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the alternative personal transportation thread

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Toshi, Mar 10, 2008.

  1. Toshi

    Toshi Harbinger of Doom

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    what with gas prices and this being a biking site, bikes being in and of themselves a form of alternative personal transportation, i thought the lounge could use a semi-perennial thread on the same.

    what this thread is for: discussion and information of ways to get around town or the country that are more efficient than their alternatives. the scale can be anything from a powered set of skate shoes to a massive SUV, provided that it meets the condition stated above.

    here are a few examples to start gleaned from previous threads centered around particular products such as the Enertia:


    generic electric bicycle (they're probably all cranked out by the same factory in china).
     
    #1 -   Mar 10, 2008
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2009

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  2. jimmydean

    jimmydean The Official Meat of Ridemonkey

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    My DH bike doesn't fit well on the bus racks, but I can make it fit enough to keep it from falling off. A few drivers have not been happy because the rear tire doesn't sit all the way in.
     
  3. Toshi

    Toshi Harbinger of Doom

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    electric not-quite-motorcycle-things:

     
  4. Toshi

    Toshi Harbinger of Doom

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    another not-quite-a-motorcycle-thing:

     
  5. Toshi

    Toshi Harbinger of Doom

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    electric scooters, again probably all from the same factory in china. i would not trust their construction or claimed mileage figures one bit without a thorough inspection in person.

    that same portland shop that sells electric bikes sells scooters:

     
  6. stoney

    stoney Part of the unwashed, middle-American horde

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    What ever happened to just pedaling?
     
  7. jimmydean

    jimmydean The Official Meat of Ridemonkey

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    Can you pedal in a suit? Look at that dude, he's freakin' happy!
     
  8. Toshi

    Toshi Harbinger of Doom

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    converted motorcycles such as jimmydean has posted about before:

     
  9. stoney

    stoney Part of the unwashed, middle-American horde

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    That's why I ride the bus one day, put 2 suits with 3-5 shirts and ties into my closet at work. Ride three-five days, then ride the bus the day after I run out of shirts to replenish. I rotate through my suits at work so I constantly have three - one on, two in the closet.
     
  10. Toshi

    Toshi Harbinger of Doom

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    "real" electric motorcycles and scooters:

    as can be seen from the sundry and shoddy offerings above the market is ripe for a pre-made electric bike that has verified performance and range stats and which does not offer the owner the chance to inadvertently run 450 amps through his chest wall when wiring the thing up (or, god forbid, when crashing it).

    wikipedia page on electric motorcycles and scooters: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_motorcycles_and_scooters . the ones that i find most interesting are the Vectrix and the Enertia.


     
  11. Toshi

    Toshi Harbinger of Doom

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    or see the ridemonkey thread named "enertia bike" :D
     
  12. Ciaran

    Ciaran Fear my banana

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    The scooters and the bikes are all well and good but there is no way in hell that I am going to ride/drive to work through southern california traffic on two wheels. Sorry, but motorcycles and variants of motorcycles are right out.

    Got anything with doors, Toshi?
     
  13. Toshi

    Toshi Harbinger of Doom

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    that's a good system. i just cram clinic clothes into my giant camelbak transalp and hope for the best. :D

    more seriously, however, i find bike commuting to be very unpleasant during the winter what with frost, snow, ice, extended periods of darkness during commute hours, and the cold itself, of course. i'd be much happier bundled up on an electric jitney (i know that i'm misuing the term, heh) in those conditions than on my bike.
     
  14. Toshi

    Toshi Harbinger of Doom

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    doors are coming up!

    first one other motorcycle, albeit not an electric. this one runs on diesel, and if one would run it on biodiesel then it'd be a sound environmental proposition.

     
  15. Toshi

    Toshi Harbinger of Doom

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    the smallest and wussiest kind of alternative conveyance with doors has to be the Neighborhood Electric Vehicle, or NEV. NEV's are regulated to 25-35 mph depending on your neighborhood, and are not crash tested to car standards despite their appearance. they're also not very cheap considering what you get. on the other hand they're out now, and i've even seen a few tooling around seattle neighborhoods.

    wikipedia NEV page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neighborhood_electric_vehicle

     
  16. Toshi

    Toshi Harbinger of Doom

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    the Aptera Typ-1:
     
  17. jimmydean

    jimmydean The Official Meat of Ridemonkey

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    Ok, that's awesome. I have been looking at a diesel option for my next project, but settled on E85 because of the immediate availability of fuel and engine conversion. Diesel motorcycles are rare, but there are a few.
     
  18. Toshi

    Toshi Harbinger of Doom

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    the last type of vehicle i'll spew about in this update (more to come as more vehicles are introduced) is the Plug-in hybrid, or plug-in electric hybrid vehicle (PHEV).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plug_in_hybrid

    a PHEV-30 vehicle has a range of 30 miles on the battery, PHEV-10 has 10 mile range, etc. the holy grail is thought to be a PHEV-40, as most commutes are less than 40 miles round trip.

    currently there are no plug-in hybrids commercially available. people have hacked together their own plug-in Priuses and the like, but i don't trust their construction or claims any more than those of the electric motorcycle crew.

    however, toyota is developing a plug-in hybrid, the Chevy Volt is going to be a plug-in series hybrid a la the Aptera above (only without the crazy packaging and aerodynamic advantages/disadvantages), and even Saturn is getting in the act with a PHEV-10 version of the Vue Green Line.



    while these commercial plug-in hybrids have less extraordinary performance and range claims than the homebrew models above i think they're a better option for the populace for many reasons:

    a) people are too lazy to build their own gear
    b) people are incapable of troubleshooting their own gear
    c) people will electrocute themselves playing with batteries
    d) builders have every incentive to inflate their performance claims, and independent verification is hard to find in an insular community
    e) "real" vehicles are crash tested
    f) "real" vehicles are insurable
     
  19. Toshi

    Toshi Harbinger of Doom

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    i don't remember where i read it but there was a road test of the marine corps-spec version a few weeks ago. supposedly pulled like a tank but had a ~3 sec lag between roll-on and power. :busted:

    Ciaran, i realize it won't change your opinion but one HUGE advantage of motorcycles in california is the ability to legally lane-split traffic...
     
  20. Ciaran

    Ciaran Fear my banana

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    It's the other drivers I worry about. I don't know about the PNW but most hospital workers in SoCal have nicknames for motorcycle riders. And they are not good. :dead:

    While I do enjoy riding motorcycles (when I get the chance), commuting on one increases the odds of me being killed to high for me and my wife to accept. I have lost friends and relatives on motorcycles to the carelesness of other drivers. (As well as to their own carelessness)

    Now those biodiesel cars really have me saying "Hmmmmmm". They look very interesting.

    Great thread by the way :thumb:
     
  21. jimmydean

    jimmydean The Official Meat of Ridemonkey

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    Man, if I could lane split, that would be AWESOME.

    Also, there is a great article by a writer of Sport Rider magazine that talks about commuting in Southern California for over 10 years without issue and how to survive doing it (aggressive + smart riding).
     
  22. BIGHITR

    BIGHITR WINNING!

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    Gas prices soaring to $4.50 this summer! I'm fed up with the U.S. auto manufacts and the gov for not forcing electric vehicles and tech ten years ago when gas was going from .99cents to a buck fifty!

    The GM Volt sounds like a nice car but GM will probably put a $35K tag on it so it won't economical to buy one. Remember, every time you plug in, charging is going to jack your electric bill sky high. No one has stated how much yet to compare with gas prices. Is it going to be $500 more a month? If so, I want alcohol or natural gas vehicles. Ticks me off Big Oil has us by the scrotum. Just burns me up.
     
  23. bohorec

    bohorec Monkey

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  24. H8R

    H8R Cranky Pants

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    Main Street Pedicabs:
    http://www.pedicab.com/

    Saw a guy in Oakland over the weekend that had a modified version of this:
    http://www.pedicab.com/pedicabs_pickup.html

    He had it tricked out with ABS pipe holsters for tools and other stuff. Uses it as his only transportation running a horticulture business. Built an entire addition to his house hauling materials in it too.

    Very inspiring.
     
  25. Toshi

    Toshi Harbinger of Doom

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    yeah, i don't want to be a squid, either. my deal with the gf is that i'm allowed to motorcycle commute but not in snow or ice, and not on the freeway. since we can't lane split in [wherever i'll end up, which doesn't include cali in the possibilities] i'm ok with that.


    here's another "green" vehicle in the sense that it gets really high fuel economy:

    4/30/08 update: the VW Golf TDI Hybrid has been canceled before it even reached a production line. too expensive. grr.
     
  26. Toshi

    Toshi Harbinger of Doom

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    no one is sure about the effective mpg of the Volt since it's not out yet, but for what it's worth, calculating the mileage in terms of money for the Tesla works out to be ~130 mpg. i don't have a source off hand, but that info should be easily attainable.

    UPDATE: i don't know where i got this 130 mpg figure. :D Tesla claims 400 mpg equivalent, but that's an energy conversion, not a conversion based on the price of electricity vs. gasoline.

    fear not: electric cars should save your pocketbook in addition to lowering CO2 output. (yes, even with our current mix of coal based powerplants, and especially for people like me in the pac nw where hydroelectric or wind provides the bulk of power.)
     
  27. Westy

    Westy the teste

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    From the reading I have done the operating costs of an electric car should be about 1/10th the cost of a gas car that gets 30mpg.
     
  28. skunkty14

    skunkty14 Monkey

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    Interesting thread, some cool vehicles posted.

    I'm wondering if Toshi or anyone is interested in bringing environmental concerns into this discussion; reason I ask is why electric vehicles look great on the outside, the reality is that most of our electric generation comes from sources that present the same environemental issues are burning gas on a conventional car.

    IMO exploring electric and hybrid alternatives are a great first step, but until we can address the energy generation issues, we're taking a half step forward, half step sideways but still reaching the same end result.
     
  29. syadasti

    syadasti i heart mac

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    Efficiency and regulation is better at the powerplant than ICE in your vehicle so its a step forward regardless...
     
  30. Westy

    Westy the teste

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    Although the majority of electricity is made from fossil fuels a significant portion is Nuclear, hydro and from waste sources like methane from landfills. Powerplants also tend to be more efficient energy producers. Electric plants also offer the possibily for renewable energy in the form of wind and solar that can not really be taken advantage of in a vehicle.
     
  31. valve bouncer

    valve bouncer Master Dildoist

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    And the best thing is, you can beat them to make them go faster. It's a win-win.
     
  32. N8 v2.0

    N8 v2.0 Not the sharpest tool in the shed

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    plus, at the rate people breed, you will never run out of engines!
     
  33. geargrrl

    geargrrl Turbo Monkey

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    Does it come with the same crappy reliability and high maintenance expense as the rest of VW's line?
     
  34. dan-o

    dan-o Turbo Monkey

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    Come on, be fair. Just because VW can't keep both tail lights working doesn't mean they can't develop a complex diesel-electric powerplant.
     
  35. jimmydean

    jimmydean The Official Meat of Ridemonkey

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    Still my personal favorite:



     
  36. LordOpie

    LordOpie MOTHER HEN

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    I do, at stoplights, when there's a safe and open place to go... like making a right turn when there's no dedicated turn lane, but plenty of margin.
    I don't care if y'all laugh at me, but I want one! :D

    Between my wife's 4wd, snow tired Jeep, my motorcycle, my bicycles, and that, we'd be set. PLUS, it would free up room in our garage -- which is packed now.
     
  37. jimmydean

    jimmydean The Official Meat of Ridemonkey

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    Neander Turbo Diesel Motorcycle:


     
  38. jimmydean

    jimmydean The Official Meat of Ridemonkey

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    ThunderStar 1200 TDI


    <edit> Holy crap! This bike can be run on biodiesel without issue.

     
  39. jimmydean

    jimmydean The Official Meat of Ridemonkey

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    rMOTO electric superbike concept.
     
  40. jimmydean

    jimmydean The Official Meat of Ridemonkey

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    Lightning Lithium Superbike: No Emissions
    0-60 in 3 seconds