Go For $$ Or Not?

Cowlitz

Well-Known Member
I've been riding a Rad Mini bike around for a couple of years. I'm hooked. Now I'd like to upgrade to a more comfortable, long range touring bike. I've been drooling over descriptions of the Reise and Muller double battery bikes, but I am indoctrinated to be cheap. But, I might be able to overcome that. Are they worth it? I live in the Okanogan Valley in Washington the State, which is not a bike mecca. We have a local bike shop that is open only for a few hours three days a week. I can drive 40 miles over a little mountain pass to get to a full time bike shop, or two hours to Wenatchee. Do these bikes take a lot of adjusting? Do the hydraulic brakes take a rocket scientist to repair or adjust? Are parts hard to get?

I was going to go for either a Trek Verve or a Giant Lafree, but am wondering if a bike capable of longer trips might be better. The cheap side of my brain is arguing with the other side. :)

The good thing about having a Rad is that my friend and I (we both have minis) are learning a lot about ebike mechanics and fixing stuff. I'd keep my mini for riding in the woods. It's a lot of fun to ride on the logging roads around here.

So, I guess the subject is Should I Spring For A Mercedes Instead Of A Ford?
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
Mercedes. But maybe I have a much different outlook at the age of 66. My active years are counting backwards and staying active and having pleasure doing it are my top priorities now. I had to adjust to spending $3,000 on Haibikes, but haven't looked back. I have over 2800 miles on each of those so you know, $1 per mile and so far the cost per mile continues to drop. Spent more on the Ruffian I bought last January. Now that is getting into my extravagant range, but I smile every time I get on it. Life isn't a practice run, buy it if you can afford it!
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
I'd say a suspension front & rear is worth paying for. Big wheels are much more comfortable over bumps, I'm short so I use 26" but 700 mm is available for tall people. Buy an aluminum frame that fits, not that posts in the air mini.
Hydraulic brakes, not worth it IMHO. Takes special tools to bleed in some cases and one brand takes $30 a pint special brake fluid. I've got mechanical 160 mm disk brakes & I'm fine down 15% grades if a deer jumps out. If I weighed >220 lb I'd opt for 180 mm rotors. (I'm 160 lb) I have to adjust the pad annually to keep the handle pull small enough, takes removing the pannier bag in the rear and a 5 mm wrench. No big deal. After a year and one cable end pulled off, I did upgrade to stainless coated jaguar cables and jaguar brake housing for less drag: from modernbike.com or thebikepartsstore.com
Long trips doesn't require a premium e-bike, it requires a nice regular bike, a motor kit, & two huge batteries and a quick swap setup. You say you're handy, buy some 12 ga wire, some dorman bullet connectors at the auto supply & a 8.3" klein or ideal brand terminal crimp tool. Make some connections. Try to pull them off. (you have to peel back a few strands to fit 12 ga in blue connectors). No, no copper showing out the insulator, you're ready to wire a hub motor kit. Match the wire colors. Make red & black battery connection opposite sex so that you can't install the battery backwards in the dark.
My battery mount is aluminum angle from the home store, connected with 10-24 stainless screws and elastic stop nuts from mcmaster. Mounts to frame on the front basket mount bosses, in the front to balance my loads. Will swap in about 8 minutes with two 7/16" combo wrenches on the 1/4-20 screws. A second battery would fit in the pannier, carried low. 5 mm frame screws & 6 mm mount screws would work too if you have a lot of import stuff.
Voila, you have an 80 mile range bike you paid $3500 for instead of altogether $6000 premium model.
My limit on ride duration is my hips, they get tired of sitting. I already have a wide comfy seat, am exploring options to put a comfy foam cushion on it. Fat melted off my hips instead of my belly, blah.
 
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DouglasB

Active Member
If you have money to spend and enjoy spending it on high end products that are slightly beter and more expensive, I'd say go for it. There is some satisfaction in that. Don't get me wrong, the Reis Muller makes a great bike but I know, I personally would live to regret it, knowing that there were bikes almost as good for a lot less money, that I would have been perfectly happy with. Call me a cheapskate but fortunately or unfortunately, being poor most of my life has made me look at every purchase I make in terms of value. Maybe you are the sort of person who simply has to have the best, or your not satisfied? If that's the case, I'd say go for it but there are a many excelent bikes out there to be had for a lot less money that will give you what you want and that you can be proud to own.
 

Captain Slow

Active Member
It sounds like where you live that learning how to do your own repairs and maintenance is a must! Adjusting hydraulic brakes is very easy, not much harder than putting air in your tires. Lots of videos on youtube will show you how to work on your bike.

As far as how much to spend on the ebike, that's a difficult question to answer because everyone has a different situation and different priorities.

I would suggest consider how often you would use the bike. If you're not using it much then I would say don't spend much, or just keep using what you have.

It sounds like the reason to get a new ebike is that you want to do longer trips. If that's the case then buy a bike suited to that purpose and the R&M are nice in that you have dual battery options. Of course for other bikes you can simply just carry the 2nd battery with you.

I ride a fair bit so I'd be comfortable buying a mid-end to upper mid-end bike, but that's me. Part of my justification is that I commute to work by bike and it's a lot cheaper than driving, plus it gives me exercise. So I have no problem spending more than the average person would.

Here's a tempting thought. It sounds like you live in a remote area and you want to do trips so long range would be great. Would you ever go for a really high end ebike, or in this case a trike. Check out the Outrider trikes, massive power, enormous batteries and they can be recharged quickly. You could do some amazing trips on a high end Outrider. They are very expensive, but they are so nice. I might get one when I retire and do long trips on one.
 

Rodolfo

Member
Mercedes is a premium brand because the company has been making high-quality, worthy vehicles for many years. There are no e-bike manufacturers that can say anything like that to merit a big premium. That Rad Mini was a great deal (for an e-bike) and has been good to you, right? Keep that personal experience/knowledge up front in what you and your friend are learning.
 
Hi Cowlitz, you listed two bikes that seem to be in different categories, a cruiser and a hybrid. Riding styles would be very different for both bikes. I think it's important to consider the riding style, how much you want to rely on motor vs human power, and the efficiency you are looking for when riding a longer distance. And, it all comes down to personal preference, as a bike perfect for me might not be for you. For example, if I had a cruiser style bike like the LaFree, I would be using the motor a lot more because the way I ride my legs feel really weak in a cruising position and I can't generate much power on my own. I have a hybrid (Giant Explore) which looks like it is similar in geometry to the Verve, and I can ride it using more of my own power than I could a cruiser.

Some people are the complete opposite, where they feel more comfortable sitting straighter up and can ride longer distances, and in that case the LaFree would be a much better choice for them.
 

WilliamT

Active Member
I would just buy a trailer and hook it up to the Rad-Mini. Then throw a second battery in the trailer along with a cooler bag and some drinks. Just from my experience, you can carry more in a trailer than you can with 2 panniers.
 

Cowlitz

Well-Known Member
Cowlitz you know you cannot take it with you when you die. I am long over the sticker shock and now have only daily pleasure. I also love my upgraded hydraulic brakes with 203mm Ice tech rotors and Kool Stop XTR pads. They passed the 3 ski-hill test with flying colors.
That's what my riding friend tells me. Hmmm I take it that you were going down the ski hills? Our local hill has cows grazing on it and a mud bog at the bottom. Anyhoo, I need to go test some bikes. I find that on my old mountain bike, my wrists don't like the way I have to sit. On the Rad, my hands go numb. There's got to be something out there.
 

DouglasB

Active Member
That's what my riding friend tells me. Hmmm I take it that you were going down the ski hills? Our local hill has cows grazing on it and a mud bog at the bottom. Anyhoo, I need to go test some bikes. I find that on my old mountain bike, my wrists don't like the way I have to sit. On the Rad, my hands go numb. There's got to be something out there.
Numb wrists can be caused by a number of things. Some of it is the pressure of leaning over on your hands and pinching a nerve. Sometimes it's the angle of your wrists and forearm. I'm prone to having it, with all the abuse I've given my body over the years. On my motorcycle I solved the issue by placing a soft foam sleeve over the end of the grip, making it larger in diameter and softer. Worked great. On my road bike I mostly ride up on top of the bars with a thumb over the shift/break lever and the angle of my wrist so that it's in what would be considered a neutral position. Neutral just means that you aren't going out of the normal range of motion for that joint. The joints don't like repetative action, especially when they are even slightly out of their normal range. Things like how wide your handle bars are can have an effect as well as how high or how low the bars are. I couldn't tell you how to adjust your's but there are lots of how too videos on bike fitting. I found that on my, upright, E-bike that cutting a couple of inches of the ends of the bars, lowering them and adding Ergon3 grips helped a lot. The Ergon 3 grips have horns that give you a secondary place to move your hands to. Changing up your position is a big help. I also spend some time shaking out my hands for relief, every couple of miles. What was once intollerable is now just a slight nusiance.
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
I find that on my old mountain bike, my wrists don't like the way I have to sit. On the Rad, my hands go numb.
I had the same problem with my $75 Pacific mountain bike, along with the problem of it throwing me over the handlbars onto my chin. You don't see cruisers in the charity resale shop, except single speed rust piles from the fifties. The hand numbness was better with my wrists parallel to the road edge on a 3 speed WT grant bike, which I otherwise hated because the speeds were high, rediculous, and you've got to be kidding!!! WT grant rim brakes were useless in the rain, also. So I dropped $2000 on the cargo bike left with the turned back handlebars. Made for small people, not for everybody. I have 28" pants inseam and short arms, too.
I've got pool floats over rubber grips on the handlebars and my hands still go to sleep. But not nearly as fast as they did on the mountain bike. On relaxed back roads I can let one hand let go at a time. Be nice if I could ride without hands, but ALL 26" bikes I looked up had the same trail on the front wheel, which is IMHO not enough. I remember my Mother's 1946 Firestone 26" cruiser that could plow through potholes or across railroad tracks with no hands with no instability. These racers with their quick steering fantasy have messed up the whole industry. Talked to some custom frame makers and noone was willing to make a custom front fork with more trail for more straightline stability.
 

Camac

Active Member
A retired lawyer once gave me the best free legal advice ever. "At our age a dollar saved is a dollar wasted". So I went out and spent 8k on a Bulls Embt. Haven't done any 'touring' as such on it but have done a lot of long day trips. Every 6 to 8 weeks I go over to the Whakarewarewa Mountain bike park which has just been voted as one of the 6 best mountain bikes parks in the world.
Hydraulic brakes, don't even consider anything else.
Hands and wrist problems; get your Lbs to fit you to the bike. You don't want to be leaning too far forward and putting too much weight, though your wrists. onto the handlebars.
 

DouglasB

Active Member
A retired lawyer once gave me the best free legal advice ever. "At our age a dollar saved is a dollar wasted". So I went out and spent 8k on a Bulls Embt. Haven't done any 'touring' as such on it but have done a lot of long day trips. Every 6 to 8 weeks I go over to the Whakarewarewa Mountain bike park which has just been voted as one of the 6 best mountain bikes parks in the world.
Hydraulic brakes, don't even consider anything else.
Hands and wrist problems; get your Lbs to fit you to the bike. You don't want to be leaning too far forward and putting too much weight, though your wrists. onto the handlebars.
Odd thing is, my wrists are much more comfortable on my road bike where I'm leaning down and forward. On my E-bike I'm sitting upright with little forward weight but that's the bike I have the wrist problem with. I'm still trying to figure that one out.
 

Cowlitz

Well-Known Member
I do figure if I'm going to spring for a spendy bike, it had better fit. I had trouble with hands, wrists and neck on a road bike. Then got my mountain bike and had those handle extension things put on it so I could move my hands around. There's too much stuff on the handlebar of the Rad to put those on.
 

Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
Check out the sticker price on this acoustic road bike. It makes an R+M seem like a bargain.
There really is an abundance of high-end acoustic bikes in the $10k+ range. If you consider high-end custom bikes where the unpainted frame might cost $4000 and you can slap $1500 wheels on that frame the prices get ionospheric pretty fast.
 

DouglasB

Active Member
You'd have to be a full time, professional cyclist to apreciate it. I have a $3,200 road bike that is carbon, except for the rims. Great bike and worth every penny but there comes a point of diminishing returns. Same reason I don't buy $150 bottles of scotch.
 

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steve mercier

Well-Known Member
I once paid $100+ for a bottle of wine simply out of curiosity. I am no expert but it was not appreciably better than a $35 bottle and I would not do it again. However If someone gave me that 12k bike I would give it a very long tryout ride before I sold it. After all it is light as a feather. Your Trek looks pretty sweet too. Do you still ride it often?
 

Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
You'd have to be a full time, professional cyclist to apreciate it. I have a $3,200 road bike that is carbon, except for the rims. Great bike and worth every penny but there comes a point of diminishing returns. Same reason I don't buy $150 bottles of scotch.
Dude I can find single bottles of scotch that cost more than your bike.

And $3200 isn't really high end for a bicycle. And if you were to ride one of the high-end Breadwinner or Stinner builds for a couple of hours you would probably begin scheming furiously over how to buy one.