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Electric bike news: Nomad Cycles emerges from Ecospeed and Pedego arrives in Portland

Posted by on December 15th, 2015 at 8:36 am

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A Nomad Cycles e-assist system on a Soma mixte.
(Photo: Nomad Cycles)

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In case you hadn’t noticed Portland is home to a thriving electric bike scene. We have e-bike dealers, e-bike enthusiasts, and of course e-bike companies. Now there are two new businesses in town that are riding the surging interest in battery-powered bikes: Nomad Cycles and Pedego Electric Bikes.

Nomad Cycles* is not exactly new. It’s a new spin-off of Portland-based Ecospeed launched by two former employees, Brad Davis and Tad Beckwith. Brad and Tad have purchased the bicycle portion of the Ecospeed business from its owner Brent Bolton. Ecospeed will continue to do engineering and licensing of electric-bike products, but Nomad Cycles will build and sell the bolt-on electric-assist systems that Ecospeed was known for. It’s a bit confusing, so here’s the statement from Nomad:

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Brad Davis, EcoSpeed’s General Manager, purchases the complete rights for EcoSpeed’s mid drive system and launches his own company Nomad Cycles. Brad will continue to focus on creating retrofit electric assist for bicycles using the EcoSpeed mid drive design. The same great product made in America offering people a viable form of alternative transportation for their daily lives.

Nomad Cycles begins with a 15-year history of creating innovative products for the electric bicycle market through the EcoSpeed mid drive system. Moving forward, Nomad Cycles will continue to work on new products for the surging electric assist market with new controllers and systems for bikes of all types and size.

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In other local e-bike news, national brand Pedego Electric Bikes plans to open a Portland dealership next month. In yet another sign of the arrival of e-bikes into the American market, this new shop is one of five new stores the company is opening. Pedego, based in Irvine, California, makes a full line of e-bikes that are sold in 75 branded stores and 800 dealers in 40 countries. The new Pedego shop will be located on at 412 SW 2nd Ave. They’ll also offer rentals. For more info contact Tommy at (503) 241-2912 or tommy (at) pedegoportland.com.

(*Note: Nomad Cycles is not to be confused with Nomad Cargo, a separate Portland business that builds cargo bikes.)

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Mike Quiglery
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Mike Quiglery

What happened to Kalkhoff? They were hot for awhile. Now, nothing. Not even spare parts.

Sterling
Guest

Kalkhoff is posting record sales numbers all over the country especially in the NW. All your replacement parts can be found in Portland at the ebike store 809 N Rosa Parks, these guys also traffic in Focus electric bikes which use the same German built mid drive systems as do the Kalkhoff’s. Alledgely there are some weirdos in Bend selling and supporting these brands as well.

Jon
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Jon

A very fit cyclist can put out 350 watts for around 5 minutes and probably around 200 watts for an hour. From what I can tell this system can put out 1300 watts which would probably allow me to do my commute at 45+ miles per hour. 1000+ watts is more motorcycle than electric bike. I can understand why you would need high power if you are trying to cart around cargo but for a commute I don’t see how anything more than 250 watts of assist would be reasonable for use in a bike lane or path.

Vinny
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Vinny

1,000 watts is just over 1 HP. For comparison, a Kawasaki ZR6 sportbike is about 120 HP, a Harley Sportster motorcycle is about 60 HP, a 250cc Vespa scooter is about 18 HP, and a 50cc moped around 3 HP.

An ebike with 1,000 watts isn’t a 45+ mph speed demon ride – it is less than half a moped. Most commuter ebikes run around 250 to 350 watts and still require some pedaling to hit 20 mph.

Jon
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Jon

From what I have read and seen on-line 1000 watts can get you up to around 37 mph on flat ground. 1300 watts is going to get you above 40 mph. That is not an ebike, that is a motorized cycle that would require a motorcycle licence and insurance. I thought an ebike could not exceed 20 mph on flat ground? It is no problem to get over 20 mph on flat ground putting out 300 watts. I am not an expert on motorized cycles so what am I missing?

Eric Leifsdad
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Eric Leifsdad

On flat ground, in a tuck, wearing lycra, with fast tires and no headwind, you could get to 40+mph with 1300W. Up a 6% grade at 250lb, only 30mph. Only 15mph up a 14% grade. Wind resistance really builds over 20mph.

Oregon law limits e-bikes to 20mph and isn’t very specific about the limiting mechanism. Some have a governor cutout, or the motor simply won’t turn any faster (such as a hub motor), or the transmission is geared to give power for steep climbs rather than high speed. At half speed, a motor puts out about half as much power, so you can’t have peak power at 40 and 20mph. The other practical limitation is the battery. You could probably run at 1000W for 30 minutes if you had a 20lb $2000 battery. My lighter 500Wh battery could probably sustain 250W for 2 hours but not 1000W for 30min.

Maybe we should simplify the rules to “as long as the rider can carry it up a flight of stairs.”

GlowBoy
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GlowBoy

Not liking the “flight of stairs” rule. I know lots of people who would struggle to carry a standard bicycle up a flight of stairs. And there’s no way in hell I could get my Madsen cargo bike up a flight of stairs, either.

Other problem with this rule would be that as battery technology improves, weight will become less of an issue.

I think the 20mph rule is good, and I wouldn’t mind seeing it lowered to 18mph or even 15mph. Isn’t there also a (proposed? non-binding? can’t remember) federal standard of 500W or 750W of power?

Eric Leifsdad
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Eric Leifsdad

US CPSC limit is 750W, so anything being sold as an electric bike is limited to that nationwide (the eu standard is 350W), but kits and custom builds are only limited by state road laws and at some level it becomes a moped/motorcycle.

Maybe the flight of stairs rule should only apply to machines capable of going faster than 20mph and/or just set speed limits on bike lanes / shared paths. As much as I don’t want people or terriers to get mowed down by 40mph bakfiets on springwater, I also think carbon-electro-fred should be able to take a lane southbound on Barbur. At least, until we have socialized medicine and not socialized gasoline. In any case, I suggest that anyone calling for lower limits should use a 1000W bike to haul a significant load up a significant hill in traffic and ask themselves whether we want more cars or higher-power electric bikes.

I think the 35cc “motor assisted scooter” law is also flawed (not only because it allows 25mph), but I would be amused to see somebody jump through that loophole with a turbo ethanol 2-stroke. Regulating engine displacement is like adjusting speed limits by shoe size.

Chris
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Chris

If this would transfer to a car why should they go 120mph when the speed limit is 65mph you don’t have to max it out . But when the big hill comes up you are more likely to make it over without pushing.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

I agree, 250W is probably plenty for most cyclists and 500 is probably enough for most hills, heavy riders and/or cargo loads. 1300 seems like total overkill, and definitely motorcycle/moped territory.

Spiffy
Subscriber

the only experience I have with an electric bike shop is when I bought a non-electric bike from Cynergy E-Bikes because they were a dealer for the Sun brand tandem I wanted…

when I picked it up the tires weren’t properly inflated, the pedals weren’t in sync, the chain wasn’t lubed, and the handlebars weren’t quite straight… it make the ride home less fun… so if I end up putting an electric kit on it I’m not going through them since I can’t trust their workmanship…

I did love test-riding the Yuba cargo bike with the e-kit on it… nice to have the power on the hills…

Eric
Guest

We have had the Ecospeed system on our infamous cargo bike for 3+ years and it has been a phenomenal system.
Units like the Ecospeed part make high capacity/efficiency cargo bikes possible, and in turn offer a real and practical alternative to automobiles.
Best of luck to Brad and Tad on their continued endeavor!

andy hague
Guest
andy hague

So nice to hear good things about Ecospeed. I have 2 (yes two) Ecospeeds and they are amazing, high quality systems. I bought because I am at the bottom of a small mountain system with logging trails just north of NYC and the Ecospeed is the only system out there that really, seriously gets me up the 20% hills with absolutely no issue. The newer Ecospeeds have two modes, the higher is 1300 watts, and you need that type of power, along with mid drive technology, to deal with steep long hills. I can’t figure out why Ecospeed didn’t get more traction in really hilly areas. Here is to Brad and Tad killing it!!!

Elhanan
Guest

i can tell you from experience that doing 750 gets me around 21 mph, a 1000 will gets me 28, i can barely get 37 doing 2000 watts..this is a trip analysis i once of my commute, i’m about 250 pounds, and you can imagine what 250 watts would get me..
http://www.ebikes.ca/tools/trip-analyzer.html?trip=crf3uR

rafe
Guest
Dave
Guest
Dave

I have had three Ecospeed systems in the past. My favorite is installed in a Charger Velomobile. This bike is seriously fast and economical (40 mph) and a range of 50 miles per 10 amp. hour! It carries 2 12.5 Amp Hour batteries thus it has a range of 100 miles.