Seeking advice for first ebike

Deb888

New Member
I've been wanting to get an ebike for a while now for my commute to work - about 7-8 miles each way, mostly on a paved trail. I am looking for a step through model; something very stable, safe, and comfortable; with integrated lights and fenders. I keep coming back to the Blix Aveny, but wonder if there are other similar models I should consider - for example, electra, Raleigh Detour, Benno eJoy, Parkway Civia, Gazelle, Specialized, etc? Does mid drive vs. hub make a big difference? What about hydraulic vs. mechanical brakes? It is really difficult to make this purchase because it isn't easy to test drive different types of bike - the bike shops in my area only carry a few models, and they tend to be very high end. Thank you!
 
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indianajo

Well-Known Member
First off pick your frame size- the difference between handlebar stem & seat post. Short people need 16-18", medium 18-20", tall 21-22". Courts reviews will tell you this, as should the bike website. Some brands only come in medium. Others the short ones are special order, you pay before you try the bike.
Then pick wheel size. I'm short but like 26" wheels with 2" tires for bad pavement. Taller people can take 700 cm or taller wheels. 20" wheels carry well up an apartment stair but are vile through a pothole.
Power all the time, a mid drive can work and with torque sensor, feels very natural. They wear out chains. Pedal yourself sometimes, a geared hub motor or a yamaha mid drive, you don't want drag.
I like the hub motors, when something wears out any brand replacement will fit the dropout (fork) of a standard sized bike. DD hub motors are cheapest, longest life, and work okay in cities, but hog watt hours on the many hills like I ride. DD hubs are heavy to carry or lift. Geared hubs may have 3000 or 5000 miles life, but are very cheap. I ride one, about 8 lbs and hardly noticeable locked to a downtown pole.
I have mechanical disk brakes and they are fine over the 80 or so hills I ride on my commute. Need adjusting about once a year (2000 miles). Hydraulic disks are for the really high speed down really long grades, not worth the maintenance bother (bleeding) & cost imho. I stopped in 20' from 25 mph last week with my tektro mechanicals. I feel rim brakes are **** in the rain and ran into a car with those after I stopped at a 4 way stop sign and she didn't.
Extremely high speeds (20 up) you want full suspension. 8-15 mph like I ride, 2" tires smooth out the bumps enough. Extremely bad city pavement, maybe suspension is worth the cost. Seat post spring is about $100 if you buy a front suspension only bike. Suspension parts may not be available a few years after you buy, requiring a new bike.
Bargain brands are magnum, juiced, M2s. Rad is cheap but electronic order only. Full service brands are pedego & trek. Bigger batteries run the costs up, at your range 10 AH would be plenty.
Best in the rain is arroyo probably, they are made in Netherlands where it rains all the time. It rains a lot here & I oil steel parts on my bike every 2 weeks. Cables have been replaced with stainless with plastic tubes.
Fenders are available but headlights & taillights, you can save a lot of money by buying aftermarket from modernbike or niagara ( just changed name, I forget new one). Wears out, no maintenance hassle, throw away & buy new. Mine use a MicroUSB charger, about every 5 hours of use.
If you really want to try a lot of types, shop in LA, SF, Chicagoland, East Coast (not NYC where ebikes have been illegal until recently). MA has a low power limit, I wouldn't shop there unless I lived there.
Have fun shopping.
 
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AHicks

Well-Known Member
Deb, I find myself wondering if you are you planning on doing all of your own service work? If not, a survey of the local shops, and their thoughts regarding working on an e-bike they didn't sell might be in order. With any luck at all, you may find one willing to work on a few brands they don't sell. It may help if they understand your e-bike budget can't handle the expense of the bikes they stock. Just don't let them try to convince you that less expensive bikes are junk. There are many, many examples of them in use that prove otherwise.

The problem to be avoided, obviously, is to find yourself stranded with a broken e-bike and nowhere to turn with it.

Depending on your location, a mobile bike service may be another option. Check out Velofix (velofix.com). They are actually able to perform warranty service on a few brands.

Point being, you may be able to narrow your available choices a bit by focusing on those you can get service work done on without too much difficulty.
 
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Deb888

New Member
Thank you, AHicks. That is a very good point. I definitely will not be able to do the service work myself. The shops near me seem to carry Specialized and Gazelle models. I will ask around to try to find out which other models they may be able to service. It is great that there are so many choices, but a bit overwhelming to select the best bike - without being able to actually try them. I've been wanting to buy one for quite a while now, but keep putting it off because I don't know which to buy!
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
You already know it's a tough call, but in the end, it's nearly always going to require a leap of faith based on the best info you can collect!
 

GOGIANTSFAN11

New Member
HI, Just wanted to let you know I got a step thru Specialized Como. I also Tried the Blix and the Raleigh and the Electra Townie. Along with lots of others. In my opinion there was no comparison the como was so much smoother then the others. I like the way the Townie road but did not have the power that the Como had at all. Good luck with your search.
 

Deb888

New Member
Thank you, Gogiantsfan. May I ask which model of the Specialized Como? I wish I could try out some of these bikes. Since I've only ever had the chance to ride one (Raleigh Detour), it is hard for me to understand the difference! Thanks.