LA Free Bikes?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Michael Cerkows, Feb 11, 2003.

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  1. Hopefully this is the right newsgroup to ask about hybrid bikes - I don't see any for them. Anyway,
    does anyone have any experience with the LA Free Sport bikes? I have a bad knee, and want a bike
    that is both easy to pedal in unpowered mode, and offers a strong, long-lasting assist in powered
    mode. I've read the company's info on the bikes, but I'd like to read about some real-world
    experiences with them. Are they reliable and durable? Do the battery packs last at least 18 months
    if cared for properly? Is there a NiMH pack on the horizon? Any friendly responses would be
    appreciated.
    --


    http://www.albany.net/~mjc1/index.html
     
    Tags:


  2. Michael Cerkowski <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > Hopefully this is the right newsgroup to ask about hybrid bikes - I don't see any for them.

    "hybrid" bikes are hybridized road/mountain bikes. Road-type wheels/tires/gearing; upright position,
    straight handlebars, and emphatically *no electric power*.

    google for 'electric bicycles' or 'electric-assist...'

    >Anyway, does anyone have any experience with the LA Free Sport bikes? I have a bad knee, and want a
    >bike that is both easy to pedal in unpowered mode, and offers a strong, long-lasting assist in
    >powered mode. I've read the company's info on the bikes, but I'd like to read about some real-world
    >experiences with them. Are they reliable and durable? Do the battery packs last at least 18 months
    >if cared for properly? Is there a NiMH pack on the horizon? Any friendly responses would be
    >appreciated.

    ease of pedalling is a function of proper gearing. Knee pain can also be a function of poor
    positioning/improper fitting on a bicycle.

    see

    <www.sheldonbrown.com/pain.html> for help on knee issues.

    Electric bikes are unnecessarily expensive, heavy, and complicated...I'd go for a conventional
    bicycle, with appropriately low gearing, but you and your doctor know your knee best.

    The bicycle that you can buy with the same money--without the electrical complications--will be far
    better, lighter, more durable, and serviceable...

    -Luigi
     
  3. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    "Michael Cerkowski" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...

    > Hopefully this is the right newsgroup to ask about hybrid
    bikes - I
    > don't see any for them. Anyway, does anyone have any
    experience with the
    > LA Free Sport bikes? I have a bad knee, and want a bike
    that is both
    > easy to pedal in unpowered mode, and offers a strong,
    long-lasting
    > assist in powered mode. I've read the company's info on
    the bikes, but
    > I'd like to read about some real-world experiences with
    them. Are they
    > reliable and durable? Do the battery packs last at least
    18 months if
    > cared for properly? Is there a NiMH pack on the horizon?
    Any friendly
    > responses would be appreciated.

    There have been a bunch of similar bikes on the market, and as far as I'm concerned they're all
    non-starters. Any bike with an electric motor and battery capable of hauling you along at all is
    going to be very heavy, and a real chore to pedal except on the flattest, most even surface --
    especially for someone who's not a conditioned cyclist, and moreso if you have a bad knee. There's
    also likely to be extra friction somewhere in the drivetrain, making the situation even worse. Plus,
    if it's not using lightweight battery technology already it will really weigh a ton! So any bike
    like this will probably be a disaster from a pedaling standpoint, and not a very good powered
    vehicle either. I suggest you get a decent regular bicycle, and/or a dedicated electric scooter if
    you want one of those. I rode an Oxygen/Lepton scooter awhile ago, and it was fantastic.

    Matt O.
     
  4. Luigi de Guzman wrote:
    >
    > Michael Cerkowski <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > > Hopefully this is the right newsgroup to ask about hybrid bikes - I don't see any for them.
    >
    > "hybrid" bikes are hybridized road/mountain bikes. Road-type wheels/tires/gearing; upright
    > position, straight handlebars, and emphatically *no electric power*.
    >
    > google for 'electric bicycles' or 'electric-assist...'

    I'm looking for a newsgroup. If anyone knows of one, please post it.

    >
    > >Anyway, does anyone have any experience with the LA Free Sport bikes? I have a bad knee, and want
    > >a bike that is both easy to pedal in unpowered mode, and offers a strong, long-lasting assist in
    > >powered mode. I've read the company's info on the bikes, but I'd like to read about some
    > >real-world experiences with them. Are they reliable and durable? Do the battery packs last at
    > >least 18 months if cared for properly? Is there a NiMH pack on the horizon? Any friendly
    > >responses would be appreciated.
    >
    > ease of pedalling is a function of proper gearing. Knee pain can also be a function of poor
    > positioning/improper fitting on a bicycle.
    >
    > see
    >
    > <www.sheldonbrown.com/pain.html> for help on knee issues.
    >
    > Electric bikes are unnecessarily expensive, heavy, and complicated...I'd go for a conventional
    > bicycle, with appropriately low gearing, but you and your doctor know your knee best.
    >
    > The bicycle that you can buy with the same money--without the electrical complications--will be
    > far better, lighter, more durable, and serviceable...
    >
    > -Luigi

    I've been riding for...seems like forever, and have an 18 speed mountain bike that I guess you'd
    call a "hybrid". I need the electric assist for longer rides and for hills, due to my knee and to
    other health problems as well. Again, if anyone has experience with these bikes or can direct me
    to a newsgroup or US E-bike listserve, I'd appreciate the info.

    --


    http://www.albany.net/~mjc1/index.html
     
  5. Zilla

    Zilla Guest

    Get a moped.

    --
    - Zilla (Remove XSPAM)

    "Michael Cerkowski" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > Hopefully this is the right newsgroup to ask about hybrid bikes - I don't see any for them.
    > Anyway, does anyone have any experience with the LA Free Sport bikes? I have a bad knee, and want
    > a bike that is both easy to pedal in unpowered mode, and offers a strong, long-lasting assist in
    > powered mode. I've read the company's info on the bikes, but I'd like to read about some
    > real-world experiences with them. Are they reliable and durable? Do the battery packs last at
    > least 18 months if cared for properly? Is there a NiMH pack on the horizon? Any friendly responses
    > would be appreciated.
    > --
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > http://www.albany.net/~mjc1/index.html
     
  6. Matt O'Toole wrote:
    >
    > "Michael Cerkowski" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >
    > > Hopefully this is the right newsgroup to ask about hybrid
    > bikes - I
    > > don't see any for them. Anyway, does anyone have any
    > experience with the
    > > LA Free Sport bikes? I have a bad knee, and want a bike
    > that is both
    > > easy to pedal in unpowered mode, and offers a strong,
    > long-lasting
    > > assist in powered mode. I've read the company's info on
    > the bikes, but
    > > I'd like to read about some real-world experiences with
    > them. Are they
    > > reliable and durable? Do the battery packs last at least
    > 18 months if
    > > cared for properly? Is there a NiMH pack on the horizon?
    > Any friendly
    > > responses would be appreciated.
    >
    > There have been a bunch of similar bikes on the market, and as far as I'm concerned they're all
    > non-starters. Any bike with an electric motor and battery capable of hauling you along at all is
    > going to be very heavy, and a real chore to pedal except on the flattest, most even surface --
    > especially for someone who's not a conditioned cyclist, and moreso if you have a bad knee. There's
    > also likely to be extra friction somewhere in the drivetrain, making the situation even worse.
    > Plus, if it's not using lightweight battery technology already it will really weigh a ton! So any
    > bike like this will probably be a disaster from a pedaling standpoint, and not a very good powered
    > vehicle either. I suggest you get a decent regular bicycle, and/or a dedicated electric scooter if
    > you want one of those. I rode an Oxygen/Lepton scooter awhile ago, and it was fantastic.
    >
    > Matt O.

    I believe that some of these bikes, including the LA Free, use a one-way clutch to prevent extra
    drag from the motor. I understand about the extra weight, but if it rides well on level ground
    I'll be using the assist for grades and hills anyway. I'll keep checking this newsgroup for a
    couple of days, but I think I may be wasting my time asking hard-core bicyclists about a non
    hard-core bicycle...
    --


    http://www.albany.net/~mjc1/index.html
     
  7. Billcotton

    Billcotton Guest

    > I believe that some of these bikes, including the LA Free, use a one-way clutch to prevent
    > extra drag from the motor. I understand about the extra weight, but if it rides well on level
    > ground I'll be using the assist for grades and hills anyway. I'll keep checking this newsgroup
    > for a couple of days, but I think I may be wasting my time asking hard-core bicyclists about a
    > non hard-core bicycle...
    > --
    Section snip. I have had dreams of having some type of hill assist for many years. Weight is the
    enemy for almost every system I have encounter to date. This includes regenerative electric and
    hydraulic At least two members on our bicycle club have bought electric assist bicycle, hoping to
    continue to do club rides as they became older. Sadly, they could not keep up with the low lever
    club rides of 11 to 13 mph average. Both just rides alone on their regular bicycle on the flats. At
    a League of America Bicycle rally in Lancaster PA a few years 12 years ago, a rider equipped his
    recumbent with a weed whacker gas motor. He rode the bent from north New Jersey to Lancaster PA,
    about 200 miles. He was on the same rally day ride as I, a 11 to 15 mph pace. He only use the assist
    for uphill and the pace was about his same as mine, less than 10 mph. With the weed whacker, the
    added weigh is minimum, but the noise is too loud for most of us. Lighter batteries an motors can
    one day make a different. The segway uses advance technology with its motors, batteries and designs,
    still weigh in at 83 pounds. http://www.segway.com/
    --
    // Bill Cotton: Latitude N40° 03.756' W75° 06.192' / / Phone 215 663-8363 Data 215 663-8364 //
    [email protected] [email protected] // [email protected] [email protected] //
    www.billcotton.com


    "Michael Cerkowski" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > Matt O'Toole wrote:
    > >
    > > "Michael Cerkowski" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > >
    > > > Hopefully this is the right newsgroup to ask about hybrid
    > > bikes - I
    > > > don't see any for them. Anyway, does anyone have any
    > > experience with the
    > > > LA Free Sport bikes? I have a bad knee, and want a bike
    > > that is both
    > > > easy to pedal in unpowered mode, and offers a strong,
    > > long-lasting
    > > > assist in powered mode. I've read the company's info on
    > > the bikes, but
    > > > I'd like to read about some real-world experiences with
    > > them. Are they
    > > > reliable and durable? Do the battery packs last at least
    > > 18 months if
    > > > cared for properly? Is there a NiMH pack on the horizon?
    > > Any friendly
    > > > responses would be appreciated.
    > >
    > > There have been a bunch of similar bikes on the market, and as far as I'm concerned they're all
    > > non-starters. Any bike with an electric motor and battery capable of hauling you along at all is
    > > going to be very heavy, and a real chore to pedal except on the flattest, most even surface --
    > > especially for someone who's not a conditioned cyclist, and moreso if you have a bad knee.
    > > There's also likely to be extra friction somewhere in the drivetrain, making the situation even
    > > worse. Plus, if it's not using lightweight battery technology already it will really weigh a
    > > ton! So any bike like this will probably be a disaster from a pedaling standpoint, and not a
    > > very good powered vehicle either. I suggest you get a decent regular bicycle, and/or a dedicated
    > > electric scooter if you want one of those. I rode an Oxygen/Lepton scooter awhile ago, and it
    > > was fantastic.
    > >
    > > Matt O.
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > http://www.albany.net/~mjc1/index.html
     
  8. > I believe that some of these bikes, including the LA Free, use a one-way clutch to prevent
    > extra drag from the motor. I understand about the extra weight, but if it rides well on level
    > ground I'll be using the assist for grades and hills anyway. I'll keep checking this newsgroup
    > for a couple of days, but I think I may be wasting my time asking hard-core bicyclists about a
    > non hard-core bicycle...

    I did look up their website (http://www.powerassist.com/eyeframe5.htm); these bikes still have
    *serious* deficiencies. Among them-

    #1: Under *ideal* conditions, max run is 25 miles on the "Lite" version,
    just 20 on the standard, and this mileage assumes you're pedaling.

    #2: Power output declines, apparently rapidly, during the duration of the
    ride. In fact, it contains a warning that hill climbing performance may not be what you expect only
    10 miles into a ride (doesn't fit your need for "long lasting" to be sure!).

    #3: Expect a 20% decline in battery performance at 45 degrees vs 65. This
    is definitely a fair-weather machine (although if, as the name implies, it's targeted at Southern
    California, this isn't an issue).

    #4: It's questionable how safe it is in traffic, as max speed with motor
    assist is 20 miles per hour. This may not be an issue for many, but if you were riding on a
    slight decline, I'd suggest this is a serious deficiency. Maneuvering downhill, you're
    essentially on your own.

    #5: Marketing is deceptive; on the page where it states that "LA FREE gives
    you added power" it implies that it can climb a 14% grade. Uh, no. With heavy assistance from *you*
    it will climb up to a 14% grade before the overload sensors kick in and the motor stops. Some might
    even be fooled into thinking it will go up a hill fast, since they talk about speed and grade in the
    same sentence. This is simply not the case. To go up a steep hill will require heavy effort on your
    part. Remember what the FAQ said? Output power increases as *your* power increases. You can't just
    kick back and take it easy up a hill.

    #6: Sizing. If you've read much here, you know that huge differences in
    performance and enjoyment come from getting a bike that fits you. The LA FREE bike comes in... one
    size for each model. They, of course, list a huge range of adjustability. You *may* be able to be
    comfortable under such a scheme, but you won't be efficient.

    Conclusion- You originally stated

    " I have a bad knee, and want a bike that is both easy to pedal in unpowered mode, and offers a
    strong, long-lasting assist in powered mode."

    The LA FREE isn't that bike. It's own FAQ says so. Battery and motor technology may eventually get
    there, but it's not there yet (at least not at a price that would give a marketable product).

    --Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles http://www.ChainReactionBicycles.com

    "Michael Cerkowski" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > Matt O'Toole wrote:
    > >
    > > "Michael Cerkowski" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > >
    > > > Hopefully this is the right newsgroup to ask about hybrid
    > > bikes - I
    > > > don't see any for them. Anyway, does anyone have any
    > > experience with the
    > > > LA Free Sport bikes? I have a bad knee, and want a bike
    > > that is both
    > > > easy to pedal in unpowered mode, and offers a strong,
    > > long-lasting
    > > > assist in powered mode. I've read the company's info on
    > > the bikes, but
    > > > I'd like to read about some real-world experiences with
    > > them. Are they
    > > > reliable and durable? Do the battery packs last at least
    > > 18 months if
    > > > cared for properly? Is there a NiMH pack on the horizon?
    > > Any friendly
    > > > responses would be appreciated.
    > >
    > > There have been a bunch of similar bikes on the market, and as far as I'm concerned they're all
    > > non-starters. Any bike with an electric motor and battery capable of hauling you along at all is
    > > going to be very heavy, and a real chore to pedal except on the flattest, most even surface --
    > > especially for someone who's not a conditioned cyclist, and moreso if you have a bad knee.
    > > There's also likely to be extra friction somewhere in the drivetrain, making the situation even
    > > worse. Plus, if it's not using lightweight battery technology already it will really weigh a
    > > ton! So any bike like this will probably be a disaster from a pedaling standpoint, and not a
    > > very good powered vehicle either. I suggest you get a decent regular bicycle, and/or a dedicated
    > > electric scooter if you want one of those. I rode an Oxygen/Lepton scooter awhile ago, and it
    > > was fantastic.
    > >
    > > Matt O.
    >
    > I believe that some of these bikes, including the LA Free, use a one-way clutch to prevent
    > extra drag from the motor. I understand about the extra weight, but if it rides well on level
    > ground I'll be using the assist for grades and hills anyway. I'll keep checking this newsgroup
    > for a couple of days, but I think I may be wasting my time asking hard-core bicyclists about a
    > non hard-core bicycle...
    > --
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > http://www.albany.net/~mjc1/index.html
     
  9. > I believe that some of these bikes, including the LA Free, use a one-way clutch to prevent
    > extra drag from the motor. I understand about the extra weight, but if it rides well on level
    > ground I'll be using the assist for grades and hills anyway. I'll keep checking this newsgroup
    > for a couple of days, but I think I may be wasting my time asking hard-core bicyclists about a
    > non hard-core bicycle...

    And in that you may be right.

    For the sort of bicycle that you get, the added cost of an electric assist is not really that much
    of an enticement to most bicyclists. For the 'nonserious' (I'll not comment on hardness of core)
    occasional bicyle user, it's just too damned expensive--you can get a bike for US$50, a passably
    good one at US$100-150, and a really good one at US$200-250. Why spend nearly a kilobuck?

    For the 'serious' cyclist, the electrical bicycle adds weight, cost, and complication while not
    adding anything particularly useful in return.

    If your knee is really that bad, and you are already minded to get the bike, then get it. Merely be
    aware that, absent its electrical capabilities, the bike you're getting is equivalently specified to
    one costing only a little more than a tenth as much, with a great deal of additional weight and
    complexity.

    -Luigi
     
  10. billcotton wrote:
    >
    > >
    > > I believe that some of these bikes, including the LA Free, use a one-way clutch to prevent
    > > extra drag from the motor. I understand about the extra weight, but if it rides well on level
    > > ground I'll be using the assist for grades and hills anyway. I'll keep checking this
    > > newsgroup for a couple of days, but I think I may be wasting my time asking hard-core
    > > bicyclists about a non hard-core bicycle...
    > > --
    > Section snip. I have had dreams of having some type of hill assist for many years. Weight is the
    > enemy for almost every system I have encounter to date. This includes regenerative electric and
    > hydraulic At least two members on our bicycle club have bought electric assist bicycle, hoping to
    > continue to do club rides as they became older. Sadly, they could not keep up with the low lever
    > club rides of 11 to 13 mph average. Both just rides alone on their regular bicycle on the flats.
    > At a League of America Bicycle rally in Lancaster PA a few years 12 years ago, a rider equipped
    > his recumbent with a weed whacker gas motor. He rode the bent from north New Jersey to Lancaster
    > PA, about 200 miles. He was on the same rally day ride as I, a 11 to 15 mph pace. He only use the
    > assist for uphill and the pace was about his same as mine, less than 10 mph. With the weed
    > whacker, the added weigh is minimum, but the noise is too loud for most of us. Lighter batteries
    > an motors can one day make a different. The segway uses advance technology with its motors,
    > batteries and designs, still weigh in at 83 pounds. http://www.segway.com/
    > --
    > // Bill Cotton: Latitude N40° 03.756' W75° 06.192' / / Phone 215 663-8363 Data 215 663-8364 //
    > [email protected] [email protected] // [email protected] [email protected]
    > // www.billcotton.com

    Any specific experience with the LA Free bikes? I know that there are a lot of electric assist
    bikes out there, and that they are not all equal...

    >
    > "Michael Cerkowski" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > > Matt O'Toole wrote:
    > > >
    > > > "Michael Cerkowski" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > > >
    > > > > Hopefully this is the right newsgroup to ask about hybrid
    > > > bikes - I
    > > > > don't see any for them. Anyway, does anyone have any
    > > > experience with the
    > > > > LA Free Sport bikes? I have a bad knee, and want a bike
    > > > that is both
    > > > > easy to pedal in unpowered mode, and offers a strong,
    > > > long-lasting
    > > > > assist in powered mode. I've read the company's info on
    > > > the bikes, but
    > > > > I'd like to read about some real-world experiences with
    > > > them. Are they
    > > > > reliable and durable? Do the battery packs last at least
    > > > 18 months if
    > > > > cared for properly? Is there a NiMH pack on the horizon?
    > > > Any friendly
    > > > > responses would be appreciated.
    > > >
    > > > There have been a bunch of similar bikes on the market, and as far as I'm concerned they're
    > > > all non-starters. Any bike with an electric motor and battery capable of hauling you along at
    > > > all is going to be very heavy, and a real chore to pedal except on the flattest, most even
    > > > surface -- especially for someone who's not a conditioned cyclist, and moreso if you have a
    > > > bad knee. There's also likely to be extra friction somewhere in the drivetrain, making the
    > > > situation even worse. Plus, if it's not using lightweight battery technology already it will
    > > > really weigh a ton! So any bike like this will probably be a disaster from a pedaling
    > > > standpoint, and not a very good powered vehicle either. I suggest you get a decent regular
    > > > bicycle, and/or a dedicated electric scooter if you want one of those. I rode an Oxygen/Lepton
    > > > scooter awhile ago, and it was fantastic.
    > > >
    > > > Matt O.
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > > http://www.albany.net/~mjc1/index.html

    --


    http://www.albany.net/~mjc1/index.html
     
  11. Mike Jacoubowsky wrote:
    >
    > > I believe that some of these bikes, including the LA Free, use a one-way clutch to prevent
    > > extra drag from the motor. I understand about the extra weight, but if it rides well on level
    > > ground I'll be using the assist for grades and hills anyway. I'll keep checking this
    > > newsgroup for a couple of days, but I think I may be wasting my time asking hard-core
    > > bicyclists about a non hard-core bicycle...
    >
    > I did look up their website (http://www.powerassist.com/eyeframe5.htm); these bikes still have
    > *serious* deficiencies. Among them-
    >
    > #1: Under *ideal* conditions, max run is 25 miles on the "Lite" version,
    > just 20 on the standard, and this mileage assumes you're pedaling.

    I understand that. When I did 'serious' riding my routes were 10 and 15 miles,and the 15 mile
    route was mostly downhill for the second half. I can live with a 15 mile range.

    >
    > #2: Power output declines, apparently rapidly, during the duration of the
    > ride. In fact, it contains a warning that hill climbing performance may not be what you expect
    > only 10 miles into a ride (doesn't fit your need for "long lasting" to be sure!).

    See above. I want the bike for running 1 or 2 mile errands, and for 10 mile rides in the country.
    The latter would include large hills, but they would be no more than 5 miles into the ride.

    >
    > #3: Expect a 20% decline in battery performance at 45 degrees vs 65. This
    > is definitely a fair-weather machine (although if, as the name implies, it's targeted at Southern
    > California, this isn't an issue).

    That's ok, because I'm a fair weather rider. ;)

    >
    > #4: It's questionable how safe it is in traffic, as max speed with motor
    > assist is 20 miles per hour. This may not be an issue for many, but if you were riding on a slight
    > decline, I'd suggest this is a serious deficiency. Maneuvering downhill, you're essentially on
    > your own.

    Why would I want the motor on a downhill run? Anyway, I don't generally ride more than 20mph.

    >
    > #5: Marketing is deceptive; on the page where it states that "LA FREE gives
    > you added power" it implies that it can climb a 14% grade. Uh, no. With heavy assistance from
    > *you* it will climb up to a 14% grade before the overload sensors kick in and the motor stops.
    > Some might even be fooled into thinking it will go up a hill fast, since they talk about speed and
    > grade in the same sentence. This is simply not the case. To go up a steep hill will require heavy
    > effort on your part. Remember what the FAQ said? Output power increases as *your* power increases.
    > You can't just kick back and take it easy up a hill.

    I wasn't expecting the bike to do all the work. The motor assists through all 7 gears, and if it
    will cut uphill effort in 1st by 50%, then I'll do fine.

    >
    > #6: Sizing. If you've read much here, you know that huge differences in
    > performance and enjoyment come from getting a bike that fits you. The LA FREE bike comes in... one
    > size for each model. They, of course, list a huge range of adjustability. You *may* be able to be
    > comfortable under such a scheme, but you won't be efficient.

    I plan to sit on one, and at least ride it in the showroom parking lot, to make sure it fits me
    and I like the pedal effort.

    >
    > Conclusion- You originally stated
    >
    > " I have a bad knee, and want a bike that is both easy to pedal in unpowered mode, and offers a
    > strong, long-lasting assist in powered mode."
    >
    > The LA FREE isn't that bike. It's own FAQ says so. Battery and motor technology may eventually get
    > there, but it's not there yet (at least not at a price that would give a marketable product).

    My idea of "long-lasting" is 10-15 miles. I also expect to put in up to 50% of the effort in
    climbing hills. Does that change your assessment?

    >
    > --Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles http://www.ChainReactionBicycles.com
    >
    > "Michael Cerkowski" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > > Matt O'Toole wrote:
    > > >
    > > > "Michael Cerkowski" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > > >
    > > > > Hopefully this is the right newsgroup to ask about hybrid
    > > > bikes - I
    > > > > don't see any for them. Anyway, does anyone have any
    > > > experience with the
    > > > > LA Free Sport bikes? I have a bad knee, and want a bike
    > > > that is both
    > > > > easy to pedal in unpowered mode, and offers a strong,
    > > > long-lasting
    > > > > assist in powered mode. I've read the company's info on
    > > > the bikes, but
    > > > > I'd like to read about some real-world experiences with
    > > > them. Are they
    > > > > reliable and durable? Do the battery packs last at least
    > > > 18 months if
    > > > > cared for properly? Is there a NiMH pack on the horizon?
    > > > Any friendly
    > > > > responses would be appreciated.
    > > >
    > > > There have been a bunch of similar bikes on the market, and as far as I'm concerned they're
    > > > all non-starters. Any bike with an electric motor and battery capable of hauling you along at
    > > > all is going to be very heavy, and a real chore to pedal except on the flattest, most even
    > > > surface -- especially for someone who's not a conditioned cyclist, and moreso if you have a
    > > > bad knee. There's also likely to be extra friction somewhere in the drivetrain, making the
    > > > situation even worse. Plus, if it's not using lightweight battery technology already it will
    > > > really weigh a ton! So any bike like this will probably be a disaster from a pedaling
    > > > standpoint, and not a very good powered vehicle either. I suggest you get a decent regular
    > > > bicycle, and/or a dedicated electric scooter if you want one of those. I rode an Oxygen/Lepton
    > > > scooter awhile ago, and it was fantastic.
    > > >
    > > > Matt O.
    > >
    > > I believe that some of these bikes, including the LA Free, use a one-way clutch to prevent
    > > extra drag from the motor. I understand about the extra weight, but if it rides well on level
    > > ground I'll be using the assist for grades and hills anyway. I'll keep checking this
    > > newsgroup for a couple of days, but I think I may be wasting my time asking hard-core
    > > bicyclists about a non hard-core bicycle...
    > > --
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > > http://www.albany.net/~mjc1/index.html

    --


    http://www.albany.net/~mjc1/index.html
     
  12. Luigi de Guzman wrote:
    >
    > > I believe that some of these bikes, including the LA Free, use a one-way clutch to prevent
    > > extra drag from the motor. I understand about the extra weight, but if it rides well on level
    > > ground I'll be using the assist for grades and hills anyway. I'll keep checking this
    > > newsgroup for a couple of days, but I think I may be wasting my time asking hard-core
    > > bicyclists about a non hard-core bicycle...
    >
    > And in that you may be right.
    >
    > For the sort of bicycle that you get, the added cost of an electric assist is not really that much
    > of an enticement to most bicyclists. For the 'nonserious' (I'll not comment on hardness of core)
    > occasional bicyle user, it's just too damned expensive--you can get a bike for US$50, a passably
    > good one at US$100-150, and a really good one at US$200-250. Why spend nearly a kilobuck?
    >
    > For the 'serious' cyclist, the electrical bicycle adds weight, cost, and complication while not
    > adding anything particularly useful in return.
    >
    > If your knee is really that bad, and you are already minded to get the bike, then get it. Merely
    > be aware that, absent its electrical capabilities, the bike you're getting is equivalently
    > specified to one costing only a little more than a tenth as much, with a great deal of additional
    > weight and complexity.
    >
    > -Luigi

    I understand. The bike I've been riding for 15 years is an 18 speed "Gemini" (I think), sold by
    Wards. It's a cheap bike, but I don't ask that much of it. If I get the LAF, I won't ask more
    than that it lets me run errands and take longer rides than I can now (I'm currently limited to
    maybe 6 miles) on mostly level terrain, with a few hills.
    --


    http://www.albany.net/~mjc1/index.html
     
  13. > My idea of "long-lasting" is 10-15 miles. I also expect to put in up to 50% of the effort in
    > climbing hills. Does that change your assessment?

    So essentially what you're looking for is a short-distance commuter or errand bike? Something that
    would allow you to "bike" places instead of drive? Sounds like it would work just fine for that!

    Regarding your choice of newsgroups, yes, I think you need something more like rec.commute.tech or
    rec.alternative.commute (neither of which, far as I know, exist). Hereabouts things are a bit more
    closely linked to entirely human-powered two-wheeled transportation. Even recumbents discovered they
    didn't quite fit in and needed their own group.

    --Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles http://www.ChainReactionBicycles.com

    "Michael Cerkowski" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > Mike Jacoubowsky wrote:
    > >
    > > > I believe that some of these bikes, including the LA Free, use a one-way clutch to prevent
    > > > extra drag from the motor. I understand about the extra weight, but if it rides well on
    > > > level ground I'll be using the assist for grades and hills anyway. I'll keep checking this
    > > > newsgroup for a couple of days, but I think I may be wasting my time asking hard-core
    > > > bicyclists about a non hard-core bicycle...
    > >
    > > I did look up their website (http://www.powerassist.com/eyeframe5.htm); these bikes still have
    > > *serious* deficiencies. Among them-
    > >
    > > #1: Under *ideal* conditions, max run is 25 miles on the "Lite"
    version,
    > > just 20 on the standard, and this mileage assumes you're pedaling.
    >
    > I understand that. When I did 'serious' riding my routes were 10 and 15 miles,and the 15 mile
    > route was mostly downhill for the second half. I can live with a 15 mile range.
    >
    > >
    > > #2: Power output declines, apparently rapidly, during the duration of
    the
    > > ride. In fact, it contains a warning that hill climbing performance may
    not
    > > be what you expect only 10 miles into a ride (doesn't fit your need for "long lasting" to be
    > > sure!).
    >
    > See above. I want the bike for running 1 or 2 mile errands, and for 10 mile rides in the
    > country. The latter would include large hills, but they would be no more than 5 miles into the
    > ride.
    >
    > >
    > > #3: Expect a 20% decline in battery performance at 45 degrees vs 65.
    This
    > > is definitely a fair-weather machine (although if, as the name implies,
    it's
    > > targeted at Southern California, this isn't an issue).
    >
    > That's ok, because I'm a fair weather rider. ;)
    >
    > >
    > > #4: It's questionable how safe it is in traffic, as max speed with
    motor
    > > assist is 20 miles per hour. This may not be an issue for many, but if
    you
    > > were riding on a slight decline, I'd suggest this is a serious
    deficiency.
    > > Maneuvering downhill, you're essentially on your own.
    >
    > Why would I want the motor on a downhill run? Anyway, I don't generally ride more than 20mph.
    >
    > >
    > > #5: Marketing is deceptive; on the page where it states that "LA FREE
    gives
    > > you added power" it implies that it can climb a 14% grade. Uh, no.
    With
    > > heavy assistance from *you* it will climb up to a 14% grade before the overload sensors kick in
    > > and the motor stops. Some might even be fooled into thinking it will go up a hill fast, since
    > > they talk about speed and grade in the same sentence. This is simply not the case. To go up a
    steep
    > > hill will require heavy effort on your part. Remember what the FAQ
    said?
    > > Output power increases as *your* power increases. You can't just kick
    back
    > > and take it easy up a hill.
    >
    > I wasn't expecting the bike to do all the work. The motor assists through all 7 gears, and if
    > it will cut uphill effort in 1st by 50%, then I'll do fine.
    >
    > >
    > > #6: Sizing. If you've read much here, you know that huge differences
    in
    > > performance and enjoyment come from getting a bike that fits you. The
    LA
    > > FREE bike comes in... one size for each model. They, of course, list a
    huge
    > > range of adjustability. You *may* be able to be comfortable under such
    a
    > > scheme, but you won't be efficient.
    >
    > I plan to sit on one, and at least ride it in the showroom parking lot, to make sure it fits me
    > and I like the pedal effort.
    >
    > >
    > > Conclusion- You originally stated
    > >
    > > " I have a bad knee, and want a bike that is both easy to pedal in unpowered mode, and offers a
    > > strong, long-lasting assist in powered mode."
    > >
    > > The LA FREE isn't that bike. It's own FAQ says so. Battery and motor technology may eventually
    > > get there, but it's not there yet (at least
    not at
    > > a price that would give a marketable product).
    >
    > My idea of "long-lasting" is 10-15 miles. I also expect to put in up to 50% of the effort in
    > climbing hills. Does that change your assessment?
     
  14. Mike Jacoubowsky wrote:
    >
    > > My idea of "long-lasting" is 10-15 miles. I also expect to put in up to 50% of the effort in
    > > climbing hills. Does that change your assessment?
    >
    > So essentially what you're looking for is a short-distance commuter or errand bike? Something that
    > would allow you to "bike" places instead of drive? Sounds like it would work just fine for that!

    Those, plus 10-15 mile rides in the country, yes. Work is 22.5 miles away, most of it interstate
    driving, but there are local errands I can run on a bike - with a little help.

    >
    > Regarding your choice of newsgroups, yes, I think you need something more like rec.commute.tech or
    > rec.alternative.commute (neither of which, far as I know, exist). Hereabouts things are a bit more
    > closely linked to entirely human-powered two-wheeled transportation. Even recumbents discovered
    > they didn't quite fit in and needed their own group.

    I'm a little surprised that there isn't a NG for electric vehicles in general...anyway, thanks
    for the input. MC

    (...)
    --


    http://www.albany.net/~mjc1/index.html
     
  15. Billcotton

    Billcotton Guest

    > billcotton wrote:
    > > Section snip. I have had dreams of having some type of hill assist for many years.
    Weight
    > > is the enemy for almost every system I have encounter to date. This
    includes
    > > regenerative electric and hydraulic At least two members on our bicycle club have bought
    > > electric assist bicycle, hoping to continue to do club rides as they became older.
    Sadly,
    > > they could not keep up with the low lever club rides of 11 to 13 mph average. Both just rides
    > > alone on their regular bicycle on the flats. At a League of America Bicycle rally in Lancaster
    > > PA a few years 12
    years
    > > ago, a rider equipped his recumbent with a weed whacker gas motor. He
    rode
    > > the bent from north New Jersey to Lancaster PA, about 200 miles. He was
    on
    > > the same rally day ride as I, a 11 to 15 mph pace. He only use the
    assist
    > > for uphill and the pace was about his same as mine, less than 10 mph.
    With
    > > the weed whacker, the added weigh is minimum, but the noise is too loud
    for
    > > most of us. Lighter batteries an motors can one day make a different. The segway
    uses
    > > advance technology with its motors, batteries and designs, still weigh
    in at
    > > 83 pounds. http://www.segway.com/
    > > --
    > Any specific experience with the LA Free bikes? I know that there are a lot of electric assist
    > bikes out there, and that they are not all equal...
    No experience with the LA Free Bikes. I visit their web page to find the weight and didn't find
    reference to weight. I did see that their dealer allows test rides. One way clutches are common to
    assist bicycles, the horse power need to move the total weight is also common. The Wright brothers
    couldn't fly until a motor was developed that could lift it own weight plus. Advances in lighter
    motors and fuel will make this possible, weed whacker motors now giver the most power vs. added
    weight, that is easily available, http://moped2.org/aspforum/display_message.asp?mid=3435

    --
    // Bill Cotton: Latitude N40° 03.756' W75° 06.192' / / Phone 215 663-8363 Data 215 663-8364 //
    [email protected] [email protected] // [email protected] [email protected] //
    www.billcotton.com


    "Michael Cerkowski" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > billcotton wrote:
    > >
    > > >
    > > > I believe that some of these bikes, including the LA Free, use a one-way clutch to prevent
    > > > extra drag from the motor. I understand about the extra weight, but if it rides well on
    > > > level ground I'll be using the assist for grades and hills anyway. I'll keep checking this
    > > > newsgroup for a couple of days, but I think I may be wasting my time asking hard-core
    > > > bicyclists about a non hard-core bicycle...
    > > > --
    > > Section snip. I have had dreams of having some type of hill assist for many years.
    Weight
    > > is the enemy for almost every system I have encounter to date. This
    includes
    > > regenerative electric and hydraulic At least two members on our bicycle club have bought
    > > electric assist bicycle, hoping to continue to do club rides as they became older.
    Sadly,
    > > they could not keep up with the low lever club rides of 11 to 13 mph average. Both just rides
    > > alone on their regular bicycle on the flats. At a League of America Bicycle rally in Lancaster
    > > PA a few years 12
    years
    > > ago, a rider equipped his recumbent with a weed whacker gas motor. He
    rode
    > > the bent from north New Jersey to Lancaster PA, about 200 miles. He was
    on
    > > the same rally day ride as I, a 11 to 15 mph pace. He only use the
    assist
    > > for uphill and the pace was about his same as mine, less than 10 mph.
    With
    > > the weed whacker, the added weigh is minimum, but the noise is too loud
    for
    > > most of us. Lighter batteries an motors can one day make a different. The segway
    uses
    > > advance technology with its motors, batteries and designs, still weigh
    in at
    > > 83 pounds. http://www.segway.com/
    > > --
    > > // Bill Cotton: Latitude N40° 03.756' W75° 06.192' / / Phone 215 663-8363 Data 215 663-8364 //
    > > [email protected] [email protected] // [email protected] [email protected]
    > > // www.billcotton.com
    >
    > Any specific experience with the LA Free bikes? I know that there are a lot of electric assist
    > bikes out there, and that they are not all equal...
    >
    >
    > >
    > > "Michael Cerkowski" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > > > Matt O'Toole wrote:
    > > > >
    > > > > "Michael Cerkowski" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > > > >
    > > > > > Hopefully this is the right newsgroup to ask about hybrid
    > > > > bikes - I
    > > > > > don't see any for them. Anyway, does anyone have any
    > > > > experience with the
    > > > > > LA Free Sport bikes? I have a bad knee, and want a bike
    > > > > that is both
    > > > > > easy to pedal in unpowered mode, and offers a strong,
    > > > > long-lasting
    > > > > > assist in powered mode. I've read the company's info on
    > > > > the bikes, but
    > > > > > I'd like to read about some real-world experiences with
    > > > > them. Are they
    > > > > > reliable and durable? Do the battery packs last at least
    > > > > 18 months if
    > > > > > cared for properly? Is there a NiMH pack on the horizon?
    > > > > Any friendly
    > > > > > responses would be appreciated.
    > > > >
    > > > > There have been a bunch of similar bikes on the market, and as far as I'm concerned they're
    > > > > all non-starters. Any bike with an electric motor and battery capable of hauling you along
    > > > > at all is going to be very heavy, and a real chore to pedal except on the flattest, most
    > > > > even surface -- especially for someone who's not a conditioned cyclist, and moreso if you
    > > > > have a bad knee. There's also likely to be extra friction somewhere in the drivetrain,
    > > > > making the situation even worse. Plus, if it's not using lightweight battery technology
    > > > > already it will really weigh a ton! So any bike like this will probably be a disaster from a
    > > > > pedaling standpoint, and not a very good powered vehicle either. I suggest you get a decent
    > > > > regular bicycle, and/or a dedicated electric scooter if you want one of those. I rode an
    > > > > Oxygen/Lepton scooter awhile ago, and it was fantastic.
    > > > >
    > > > > Matt O.
    > > >
    > > >
    > > >
    > > >
    > > >
    > > >
    > > > http://www.albany.net/~mjc1/index.html
    >
    > --
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > http://www.albany.net/~mjc1/index.html
     
  16. Michael Cerkowski <[email protected]> wrote in message news:

    > I understand. The bike I've been riding for 15 years is an 18 speed "Gemini" (I think), sold by
    > Wards. It's a cheap bike, but I don't ask that much of it. If I get the LAF, I won't ask more
    > than that it lets me run errands and take longer rides than I can now (I'm currently limited to
    > maybe 6 miles) on mostly level terrain, with a few hills.

    If you're gonna spend that kind of cash on a bicycle, why not find a good local bicycle shop and see
    what they have? As other posts on this thread will tell you, knee problems can arise from bad
    fitting on a bicycle; a less expensive, but better fitting, bicycle will be more comfortable and
    easier on your body.

    Learn to shift, as well--knee problems come from pushing very high gears up hills unnecessarily.
    spin light and easy; better to be geared a bit too low than a bit too high. www.sheldonbrown.com
    will tell you almost everything you need to know in this respect.

    -Luigi
     
  17. Bluto

    Bluto Guest

    "billcotton" <[email protected]> wrote:

    > Lighter batteries an motors can one day make a different. The segway uses advance technology with
    > its motors, batteries and designs, still weigh in at 83 pounds. http://www.segway.com/

    The Segway's motors have a maximum output of 5000 watts, whereas most electric-assist bikes have
    nominal output of 250 to 500 watts.

    The LA Free Lite diamond-frame bike weighs 39 lbs, and its NiMH battery pack weighs an additional 9
    lbs. That's not too bad considering that the pedal-only equivalent of that bike would probably
    exceed 30 lbs.

    Chalo Colina
     
  18. Bluto wrote:
    >
    > "billcotton" <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > > Lighter batteries an motors can one day make a different. The segway uses advance technology
    > > with its motors, batteries and designs, still weigh in at 83 pounds. http://www.segway.com/
    >
    > The Segway's motors have a maximum output of 5000 watts, whereas most electric-assist bikes have
    > nominal output of 250 to 500 watts.
    >
    > The LA Free Lite diamond-frame bike weighs 39 lbs, and its NiMH battery pack weighs an additional
    > 9 lbs. That's not too bad considering that the pedal-only equivalent of that bike would probably
    > exceed 30 lbs.
    >
    > Chalo Colina

    Thnaks for the info. Do you have a weight for the Sport Slope Tube model? I know it'll be
    heavier if only because of the lead acid gel battery, but I'm hoping a NiMH pack will be
    available shortly.
    --


    http://www.albany.net/~mjc1/index.html
     
  19. billcotton wrote:
    >
    > > billcotton wrote:
    > > > Section snip. I have had dreams of having some type of hill assist for many years.
    > Weight
    > > > is the enemy for almost every system I have encounter to date. This
    > includes
    > > > regenerative electric and hydraulic At least two members on our bicycle club have bought
    > > > electric assist bicycle, hoping to continue to do club rides as they became older.
    > Sadly,
    > > > they could not keep up with the low lever club rides of 11 to 13 mph average. Both just rides
    > > > alone on their regular bicycle on the flats. At a League of America Bicycle rally in Lancaster
    > > > PA a few years 12
    > years
    > > > ago, a rider equipped his recumbent with a weed whacker gas motor. He
    > rode
    > > > the bent from north New Jersey to Lancaster PA, about 200 miles. He was
    > on
    > > > the same rally day ride as I, a 11 to 15 mph pace. He only use the
    > assist
    > > > for uphill and the pace was about his same as mine, less than 10 mph.
    > With
    > > > the weed whacker, the added weigh is minimum, but the noise is too loud
    > for
    > > > most of us. Lighter batteries an motors can one day make a different. The segway
    > uses
    > > > advance technology with its motors, batteries and designs, still weigh
    > in at
    > > > 83 pounds. http://www.segway.com/
    > > > --
    > > Any specific experience with the LA Free bikes? I know that there are a lot of electric
    > > assist bikes out there, and that they are not all equal...
    > No experience with the LA Free Bikes. I visit their web page to find the weight and didn't find
    > reference to weight. I did see that their dealer allows test rides. One way clutches are common to
    > assist bicycles, the horse power need to move the total weight is also common. The Wright brothers
    > couldn't fly until a motor was developed that could lift it own weight plus. Advances in lighter
    > motors and fuel will make this possible, weed whacker motors now giver the most power vs. added
    > weight, that is easily available, http://moped2.org/aspforum/display_message.asp?mid=3435

    Thanks, but I have no interest in using a dirty two-stroke motor. I'm only interested in
    electric assist.

    (...)
    --


    http://www.albany.net/~mjc1/index.html
     
  20. Luigi de Guzman wrote:
    >
    > Michael Cerkowski <[email protected]> wrote in message news:
    >
    > > I understand. The bike I've been riding for 15 years is an 18 speed "Gemini" (I think), sold
    > > by Wards. It's a cheap bike, but I don't ask that much of it. If I get the LAF, I won't ask
    > > more than that it lets me run errands and take longer rides than I can now (I'm currently
    > > limited to maybe 6 miles) on mostly level terrain, with a few hills.
    >
    > If you're gonna spend that kind of cash on a bicycle, why not find a good local bicycle shop and
    > see what they have? As other posts on this thread will tell you, knee problems can arise from bad
    > fitting on a bicycle; a less expensive, but better fitting, bicycle will be more comfortable and
    > easier on your body.

    No amount of fitting or gearing will overcome the problems I have with fatigue - unless there is
    an antigravity device out there...? ;)

    >
    > Learn to shift, as well--knee problems come from pushing very high gears up hills unnecessarily.
    > spin light and easy; better to be geared a bit too low than a bit too high. www.sheldonbrown.com
    > will tell you almost everything you need to know in this respect.
    >
    > -Luigi

    I do know how to shift. My body makes it quite clear when I'm not using a low enough, gear,
    believe me. I take most hills in mid-range 1st, and all large ones in low-range 1st.

    --


    http://www.albany.net/~mjc1/index.html
     
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