5'10, 290 lbs, $2-5k, for 12 mile commute on flat paved roads

Drock

New Member
About Me:
  • Male
  • 5'10"
  • USA, CA
  • Overweight, Currently 290
  • Semi active
  • Commute: 12 mile commute to work. The commute is on flat paved roads
  • Live in an area that ranges from 40-110 degree (depending on the season)
  • Price up to $2-5,000
  • Use: Plan on using bike for fun, and to commute to work from April – October.
  • Bike: looking for a comfortable ride that can go 20 mph.
Current Situation:

I’m carpooling to work, but I’m entertaining the idea of commuting. The commute is around 12 miles, and the road is flat and paved. My overall goal would be to use it to help me achieve my weight loss goals with the bonus of saving money on not having to pay insurance, gas, and monthly car payments.

Budget/Research:

Right now I can afford a bike around $2000, but I can wait a few months and my budget will be up to $5000 (including tax and shipping). I was looking at the Neo Jumper / Stromer ST1, but I’m wondering if that is too much bike for what I’m looking for and if there are more cost efficient alternatives out there. Ideally I’m looking for a solid bike that I will maintain and use for the next 4-5 years.

Commute Questions:

I’m estimating that due to my size my commute will start around the 1 hour 10 minute mark and eventually decrease. I’d like to get your thoughts on this and I would also like some information about gear needed for commuting.
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
Hey Drock, great summary here! Thanks for providing your info... I'd be happy to share my thoughts on good electric bikes and accessories based on what you said and what I've seen and tried.

Given your height of 5'10" I'd say you'd do well on an ebike in size Medium or Large (many companies only offer one size so just keep this in mind). Do you prefer a smaller feeling bike that you can "handle" or something a bit larger that lets you stretch out? I'm 5'9" and prefer the Medium sized bikes because I like to pop up curbs and get aggressive with my steering.

The other big consideration for you is your weight and how comfortable one frame/seat/handlebar setup will be vs. another. While I love the fast aggressive feel of road bikes for short distances... at high speed and over extended periods they can start to strain wrists, shoulders, back and neck (especially when wearing a helmet). Given your 12 mile commute (I'm assuming that's one way) and estimated ride time of 1 hour 10 minutes I'd look for a more upright commuter ebike with soft tires and swept back handlebars.

To answer your question about how long it might take you, I'd say we should use the average riding speed of 15 miles per hour because most people go around 18mph on ebikes and lights and stop signs will slow you down a bit. So with your ride of 12 miles, you might be able to do it in under one hour! It all really depends on those hills (you said it's mostly flat) and how many stops etc.

Okay, so here are some ebikes that come to mind for you. The budget of $2K to $5K makes sense and I understand that you'll need to save a bit longer for the more expensive models and that you'd really prefer to get out there soon (since it is April and you said this is in your target commuting-zone).
  • IZIP E3 Twn:exp - it's powerful, quiet, has 9 speeds, costs under $3K and is very sturdy with a great warranty and dealer network. The wheels won't ever need to be trued and it has a small suspension in the front and in the seat post to smooth out the ride. The weight is very low, it's stable and easy to get on and off. With a softer seat added (like this one from Cloud-9), it could actually feel pretty good... but might chaff your legs after a lot of pedaling. I'd suggest searching around for a semi-narrow seat but also padded. The only drawback to this bike is that it looks smaller and might not appeal to you visually.
  • Easy Motion Neo City - it's beautiful, well balanced, has a great warranty, costs under $3K and comes with a great warranty... also has a decent dealer network across the US. The motor is geared for more torque but as such, may wear out a bit faster than the direct drive system on the Twn:exp. The rack, lights and fenders are great to have (especially to help you carry stuff to work) and the larger wheels smooth out bumps. It also has a full sized suspension fork and a comfort saddle. I love the Neo bikes from Easy Motion and I'd suggest this one vs. the Jumper because it's going to be more upright and functional for commuting over those long distances. You could also check out the Neo Street but I suggested the City because it has larger wheels and you're a bit taller so the frame (being a bit higher up) might feel better for you.
  • Depending on where you live in California, you could drive up to San Francisco and visit the New Wheel bicycle shop to try a Kalkhoff electric bike. These things are great... have all the accessories like the Twn:exp and Neo City but use mid-drive for increased torque and extended range. All of the bikes we've looked at so far could make your commute as long as you charge the battery at the office, and each of these bikes has removable packs so it will be easy to do.
  • Pedego Interceptor - it's larger than the other ebikes listed above, has a built in rack along with lights and offers both pedal assist and throttle mode (which all of the other ones have as well) but includes a larger geared hub motor. Ultimately, this bike comes up short not having fenders and suspension but the balloon tires smooth out the ride and it's that same upright position that will feel good. Pedego has a great warranty as well. The main drawback here is that the battery pack is mounted high up and towards the rear (where the battery is) so it's not as well balanced as the Neo City for example.
  • Pedego City Commuter - this is a great hybrid of the cruiser design and the city style ebikes that provide more utility (fenders, lights, rack). It's similar to the Interceptor but with a narrower saddle and a bit more aggressive ride position due to shorter handle bars. Still has the high up, rear mounted battery but it works well. It also has a more powerful motor than the Neo electric bikes but it's geared so a bit louder and susceptible to wear vs. direct drive.
For more info you can explore all of the city style electric bikes I've reviewed here. The ones I've listed above are just some of my favorites and ones that might work well for your size, budget and riding needs. If you're interested in something more aggressive, the IZIP E3 Dash is very cool and well designed but won't have the rack, fenders or lights and you'll have to consider the seat thing.

Ultimately, if I were in you're position I'd be looking closely at the Easy Motion bikes or the Pedego bikes. Even if Cruisers or these city bikes don't seem cool at first, they will feel the best and if you want to ride everyday for exercise it's going to be easier if the bike feels nice. Most bikes can have their handlebars swapped out (for something more comfortable and swept back) or have their stems replaced (for something that rises higher or is shorter so you don't have to reach) but given your budget and desire for a functional ebike, I'd go for one that's already setup right. Lights are a great thing to have and it's really nice when they can just run off of your main battery... that's the case with all of the bikes I've listed here.

Happy to shed more light on this or provide thoughts, let me know what you're thinking :)
 

Drock

New Member
Thanks Court, you pretty much read my mind. I wasn't looking for a cruiser, but after doing a little bit of research I'm leaning towards the Pedego City Commuter (48v version). Someone in another Ebike community mentioned that Pedego may come out with a triangle battery pack over the summer of this year. Besides a more centered weight distribution are there any other benefits for a triangle battery?
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
Interesting... I've reviewed a few ebikes that have triangle-ish style batteries including the EMPowered Cycles Revolt E-Bike, the OHM Urban XU700 and the Kalkhoff Pro Connect X27. I guess it depends on what the battery looks like? Regardless of the pack shape, most battery systems these days use Lithium-ion cells that look like AA batteries called 18650 cells. These can be arranged into many different configurations so I guess the idea is to keep weight low, centered and aesthetically pleasing.

The City Commuter is a great bike and the 48 volt version feels very powerful and can even be unlocked to top 20mph by navigating through their menu by changing the wheel size setting. I can't comment on what Pedego may or may not be working on (and frankly, I haven't heard anything about new battery designs) but it would make sense considering they're up against the IZIP E3 ZUMA which is priced similarly and uses a seat post pack that looks pretty nice. I probably should have included that bike in the list... great warranty, well balanced, powerful, multiple sizes and multiple colors just no fenders, rack or lights.

To directly answer your question about benefits of different battery shapes. No, not as long as it's removable, the same weight and not sticking out where you'll knock your knees into it when riding. If Pedego does introduce a new battery style you may be able to get an earlier generation design on sale but I think the City Commuter is selling out so that may not be easy. Hope this helps!