How do you define the ideal electric touring bicycle?

BBassett

Active Member
Through after some time with technical advances your "large" battery will become smaller and i'm guessing you will up the ante and still keep it large, or you will fine tune how much gear you tour with and probably require less Ah.
I don't really care about "smaller"... but lighter would be great! Give me 60Ah is the same battery size and weight and I would be in heaven. I like amenities, being clean both showered, my clothes and my gear. I like options, being able to sleep where best suits me, the ability to cook with gas if I don't want to gather wood. Enough clothes and gear to stay warm and comfortable all year 'round. Trust me when I say I have "fine-tuned" what I take with me over the last couple of years. When I am close to home I get to vary those amenities depending on the season and what I want to be doing. Last month I was gold-panning on the white river for a few days. Next week I will load all my kites and spend some time on the coast.
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
LOL! That's what I thought. A small battery has no advantage over a large battery other than just the weight and purchase price. But they do have several disadvantages, like having to charge more slowly, they have less usable range, small batteries get "cooked" faster since users fill and deplete them far too often cutting their usable life in half, must have multiple charges or charge one at a time. Great argument Mr. lix.
First you started the argument that one big battery is better than running a modular system that uses two small batteries (with strange analogies to filling a car's gas tank). Then you shifted to a big battery beats a small battery. Unfortunate to bog down the thread in argumentative minutia which seems to be your M.O. But returning to your first attack on the dual battery concept (which you initiated). Here are the advantages I have found with experience on two bikes:
  • I can run 1 or 2 batteries dependent on my need - this can range from less than 400 WH to up to 1000 - with the newer PowerTube, it will range at less than 625 WH (625 battery not fully charged) to 1125.
  • Running two batteries means I don't have to fully charge either - and usually I don't. I often charge both to about 80% and for most of my needs, I don't run them below 20%
  • As someone else pointed out, the Bosch system manages the draw, alternating batteries
  • I can fit my PPs into a small to medium sized backpack
  • Batteries are UL certified and backed by a warranty
And I always know how far I'm riding on a given day so why pack battery capacity for 70 miles if I'm only riding 20? I can shed 5-7 pounds and run a 400 WH pack charged to 80% for a 20 mile ride.

And for the one small battery argument. Yes, I have to charge more often and for a full commute I have to fully charge prior to departure. But I've had my Haibike over 2 years (no telling how long it sat in a warehouse before being delivered to me) and I've noticed no degradation. I'm still able to get over 50 miles on a charge on that battery in good weather.
 

Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
I'm in the middle of my second long tour with 3 500whr Bosch Powerpacks. That system is working quite well for me, and lets me ride 60-70 miles in mountainous terrain over the course of a day, and much further than that in gentler terrain.

In practice the "third" battery is rotated in and out and I rarely carry it with a full charge. I'll typically ride until I show one bar and then swap in the third battery.
 

BBassett

Active Member
First you started the argument that one big battery is better than running a modular system that uses two small batteries (with strange analogies to filling a car's gas tank). Then you shifted to a big battery beats a small battery. Unfortunate to bog down the thread in argumentative minutia which seems to be your M.O. But returning to your first attack on the dual battery concept (which you initiated). Here are the advantages I have found with experience on two bikes:
  • I can run 1 or 2 batteries dependent on my need - this can range from less than 400 WH to up to 1000 - with the newer PowerTube, it will range at less than 625 WH (625 battery not fully charged) to 1125. So the advantage of two battery is that you can use two batteries?
  • Running two batteries means I don't have to fully charge either - and usually I don't. I often charge both to about 80% and for most of my needs, I don't run them below 20% You can do the same with large batteries and greater range.
  • As someone else pointed out, the Bosch system manages the draw, alternating batteries. With big batteries, you don't need the gimmicks.
  • I can fit my PPs into a small to medium sized backpack. I don't carry things on my bike when I ride.*
  • Batteries are UL certified and backed by a warranty. I wouldn't have it any other way.
And I always know how far I'm riding on a given day so why pack battery capacity for 70 miles if I'm only riding 20? I can shed 5-7 pounds and run a 400 WH pack charged to 80% for a 20 mile ride.

And for the one small battery argument. Yes, I have to charge more often and for a full commute I have to fully charge prior to departure. But I've had my Haibike over 2 years (no telling how long it sat in a warehouse before being delivered to me) and I've noticed no degradation. I'm still able to get over 50 miles on a charge on that battery in good weather.
Chill man, imagine me smiling with everything I say if it makes you more comfortable. You chose the term "Argument" I choose "Comment". And real fast... isn't "one big battery is better", and "a big battery beats a small battery" the same thing Mr. 50? Not sure where I tripped you up on that comment or attack since it seems to have struck a chord. With 1.3Kw batteries @ 58.3V I don't have to fully charge and get well over 70 miles range... usually. That's the biggest advantage of a large pack as I said, longer range and no stress. And of course the larger the batteries capacity, the more possible range and/or speed you can obtain depending on how you want to spend it... kinda like a gas tank one could say. Although a full gas tank does weight more when full, unlike a lithium battery, which is pretty much exactly the same weight regardless of how fully charged. *The only thing I ever carry on my back while riding is a wine-skin or camera. Always knowing how far and where you're riding is ok for power management when you know where you're power is coming from every night but must take a lot of the fun out of riding. If ya need help on advantages of small batteries over large try these: Cost, weigh (especially if you have to carry it on your back), and redundancy in case of failure. Oh, Wait! One more advantage, it doesn't take nearly as long to charge the battery with a small battery.
 

WilliamT

Active Member
I did a 128 mile ride yesterday with my Radwagon. I used a 13.5 ah battery in the frame and (2) 17.4 ah batteries; one in each pannier. 90% of the ride was on gravel and trails. With the weight of the bike, the cooler I was carrying, food, tools, etc, the bike was probably over 120 lbs.

I kept it in eco mode which gave me 208 watts but eventually down to 180 as the battery slowly drained. It took me 9 hrs but I did take a break every 15 miles. It was my first time going over 100. Usually I just do 60-80 mile rides. It was a lot of fun.

Met another person on the trail that was completing his 1000 mile multi-day ride. He was telling me about a couple that was on a tandem that rode from Portland to here on the east coast near DC.

My modified cargo was pretty comfortable except I think my seat was too soft. After 110 miles, my butt was getting sore. I think I need a stiffer seat. I was using a soft touring gel seat.

I probably could have gone farther if I had better gauge to read the voltage. (Only had bars to read and was at 2 bars when I decided to swap the batteries). When I came home, my 17ah 52v batteries (58.7 v fully charged) were still reading 49v.

The next time I do this, I'm going to get a better seat. Also wear long sleeve as some of those trails narrow and you get whipped a lot in the arms and legs. Maybe one of those sun hats on the bike helmet too.


38417
 
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BBassett

Active Member
I did a 128 mile ride yesterday with my ....
Nice job man. That's a long ride on any bike. You must have taken better pics than that one! Come on! Stop holding out. :) When I load my bike the way you did it becomes way too light in the front. I have found that it's better (for me) to put between 15 and 20 lbs. in each front pannier, along with a couple of bar-bags and then distribute any other weight on the back of the bike. I use a FAIV front rack that carries the weight suspended so it rides smooth and with great control still. I usually move between 10 and 15 mph. when heavily loaded. 120+ miles in 9 hours is good.
 

WilliamT

Active Member
Nice job man. That's a long ride on any bike. You must have taken better pics than that one! Come on! Stop holding out. :) When I load my bike the way you did it becomes way too light in the front. I have found that it's better (for me) to put between 15 and 20 lbs. in each front pannier, along with a couple of bar-bags and then distribute any other weight on the back of the bike. I use a FAIV front rack that carries the weight suspended so it rides smooth and with great control still. I usually move between 10 and 15 mph. when heavily loaded. 120+ miles in 9 hours is good.
Thanks, I looked up the front rack but didn't see any place where I can purchase this in the US. I have another hardtail that I plan to convert for long distance riding and would be interested in installing it on that bike.
 

BBassett

Active Member
Thanks, I looked up the front rack but didn't see any place where I can purchase this in the US. I have another hardtail that I plan to convert for long distance riding and would be interested in installing it on that bike.
The manufacturer only sells in Europe. If you go online there are companies that you can purchase from manufacturers like them and have items shipped directly to you.
 

BBassett

Active Member
Beautiful design... what is the price range?
It's not the price so much as the terrible customer service that is the problem. Quality costs and you expect to pay for it. You also expect the manufacturer to back their products 100% and Tout Terrain doesn't do that outside the Home Land very well... or at all. I bought their Panamericana (horrible time-consuming experience) full suspension Expedition tour bike and mounted a real mid-drive. Expensive, reasonably well made, innovative and one of kind features make it a one of kind ride, The silk road series are more suited to the decerning daily commuters.
 

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Cephalotus

New Member
For me it depends.

This year my girlfriend and I traveld from Switzerland/German border through Switzerland to the South of France and some way around. Including mountains, but no trails.

Girlfriend wanted a holiday, not just riding every day and every our, but time was limited.

so we took two Speed Pedelec that I equipped with BionX D-motors and 13s8p batteries in the frame bag. Built my battery with 5 year old Panasonic PF cells (ca. 1080Wh) and my girlfriends battery with LG MJ1 cells (ca. 1310Wh). On normal roads we road around 30-45km/h, on steep ascents slower and in sightseeing places often much slower (incl pushing).

Range is around 150km for me and around 200km for my girlfriends setup. I didn't expect that she actually consumes less battery power than I did, being smaller and more lightweight more than compensates for having less leg power if you ride fast, I assume.

The small license plate is removable (magnetic holder). Speed pedelecs are no problem in Germany and especially Switzerland, but I wasn't sure about France. Turned out that they are more or less unknown there, but we didn't encounter any problems...

Bikes weight around 22-23kg with the large battery. In a more lightweight configuration for everyday use (carbon seatpost instead of Thudbuster, more lightweight saddle, more lightweight pedals, standard BionX 13s4p battery, no bottle holder) they do weight around 20kg. Lighter would be better, but the options are very limited.

Bionx motors are risky. if the motors fail you have no options to repair them on the road, neither will you find any bike shop that can. You could let a friend send you a spare motor+wheel to a destination, which should work quite okay within EU for me. Outside the EU I would chose another system. I had spare BionX parts for all the rest, battery electroni, display, etc... but didn't need them

We used a Cycle Satiator for each bike to recharge. I planed to charge during midday rest at restaurant but it turned out that we didn't travel that way. We started late in the day and didn't eat in restaurants until we arrived in the evening. So almost all charging took place over night. A charger without fan is very important on crowded camping places imho.

Battery almost finished. Weights ca. 5.3kg

39555

Bikes based on Diamant supreme+ s-Pedelec from 2011:

39556

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Tour statistics for some part of the trip. I was mainly interested in the amount of regeneration using Spped Pedelecs on Tour. Used a Junsi Powerlog 6s for data logging

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This is for riding a bike mostly on road in Europe, mainly using camping sites to recharge and using train or cars to transport the bike

If you make a trip further away crossing continents I would use something different.

From my bikes I would probably chose the Dahon Flo, which weights around 13kg without rack, lights and fenders and without a motor drive. I'm not sure if it would be wise to chose a motor drive for such a long tour. Travalling with Lithium battery by plane of ferry can turn out very problematic and maintaining a luggage weight incl electric bike below 30kg seems to be very difficult. For many designs the e-bike alone would weight that much.

Dahon Flo "folding" MTB, not my picture: https://img.ricardostatic.ch/t_1800x1350/pl/1082502210/0/2/

Maybe I would try to equip the Dahon Flo with a 2kg geared hub drive rear motor and maybe two sub 100Wh batteries. Sadly the GRIN LiGo are not able to charge quickly. I would prefer to charge them with the Satiator or similar at 300W or more. Maybe it would be possible to build such batteries lets say on the Sony VTC5A cell. As a 10s1p battery this would be 36V and 2,6Ah and below the 100W limit. with good cooling charging at 5A should be doable, so two of them in parallel could work.

The Dahon Flo equipped with such a setup and proper touring outfit could weight maybe 18kg. Spare parts tools and charger included maybe you could keep it at 20kg.

Obviously with only 190Wh available it would reduce the electric drive to moderate uphill assist only and you need to plan with charging opportunities during the day. At 8A you should be able to charge 36V*4Ah = 144Wh within a rest of 30 minutes, IF you can find an outlet.

Maybe solar charging would be an option to.

I read everything I could find on solar ebikes and already have all the stuff sitting around (Tout Terrain Mule trailer, 50W solar panels with sunpower cells, Genasun chargers) but I lack the trip to use that stuff. Bike + trailer + solar is not something that travels easily by train, not even thinking about planes. Maybe for a trip to North or North East Europe in one of the next summers...

A theoretical option could be NiMh batteries. There are no flight restrictions on those. Lightweight it isn't.

For bike parts I try to keep it simple.

3x 9 gearing works fine for all of my bikes. Work well with 9x or 10x chains. If you have a problem you still have a 3x or 9x gearing system until you fix it. Chains are easy to repair.

For traveling outside the "1st world" I prefer mechanical brakes over hydraulic ones, but so far my hydraulik brakes didn't have any problems while touring. Had one leaking after an accident at home and one didn't wok well from the beginning until I replaced it. If they work well hydraulic brakes usually are the better brakes, but good is good enough for me.

On normal roads I do not need complex suspension. For the Speed pedelecs above I added a Redshift stem and a Thudbuster seatpost which both give slight suspension via elastomers. This has been good enough for our needs. On heavy terrain a suspension fork and thick tires are better abiously, but the supension fork is just another part that can fail.

I don't care much about aluminium vs steel vs carbon. I''m not so heavy and my gear isn't either, so so far I do not brake my frames or forks. I'm aslo not willing to spend more than 3000€ on a electric biccyle and this is after all modifications.

I like the Tubus logo racks (sadly the titanium version which weights less is not available any more) and usually try to keep my stuff in just two rear panniers

My 2ct
 
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BBassett

Active Member
First you started the argument that one big battery is better than running a modular system that uses two small batteries (with strange analogies to filling a car's gas tank). Then you shifted to a big battery beats a small battery. Unfortunate to bog down the thread in argumentative minutia which seems to be your M.O. But returning to your first attack on the dual battery concept (which you initiated). Here are the advantages I have found with experience on two bikes:
  • I can run 1 or 2 batteries dependent on my need - this can range from less than 400 WH to up to 1000 - with the newer PowerTube, it will range at less than 625 WH (625 battery not fully charged) to 1125.
  • Running two batteries means I don't have to fully charge either - and usually I don't. I often charge both to about 80% and for most of my needs, I don't run them below 20%
  • As someone else pointed out, the Bosch system manages the draw, alternating batteries
  • I can fit my PPs into a small to medium sized backpack
  • Batteries are UL certified and backed by a warranty
And I always know how far I'm riding on a given day so why pack battery capacity for 70 miles if I'm only riding 20? I can shed 5-7 pounds and run a 400 WH pack charged to 80% for a 20 mile ride.

And for the one small battery argument. Yes, I have to charge more often and for a full commute I have to fully charge prior to departure. But I've had my Haibike over 2 years (no telling how long it sat in a warehouse before being delivered to me) and I've noticed no degradation. I'm still able to get over 50 miles on a charge on that battery in good weather.
I have always treated my packs as gingerly as possible, to help extend the life, i.e., not fully charging, not depleting past 20%, charge at 4A or less and trickle-charge to complete, keep the packs warm in cold environments, etc. So when I do need (usually just "think" I need) to charge during a ride I haven't used fast charge at 8A thinking it was bad for the batteries, and it is to a point. I contacted EM3ev and asked the following:

"I use a pair of EM3 triangle packs (28 & 32 Ah) and charge with a Grin Satiator. I take it easy on the packs when charging nightly but would like to know if fast charging a partially depleted pack for under 2 hours is bad for them. Say... for a lunch stop, 90 mins. charge at 8 A. If it doesn\'t push the pack past 80 to 85% (55.4 to 56.3 V) does fast charging stress the battery?"

Joseph's reply: "Those batteries are so large in terms of capacity that the charge rate, even at 8A is low for the cells. 8A for a 28Ah battery is still less than 0.3C – which is lower than the recommended charge for long-life. You won’t have any issues charging either battery at 8A. Those are very large batteries relative to the charge rate and certainly wouldn’t be considered fast charging. Typically the max recommended charge rate for a lot of the cells is 1C – that would be 28A for the smaller of the 2 batteries – however, there are other limiting factors such as the BMS etc. to take into consideration. Suffice to say charging below 0.3C is far removed from fast charging and there won’t be any issues. "

A big advantage over using a set or triad of smaller capacity batteries in place of a large and admittedly heavier pack. I can literally charge faster with less stress on my battery because it's so large.
 

KasualObserver

New Member
This year my girlfriend and I traveld from Switzerland/German border through Switzerland to the South of France and some way around. Including mountains, but no trails.

Girlfriend wanted a holiday, not just riding every day and every our, but time was limited.

so we took two Speed Pedelec that I equipped with BionX D-motors and 13s8p batteries in the frame bag. Built my battery with 5 year old Panasonic PF cells (ca. 1080Wh) and my girlfriends battery with LG MJ1 cells (ca. 1310Wh). On normal roads we road around 30-45km/h, on steep ascents slower and in sightseeing places often much slower (incl pushing).

Range is around 150km for me and around 200km for my girlfriends setup. I didn't expect that she actually consumes less battery power than I did, being smaller and more lightweight more than compensates for having less leg power if you ride fast, I assume.
@Cephalotus I was very impressed by your write-up, and your ride. Your spreadsheet data was quite interesting!

I am an experienced bikepacker, although not an ebikepacker. I like many of your choices based on my bikepacking background, in particular your minimalist/light choices. FYI, for bikepacking, my favorite frames are steel cyclocross frames from the 2000s (all 700cc), which constitute the bulk of my present frames. Your write-up was an education for me.

Re suspension: I also can't imagine bikepacking with full suspension (so much additional energy to expand), although I suppose that, if one makes the opposite choices of picking heavy gear for long range ebikepacking it may become necessary.
 

john peck

Well-Known Member
Personally, I would have to have front suspension, which would knock out most front racks and complicate distributing the weight properly.
Improvise, couple hose clamps held fast by by folded bits of 60 grit paper, 10" of 3/4" steel strap, & a bolt.
 

Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
Improvise, couple hose clamps held fast by by folded bits of 60 grit paper, 10" of 3/4" steel strap, & a bolt.
I'd suggest using strips of rubber from an old bicycle inner tube rather than the sandpaper.

A lot of people deploy hose clamps that way to put anything cages and the like on suspension forks. For myself, I am a bit uneasy about it because the metal tube the outer part of a suspension fork is made of is very thin and a hose clamp can put a lot of force on that metal tube. So if you do so be damned careful to not over-tighten the hose clamp.
 

BBassett

Active Member
@Cephalotus I was very impressed by your write-up, and your ride. Your spreadsheet data was quite interesting!

I am an experienced bikepacker...

Re suspension: I also can't imagine bikepacking with full suspension (so much additional energy to expand), although I suppose that, if one makes the opposite choices of picking heavy gear for long range ebikepacking it may become necessary.
A full suspension isn't necessary for touring or your "bike-packing"... e-assisted or not, but it makes the difference between getting through it day after day and actually enjoying it...well, most of it anyway. I don't lose much energy through the suspension because it's set tight to support the extra weight when carried and I'm not "dropping off" much so don't need huge travel. MTBs with long travel and soft suspensions are really bad at wasting your energy, they also don't carry weight well either, hence the discussion about using hose-clamps. Some people think that they can just up-size the tires and get the same benefits of a suspension, which may be true to a certain degree, but the drawbacks of increased rolling resistance and much less control on rough surfaces (in comparison to a fully suspended bike) make fat-bikes less than advantageous for touring in my opinion. But they do allow you to ride in places that no other bike will if that's what you want. What a suspension does, besides add cost, maintenance, potential failure, and weight, is to save a s*it-load of wear-n-tear on you, your equipment, and your bike. That and make it more enjoyable to ride. Also, with some planning, money, and patience you can even get a front rack that carries up to 40 lbs. fully suspended... on a suspension fork of course.
 

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BBassett

Active Member