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  1. #1 Shanghai options - Ebike review 
    Duct tape savant felix's Avatar
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    My panda and i moved to shanghai 3 months ago, which for me meant giving up riding my motorbikes to work everyday. My bikes have legal Jiangsu plates but only 沪A plates are allowed in Shanghai and i cannot/will not fork out the 44000 RMB necessary for the privilege of riding in one of the worst places on earth to ride a bike. So what options are left to stay on 2 wheels? Go illegal or go electric. Since i was partly buying this for my girlfiend, we went electric. (so that she can drive me home from the bar when i can't even spell my own face anymore) Here's what we got:





    It cost 3300 RMB and is the "standard" spec for suped up ebikes, 800W, 48V, 20amps. It's faster than anything you'll buy at carrefour or the standard ebike shops but if you want to spend more money, all these custom shops can customise to your specs, up to 3000W motor, 84V or two banks of 48V for longer range etc...
    Overall i like it enough for what it is. It's not very fast, top speed is GPS measured 47kph and acceleration isn't all that, but for running errands around the city it's very adequate. The range is ok, riding two-up we get about 35km if the tires are well inflated and i watch my throttle usage. Riding solo maybe 45km. The brakes are good (hydraulic disc brakes) and the tyres can carry enough speed through corners to scrape the kickstand.

    Charging batteries is a bit of a pain. On these big modified ebikes the batteries are not removable so you better have somewhere to plug it in downstairs, which we do. Takes about 7 hours, meaning you need to rethink how and when you refuel. Coming from motorbikes, this is my biggest issue. Always having to plan ahead when and how long you are going to use it, to make sure you will have enough juice to get home. The battery gauge stays at 100% for very long, then dies away pretty quickly so just because you've made it somewhere and it says it's still got plenty, doesn't mean you'll make it back. If i'm going somewhere a bit far i usually measure my route on googlemaps first to see if i'll make it there and back. Pain in hole i know, but pushing isn't fun either.

    So basically it's not my ideal form of transportation, but for shanghai i reckon it's one of the best options. Now that they have stopped selling fuel to scooters and that even sidecars with outside plates are being driven out, it's soon going be one of the last options besides buying the dreaded plate. Until they ban these as well that is...

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  2. #2 Re: Shanghai options - Ebike review 
    C-Moto Guru
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    Good review Felix. I've been thinking about getting one of these for a few months now. Main thing holding me back is the lack of a portable battery though.
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  3. #3 Re: Shanghai options - Ebike review 
    Life Is Good! ChinaV's Avatar
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    Nice thread Felix, it looks like you've made a rational decision for dealing with life in Shanghai. I remember when I first moved to Asia and started life in Taipei with no motorcycle, just a scooter, sometimes anything with two wheels is good enough.

    Cheers!
    ChinaV
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  4. #4 Re: Shanghai options - Ebike review 
    Duct tape savant felix's Avatar
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    Nuhaus, yep, if you don't have a convenient parking spot to charge the bike then these big ebikes are pretty much out. We are lucky to have that service in our complex, only 1 kuai per charge.

    ChinaV you are correct, anything on two wheels is better than walking/taxi/bus/metro... If anything, being so underpowered teaches you to carry more speed through corners and obstacles!
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  5. #5 Re: Shanghai options - Ebike review 
    Danger, Will Robinson! Lao Jia Hou's Avatar
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    Yes, definitely a great thread - nice pics!

    My sweety and I each have e-bikes in Beijing. In fact, hers is the exact same model as yours, only an earlier, older version. Same color scheme, with roughly the same specs. Mine is a gigantic, macho, black thing. We've had them about five years. They've been amazingly reliable (manufacturer is XinRi, a Beijing company), summer and winter, aside from the locks on the boxes disintegrating. And they are not expensive, so I've not been concerned about simply Krazy gluing the various plastic bits that seem to fall off. The mirrors were stolen once, and replacements were 18 rmb for a pair, installed.

    This is what I have learned:

    1) e-scooters/bikes are the best thing there is for zooming around inner Beijing. We also have a legal gas scooter (Suzuki 125) for sweety, and a few other legal petrol bikes for me. But we both still prefer the e-scooters because we can legally use the bike lanes. Being legal in Beijing on a motorbike means you have a legal license plate that the traffic cameras pick up. Hence, a legal motorbike is stuck in Beijing gridlock. E-scooters zip around much more efficiently and quickly during daylight hours.

    2) My black macho e-scooter is way too big. The battery is gigantic and I have to haul it in/out of my apartment to recharge on a too-frequent basis. A total pain (literally and figuratively). Also, it is not as nimble as sweety's e-scooter in the bike lanes, and can't easily tuck into tiny parking spots. The macho bike looks cool (albeit a dated model), but I've finally realized that I'm just too old to be concerned with being "cool".

    3) Because of #2, I use my sweety's e-scooter ten times for every time I use the big black machine. Sweety's scoot is quick, nimble and the battery is easier to cart around. I look a little silly on it, but at least it isn't pink (although I think it has some pretty flower stickers on it).

    4) I've also begun using my pedal bike, again, because using the e-scooter everywhere caused me to start putting on the kilos, big time. Battery lifting was the only exercise I was getting (which was more than I was getting on my petrol bikes).

    5) I've run out of juice a few times. Forget about using the slip-on pedals. They are completely useless, and only available so that the e-scoots can be legally plated (a requirement in Beijing, so that the e-scoot can be called an e-bike). I just push the bike home if it dies (happened a few times). Or, once when I was far away, I took a taxi home with the battery and returned after a recharge.

    6) The one-time plate fee in Beijing is 10 rmb and requires only a few minutes at the neighbourhood police station to acquire.

    Bottom line - e-scoots are fantastic for urban commutes, especially given the convenience of bike lanes (and ease of parking). Beijing is flat. I think hills would be a problem for an e-scoot.

    In Beijing, we have the Beijing chapter of the Mad Dogs motorcycle club ... who have Harleys, mandatory tattoos, patches, etc. I've wondered about starting a Beijing chapter of the Happy Poodles e-scooter club, complete with lick-on tattoos, peel & stick patches, etc. One would need to be rather self-assured with one's identity to join!
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  6. #6 Re: Shanghai options - Ebike review 
    grumpy old sod jape's Avatar
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    Great story. The EBike rules seem enlightened when compared to the other tales and regulations you lot write about for us, a land of paradox eh? I wonder if they will ever have the sense to provide 500,000 EBikes painted red and gold and leave them in parking places for all to use and leave freely? No-one else on the planet does, it would be good to see.
    Kinlon R/T KBR JL200GY-2
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  7. #7 Re: Shanghai options - Ebike review 
    Duct tape savant felix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VinX View Post
    By the way, you were talking about really powerful electric one, any idea where to go to check it ?
    I hate to say that cause i really think eletric ones are unconvenient and unfortunatly big ugly plastic piece... but i'd like to know the alternative... and hope there're others models available and not only the huge harler davidson/ poor vespa copy one and the small playmobile girlie one...
    You can find a bunch of different styles for these big ebikes. Taobao is good place to look around for what's available. I used taobao to find an ebike shop near my place in xujiahui. Here are some search results showing some of what you can find in shanghai.

    http://s.taobao.com/search?q=800&ex_...5-e&bcoffset=2

    Taobao is handy to actually find shops. You'll see a lot of the taobao shops will say where they are located, then you can just go there directly to buy one. The most common spec for these is 800W 48V like i have. You'll have trouble finding a shop that has a higher spec in stock to try out, they are all made to order.

    I got the vespa rip-off style because it was sort of for my girlfriend to have something to ride around shanghai. I hate anything chrome, here's what i really wanted:



    Laojaihuo, thank you for adding your thoughts. Interesting that you have to register them in beijing. I asked the shop about it here and they said not to bother with any of that. And yes, hills are killer for these bikes, especially riding two-up!

    Jape, i don't think the ebike rules are particularly enlightened here. In fact these big ebikes aren't actually legal here (in shanghai anyway), they are just tolerated. That will surely change soon enough as great march continues to get all the poor people into cars or off the road.
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  8. #8 Re: Shanghai options - Ebike review 
    Duct tape savant felix's Avatar
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    Oh yeah, here's another one i like. As far as ebikes go here in china, it's not bad!

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  9. #9 Re: Shanghai options - Ebike review 
    grumpy old sod jape's Avatar
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    I just think of all the poor donkeys, mules, bullocks and camels that are destined to become chinese take-away now!

    Oh well, less methane and more CO2 in the atmosphere.
    Kinlon R/T KBR JL200GY-2
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  10. #10 Re: Shanghai options - Ebike review 
    Senior C-Moto Guru
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    Two wheels good, four wheels bad.

    Out here in Kunming we have a law that forbids more than one person riding per E-bike. On every traffic light (if many policemen in sight), you see people getting off E-bikes crossing the street to meet their partners!! Same in Shanghai?
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