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Invention Makes Citibikes Electric

samzenpus posted about 9 months ago | from the why-pedal dept.

Transportation 166

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.'"

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What is wrong with pedals? (4, Funny)

characterZer0 (138196) | about 9 months ago | (#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.

Re:What is wrong with pedals? (4, Funny)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 9 months ago | (#46384731)

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.

Re:What is wrong with pedals? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46384927)

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.

You're a fucking pussy if you think that's actually difficult.

Re: What is wrong with pedals? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46384989)

Say that to your Grandma, son.

Re: What is wrong with pedals? (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 9 months ago | (#46386093)

Grandma won't be out riding a bike. She'll be in a car if she actually has to go anywhere, otherwise she'll be at home doing whatever like most retirees.

Re:What is wrong with pedals? (0)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | about 9 months ago | (#46384993)

Yes, but on the other hand, some people may not want to go into a business meeting sporting pit stains. This (hilariously expensive) item fills a little niche, People with disposable income, and guilt about driving cars, but to fat and lazy to actually ride a bike enough to be in good enough shape to travel 20 miles without breaking a sweat. I'm sure he'll sell a million units.

Show a little support? (3, Insightful)

Firethorn (177587) | about 9 months ago | (#46385391)

It mentions 18 miles per hour in the article for the top speed, but I wonder if that's for 'not' or 'barely' pedaling. Can it take somebody with a max speed of 15mph pedaling on their own and get them up to 20 if they're really working at it?

but to fat and lazy to actually ride a bike enough to be in good enough shape to travel 20 miles without breaking a sweat.

Consider that there's a lot of work and sweat between 'fat&lazy' and 'slim&active'. Most people have limited choice about distance from work. A device that gets them started, to actually do it, can be of great assistance. I know there's a few hills where I would have liked this thing just for that spot. I'd still have to help it up, of course.

What about the guy who needs to travel 30 miles, and this is the difference between him biking and driving?

In other words, biking shouldn't be about exclusivity.

Selling millions - Not if it can only fit on one bike type. Fix that and maybe.

Re:What is wrong with pedals? (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 9 months ago | (#46385581)

You''re a fucking pussy if you think that's actually difficult.

Hey you Anonymous Coward, you ever ridden a bike 20 miles in somewhere like San Francisco? Or is your sum total experience on a stationary bike in your mom's basement...?

Re:What is wrong with pedals? (1)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about 9 months ago | (#46385825)

I frequently do 30-50 miles in the dead of summer in Phoenix. The temperature is literally 110 degrees fahrenheit during those times. It really isn't as bad as it sounds, when you're cycling you've got the wind to keep you cool.

Re:What is wrong with pedals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46386271)

I don't know, it sounds pretty bad. With a body temp of 98, in a 110 degree environment, you can't radiate heat without sweating. I don't doubt that you can pull it off, but it wouldn't be pleasant. You'd need to be well acclimatized and fit to even make it manageable.

Re:What is wrong with pedals? (2)

Christian Smith (3497) | about 9 months ago | (#46386407)

I frequently do 30-50 miles in the dead of summer in Phoenix. The temperature is literally 110 degrees fahrenheit during those times. It really isn't as bad as it sounds, when you're cycling you've got the wind to keep you cool.

Isn't somewhere like Phoenix as flat as a pancake? I'd take heat over hills any day.

Re:What is wrong with pedals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46385829)

You''re a fucking pussy if you think that's actually difficult.

Hey you Anonymous Coward, you ever ridden a bike 20 miles in somewhere like San Francisco? Or is your sum total experience on a stationary bike in your mom's basement...?

Nah, not twenty. How about a hundred and twenty?

Re:What is wrong with pedals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46386425)

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.

You're a fucking pussy if you think that's actually difficult.

And you're a fucking idiot if you think it's not for the average lard-ass who hasn't exercised in years.

Look around you. Most people would concern me if they ran 20 feet, much less pedaled 20 miles.

Re:What is wrong with pedals? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46385129)

HOW TO BE A WORTHLESS, VILE, AMERICAN YARD-APE!!!!
  • Slink around, shuffling your feet and bobbing your neck like the lazy retard you are.
  • Walk down the middle of the street because you don't know what a sidewalk is for.
  • Hang out at carwashes and mini-marts because everybody knows these are the best places to be a dope, I mean dope.
  • If you're a nigger bitch, shit three nigger babies into the world before 17 years of age. This assures that welfare money will support you, so your nigger men have more time to commit crimes.
  • And give REAL honest black people a bad name.
  • Oh yes, make sure each nigger baby has a different father.
  • Bastardize the English language in the name of nigger culture.
  • Make sure that several terms have multiple meanings and others have ambiguous meanings and that only 50% of nigger words are even complete words. Real niggers will know what you're trying to say.
  • As a culture, make sure there are always more blacks in prison than in college at any given time.
  • Hang out in packs of 10 to 15 and make sure everyone acts as annoying as possible. This helps to promote nigger individuality.
  • Always talk loud enough so everyone in the 'hood can fucking hear you, and if they are niggers, they will know what your saying, bro.
  • Wear clothes that are 10 sizes too big, making sure the pants hang off your ass.
  • Park at least 5 junk cars in your yard while being careful not to use the driveway. It's OK to abandon them in the street as long as it's in front of someone else's crib.
  • Exaggerate every motion, every tonal inflection and grab your dick a lot.
  • Do drugs, sell drugs, make drugs. Okay, don't REALLY do this, but it IS what niggers do.
  • Turn your backyard into a junk yard. If you don't have a backyard, turn your mother's into a junk yard.
  • Travel around leaching off relatives, friends, salvation armies.
  • Drink cheap wine and malt liquor every day, forgetting that "malt liquor" is just fortified cheap beer.
  • If you're a nigger buck: fuck anything that moves, no matter how ugly she is. After two 40oz, even the ugliest, fattest nigger bitch will look good.
  • Be charitable and covet fat, ugly white chicks. After all, they're niggers too. They can't help being so undesirable to white men that they have to fraternize with black dudes on a 20/20 trip. And white ho's are a special trophy too, especially the not so ugly ones.
  • Spray paint everything in sight with scribbles that mean nothing to white people but mean things to fellow niggers (except niggers from another hood who will probably go after you for tresspassing on their turf).
  • Use the term "motherfucker" in every sentence. It's one of the most versatile words in the nigger language, being a noun, verb, adjective and complete mini-sentence in event you run out of thoughts.
  • Stop in the middle of the street, blocking all traffic to converse with fellow niggers and have complete disregard for everyone else.
  • Overcharge customers at Taco Bell and pocket the difference.
  • Drive your car while slouched so low that you can barely see over the wheel (gangsta drivin').
  • Get a job under affirmative action. Then sit around all day pretending that you earned the position and that the other co-workers respect you. Whenever you fuck up, scream "racism!" & hope you get enough Generation X liberals in the jury.
  • Never, I mean NEVER, take any responsibility for your actions. Always blame others including Asians, Latinos, Mexicans, and especially Whites for your sorry ass stupid lives.
  • Be sure to get a dog, tie it up in the cold and mud and neglect it until it dies. Then start all over again. Cash must be used because you long ago fucked up your credit and checking account.
  • Cram 5 generations into a two room government apartment and still be able to neglect your kids.

Then you too can be a true nigger, and anyone who finds any fault with anything you do is automatically a racist. They don't dislike what you do and wish you would do something better with your life, nor do they wish you would realize that other people exist and should be treated with respect. No, they're just racists who hate you because of the color of your skin, and everything bad in your life is their fault. You nigger.

Re:What is wrong with pedals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46385173)

Going 20 miles is not an intended or even sane use case for Citibike.

Re:What is wrong with pedals? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46384747)

Or, I don't feel like showing up for work smelling like a locker room. Cheap people or people who don't have money can always take the pedal option. It's not always about trying to 'stick it to the man', my friend. Choice, and change, is a good thing. Embrace it.

Re:What is wrong with pedals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46384947)

Or, I don't feel like showing up for work smelling like a locker room. Cheap people or people who don't have money can always take the pedal option. It's not always about trying to 'stick it to the man', my friend. Choice, and change, is a good thing. Embrace it.

It's called a "shower".

Re:What is wrong with pedals? (2)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | about 9 months ago | (#46385001)

Because all office buildings offer free showers at the door in case you biked there. Oh wait.

Re: What is wrong with pedals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46385003)

Not seeing the big picture here, are we?

Re:What is wrong with pedals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46385099)

Or, I don't feel like showing up for work smelling like a locker room. Cheap people or people who don't have money can always take the pedal option. It's not always about trying to 'stick it to the man', my friend. Choice, and change, is a good thing. Embrace it.

It's called a "shower".

You must be from Europe. Offices with showers are uncommon in America.

Re:What is wrong with pedals? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46385183)

Showers are everywhere in Europe, and people use them once a week.

Re: What is wrong with pedals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46385207)

I'm not sure if what you said is good or bad. ..

Re: What is wrong with pedals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46385243)

You are *definitely* European.

Re:What is wrong with pedals? (3, Insightful)

Ichijo (607641) | about 9 months ago | (#46385629)

If you don't have a shower at work or a nearby gym, you can take what bicycle commuters call a "bird bath." Shower in the morning before you leave for work so your sweat won't smell (much). When you get to work, wait until you stop sweating, then find an empty bathroom stall and wipe the sweat off with Rocket Shower, unscented baby wipes, or a wet rag with a little soap. Then put on some fresh deodorant and a change of clothes and do your hair.

Re:What is wrong with pedals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46385843)

I'm going to post this AC, but what exactly is wrong with just sitting there and drying off naturally? How sweaty do you fuckers get, for god's sake? And WTF do you mean, "do your hair"?? Are you a fucking model or something? Actually no, scratch that, if you were a model you'd have someone to do your hair for you.

Really guys, we work for the most part in technology. If you really care, spray some deodorant under your arms and get the fuck over being a bit sweaty for ten minutes in the morning.

Re: What is wrong with pedals? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46386047)

You must be a fucking joy to work with. Actually you sound like the guy I fired because no-one could stand to be around you. You probably have no idea just how bad you smell.

Re: What is wrong with pedals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46386381)

Did you fire him because he smelled? Or because of his attitude? If the former, I hope some sort of warning was given to him.

Re:What is wrong with pedals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46386447)

I'm going to post this AC, but what exactly is wrong with just sitting there and drying off naturally? How sweaty do you fuckers get, for god's sake? And WTF do you mean, "do your hair"?? Are you a fucking model or something?

Uh no, but some of us actually use our head. You know, like when we wisely wear a fucking helmet when riding.

Unless you're sporting the Bruce Willis, helmets tend to fuck up any hair style.

Re:What is wrong with pedals? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46385289)

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,mthat should be compatible with mass transit.

The device in this story looks like it will kill bike tires prematurely.

Re:What is wrong with pedals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46386295)

Since many people are lazy and a bit afraid of the exercise required to bike to their work these solutions are good. One can start biking with it and have somewhat of a physical condition once the thing inevetably breaks or the battery dies. Then the user can continue biking without it.

Destroys the tires (3, Informative)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 9 months ago | (#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.

Re:Destroys the tires (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 9 months ago | (#46384743)

Merlin. Is that you?

Re:Destroys the tires (4, Interesting)

classiclantern (2737961) | about 9 months ago | (#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.

useless in the wet, too (2)

SuperBanana (662181) | about 9 months ago | (#46385185)

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 inexperienced cyclists brake exclusively with their rear brake, falsely believing that braking with the front brake will result in instant death/them being thrown from the bike. On bicycles with rim brakes, braking wears the edge of the rim, especially in places where it rains or snows (road sand etc.) Eventually the rim wears past the safety limit (on most modern wheels, there is a machined notch half-way on the brake track. If you can't feel it, your rim is too worn.) If you're the second or third owner and a bike is a decade old, having to replace a rim isn't unreasonable, as it's one of the wear components, just like the brake rotors on your car.

If you've got a nice hub and spokes, you can have a shop just replace the rim. Labor can start to become a factor, although a hand-built wheel is usually better built than a lot of machine-built wheels (ie what they'll pull off the rack.)

For example, if I were to destroy the rim on my bike (in a way that wouldn't have damaged the spokes), which has a generator hub to power the lights, and double-butted spokes...I would almost certainly just have the shop buy a new rim and re-lace everything to the new rim.

Re:useless in the wet, too (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 9 months ago | (#46385285)

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 truing stand.

Re:useless in the wet, too (1)

hankwang (413283) | about 9 months ago | (#46385951)

Build your own rims. It's surprisingly easy.

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

Re:useless in the wet, too (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 9 months ago | (#46386191)

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.

Re:useless in the wet, too (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46385303)

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 older, more robutst bicycle wheel designs. But on modern, lightweight, alloy designs, it as bad as sitting somebody fat on your rear pa nnier and riding around for a hundred miles. It ruins the wheel.

Even if the wheel is not ruined, the destruction of tires by the old friction drives is profound and ongoing cost tat Citibike would have to absorb somehow, probably by raising rates or forbidding these electric drives.

Re:Destroys the tires (1)

MancunianMaskMan (701642) | about 9 months ago | (#46386349)

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.

Oh dear, roller drive (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46384733)

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.............

the last thing Americans need... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46384793)

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.

Re:the last thing Americans need... (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 9 months ago | (#46384869)

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.

Re:the last thing Americans need... (1)

rally2xs (1093023) | about 9 months ago | (#46385233)

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, now around 1800 calories.

And at any rate, 20 miles to work is impossible for several reasons. #1 is I'm retired, but even if I wasn't, the roads around here are like suicide to be out on with anything that doesn't weigh 2000#+. A bike is going to be a sudden object just over a hill crest or around a turn that drivers talking on cell phones or texting may or may not see in time. If you're brave enough to ride the roads around here, you're brave enough to take a job in one of our several war zones, where the pay is really good and you probably have to ride a bike anyway unless you are military and can get issued a Humvee to use. Afghanistan for the time being, and I understand we're in Africa really hush-hush right now, too. Yeah, you might get shot at, but its still not as dangerous as riding the roads around here on a bike.

Today is a fail... I was just to the grocery, and bought a bag of fat pills (peanuts.) Will have to make up some ground on losing that pound on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Re:the last thing Americans need... (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 9 months ago | (#46385789)

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're eating more food. And eat more slowly - there's a 15+minute lag in your body's "I'm full" signal - if you eat until you feel full then you've spent the last 15 minutes overdoing it.

Wheel reinvented. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46384799)

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

Re:Wheel reinvented. (1)

gnoshi (314933) | about 9 months ago | (#46385065)

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

What a bunch of BS (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46384819)

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.

Re:What a bunch of BS (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46384843)

I don't own a chainsaw, and if I did I wouldn't want to destroy it for a bike project. I don't have a couple of days to fart around custom fabricating something that will attach to my bike. I just want to buy something relatively inexpensive that works. I don't really care if you 3D print it, or expertly extrude it from your anus.

Re:What a bunch of BS (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46384901)

The point is no one needed 3D printing for something so fucking obvious and simple it was made a hundred years ago. And it certainly never took two years and millions of dollars either. I'm just tired of the continuous cock-gobbling jizz-splash every. single. fucking. time. someone made something and then claims how radically faster and better everything is because of a 3D printer. And there's never any evidence for this except that we have to take someone's word that the human race was completely and utterly incapable of putting a fucking rubber wheel on the end of a shaft before.

Chainsaws are cheap. The other day I walked behind a warehouse and there was an electric one jammed blade-deep into an iced-over snowbank.

Re:What a bunch of BS (1)

Animats (122034) | about 9 months ago | (#46385267)

The point is no one needed 3D printing for something so fucking obvious and simple it was made a hundred years ago.

Right. The parts should be banged out on an injection moulding machine. Even the little injection moulder at TechShop could make those parts at the rate of about one a minute. Production machines are far faster. You'd have to cut aluminum dies first, which takes hours on a CNC mill, but then you can bang out thousands of parts.

Really, though, you're paying for the battery. Batteries for electric bikes costs $500 to $2000.

Re:What a bunch of BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46385273)

Even better. I saw something more radical than a roller drive and it obviously was cobbled together by someone, without millions of dollars or years of work.

Check it out [tinypic.com]

So replace the gas motor with a brushless motor and a non-exploding battery, preferably away from the crotchal area.

Re:What a bunch of BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46385653)

Except isn't this for once the actual situation 3D printing is good for, and could be championed for unlike a lot of other claims? If you are actually trying to make a product to cell, you don't want something just cobbled together from used junk sitting around. You're going to go through several revisions unless you are really good, lucky, or trusting of computer design. Whether it is because you want to work on the aesthetics, performance, projected production costs, etc., you'll go through several iterations. You're not going to get injection molds made for prototypes, you're going to get custom one-offs made. I've been both in the position of sending them off, which is costly and/or involves long delays, or machining them myself in house. CNC machining can sink a lot of time for one-offs for both software setup, and hardware setup. If you are working with the right materials and need to rapidly make new prototypes for development, that is actually something 3D printing is good for and revolutionizes... which might be why it was originally called rapid prototyping.

Re:What a bunch of BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46385669)

If it were that obvious, there wouldn't be a need to lie and exaggerate about how much it cost and how long it took back in the bad old pre-3D days. Come on, be serious.

Re:What a bunch of BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46385945)

When you have an actual company with a couple people on staff, but you send your prototypes out to be made by an external shop with a week or more lead time, and 3-4 digit prices for a single part, or 5 digit price for a pile of distinct parts, costs and time add up pretty quick... It does get easier if you are making several things at the same time though and can keep all stuff internal and busy most of the time. But a startup starting by making a single physical product can blow through money quick even without wasting money on fancy offices and luxury.

Pricey (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 9 months ago | (#46384871)

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

Re:Pricey (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46385025)

For half that I can give you a hand cooter.

Re:Pricey (1)

Delarth799 (1839672) | about 9 months ago | (#46385361)

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.

Re:Pricey (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about 9 months ago | (#46385837)

$995 will buy a lot of cab rides.

Only 12 to 20 miles? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46384915)

Whatsamatter, fattie, can't pedal for more than 5 minutes without having a coronary?

Re:Only 12 to 20 miles? (1)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | about 9 months ago | (#46385013)

Yeah pretty much. Also, being fat makes the bike way to top heavy, and I fall over a lot.

Re:Only 12 to 20 miles? (1)

rally2xs (1093023) | about 9 months ago | (#46385249)

Yep, I have a bike and 8 miles is about it. I'm too fat and not quite up to much more than 8 miles. I also have a condition in my left hip, where statin drugs attempted to devour all the muscles in the left side of my body a few years ago, and that hip gets tired waaaay early, and is uncomfortable. It yells, "I'm tired... I'm tired.... I'm tired" in my brain even walking around a food store sometimes, and I have to take it easy. There's LOTS of people with some weirdity that keeps them from performing athletics like bike riding. BTW, if you can avoid taking statin drugs, do so, as the are ing dangerous.

I expected math literacy on Slashdot. Silly me. (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about 9 months ago | (#46385383)

Whatsamatter, fattie, can't pedal for more than 5 minutes without having a coronary?

I expected more math literacy on Slashdot. Silly me.

12 to 20 miles at a top speed of 16 MPH is an hour (+-25%).

That's up and down the steep hills of San Francisco, of course, in all sorts of weather. Do you want to try it - twice a day, to and from work in rush hour traffic? (Didn't think so.)

But, it is illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46384917)

NYC has decided that electric bikes, an overall great idea, are illegal, as they are sorta "motor vehicles", and as such, don't comply with motorcycle regulations (lights, signals, VIN numbers, etc). A great idea, an interesting invention, but will get you a bitch list of tickets in NYC.

Re:But, it is illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46385081)

They have motors, and they are vehicles. They fit the literal description of a 'motor vehicle'.

Re:But, it is illegal (1)

sed quid in infernos (1167989) | about 9 months ago | (#46385167)

That's why the article says this: "For legal reasons, the ShareRoller won't engage when you're at a standstill, so I had to pedal a couple of times before I could engage the 1.0 horsepower motor with a handlebar-mounted throttle."

The law banning electric bikes [state.ny.us] does not apply unless the motor "is capable of propelling the device without human power." Here, it's not (although it doesn't sound like it needs much human power).

That still doesn't mean this is legal to use. It's possible the Citibike agreement bans (or will ban) their use. Probably won't result in a fine, but it could result in a ban. And money damages if the device does cause excess tire wear. But the general NYC ban on electric bicycles doesn't apply.

NYC legal electric motorcycle? (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about 9 months ago | (#46385427)

Here, it's not (although it doesn't sound like it needs much human power).

Yeah. The startup thing aside, after reading the NYC law I wonder how it'd handle an electric bicycle that uses some sort of strain sensor to decide how much 'assist' to give the rider. IE you could set it to 100% and it'd try to match the power the user is putting into the bike, 200% would be if you're old and out of shape, 50% if you just need a bit of assistance to get there on time/up that hill, etc...

It'd work a bit like those grid-tie solar systems that can't produce electricity at all if the grid is out.

Re:NYC legal electric motorcycle? (1)

hankwang (413283) | about 9 months ago | (#46385979)

the NYC law I wonder how it'd handle an electric bicycle that uses some sort of strain sensor to decide how much 'assist' to give the rider. IE you could set it to 100% and it'd try to match the power the user is putting into the bike

Well, it says: "motor that is capable of propelling the device without human power", so that should be legal. Here in the Netherlands, e-bikes have such a strain sensor; I think it measures strain near the back-wheel axis. And it is for legal reasons -- otherwise they would count as a moped and need a license plate and liability insurance.

By the way, e-bikes are getting rather popular in Netherlands, despite our lack of hills and bike-friendly temperatures. Still feels weird to be taken over at a considerable speed difference by an old lady sitting upright catching wind, with bags of groceries.

Re:But, it is illegal (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about 9 months ago | (#46385415)

NYC [treats] electric bikes [as] illegal [... No] (lights, signals, VIN numbers, etc).

But this box DOES have lights, as the ilustration clearly shows. Looks like it has signals, too, though that's not clear. (There are rear-facing lights, too.)

As another has already pointed out, it's designed so you have to start up manually before the motor will cut in, to make it escape the definition of a motor vehicle.

Re:But, it is illegal (1)

hankwang (413283) | about 9 months ago | (#46385985)

But this box DOES have lights, as the ilustration clearly shows.

I hope the inventor knows what he is doing regarding the lights. Designing headlights such that they are usable and at the same time don't dazzle oncoming traffic is not entirely trivial.

inflated expectations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46384977)

But 3D printing has changed all that.

Yep, 3D printing, were the per unit price is likely 10x more than other techniques and crappy in precision and limited in materials... unlike injection molding, vacforming, etc... Sure it may take 100K to setup a injection molding operation, but the cost exponentially goes down once producing starts, unlike 3D printing.

That's about right given the price point. (3, Interesting)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about 9 months ago | (#46385395)

Yep, 3D printing, were the per unit price is likely 10x more than other techniques ...

That goes well with the one-grand-plus pricetag for a device that should be selling for a couple hundred bux or less in mass production.

If this catches on I expect to see an injection-molded version closer to the price I mentioned. Either this guy will go to that as he ramps up or the Chinese/Koreans/whatever will have a knockoff out in a few months after it catches on.

Re:inflated expectations (1)

petermgreen (876956) | about 9 months ago | (#46385411)

So you start with 3D printing for your prototypes and small production runs, then if/when you get enough orders to justify it you get someone to make an injection mould.

Re:inflated expectations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46386427)

Whether 3d printing or injection molding is cheaper depends fully on the quantity. There is a break even point
Of course the real world is more complex. If you lower the price you'll sell more units. If you use an injection molding setup you assume that you'll sell more units, thus you can lower the price. If the price is lower you'll sell more units.
However, with the legal issues surrounding this (CitiBike may decide to ban them, completely stopping sales) 3d printing is probably wiser. Banks may not be lining up to finance a 100K investment that may just become a banned product.
Having said that, I don't think it would be wise to just ban them. Simply start renting electric bikes if that is what the people want. In that case the sale of this product is just free market research for CitiBike.

Lotsa hate going on here (3, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | about 9 months ago | (#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.

Re:Lotsa hate going on here (2)

swb (14022) | about 9 months ago | (#46385479)

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.

Would be useful in bike shares (2)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 9 months ago | (#46385131)

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.

Re:Would be useful in bike shares (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46385413)

Wow. Not only didn;t you read TFA, but you didn't read the summary or title either. What do you think a Citibike is, genius?

Re:Would be useful in bike shares (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about 9 months ago | (#46385439)

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.

Re:Would be useful in bike shares (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46386463)

In the Netherlands we have OV-fiets. Prices: E3.15 ($4.34) a day for a normal bike, E 7.50 ($10.34) a day for an electric bike. The normal bikes are simple (no gears, single size that is a tad small for most Dutch (way small for me), functional lights, reverse pedal braking) but I have been able to do 36 km/h (22 mph) on it for 10 km with a strong wind in my back.
So yeah, in a heavy biking country those prices are possible. Dunno about financial support by the government but they are available on most train stations. If I need to go somewhere non-standard I usually go there by train and rent a bike there.

Re:Would be useful in bike shares (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46385495)

We've had that service here in Louisville, Kentucky for 10 years now, it's called Cityscoot. It costs a little more than a cab ride does, they show up on a scooter that folds up, put it in your trunk, and drive you home in your car, then ride the scooter back. They have sponsorship deals with some bars that make it even cheaper to use. For long distance trips, they have another car follow and pick up the driver.

Why this hasn't spread to every city in the country by now is beyond me.

Re:Would be useful in bike shares (1)

advocate_one (662832) | about 9 months ago | (#46386075)

I'd far rather arrive ON a folding eBike than in one... your sentence implies the bike has folded up on them... ;)

3d printing crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46385213)

Everything I see could of been milled with a bridge port which can be bought used for 2k-4k....

Seriously? (3, Informative)

ukoda (537183) | about 9 months ago | (#46385309)

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?

Re:Seriously? (1)

Bob Hay (3461087) | about 9 months ago | (#46385545)

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 standard bike as they are more able to join traffic with their excellent acceleration. I have ridden motorcycles, bikes and own a car which now rests at home. Costs per kilometer are very low, about 2c US taking into account changing the battery every five years. Still initial cost should be about $500 to make them viable.

Re:Seriously? (1)

hankwang (413283) | about 9 months ago | (#46385987)

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.

Years ago... (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 9 months ago | (#46385323)

"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.

Re: Years ago... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46385469)

QUIET YOU LUDDITE!!!! The human race was completely and utterly HELPLESS before Bre Pettis squoze some warm plastic through a nozzle attached to a stepper motor!!!

You've been a bad boy and as a punishment you must 3D print a black horse's cock and stuff it up your bum all week.

Electric Bikes are Illegal in NYC. Kickstopped. (2)

miracle69 (34841) | about 9 months ago | (#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

Re:Electric Bikes are Illegal in NYC. Kickstopped. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46385485)

"... without human power ...", hence the device is designed to only power the bike when the operator is pedaling for the bike not to be classified as motorized scooter.

Re:Electric Bikes are Illegal in NYC. Kickstopped. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46385509)

"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 "

It's not capable of propelling the device without human power. You need to pedal a few times before it kicks in, they specifically designed it that way for this law.

Re:Electric Bikes are Illegal in NYC. Kickstopped. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46385637)

So I take it that segways are also banned in NY then?

Re:Electric Bikes are Illegal in NYC. Kickstopped. (1)

EmperorArthur (1113223) | about 9 months ago | (#46385857)

So I take it that segways are also banned in NY then?

If that's the law, then yes they are. Just because police ignore a law or even choose to break it doesn't make it any less illegal for you or I to break the law. They could even use this as an excuse to jail someone they don't like even while they're riding around on their own Segways. This is why people think that selective enforcement is basically handing police a ridiculous amount of power.

Re:Electric Bikes are Illegal in NYC. Kickstopped. (1)

Animats (122034) | about 9 months ago | (#46385853)

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.

illegal in NYC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46385481)

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

lazy much? (0)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 9 months ago | (#46385577)

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?

Re:lazy much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46385891)

A lot of people just use them to assist up steep hills and for acceleration. A human being might be able to go for a long time at a constant speed but has rather limited power output, wearing out quickly when forced to pedal harder than normal. The electric motor is the opposite, it has limited range but much higher power output so you can use it for situations that call for more power than usual without having to worry much about its range.

Re:lazy much? (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about 9 months ago | (#46386051)

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 slightly longer distances encourages them to use it even more, and as they use it more they get into better shape, and as they get into better shape their range extends even more again.

Doesn't fix the problem (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 9 months ago | (#46385695)

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

Google for: "elektrische fiets" (1)

Frans Faase (648933) | about 9 months ago | (#46386085)

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. To still have to padel yourself, but the electronics will add some extra power to it. Often these bike have a display showing you the battery status. From a first glance these bikes look like normal bikes. Both old en young people are using these kinds of bikes.

Wrong maths? (1)

lorinc (2470890) | about 9 months ago | (#46386253)

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...

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