Buy now or wait?

Sharkbait

Member
Greetings all from south florida. I am new to the forum and buying my first ebike. I have been a biker all my life from my first red bike with the hard plastic seat to dirtbikes and atvs and then motorcycles. I started out this journey when as a single parent my car broke down and I was just so fed up with car repairs, insurance (very high here in fla))...no fault ins and lots of traffic problems...fraud and accidents) and living where the weather is great so ...i decided to go electric. I started with a glion scooter which has done me very well while doing bike research. However I am now so overloaded after 3 months of watching and reading and educating myself that I am not sure whether to even buy now or not. The reasons for waiting to me, would be
1. $2000 is a lot of money and idk when im going to have that kind of cash laying around again so i feel the pressure to make a right decision...
2. Lots of bikes seem to be going "discontinued" every day and what does that mean for the person who needs parts and service?
3. Bikes are newer here in US and so much is changing rapidly....already we are seeing the 1000 watt motors and the mid drives and integrated batteries....i forsee looking back just a year and thinking how clunky these electric versions were with their big box of batteries and little straining motors and gear changing.
4. No way i would spend 5k right now for a technology that may not go mainstream (belt drive etc) and when things are changing so rapidly
5. A lot of bikes that had buzz to start ended as kind of flops like the super73 and some others (companies that ended up not being good long term ....etc)
6. Lbs here are not stellar for ebike help . The ones i have been to either have a) only 2 or 3 ebikes b) have all one brand of ebike of c) are very overbearing and know it all types i would not want to work with long term.
I was standing in the lbs looking at a bike and a guy comes in with a phanton pro something and having issues and trying to get help but they couldnt get the people on the phone......the lbs guy says " see that's what you get when you buy a bike online" . Like that cant happen to any bike....
Am i better off to buy cheaper or "affordable" like the aventon or amego now, and learn to work on them along the way and in 3 or 4 years upgrade or wait till 2020 and see what happens with mid drives and who pulls out in front as a company or will there be any difference?
 

TimJohn

Active Member
You have lots of questions and it seems lot of your own answers. Try not to over think this. I can understand why because that's exactly the way I pondered going electric as well. Its was a process. Then a decision, then the joy. I am waiting also for the market to settle on "belt" drives and hope there will be more options as the industry evolves.
 

Sharkbait

Member
You have lots of questions and it seems lot of your own answers. Try not to over think this. I can understand why because that's exactly the way I pondered going electric as well. Its was a process. Then a decision, then the joy. I am waiting also for the market to settle on "belt" drives and hope there will be more options as the industry evolves.
Yes lots of questions which is why im hesitant. There are so many options and so much change. How did you finally make a decision?
 

Greencat

New Member
I had a price limit and had an idea of type of bike. I wanted a trail bike that could do well on roads and bike trails. So fat tires didn't seem right and I didn't need a folding bike. Where do you want to ride and how will you transport / store you bike? Don't discount folding bikes if you need one. People that have them seem to have a blast.
 

TimJohn

Active Member
I bought a Tern folding bike and then converted it to electric. It has all the things I wanted in an electric bike. Belt drive, disc brakes, internal HUB gearing, 20" wheels with Apple ballon tires, and best of all it fits inside my car. It wasn't cheap. The kit was from GRIN technologies here in my city and so I just went to them and passed my credit card over. It was a painless and fun process and I am very pleased with the outcome. If you want a recommendation of what e-bike to buy, look at the RAD lineup. They have a good reputation from what I have read here and lots support. Look at the RAD city or any of their other models. Reasonable prices for their bikes. Good luck with it.
 

Sharkbait

Member
Thx for that input.
.Im looking for a daily commuter thats pretty utilitarian...so it can also haul a couple bags on the weekend either groceries or beach gear. I would ideally like it to be able to go on the beach to ride up the coast but idk besides fat tires what can do that? And fat tires wouldnt make sense daily. The beach riding and etc would be a bonus but not necessity.
Our roads here are rough and torn up, potholes and debris ....tires have to be tough and id like some confort so i dont get beat up.
A city commuter with a rack for a box of some kind or panniers would work ..i have considered the juiced ccs but worry about damage in shipping ive heard a lot about and servicing. Also a lbs here has the aventon which is light and quick and powerful but has no fenders or racks or anything. Someone suggested the amego.
I really wanna stay class 3 bc the infrastructure here isnt great for bikes so i have to be pretty quick and nimble in commuting. Then i have a bike path where i can slow down and just cruise but the roads are bad so i worry about flats and the amega has the tough tires as opposed to aventons . I considered the rad city and rover but the rover is a beast if it breaks down and cant be used without power really and the motors on both arent as zippy as i like. Im not a speed demon but we have some areas here like big unorganized intersections where u cant drag ass u gotta fly across and get there. Plus people here (i guess everywhere) look at bikes as just another obstacle to get around and are less than respectful. They assume your on a bike because you cant afford a car , etc...lots of biker stereotypes and issues but anyway.
Then i look at things like the m2s scout and these foldable bikes with fatty tires and cargo racks and get all confused.
Do i need an off road cargo bike that i can commute with, or a commuter bike i can haul and go a little off road with? Lol argghhh
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
At some point, no matter how informed you are, you have to make a leap of faith. We've all been there, and the vast majority have been very happy with their purchase - often shaming themselves for not having done it sooner. BOL...
 

Alex M

Active Member
Am i better off to buy cheaper or "affordable" like the aventon or amego now, and learn to work on them along the way and in 3 or 4 years upgrade or wait till 2020 and see what happens with mid drives and who pulls out in front as a company or will there be any difference?
I wouldn't expect a major technology break-through within a year, so - buy now.
1000W motors available doesn't mean you need them. You'll need no more than 350W motor in Florida, unless you are overweight and/or intend to carry a child or 30-40 lbs of groceries and stuff. 500W motor will be plenty and can even make you feel overpowered on unloaded bike on a flat terrain.

Bikes under $1500 (those are typically hub motors, not mid-drive) have 2 common challenges: they are not available in LBS to test-ride, and you must be able to trouble-shoot bike electrical system, at least. Some companies might go down but consider that those are "kit bikes" - they use cheap generic hub motors, batteries and controllers available online from many sources. If company goes down or discontinues some part, replacing the whole wheel from a 3-rd party online source, with motor already laced-in, costs $150-200 and isn't more difficult than replacing a wheel on non-powered bike.

Mechanical parts are either serviceable by LBS or yourself - wheels, brakes, gears etc are the same as in non-powered bikes, thousands owners are doing it, hundreds of Youtube tutorials and excellent write-ups like that by Sheldon Brown.

Consider cruisers like Amego, RAD City, Juiced, Aventon 350. I would avoid single-speed bikes or those with only one PAS level like Nakto, though $700 price could be tempting. Avoid those with battery on rear rack. I am partial to step-through frames, but this is up to you. Narrow your choice down and buy. With a leap of faith, as noted. Basically, - flip a coin, there is a limit to what can be learned through online research.
 
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Ebiker01

Active Member
Only buy from local shop when it comes to ebikes with warranty.only brand new.
Unless you aren’t an ebike noob and know how to disassemble them and fix them properly.

Or buy online and highly likely to get major negative issues.
 

jim6b

Active Member
Just a thought, your first e bike won't be the perfect bike for you because unless you have been riding an e bike you will not really know what to look for.

With that thought in mind, buying as cheap you can get away with (knowing that you will be doing self repair) has some merit IF you check up on the brand in this forum to a helpful support group for those times when you have to fall back on your old bike.

A second path you could follow is the in the "end of year clearances". lbs's need to clear their inventory/demo's and that time of year is fast approaching. You may find something on sale that can fit your general needs and that comes with a two year motor warranty. You will probably need to be flexible, but your heavy research should pay dividends in that you should be able to identify a good deal when you see it.

gl
 

Alex M

Active Member
They all have some sort of warranty. The more you pay, the more is covered - usually, though not always. With a bike under $2,000 expect labor not covered.

Parts quality in online bike under 1,500 won't differ much from LBS model for $2,000-2,500 but with discount online retailers you are on your own, some will assist in troubleshooting over the phone and email before shipping you a part, and some won't. There is not much of disassembling when it comes to electrical systems, it's a modular design, you replace the whole module - battery, controller, wire harness. Hub motors you replace together with the wheel, either shipped under warranty or bought for not too much money. Lower-cost kit bikes with hub drives are designed to be self-served. Mid drives are a different story.
 
A second path you could follow is the in the "end of year clearances". lbs's need to clear their inventory/demo's and that time of year is fast approaching. You may find something on sale that can fit your general needs and that comes with a two year motor warranty. You will probably need to be flexible, but your heavy research should pay dividends in that you should be able to identify a good deal when you see it.
I started looking for my e-bike during the winter and found that there were very good deals available. I ended up buying a Gazelle Arroyo C8 floor model for $2400, which normally runs new for $3200. I almost bought an IZip path with the Shimano STePS 6000 mid-drive new for $1500, reduced from $2400. Those kind of deals don't seem to be available now.

I asked the bike shops and one started discounting with a Black Friday sale, while the other started later.

Meanwhile, buying a standard system can probably mitigate a bicycle company going out of business or no longer supporting the bike. For example, the Gazelle Arroyo uses a Bosch motor and battery. Even if Gazelle stops selling bicycles in the US it should be possible to get service on the Bosch system and, of course, on the standard bicycle components.
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
I am also on a budget.
I bought a super 24 speed disk brake cargo bike with all the bells & whistles for $1900 including freight. Double leg kickstand 2 bags & front basket included. I carry up to 60 lb groceries & supplies & I found loading 100 lb on the back wheel left the front with only 20 lb on it on a MTB. Bad design to carry much cargo on a MTB or cruiser. The stretch cargo bikes have an extra 6" frame behind the seat to bias the rider weight to the front wheel. So plenty of capacity for cargo with cheap 26"x2.1" tires.
Then I spent $1100 converting it to electric. $300 wasted on an e-bay battery that didn't work. So, buy batteries from luna, ebikeling, californiaebike. Only.
Thing about a $189 power wheel, you can throw some stuff away and not break your budget. I ended up with the controller & throttle from the $189 power wheel, the geared hub motor from a $220 ebikeling kit. I like geared hub motor better for the many hills I cross. DD would work fine in florida. The controller from the ebikeling kit, it had PAS and the minimum speed was 11 mph, which is too fast for the pavement I have to ride on. The $189 Dd wheel used a throttle, only. So I can go as slow as I want.
You do need a drill motor & drills, a hacksaw, a vise, safety glasses, a dirty place to make hangers & frames out of aluminum angle & scrap. A crimp tool for dorman bullet or insulated spade connectors. (also 3m, ideal, panduit, T&B, connectors NOT ebay or amazon)
Cargo bikes are Yubabike, xtracycle, pedego stretch, kona ute, surly, radwagon, reiss & muller. I rode the bike left without electricity for a year before converting. If manufacturer goes belly up, the battery mount & controller are not some weird thing you can't buy anywhere. A whole 'nother power wheel + controller + throttle + crank pickup + brake handles should be under $400 even after tarriffs are imposed. You're obsolescence proof. forks have been the same width front & rear since Caesar was a corporal. 26" x 2" tires, my Mother's 1946 Firestone bike had them.
I'm short so I like the 26" tires, if you're taller you may like 700 mm or 29.5" or something taller. Also match the frame size to your body, they come in different frame sizes when you don't buy electricity.
BTW I put aluminum bars to extend my back rack so I can carry a beach chair, tying it down with string. I don't have beaches, but do go to outdoor concerts where a folding chair is handy. Brought home a 36" long roll of roofing tar paper from HD last week, fitted nicely.
 
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bob armani

Well-Known Member
I started looking for my e-bike during the winter and found that there were very good deals available. I ended up buying a Gazelle Arroyo C8 floor model for $2400, which normally runs new for $3200. I almost bought an IZip path with the Shimano STePS 6000 mid-drive new for $1500, reduced from $2400. Those kind of deals don't seem to be available now.

I asked the bike shops and one started discounting with a Black Friday sale, while the other started later.

Meanwhile, buying a standard system can probably mitigate a bicycle company going out of business or no longer supporting the bike. For example, the Gazelle Arroyo uses a Bosch motor and battery. Even if Gazelle stops selling bicycles in the US it should be possible to get service on the Bosch system and, of course, on the standard bicycle components.
FYI-Beware though that some LBS will not service your motor unless you made the E-bike purchase exclusively through them. Makes it so much more difficult for the rider to find service in the event something fails in/out of warranty.
 

Sharkbait

Member
I wouldn't expect a major technology break-through within a year, so - buy now.
1000W motors available doesn't mean you need them. You'll need no more than 350W motor in Florida, unless you are overweight and/or intend to carry a child or 30-40 lbs of groceries and stuff. 500W motor will be plenty and can even make you feel overpowered on unloaded bike on a flat terrain.

Bikes under $1500 (those are typically hub motors, not mid-drive) have 2 common challenges: they are not available in LBS to test-ride, and you must be able to trouble-shoot bike electrical system, at least. Some companies might go down but consider that those are "kit bikes" - they use cheap generic hub motors, batteries and controllers available online from many sources. If company goes down or discontinues some part, replacing the whole wheel from a 3-rd party online source, with motor already laced-in, costs $150-200 and isn't more difficult than replacing a wheel on non-powered bike.

Mechanical parts are either serviceable by LBS or yourself - wheels, brakes, gears etc are the same as in non-powered bikes, thousands owners are doing it, hundreds of Youtube tutorials and excellent write-ups like that by Sheldon Brown.

Consider cruisers like Amego, RAD City, Juiced, Aventon 350. I would avoid single-speed bikes or those with only one PAS level like Nakto, though $700 price could be tempting. Avoid those with battery on rear rack. I am partial to step-through frames, but this is up to you. Narrow your choice down and buy. With a leap of faith, as noted. Basically, - flip a coin, there is a limit to what can be learned through online research.
Good point on aftermarket or 86d parts. Also no cheapies gor me like the nakto or lectric or ecotric etc....too new or too cheap is out. Yeah, i know at some point i just have to bite the bullet it just seems like everytime i think i know what im gonna do court shows up with some new thing i didnt consider like the m2s r750 or something and im like weeellllll.....lol. I know my kids are tired of hearing the electric bike channel 24/7 😂😂
 

Alex M

Active Member
Nakto is cheap for several reasons that have more to do with a lower tier of parts than with low quality:

1) Steel frame, not aluminum.
2) Off-brand battery.
3) Only one PAS level.
4) Simple LED panel instead of LCD display, so you don't get odometer and other bells and whistles.
5) It's a straight China model, no modifications made for US market - short cranks for short people, brake and shifter levers are "backwards" (this is how it is in China), and electric horn.
Other than that, it is no different from $1500-1700 model from some US based company assembling their bikes in China.

Cheap and abundant aftermarket parts is what makes $1000-1500 bikes attractive. $2,500 bike will likely have more expensive brand of a hub drive like Dapu that will cost 3 times more to replace than Bafang because Dapu is not available from 3rd party sellers, you have to go through dealer.
 

Sharkbait

Member
I know the rover is underpowered but it is so all around. I started out thinking that was the one but after more scrutiny realized i could get a better bike id just have to take some extra risks along....smaller company, diy, troubleshooting alone, etc. Also as ive mentioned before, an already somewhat underpowered motor is only going to get more underpowered over time. So thats a concern but with rads service level i feel as if maybe in a year they would come out with a stronger battery and controller set up for the rover or i could use the bolten set up to improve later?? At least that would get me on the road with something somewhat solid and reputable and versatile. But then, am i settling ? And i used to be so impulsive lol
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
I know the rover is underpowered but it is so all around. I started out thinking that was the one but after more scrutiny realized i could get a better bike id just have to take some extra risks along....smaller company, diy, troubleshooting alone, etc. Also as ive mentioned before, an already somewhat underpowered motor is only going to get more underpowered over time. So thats a concern but with rads service level i feel as if maybe in a year they would come out with a stronger battery and controller set up for the rover or i could use the bolten set up to improve later?? At least that would get me on the road with something somewhat solid and reputable and versatile. But then, am i settling ? And i used to be so impulsive lol
Understand that even though the Rover isn't perfect, there has been a LOT of them sold to owners that are REALLY happy with them! Very few complain about a lack of power. What problems they do have (other than excessive weight claims coming from a fairly low percentage of owners) generally speaking, the bike can be customized very easily using off the shelf parts. There are so many of them out there, rarely do you hear about an issue that hasn't been dealt with a hundred times already!

Consider that even when including the price of fairly expensive mods (like the Bolton kit for instance), the bike is STILL relatively inexpensive.....
 

Sharkbait

Member
That footage in Cabo on the rads really made me want one being here at the beach. I just wonder about the ability to commute. More research is necessary there. The rad city i eliminated bc i dont need the drag of the dd here we have no real hills to speak of except overpasses, so being tough is more important than getting 10% of braking back: negligable. And the tires maybe not as tough or capable of any real off road. There are spots here where we dont even have sidewalks just a dirt path pedestrians have made. On the beach area biking is very common and i lived on the beach up until Irma and moved about 5 miles inland. Plus cost of living here on the beach has doubled in last 3/4 years. Which may not seem a lot but as u go inland the demographic changes from bike encouraging to tolerant to raging beamer commuter exponentially lol.