Applying Orbea's Efficiency-and-Sufficiency eBike philosophy to your needs or as market segments


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An overly simplified market segmentation scheme to communicate basic personal needs and market segments.

Fast Commuters - 350W motor, 500 watt-hour battery pack, 55 pound eBike (e.g., Trek Super Commuter+ 8)
  • Legal classification - Class 3
Leisure - 250W motor, 400 watt-hour battery pack, 50 pound eBike
  • Legal classification - Class 1
Performance Conscious - 200W motor, 200 watt-hour battery pack, 30 pound eBike (e.g., Pinarello Nytro)
  • Legal classification - Class 1 (allowed on CO bike paths)

  • ... And yet it [bicycles] continues to have limited appeal in the modern world although the benefits are outstanding. Reasons for this could be:
    • hills
    • bad weather (natural wind over 15mph, or temperatures below 45F or above 75F)
    • risk
    • inconvenient sweat and fatigue
    • not being able to push the body as hard as before
    • [Aerodynamic drag from natural or apparent wind over 15mph]
    • [Inadequate services]
    • [Inadequate infrastructure]
  • More is not necessarily better. The most important aspect of an e-bike is not the power of the motor, rather
    • how much energy we let through from the battery to the motor
    • how we let it through and when.
    • This is the job of the motor controller, which is ultimately what makes your e-bike give you the level of assistance you need according to different use situations you encounter on your bike.
  • At one time or another you may have tried e-bikes with a very powerful motor whose controller is limited to suddenly giving you more or less energy according to the selected level of assistance (25% energy at level 1, 50% at level 2, etc.).
  • This logic of a single motor map can cause your bike to behave somewhat unpredictably, and as a result, you don't feel safe or natural - like the bike is doing all the work.
    • In short, the bicycle gives you a feeling of insecurity instead of the sensation of freedom we mentioned earlier.
    • That’s why efficiency, or better yet, a sufficient distribution of energy, is so important.
  • Sufficient power is a special development for ebike users who have a more sporting concept of riding.
    • They’re not looking for a means of transportation that requires very little effort on their urban commute or heavy, 500W batteries with which to conquer their adventures.
  • They’re looking for a bicycle with characteristics similar to those of a mechanical bike:
    • a bike with a geometry to optimize pedaling efficiency that has good levels of rigidity and lightness [and aerodynamics] similar to those of traditional bikes.
    • They appreciate a motor that doses out power gently along the route in order to improve the experience, with added support to keep going on those long days of pedaling.

See Post #37 for greater detail
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We use a rating scale from -3 to +3, to discuss the merits of certain eBike features, according to the Orbea efficiency-and-sufficiency philosophy, with a 15mph cutoff.

You might want to score eBikes with 15, 20 and 28 mph cutoffs to determine the most desirable tradeoffs for your needs.

  • -3 :oops: Worst
  • -2 :rolleyes: Worse
  • -1 :( Bad

  • 0 :confused: Ambivalent or Ambiguous

  • +1 :) Good
  • +2 :D Better
  • +3 :p Best

  1. :p Efficient Bike Design (Drivetrain and Aerodynamics)
    1. :p No Resistance From Electrical System
      1. Desired: +3
      2. I want to reach conventional bike speeds, without hitting a speed wall induced by motor gearing
    2. :p Weight, Shape and Gearing of Motor for Acceleration (2.3 kg)
      1. Desired: +3
    3. :p Weight and Aerodynamic Shape of Battery (2 kg)
      1. Desired: +3
    4. :p Electrical System designed for carbon frames
      1. Small size that minimizes frame width
      2. Aluminum is 50% heavier
      3. Aluminum has 20% lower power-to-weight ratio
      4. Carbon flex to absorb shocks via seat post and stays
      5. Carbon is stiffer for better power transfer from bottom bracket to rear axle
      6. Desirability: +3
    5. :p Gear Ratio
      1. Desired: +3
        1. Need 400% on a double chain ring
    6. :p Aerodynamics
      1. Desired: +3
      2. Need dropbars to reach 35mph easily.
      3. Motor and battery cannot introduce drag.
      4. :p Wind
        1. Aerodynamic drag begins at 15mph ("Apparent Wind")
        2. Natural wind over 15mph is a burden
    7. :p Highest Achievable Speed
      1. 35 to 40 mph
  2. :p Sufficient Motor Power
    1. :p Power Cutoff
      1. :p 15 mph
      2. 20 mph
      3. 28 mph
    2. :D Distance
      1. Desired: +2
      2. One hour (200 watt-hours) at full power (200W) = 15 miles in worst case
        1. In reality, the range will probably be 60 to 90 miles, because full power is brief.
    3. Power-to-Weight Ratio
      1. PInarello Nytro 400W / 13kg = 30.8 w/kg
      2. 22% higher power-to-weight, 10.7 kg or 55% lighter than Trek Super Commuter+ 8
      3. Yamaha WR250X motorcycle 20208 / 293 / 2.2 kg = 31.3 watts/kg
    4. :p Acceleration from 0 to 15 mph
      1. Desired: +3
      2. Mostly for crossing big intersections in the middle gear on the first chainring.
      3. Two or more speed sensors for accurate and sensitive acceleration measurements (or accelerometer)
    5. :p Miserly Battery Consumption
      1. Desired: +3
      2. I only want the motor to deliver power assist at critical moments.
      3. I want the motor to disappear on the flats and downhill sections, so I can travel long distances.
      4. I want strong assist at the critical moments.
      5. For the most part, I want the electrical system to blend in with the bike and disappear as part of the cycling experience.
    6. :D Cold Temperature Range
      1. Desired: +2
      2. My biggest fear is an undervoltage that shuts down the engine from electrical resistance at cold temperatures.
    7. :rolleyes: Cost
      1. Desired: -2
      2. I do not expect low cost or want to sacrifice quality.
      3. Reliability is important.
    8. :p Removeable Battery
      1. Desired: +3
      2. Need to bring battery inside for charging.
  3. Other
    1. :p 12v Front and Rear light system
      1. Desired: +3
      2. I ride through at least five tunnels and/or bridge underpasses. The C470 tunnel is 425 feet long. I cannot see mud or ice at the other end of the tunnel. I need a very powerful light with high and low beams. I want a rear light to alert other riders in the tunnel of my presence.
    2. :D Traction
      1. Desired: +2
      2. Wet or muddy conditions require wider tires. Also power assistance needs to be applied in a gradual manner to avoid sliding out. Inner rim width is main influence on contact patch shape.
    3. :D Braking Power
      1. Desired: +2
      2. Wet conditions need larger hydraulic disc brakes (180mm)
    4. :D Nible Steering
      1. Desired: +2
    5. :D Tubeless Tires
      1. Desired: +3
      2. Flat tires in cold weather is a total drag
    6. :D Aesthetics
      1. Desired: +2
      2. A bike should look beautiful, not like some car parts were glommed onto the frame.
    7. :) Boost Axle
      1. Desired: +1
      2. A good rider can put out 800 watts. The total acceleration force may be very high.
      3. Need strong rims.
    8. :DDisplay motor and human power in watts.
    9. :p Configuring Power/Torque Curve from cell phone in a user friendly way
      1. Desired +2
      2. I want a UI to specify parameter values for when and how much power assistance should be applied
    10. :p Bluetooth Motor and Battery Management System
      1. Desired: +3
      2. Need to know when to avoid using due to weather conditions.
        1. Need health status of every battery cell.
        2. Need to update firmware via internet.
        3. Need to run diagnostics against battery to know how risky a cold weather ride is.
    11. Legal Classification
      1. Class 1 & 2 - Allowed on bike paths in many states
      2. Class 3 - street only due to 28 mph capability
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Contrast with a more conventional approach, using Yamaha's solution for a more natural riding experience: an incline sensor (gyroscope, altimeter or barometer?). See Post #27 for more detail.


A quick power-to-weight comparison of a Trek Super Commuter+ 8 and Pinarello Nytro is very telling. I picked the Trek merely because I am familiar with the bike. It may not be the most equivalent bike for comparison sake.

2017 Super Commuter - 570 peak watts / 23.7 kg = 24.0 w/kg, 170W greater peak power.

PInarello Nytro 400W / 13kg = 30.8 w/kg or 22% higher power-to-weight, 10.7 kg or 55% lighter.

So, do you need the additional 170W?

I do not have a watt meter. The only data point that i have is an unreliable 800W from a store display watt meter, which I disbelieve. I do not need the additional 170W, because I know I can generate high power. I certainly can benefit by dropping 10.7 kg in bike weight.

The choice is overwhelmingly simple in my case, because aerodynamic drag is not even factored into the decision. I would not be surprised if most of those additional 170W were lost to drag above 25mph.

Aerodynamics is all-important above your desired cut-off speed . The Nytro only assists up to 15mph, so aerodynamics should dominate decision making. The Trek SuperCommuter+ 8 is a 28 mph bike. The Nytro will crush the Trek over 28mph. I hit 35mph a few times per day on my normal route.

The perception of an eBike is very dependent upon your conceptualization of the experience you expect from the bike. Comparing a 28 mph eBike on the flats is irrelevant to me. My average flat speed is 22 to 25mph. The worst case scenario for a Nytro design is 15mph uphill in heavy wind. I really do not care about uphill speed. The exciting part to me is downhill speed. Downhill speed is entirely dependent upon bike aerodynamic design, for my purposes.

So, my conceptualization of an eBike is the conventional bike design, especially wrt aerodynamics. My low-end conceptualization speed is under 15 mph due to wind. My upper-end conceptualization speed is over 30mph, due to wind resistance. The motor power and battery capacity plays a small role in my perception of an eBike, because the speeds between 15mph and 30mph are merely a means to an end. The effects from wind over 15 mph are my primary concern in my mental model of an eBike.

You can accurately state your power requirements when you specify the length of time spent at your lower and upper power levels. My lower and upper power levels are one and the same. My power requirement is minimalistic. Therefore, weight and aerodynamic design dominate my buying decisions.

I subscribe to Orbea's efficient and sufficient philosophy. See post #24 for complete detail. In concrete terms, a 200W motor and 200Wh battery are sufficient. The efficiency derives from weight under 13kg, stiff and efficient drivetrain and aerodynamic design. The lower your top-end speed requirements are, the lower your aerodynamic needs are. Lower aerodynamic efficiency mean lower bike cost. So, a person with a 20mph top-end speed has no significant aerodynamic needs. The longer your power needs extend past one hour riding at 15 mph, the greater your battery capacity needs are. Battery power is the most significant factor for an eBike's electrical system cost.

If you grasp the tradeoff principles elaborated in this post, the principles can help guide your eBike buying decision. You have no reason to fear buyer's remorse for spending less than $1,500 or more than $5,000 for an eBike, because you have applied principles about value that addresses your needs.

For greater detail see Post #33

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As time permits, discuss needs.
  • Fast Commuters
  • Leisure Commuter to transform American Short Distance Transportation (see next post)
    • A Diavelo e-Xcite M800-like eBike
  • Performance Conscious
    • Sport or Fitness

Needs that are poorly addressed or completely unaddressed:
  • Service
  • Warranty
  • Security
  • Safety
  • Bike path access and markings
  • etc...
See Thread for detail

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Theoretical Leisure Commuter Bike to become the next Honda Super Cub that transforms the conception short distance transportation in the USA

I am advocating for non-cyclists to gently get into cycling with a bike like the Diavelo e-Xcite M800. The e-Xcite is meant to illustrate a prototype design, not the actual bike that will transform the American bicycle. I believe the e-Xcite M800 would benefit at least ten percent of the USA population. The attractive aspect to me is a Bafang M800 eBike can weight about 13kg or 30 pounds. A featherweight, attractive, stealth eBike is a very important consideration for mass appeal, in my opinion. The bike might sell for under $1,500?

For more detail see Thread.

e-Xcite prototype: 200 watts / 30 pounds = 6.6 watts/pound

Typical mountain bike might be 350 watts / 45 pounds = 7.7 watts/pound

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Just for fun, I added this comparison Yamaha WR250X motorcycle

Horsepower:|27.1 hp @ 9150 rpm or 20208 watts
Dry weight:|293 lb.

Yamaha WR250X - 20208 / 293 / 2.2 kg = 31.3 watts/kg

PInarello Nytro - 400W / 13kg = 30.8 w/kg - very impressive.

The Yamaha is a great motorcycle! Just ask Valentino Rossi.

To give you a feeling for the level of software sophistication in a race bike, see:

EBike controllers are primitive compared to motorcycle racing software.


I think you are a bit confused - the wr250x is a budget playbike and bears no resemblance to valentino rossis gtrand prix racer. There would be an extra zero in his w/kg figure, and that would be INCLUDING rider weight.
I believe eBike technology has advanced beyond the social culture and/or infrastructure ability to exploit the opportunity to transform short distance transportation in the USA.

The problem with the Mineral Ave. RTD in Denver falls in the Social Environment layer. The higher Built Environment layer in that part of Denver is as good for bike commuting as anywhere in the entire world.

Needs that are poorly addressed or completely unaddressed:
  • Social connections
  • Service
    • Mobile bike services are improving this aspect.
  • Warranty
  • Security
    • Too few bike lockers with video surveillance.
  • Safety
    • Roads are too risky
    • Bike racks too far from public transportation
  • Bike path access and markings
  • etc...

The WHO effort to encourage physical activity:


I will elaborate on this topic as time permits. The complete discussion can be found here:

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He does race Yamaha dirt bikes at his race ranch.

You might enjoy this:


I think you remain confused. Those are supermotards , not dirt bikes, and they are high performance 450 cc race bikes - significantly more powerfull than a 250 cc play bike!