Unassisted Riding

Scottyf

Esteemed Pedelecer
Feb 2, 2011
1,403
-1
As a couple may know. I recently destroyed a few spokes on my BPM build wheel.

Whilst waiting for replacements DT Swiss Spokes from Just1bike (Who I can't recommend enough) I thought I'd remove all the electrical gubins that make up my Marin Electric build.


I replaced the the wheel back to a standard wall rim, fitted a new Sun race cassette (Cheap jobber 7 speed 24-13 tooth as oppose to my bpm which has a 28-14tooth) to a the rear wheel and re-tuned the whole bike. Brakes, Gears, cleaned chain retighted all bolts. oiled and clean.

Perfect for the run out unassisted.

No panniers, limited tools and my clothes for work. Thinking that the 9 miles would throughly kill me.


To my suprise it was alot easier than I orginally thought.
Ok hills I was undoubtably slower and had to gear down to maintain a decent speed or stand up and pedal but it was no where neal as difficult as I presumed.

Ok I was hotter and a bit sweatier even though I was wearing lighter clothes and much less luggage but it was perfectly fine. Infact I could quite happily continue to do this every day.

It also felt less like a commute as I was wearing less and no massive amounts of luggage. Downhills I was faster than having the electric due to the lighter bike and gear ratio on the rear being 13 instead of 14 teeth. There was probably less drag as there was no motor or no panniers.

Flat roads I was probably a similar speed but putting more effort in. An I used the brakes far less.



Either way thank you to electric bikes for helping me build but a substantial stamina without ruining my legs. I can complete the commute in 40 mins vs electric 30mins and not feel like I am going to die afterwards.

Who knows I might opt to sell the bpm and continue to complete the commute un-assisted...


However where electric really helps is carrying cargo or hills they just monster up the damn things. Flats and down hills they slow you down.

Either way I am happy not to be on the bus or train!:cool:
 

lemmy

Esteemed Pedelecer
I quite often remove the battery from my Kalkhoff Tasman and use it as an unpowered bike. It feels like any continental bike to ride and the extra weight without battery is only a few kilos.

It was partly for that that I bought a Panasonic system, to avoid having 2 bikes (3 with the Brompton).The only hub powered bike I tried was a home converted job and it felt somehow like riding through treacle with the power off. I'm told the 'proper' ones are much better.
 

peasjam

Pedelecer
Feb 25, 2011
89
0
The only hub powered bike I tried was a home converted job and it felt somehow like riding through treacle with the power off. I'm told the 'proper' ones are much better.
I suspect it varies from one to the next. I've converted mine with a front BMP and to begin with felt the same. After around 100 miles on it the hub seems to have freed up and has little to no noticeable drag.
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
46,167
22,882
Yes, they do vary and it can happen the other way round, getting a little worse. I suspect it's the way the roller and ramp freewheels can play up at times.
 

alexk-il

Pedelecer
Apr 24, 2011
61
0
Northern Ireland
Either way thank you to electric bikes for helping me build but a substantial stamina without ruining my legs. I can complete the commute in 40 mins vs electric 30mins and not feel like I am going to die afterwards.
Just keep doing that for a month or two and you will get hooked to feeling "high" after you get off the bike. I just can't get enough of it :).
 

Scottyf

Esteemed Pedelecer
Feb 2, 2011
1,403
-1
What it has made me realise is how much I'd prefere to place battery and controller into the back pack.
This way freeing up the rack An saving a few kgs.

I've now think through how to make a quick release back pack out of some old gear I have. Shouldn't be very difficult and I can butcher the current sunlova rack to make the battery quick release.
Just need to make and solder some
New connections for the throttle and phase wires.

Shouldn't be very difficult and would mean that I can use the bike un assisted round the city or leisure.


I just think i just get bored and start fiddling.
 

RoadieRoger

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 8, 2010
634
120
Out on my 18 year old GT Talera Mountain bike tonight , the first time for ages because the normal ride is now the Electric Batribike Quartz Folder . I missed the front suspension , the seat suspension and the help uphill , especially into the wind . I did however travel a lot faster and appreciated the light weight when lifting it up steps . I certainly fell short on my normal riding distance and also missed the buzz I get when I take the Electric Bike out . On one particular hill on the Electric Bike I select Max. assist and 7th gear (top) and fly up , but tonight I had to use 3rd gear of 21 on the same hill and struggled up . I think I`ll be taking the Electric machine for most of my rides in the future .
 

Bob_about

Pedelecer
Nov 17, 2009
113
1
Warks/Glos Border
........To my suprise it was alot easier than I orginally thought.
Ok hills I was undoubtably slower and had to gear down to maintain a decent speed or stand up and pedal but it was no where neal as difficult as I presumed.

Ok I was hotter and a bit sweatier even though I was wearing lighter clothes and much less luggage but it was perfectly fine. Infact I could quite happily continue to do this every day.

It also felt less like a commute as I was wearing less and no massive amounts of luggage. Downhills I was faster than having the electric due to the lighter bike and gear ratio on the rear being 13 instead of 14 teeth. There was probably less drag as there was no motor or no panniers.

Flat roads I was probably a similar speed but putting more effort in. An I used the brakes far less.

Either way thank you to electric bikes for helping me build but a substantial stamina without ruining my legs. I can complete the commute in 40 mins vs electric 30mins and not feel like I am going to die afterwards.

Who knows I might opt to sell the bpm and continue to complete the commute un-assisted..

Ditto the above

The Sprint is currently with OnBike for some TLC, but with the weather good and some unexpected days not needing to travel about once at the office I was looking to cycle commute.

So, thought I`d give the un-powered Ridgeback a spin on the commute route - 18.5miles each way, and see how I got on either end of a days work.

As Scotty above, lots easier than I expected, faster downhill and on easy flat sections and a definite sense of achievement. Managed to average 15.5mph getting the job done in under 1hr 15 minutes - comparable times to the Sprint.

Feeling pretty pleased with myself, and have no doubt the ebiking has helped me build that level of stamina - there is no way I would have managed that a couple of years ago!

All the best

Bob_about
 

Scottyf

Esteemed Pedelecer
Feb 2, 2011
1,403
-1
It's good but I still have to give my legs some down time because doing it most days literally turns my legs into jelly. However now I've created a back Pack system it's easy to switch from electric to unassisted.

Still love the electric bike though makes life easier after an evil day at the office
 

piotrmacheta

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 23, 2009
316
0
I'm fit enough to ride an un-assisted bike many miles but I just get bored as it's much slower. For me an electric bike lets me go faster and further without to many aches afterwards. I love it - pedal hard or zoom along relaxing whichever you fancy!
 

barrycoll

Pedelecer
Sep 14, 2009
232
6
It seems that riding assisted, or unassisted, is a permanent debate on this site.

Plus the problem of percieved motor drag, if the conversion back to unassisted is only partial.

For the month of Feb. my wife any I head down to Spain, taking a week to drive down, and another to come back, and 2 weeks down there.
The car is usually festooned with windsurfers and sail kit, plus 2 bikes on the tow bar rack, although we are both 3 score and ten, this year.

We drive only modest miles each day, so that there is time for a bike ride at the end of the day, and before finding pub/auberge for something to eat (all b&bs are pre-booked).

This year, I had my wifes 26" Garry Fisher suspension bike converted to to e-spec by Bob Wales at Juicy Bike, as his seemed the most cost effective kit, although still using still using Suzi Barfang 250 w hub, but with a new style seat pillar 36v 10amp battery....virtually half the price of a Daahub kit

My favourite ride is just the other side of the Bielsa Pass, as you cross into Spain from France. The ride starts from a town called Escalona, and follows a ever tightening gorge, that climbs slowly but relentlessly, with spooky unlight tunnels, and the sound of green water tumbling over itself.

As ever, due to guilt or some such, my wife did not use the power assist at all for the first 8km, and not complaining at all about the extra weight or motor drag, and let me stress, she IS one to complain about headwinds/hills/temperatures etc etc.....
the second 8km was pretty much purely uphill, and motor came into its own, with a broad grin of satisfaction when ever I managed to catch up, despite there being some mismatch in controller/thumb throttle motor, as she was limited to 10mph.
To Juicy Bike's credit, Bob has booked the bike in for a 3 day overhaul on the electrics, to get it up to my speed merchant wife's expectations

On the long 16km down hill, she and I were neck and neck, with no pedalling at all, and the interesting thing being that the motor was not dragging the bike back one bit.....in fact, because she likes speed more than I do, she was pulling away from me, when I was braking more heavily for the hairpins (thank goodness for quality hydraulic disc brakes)...so, no power, and no pedalling, but she was quicker.

So does that mean that the Juicy Bike conversion has less drag than others, as my wifes bike also has Schwalbe Landrover chunky 2.0" tyres, and I have smooth 1.95 road tyres on my newish £700 Specailised Rock Hopper, and free wheeling was totally in her favour.???

Maybe this settles that arguement, once and for all, that the amount of drag is negligable....or is this an indicator that Juicy Bike are on to something here........or have I lost the plot all together???

So for us, a combination of effort and assist seems to work well, and the motor just allows a decision of how hard (or not) you feel like working that day.

But as the years pass by, it does seem important not to give up on raising the heart rate very regularly, and not giving in to a couch life style, albeit in the saddle.
It seems personally very clear to me that 'sarcopenia' (or loss of muscle tissue), increases exponentially as ones age increases, and my full time work now, seems to be to stay fit and well as long as possible
 

Scottyf

Esteemed Pedelecer
Feb 2, 2011
1,403
-1
A nice read there Barrycol.

There's to many factors to negotiate why your other half pulled away from you. One that immediately jumps outs is that potentially she is smaller than you in stature so would have less wind drag.

The motors hub will always have some drag. Even when not electrified. More so when the gears are engaged. Alot less when there not. There's a large difference to how far my bike rolls on it's own accord bs when a motor is stuck on. Even worse when travelling up any incline as I am then forced to haul a few extra kilos of motor about.

Still there are worse things to be riding with. Like brakes that slighly bind. There is drag there but it varies from motor to motor. Even on the same model. An easy test is to turn the bike upside down and spin both wheels and see which one rotates the longest for a similar spin effort.

If I'm riding without power I want the bike with a normal wheel and no rack or battery etc as it's just quicker and easier.

However even with a motor that has no power riding with it all attached isn't the end of the world. It's just you have to put more effort in
 

Scottyf

Esteemed Pedelecer
Feb 2, 2011
1,403
-1
A nice read there Barrycol.

There's to many factors to negotiate why your other half pulled away from you. One that immediately jumps outs is that potentially she is smaller than you in stature so would have less wind drag.

The motors hub will always have some drag. Even when not electrified. More so when the gears are engaged. Alot less when there not. There's a large difference to how far my bike rolls on it's own accord bs when a motor is stuck on. Even worse when travelling up any incline as I am then forced to haul a few extra kilos of motor about.

Still there are worse things to be riding with. Like brakes that slighly bind. There is drag there but it varies from motor to motor. Even on the same model. An easy test is to turn the bike upside down and spin both wheels and see which one rotates the longest for a similar spin effort.

If I'm riding without power I want the bike with a normal wheel and no rack or battery etc as it's just quicker and easier.

However even with a motor that has no power riding with it all attached isn't the end of the world. It's just you have to put more effort in
 

barrycoll

Pedelecer
Sep 14, 2009
232
6
what you say is true Scotty, as a lightweight unpowered bike can be a delight........but only if your legs feel up to it, and not say, knackered from the day before (a la Tour de France)

the weight size difference between my wife and myself is minimal, sort of plus or minus 1kg.....maybe we have become like dogs who are starting to resemble their owners!

personally, I think that the extra weight/"drag" of an unpowered ebike, is like the placebo effect, but in reverse (if you get my drift)....I am not sure that one would know whether the bike was powered with a battery, or powered without a battery, if you could be blindfolded and didnt know just what you were riding ...and even worse if you knew that the bikes when up-ended, had a quick 'run down speed' when left without power

the nice thing about being powered is that you can overcome the inertia of getting the bike up to speed, and then enjoy the experience of maintaining that speed 'sans' electricity, as the pain comes from getting any bike repeatedly up to cruise speed....

in our youth (35 years ago), we cycled from London down to the Med, (and back), carrying all our gear and camping all the way....the bikes were much too heavy to lift, but it didn't take too long to realise that a much lower gear was called for, and keeping the momentum was the important thing....spinning the legs, and not resorting to brute force, as (in my case) there wasn't any
on the other hand, I dont recall ever feeling any fitter towards the endof the 2 months, just a sense of being permanently tired, and desperate for the next cup of coffee and cake

so far, I havn't succumbed to a conversion for my Specialised, but the thought of being able to keep up with the lycra/triathlon training brigade, as they circle Regents Park, would be great........especially with the 'fit' young females!
..............but that would require 20+mph on the flat, and I dont know whether an Juicy Bike conversion covers that sort of speed
.maybe its a Daahub after all!

all the best


Barry C.
 

Scottyf

Esteemed Pedelecer
Feb 2, 2011
1,403
-1
Indeed the getting up to speed is where the heart ache is. I
Must admit using an actual light weight bike. Thin tires etc means once your up to speed maintaining it even up a small gradient is easy enough.

Hills are another matter but I like both and have been riding a normal bike without motor for the past couple of weeks. Legs do feel more tired but I get 10 hrs in between each 40 min ride. Just upped my protein intake to help repair the worked muscle.

I'm glad to hear alot of older generation are using electric to get about. I'm alot younger and have no reason to use electric other than me liking tech and being lazy.

I'm a good 81kilos so could do with getting back down to 70 kilos so will continue to cycle unassisted as it must be burning 350 calories each way on the 9 mile ride. My body does scream out for more food though while in work. Just tryin to curb it.

But as I said I would never have attempted the commute without some assistance and doing it from the start would have been quite a shock to the system