Battery Fires Create Concerns For Every Electric Bike Owner – Updated 12/3

Bike Europe, a publication claimed to be the “leading trade journal for the bicycle, e-bike market” recently published a courageous story on the dangers of Lithium-Ion batteries used in the majority of electric bikes (e-bikes). The publication had a fire safety engineer and battery safety professional examine the aftermath of a fire ignited by an unattended charging battery in a bicycle shop (click here to watch the ignition and blast-off). His observations are frightening. The expert is quoted as saying that Lithium-Ion batteries are, “rather unreliable, rather explosive. You are…

UPDATE: E-Bikes Not Only Electric Vehicle To Poise Fire Hazards – The Finger Pointing Begins

November 3, 2018: Gizmodo is reporting that Segway, the supplier of the Lime Bikes scooters that have caught fire or overheated, fired off a response today that, while not mentioning Lime Bikes directly, points the finger at the scooter rider as the real source of the overheating problem. The response says: “We have observed that operational hazards do rise from extreme abuse and vandalism of the vehicles in the scooter-sharing market. Considering the fact that the management and maintenance of shared scooters and the identification of damaged vehicles highly rely…

Connecticut E-Bike Regulations Protect Unsuspecting Consumers

California was the first state to address e-bike usage by modifying its vehicle code with Assembly Bill 1096. The modified vehicle code is a big victory for companies and retailers who sell (or rent) electric-motorized bicycles in the state, but the legislation puts consumers at a marked disadvantage. The e-bike regulations recently adopted by Connecticut corrects California’s goof and results in legislation far more fair to consumers. APPROPRIATE TRAIL ACCESS The California law allows all but the most powerful e-bikes to be operated on equestrian, hiking and recreational trails. The…

Mammoth Mountain Bike Park Opens To E-Bikes (UPDATED)

If there was ever a mountain bike park that needed to be approved for e-bike use, it is the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park. Why? Mammoth is notoriously one of the toughest places to ride a conventional mountain bike. The park’s altitude assures your lungs will feel like an elephant is sitting on them. The trail surface is soft, spongy, dusty, momentum-killing pumice that can break the spirit of the strongest riders (think kitty litter). There is not a rider who has ridden the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park trails and not…

IMBA Declares War On Class-2 E-Bikes

A new battle has emerged pitting the e-bike industry against itself. Gear Junkie’s article detailing the International Mountain Bicycling Association’s (IMBA) softening stance on e-bike use is nothing new. IMBA has been encouraging, and I feel “promoting” e-bike use on non-motorized, multi-user recreational trails for years. What the Gear Junkie article reveals for the first time is a civil war started by IMBA between pedal-actuated e-bikes and throttle-actuated e-bikes. Class warfare The Gear Junkie article states that IMBA now supports “Class-1” electric-motorized bike access to non-motorized trails. What the article incorrectly…

E-Bike Racing Keeps Them Off The Trails

I’ve been asked my opinion on electric-motorized mountain bike racing many times and my response surprises a lot of people. I think it is great. These events are held on closed-circuit, off-road courses specifically designed for e-bikes. In some cases, like at the Sea Otter Classic, the e-bike racecourse is surrounded by miles of singletrack where e-bikes are not permitted. These events separate electric-motorized bikes from human-powered mountain bikes (and hikers and equestrians), and that is a good thing. The recent Boogaloo event at the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park (another…

California State Parks Tighten Noose On E-Bike Use

Craig Sap, the District Superintendent of the Angeles District California State Parks, signed an order on September 13, 2017 that closes all State Park trails within the Angeles District to electric-motorized bicycles. The ban on electric-motorized bicycles (also called e-bikes, eMTBs or electric-assisted bikes) took effect on October 1, 2017. The parks closed to electric-motorized bicycles include popular hiking, mountain biking and equestrian trails including Cheseboro, Ahmanson Ranch and Sycamore Canyon. The order explains that electric-motorized bicycles are “impacting the unique trail and backcountry experiences afforded by the District and…

Rungu Juggernaut Run-In

The Rungu Juggernaut is a very strange vehicle. While its inventor is quoted in an Outside article as saying “This is not a bicycle. This is an ATV [all-terrain vehicle],” their website claims their three-wheeled, electric-motorized vehicle is “the most powerful portable off-road EV in its class.” They go on to define “its class” as “electric fat bikes available online in the US as of December 2016.” Confusing yes, but what isn’t confusing about the Juggernaut? The company claims the trike was invented to haul surf gear to the Trestles…

How Much Trail Do You Use In An Hour? (A Trail User Speed Comparison)

Four major user groups share unpaved recreation trails designated for non-motorized use; hikers, trail runners, equestrians and mountain bikers. A change in California law (that other states may adopt) has permitted electric-motorized bikes access to these same trails, thus adding a new user group into the mix. While these five different user groups share the same trail, how do their speeds and amount of trail used in a specific amount of time compare? Anecdotal answers abound, but finding quantitative data on the question is difficult. My solution was to conduct…

E-bike Fires More Prevalent Than Claimed?

While e-bike publications claim fires are a rare occurrence, more reports of exploding e-bikes and e-bike fires seem to point to a larger problem. The latest report comes from the Sun, a British newspaper and website. The story includes video footage of the bike burning and exploding. You can read the story by clicking here. The exploding bike is a mountain bike that appears to have been converted to an electric-motorized bike with the addition of a hub motor. These inexpensive and popular conversion kits can turn bicycles into a…