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Old 03-02-2008, 01:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Summer FE options - Scooter, bike assist, etc

The is a cross-post with cleanmpg.com, but only because I want your opinions, too. I'm weighing some options for Summer now and considering what would make the most sense for me. I plan to use some of the economic stimulus refund (if it ever actually happens). My options, as I see them, are a small scooter or a bike with assist. The scooter would be a small gas model, as would the bike assist. Electric is probably out because my commute is 30 miles round trip, very hilly, and I think tunnels are off-limits to this class of vehicle. Highways will not be an option, either.

I have a lot to look into. For the scooter, I don't have enough money for a Japanese or Italian brand, and Chinese scooters are known to be junk. I would need to keep it under a certain max speed (30 MPH in PA, I think) to avoid it being considered a motorcycle. I'm overweight, and am not sure if such a scooter could keep me at a reasonable speed on a hill. A bike w/assist might be better since I could help the motor out by pedaling on hills. If pedaling is only needed in an amount I can handle until getting into a little better shape, and I don't end up needing a shower by the time I get to work, this could work out. OTOH, I won't be able to commute on it if I need to pedal too much.

I would only be able to commute on the scooter two days a week due to child transportation issues. The bike could be used for half the commute two additional days if it could be transported on a car carrier, since I can leave my car at the child care (family), and that is half way to work.

Any thoughts, and please let me know if you have any experience with commuting on a small scooter or bike w/assist.

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Old 03-02-2008, 03:12 PM   #2 (permalink)
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How much money are you looking to spend and how hilly is it?

Do you have an opportunity to charge at work? 15 miles would not be to bad for an electric bike you could charge when there. Electric bikes are heavy thought. I don't know how well a rear mounted bike rack would do for a 60-70 pound bike.

I think anything that stays under 30 mph will have a hard time with steep hills if you are carrying a lot of weight.

I believe as far as being considered a motorcycle it based on engine size and not speed. I think it 50cc but I'm sure someone else will chime in.

Are you trying to avoid registration and insurance?
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Old 03-02-2008, 03:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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If the hills are going to be too much of a problem, is there a reason to avoid a motorcycle? They are still tons more efficient than a car and can be bought used for pretty cheap (less then the planned couples economic stimulus package for sure).
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Old 03-02-2008, 03:46 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Smile Electric Scooter

This will get the job done.>>> http://www.rmartinbikes.com/evd.html
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Old 03-02-2008, 04:17 PM   #5 (permalink)
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PA Law:
Quote:
MOPED
DEFINITION: A motor-driven cycle equipped with operable pedals, a motor rated no more than 1.5 brake
horsepower, a cylinder capacity not exceeding 50 cubic centimeters, an automatic transmission,
and a maximum design speed of no more than 25 miles per hour, or an electric motor-driven
cycle equipped with operable pedals and powered by an electric battery.
CRITERIA: 1. Engine may not exceed 50 cubic centimeters.
2. Engine may not exceed 1.5 brake horsepower rating.
3. Operable pedals required.
4. Automatic transmission required.
5. Design speed may not be more than 25 miles per hour.
6. Does not require inspection.
Unless it's not possible, it would be nice to stay within these parameters to keep the cost of registration down on a third vehicle and avoid inspection. What might make it impossible is my weight and the hills. For my purposes, both the scooter outlined above and the bike fall under this definition of a "moped" (assuming the scooter has vestigial pedals, which most of this size do). I'm leaning toward the bike, though, since I might be able to transport it by car and I can assist it up hills.

Is anybody on here around 260 lbs and have any experience with taking something like a Golden Eagle assisted bike up a hill?
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Old 03-02-2008, 04:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Hammer, that's sweet, but costs about $2900 too much.
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Old 03-02-2008, 05:52 PM   #7 (permalink)
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If moneys tight you could just get a bike and put it on the back of the car and drive close to the distination and ride from there. The better shape you get in the futher out you park until you riding most of the way.

I've found that I save a ton of gas not so much on the commute but on the day in day out short trips. Trips of less then 3 miles going to the post office, store, haircut etc. These are FE killers when the car is cold so most of my drive time is longer legs where the FE is much better.
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Old 03-03-2008, 05:05 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I hear you, Laz, but I don't think I'd get to the point where a 30 mile round trip daily commute over the hills of Pittsburgh on a regular bike would be feasable.

This site - http://www.spookytoothcycles.com/, has me thinking that electric may still be a viable option, though. Charging at work may not be as much of a problem as I originally thought, either.
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Old 03-03-2008, 08:51 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I have a conversion kit. There are several on the market if you google it. I ride rolling terrain not hills but do have grades up to 5% and the bike performs great. It can easily handle 25 miles with assist. I don't know how it would do with the weight though.
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Old 03-06-2008, 12:32 AM   #10 (permalink)
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After looking through hundreds of websites and finding a really good resource in http://www.motoredbikes.com, I have settled on using electric, after all. I'll just have to pedal more. After going through the options of the nice electric bikes on Spookytooth.com, all of the various hub motors, and every other type from $300 to $3000, I've decided go with the Currie Electro-Drive-powered e-zip Trailz from Amazon, Walmart, or Northern Tool. I didn't really want to go bargain basement, but the izip Trailz on Spookytooth is the way I was headed, and the electric drives between the two are the same (the difference being the izip Trailz is a nicer base bicycle and costs $250 more). Other options were a cheap bike with a more expensive hub motor, but that wouldn't have gotten me much more power, would have had the disadvantage of being front wheel driven and would have cost more. I still have the option of hacking the system to run it at 36v at a later time.

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