Who's ebike riding could ALL be done on a regular bike?

indianajo

Well-Known Member
The best way to dump the weight on a bike is ride a heavy one some distance. I lost 40 lb off my waist & hips with a unpowered 85 lb MTB + baskets. Another 10 lb of lard off with this 75 lb aluminum cargo bike. I don't use the motor in the flat unless the wind is high; I use it up many of the 68 hills on my commute. I added about 30 hills when I installed the motor to reroute off 55 mph highways. The motor is 1200 W 48 v geared, not a lightweight. Drags down to 4 mph on some hills if I lose momentum, I wouldn't want less power. The bike weight is < half my weight even now. Supplies run it up to 120 lb, and yes the loaded run is uphill.
I weigh less now than I did 40 years ago. Carbon fiber drop bars and skinny seats are for racers, & I don't care who comes in first. I'm winning in the "who might last another 40 years" category.
 
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bob armani

Well-Known Member
I ride E-bikes solely for the speed and the tech (which I really am fascinated with) even though I am fully capable of riding a dino-bike full time. Now that I am on E-bikes, I will probably sell most of my analog bikes. However, I have found that I am riding quite a bit more now, than I ever had due to the pure joy of riding a motor-assisted machine. It just never gets old. I also look forward to newer tech down the road and future purchases of newer tech/designs in this space. Seems like progress is growing rapidly moving forward.
 

Alaskan

Well-Known Member
Hi Alaskan, it's cool that you tried a Gain. Obviously it's not the right choice for you, but I'm confused by your reference to a "throttle"? All Gains are Class 1 - they don't have throttles.

I spend a lot more of my time on Euro forums now, where people seem to like Gains a lot more and use them to complete rides in the Alps and Pyrenees - which have grades that make the Pacific NW look like gentle hills - that they weren't able to do before, so I couldn't figure out why opinions differed so much. The more I look at it, it seems like these bikes are meant for a different group of riders - basically fairly hard core cyclists who are still fit but need a bit of help because of age or health. For these riders who haven't gotten used to really heavy bikes with huge motors and a bit of help seems to be the perfect solution.

By the way, although the "stealth" part is maybe a bit of the appeal the main reason to have the battery in the tube is aerodynamics. When one rides a 50-60 pound machine with mirrors, kickstands, and all sorts of stuff aerodynamics isn't a big deal since the huge motor and batteries take care of it but when most of the power is coming from your body every little bit of wind resistance adds up.
Thanks for the correction. You are right about the throttle it was about six weeks ago that I rode the Gain and a also test rode a few other bikes at the time. You are correct, there was no throttle. I did find the assist to be more evident and not a smoothly integrated as what I am accustomed to in a mid drive bike. There were more sudden surges in the assist that made the feel of the motor's presence more obvious. I did find the assistance of the hub motor to be inadequate on steep hills as compared with a Bosch system. Also as a class one bike it provides no assistance about 20mph which is where a fit rider could actually use assistance on flat ground.

Check out this thread reviewing the gain https://electricbikereview.com/forum/threads/orbea-gain-e-road-bike.26368/
 

The duke

Active Member
My riding consists of frequent office commutes (5 miles one way, shortest route) and leisure rides / exercise rides. All done on paved trails and a small amount of residential side streets.
The ebike definitely made riding possible again after a 25+ year gap without biking (nor much in the way of exercise at all!) Weighing in at 303 when I started, I likely would not have been able to force myself to stick with it on a pedal bike...
Now, 50-ish pounds lighter and with much more stamina and strength after 6,500 miles accumulated, I can do all of my usual rides on a pedal bike. I only recently confirmed this when I “rediscovered” in mid-July that my original 1992 Bianchi 21 speed Advantage was still in my possession, forgotten about for those 25+ years in a storage locker. I got it all fixed up (tires, tubes, pads, accessories) and have put 100 miles on it so far... easily more miles than I ever rode it, total, back in 92, 93 before quitting it entirely!
I was pleasantly surprised by how, effort-wise, the rides were comfortably “doable” on the Bianchi. It is ~23 pounds lighter than the ebike, and rides very differently (not in a bad way) as a result. The 21 gears come in handy, it turns out, for the few short-but-serious inclines that are scattered around my routes.
But I’ve realized the ebike will remain my summer commuter, because while I currently work up a small sweat on the morning commute on the ebike, I’m far, far sweatier when commuting on the Bianchi... that ultimately would require showering at work, and I don’t want to introduce the added hassles that entails... so I won’t reattempt regular Bianchi commuting until the morning temperatures are reliably in the 60’s, and will reevaluate then to see how much of my extra sweating is from “effort under hot weather” or, simply due to the nature of pedal-bike added effort in general...
Awesome story! I've become so reliant on the easy speed and acceleration of my ebike and the psychological domination I have over hills. I've got a phobia of going back to my analog bike. Does returning to the Bianchi require a mental reset? How do you feel when you look at an upcoming hill (even a small one)? I use the minimum assist all the time, partially for psychological reasons, and I think knowing the helping hand is there....even if I dont use it, has become important for my morale
 
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christob

Well-Known Member
@The duke -- I didn't have any immediately-prior experiences on a pedal bike, as a fresh comparison before getting the ebike -- just old painful biking memories from 25 years earlier. So I didn't know what to expect after 16 months on an ebike; but since the last 8 months of that ebiking were in the lowest assist (or no assist) I felt pretty confident I would probably be fine on the Bianchi for my usual routes (which in fact was the case.) Back when I got the ebike, the main motivator for purchase was to have a motor to ease me through the painful period of re-acclimating to biking... erasing the hills and the general strains and pains of someone starting out being as out-of-shape as I was then; so that I'd stick with it by experiencing the fun of biking, and less (or none) of the torture I recalled from 25 years ago... The ebike did just that course, and with a few thousand miles covered, some weight lost, stamina built up -- it also prepped me for the otherwise alien thought of ever considering a pedal bike again. ie, by the time I re-found the Bianchi in July, I was quite likely in a better state to ride it consistently, than back when I first bought it new at age 24! (I was lighter at 24 than at 49, but I was without any exercise in place back then -- so, probably not any more fit at 24 than when I bought the ebike!)

The main thing that struck me on the Bianchi is the reduced weight. I feel like sometimes I could hit a bump, go airborne and simply float away... an exaggeration, but the lightness is so very noticeable and delightful, generally. Though sometimes that nimbleness feels maybe a little intimidating -- I feel like it requires a bit more focus... for instance, while I don't ride hands-free often, it is noticeably easier to ride hands-free on the heavier ebike. From a dead stop on the Bianchi, sometimes I'll go to really crank the pedal and I end up jumping the front wheel up off the pavement... Every bump I hit, on the usual, memorized routes, feels far less jarring as an impact, than on the heavier ebike. My normal routes are not especially hilly here in the DC suburbs. If I do my frequently-ridden "Arlington Loop" route -- it is about 16 miles with only ~380 feet elevation gain. So no grueling ascents in my routines... Though of course, even a short incline can end up feeling grueling to someone. (My sister recently rode the Arlington Loop with me -- her first time back on her carbon bike in 9 years -- and she really had a tough time with several of the inclines along the route. But she also isn't back in practice of preemptive shifting, etc.) Having the full set of 21 gears, down to the spinning-like-mad granny-gear, makes all the moderate inclines doable, albeit slower. I had no bike-walking of the Bianchi on it's inaugural Loop ride with my sister (although she did -- her ride experience was exactly what mine would have been, if I'd not been ebiking the last 16 months!)

There's no doubt that knowing the motor is in reserve on the ebike, even though I ride in level 1 all the time now, is a very nice 'safety net'. I could still manage to over-do it on an ebike ride -- ride too far and get wiped out, forget to drink enough water in the heat, etc. -- in which case, the final miles back home would only be manageable with more assist. No such option on the Bianchi, so at least for now as I "break it in" for the second time, I'm being far more conservative in my Bianchi riding; a slower overall speed and as of yet, no 30-mile leisure ride days... (The Arlington Loop ride with my sister is the longest single-ride outing so far -- about 18 miles done that day in ~140 minutes of saddle time, but spread out with several stops, over a 4-hour outing.)
 

Solom01

Active Member
Christob, you nailed the joys of riding a light-weight bike down perfectly. It's not for everyone and it requires a certain amount of health and willingness to work, but comparing a 50 pound or so ebike to a 30 or less pound bike and the way they feel and handle is like comparing a Ford F350 Dually to a Miata. The Ford is a heck of a lot better for carrying stuff and may even be faster in a straight line, but the handling and driving feel is totally different.
 

DouglasB

Active Member
I'm 72 and have both an e-bike and a road bike. Our road around here are a mix of steep hills and long flat straightaways. The variety of terrain makes for interesting riding but can be quite challenging at times. My regular ride is about 20 miles. At first I wasn't sure how the e-bike would fit in. I thourghly enjoy riding the e-bike but what I have found is that I prefer to ride my road bike most of the time. I use the e-bike more for "transportation". I'll ride it into town to pick up somehting but for the thrill of the ride and physical exertion, I much prefer my road bike.
 

Rodolfo

Member
I picked up my electric 6 years ago, simply to add a different kind of riding. I picked the bike, among others, because it fit and rode the most like a "regular" bike, actually much like my '97 RockHopper. I ride it in Eco (lightest assist) or no-assist 95% of the time. On the moderate hills/elevations in town, I turn on the eco; otherwise, I just ride it "regular", and it feels pretty much that way. I have always ridden it for fun and fitness, like I have all my "regular" bikes since age 4. At 71, I'm fortunate, thankful that I still can and do ride my "regular" bikes. My NeoExtrem has gotten more miles each year, as we've both aged, and I'm sure I'll be increasingly thankful for it as I age because it is undoubtedly easier to ride -despite its weight. But, at 50 lbs., it doesn't give me the flexibility I need to make it any more than a relatively convenient vs. REGULAR option. Fifty pounds means, for instance, that I can't toss it into my allroad to take it to my favorite nearby or out-of-town trails, rides, towns, etc.. I could, but I won't regularly, because my back, neck, and right hip prefer that I not. So, the Orbea Gain, or another even-lighter option that isn't yet available in the US, is what I need to make an electric a favorite and go-to option. Unfortunately, my nearest Orbea dealer is 200+ miles away, and currently they do not have Gains, in any event. BTW, even my 6-year-old 50-pounder has a hub motor that is not "useless on steep hills". I do like the feel of hub motors, and the weight distribution with the motor in the rear and the battery toward the front. Still, I don't expect weight distribution to be a prime consideration if and when I spring for a new light ebike.
 
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Catbiscuits

Member
I’m buying an electric bike in Wednesday even though I’m #3 on the hill I will use it on in Strava.

Why? Because it’s one thing to put on my bike gear, ride my 15 pound Domane hard enough that I feel like I’m going to puke after 47 seconds of pounding thunder and another thing to go to the grocery store at the end of the day to pick up some spices (this was today) and then ride up that hill.

I want to drive my car a LOT less, especially for light groceries and trips to the hardware store or the gym and I want to be able to wear the jeans I’m wearing around the house for that. And I’m not putting a rack on the Domane.

Ideally, in a few years or constant use, I’ll be strong enough and light enough to ditch the electric, but I’m 52 this month so who knows if I will be. Honestly, if it wasn’t for the hill, I’d just ride my Brompton everywhere. When I travel, I typically do.
 

ChezCheese:)

Active Member
I wouldn't be riding a bike at all if I only had acoustic : my hill is just too discouraging. Also, once I tried an ebike, I was hooked. If you're used to having gears, would you go back to a one speed? I wouldn't. So it is with electric bikes.
 

DouglasB

Active Member
I have some very steep hills on my regular riding route. The steepest one is just outside my door. It's a butt kicker. In years past I often had to walk my bike up it. Now at 72 with a carbon fiber road bike and exercising every day I can climb it without going into cardiac arrest. I could make short work of it with my e-bike but I have found that it takes all of the challenge out. My electric bikes have sat all summer collecting dust in the garage. I suppose I could turn off the assist mode and get an even better work out but I also enjoy a light, well put together bike. Don't get me wrong, my e-bike is a quality bike but it's more of a pickup than a sports car. I still use it for errands and the occasional "fun" ride but for the shear exhilaration of muscle powered speed, I'll be riding the old non-electric.
 
At 72 I wasn’t enjoying my rides with my much younger companions because I had to work too hard to keep up and found myself declining to go with them. I could do it but wasn’t having as good a time. After an accident that made it even harder I decided to get the Ebike and have never looked back. In fact, I have not ridden any of my three analog bikes in two years now and have no intention of doing so. Really enjoying cycling again with an Ebike. But, yes I could ride my analogs on my usual rides...just don’t want to.
 

RabH

Well-Known Member
I sold my carbon road bike a short time after I bought my e bike, I knew I could never go back to an acoustic bike and get home after 100 miles with a smile on my face like I did yesterday :) I could still ride an acoustic and probably enjoy it up to a point but my e bike is here to stay, its just too much fun :D
 

Toomanycats

Active Member
I’ve found that I can’t put any pressure on my knees, thanks to arthritis. No mashing, standing on, stomping, or grinding of the pedals. I live in a San Gabriel foothills community, and would run out of gears very quickly on a regular bike.
Even with my ebike, I had to back off my mileage and build up a base because I was riding too much, too soon. (If a 25 mile ride feel great, you can start doing it every day, right? No.)
I’m going to Alaska in a few days and may rent an acoustic bike for the local trails. We’ll see how that works.
 

Tim G

New Member
I'm riding the same routes around my house that I road on my two wheel recumbent. The recumbent does not climb well, but I could make it up all the hills, however slowly. I got the ebike for two reasons; recurring knee pain and a pinched nerve in my foot caused me to lay off the bike when they flared up. Now I can keep pedaling, but add more assist. The second reason, getting chased by the occasional dog up a hill (the rural county I live in does not have leash laws until the dog leaves the property). I could outrun them on the flats, but not up hills. I usually use assist level 2 of 4 and ride hard enough to achieve an average heart rate of 130+ bpm and peaks rates over 150. Average speed is not very relevant to me since I don't know how much of that is me or the assist. The more I think about ebike workouts, they seem similar to spin class workouts; you go as hard as you want. No matter what the instructor tells the class, you can crank the friction knob down as hard or easy as you choose. For me, the ebike allows me to get out and work more. If I'm having a bad day, I still get in a lighter workout, which is better then none at all.
 
My fat tired Haibike Full FatSix effectively replaced my Specialized Fatboy. Same riding areas for the ebike which I did on the analog 4.6 inch tired Fatboy; anything from riding the canal towpaths along the Delaware and Lehigh Rivers, to South Jersey and the sugar sand roads of the New Jersey Pine Barrens, up to the near-daily rides from Homebase to the local towns 10 or 20 miles away and back, all on asphalt.

Doing it by ebike is an eye-opening revelation, like night and day. An 80 mile run on the towpaths one weekend a few years ago on the Fatboy left me completely drained for several days while recovering. Doing it on the FatSix, I'm ready for a local 20 mile ride the next day. Both are fun, mind you. But the Full FatSix is some how.....more funner!:)

I equate the Full FatSix as that Enduro Dual-Purpose motorcycle I never had. Except this bike does not require a license to operate, insurance to cover an accident, a riding permit and riding test. It allows me access to trails which are off-limits to motorized vehicles. It's the same as my analog bike, but completely different at the same time. Hard to quantify that in typed words, one has to get out there on an autumn day with the leaves in full color, nobody else around for miles, to get where I'm coming from. A game changer for bicycling for folks who thought they could never go long distance again....

Here's a shot of the bike that got me off-roading again, the Fatboy. And the bike that effectively replaced it, on the same D&R canal trail, 24 hours apart from each other.

Thanks go to Court for bringing these bikes to our attention and to his site here, for igniting that passion!
 

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DouglasB

Active Member
I love my e-bike but It has taken second to my road bike this summer. If you have ever ridden a beautifully crafted, light, comfortable and fast road bike on a back country road, at 22 miles per hour, under your own power, you'll understand what I mean. I know, I know, "just turn the assist level down" but it isn't the same thing.