Welcome to the FAQ page. The most commonly asked questions are answered below. If you don’t find your answer, ask us at [email protected].
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 the driver plus 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. The 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 SOLO 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?
One 16 amp hour battery will allow you to travel 20-45 miles per charge, depending on factors such as weight, speed, hills, temperature, weather conditions and sunlight, tire pressure, wheels and type of tires used, the condition of the rider, and the amount of starts and stops while riding. Two 16 amp hour batteries fit in the specially designed ELF battery compartment and enable you to double your mileage to 40-90 miles.
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 battery packs with sophisticated battery management systems. Our battery packs are tested for quality and guaranteed for 12 months. They come sealed in a custom case for easy portability and all-weather use and use a standard Anderson SBS50 Powerpole connector for easy connection and disconnection.
How long does the battery take to recharge?
The battery pack charges fully from 0% to 100% in 2.5 to 4 hours using the included charger. The charger plugs into 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. Please see our YouTube Channel and Instructional Links for helpful advice on ELF maintenance.
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 electrical 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 ELF SOLO and 2FR standard models can carry a payload of 350 lbs, though both models may be upgraded to carry a payload of 550 lbs. The Tactical ELF comes standard with a 550lb payload. Please note that payload weights include the weight of the driver and anyone/anything inside of the ELF.
How much does the ELF weigh?
The ELF SOLO and 2FR weigh about 160 lbs. – 180 lbs. depending on how it is outfitted. The Tactical ELF 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 8′10″ 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 short/tall. 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 front 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 gear set 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 ELF SOLO features a large cargo area with a locking trunk lid and two extra large cargo buckets. The cargo buckets are watertight, 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. To increased cargo space items can be stored on the CON-Pearl floorboards, which are standard features, or on the front parcel tray which is an upgrade. 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 lb 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.
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 ELF SOLO, 2FR, and Tactical include floorboards as standard features, which cover 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 5.49% as of December 2014. Please click on our Financing page for more information.
Can you ship internationally?
We have shipped vehicles to Australia, Germany, the Netherlands and the Fiji Islands. We’d be happy to work with you to arrange the cheapest and most convenient shipping.
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, hemp seat covers, wireless front/rear cameras, an integrated navigation/charge state app, and more. Sign-up for our newsletter to keep up with the latest developments as we release them.