Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to the FAQ page. The most commonly asked questions are answered below.

Have questions about the ELF and Organic Transit? If you don’t find your answer, ask us at sales@organictransit.com
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What is “electric assist”? Can I switch between pedaling and motoring easily?

An ELF can be used just like any other bike or trike that only needs the strength in your legs to make it go. What makes the ELF more fun and useful, however, is the electric motor that gives you a boost of power whenever you need or want it. You can maximize your calorie burn by just using the pedals, stay cool and comfortable by letting the motor do all the work, or any combination of the two. It’s up to you!

 

How fast does an ELF go?

According to federal guidelines, the top allowable speed using the electric motor only is 20 mph on a flat surface. ELF owners can travel faster by pedaling, some riders regularly go more than 25 mph. The ELF is designed for use under 30 mph.

 

Where is it legal to ride Organic Transit vehicles?

Under federal consumer safety law, the ELF is deemed a bicycle, and it complies with applicable federal safety regulations. We do not claim to comply with local, regional, and state usage regulations because every state and municipality can require anything they wish in regards to vehicles using their public roads.

Generally-speaking, the ELF is legal to ride wherever a traditional bicycle is legal, but this may not be absolutely true in a particular jurisdiction. Electric bicycles are a very new thing and the laws are constantly changing as new products emerge.

 

Is there room in the ELF for a passenger?

Yes! The 2FR two-seater can comfortably transport one adult or up to two children.

 

How well does the ELF perform on hills?

The ELF is designed to handle hills. The controller is programmed for high torque and the motor is geared low to maximize climbing ability. Fitness of the rider can also be a factor. We’ve climbed numerous hills in San Francisco faster than we would with a conventional bicycle and with enough reserve to do it multiple times. The pedal gearing can be optimized by using a larger or smaller rear cog on the right side of the rear hub. Any competent bike shop can do this easily for you.

 

How much power does it take to go a mile? How many miles can it go per kilowatt hour?

Power in electric vehicles is often thought of in terms of miles-per-kilowatt-hour in comparison to the familiar miles-per-gallon metric we think of for conventional-fuel vehicles. The ELF is very light and efficient and therefore only requires a half-kilowatt-hour battery in the Standard model, but the MPkWh number is still handy for comparing to similar vehicles.

The ELF uses about 29.3 Watt-hours of power to go one mile under normal conditions. That’s about 18.3 Watt-hours per kilometer.

The ELF goes about 34.1 miles per kilowatt-hour (34.1 MPkWh) or about 54.6 kilometers per kWh.

 

What is the range of the battery?

With the standard battery pack, tests have shown a 170 lb. rider going over light hills, with modest sunlight on a mild day, and travelling at 15 mph, can travel 18 miles with NO PEDALING. With pedaling, many ELF riders can go 30 miles. With a lot of pedaling, your range is infinite! The optional 15Ah battery pack increases range by 35-40%.

 

Can you extend the range by adding more batteries?

Yes. Some customers have quadrupled the standard battery pack.

 

What kind of batteries are used in Organic Transit vehicles?

Organic Transit uses high-end Lithium-ion NMC (Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide) battery packs with sophisticated battery management systems (BMS). The battery packs are imported from Germany and use the same Samsung 18650 cells that Tesla uses in its cars. Designed for long life (800 cycles), our battery packs are tested for quality and guaranteed for 18 months. The come sealed in a custom case for easy portability and all-weather use and use a standard Anderson SB50 Powerpole connector for easy connection and disconnection. The battery pack charges fully from 0% to 100% in 2.5 to 4 hours using the included charger.

 

How long does the battery take to recharge?

The standard battery pack recharges in 2-3 hours or less with the included charger. The charger plugs in to any standard wall outlet.

The standard 100W solar panel on the roof acts as a trickle charger when the vehicle is parked in sunlight. The recharge time is dependent on how much sunlight is available. With full sunlight the battery can be completely recharged in about 8 hours.

 

How easy is it to repair? Can I do most things myself or will I need a trained mechanic?

Most owners can maintain and make basic repairs on their ELF easily with common hand tools. Alternately, any competent bike mechanic will have the skills necessary to handle maintenance and repairs. We are building a network of bicycle mechanics who are qualified to work on the ELF. We will soon be posting videos to assist with common repairs.

 

Do I need a license to ride one?

According to US Federal standards, the ELF is legally classified as bicycle and is subject to the same laws and regulations. We are not aware of any current laws that require licenses for cyclists, but some states do have age restrictions for electric assisted bikes. A handful of states classify the ELF as a moped or motorized bicycle and consequently do have licensing requirements for riders. ELF riders are ultimately responsible for researching and obeying the laws in their own locales.

 

How old do I need to be to ride one?

There is no federal legal age requirement, but some states and municipalities do have minimum age requirements for electric assisted bikes. Riders are ultimately responsible for researching and obeying the laws in their own locales. We recommend that you be tall enough to reach the pedals (at least 5 feet tall), strong enough to maintain control of the vehicle, and mature enough to operate it safely and responsibly. In some areas, bicycle helmets may be required for riders under a certain age.

 

How much weight can the ELF carry?

The Standard ELF 1.5 can carry a payload of 350 lbs. This includes the rider. The Tactical ELF 1.5 can carry a payload of 550 lbs.

 

How much does the ELF weigh?

The Standard ELF 1.5 weighs about 160-180 lbs. depending on how it is outfitted. The Tactical ELF 1.5 weighs 200 lbs. with the dual battery packs.

 

What are the dimensions of the ELF?

Exact dimensions vary depending on exactly how a particular ELF is outfitted, but the dimensions are roughly 9′ long x 4’0.25″ wide x 5’1″ tall. You can get a good idea of how it compares to other vehicles by watching the videos. The ELF can comfortably fit in most bike lanes.

 

I’m relatively tall/short. Can the seat be adjusted?

The current seat configuration can be adjusted to accommodate riders between 5’0″ and 6’9″. Additional customization may be required to accommodate those shorter or taller, but it’s not impossible.

 

What size are the tires? Are they easy to change?

All of the wheels use standard sized 24 or 26″ bicycle tires (depending on the options you choose). The wheels do not even need to be removed to repair a flat! If you do want to remove a wheel, the front wheels are each held to their axle with a single bolt. The rear wheel has a conventional axle with two nuts holding it in place and, because the gearset is entirely enclosed in the hub, there is no derailleur to bother with.

 

What colors are available?

The ELF is currently available in Arctic White, Mango orange, Wasabi green or Goji red. The ELF is well-suited to customization with vinyl decals.

 

Where do I put my stuff?

The Standard ELF features a large cargo area with a locking trunk lid, a central storage box, and two extra large cargo buckets. The cargo buckets are water tight, durable and removable. You can carry groceries, laundry, a party’s worth of ice or a load of live fish! A total of 8 bags of groceries can be carried just in the back. There are also optional front parcel trays, bamboo cargo shelves and aluminum side trays that can increase cargo space and capacity. Many ELF owners design their own methods of carrying specific cargo.

 

Does the ELF have windshield wipers?

The ELF is designed to shed rainwater. In most cases, at normal riding speeds, windshield wipers aren’t necessary. Some customers like to apply a light coat of “Raincoat® Pro” to their windshields for even better results.

 

Are Organic Transit vehicles legal all across the United States?

We design vehicles that are classified as bicycles under the federal guidelines listed in 15 U.S.C. 2085(b) which state that a vehicle must have a 750W or smaller motor, and have a top speed of 20 mph when driven by a 170 pound rider on electric power only.

Some states and municipalities have created their own rules and regulations that govern electric assisted bikes and other e-vehicles that exceed the federal guidelines. As a manufacturer selling products across state lines, we obey the federal government. You should check your local rules and regulations to make sure you can use our products as you wish in your area. Wikipedia provides a useful starting point on electric bicycle laws.

 

Do the vehicles have regenerative braking?

The ELF is designed for extreme efficiency. While we all hear a lot about regenerative braking on electric and hybrid cars, regenerative braking is not effective for an ultralight vehicle with low power requirements like an ELF.

 

Can the ELF accommodate a trailer?

Most standard bicycle trailers can attach directly to the ELF or be easily modified to do so.

 

Does it come fully assembled or do I have to put it together? Can I buy a kit?

The ELF is shipped fully assembled. Each ELF goes through an extensive Quality Assurance process to ensure years of reliable service.

 

I live where there is a lot of snow and ice, are studded tires an option?

Yes! We offer 26″ studded tires on our Accessories page.

 

How do I stop someone from stealing it? Does it lock?

The ELF can be secured with a chain or standard u-lock attached to the wheel and frame in a number of locations. The motor requires a key that can be removed when the vehicle is parked. We also offer a custom ELF security cover designed by a company that makes light aircraft covers. The cover secures under the ELF, can be locked to the rear wheel, and features a clear pane that allows the solar panel to function properly with the cover in place.

 

Is there an app available for the ELF?

Yes! In partnership with Sky Highways we developed an app that uses your iOS smartphone’s GPS capabilities to show your speed, distance, elapsed time, CO2 saved, and calories burned. With continued development the app will help find bike routes, track battery power and more! Click here to download the app from the iTunes store.

 

Why are doors an option for the ELF but not standard?

The open design of the ELF helps preserve the sense of joy and freedom that is inherent in riding a bike while still offering a good deal of protection from the elements. We have ridden around in the rain and stayed quite dry. The open doors also provide an aerodynamic advantage regarding side winds. Great visibility, too!
See the optional ELF Doors here.

 

Does the ELF have a floor?

The Standard ELF 1.5 does not have a floor, nor is it necessary to keep the rider dry thanks to the fenders and shell. The ELF 2FR two-seater does come with a partial floor covering all but the pedaling area.

 

Does the ELF have a radio/sound system?

Sound systems, phone docks, mp3 player docks, etc. are optional accessories.

 

Is there financing available?

Yes! SunTrust Bank’s “LightStream” division offers financing for Organic Transit vehicles with rates starting at 5.99% as of December 2014. Please contact us regarding further options.

 

Can you ship internationally?

We have shipped vehicles to Australia, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK, but it’s not simple. Our plans are to build ELFs where they’re being sold.

 

What is Organic Transit’s warranty policy?

See a PDF of our warranty here: Organic Transit Warranty

 

Top Secret New Stuff

The Research and Development department has been very busy working in their high-security laboratory on an optional super-fat rear tire, doors, hemp seat covers, wireless front/rear cameras, automatic shifting, an integrated navigation/charge state app, and more. Sign-up for our newsletter to keep up with the latest developments as we release them.