Totally new to e-bikes

Our second car is slowly dying, and we'd like to put off replacing it by buying an e-bike. (Not so much for financial reasons as because we're hoping there will be more all-electric SUV offerings in a few years.)

My husband and I would both be riding it. We're both 5'8", 120/140 lbs, and our commutes are <15 miles round trip with mild hills, all urban. We have two young kids, so need a rear rack for a for a child's seat. I often wear a skirt to work, so step through or mid-step. He doesn't want it to look like a girl's bike.

No fixed budget which is part of the difficulty. Willing to pay extra for features that will substantially improve the ride, but I don't know what those are. Current front-runner is the Voltbike Elegant. Thoughts?

rich c

Staff member
For a commuter, I would prefer a class III bike, capable of 28mph. I hardly ever ride that fast, but really often hit 22-23mph. Also much prefer hydraulic brakes, not familiar with the brakes spec'd on the Voltbike. I'd consider that Voltbike a little short on gears, but since it has a throttle, you may be okay. Don't know the size of your children, but loaded down you may like a lower gear that you get with the 7. My Haibike XDURO Trekking S RX has 10. The price is very attractive on that Voltbike, but if I depended on my bike to get to work, I'd want a better class of components. Just a lot of my preferences here, but I started on a cheap Chinese eBike, but really only ride Haibike XDURO (Bosch mid drive) bikes now. Two of my eBikes are over 1600 miles, the Trekking is over 1100 miles. Just a bit of reference for my riding experience. Edit; If you want both kids to ride, look at a GSD cargo bike. You should also look at Thudbuster or Bodyfloat suspension seat posts with the style bike you are looking at.
Last edited:


Well-Known Member
2nd the recommendation of checking out the Tern GSD. Out around March of 18. One size fits all, two kid capacity, cargo capacity and certainly capable for the commute you mentioned with some hills (has high torque motor and Super Moto X tires). If you pair those tires running less than full inflation with a seatpost suspension should get a comfortable ride:

I see the voltbike elegant has a single frame, a 19". That is too big for me, and may be for you. The geared rear hub fits my riding style fine, spinning up grades or riding 15-20 mph in traffic. Gear hubs are not amazing at higher speeds, IMHO.
This company has electric bikes that can fit normal sized (1950 era, my size) people, with special features for kids: Like a wheel skirt to keep fingers out of spokes.
I would prefer the 26" wheel models to cut the shock of hitting potholes, but perhaps the pavement is perfect in your area. The tiny wheel tern would knock me off the saddle if I didn't stop and push it some places around here.
The extra room behind the seat could be useful for carrying both children at once, or child plus backpack for school, or maybe some groceries. I've got a huge set of steel baskets for my mountain bike, and that is not enough even for my weekly grocery shopping. Loading up the baskets lightens up the front wheel to 15-20 lb, and I've had trouble with dogs knocking me over when hitting the front wheel. A stretch rear evens up the load distribution somewhat. Search cargo bikes for other models & geometries. A article yesterday (10/14) reviewed the use of cargo bikes with a wooden box in front in Cambridge UK to haul children around.


Last edited:

rich c

Staff member
A article yesterday (10/14) reviewed the use of cargo bikes with a wooden box in front in Cambridge UK to haul children around.

Those bikes would be miserable to commute with, and very difficult to find a parking place to lock them up.
Find a local bicycle shop with a good selection of ebikes (in the Front Range, Small Planet Ebikes ... they've also got a shop in Texas). You and your husband should try a wide variety. When I did, I would up with a Stromer ST-1 (which was NOT one of the bikes I'd researched and thought I'd want). A couple of years and six thousand miles later, I'm happy. I've used it with a tag-a-long style (weehoo) attached bike for my younger son, and a cargo trailer (Burley Cargo flatbed) for non-commuting tasks. Normally, it's just me and stuff ... so front and rear racks (with panniers) suffice. It wouldn't work well with a skirt, but I usually change clothes at the office .... in any event, with very different usage patterns you may discover that trailers work better for you ... or that perhaps you end up with two bikes (good to have a spare for times when the bike needs to be in the shop; most shops don't have strong loaner programs). In any event, let us know what YOU end up with and how you guys like it!
Choosing a computing e-Bike... From what you've written you guys are 'serious' about using your e-Bike for commuting ( Great ) As for a bike I bought,
a Trek XM700+ in July for recreational riding, I absolutely love it. It's built like a tank, the Bosch Performance Motor System is extremely powerful yet
silky smooth, the bike seems to just go and go, the hydraulic disc brakes excellent stopping the bike safely on a dime.

The XM 700+ has a 2 year warranty. .....All of this comes at a price $3,500. Is it worth it ? to me yes, but I'm sure there
are many fine bikes with a lower price. The XM700+ was designed as a commuter. As for riding my bike 3 months and 1200 miles I think
Trek did a fine job. If I were to do it over I'd buy the exact same bike.

Whatever bike you choose I'd strongly recommend the BodyFloat Seat Post by Cirrus
I have one and it makes all the difference. Also consider high quality tire since you'll be commuting. My Trek came with Schwalbe Tires

Lastly, establish a good relationship with a local bike shop that knows and sell/services e-Bikes. Someone you can trust. Speaking of trust,
my local bike shop owner is trained and has the equipment to fit a rider to a bike. I paid for professional fit and it riding so much more enjoyable.
I couldn't believe how fitting the rider to the bike can eliminate certain aches and pains.

All the best and check back in when you've made your choice,

John from CT


Active Member
If you're looking at a 'long tail' cargo bike for putting children on the back, from Yuba I'd suggest the Spicy Curry or an alternative such as the Xtracycle Edgerunner - both have smaller 20" wheels on the back which lower the center of gravity of the cargo deck versus full size wheels. If you are only carrying one child on the bike, a less expensive alternative might be a 'mid-tail' such as the Juiced ODK U500 which has 20" wheels both front and rear and a step through frame, it has a throttle and cruise control but no pedal assist, it's sold out on the Juiced website but you might find one still in stock at one of their dealers eg 5 left at this Canadian dealer. Check out Court's review. Here's a review by a parent. Here are some first impressions from parents in hilly Seattle, and a one year update.

The Tern GSD is really nice, like the Juiced U500 it has 20" wheels both front and rear, but the Bosch motor on the Tern provides power via pedal assist with no throttle - which one you like is a matter of personal preference. I like to ride along using pedal assist with no throttle, whereas other folks like to use a throttle when starting off. If you'd like both pedal assist and a throttle there are some cargo ebikes that offer both like the RadWagon, or you might look into converting a regular pedal cargo bike with a kit motor from Bafang/eRad, Dillenger, E-BikeKit, or BionX.
Last edited:
I'd also go with the Tern GSD, it's a very well thought out and built bike (from looking at specs - I've never ridden it). My wife and I have a Yuba Mundo with a Tongsheng mid drive kit on it, which we are enjoying. But if we were buying new, it would likely be the Tern GSD. The Yuba Spicy Curry Bosch is also a very nice looking bike, but that Tern... I just like it better.

We use our Mundo a lot, we only have 1 vehicle and it's how my wife gets our kids to daycare / school. I also have a separate eMtb which I use for commuting. Sometimes our SUV will sit in the garage for long periods of neglect...

Go for it, you will not regret it! Good luck and enjoy.


Active Member
The best Pedego for your needs would be the Stretch. It’s a long tail cargo bike, but it’s only a little long, so it doesn’t feel cumbersome. We have a couple customers using it as their primary mode of transportation. It’s my wife’s favorite bike to ride!

There’s room to haul two kids or an adult on the back, and adapters are available to mount child seats for smaller kids. They climb pretty well, although with my wife and me on the bike, I have to pedal a bit on some of the steeper hills. Our combined weight is over 300 lbs. Mild hills are easy.

With the longer range battery, you should get 40 or 50 miles or so per charge with moderate pedaling. With no pedaling, maybe 30 miles or so.

I agree with using the Body Float (now called Kinekt) seatpost for a commuter. It allows my wife to ride longer distances with more comfort. It’s pricey, but I don’t recall hearing anyone say they regretted getting one.