Here’s my Currie Electro Drive commute/cruiser:
I’m not taken to advertising my “stuff”. But having done a lot of searching on the web lately to get info about how people have their bikes configured, who knows, this might be useful to someone for me to share a bit about electric biking.
This is my second electric bike – the first was a Zap (company now defunct in the US), which used a friction roller against the rear tire for the drive. It was pretty finicky, but introduced me to the world of electric bikes. This one is based on a Currie Electro Drive kit, installed onto a Gary Fisher Tassajara mountain bike with Continental “Cross Country” slicks. The kit was formerly installed on a handmade Fat Chance Yo Eddy, but I finally decided to fix up the Yo Eddy as a hardtail trail bike, and save it from the abuses of commuting.
Electric Bike Q&A:
1. Why don’t you “wean yourself” from electric? Seriously, I was asked this by some guy at a local coffee shop a while back!
This is the funniest question. Implication is that I am not a “real woman” who can pedal a normal bike. I’ll restrain myself on the snide comments, excepting to say that I’ve seen this person around town many times, only once with a bike (whereas I am nearly always seen with my bike). The fundamental reason I have this kit is to get me to ride my bike more often. Like when it is very hot weather. Or when I am feeling a bit tired out or wouldn’t normally want to bike. Or when I’m carrying a big load. Having the electric kit on the bike makes it more fun, and reduces the psychological barrier to getting on the bike to do things like errands. As a result, I now ride my bike into town nearly every day of the week, saving 100’s of car trips per year. So I have no need to “wean” myself from anything! I own (and ride regularly) four other bikes, and they’re all great for their own purposes. But for all-’round commuting, this bike is great.
2. Does it regenerate/recharge the battery?
No, it does not. My previous Zap bike had this “feature” and there were two problems. One is that it is a rare situation on a bike when one desires to have extra drag and to go slower. This might apply in the rare case where one commutes up a very big/twisty hill, and after using the battery on the way up wishes to recharge it on the way back down, while providing some braking for the bike. However, in most cases, even going downhill, it is not desirable to have the bike slowed down, which is what regenerative braking does. I suppose at stop lights in town this might be useful, but it would require sophisticated controls to implement this. The second problem is that it can result in battery overcharging. This too could be ameliorated with some charge control circuitry, but to do this without adding a lot more weight would take a company with substantial resources. To save money and weight this was excluded from the Currie. Maybe if electric bikes one day rival the demand of electric/hybrid cars, there will be a large enough investment in the technology to make this practical, but presently, I don’t miss it.