Use this space to cheer the creator along, and talk to your fellow backers.
Have a question?
If you would like to post comments about your experience with you4 ELF--or entire reviews--I suggest the Bent Rider Online (BROL) message board (http://www.bentrideronline.com/). There are many folks over there who are interested in the ELF and they are more knowledgeable about trikes than anybody else I know of.
Are any others shipping yet?
An unofficial ELF Owner's Facebook page already exists (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Organic-Transit-Elf-Owners/430731660347925…) and we are planning space in our new website where ELF owners and would-be owners can get connected. So much is happening!
My ELF is coming soon. I would love an easily accessible central place to post my experiences and read about others. Could a high techie who thinks like a low techie come up with a suggestion please. How about a place on Organic Transits website?
That's great news! Is there somewhere I can read about the new owners experiences with their Elfs?
The ELF has left the building! Yes, we are officially shipping. Huzzah.
Have the Elfs begun to ship yet?
hOW IS THE PRODUCTION SCHEDULE GOING FOR THE FIRST 25 ELFS?
George, Oh well, I miss the old Facebook groups from a few years ago. I had created a group proposing a better public transportation concepts in my part of Montreal a few years back. It grew to more than 1700 supporters but I lost all their contacts in the span of one day when they restructured group pages on Facebook. Now, neither pages nor groups seem to work as well as the old group pages used to.
I am looking forward to discussing elf issues on the new page though. As I have spent more than 20 years teaching and promoting environmental issues, I am looking forward to both using it to travel to work daily as well as a demonstrator of alternative methods of transportation.
Thanks Patrick. Yes, I did that. But apparently it only becomes visible to those who are members of the group. Apparently one must be invited to become a member of a group. I have no one's email to invite folks to become members.
Hi George, for the group to have been visible to all you would have needed to click on the snowflake like icon (probably called parameters in English, sorry mine is in another language) to the right of the page. Then, in the parameters, you have the option of making it visible to the public or keeping it invisible to the public.
For your info, the group has the advantage of keeping all informed of comments posted by others and of posting them all in a visible manner on the group's page and by sending an email to participants (who want to) as well. A page gennerally posts the comments of the moderator(s) while the posts of the people who like the page stay listed in a box on the page. No emails are sent to those who like a page and the moderator cannot quickly send a message to all. A page is intended to have la large audience while a group aims to have only up to a few hundred people.
Sorry. I have been out of pocket for a few days. I have now tried setting up "Organic Transit Elf Owners" as a page, instead of a group. Perhaps this will work better. Thanks.
George, I cannot see your Facebook group either. I think it is a great idea.
Has anyone else had trouble joining George Chave's Facebook group (Organic Transit Elf Owners)?
Here's a link to another article with a couple more tidbits for us anxious future ELF owners.
Eventually this page will disappear. If you would like to continue having a conversation I have created a facebook group:
Organic Transit Elf Owners
(type it into you facebook search and sign up)
Thanks Steve Loar that was a great article and a good find of yours.
I can think of other great reasons for getting an ELF.
For instance Active Travel as two thirds of U.S. Adults are obese (I admit that I am -currently 230 pounds about 50 to 60 pounds over ideal BMI).I am persistently trying to lose weight though through cycling and feel much healthier now than a year ago.Also excess body weight can cause future health problems and humans need exercise.
An article on this.
I got rid of my car over a year and a half ago and need an alternative car substitute like the ELF though I currently ride a Veltop equipped electric bicycle and have a bike trailer it's somewhat awkward.Really for what I spent since last year on my bicycle I would be slightly over half way towards getting an ELF.
Another great reason the ELF really is a savior of the future personal transportation wise for single occupancy.Those with Internal Combustion Engine vehicles will be in very dire straits in the decades to come.
Post Peak Oil
A great documentary on this -one of my favorites on YouTube and explains the upcoming dangers (other than the other problems like current disastrous anthropogenic climate change,ocean acidification through excessive CO2 greenhouse gas emissions etc).Economies and nations might likely collapse.
HI All, This link just came up to a news story about Rob and Alix at CeBit:
If you look at the photos, you will see two chains going to the rear hub.
I think most people who take a risk (the backers in this project as well as OT and their people) are patient...and of course everyone wants to get it "right." [Well, let's face it, there will be problems---hopefully minor ones---that is simply inevitable]. When I made the commitment to purchasing one back in November, I did ask myself, can I lose this amount of money if the whole thing goes belly-up? And when my girlfriend said back in December, "let's fly out in early March and pick it up" I said "uh, yeah, I would interpret March as meaning sometime before next Fall." (I am an optimist with some experience in being an early adopter.) It appears that OT is really making remarkable progress, and that is very exciting and promising. However, several people have posed questions about ordering upgrades. While Alix's reassurance that everyone is working hard (I don't doubt it) is good, I wonder if Alix would offer a similar reassurance on the question of upgrading (for me, in particular, the solar panel)?
Mr Cotter & ELF team,Thanks for the update.Patience,indeed is a virtue.Any delays are inconsequential since the final product will well be worth the wait.Buying a new comb and hair pomade to "spiff up" when I get and begin wearing my OT tee.(will probably sleep in it as well to the accompaniment of my ELF dreams)The photos are great.Looking forward to test-driving in Durham in Apr.I'm on list to buy,not KickStarter.
Know the pressure on you folks is intense.Persevere .Your unwavering booster in Seattle, Rick Bach
Great to see the pictures of the partially assembled Elfs on fb today. I shared it, and mentioned mine would be coming in a month or two (God willing and the creek don't rise). Several friends want to buy one (and, of course, I said they could take it for a test ride when it arrives). Gas prices not such a big deal to me as I ride my bike most places. Imagine what gas prices would be without massive subsidies.
Remember gas is $4.00 per gallon and summer is not even here yet. John.
In my case it is worth waiting for the beta testing to conclude and last minute bugs to be worked out. Have a question about a possible upgrade on tires. Not being mechanicly gifted, I fear flat tires. Is it possible to pay extra for the best flat resistant tires available?
Alsi I plan to carry around a copy of PL 107-319 to avoid confusion of what kind vehicle the Elf is. Thank you Steve for the research.
I know you are getting anxious with March only a few short days away, but we want to make sure you are happy with your ELF when you get it, so please be patient as we add the finishing touches. Believe me, everyone in the shop is eager to fulfill your orders, and is doing everything possible to make it happen.
Alix and the OT team.
yeah. since alix posted 5 days ago about "betas rolling out the door" 5 days ago, i would be surprised if they start shipping anytime soon. on the other hand, it looks like frames and side panels, and several other components aren't going to be altered, so perhaps whatever tweaking might be involved (seat type, adjustment,...) will not be too time consuming. i would think organic transit will want to make its kickstarter supporters happy---positive word of mouth will be far more important than all the national media attention they are garnering. If, however, social media sites start getting grumbling reports from early adopters other potential buyers will think twice before putting deposits down. so I am guessing getting upgrades (Better solar panels, extra battery pack) will not be a problem.
I am glad to see others who are so excited about the upcoming arrival. I was told it will likely be late in March :-(
There are so many things to learn about the ELF, all the videos show it in different configurations, what will mine be like? I too am wondering if we will have a chance to customize our options. It may be that they won't be able to accommodate that with the Kickstarter packages, we'll see.
I live in a small town in New Mexico and I anticipate absolutely no problem with the bike vs. vehicle issue. We have one guy riding a Segway on the streets all over town and parking on sidewalks. Another guy has a pedal car (Rhoades Car I think). And I rode a YikeBike around town for a year. The police just nodded as I went by.
Some tech savvy type ought to set up a place for us (we owners) to share our experiences with our new ELF's (or would that be Elves).
Its four days prior to estimated shipping month. When will we receive the shipping charges and have a chance to order an extra battery and the upgraded solar panel? Looking forward with enthusiasm.
people will be so gobsmacked by your wee little Elf that they will likely not give you too much guff. if you see a cop car nearby, just make sure you are making pedaling motions and smile and wave "see officer, it is just a bike that goes kinda fast." as for insurance, i might think about getting a special rider (no pun intended), like one might get for jewelry or expensive musical instruments---although frankly I agree with your wife, just tell them it is a bike. 4k is not an unusual amount for bicycles these days.
Hi All, Later yesterday I realized that I made errors in my last post. I have been trying to figure out how the ELF will be treated by Mass laws and the implication of the 2002 federal electric bike law.
Below are links that I found useful:
It seems that the point of the federal electric bike law was to define electric bikes that meet the guidelines as products regulated by consumer laws. The effect of this is to prevent states from calling these vehicles “motor vehicles” which would then require the manufactures to meet a different group of safety standards on the products sold and open them up more liability.
So the ELF is a bike federally, and you definitely need to review your individual state regulations because each state can regulate how bikes are allowed to be used in the state. In general bikes have been covered under your home owner’s policy for theft and your general liability so you did not need special insurance to limit your exposure. However, you may find as I did, that a “low speed electric bicycle” may fall into a gap in your insurance coverage and you can decide if you want to find a policy to cover the gap. Based on my review of our state laws it seems that the “low speed electric bicycles” have not been specifically addressed. These bikes seem to fall into a gap in definitions and are likely bikes. The other option in our regulations is an unregistered motorized scooter. The only problem with the motorized scooter definition is the requirement that motorized scooters comply with federal motor vehicle safety standards for which the ELF is specifically exempted.
HI again, I must be obsessed. I just stumbled onto HR727, the Federal electric bicycle law. ELF is a bicycle in all states in the United States period. I think what threw me off was remembering a comment in fhe OT faq that said you'd need to check your local laws for any variations. I now think that comment was intended for international customers.
The federal electric bike law passed about 10 years ago under Bush. If an electric assist bike meets the law's criteria. A state can not pass/enforce any more restrictive laws.
HI All, I think I've just figured out my vehicle classification problem in MA. I think ELF may really be a bike in Massachusetts. I got my initial impression that ELF was a motorized bike from the WIKI link that was mirrored by the language in our "rules of the road" booklet in January. However, I just did some looking at the moped registration forms for Mass today and it asks for a VIN number. If I understand OT correctly, we will get a serial number, not a VIN. The reason ELF does not have a VIN is that it is governed by consumer laws, not the DOT.
That reasoning lead me to really study our Moped registration form. Mass has 4 requirements for a moped listed on the form; 1) has a cylinder capacity of no more than 50 cc - Yes, 2) has an automatic transmission - NO, 3) is capable of a maximum speed of not more than 30 mph - Yes, and 4) complies with all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards - NO?
It's funny, when I get further into their registration form, you must mark a check box for yes on the first 3 requirements above and there is no check box to confirm that it meets requirement #4.
Also, I don't think early on I was paying enough attention to the automatic transmission requirement. Electric assist will always be available on this vehicle, but the control of he gearing is definately manual.
So my lesson learned for all of you who may be in a similar situation is to go to your state's website and look at the actual registration form for a moped to make your determination. The other thing I learned is that if it was a moped without a vin, I'd have to apply for a new vin before i could complete the moped registration.
I will call my insurance agent back next week to fill him in. I may need to get a seperate policy for the ELF if we can't get around the exclusion for bikes with motors on our home owners policy.
Hi Jonathan, Thanks for the link on bike ins. It will be my backup up plan. My wife thinks I told the insurance agent too much. Should have just said we are getting a moped and wanted to insure it, instead of telling him it was an new product.
Hi Steve Loar I did see a Bicycle Insurance Blog
I see some comments below with some links on that blog.
It looks like Clipp insures my state (Washington) with bicycle insurance so I'll have to check that out.
I am lucky with my states bicycle laws as we are even allowed up to a 1,000 watt electric motor so no problem with the ELF in my state that I could see.
HI Again, New topic. Just got off the phone with our insurance agent. I called him a month ago when we signed up for the ELF to ask about adding it to our coverage. He has not found a company willing to insure it yet (thinking about liability and theft). He said bikes can get picked up by our homeowners policy, but that there is an exclusion for motorized items. There is also a moped endorcement but for some reason that is not working here. I'm thinking I'll have to register it in Massachusetts as a moped due to state law. He said since it's so new it may take awhile for the companies to catch on. Has anyone had any luck with this?
HI All, Just elaborating on Alix's comment on CeBIT. Convention is Mar 5 -9. Started as a information tech convention. Think it's the largest in the world. The Code_n is a competion for ingenious, energy-conserving solutions. Last year's winner was an app for making taxi reservations. Best wishes on success. Market for ELF is great in Europe, India, China, others with high energy cost and 3rd world. (Chinese knockoffs will be a drag) This will get them great exposure. I've seen prices for velomobiles in Europe 4 to 10 times higher than ELF in US. Isn't the Twike about 40K. ELF could really fill a hole in that market.
Hi everyone, Alix at OT here. I just want to check in and tell you that things are moving along quite nicely here at the factory. Sorry we haven't posted a lot, but 99% of us are busy building all day every day, and the remaining 1% are trying to stay on top of all the hundreds of other things that make a business go. That said, here's what's on tap for the next two weeks:
1. First person video of our chief mechanic taking the ELF on a 23 mile round trip journey, including busy streets and even an unpaved road (hoping to get that up on YouTube tonight or tomorrow).
2. Betas, betas, betas -- they are rolling out he door and we can't wait to get feedback.
3. The ELF in Germany! We are headed to CeBIT - the world's largest IT trade show, as a finalist in the Code_n competition (wish us luck)
4. If you haven't seen it, check out this piece on CNN: http://www.hlntv.com/video/2013/02/11/solar-powered-trike
That's all for now. Thanks for reading!
Hi All, I ran across a couple of items that were published last year that I had not seen linked to the OT face book page. I had been googling Organic Transit Elf, but his time did Rob Cotter Organic Transit.
The first is a radio interview with Rob from 12/21/12 on the local NC public radio station WUNC. It runs about 11 minutes. In it Rob says they have preorders for hundreds of Elfs.
The second is an article in the Times News.com from October 23, 2012. It is about an interview with Brent Alexander. You get a feel about how the development was coming in the fall. In it Brent says that the ELF can maintain 20 mph on a 20% grade. I hope he means up rather than down the grade.:
Sounds like a number of us are carefully watching all the videos to try and figure out what we are getting. It certainly isn't easy as the ELF keeps developing right before our eyes. I expect that I won't know what I'm getting till I get it.
Like many others, I am in the first round of Kickstarter supporters. And I am anxiously waiting - what fun!
Thanks Steve Loar I saw the recorded video.Also I full screened it and then took some screenshots at various points in the video to examine the motor and drive chain.Looks to me like they are using a NuVinci 360 in one segment (without the cabling hooked up) but it also looks like the 750 watt hub motor has a gear on it and looks to be in the drive chain in front of the back wheel from a segment that has Rob Cotter riding it.That would give it a similar effect to a mid drive system.I've seen where some electric bike enthusiast customizers have installed a hub motor with a gear on it in the chain system effectively making it a mid drive system..At least this is my opinion so far.
Yeah I saw the video ( Experience the ELF from the driver's seat) where the shift system of the NuVinci CVT was on the left side on their Organic Transit Youtube page.
I think that the NuVinci 360 CVT is well worth the extra additional cost though it would probably be a good idea to get some tire liners (extra flat tire prevention) and perhaps Kevlar or even the rarer but better steel belted bike tires as changing a flat tire with a NuVinci CVT would be more difficult than with a regular freewheel 3 speed cog system.Also the upgraded Solar power charging system is well worth it too.
I could see getting additional battery packs for more powered range
Hi Jonathan, I've been watching all the videos on the web, no cable tv. All are linked to Ot's facebook page. I get to it by clicking "contact us" at the bottom of ot's home page. The contact page has a link to their facebook page where you can see the links to all the news and videos. I hope you have good internet. My mother is on dial up because of her rural location so I understand it can be frustrating.
I also have been waiting to learn more about how the elf drive train works. I have seen comments in some of the reports that they are working to protect their intellectual property. I have been thinking that and the continued refinement of the design are reasons for delaying providing more information. One report said their sales forcast for 2013 has changed from 300 to 1000. The wral report said the have currently about 70 sold.
I finally got my steering question answered on one video. I saw a linkage between the two front wheels at the top of the steering assembly behind the top frame piece that connects the two sides just in front of the handle bars. Looks like I'll be able to steer one handed. I'll have to decide which control is needed. Looked like shift is on the left and throttle is on the right.
Hello Steve it's great hearing your responses.No,I unfortunately missed those programs though I tried to watch them on the specified times.Good that you and some others caught it though.Even if the motor doesn't use the mid drive configuration enabling the motor to use different gears or the NuVinci CVT,750 watts or around one horsepower is fairly beefy for a motor with a good amount of torque.
I suppose one could add a secondary Cyclone electric bike kit (mid drive) from Taiwan as a modification though.I hope that later they do incorporate a mid drive motor or perhaps on later models someday.
This certainly doesn't dissuade me from getting a ELF ASAP perhaps in a couple years from now or earlier if they have financing.
Hub type electric motors incorporated in the wheels do have advantages over a mid drive type like when a chain or freewheel pawl breaks under stress/age.
I've had this happen on my electric bike last year and the hub motor propelled me home on level terrain when my pawl broke and I couldn't pedal.I did have to get off and push the electric bike up a hill though as it only had a meager 250 watt assist motor.One unanswered question though is that there are two types of hub motors either direct drive or those that use planetary gearing (more efficient,freewheels without resistance but has a lesser lifetime).I myself prefer planetary geared motors.
Another way to use a motor is like what's on the Curry Trailz electric bikes. with a separate chain to the motor and wheel.It's still somewhat of a mystery though and I'd still like more details on the ELF and it's electric motor/drive system
Did you see the video for "start small, think big", it shows a motor that is round like a hub motor, but not the mount and I didn't see spoke holes. It also shows the main frame with the rear wheel operated with the crank by chain. I was wondering how they incorporate the motor. The WRAL video has a view of the cockpit from the front to back. You can see the chain to the hub, but you can't see the motor. You can see the rear wheels in both videos and I do not see a hub motor on the rear wheel.
I got this response when emailing Organic Transit
Thanks for your interest. We are using a hub motor on the current model, but that is something we continue to experiment with as we move into production.
I don't how they use a hub motor with a NuVinci 360 CVT hub though.
I just saw the article on WRAL. Congratulations, from a fellow North Carolinian!
That HUD is way exciting. I wonder if we will have it as an option on our Kickstarter models. I am so excited as March draws near. Has anyone gotten a shipping estimate yet?
I will be returning from the Middle East in June so I picked from the last group of Elf's to roll out. I had always wanted a Velo car and I had been putting together a list of what I would need to make one from preexisting materials, Like a Catrike, Veltop, and Bionx motor but the price was pretty high. I came across an article in Bentrider about the ELF and I instantly fell in love. It literally was everything that I had dreamed of. Solar, electric, covered, amazing. I am very excited to come home and give it a ride to work.
Hi All, I've been enjoying the comments this past week. Thanks helping satisfy my need for elf talk. I hope we get more people to respond over the next months. Maybe OT will collect some buying feedback in their process to aid marketing. We don't have cable so I am also waiting for an online video posting to watch the "start small think big" segement. I heard that the comment section in kickstarter will eventually close after the backer premiums are finished so we will have to find a place to go. It would be great if OT could eventually host a forum site linked to their web page. I have been thinking about how the elf will drive. At a traffic light change, I imagine putting it in low gear and using most of the electic assist and once the motor gets to full rpm, then rotating the shift into higher gearing as the elf accelerates. Some where in the process I'll start peddling till I get to speed. I have thought there may be some tweeking we may want to do to get a peddle speed that works best with the tork and rpm range of the motor. Not sure how much that varies with different riders. Not sure how easy it will be to adjust the gear ratio between the motor and the drive train. I'm also hoping OT will eventually have a site where we can buy OT mechandise, parts and upgrades. Just getting this out before the big blizzard we are expecting to start this evening in case we loose power.
Steve Loar here is a good article on mid drive motors.Also a great review site too of electric bikes.Would love to see an article on the ELF there as well.Again I am not sure if the ELF uses a mid drive motor but I think it's likely it does.
Also I too like Jay Daniels tried to see the Raising America program and missed it on the later News Now show.Dang.
I believe the times are correct but the names of the shows may not be..... Raising America is a show about bringing up our kids.... Nothing to do with business or the environment... Original message said 2:00pm EDT but Raising America ran from 12:00 noon until 2:00pm. So after watching the earlier show.... I just figured it had to show at the top of the hour as stated. Hope this helped???
I guess I missed it completely then. The latest update didn't mention anything about News Now. Hopefully I'll catch it on the other channels. Are the other advertised channels/times correct?