Mariner 500W Limited commuter?

draf

New Member
#1
Hello,

I am looking to buy a Voltbike Mariner 500w Limited and use it as my daily commuter (around 50km total per day). I did a lot of reading about this bike on this forum (thank you all for your tremendous contribution, I have learnt a lot!), but I still have questions that you could help me find answers to :). Thank you in advance!

1. I believe it is possible to use the bike without power assist, like a normal bike. How would it compare in this case with other non-electric bikes in terms of effort and speed?

2. Given flat terrain and around 180lbs total load, what range should I expect from the battery considering I intend to pedal the entire distance and use the electric motor only to assist in order to reduce the effort and maintain the speed?

3. What cruising speed should I expect in power assist mode? I believe the controller will cut the power above 32km/h, but is it possible to maintain higher speeds (at least 40km/h) for extended periods of time, if pedaling and using the power assist in the same time?

Thank you so much!
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
#2
A 60 pound bike with small diameter fat knobby tires would not be my first choice as a daily commuter. In comparison to other non electric bikes, the rolling resistance will be much greater and it's at least 20 pounds heavier. Carry 20 pounds of potatoes around on your current bike and then you can decide. They usually limit the speed because of less stability in the steering geometry of folding bikes. I don't consider these to be speed bikes.
 

draf

New Member
#5
Oh, sorry about that! I asked too many questions and I got confused on which one you answered, my bad!
What about the autonomy and the maximum (comfortable) cruising speed you can achieve using the power assist mode (and pedaling in the same time)?
 

Cnugget

Active Member
#6
@draf I have used the Mariner as a commuter for just over a year now. It did ride very well at higher speeds (going downhill 65km/hr) without any steering wheel wobble until a few crashes changed that. Not really the bikes fault though. I believe it may have some whip-it but not bad. That has never bothered me though.

It is possible to ride the bike without power. If you have flat terrain this is not a problem but will feel like you are a good 20-40lbs or more (60lbs) heavier. The sac of potatoes is a great idea for a trial feel maybe even flatten your tires as well. Going uphill is where you will notice gravity at it's worst. Because the bike only has 6 gears no low end climbing gears exist. You really need to crank it out hard or walk it at that point. If you are looking for a really great workout though... nothing could be finer :p. A slick tire would likely help a bit too but rolling resistance 4" tire will slow you more overall than a 1-2" tires. Higher PSI will also result in better rolling resistance and battery life on pavement. I have heard of people considering a smaller tire width but have not tried that myself (still running factory on my front).

If you plan to pedal the entire way and go more bike speed and not ebike speed you should be able to go 30mi /50km as a rough estimate. To maintain or cancel out the effects of the heavier bike etc.. level 3 or 4 of 9 PAS would likely be where you would maintain.. ~18km/hr or ~11mi/hr. My new controller replaced by Volt Bike does take me above the 32km/hr threshold.. but not much and at a reduced rate. I think max 35km/hr is more realistic MAX if in ideal conditions (no wind, flat terrain, good psi, no hills). If you have downhill on your commute well then.. expect faster speeds as a benefit to gravity... and prepare to hold on. :D

I pedal the entire distance to work and use full PAS Level 9 but I have hills both up and down. It takes me 35-40mins to get to work travelling about 16km with 1600ft / 500m total eGain. :eek: It really DOES depend.. In this case and after 5500km my battery will die in under 32km. I can make it last if I choose but usually I charge at work for the way home. This was not the case until about 2500km? mark I believe and before the first winter.
 

draf

New Member
#7
@Cnugget Thank you very much for your answers! Great explanation and details, as always!
I intend to use the Mariner as a daily commute in the Montreal metropolitan area and the terrain has around 60m elevation from home to work for ~24km distance. Google Maps says it should take me around 1h 20min to complete the commute one way, but it seems they use a conservative 16km/h average speed. If the Mariner can travel comfortably to 32km/h (using pedal power + power assist), this should cut the commuting time in half which would be faster then by car (due to regular congestion)! I can't wait spring to order the bike! The temperature is expected to drop bellow freezing point in a couple of days here... Or maybe I should order now and benefit of the 11% off sale price?
 

Cnugget

Active Member
#8
I have never seen it not on sale price :rolleyes: The question is how much will you use it over winter vs. the battery degradation that occurs naturally over storage winter/un-use. Also who knows what brilliant improvements George will come out with for next year!!

Be conservative in your time estimates (good to have a buffer for weather, flats etc.). As a rough guide I am usually a bit quicker than the google estimates but not double. Google says 1 hr 15mins , it's usually 40mins for me sometimes 33min if things line up.. Traffic lights can slow you down.
 

draf

New Member
#9
I guess you're right, I should wait until spring since winter is already here!
My commute will be mainly on reserved bike paths with a couple of traffic light. I will be very happy if I'll be able to reduce the travel time to 50 minutes! :)
 
#12
I have placed the order for a new 2018 black Marine on April 3rd and I have received it 14 days later, on April 16th! Today was the first day I could actually ride it (to work), so here are my impressions so far! :)
The delivery
The bike was delivered by Vitran Express. The initial delivery schedule was April 11th, but a couple of days later it changed for April 13th. Their tracking web page showed "Scheduled delivery: April 13th", but be careful, it should be read "Scheduled call for delivery appointment"! Vitran called me on April 13th to schedule the delivery on April 16th between 10AM and 4PM and I had the bike in my garage on 16th at noon!
The box was in good shape, but opening it I had a surprise: the black ordered bike was actually white! It wasn't so bad, so I decided to keep it. I guess a white bike should be more visible at night even though the old saying says that all cats are black at night! :)
The bike
The bike is very sturdy and the solder points look well. The quality is there, no doubt about it and there are some improvements I could immediately see over the previous years (judging on the reviews I read here and watched online in the past year):
- the controller holes are now sealed with transparent silicone
- the chain has guards on both sides of the chainring
- there is a front suspension
As @Cnugget wrote in one of his posts, the best wheel size giving the most accurate speed reading is 22''. With this setting the motor tops out at 32km/h on flat terrain.
Today I had the chance to take the inaugural trip to work and the maximum speed I could achieve on PAS 9 and vigorous pedaling was 34km/h on flat terrain. I was able to sustain between 28 and 32 km/h the entire commute (around 22km one way) and when I arrived back home the battery still had 1 bar left. And this by pedaling the entire way and having the tires inflated at the maximum recommended 30 psi to reduce the drag. I followed all traffic signs as a model cyclist and I managed to get close to one hour for 22 km. Google maps estimated 1h17min for the same trip.
The bike is heavy and there is no way to ride it so fast without PAS. Being heavy it is also very stable. The disk brakes work well, the gear shifter is precise and smooth, the saddle is comfortable. It accelerates pretty quick. One of my coworkers rode it for a couple of minutes and was impressed by the quick acceleration. Being used to ride motorcycles I wasn't so impressed, but if you switch to PAS 0 and try to take off using muscle power and then you do the same thing using PAS 9 the difference is huge!
On the downside, the weight and size of the bike makes it hard to move around folded. My desk is at the second floor and it is not trivial to take the stairs with the Mariner in your arms. It is possible to roll it over using the handlebar when folded and this is very helpful.
Also, the front left fork knocks on the left chainstay when folder and I had to wrap something around it to prevent more scratches.
There is no suspension on the seat post and having the tires fully inflated to 30psi gives a bumpy ride.
This is it! So far I am happy with the bike! I have also ordered two spare tires and inner tubes for it since I expect to ride it around 300km per week and these are the things that will most likely be the first to wear out. They were out of stock when I ordered them with the bike, but I should receive them soon. I have also ordered a spare charger so I could charge the battery at work if the level drops too much.
Here are some pictures of my bike.

img_3233.jpg img_3239.jpg img_3241.jpg img_3243.jpg img_3246.jpg img_3247.jpg img_3248.jpg img_3249.jpg img_3245.jpg img_3244.jpg img_3242.jpg img_3240.jpg img_3238.jpg img_3251.jpg img_3256.jpg img_3257.jpg img_3255.jpg img_3254.jpg img_3250.jpg

I'll be back with comments / observations later as I put more kilometers on the bike.
Ride safe!
 

PCDoctorUSA

Well-Known Member
#13
@drafI pedal the entire distance to work and use full PAS Level 9 but I have hills both up and down. It takes me 35-40mins to get to work travelling about 16km with 1600ft / 500m total eGain. :eek: It really DOES depend.. In this case and after 5500km my battery will die in under 32km. I can make it last if I choose but usually I charge at work for the way home. This was not the case until about 2500km? mark I believe and before the first winter.
Five months after your post, how do you feel about the Mariner as a daily commuter? My commute is similar to yours in that it's hilly but only 8 miles one-way. I've got the Yukon 750 in my sights, but the storage rooms on the first floor at my office building where I had planned on parking it are slowly being converted to offices and I may end up taking my bike to my office on the second floor. I do that now with my 36# Trek, but the 68# Yukon won't be so easy. The Mariner isn't light either, but I thought it's ability to fold might make it more manageable.
 
#15
I have placed the order for a new 2018 black Marine on April 3rd and I have received it 14 days later, on April 16th! Today was the first day I could actually ride it (to work), so here are my impressions so far! :)
The delivery
The bike was delivered by Vitran Express. The initial delivery schedule was April 11th, but a couple of days later it changed for April 13th. Their tracking web page showed "Scheduled delivery: April 13th", but be careful, it should be read "Scheduled call for delivery appointment"! Vitran called me on April 13th to schedule the delivery on April 16th between 10AM and 4PM and I had the bike in my garage on 16th at noon!
The box was in good shape, but opening it I had a surprise: the black ordered bike was actually white! It wasn't so bad, so I decided to keep it. I guess a white bike should be more visible at night even though the old saying says that all cats are black at night! :)
The bike
The bike is very sturdy and the solder points look well. The quality is there, no doubt about it and there are some improvements I could immediately see over the previous years (judging on the reviews I read here and watched online in the past year):
- the controller holes are now sealed with transparent silicone
- the chain has guards on both sides of the chainring
- there is a front suspension
As @Cnugget wrote in one of his posts, the best wheel size giving the most accurate speed reading is 22''. With this setting the motor tops out at 32km/h on flat terrain.
Today I had the chance to take the inaugural trip to work and the maximum speed I could achieve on PAS 9 and vigorous pedaling was 34km/h on flat terrain. I was able to sustain between 28 and 32 km/h the entire commute (around 22km one way) and when I arrived back home the battery still had 1 bar left. And this by pedaling the entire way and having the tires inflated at the maximum recommended 30 psi to reduce the drag. I followed all traffic signs as a model cyclist and I managed to get close to one hour for 22 km. Google maps estimated 1h17min for the same trip.
The bike is heavy and there is no way to ride it so fast without PAS. Being heavy it is also very stable. The disk brakes work well, the gear shifter is precise and smooth, the saddle is comfortable. It accelerates pretty quick. One of my coworkers rode it for a couple of minutes and was impressed by the quick acceleration. Being used to ride motorcycles I wasn't so impressed, but if you switch to PAS 0 and try to take off using muscle power and then you do the same thing using PAS 9 the difference is huge!
On the downside, the weight and size of the bike makes it hard to move around folded. My desk is at the second floor and it is not trivial to take the stairs with the Mariner in your arms. It is possible to roll it over using the handlebar when folded and this is very helpful.
Also, the front left fork knocks on the left chainstay when folder and I had to wrap something around it to prevent more scratches.
There is no suspension on the seat post and having the tires fully inflated to 30psi gives a bumpy ride.
This is it! So far I am happy with the bike! I have also ordered two spare tires and inner tubes for it since I expect to ride it around 300km per week and these are the things that will most likely be the first to wear out. They were out of stock when I ordered them with the bike, but I should receive them soon. I have also ordered a spare charger so I could charge the battery at work if the level drops too much.
Here are some pictures of my bike.

View attachment 21146 View attachment 21147 View attachment 21148 View attachment 21149 View attachment 21150 View attachment 21151 View attachment 21152 View attachment 21153 View attachment 21154 View attachment 21155 View attachment 21156 View attachment 21157 View attachment 21158 View attachment 21159 View attachment 21160 View attachment 21161 View attachment 21162 View attachment 21163 View attachment 21164

I'll be back with comments / observations later as I put more kilometers on the bike.
Ride safe!

I am an also a new Mariner rider, having received my bike in late March. I have been riding it as much as possible over the last month, taking a break last week with the sudden and unwelcome return of winter to this part of the world (Ontario, Canada). I am very pleased and impressed with this bike as a commuting solution. Yes, it is heavy, so it needs to pedal assist, as @draf attests. But the wide tires are great for the gravel shoulders, drain grates and other bumps that are part of my 11km-each-way commute to work. I have in the past tried to use my Raleigh road bike (non electric with racing tires) to do this ride, and it is just too tough on those thin pieces of rubber. This Mariner plows through everything, and is very nice to ride, upright, good view of the road, and easy to get going. I've put well over 200 km on this bike so far, and it is holding up very well. I have last year's version, with the suspension seat post but no front suspension, and this is working well for me. I have the tires inflated to 20 psi, which seems a good compromise for the road riding I do. I did try to do some trail riding this last weekend, but there was still some deep soft snow in the woods, which was tough on this heavy bike. I could have deflated the tires a bit for more traction, I think, but just decided to bail out onto the roads. I think I will wait till spring is more firmly established before trying that again.

All in all, this is a great bike for what I need. It will be my wheels till well into the fall, I hope.
 

PCDoctorUSA

Well-Known Member
#16
A new Yukon AND Mariner owner just enrolled in Voltbike's Ambassador program and I got to try out both of his bikes this morning. They're so new he only has 1.3 miles on them. The Yukon is a jaw-dropping beast, but I think I was more impressed with the Mariner. I rode a co-worker's GoCycle awhile back and the handlebars felt awkward and the bike as a whole didn't feel up to the challenge of being a daily commuter on the crappy roads along my route. The Mariner with its fat tires, was definitely a solid build and the handlebars were comfortable. It almost did as well as the Yukon up a 12% grade, but the Yukon had the advantage with the 750W motor. I would have no reservations with choosing the Mariner as my first ebike commuter.
 

draf

New Member
#17
@draf Now that you've had the inaugural ride to work, can you see yourself making the daily commute on the Mariner?
Yes, I wish the weather was fine every day to go to work by bike! I have a paved (asphalt) bike path on the entire commute with trees and grass on the border, beautiful flat road. It takes me the same time by bike or by car (50 minutes), so I definitely enjoy more the bike, even though I need to pedal vigorously on PAS 9 the entire distance (24km one way) in order to maintain the speed and manage the battery.
So yes, I absolutely see myself commuting every day with the Mariner, but I love the workout, others might not! :)
Unfortunately I had this issue today so I'll be forced to stop for a couple of weeks...
 

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