Best options?

I'm thinking about doing a couple tours with a fair amount of climbing in the Appalachians. My current e-bike has a 50 mile range and weighs about
50 pounds unloaded. The 50 mile range is with the bike almost exclusively in eco mode. I'm hoping to do about 100 miles/day.

1. The best solution would be to rent a second battery from somewhere for a week, but that doesn't appear to be an option. I do worry that riding in the
mountains could easily turn my 50 mile range into 25 miles or less though, which makes any 2 battery solution not such a great idea.

2. buying a 2nd battery would be about $350, I suspect. I wouldn't have much use for that second battery outside the couple times I tour. It also makes it
even harder to ride with the motor off, since a second battery adds 6-7 pounds. I do ride some with the motor off, but it's almost exclusively in first or second gear on the flats or downhill.

3. getting an e-bike with better range that also is easier to pedal with the motor off. This is the most expensive solution, obviously. I tried a Trek Domane recently.
It has better range, comes with lights, and it is easier to pedal though I wouldn't say it's as easy to pedal unloaded as a loaded conventional touring bike.
I was able to pedal on a reasonable uphill in 2nd and 3rd gear and stay close to 10 mph. In any case, the Domane's carbon fiber frame might be hard to tour with, simply because racks and carbon fiber frames
don't go together well. I would consider something like the Cross Rip, which has an aluminum frame.

There seem to be varying opinions out there about Bosch motors and drag. The Trek is Bosch and so is my current e-bike. Some say the Yamaha motors have less drag, but there's a sort of mixed verdict out there about whether or not that's actually true.

Is it realistic to get 60 miles in mixed tour and eco on hilly paved terrain and maybe an additional 20-30 miles without assistance? I figure I can recharge somewhere during a lunch break and get another 20 miles or so of
assistance.

It feels like more serious touring on an e-bike still isn't a realistic option (yes, I know some people find ways to do it) in much the same way that plug-in cars that go electric only aren't necessarily a great option for really long road trips.
 

Saratoga Dave

Well-Known Member
Can’t speak to all of it, but as for the Bosch/Yamaha drag difference, it is definitely true. I had a much loved Trek xm-700+ for two years and 6200 miles, now on a Yamaha powered Giant for the last three months and 1500 miles, and I can tell you the ability to ride without the power on was the biggest surprise of all with the new bike.

I can go three days without charging sometimes, with my normal rides being plus or minus 30 miles, mostly in Eco or unpowered. As much as I liked the Bosch system, that was just not an option before. With flat ground or any tailwind at all, the assist goes to Off - unless I have a time crunch and need to hop it up a bit, whereupon it’s Normal (which would be Tour in the Bosch language).

Make no mistake, I like them both, but for range issues there is just no comparison.

Oh yeah, and the “recharge during lunch” thing works great. There’s power everywhere once you start looking for it. On my ride across the Erie Canal on the Trek I was able to add miles whenever I needed to... half an hour seemed to equate to ten miles.
 
I'll have to try out some Yamaha based bikes. Interesting, about just finding a plug for an hour+ a couple times during the day.
 

6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
buying a 2nd battery would be about $350, I suspect. I wouldn't have much use for that second battery outside the couple times I tour. It also makes it
even harder to ride with the motor off, since a second battery adds 6-7 pounds. I do ride some with the motor off, but it's almost exclusively in first or second gear on the flats or downhill.
Buying a second battery may not be such a bad option. If you keep your current bike long enough, sooner or later you will have to replace the battery anyway. If you sell or trade, a second battery will increase the bikes value.
 
I'm not a big fan of the 2 battery thing, because the extra weight makes pedaling with the motor off even less of an option, but how far in a day have you gone with your 3 batteries?
 

Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
I'm not a big fan of the 2 battery thing, because the extra weight makes pedaling with the motor off even less of an option, but how far in a day have you gone with your 3 batteries?
80-odd miles, but with about 6500 feet of elevation gain.

The challenging factor for me is not the distance but elevation gain.
 

dblhelix

Active Member
I'm thinking about doing a couple tours with a fair amount of climbing in the Appalachians. My current e-bike has a 50 mile range and weighs about
50 pounds unloaded. The 50 mile range is with the bike almost exclusively in eco mode. I'm hoping to do about 100 miles/day.

1. The best solution would be to rent a second battery from somewhere for a week, but that doesn't appear to be an option. I do worry that riding in the
mountains could easily turn my 50 mile range into 25 miles or less though, which makes any 2 battery solution not such a great idea.

2. buying a 2nd battery would be about $350, I suspect. I wouldn't have much use for that second battery outside the couple times I tour. It also makes it
even harder to ride with the motor off, since a second battery adds 6-7 pounds. I do ride some with the motor off, but it's almost exclusively in first or second gear on the flats or downhill.

3. getting an e-bike with better range that also is easier to pedal with the motor off. This is the most expensive solution, obviously. I tried a Trek Domane recently.
It has better range, comes with lights, and it is easier to pedal though I wouldn't say it's as easy to pedal unloaded as a loaded conventional touring bike.
I was able to pedal on a reasonable uphill in 2nd and 3rd gear and stay close to 10 mph. In any case, the Domane's carbon fiber frame might be hard to tour with, simply because racks and carbon fiber frames
don't go together well. I would consider something like the Cross Rip, which has an aluminum frame.

There seem to be varying opinions out there about Bosch motors and drag. The Trek is Bosch and so is my current e-bike. Some say the Yamaha motors have less drag, but there's a sort of mixed verdict out there about whether or not that's actually true.

Is it realistic to get 60 miles in mixed tour and eco on hilly paved terrain and maybe an additional 20-30 miles without assistance? I figure I can recharge somewhere during a lunch break and get another 20 miles or so of
assistance.

It feels like more serious touring on an e-bike still isn't a realistic option (yes, I know some people find ways to do it) in much the same way that plug-in cars that go electric only aren't necessarily a great option for really long road trips.
“Fair amount of climbing in the Appalachians” is a bit vague. I am on my way back home to the east coast and am close to finishing climbs in the Pacific watershed. I am able to look at an elevation profile and estimate how much battery I will need. This is based on my particular conditions, of course — trailer, carrying x weight and so on.

I’m not near the Eastern seaboard yet, but last summer did some biking in the foothills (MD), steeper in PA and OH. I dipped into a third battery a couple of times, but not often. There was less sustained climbing as compared to my Western route, but again, this is based on very specific routes.

What I would do if possible is go for a few day trips for practice, carrying what you intend to carry on a longer trip. For example, I live in DC , so an Appalachian day trip would not be a problem. If this isn’t feasible, go for some climbing as close as possible in your local area to get a feel for how quickly the battery will drain. It can be pretty quick for a steep grade over just a few miles. I’ve caught myself thinking “wow, there went 20%” more than a few times.
 
A couple short trial rides is a great suggestion. I was thinking of maybe something like Blowing Rock to Asheville.
Back when I was in D.C., I did the C&O canal from DC to about 10 miles beyond Harper's Ferry and back on a mountain bike. It wasn't the hills, since there really weren't many. There were a couple sections of unpaved trail that really took a toll on my body. After that, I decided I didn't really need to ride to Cumberland, Maryland all that badly.
 

dblhelix

Active Member
A couple short trial rides is a great suggestion. I was thinking of maybe something like Blowing Rock to Asheville.
Back when I was in D.C., I did the C&O canal from DC to about 10 miles beyond Harper's Ferry and back on a mountain bike. It wasn't the hills, since there really weren't many. There were a couple sections of unpaved trail that really took a toll on my body. After that, I decided I didn't really need to ride to Cumberland, Maryland all that badly.
Yes, the C&O is the flat route through. The section between White’s Ferry and Brunswick (miles 35.5 to 55, right before Harper’s Ferry) is the roughest in terms of getting bounced around by tree roots, ruts etc + fallen trees after a rain. Last yearI was detoured just before Brunswick due to flooding and these are the foothills I referred to above.

You sound like you really don’t want that 2nd battery. I know Propel rents batteries out, so it’s not unheard of. No NC dealer that offers this service?
 

6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
I'm not a big fan of the 2 battery thing, because the extra weight makes pedaling with the motor off even less of an option.
Keep in mind, with extra batteries, the need for motor off pedaling is somewhat reduced. The batteries will get you the extra range.

In my case, I can get 120 miles using two 15 AH batteries with low to moderate pedal assist. That's more mileage than I'm comfortable doing in a day at my age.
 
Much of what's making this hard to figure out is the Appalachians. Probably, the only thing that makes sense is to do a day ride there; it's about
a 3 hour drive for me. If I could get 120 miles on 2 batteries, it would be a no brainer in terms of what to do.