to get maximum assistance.

But it will still be like an ordinary bike, you will have to pedal a bit harder on hills.

You won't know exactly how all this will play out until you try the bike on the hills in question.

But in general terms, you need fewer gears, or use gears less, on an ebike, so only having one gear is not such a big disadvantage.

My electric Brompton is not especially powerful, but I do some journeys without changing gear at all.
 

Annied

Finding my (electric) wheels
Sep 9, 2013
17
0
Thanks again. Although Oberaudorf is in the Tirol, ie surrounded by mountains, most of the roads between villages/towns do seem reasonably flat.

The kind of roads with steep inclines tend to be those to more picturesque spots rather than to towns and villages, but they're also narrow with no cycle paths and beloved of motorcyclists, so I'd be avoiding them for my own safety!
 

Alan Quay

Esteemed Pedelecer
Dec 4, 2012
2,341
1,073
Devon
As far as a device to periodically charge goes, I have in the past used small industrial programmable controllers (PLC's) for jobs like this. Modern ones are on the market that have an integrated LCD screen on the front, are about the size of your fist and cost about £50. If you need something give me a shout, I can easily knock up a program.

You could set it for a 2hr charge every month, or get more sophisticated and monitor the voltage.

Here's an example:

Schneider SR2 A101BD Zelio Logic Controller 6 inputs 4 outputs Relay Type | eBay
 
Last edited:

Annied

Finding my (electric) wheels
Sep 9, 2013
17
0
Thanks for joining in, that would be good if I could leave the battery in the flat when I'm in the UK, but as I plan to rent it out in between times that's not an option unfortunately. It's a solution for Ettica though.

(Even if there are sockets there, I don't know how the other residents would feel about me setting it up in the cellar as the electricity in the communal areas is included in the service charge. I know it wouldn't amount to much, but as I'm a very new addition to the block, I wouldn't want to tread on anyone's toes!)
 

Annied

Finding my (electric) wheels
Sep 9, 2013
17
0
I thought I'd tidy this thread up, first by saying thanks for the advice, it was much appreciated.

I'm currently in Oberaudorf and had the chance to try out an electric bike in one of the shops here. Brilliant, I loved it. (Course it helped that it was a lovely warm sunny day!) I bided my time as far as the one on Amazon was concerned and it now has 3 reviews, 2 poor and one mediocre so I decided against it. I've finally plumped for a Ranis Foldy, which was the one I tried in the shop. I found an excellent independent review online and it seemed to fit the bill perfectly, even if it was considerably more expensive than the original one I asked about, although I did find a seller online who was doing a particularly good deal.

I cycled down to Kiefersfelden this morning, it took me the best part of an hour when I walked there a few weeks ago, on the bike it was 15 minutes and that included some walking through the the main part of the village before I got to the cycle path. Again it's been a lovely sunny day here, and I can see that, when I've built a bit more confidence up, it's going to open up a lot of possibilities.

When I came over here, my suitcase was two thirds full of things that won't be going back with me, curtains, bedlinen etc. so I'm going to take the battery, which is a Panasonic lithium one and only weighs 2½ kgs, back to the UK with me, plus the charger. I may not be able to do it every trip, but at least I can start off correctly!

Anyway, at least for the time being, that's the end of the story.
 

Annied

Finding my (electric) wheels
Sep 9, 2013
17
0
Why? Is there a problem taking it on a plane?

Edited to add that I've just been to the KLM website and apparently there could be. It doesn't specifically mention bike batteries, but it's looking a bit dodgy. As I've been taking my laptop back and forth on numerous occasions, it didn't occur to me there'd be a problem.
 
Last edited:

jackhandy

Esteemed Pedelecer
May 20, 2012
1,811
320
the Cornish Alps
Best to check with the airline beforehand rather than relying on what's on their website: It's a much bigger battery than that in a laptop, although it's the same or similar chemistry.

Wouldn't want to be arrested as a suspected terrorist... I'm told strip-searches are not much fun - Depending on your personal proclivities, of course :)
 

Annied

Finding my (electric) wheels
Sep 9, 2013
17
0
I wrote to KLM last night, haven't had a reply yet, but I always seem to get stopped at security somewhere on the journey from Germany back to the north east, so even if KLM should give me the go-ahead I could run into problems with them. Once it was over 2 tins of sauerkraut and the possibility that there was more liquid in them than was permissable! This trip it was the fact I had a large saucepan and a frying pan in my hand luggage! (Possibly they thought I was going to produce one of them midflight and bash the pilot over the head.) The thought of what might happen with 2 large lithium batteries now fills me with apprehension, although I'm very glad I posted here as I'd otherwise have been completely unaware.
 

Kudoscycles

Official Trade Member
Apr 15, 2011
5,556
5,037
www.kudoscycles.com
Annied....DO NOT EVEN TRY TO TAKE THAT BATTERY ON A PLANE....the best that will happen is that they will take the battery off you at the security and may charge you to dispose of it. The worst is without the correct labelling they could fine you euros 20,000.
All this came about when the AA freight plane had a hole blown in the side,the pilots were lucky to get the plane back on the ground. It has recently been in the news because the Dreamliner has batteries catch fire.....unbelievably the batteries had no BMS system.
When we airship a bike from Asia we have to sea ship the battery remote from the bike!!
Some of the couriers will airship LifePo4,with the correct packaging and labelling (very expensive),but I don't think any courier will airship LiMnO4 or Li-Ion or Li-Polymer.
It's just not worth the hassle
KudosDave
 

Advertisers