eBikes and Burners who Ride them

Bikes, trikes, personal mobility and getting to/from the event - this is the place to discuss general transportation issues.
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spacetime
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eBikes and Burners who Ride them

Post by spacetime » Mon Sep 11, 2017 3:38 pm

Kicking off a discussion of eBikes and their increasing prevalence and usefulness at BRC!

eBikes and other electrically assisted personal transportation are unquestionably on the rise from my anecdotal witnessing this year.

However, there are clear suggestions from the org that it too is paying attention to the rise. Note, trilobyte's post here. Also, a bulletin went out to EMS staff asking for staff and volunteers to make special note of injuries related to eBike issues.

I also spoke with an old timer who let me try the new ebike he crafted for the burn this year, (probably the coolest bike I've seen at the burn!). This person usually normally got to and from The Man by jeep, for work and described ebikes as "a game changer."

I'm hoping this thread can gather experiences from people who used or had exposure to ebikes this year or in past years, the evolving technology and possibly generate a new set of information about BRC-tested setups.

So, did you ride an eBike this year? What did you use, why did you pick it? If you didn't, why are you interested or turned off by eBikes?
Last edited by spacetime on Mon Sep 11, 2017 5:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: eBikes and Burners who Ride them

Post by BBadger » Mon Sep 11, 2017 4:03 pm

As long as those eBikes don't go too fast I'm not opposed to them. I don't like those noisy, gas-powered motorized scooters though, and I've even seen some people using Vespas out there. I'd rather have the LEO spending time impounding those rather than bothering people looking in their bags for some gum.
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Re: eBikes and Burners who Ride them

Post by lucky420 » Mon Sep 11, 2017 4:07 pm

I electrocuted my trike this year. I was on playa for 16 days, the motor/controller fucked up on about day 8. It was glorious while I had it. Next year I will purchase a back up controller.

So I had to pedal for 8 days. It wasn't to bad as I'm 30 lbs lighter this year...yay
Oh my god, it's HUGE!

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Re: eBikes and Burners who Ride them

Post by Ratty » Mon Sep 11, 2017 4:17 pm

As the population gains burners that are old and tired, myself being one of them, electronic assist bikes will be on the upswing. WARNING...this post should be in the 'drunk posting' thread. I would love to have an electric assist bike but I'm vehemently opposed to generators in the camp. I see nothing wrong with a battery helping someone peddle. I myself am converting to lag screws next year. OK, back on the subject. Hi Spacetime! You rock. I can't believe how great the 3 of you fit into tiger Man Camp. Your fart machine was a huge hit. Especially with the kids from Kidsville that kept coming back for more. The fishing game was beautiful. Even the virgin was the best. He dove in and enjoyed every bit of the burn. (Next time we'll teach him to contribute as he goes.)
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Re: eBikes and Burners who Ride them

Post by maladroit » Mon Sep 11, 2017 4:28 pm

They are fun and therefore several people will abuse them and cause trouble, and in 1 or 2 years they will be regulated out of existence for everyone. UNLESS someone famous rides one anyway and gets widely publicized as having done so, upon which the BMORG will reverse any sort of ban or regulation of ebikes.

Can you tell I'm planning to take a break from the playa for a couple years?

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Re: eBikes and Burners who Ride them

Post by Molotov » Mon Sep 11, 2017 7:42 pm

I bought my electric trike for the 3rd year and on my 4th day, I bent up my throttle cable DIN plug. I reverted to back-up pedal mode, and with this year's concrete-like playa, it was no big deal. Even pedaling the dusty streets wasn't bad as the dust parted like water, and other than the hidden bumps, it was a non-issue for me. But then again, I don't go faster than walking speed, using electric or human power.

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Re: eBikes and Burners who Ride them

Post by EGAZ » Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:28 pm

I had my electric both years. For me, a person who only rides at BM, it is a life saver. I found it on CL for a steal. The original battery was long gone and the ones they were using were toast. But once I had new batts and built a new harness, it ran fine. So I cleaned it all up. Cleaned and repacked all the bearings. Ran the original tires last year, changed to treadless this year.

Mine happens to be the old school design that has the (600watt) motor mounted opposite the gear cluster on the rear wheel. The newer motors are hub/pancake motors in the wheel hubs both front or back depending on make and model. My older design is an 'electric assist' motor. Meaning one peddles for a bit to get going then use the motor. If I keep this in mind and use the motor as it should I can ride all week with only needing one charge (about 4hrs) on my Lipo batteries. (4 - 16000mha bricks) And I am all over the playa, deep playa, the burbs, everywhere. My "must do" every burn now is to ride the entire perimeter of the city. I've done both years so far.

The newer bikes one can use the motor only, though some peddling does extend battery life a lot.

There were a lot of complaints of electric bikes going too fast this year so I suspect we will see stronger enforcement on speed.
IMAG1974-a.jpg
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Re: eBikes and Burners who Ride them

Post by spacetime » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:15 am

BBadger wrote:As long as those eBikes don't go too fast I'm not opposed to them. I don't like those noisy, gas-powered motorized scooters though, and I've even seen some people using Vespas out there.
I also really dislike the gas-powered motorized scooters. It wasn't their speed but their noise and to some extent their smell.
Ratty wrote:As the population gains burners that are old and tired, myself being one of them, electronic assist bikes will be on the upswing. WARNING...this post should be in the 'drunk posting' thread. I would love to have an electric assist bike but I'm vehemently opposed to generators in the camp. I see nothing wrong with a battery helping someone peddle.
I'm seeing such gains in solar systems and battery that I think generators for small applications are making less and less sense. And Hi to you, was a great time!
Molotov wrote:I bought my electric trike for the 3rd year and on my 4th day, I bent up my throttle cable DIN plug. I reverted to back-up pedal mode, and with this year's concrete-like playa, it was no big deal. Even pedaling the dusty streets wasn't bad as the dust parted like water, and other than the hidden bumps, it was a non-issue for me. But then again, I don't go faster than walking speed, using electric or human power.
Would you consider sharing photos / info about your ebike setup? Maybe go into more detail about how your cable plug got bent? Do you use disc brakes? Perhaps what you consider to be a minimal setup for a good ebike out there? I've been looking at it extensively but am still new. It would be great to get info from someone experienced with them and who has had them out on playa multiple times in this thread.
EGAZ wrote:I had my electric both years. For me, a person who only rides at BM, it is a life saver. I found it on CL for a steal. The original battery was long gone and the ones they were using were toast. But once I had new batts and built a new harness, it ran fine. So I cleaned it all up. Cleaned and repacked all the bearings. Ran the original tires last year, changed to treadless this year.
Can you speak to the type of pricing people might expect from buying an ebike suitable to BM used? Perhaps how you went about finding new batteries and a harness / resources that helped you here?

Why did you choose treadless tires this year?
EGAZ wrote:Mine happens to be the old school design that has the (600watt) motor mounted opposite the gear cluster on the rear wheel. The newer motors are hub/pancake motors in the wheel hubs both front or back depending on make and model. My older design is an 'electric assist' motor. Meaning one peddles for a bit to get going then use the motor.
I'm considering a mid drive motor, which goes in the bottom bracket to drive the main sprocket, but the wheel hubs are apparently much easier. But I'm looking at starting with a new frame and building from the ground up. Do you use disc brakes?
EGAZ wrote: If I keep this in mind and use the motor as it should I can ride all week with only needing one charge (about 4hrs) on my Lipo batteries. (4 - 16000mha bricks) And I am all over the playa, deep playa, the burbs, everywhere. My "must do" every burn now is to ride the entire perimeter of the city. I've done both years so far.
This is what I'm after. It isn't speed so much as being able to see a lot more of the event. Make it further across the city and be able to not completely destroy myself physically each day in order to pull it off.
EGAZ wrote:There were a lot of complaints of electric bikes going too fast this year so I suspect we will see stronger enforcement on speed. IMAG1974-a.jpg
I'm curious, where did you see / hear about the ebikes going to fast? Do you see any specific good ways to enforce speed issues? I saw more official or vendor vehicles going too fast on city streets than I did ebikes, but I think ebikes are sort of in the spotlight.

64k mAh, or rather 64Ah is almost twice the battery I used this year for our camp power. That is a lot of battery. Pretty incredible you were able to get only 4 hours of charge one time all week!

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Re: eBikes and Burners who Ride them

Post by Admiral Fukkit » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:29 am

maladroit wrote: Can you tell I'm planning to take a break from the playa for a couple years?
It's a good idea, I do it regularly. I skipped this year, '14, '09-'12, and '05-'06.
There are other things to do and places to go, and pretty much ALL of them are easier and don't trash your whole house and garage and yard.
Hawaii is really, really, really nice. When you're there, you don't give a flying fuck about that dirty desert.
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Re: eBikes and Burners who Ride them

Post by maladroit » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:50 am

Admiral Fukkit wrote:
maladroit wrote: Can you tell I'm planning to take a break from the playa for a couple years?
It's a good idea, I do it regularly. I skipped this year, '14, '09-'12, and '05-'06.
There are other things to do and places to go, and pretty much ALL of them are easier and don't trash your whole house and garage and yard.
Hawaii is really, really, really nice. When you're there, you don't give a flying fuck about that dirty desert.
Packing/prep consists of throwing some shorts and t shirts into a bag.
I probably should have skipped this year. When Burning Man is two weeks away and you wish it was two months away, that's the sign.

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Re: eBikes and Burners who Ride them

Post by EGAZ » Wed Sep 13, 2017 1:25 pm

Can you speak to the type of pricing people might expect from buying an ebike suitable to BM used? Perhaps how you went about finding new batteries and a harness / resources that helped you here?

>> Depends, used, new, estate sale, if one is patient, they pop up on CL and similar sites for cheap. But I'm guessing $500 and up for a used working bike. I'm not a bike expert. I just found one for $40 on CL. I've got about $800 into it. The batts I linked went on sale for $50ea, so $200 for the batts. I did blow the original motor testing before last year. so I incurred a motor replacement before I ever left. LOL I was riding it around the block to see how for I could go on a charge. It was 105'F at the time and I was a little heavy on the throttle. Cooked the ESCs embedded in the motor. The harness I built myself from my drone parts. All of it available on Amazon of HobbyKing.

Why did you choose treadless tires this year?

>> Thought they wouldn't kick up as much dust onto the frame, battery box and my boots. It does a little but not night and day.

EGAZ wrote:
Mine happens to be the old school design that has the (600watt) motor mounted opposite the gear cluster on the rear wheel. The newer motors are hub/pancake motors in the wheel hubs both front or back depending on make and model. My older design is an 'electric assist' motor. Meaning one peddles for a bit to get going then use the motor.

I'm considering a mid drive motor, which goes in the bottom bracket to drive the main sprocket, but the wheel hubs are apparently much easier. But I'm looking at starting with a new frame and building from the ground up. Do you use disc brakes?

>> Not on this bike, center pull-rim grabbers and they lock things up nicely when needed. Doing a ground up build the go with the easiest to fab. I wouldn't go with less than a 600Watt motor though. I'm 220lbs with no back pack and the 600 watt moves my butt around with relative ease. It was a noticeable difference from the 450 watt I burnt up.

EGAZ wrote:
If I keep this in mind and use the motor as it should I can ride all week with only needing one charge (about 4hrs) on my Lipo batteries. (4 - 16000mha bricks) And I am all over the playa, deep playa, the burbs, everywhere. My "must do" every burn now is to ride the entire perimeter of the city. I've done both years so far.

This is what I'm after. It isn't speed so much as being able to see a lot more of the event. Make it further across the city and be able to not completely destroy myself physically each day in order to pull it off.

EGAZ wrote:
There were a lot of complaints of electric bikes going too fast this year so I suspect we will see stronger enforcement on speed. IMAG1974-a.jpg

I'm curious, where did you see / hear about the ebikes going to fast? Do you see any specific good ways to enforce speed issues? I saw more official or vendor vehicles going too fast on city streets than I did ebikes, but I think ebikes are sort of in the spotlight.

>> Heard it from a few on playa, read it on FB and Reddit. Seen a few on the playa same as the gas scooters and bikes. Enforcement would be LEOs handing out tickets when observed. It wasn't as bad as some portray IMHO but it will be if not handled.

64k mAh, or rather 64Ah is almost twice the battery I used this year for our camp power. That is a lot of battery. Pretty incredible you were able to get only 4 hours of charge one time all week!


>> Yea, One could get away with two of them, just need to charge more. I'm into multies/drones so I was familiar with Lipo batts, have a good charger already so it was a no brainer. (I throw 25amps at them during a balance charge! They can take 80amps in theory ;) ) When I sell the bike, if they don't want the bricks I will use them in another bike/drones.
2nd time better than the first. And the first was pretty Freakin' Great!
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Re: eBikes and Burners who Ride them

Post by JayBobBoy » Wed Sep 13, 2017 2:37 pm

Great Topic!

My wife has a disabled placard in the default world, but she's proud, finds it annoying, and rarely uses it even when she probably should. There's no way she'd want to ride on a decorated golf cart at the event (not that I'd bring one for her...lol). I've been toying with this idea so she could keep up with me at the event and see more of the city.

There's definitely a place for them on the playa, if only to assist with mobility issues!
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Re: eBikes and Burners who Ride them

Post by EGAZ » Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:32 pm

Here is my limited E-bike link list.

http://evdeals.com/Default.htm These guys are great. Helped my a bunch.

http://www.staton-inc.com/store/ Lots-O-Parts....

http://www.electricscooterparts.com/ More Parts...

http://www.thesuperkids.com/elbipa.html There is a difference between e-bike & e-scooter drive parts! Be aware.

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/ Lots-O-Info...

https://endless-sphere.com/forums/index ... ea8d83523a

http://visforvoltage.org/
2nd time better than the first. And the first was pretty Freakin' Great!
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If you are another Solo Burner & very 'Radically Self Reliant' - Maybe we can 'Do What We Do!' :P

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Re: eBikes and Burners who Ride them

Post by spacetime » Fri Sep 15, 2017 1:12 pm

Thanks for those links!

I wanted to link out to another post about powering eBikes and electronic vehicles, which I think is related to this topic: How I Charged my electric vehicles

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Re: eBikes and Burners who Ride them

Post by unjonharley » Sat Sep 16, 2017 9:26 am

I have a disability and very old .. I build an electric assist trike .. Using a 450 watt motor .. Top speed 8 mile per hour .. If a person is walking, they will be moving a few mile per hour .. A two wheeled bicycle requires more than five mile per hour to ride on the playa .. It is my understanding,, The festival is a pedestrian festival .. With a speed limit set at "5" mile per hour .. E bikes are an end run around the pedestrian rule .. Some can carry your Lazy Ass up to 25 miles per hour .. Fuck you in your Lazy ass ..
I'm the contraptioneer your mother warned you about.

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Re: eBikes and Burners who Ride them

Post by Itripper » Thu Sep 21, 2017 2:18 am

I had my Ebike at Burning Man, best idea ever. Helped my cargo bike transport up to 3 people (besides myself) at a time. I use the largest size Kryptonite New York U lock, actually locks up fast and ez with it, and takes a battery powered cut off wheel about 10 minutes to cut through, with a lot of sparks, I am sure it would be noticed if someone was cutting it. I had 1200 watts of solar that I used to charge the bike lights deep cycle battery and the motor battery, that worked well. Dust got everywhere, just hosed off the bike when I got home and it still runs fine. Worst case would have been needing to replace the hub motor, but direct drive hub motors a fairly robust and mine lived just fine. I really cant tell you how awesome it was having an ebike this year, and needed for hauling many peeps around. I picked up many stragglers lost in the deep playa late at night and also several people who arrived on the burner express and needed lifts to their camp, really not doable on a standard bike, especially in the heat we had.

https://i.imgur.com/EtMNGVO.jpg
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Re: eBikes and Burners who Ride them

Post by unjonharley » Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:31 am

Itripper wrote:I had my Ebike at Burning Man, best idea ever. Helped my cargo bike transport up to 3 people (besides myself) at a time. I use the largest size Kryptonite New York U lock, actually locks up fast and ez with it, and takes a battery powered cut off wheel about 10 minutes to cut through, with a lot of sparks, I am sure it would be noticed if someone was cutting it. I had 1200 watts of solar that I used to charge the bike lights deep cycle battery and the motor battery, that worked well. Dust got everywhere, just hosed off the bike when I got home and it still runs fine. Worst case would have been needing to replace the hub motor, but direct drive hub motors a fairly robust and mine lived just fine. I really cant tell you how awesome it was having an ebike this year, and needed for hauling many peeps around. I picked up many stragglers lost in the deep playa late at night and also several people who arrived on the burner express and needed lifts to their camp, really not doable on a standard bike, especially in the heat we had.

https://i.imgur.com/EtMNGVO.jpg
Image
Were you one of the ass-hats, speeding on the streets with your fancy$$$ bike??
I'm the contraptioneer your mother warned you about.

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Re: eBikes and Burners who Ride them

Post by Sham » Thu Sep 21, 2017 9:35 am

There is no question on my mind, that those bikes will be cracked down on hard this coming year. They were zooming and zipping in every direction. My guess is there will be a ban on them.

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Re: eBikes and Burners who Ride them

Post by unjonharley » Thu Sep 21, 2017 10:41 am

Sham wrote:There is no question on my mind, that those bikes will be cracked down on hard this coming year. They were zooming and zipping in every direction. My guess is there will be a ban on them.
450 watts assist this old man in pedaling his trike @ 5-8 MPH on the playa .. 1400 watt get you up to 25 MPH ..
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Re: eBikes and Burners who Ride them

Post by Meat Hunter » Thu Sep 21, 2017 10:50 am

At my advanced level of decay and because of a number of titanium/plastic joints; for the last four Burns, my electric trike has been about the only reasonable way that I can get around the City.

My trike and most of the other electric trikes and bikes that I have seen have several different power setting that one can use to control speed.

In the After Event Survey, I suggested that electric trikes and bikes be pre-screened, permitted and tagged -- just like mutant vehicles, art cars and handicapped vehicles.

In my opinion, this pre-event permitting and tagging would accomplish four things:
(1) Allow those Burners who depend on electric bikes & trikes for basic transportation to continue to use them.
(2) Allow for able Burners to use them.
(3) The pre-event bureaucracy may discourage and limit the number.
(4) Provide for some method of identifying, reporting and penalizing those who choose to go ripping and tearing along over the speed limit.

Questions:
(1) Who would administer the pre-event permitting and on-playa tagging?
(2) Since there are minimal mounting areas and different configurations of electric bikes and trikes, where will the tags be placed?
(3) I suggest that like mutant vehicles, art cars, and handicapped vehicles, it should be incumbent on the owners to provide a suitable and constant mounting location/surface.

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Re: eBikes and Burners who Ride them

Post by Admiral Fukkit » Thu Sep 21, 2017 10:53 am

There are already DMV rules about electric bicycles/tricycles. They have to meet Nevada's definition which stipulates 1 horsepower/750 watts max, and the bike must have a top speed of 20 mph under power with a 170 pound rider on level ground.

Creating another level of bureaucracy for trikes doesn't seem like my favorite plan.

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Re: eBikes and Burners who Ride them

Post by maladroit » Thu Sep 21, 2017 10:56 am

Perhaps the BMORG will do nothing. Perhaps next year, if your ebike behavior catches the eye of law enforcement, your bike will be subject to additional scrutiny and if overpowered or if breaking the speed limit you will receive a ticket. Keep it down, folks, and always be pedaling.

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Re: eBikes and Burners who Ride them

Post by Admiral Fukkit » Thu Sep 21, 2017 10:58 am

As for the rogue riders dusting Unjon, they're only doing what I paid them to do.

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Re: eBikes and Burners who Ride them

Post by spacetime » Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:05 am

Itripper wrote:I had my Ebike at Burning Man, best idea ever. Helped my cargo bike transport up to 3 people (besides myself) at a time. I use the largest size Kryptonite New York U lock, actually locks up fast and ez with it, and takes a battery powered cut off wheel about 10 minutes to cut through, with a lot of sparks, I am sure it would be noticed if someone was cutting it. I had 1200 watts of solar that I used to charge the bike lights deep cycle battery and the motor battery, that worked well. Dust got everywhere, just hosed off the bike when I got home and it still runs fine. Worst case would have been needing to replace the hub motor, but direct drive hub motors a fairly robust and mine lived just fine. I really cant tell you how awesome it was having an ebike this year, and needed for hauling many peeps around. I picked up many stragglers lost in the deep playa late at night and also several people who arrived on the burner express and needed lifts to their camp, really not doable on a standard bike, especially in the heat we had.

https://i.imgur.com/EtMNGVO.jpg
Image
Hey, thanks for sharing information about your eBike build, how you secured it and powered it. I think I saw you because I remember that distinctive cat tank.

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Re: eBikes and Burners who Ride them

Post by maladroit » Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:07 am

I think that there will be no response or reaction to ebikes next year. As one person who spent the least amount of time out of camp ever this year, I still saw multiple gas-powered mopeds speeding down city streets. If they can fart around with impunity I have a hard time imagining that ebikes will be identified and targeted in any way.

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Re: eBikes and Burners who Ride them

Post by Admiral Fukkit » Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:10 am

The gas powered stand-up scooters are legal and allowed, as long as it hasn't got a seat. If it's got one, it's a motorcycle and not allowed.
Rules, we already got. Enforcement, we ain't.

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Re: eBikes and Burners who Ride them

Post by lucky420 » Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:33 am

maladroit wrote:Perhaps the BMORG will do nothing. Perhaps next year, if your ebike behavior catches the eye of law enforcement, your bike will be subject to additional scrutiny and if overpowered or if breaking the speed limit you will receive a ticket. Keep it down, folks, and always be pedaling.
+100
Oh my god, it's HUGE!

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Re: eBikes and Burners who Ride them

Post by maladroit » Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:47 am

Admiral Fukkit wrote:The gas powered stand-up scooters are legal and allowed, as long as it hasn't got a seat. If it's got one, it's a motorcycle and not allowed.
Rules, we already got. Enforcement, we ain't.
Yup. Only saw a couple of the stand-up scooters this year.

Although I have a thought....a stand up scooter still has a seat, it's just very low to the ground and you have to reach up really far to the handlebars.

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FIGJAM
Posts: 9981
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 10:39 am
Location: apache junction az.

Re: eBikes and Burners who Ride them

Post by FIGJAM » Thu Sep 21, 2017 1:33 pm

Shorten the bars and sit tailor fashion on the deck.
"Don't buy ur Burn...........Build ur Burn!"

"If I can't find an answer, I'll create one!!!"

Fuck Im Good Just Ask Me

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Itripper
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Sep 21, 2017 2:13 am
Burning Since: 2014

Re: eBikes and Burners who Ride them

Post by Itripper » Fri Sep 22, 2017 1:26 am

unjonharley wrote:
Itripper wrote:I had my Ebike at Burning Man, best idea ever. Helped my cargo bike transport up to 3 people (besides myself) at a time. I use the largest size Kryptonite New York U lock, actually locks up fast and ez with it, and takes a battery powered cut off wheel about 10 minutes to cut through, with a lot of sparks, I am sure it would be noticed if someone was cutting it. I had 1200 watts of solar that I used to charge the bike lights deep cycle battery and the motor battery, that worked well. Dust got everywhere, just hosed off the bike when I got home and it still runs fine. Worst case would have been needing to replace the hub motor, but direct drive hub motors a fairly robust and mine lived just fine. I really cant tell you how awesome it was having an ebike this year, and needed for hauling many peeps around. I picked up many stragglers lost in the deep playa late at night and also several people who arrived on the burner express and needed lifts to their camp, really not doable on a standard bike, especially in the heat we had.

https://i.imgur.com/EtMNGVO.jpg
Image
Were you one of the ass-hats, speeding on the streets with your fancy$$$ bike??
Nice assumption making, wouldn't expect that from a fellow burner. I never speed on the streets, in fact normally use the electric only when taking off or if I'm carrying several people. My " fancy bike" is my poor mans art car, it looks cool at night. I hope you contemplate the negative energy you are putting out here, and turn it into a positive discussion.
Amaretto Taxi

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