How do you define the ideal electric touring bicycle?

JRA

Well-Known Member
#42
Having used both seatpost mount moto trailer, converted kid rig, and dropout mount the latter handles far better. But for just dragging it unpowered both are fine.

Check out the Burley Coho, it might have adapters for 12mm?
 
#43
The more I think about it, the more my options lean toward bike manufacturer's in the Netherlands and Germany: Santos, idworx, velotraum, Tout Terrain and the already mentioned above Koga and Rennstahl bikes... This comes from the perspective of a long-distance tourer and a bikepacker on the lookout for an almost fool-proof, over-engineered round-the-world travel bike... Santos and idworx, especially have some nice entries... Lately, I've been looking into idworx which seems like an excellent idea... Look at this beauty:



https://www.idworx-bikes.de/product/opinion-blt-e

Full specs [pdf]:

https://www.idworx-bikes.de/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/oP_BLT-E_1.0_18_10.pdf

Tests [just use Google Translate extension in your browser to read]:

http://www.sintchristophorus.nl/test-idworx-opinion-blt-multi-spec-e-bike/

If you speak dutch;)





Why I like it???

Pinion drive (C12 or P18), integrated rear-wheel drive that can be easily exchanged for a normal wheel, in emergency, or as needed, and still maintain gearing ability... Or upgrade the Z20 drive rear wheel in future as the tech develops further. Very important with this still emergent tech!!! Btw, I know Pinion energy transfer is a bit less efficient than Rohloff but it's a non-issue for me personally.

When I account for the weight of bottom brackets and Rohloff, the C12 Pinion drive isn't that much heavier, negligible differences, but it is more upgrade proof than most e-bikes with either Shimano or Bosch drives.

Can be ridden with empty batteries without losing pedaling energy. The Z20 rear wheel just becomes a heavier freewheeling hub... Not sure how this works with Bosch drives, or how effective it is??? Hell I can even carry a separate battery and charge it with solar while riding... Cumbersome yes, but possible... Then again, I could do it with all other systems, even with cheap Chinese motors;)

Water-'proofness' or resistance will be better than with mid-motor engines, and/or integrated into the frame batteries, I think...

Quality components, especially regarding carrying capacity... 40kgs rear racks and 15kgs front... I went to a local dealer and wasn't impressed with either the design or capacity of Riese & Mueller alu racks on their ebikes... From my experience, just looking at it, they are 'begged' to be cracked on routes I rode

Ability to order with SON front hub wheel to charge instruments, phones, and lights independently of battery. Greater range, too!!!


Why I have my reservations:

Expensive, but all the bikes in this category are usually expensive.

No dealers in the States. Big disadvantage because I'd have to import it myself and bear the significant costs and difficulties to import ebikes... Need to research it more...

I'll be in Germany later this year, so I might make a side trip and visit idworx and check it out, have a test ride, discuss the possibility of them shipping it to the U.S. and decide...

I might even just order a regular bike for commuting and when I'm ready for my BIG trip, which will be starting in Europe, just stop by the idworx factory and have it upgraded to the latest Neodrive tech in a couple of years...

Plus, the EU regulations limiting ebikes to only 25kmph might change, hopefully be bumped up, as I'm still able to bring a bike to that speed with my own leg power on flat roads, even such heavy beasts like Citibikes in NYC, approx. 45 lbs heavy:)

Not sure if Neodrives can be de-restricted to over the 25 kmph speeds for outside-EU market, officially???


Feel free to add and comment on your experiences with rear driven e-bikes, pinion drives, or any other thoughts. TIA


Btw, I'm leaning away from Pendix driven e-bikes as 1.) the Q-factor is too large for extended touring; 2.) can't use clip-in pedals due how the engine works and 3.) there seem to be some recurrent problems that would be too much hassle to deal with without a dealer network in the U.S. So, for now, this route is a NO-GO:(
 

Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
#44
One of the things I think most of the Euro touring bikes miss is that they tend to use flat bars. Flat bars are okay but they have relatively few hand positions and if you are spending hours and hours riding you start really appreciating extra places to rest your wrists.

This most recent trip I have concluded that riding an e-bike at low levels of pedal assist on gentle terrain pretty closely approximates the effort you'd put out riding a lighter (say around 30lbs) acoustic bike. Uphills, especially very steep and long ones, are a more complicated story. Although in general if you are going for distance and are carrying any kind of load at all you basically are committed to riding at pretty low levels of pedal assist.
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
#45
The more I think about it, the more my options lean toward bike manufacturer's in the Netherlands and Germany: Santos, idworx, velotraum, Tout Terrain and the already mentioned above Koga and Rennstahl bikes... This comes from the perspective of a long-distance tourer and a bikepacker on the lookout for an almost fool-proof, over-engineered round-the-world travel bike... Santos and idworx, especially have some nice entries... Lately, I've been looking into idworx which seems like an excellent idea... Look at this beauty:



https://www.idworx-bikes.de/product/opinion-blt-e

Full specs [pdf]:

https://www.idworx-bikes.de/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/oP_BLT-E_1.0_18_10.pdf

Tests [just use Google Translate extension in your browser to read]:

http://www.sintchristophorus.nl/test-idworx-opinion-blt-multi-spec-e-bike/

If you speak dutch;)





Why I like it???

Pinion drive (C12 or P18), integrated rear-wheel drive that can be easily exchanged for a normal wheel, in emergency, or as needed, and still maintain gearing ability... Or upgrade the Z20 drive rear wheel in future as the tech develops further. Very important with this still emergent tech!!! Btw, I know Pinion energy transfer is a bit less efficient than Rohloff but it's a non-issue for me personally.

When I account for the weight of bottom brackets and Rohloff, the C12 Pinion drive isn't that much heavier, negligible differences, but it is more upgrade proof than most e-bikes with either Shimano or Bosch drives.

Can be ridden with empty batteries without losing pedaling energy. The Z20 rear wheel just becomes a heavier freewheeling hub... Not sure how this works with Bosch drives, or how effective it is??? Hell I can even carry a separate battery and charge it with solar while riding... Cumbersome yes, but possible... Then again, I could do it with all other systems, even with cheap Chinese motors;)

Water-'proofness' or resistance will be better than with mid-motor engines, and/or integrated into the frame batteries, I think...

Quality components, especially regarding carrying capacity... 40kgs rear racks and 15kgs front... I went to a local dealer and wasn't impressed with either the design or capacity of Riese & Mueller alu racks on their ebikes... From my experience, just looking at it, they are 'begged' to be cracked on routes I rode

Ability to order with SON front hub wheel to charge instruments, phones, and lights independently of battery. Greater range, too!!!


Why I have my reservations:

Expensive, but all the bikes in this category are usually expensive.

No dealers in the States. Big disadvantage because I'd have to import it myself and bear the significant costs and difficulties to import ebikes... Need to research it more...

I'll be in Germany later this year, so I might make a side trip and visit idworx and check it out, have a test ride, discuss the possibility of them shipping it to the U.S. and decide...

I might even just order a regular bike for commuting and when I'm ready for my BIG trip, which will be starting in Europe, just stop by the idworx factory and have it upgraded to the latest Neodrive tech in a couple of years...

Plus, the EU regulations limiting ebikes to only 25kmph might change, hopefully be bumped up, as I'm still able to bring a bike to that speed with my own leg power on flat roads, even such heavy beasts like Citibikes in NYC, approx. 45 lbs heavy:)

Not sure if Neodrives can be de-restricted to over the 25 kmph speeds for outside-EU market, officially???


Feel free to add and comment on your experiences with rear driven e-bikes, pinion drives, or any other thoughts. TIA


Btw, I'm leaning away from Pendix driven e-bikes as 1.) the Q-factor is too large for extended touring; 2.) can't use clip-in pedals due how the engine works and 3.) there seem to be some recurrent problems that would be too much hassle to deal with without a dealer network in the U.S. So, for now, this route is a NO-GO:(

There are bikes like that with the Pinion drive and they make great touring bikes.
Using a DD hub, one could use regen on the descents as well. Here is a bike from Rennstahl ...

1558313112229.png


In this video, they compare it with the model that has Rohloff E-14.

 
#46
There are bikes like that with the Pinion drive and they make great touring bikes.
Using a DD hub, one could use regen on the descents as well. Here is a bike from Rennstahl ...

View attachment 33336

In this video, they compare it with the model that has Rohloff E-14.


Thanks;) Saw the video before. Luckily, I understand German so it was fine... One thing with Rennstahl I need to find out is if they switched to Alber Neodrives or are still using GoSwiss??? My understanding is that GoSwiss went into liquidation earlier this year and I wouldn't want to buy a bike with the tech that has no support going forward:

E-Bike Motor Maker Go SwissDrive Liquidated
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
#47
I carry 60 lb quite frequently to my summer camp, so although I haven't toured yet, I feel qualified to chime in. A standard frame mountain bike loaded up was 120 lb rear 20 lb front without me on it. This lead to me flying over the handlebars chin first several times. The stretch frame yubabikes bodaboda left has solved that problem. The fixed front load mounts in the frame mean I don't have to swing the front load around with the handlebars. See where the battery is mounted on the front. The aluminum frame has proved entirely adequate to my 170 lb + load frames + 60 lb cargo. If one's body was 300 lb one might have to upgrade to a surly steel frame, but this aluminum frame handles 330 lb total fine. Mech 160 mm disk brakes are fine around here but in the Rockies or the Sierras I'd upgrade to 180 mm disks. If I was huge, xtracycle, kona ute, or something with a higher rated gross weight might be in order. No steel for me, aluminum holds up a 737, what's wrong with a aluminum bicycle?
My drive is generic hub motor, so if something goes wrong on the road, pitch the wheel in the dumpster and bolt on a new one shipped overnight from Amazon or luna. No tricky waiting on parts. My battery is generic, too, in a home assembled aluminum frame, so nobody has identified what it is yet. Neither has rain gotten through the PVC wrap and the poly foam insulation. The controller is under the seat, so rain doesn't get to it either. I have had the throttle drop out after a heavy rain, but it dried out.
The advantage of the home conversion, all parts are generic so no waiting on picky parts that have to wait on a container from ***** to get here. A second battery could be stacked above the one I have on the bike already, particularly if it wasn't a wedge (which got me a discount). It takes tools to connect and disconnect the battery, something I think may discourage thieves. Besides the WT* is this? factor.
The one disadvantage of the bodaboda, seat post is oversized so only two seats fit it- so far. The yuba one made for women, and the wide schwinn I've got on the picture. I detest both, my hips wear out waay before my legs do. Will be doing a conversion this afternoon to fit a standard post brooks seat I got at Charity resale shop for $4. I need the seat forward of where it is also, since my arms are so short. Just a little fab with a drill, some textolite for bushing, some aluminum for rails, a junk standard seat post. A xtracycle or kona ute should have standard post and stem. I had to count those out since I am so small and I need a drop frame since it hurts so much to lift my leg over a bar anymore. I'm age 68.
THe main disadvantage of the stretch frame is that it won't fit in the racks on the front of city busses. Oh, well, greyhound doesn't even have those. Amtrak says something about racks, so one would have to be able to lift one's bike up into one : which I can't do either.
 
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Alaskan

Well-Known Member
#48
Am I alone in thiking the ideal touring bike would have batteries integrated into the frame ?
You are not alone in letting aesthetics overrule practicality. The Power tube batteries are too long to carry in a trunk bag or even most panniers. The older style power pack by Bosch is lighter, more compact and less money for the same wattage. With a dual battery bike, you could carry two more power packs in your pannier extending your range to four times what it would be on a single battery bike. Touring/treking in mountainous terrain would be totally feasible. Not really possible with the longer, heavier, hidden power tube batteries.
 
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Alaskan

Well-Known Member
#49
In fairness, the power tubes integration makes the bike look less like an ebike and, at least theoretically, perhaps less likely to be a target of theft. It is still so obviously a high quality bike at first glance, I think it would be an alluring target for any thief.
 

Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
#50
In fairness, the power tubes integration makes the bike look less like an ebike and, at least theoretically, perhaps less likely to be a target of theft. It is still so obviously a high quality bike at first glance, I think it would be an alluring target for any thief.
Any fully loaded touring bike is an enormous cornucopia of goodness for potential thieves. Panniers and other bike bags are for all practical purposes impossible to secure. That is a big reason why I make a point of steering well clear of any urban areas while on a bike tour. My general rule of thumb is if the town is big enough to have a Safeway or a Starbucks the bike gets locked in a hotel room.
 
#51
Any fully loaded touring bike is an enormous cornucopia of goodness for potential thieves. Panniers and other bike bags are for all practical purposes impossible to secure. That is a big reason why I make a point of steering well clear of any urban areas while on a bike tour. My general rule of thumb is if the town is big enough to have a Safeway or a Starbucks the bike gets locked in a hotel room.
agreed... always in a hotel room or attached to my tent. The hard part is when stopping for exhibits, shopping in stores or eating in establishments. I have been fortunate so far, and try to use common sense in those situations.
Have others been less fortunate?
 

Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
#52
Some key properties of touring bikes in general:
  • Longer wheelbase for stability.
  • Strong frame for carrying heavy loads.
  • Eyelets for fenders and racks. A sure tell that a bike is designed for touring is rack eyelets on the fork.
  • Gearing is generally much lower than a typical road bike.
  • Ergonomics, both of touch points and general body position, are done to allow for reasonably comfortable long hours on the bike day in and day out.
  • Use common tire and tube sizes.
  • Most bike parts should be field-repairable. That nixes things like internally routed cables and hydraulic disk brakes.
 

Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
#53
agreed... always in a hotel room or attached to my tent. The hard part is when stopping for exhibits, shopping in stores or eating in establishments. I have been fortunate so far, and try to use common sense in those situations.
Have others been less fortunate?
Haven't lost a bike so far, but I've had stuff stolen while traveling more times than I can count. Also once robbed at gunpoint.

I wouldn't be too trusting of either hotels or campgrounds. Some very popular hiker-biker camps, like Camp IV in Yosemite, Partnership Shelter on the AT in Virginia, and the hiker-biker camp at the entrance of Denali National Park are notorious in dirtbag travel circles for being places where gear will tend to disappear. And I have had enough stuff pilfered from hotel rooms over the years to also be a little paranoid -- and I've never found any correlation between the quality of the hotel and the risk to your stuff -- high-end hotels are likely to have better security but it is fairly perceived that people who stay there have more valuable stuff, while low-end hotels typically have nonexistent security so they are easy targets.

Having said all that, I'm generally pretty comfortable staying at fairly popular hiker-biker camps (like the ones on the Oregon Coast or in the San Juan or Gulf Islands) because they are 99 percent occupied by bicycle tourists, hikers, or sea kayakers who aren't really super likely to steal my bike. Similarly, if I can be reasonably certain nobody sees me (or relatively few people see me) stashing my bike in a motel room I'm generally going to be pretty relaxed about it.

When stopping during the day's ride, I usually prefer establishments where I can park and lock my bike in front of a big window so I can keep an eye on it while I am eating or shopping. I've noticed that most big grocery stores, if they have a bike rack at all, usually have it in some out-of-the-way place to make it easier for thieves to steal your bike. In decent weather I try to choose a place where I can eat outside right next to my bike.

One thing to be careful about is that sometimes someone will try to distract you while their accomplice steals your stuff. I haven't had that happen in the states but have had it happen overseas multiple times. The distraction may be as innocent as trying to strike up a conversation or they might try to trigger a confrontation with you. But whenever anything like that happens quickly maneuver yourself so you can keep your bike and your gear in sight.
 

Dionigi

Well-Known Member
#54
Haven't lost a bike so far, but I've had stuff stolen while traveling more times than I can count. Also once robbed at gunpoint.

I wouldn't be too trusting of either hotels or campgrounds. Some very popular hiker-biker camps, like Camp IV in Yosemite, Partnership Shelter on the AT in Virginia, and the hiker-biker camp at the entrance of Denali National Park are notorious in dirtbag travel circles for being places where gear will tend to disappear. And I have had enough stuff pilfered from hotel rooms over the years to also be a little paranoid -- and I've never found any correlation between the quality of the hotel and the risk to your stuff -- high-end hotels are likely to have better security but it is fairly perceived that people who stay there have more valuable stuff, while low-end hotels typically have nonexistent security so they are easy targets.

Having said all that, I'm generally pretty comfortable staying at fairly popular hiker-biker camps (like the ones on the Oregon Coast or in the San Juan or Gulf Islands) because they are 99 percent occupied by bicycle tourists, hikers, or sea kayakers who aren't really super likely to steal my bike. Similarly, if I can be reasonably certain nobody sees me (or relatively few people see me) stashing my bike in a motel room I'm generally going to be pretty relaxed about it.

When stopping during the day's ride, I usually prefer establishments where I can park and lock my bike in front of a big window so I can keep an eye on it while I am eating or shopping. I've noticed that most big grocery stores, if they have a bike rack at all, usually have it in some out-of-the-way place to make it easier for thieves to steal your bike. In decent weather I try to choose a place where I can eat outside right next to my bike.

One thing to be careful about is that sometimes someone will try to distract you while their accomplice steals your stuff. I haven't had that happen in the states but have had it happen overseas multiple times. The distraction may be as innocent as trying to strike up a conversation or they might try to trigger a confrontation with you. But whenever anything like that happens quickly maneuver yourself so you can keep your bike and your gear in sight.
I worked as a travel photographer for 30 years and dealt with the same issues. You always have to beware of your environment and keep your gear secured.
 

TrevorB

Active Member
#55
Vaude panniers allow for small combination lock to lock to bike, good for quick stops. You will need a specific Abus lock, ask Vaude for PN.

While I've not toured, my Trek Powerfly7 is setup for it with, bosch power lights, mudguards, kick stand and rack. I regularly haul 25kg loads on very steep roads, the Deore brakes with 200mm rotates are awesome would won't any lesser brakes when fully loaded. CX drive with 11spd can climb all but steepest roads in eco, with tour for everything else. I'm happy to trade comfortable higher maintenance airfork for stiff rigid fork.
I do recommend large gear range either Rolhoff or 11-46t or better 11-50t (sunrace) 11spd cassette. The low granny gear is for engine failure or flat battery situations. Consider running 15t or 14t chainring, realistic touring speed will be 20-25kmhs so you don't need high gearing. Would think twice about electronic shifting on tourer. In case of Bosch go for Purion display, less wiring to go wrong and more room on bars for luggage. The 4A or new 6A chargers are a must especially for lunch time top up.

With 500wh batteries expect 50-75km if cruising at 20-25kmh using eco-tour. I'd recommend 2 batteries for comfortable +100km over most terrain. The assist level will creep up during day as you get tired.

Also consider the new Activeline Plus motor, with 46 or 50t on rear should climb even steepest road, more economical and smoother than CX drive.
 

JRA

Well-Known Member
#57
I've been wondering why none of the custom bike makers in the states are making an e-bike build.

I'd gladly pay $10,000 for a dual-battery Bosch CX version of the Co-Motion Siskiyou.
I am not sure if you have tried a bike with the 650b+ and I found they were good for traction and small bump compliance in a straight line but cornering, notably without touring gear no matter how light, you could feel them squirm more than with a 700c 45c at the same psi. Just my .02.