What type of electric bike motor is good for commuting without sweating.

Discussion in 'Help Choosing an Ebike' started by vroom, Nov 22, 2017.

  1. vroom

    vroom New Member


    I am looking to buy an e bike and I have some requirements that I think most people will find odd. These are specific to me and since I am new to this world of e-bikes I would like some advice please.

    Goals: I want to use an e bike for daily commutes -all year round without sweating. (I want to use e-bike for easy commute)

    Choices: Mid-drive motors, Front hub motors, Rear hub motors.

    Specifics of my commute:
    The areas I travel in have some smooth, some bumpy, some hilly roads and very few off-roads.
    I carry 3 bags with me: office briefcase + gym bag+ grocery bag for when need be (and a small cycle tool bag).
    Weight = 150 (me) + additional = 220 at most. Max= 300 if carrying exceptional loads, like luggage.
    I want to ride through all seasons.
    I am currently using a bike.
    When I ride I wear office attire/suit or, casual clothing so, mostly shirts and trousers and jackets. As a result I want to avoid sweating as much as possible.
    My commutes happen in urban areas so, there are lots of stops every now and then.
    Total distance traveled I assume is usually under 22 miles in a day and rarely crosses 30, but can happen once in a few months.

    Problems faced:
    I find myself sweating in rainy and winter (snow prone region, not yet) conditions when I have to wear insulated clothes + windproof coats/jackets, particularly on hills.
    (I do not have means to carry three different bags properly. I have to explore options, rear panniers+rear baskets, etc.)

    Goals to be met:
    I want to meet my needs of commute, carry bags properly and avoid sweating (Can I use ebike for commute and not exercise).

    So, what type of motor would be suitable for the experience I am seeking?
    Choices: Mid-drive motors, Front hub motors, Rear hub motors.

    Suggestions for bikes and carrying arrangements are welcome.

    Note: Carrying office clothes in a separate bag is not ideal and only changes the problem without solving it.

    Thank you in advance for all your help.

    Edit 1:
    Male, late 20s.
    150lbs, 5 ft, 8.5.
    Located in US, east coast.
    Health: average.
    Injury: None
    Pre-existing condition: very mild back pain. so, upright position is how I currently ride.

    Edit 2:
    At this point I am thinking a combination of some type of pedal assistance (lots of traffic stops) and throttle would be useful for hills and keeping up with traffic when needed.
    Does that limit my choices?
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2017

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  3. Scooteretti

    Scooteretti Member

    @vroom Great to hear you are in the market for an electric bike. You'll love the feeling and you'll be joing thousands of us (like on this site) who love our electric bikes.

    Ideally a good dealer will ask you a few more questions pertaining to you needs in order to recommend a great bike. But here are a few tips I can suggest (would need to know more about you before I could recommend a bike or drive system for you though).

    In summary, I would avoid a front hub system as you will be doing winter riding. Now depending on your fitness level and how fast you sweat will determine whether a good mid drive will suffice or if you better off with a more powerful rear hub system to prevent this and possibly having a rear hub system with a throttle for those days where you are getting hot and wanted a break to cool off a little. Until one can determine your overall fitness level it would be really difficult to make a solid recommendation honestly.

    If you are of average fitness level and know you don't need a throttle, personally I'm a big fan of mid drive units. Winter riding, especially in areas where they use salt on the roads is where a mid drive excels in my opinion as the units are certainly more reliable in these conditions. Look for something that requires the least amount of maintenance. From us riding in our Canadian winters here a few must have's on any bike is hydraulic disc brakes, minimal electrical connectors (mid drives win here), fenders, aluminum pannier rack, try to stick with single chainring in the front (no need for to many derailleurs as this is just more maintenance), possibly internal rear gear hub if you can find a bike you like with it and a good set of waterproof panniers (Vaude, Ortleib etc....)

    If you think you want to go the rear hub route then keep a close eye at the components and manufacturer warranties (get the longest warranty you can find since you will winter ride). Look out for bikes with minimal connectors, least amount of electrical / communication cables exposed to the elements. As mentioned above, look for bikes with hydraulic disc brakes and the least amount of shifters (stay with 8-11 speeds on the rear only if you can). Same must have accessories as mentioned above.

    On both model types if you ride in areas where there is ice in the winter and you think you may need studded tires, then look for bikes that have more standard tire sizes in the 28" / 700 diameters for the best selection of tire options.

    The list goes on but this is just a very quick summary. If you need more help, I suggest finding a great local dealer or give us a call and book a consultation. A proper ebike dealer will help you in your selection. A good dealer should ask you a bunch of questions to better understand your needs and then be able to make a few solid recommendations. Be open with them and don't ever by shy to let them know if you have any issues (legs, hips, medical etc......). The more info you share the better recommendations you will get.

    all the best on your search,

  4. J.R.

    J.R. Well-Known Member

    First and foremost, in what country will you be buying and riding? US, you'll find just about every type of ebike, throttles are legal and power up to 750 watts in most locals. Canada power limits to 500 watts, throttles okay. Europe is less power for the most part and throttles aren't allowed. Available brands differ between North America and Europe as well.

    Good hunting!
  5. JRA

    JRA Well-Known Member

    "In summary, I would avoid a front hub system as you will be doing winter riding."

    Yeah, because AWD is so unpopular in winter conditions. I actually find my front hub system to be quite sufficient in adverse conditions.


    Find a bike that fits you and your needs and the electric system should have about the same effect no matter what one you decide on. As noted local support is a bonus unless you know how to do your own maintenance.
  6. vroom

    vroom New Member

    Hi, thanks for asking. I am in US, east coast. 750 watts should be upper limit, but isn't that an overkill since, that is found mostly in bikes for 100+ mile range?
  7. vroom

    vroom New Member

    Hi, thanks for the answers. I am including the information here.
    "Male, late 20s.
    150lbs, 5 ft, 8.5.
    Located in US, east coast.
    Health: average.
    Injury: None
    Pre-existing condition: very mild back pain. so, upright position is how I ride. "

    Is there any other info needed?

    I think I would like the option of a throttle since, I carry some additional weight (<50lbs) with me over some hills in my commute. I DO NOT intend to use a throttle every time, but I think they would be useful for going on hills, keeping up with traffic when lane changing I guess, and for easy rides on particularly exhaustive days (health cannot be always optimal). So, at this point I am thinking a combination of some type of pedal assistance (lots of traffic stops) and throttle would be useful.

    What are the problems with front hub motors in snowy areas?
    Does a combination of assist+throttle limit my choices? How?

    Thank you.
  8. J.R.

    J.R. Well-Known Member

    East coast here too! Yes winter...


    I don't think you need 750, but that number is power to the ground, distance is all in the battery. In the last 3 years I've done more than 10k miles on 2 ebikes, one direct drive hub - 500 watts and one geared hub - 350 watts. If I was to buy another bike today I would purchase a Yamaha PWX mid drive powered bike, most bang for the buck. For me no throttle needed, torque sensing pedal assist is where it's at. I think the sweating issue is somewhat controlled by what the rider is wearing. I try to dress as light as I can. Winter requires some high tech clothing that breathes as well as insulates. If you are warm standing still at the start of your ride, you're dressed too warm and you will sweat.
  9. vroom

    vroom New Member

    Ah yes, I have been thinking this too. This is where my experience as a new biker shows. I have only recently come to the realization that riding bikes in cold climate requires a bit of sacrifice in insulation when starting out from rest because, you make up for it by generating body heat through riding. However, office attire and sweat is a bad combination. I was hoping to solve that by using an e-bike. That is the reason behind my original question about what type of motor to choose for a sweat-free ride, especially since I carry bags, and grocery once a week. At the same time I do not want to overkill.

    How is my motor choice limited if I want a combination of throttle and some type of pedal assistance?
  10. J.R.

    J.R. Well-Known Member

    Checkout Pedego Ridge Rider.


    Might be more mountain than you need, but good front suspension, powerful 500 watt geared hub with throttle and more than enough battery. Pedego also has a lot of dealers, you should be able to test ride and service after sale will be there for you should you need it.

    Court's review:


    Some Easy Motion bikes have throttle as well.

  11. Ravi Kempaiah

    Ravi Kempaiah Well-Known Member

    If I were in your position, I would look at these options.

    1. Ohm cycles. This Friday they have 30% off on all their bikes. Get the sport model with super moto x tires, supernova m99 lights for $3100 and 3 year warranty. Great bike with throttle feature. https://ohmcycles.com/e-bikes/sport/
    2. Easy motion EVO city 2017/2018. Again very nice bike with wonderful support.
    3. If you can wait a bit, juiced cross current S. Throttle feature for onward commute and pedal assist for the return leg. https://www.juicedbikes.com/collections/e-bikes?nopreview
    If you have a shop that can help you with maintenance, I would also look at lunacycle bikes like the roam. https://lunacycle.com/roam-fusion/
  12. Over50

    Over50 Active Member

    I started my e-bike commuting experiment thinking that the e-bike would allow me to commute without getting sweaty. What I found is that my mid-drive pedal assist bike makes me work a lot which means I sweat a lot. For colder days I generally try to gauge the clothes to where I am cold at the start but warm 10 minutes into the ride. Inevitably though, for a 1 hour commute, I arrive sweating. I keep a log of my commutes with temperature and what I was wearing so I can make notes such as "got too hot" or "froze my ass off". So the next time I commute in similar conditions I know what my experience was the last time and adjust my clothes accordingly.

    For the sweat issue, I had to join a gym 3 blocks from my office. So I arrive after a 1 hour bike ride, lock up and then walk 3 blocks to the gym, shower and return for breakfast. A pretty nice routine and I don't regret having to spend an extra $300 for a gym (to help with the sweat issue and with having a place to change clothes).

    Clint Gibbs has some videos on Youtube about commuting and he suggested baby wipes in the bathroom if you don't have access to a shower. On the colder days I have commuted, I could probably get away with this because I don't sweat that much. But a hot shower after a one hour bike ride in the cold is wonderful.

    I have almost no experience with hub drives but my understanding is that most throttle options are on rear hub bikes. So if you really want to avoid arriving sweaty then you need to limit exertion which implies throttle over a pedal assist only bike. Also clothes that allow you to ventilate (or have ventilation zippers) are a big help. When you start to feel you are heating up you can open those vents and keep cool. Yes, at 32F I have found myself unzipping 40 minutes into a ride as I felt I was overheating.
  13. Mark Peralta

    Mark Peralta Well-Known Member

    With lots of traffic stops and the intended use all year round, you would need a hub drive for drama-free frequent accelerations (unless you have a mid drive with expensive nuvinci). A hub drive would also protect your drive train from premature wear brought about by the motor power, thus, preserving the life of your drive train.

    Between direct hub drive and geared hub drive, the geared hub is smaller and lighter but has gears to wear out and is a bit noisier. Direct drive can run tens of thousand of miles with no wear and tear parts to replace, very silent, but it is a little heavier (however, you will barely notice the weight penalty for your intended commuter ride).

    Aside from the previous recommendations (Bionx, stromer,..), another example of direct hub drive that I would look at is the Radcity (you can program to inc the speed limit from factory 20 mph to 25 mph).


    Another example of geared hub drive that I would look at is the Magnum metro plus.

    Last edited: Nov 23, 2017
  14. rich c

    rich c Active Member

    If you ride a PAS only bike, and use the higher assist modes, it's just like riding a throttle bike. In fact, most PAS at the highest level is like mashing the throttle wide open. All you have to do is move your legs, you don't have to use any force at all. Set it at max as you approach a light, back it off for riding flat miles. If anyone is sweating on the commute, it's two reasons. It's really hot and you don't like to ride naked, or you don't wear the proper layers of performance clothing. Don't wear cotton, wear clothes that breath in the summer and clothes that block the wind in the winter. With panniers on a bike, you can constantly add or store layers.
  15. JohnT

    JohnT Active Member

    Lots of good advice here. Here’s my two cents.

    Since you’re a commuter, I recommend focusing on quality and buying locally if you can. That way you’re less likely to have something go wrong, and if you do, you have someone nearby to help get you rolling again quickly. Plus, test riding before purchasing really helps in choosing the right bike.

    I sweat easily, and no pedal assist only system is going to keep me dry. I would need a throttle. While I’m rolling, I’m fine, but when I stop, I feel the heat. What I do is pedal for most of the way, then as I get close to my destination, I stop pedaling, allowing my body to cool while still rolling.

    Someone recommended the Pedego Ridge Rider. It’s a great bike, and we have a customer who commutes on one who is close to your loaded weight limit. Since you’re not carrying that weight on your body, I think the Pedego Stretch might be a better option for you. It’s a smallish cargo bike and has more ways to carry things. We have several customers who commute on them, and it’s my wife’s favorite bike to ride. It’s very stable, even while loaded, and can easily carry a passenger.

    There’s a lot of info on different drive systems, so I won’t get into it too deeply here, but I prefer rear geared hubs, unless you’re often hauling 300 lbs up lots of steep hills. If you are, then mid-drive might be better. I don’t usually recommend direct drive hubs, unless running illegal power levels, especially for hauling weight up hills. I agree that rear hubs are better than front, but I have zero experience in snow.