Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Transportation Technology

Invention Makes Citibikes Electric 166

Posted by samzenpus
from the why-pedal dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Inventor Jeff Guida has come up with a way to turn any Citibike into an electric scooter. His ShareRoller is about the size of a small briefcase, weighs just seven pounds, and has a 12- to 20-mile range. From the article: '"Years ago, I would've needed a giant engineering company and several million dollars in development research and it still would've taken two years or more," Guida said. But 3D printing has changed all that. In the coming months, Guida hopes to design a universal bracket so that the ShareRoller can be used on any bike. He has some competition there, as there are a few companies that make wheels that convert regular bikes into electric bikes, but he says the ShareRoller is more convenient.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Invention Makes Citibikes Electric

Comments Filter:
  • by characterZer0 (138196) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @09:05PM (#46384687)

    Oh, right. They are too cheap and reliable. We need big business to be able to make money on bicycles, otherwise they are just toys.

    • by Zero__Kelvin (151819) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @09:10PM (#46384731) Homepage
      Yes. You hit the nail on the head. The problem with pedaling 20 miles in the hot sun is that the pedals are too reliable.
      • If more people pedaled twenty miles or so on a regular basis, we might actually have fewer healthcare costs - OMG, imagine that! We might be able to shrink the size of all of the industries that make bank off of our sedentary life styles yet still lay people off. Nothing like a healthier America to punish big business for being too greedy. It's the best kind of industry regulation - one that requires no government intervention.
        • "If more people pedaled twenty miles or so on a regular basis, we might actually have fewer healthcare costs - OMG, imagine that! "

          It takes a very small mind not to be able to differntiate between excercising and commuting.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Pedaling gets you sweaty (not ideal depending on destination), and often the pants can get dirty from the chain (many chain guards are afterthoughts and shitty build/condition). And often the person is out of shape and won't get there fast enough or can't do it without assist in case of hills.

      Hey, I'm just glad if a car can be taken out the equation. But for the money, ypsomeone can buy a faster 1000 watt folding electric scooter with similiar range, or for a some hundred $$$ more a 1500 watt version,mtha

  • Destroys the tires (Score:4, Informative)

    by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @09:07PM (#46384707)

    I remember these designs. They absolutely stripped the tread off the rear wheels within a few hundred miles of using them, and kept the local bike shops in serious business replacing wheels. Not tires: the wheels.

    • Merlin. Is that you?
    • by classiclantern (2737961) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @09:49PM (#46384939)
      The genius of this guy's design is not the gadget but using it on Citibikes. He doesn't care if it ruins the tire. It's not his bike.
    • Tire-drive systems are useless in the wet.

      If you're impling that shops are taking advantage of people and selling them a new entire wheel, that's way, way down the "low" scale. I don't know a bike shop around that would replace rear wheel instead of replacing the tube and tire, unless the person damaged the rim by riding on it for too long with a flat tire; if you chew up the edge of the rim, it'll slowly destroy the sidewall of the tire.

      Another reason rear wheel replacements can become necessary: most inex

      • by AK Marc (707885)

        If you're impling that shops are taking advantage of people and selling them a new entire wheel, that's way, way down the "low" scale. I don't know a bike shop around that would replace rear wheel instead of replacing the tube and tire, unless the person damaged the rim by riding on it for too long with a flat tire; if you chew up the edge of the rim, it'll slowly destroy the sidewall of the tire.

        Did you look at TFA? You didn't need to read it, just look at the pictures. It looked like a tire-friction device on the front wheel. It might be bad in the wet, but the standard tires on the bike in question look to be non-knobby, so it shouldn't tear up the knobs or such.

        Build your own rims. It's surprisingly easy. So long as you don't rush, you can't ever do any damage. You don't even need any special tools (other than spoke wrenches you should have laying around anyway). You use the bike as the

        • by hankwang (413283)

          Build your own rims. It's surprisingly easy.

          Does that include asymmetrically spoked rims (back wheel with derailleur gears)?

          • by AK Marc (707885)
            The front is smashed more than the rear, so I've rebuilt the fronts much more than the backs. But backs aren't really different. And the thing in the way on the back is the cassette, though you build it with that off, so just the freewheel is on. The dérailleur gears are cogs, usually only two, and they move to force the chain onto new gears on the cassette. God, I haven't had to name anatomy of a bike in 20 years.
          • I used to work in a bicycle factory, and my job was the "Wheel maker" I even made wheels for the US Olympic team one year. Anyways, once you understand how they work, they are very easy to make. I don't even ride bikes so it always surprises my bike riding friends and neighbors when I rebuild and balance their wheels in seconds.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        No, I'm implying that the point pressure on the wheel that is exerted by the small drive wheel of the old electric motors is much, much smaller than the normal contact area of the ground. The result is essentially that of very high pressure on a small area of the wheel, causing a constant flexing of the wheel at that spot as the wheel rotates. It fatigues the metal and it loosens spokes, which then deform the wheel even further in a positive feedback loop that *ruins* wheels. The problem isn't as badn on o

    • I went around on a Velosolex some time in the late eighties, some people thought they were cool and retro then, and you could by them new. Horribly dangerous to ride on anything but a straight line or VERY SLOWLY.
      • Weight distribution all wrong
      • Front wheel drive unforgiving
      • Front tyre adapted for roller but not good on the road

      This was a petrol engine but I can't imagine that electrics now win out on power/weight either, at least not with a useful range.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I hope they have ironed out all the flaws that plagued roller drive systems in the past. Like heavy tyre wear, heavy roller wear, only certain tread profiles working with the roller, the drive slippage in the wet and the inefficient power transfer.............

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The US is one of the top few countries with the most overweight populations in the whole world. It's got massive levels of obesity, and health problems coming from weight and lack of exercise. It has a childhood obesity epidemic along with associated problems like diabetes.

    The very LAST thing it needs is one more way to take an enjoyable, healthy form of exercise and.... give people a way to avoid the exercise part.

    • I don't know about anyone else here, but I know that's how I always introduce myself.

      Hello. How do you do? I'm Americans!

      A) You watch too much Dr. Oz. While there are plenty of overweight Americans, there are also plenty of healthy ones.
      B) A doesn't really matter, since this is about commuting, not excercise/playing.
      • by rally2xs (1093023)

        I'm one of those that works every day to burn off the extra pounds. Have been working all week to amass a 3500 calorie deficit to lose a pound. Nope, hasn't happened. May happen Wednesday, as the gym is going to be closed tomorrow because there's 6" - 10" of snow coming tomorrow, and this is Virginia. I'm 66, and aerobically pretty good but not muscle-wise, so using my arms to burn that much energy is a non-starter. And... its bloody difficult just to end up with only eating my metabolism every day

        • by Immerman (2627577)

          Exercise has numerous health benefits, but if your primary goal is weight loss it's not terribly effective, an hour of strenuous exercise will only burn maybe 500 calories or so, and probably leave you hungry. Meanwhile reducing your portion size by 20-25% will do the exact same thing, and after a week or so your stomach will have shrunk so that you feel just as full. There's also lots of tricks you can employ to help things along - use smaller plates and flatware, it tricks your brain into thinking you'r

        • And that man's name was Eli Whitney.

    • by ratboy666 (104074)

      So, you assume biking is only for exercise?
      No wonder using a bike is so dangerous on the street.

  • Wheel reinvented. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 02, 2014 @09:22PM (#46384799)

    Sinclair Zeta from 2004:
    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/g8koe/c5martin/zeta.htm

    • by gnoshi (314933)

      Good find. The Zeta actually looks like it would probably damage the wheel and tyre less too, because of the longer contact area.

    • by BorgDrone (64343)

      And that's basically an electric version of the Solex [wikipedia.org] from 1941.

  • What a bunch of BS (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Is there a citation somewhere for this mythical multi-million dollar two year scooter conversion kit? Or this just another way to totally blow 3D printing out of proportion to what it can actually do?

    Look, years ago I saw some guy cobbled together a chainsaw motor to friction-drive the rear wheel of a pedal bicycle. No giant, multi-million dollar two year project there, and no 3D printers either.

    This incessant trumpeting of 3D printing as some kind of revolution is tiresome.

  • For over a grand it seems like you could get a second hand scooter or something.

    • You can't carry a scooter with you into the office, you have to find a place to park it/store it. The Citibike is a rental bike you drop off when you get to your end point and you take this off and carry it with you. Yes it costs almost as much as a scooter but provides more convenience than one for a crowded city with limited parking space.
      • You can't carry a scooter with you into the office, you have to find a place to park it/store it.

        Where I live, you can park a scooter of up to 50cc in any bike rack, and there's a bike rack at my office. Hell, you can even park it legally on the sidewalk as long as it doesn't obstruct pedestrian traffic.

        The Citibike is a rental bike you drop off when you get to your end point and you take this off and carry it with you.

        We also have a system like Citibike, and it's a pain in the ass. If the drop-off rack is full, you have to go find another one. If the pick-up rack is empty, you have to find another one. Not so convenient.

    • $995 will buy a lot of cab rides.

      • by ncc74656 (45571) *

        $995 will buy a lot of cab rides.

        It won't buy that many. Last time I took a cab home from the airport, it was about $50. That would only be about 20 trips.

  • by PPH (736903) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @10:17PM (#46385089)

    Some of the ideas put forth are old. Motor assist for pedal bicycles has been around practically since small gas engines were available. Electric assist is newer, but still not by much. Battery and solid state technology are making it much more capable than what we had even a few decades ago.

    What is interesting is combining all this into a unit which can be installed "in seconds". That opens its use up to some applications for which motor assist may not have made much sense in the past.

    Oh, and all the carping about 3D printing? Sure, its not economic for mass production. But it has its place for smaller shops who need too knock off a few prototypes quickly and cheaply. Once the design is finalized, more traditional fabrication techniques can be used.

    • by swb (14022)

      But this is slashdot, where fault-finding and nit-picking are part of the bargain.

      You have to expect all the posts about how the design is bad, it costs too much, there are N other versions which are better, you can build your own for less money, it's bad for the environment, in {Europe, China, Brazil, ...} they do it differently, or there's just something inherently evil and antisocial about it.

    • by malakai (136531)

      In NYC, a lot of the delivery guys ( well the Chinese guys ) have some sort of clockwork style bike mod on their delivery bikes. It mounts under the seat and attached to the drive train, and they must be storing energy into a spring or some other mechanical way, then they pop a button and you hear 'click click click' and the bike goes up the hill as they guy coasts on the pedals.

      I'm always leery of those contraptions. Just waiting for one to fail catastrophically and send metal gears into bystanders.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @10:36PM (#46385131) Journal
    Cities are introducing bike share stands, where people rent bikes by the hour. A technology like this could broaden the appeal and market for them.

    If they make it compatible with bicycles that fold into a car trunk, it could reduce drunken driving. People who find themselves too drunk to drive could rent drivers to take them home. These drivers would arrive in a folding electric bike, fold their bike and put it in the trunk, take the sensible drunk home and return on the electrified bike. They could do it in a regular bike too, but with some electric assist more people would be interested.

    • by Firethorn (177587)

      These drivers would arrive in a folding electric bike, fold their bike and put it in the trunk, take the sensible drunk home and return on the electrified bike.

      It's already being done... "Zingo" [knoxnews.com]

      I agree with the other part. If it's $5 for a standard bike rental or $10 for the electric, if I'm going far enough the electric might make sense. Heck, going on a bike ride with an elder relative might be more realistic.

    • I'd far rather arrive ON a folding eBike than in one... your sentence implies the bike has folded up on them... ;)
  • Seriously? (Score:3, Informative)

    by ukoda (537183) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @11:21PM (#46385309) Homepage
    Seriously am I the only person who has been to China? E-bikes are the most common form of transport in most cites in China and retail at about USD $400. His unit is $1200 and has less features that a $400 e-bike. Does no one do their homework anymore before launching a new product?
    • by Bob Hay (3461087)
      It is OK Americans are suckers for novelty. But here is serious, as a tech who commutes on an china imported electric bike, front wheel drive for bikes in any sort of slippery conditions is dangerous because of the amount of acceleration from electric motors. Top speed of 20 miles per hour is OK but with standard brakes etc it is quite fast enough thanks. For the motorcyclists who think these electric bikes are as dangerous, this is not so. I have even personally found they are less dangerous than a standar
      • by hankwang (413283)

        front wheel drive for bikes in any sort of slippery conditions is dangerous because of the amount of acceleration from electric motors.

        One would think that this problem solves itself because the motor uses friction with the front tire. Under slippery conditions, the motor has little traction as well.

    • by mythosaz (572040)

      But 3D printed!

    • by jwhitener (198343)

      400 dollar = 10Ah battery pack. I bet this guy's battery is twice that power or more.

  • "Years ago, I would've needed a giant engineering company and several million dollars in development research and it still would've taken two years or more,"

    horseshit, its batteries in a box with a motor, everything that was made on that 3d printer could have been fabricated with hand tools and some metal flashing found at the hardware store, even with paint and the trip there and back, still would have taken less time to make.

    • by malakai (136531)

      I think the mechanism for having the motor lower onto the tire with the right pressure, and also store in a compact state is likely where all the 3d printing time went. Making sliding/folding/compacting devices like that, that don't seize because one of your angles is a fraction off, is not easy.

  • by miracle69 (34841) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @11:49PM (#46385399)

    It's a stupid law, but a law none-the-less.

        19-176.2. Motorized scooters. a. For purposes of this section, the
        term "motorized scooter" shall mean any wheeled device that has
        handlebars that is designed to be stood or sat upon by the operator, is
        powered by an electric motor or by a gasoline motor that is capable of
        propelling the device without human power and is not capable of being
        registered with the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. For the
        purposes of this section, the term motorized scooter shall not include
        wheelchairs or other mobility aids designed for use by disabled persons.
            b. No person shall operate a motorized scooter in the city of New
        York.
            c. Any person who violates subdivision b of this section shall be
        liable for a civil penalty in the amount of five hundred dollars.
        Authorized employees of the police department and department of parks
        and recreation shall have the authority to enforce the provisions of
        this section. Such penalties shall be recovered in a civil action or in
        a proceeding commenced by the service of a notice of violation that
        shall be returnable before the environmental control board. In addition,
        such violation shall be a traffic infraction and shall be punishable in
        accordance with section eighteen hundred of the New York state vehicle
        and traffic law.
            d. Any motorized scooter that has been used or is being used in
        violation of the provisions of this section may be impounded and shall
        not be released until any and all removal charges and storage fees and
        the applicable fines and civil penalties have been paid or a bond has
        been posted in an amount satisfactory to the commissioner of the agency
        that impounded such vehicle.

    http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/LAWSSEAF.cgi?QUERYTYPE=LAWS+&QUERYDATA=$$ADC19-176.2$$@TXADC019-176.2+&LIST=SEA2+&BROWSER=BROWSER+&TOKEN=35384350+&TARGET=VIEW

    • by Animats (122034)

      You can drive an electric moped [amazon.com] in NYC. Probably cheaper than this thing, too. New York State recognizes three classes of scooters/mopeds (under 20MPH, 20-30MPH, and 30-40MPH top speed) plus motorcycles. The license requirements increase with the max speed. All have lights and turn signals, and a helmet is required.

      With NYC's traffic density, this isn't unreasonable.

  • I'm 205 pounds and not amazingly athletics. I can ride a mountain bike at a brisk pace for 10 miles without even sweating. Why oh why would people hop on a bike and be too lazy to pedal?
    • by Firethorn (177587)

      1. Define 'Brisk'
      2. Where are you biking that you're not sweating? I bike in Alaska and I sweat. Your brisk might be awfully slow.
      3. From what I've seen, they DO pedal, generally using the motor to provide extra speed, start and hill assistance.

      Consider that this might be the difference between me using a bike to get groceries or driving - simply because of the weight of the groceries I'm planning on getting.

      Worst case, consider the device a range extender - getting people so they're willing to bike for

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Why oh why would people hop on a bike and be too lazy to pedal?

      I have asthma, you insensitive clod. And a bunk knee.

  • The problem with 2 wheeled transportation alternatives is the weather

    Bikes are unusable on ice or snow.covered roads
    You'd freeze when theres a wind chill of 20 below 0
    You'd get soaked in the rain
    Too hot in the summer

    • by robsku (1381635)

      I'm not claiming it's for everybody but in Finland I used to bike to school (and I still bike around, summers and winters, raining or shining) and having biked under all of above situations I can say that they hardly make bicycles unusable.

  • Here in the Netherlands, where we have as many bikes as inhabitants, electrical supported bikes, have become very common. Google for "elektrische fiets" for some images of these. The battery packs are either build into the frame or put under the luggage carrier at the back. We installed under the luggage carrier, it often is a battery pack that can be taken out. The electrical motors are build into the wheel and there is a small dial on the steering wheel with which you can control the extra support needed.
  • On the kickstarter page:

    Power: 750 Watts continuous
    Speed: 18mph without pedaling
    Range: 12 miles with standard battery, 20 miles with extended battery
    Battery: 240Wh / 400Wh

    Well, it seems with the extended battery you can get about 32 minutes or 9.6 miles at 18mph, which is only half the range...

  • A French company named Solex made these with a combustible gasoline engine. They ate tires at a rate that no Citibike exploiter would allow. Watch these get banned/prohibited in 3...2....1.....
  • The entire point of the Citibike project was so people would actually get some physical activity. A heathier population drives down cost. I'm shaking my head - no wonder, America's waistline continues to expand as we are unwilling to pedal even on the relatively flat surfaces of many cities. We look to our government to solve problems for us, our government actually comes up with a darn good idea for a change, and we aren't interested because it's 'too hard.' On one hand, I hope these do get banned because
  • In the EU, any electric-bike that uses any form of throttle, rather than electric-assist (torque sensors) for speed control is deemed by law to by a motorbike, and therefore needs the usual number plates, registration, mandatory insurance, rider licencing and so on. I'd be interesting to see if they can meet EU approval. There's also limits on wattage of the motor (250W), which this exceeds, and limits on the speed at which the motor assist tails off (25km/h) (which this exceeds)
  • I am surprised no one has told him motorized bicycles are illegal in NY state:

    See here: http://dmv.ny.gov/node/1984 [ny.gov]

    What vehicles cannot be registered or operated on New York State sidewalks, streets or highways?
    You can't register or operate any of the motorized devices from the list below on any street, highway, parking lot, sidewalk or other area in New York State that allows public motor vehicle traffic. You may be arrested if you do.

    Motor-assisted Bicycle - a bicycle to which a small motor is attached.

We want to create puppets that pull their own strings. - Ann Marion

Working...