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There are quite a few out here in the Silver Spring area. "The Green Commuter" bike shop in Takoma Park specializes in them.

But for the price tag, I think they could be a very approachable crossover form of transportation cycling for many drivers, giving assistance on hills, getting to work with less sweating. Though a rise in their popularity would open up a new host of issues/problems (trails usage, squirrelly novice riders at high speed, etc).

Sorry, by "one of these" I assume you are talking electric assist in general, and not that specific model, yes?


Problems also include piss-poor Chinese construction, non-availability of spare parts, etc. I see the usefulness of electric assist for those with longer commutes, the elderly or disabled, but until there are some domestic [or at least non-Chinese] models available for less than the price of a decent motorcycle they'll still just be a novelty.

As a bicycle commuter of 6+ years-and a chronic sufferer of bilateral medial posterior tibial tendon tendonitis-my ebike actually got me back on the rode and very happy. Parts are freely available (I already checked), constrution is very good and service is top-notch where I bought it. (AnNd the price was nowhere near a motocycle (?) Top it off-I work in a building where the only shower is used for copy paper storage-and therefore I am not allowed to use it(!). I come to work without a horrible sweat now. Bottomline: Do not knock it until you tried it!

The (relatively) big national chain that has stores in the area has a Schwinn that "lists" for ~$2,700 that they are selling for $999. The electric motor is in the front hub, which seems like a sensible approach. The standard drive has a Shimano 8 speed hub system and the remaining construction and components seem good or at least OK. At that price point I would expect we'll see more on the bike trails.

A fellow who lives near me commutes on a folding electric bike with 20 inch wheels 18 miles round trip every day - he folds the thing up to take through security where he works. I think it is an EcoBike. It seems to stand up to that level of use. He hardly sets any speed records, averaging less than 15 mph even though he pedals continuously. Federal law prohibits more than 750 watts of power or travel through the motor alone at more than 20 mph, but the Schwinn above typically operates (it says) at more like 250 watts on average so I think most athletic riders would do as well or better.

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