1-1.3 K budget, mama wants to tow up 12-15%+ grade hills

Clelie

New Member
Hello- I am new to the e-bike world. I've been dreaming for many years and finally have some cash to invest. I live in a mountain town and there are lots of steep hills. Want to be able to get around with my five year old- towing him on a wheehoo or trail-a-bike. I am 5'6" and have a just over 30" inseam- Ideally I'll have a bike we can also use to cruise the local rail trail. I am wondering about step-thru models and their ability to deal with towing... It seems like some of the suggestions for smaller frames are likely not suitable to towing.

I would love to get your advice! Thank you so much for your suggestions. :D
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
Want to be able to get around with my five year old- towing him on a wheehoo or trail-a-bike. I am 5'6" and have a just over 30" inseam- Ideally I'll have a bike we can also use to cruise the local rail trail. I am wondering about step-thru models and their ability to deal with towing...

A refurbished Juiced ODK U500 is $1200 and offers nearly 900 watts peak power, low step, smaller 20" tires, cruise control, long range, hydraulic disk brakes, lots of bolt on accessories including a huge sturdy front basket, and a dealer network so you can take a test ride before you buy. Check out Court's review. Here's a review by a parent. Here are some first impressions from parents in hilly Seattle, they recommend adding a wide double kickstand like the Ursus Jumbo but check with Juiced if they will fit one or what they suggest would work. Two Wheeling Tots has a buying guide on trailer cycles, one consideration is to check the measurements of the trailer cycle arm to make sure it will clear the extra long rear rack of the Juiced ODK, you might want to ask Juiced what they suggest might work - you might need some sort of extension piece or a trailer cycle arm that bolts onto the rack rather than the seat post. Or skip the trailer cycle and get rack mounted bars, seat pad, and foot pegs/boards for a passenger. One issue is the ODK uses Kenda K-924 tires that are not standard bicycle tires but use a harder rubber compound which makes them stiff and difficult to get off the wheel rim in the event of a puncture, you could either swap them out for something more puncture resistant like the Schwalbe Big Ben Plus tires, or buy some Park Tool steel tire levers and have a plan B e.g. a cell phone with GPS and if you are a member of AAA and you can push the bike to a road they can arrange for a tow truck to take you and your bike home.
 
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pxpaulx

Well-Known Member
A refurbished Juiced UDK500 is $1200 and offers nearly 900 watts peak power, low step, smaller comfortable 20" balloon tires, cruise control, long range, hydraulic disk brakes, lots of bolt on accessories including a rack seat and foot pegs to carry a passenger, a good accessory is the huge sturdy front basket, and a dealer network so you can take a test ride before you buy. Check out Court's review.

I was going to say not going to happen, but at that refurb price that will definitely be the best bet!
 

Clelie

New Member
Thanks for the suggestion- since posting- I've done a bit more homework and I am pretty sure that I would prefer pedal assist to throttle only.
So I see that you suggested a bike with quite a powerful motor- is that because that is what is necessary to get up the hills? I have been finding it tricky to figure out what size motor I will need.
I will definitively check out the link to the towing guide.
Well the price is right- so perhaps getting used to the idea of setting the motor on ( there are different levels right?) and then just basically leaving it- can be something I get used to.
Thanks for pointing me in this direction-I don't think that I would have looked here. So happy that his forum exists and that folks are active here.
 

Clelie

New Member
Do you know if there is a guide available to help figure out the size of the motor/ battery needed to tow a certain weight up a certain grade with an e-bike? Or an easy way to figure this out?
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
Do you know if there is a guide available to help figure out the size of the motor/ battery needed to tow a certain weight up a certain grade with an e-bike?

Justin at Grin Tech in Vancouver has this motor simulator based on the motors he sells. Play with the battery, wheel size, hill grade, and weight parameters and look for the intersection of the red line (power) and black line (load), then look to the right of the vertical axis and that will tell you how many watts of power are needed to achieve peak proficiency for a given hill grade. Peak power for any ebike system can be calculated by multiplying the battery voltage by the amps the controller can handle e.g. a 20A controller using a 48V battery has a peak output of 960 watts.
 
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Dewey

Well-Known Member
I would prefer pedal assist to throttle only. I see that you suggested a bike with quite a powerful motor- is that because that is what is necessary to get up the hills?

I understand, I adapted my bicycle with a mid-drive motor and I ride it using pedal assist no throttle. Among a convenience sample of other riders on a recent ride with my neighborhood family bike group 3 of 6 parents towing children had adapted their bicycles with the same type of ebike motor which is a Bafang BBS01/BBS02 rebranded and sold under several names such as 8fun, Dillenger, Lunacycle, Empowered, EM3EV, eRad, and my preferred supplier California Ebike (Doug the owner is super helpful). It isn't a turn key solution like a complete ebike, I needed help from my local bike shop to remove the bottom bracket and replace the chain/make sure the gearing worked because in the conversion process you lose your other front chain rings, turning my 21 speed bike into a 7 speed. I have the lower powered BBS01 with a 36v battery and I programmed the controller to 18a, but the more powerful BBS02 48V model with a 25A controller setting is powerful enough (1200 watts peak power) to get up most hills. Power is necessary to climb hills when you are hauling extra weight. One of the links I posted above is from two parents with the Juiced ODK, one of whom claimed to be able to achieve 7mph up a 23% hill at full throttle. With my much less powerful controller/battery settings (648 watts peak power) I would be standing on my pedals to achieve the same speed on that grade hill. Because I adapted my old 1990's heavy steel hybrid bike, the added weight of me, my daughter, the trailer, the motor, and battery, means my system is underpowered for the weight I'm trying to haul uphill, it works most of the time if I'm not carrying anything else but I get a real workout when we haul the weekly groceries.
 
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